Two straight days makes this the worst weather-related closure of the New York Stock Exchange since 1888. There was a monstrous snowstorm in March of that year, drifts of over 40 feet. You know what was also happening right about the same time? The American Arithmometer Company started up in St. Louis. It went on to sell the device that its founding Vice President William Seward Burroughs invented - the adding machine, which raises this question for me.
Note: This story was originally published on Oct. 30. It was updated on Nov. 1 to include a radio version of the story.
The stock market, according to a popular narrative, is now just computers making superfast trades with other computers. Those pictures of traders getting emotional on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange are an anachronism. The real action flashes through fiber-optic cables headed for servers in places like Kansas City. It's algorithms all the way down.