Search Results For: "flight 370"

By Jonah Shepp

Chris Goodfellow doesn’t think MH370 was hijacked:

For me, the loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense in a fire. And there most likely was an electrical fire. In the case of a fire, the first response is to pull the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one. If they pulled the busses, the plane would go silent. It probably was a serious event and the flight crew was occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, navigate, and lastly, communicate is the mantra in such situations. …

What I think happened is the flight crew was overcome by smoke and the plane continued on the heading, probably on George (autopilot), until it ran out of fuel or the fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. You will find it along that route–looking elsewhere is pointless.

Jeff Wise shoots down that theory:

Goodfellow’s account is emotionally compelling, and it is based on some of the most important facts that have been established so far. And it is simple—to a fault. Take other major findings of the investigation into account, and Goodfellow’s theory falls apart.

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by Jonah Shepp

The story keeps getting weirder, but there are no answers yet:

Over the weekend, the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 became a criminal investigation as Malaysian officials said they had “conclusive” evidence that the flight had been hijacked. They also said that a final message had been received from the pilot after the plane’s signaling apparatus had been disabled, raising suspicion that the flight was intentionally diverted by crew. There have also been numerous reports this morning that plane may have flown as low as 5,000 feet, in order to avoid all radar detection, a maneuver that would require considerable skill from the pilots, while also putting the plane itself in considerable danger, as it is not designed for long travel at that altitude.

Passing along the map seen below, Derek Thompson notes that the clues about where the plane might be are still very broad:

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Jeff Wise finds it very odd that we still have no idea what happened to the plane:

Past air crashes have always turned up some definitive evidence by this stage of the proceedings. This incident (frankly, we’re not even 100 percent sure it is a crash) is different. So far, no debris field has been found, the Pentagon reports that it detected no midair explosions in the area, and Malaysian authorities have issued contradictory statements about what primary-radar tracks they may or may not have observed. Based on the vast search area, it appears that authorities believe that the plane may have been deliberately flown far from its original heading. If that’s the case, then whoever redirected the plane might well have timed its abduction to coincide with the period when it would have slipped out of sight of the air traffic control system anyway—presumed to be operating normally, but actually veiled in the fog of unknowability.

Ben Branstetter discusses how better technology could prevent such fiascos:

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Adam Minter points out that the pollution in the South China Sea is complicating the search for the missing plane:

On Saturday, hours after the first news of the plane’s disappearance, the Vietnamese navy reported finding 6 mile (9.7 kilometers) and 9 mile oil slicks (reports about the size vary), raising hopes. On Monday, lab tests revealed that they were diesel fuel characteristic of the ships that ply, and pollute, the South China Sea. In the days since, fishermen and rescue workers have found life rafts, life jackets, a jet’s door and plastic oil barrels each initially suspected as originating from Flight 370, vetted in the news media, and then — perhaps literally — tossed overboard as trash.

As a reader noted in an update to our earlier post, a satellite imagery company is attempting to crowdsource the search:

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The Mysterious Fate Of Flight 370

Mar 11 2014 @ 3:21pm

Pilot-blogger Patrick Smith is debunking speculation about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished from radar screens on Saturday while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Smith’s bottom line:

Unfortunately it could be weeks or even months before we have a solid idea of what happened. And tempting as might be, we should be careful not to speculate too broadly. Almost always the earliest theories turn out to be at best incomplete; at worst totally wrong. Seeing how little evidence we have at the moment, any theories are, for now, just guesses.

All we know for sure is that a plane went missing with no warning or communication from the crew. That the crash (assuming the plane did in fact go down) did not happen during takeoff or landing — the phases of flight when most accident occur — somewhat limits the possibilities, but numerous ones remain. The culprit could be anything from sabotage to some kind of bizarre mechanical problem — or, as is so common in airline catastrophes, some combination or compounding of human error and/or mechanical malfunction.

Jordan Golson explains how a plane can disappear in this day and age:

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The Other NFL Abuse Scandal, Ctd

Sep 19 2014 @ 9:57am

A reader lends his expertise to the Adrian Peterson case:

I am a psychologist who works primarily with very young children and their families. It is disturbing to me, especially reading the comments sections of sites that are covering this story, to see how few people seem to have gotten the memo about the impact of early violence on the developing brain. While Mr. Peterson’s son was being whipped, and for some long time thereafter, his nervous system was being flooded with stress hormones (cortisol is the primary culprit). Shame, anger, and fear states cause the body to respond this way, as stress hormones can also help mobilize us into fight or flight states when danger is near. The problem is that sustained, repeated exposure to these hormones causes structural changes to the developing brain, including the hippocampus and the amygdala – structures that are responsible for emotion processing and memory.

The result? A nervous system that is “primed” to scan for danger and ready to fight to protect itself rather than one that can safely engage in play, exploration and learning (these brain states are incompatible). Research is very clear that kids who are exposed to this kind of violence (fear states) are much more likely to be violent as they grow up.

So you want to have fewer future Ray Rices clocking their partners? Figure out ways to keep kids like Adrian Peterson’s safe.

Meanwhile, Margaret Hartmann flags yet another story of an NFL player in trouble for domestic violence:

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Ukraine? Where’s That?

Apr 8 2014 @ 3:41pm

Most Americans can’t find it on a map, according to this survey and an accompanying map:

Ukraine_Full-1024x535

Details on that survey:

About one in six (16 percent) Americans correctly located Ukraine, clicking somewhere within its borders. … However, the further our respondents thought that Ukraine was from its actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene militarily. Even controlling for a series of demographic characteristics and participants’ general foreign policy attitudes, we found that the less accurate our participants were, the more they wanted the U.S. to use force, the greater the threat they saw Russia as posing to U.S. interests, and the more they thought that using force would advance U.S. national security interests; all of these effects are statistically significant at a 95 percent confidence level.

These findings don’t surprise Larison:

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Increasing aviation safety in developing countries is a low priority for Charles Kenny:

The macabre but exhaustive website planecrashinfo.com put the odds of being killed on a single airline flight at about one in 4.7 million across 78 major world airlines; among the airlines with the worst safety records, the odds rise to one in 2 million. In the middle of the last decade, the fatal crash rate for Kenya Airways was about three in 1 million. For Ethiopian Airlines, it was four in 1 million. That’s higher than that of U.S. carriers such as American Airlines (0.6 fatal crashes per 1 million flights) or United (0.5 per million)—but it still suggests flying is safe, and that the gap between poor and rich countries is small.

That’s not true for driving.

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A New Low For Cable News

Mar 21 2014 @ 3:01pm
by Patrick Appel

Sarah Gary rounds up ridiculous cable news segments on MH370. Nick Martin tackles CNN’s Don Lemon, who is featured in the clip above:

Lemon has spent the last several days exploring every crazy conspiracy theory on the internet, like something out of InfoWars or an Art Bell broadcast.

On Sunday, he brought up the possibility that “the supernatural” was somehow involved in the disappearance. On Monday, he floated the idea that the plane could be hiding in North Korea. But [Wednesday] night, he really outdid himself, asking a former U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general whether the airplane was somehow sucked into a black hole. Yes, a black hole.

“I know it’s preposterous,” he said to her, “but is it preposterous?”

Abby Ohlheiser fact-checked Lemon:

A somewhat gruff Columbia astronomy professor named David J. Helfand told The Wire by email that, simply put, “black holes comparable to the mass of an airplane or somewhat bigger that could attract and swallow a plane do not exist.”

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The Rise Of The Robo-Journalists

Mar 19 2014 @ 10:27am
by Jonah Shepp

The LA Times was the first to report on the earthquake that hit LA on Monday. But reporter Ken Schwencke didn’t write the piece on his own, as Will Oremus explains:

“I think we had it up within three minutes,” Schwencke told me. If that sounds faster than humanly possible, it probably is. While the post appeared under Schwencke’s byline, the real author was an algorithm called Quakebot that he developed a little over two years ago. Whenever an alert comes in from the U.S. Geological Survey about an earthquake above a certain size threshold, Quakebot is programmed to extract the relevant data from the USGS report and plug it into a pre-written template. The story goes into the LAT’s content management system, where it awaits review and publication by a human editor.

And it’s not just earthquakes:

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