Deeply unsatisfying…

I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any stretch of the imagination. As a rule, I favor a liberal application of Occam’s Razor to most points of confusion. Given the current wall to wall coverage of Flight 370, it feels a bit like world needs to take a breath and let the razor do its thing.

So far I’ve heard or read every conceivable explanation from terrorism to extra terrestrials. Bird strikes, hijacking, space-time disturbance, you name it and the crackpots are out in force making their respective cases – even when those cases are long on supposition and very, very short on actual facts.

From what I’ve been able to gather, the facts in evidence are fairly stark: Forty minutes after takeoff, at an altitude of 35,000 feet, and traveling at a speed of 471 knots, Flight 370 lost communication with the ground. Monitored by military radar, the flight changed heading and descended until radar contact was also lost somewhere over the Straits of Malacca. There were no distress calls and no automatic alarms triggered. As I write this, those meager bits appear to be the sum total of what is “known,” or at least the facts as they are being reported.

I know we’ve all been hard wired to look for boogiemen under every bed, but if I may be so bold, it feels a bit like the simplest explanation available is being thoroughly ignored… and that explanation is that sometimes complex systems just fail. When they do, especially when traveling at a high rate of speed and at altitude, those failures tend to be catastrophic. A cascading systems failure of multiple components on that airframe feels unlikely, but not more so than any of the other plausible alternatives the media has jumped on.

As for the issue of being “lost without a trace,” well, a Boeing 777 is a pretty big jet, but in comparison to the size of something like the ocean, it’s the kind of thing that makes seeking out needles in haystacks seem like amateur hour. Flight 370 will turn up somewhere… Eventually. When it does, we’ll get some of our answers. Even then, I suspect they’ll be deeply unsatisfying.

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