Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Malaysian Air Flight 370

I've been horrified and fascinated by this all week. How does a 777 go missing? In the age of global satellite coverage, no less? When hundreds of cell phones are on board?

The only plausible explanation at first seemed a sudden and catastrophic accident. It would have to been so sudden and catastrophic, that the pilots were rendered incapacitated within moments. Otherwise, how to account for the lack of a single radio transmission of trouble?

Once that possibility seemed contradicted by the flight making course and altitude changes after the plane disappeared from our scopes, it seemed likely that the pilot was trying to float away with the rest of garbage. That theory is getting more probable by the day, now that it seems clear the new waypoints were programmed into the system before the pilot signed off with his dispassionate "All right, good night."

The lack of any apparent conflict in the cabin (again, no radio transmissions from the captain, no text messages from the passengers despite the plane apparently flying at a low altitude for a considerable period of time, during which even the messages of dead passengers written previously could have transmitted) makes a hijacking appear unlikely, especially coupled with the transponders being shut off while the plane was still flying.  Unless these were some silent and incredibly effective terrorists.

So who does #2 work for? Hard to say. Plenty of theories. Was this a test, to see if a plane could be set to fly remotely or on autopilot towards a potential target, with the cabin depressurized so that there would be no conscious passengers to thwart the plan? Was the plane being stolen for use in a future attack? Were there specific targets among the passengers being taken hostage or killed? Was there a completely silent cockpit intrusion and coercion of the crew, coupled with a very sophisticated set of hijacking requests (shut off data transmission/change course/evade radar), and the inability of the experienced pilot to send up a silent alarm to air controllers?

There is too much intentionality for there not to be a larger plan at work. What and why is yet to be revealed. It seems to me that this was no mere mechanical failure, nor pilot suicide. Going nose down would've been easy by comparison. Meanwhile, the hundreds of family members are being put through a form of torture that is difficult to comprehend.

NCOFM: QOTD

Malaysian Air 370 version.  I've had this in my head as I've been reading about the various search zones, search parties from various nations, lack of communication between various agencies, confused chain of command, etc.:
Nervous Accountant: … he felt that the more people looking...

[cut off by Chigurh]

Anton Chigurh: That’s foolish. You pick the one right tool.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This is not even the beginning of the end,

...more like the end of the beginning.  From the NY Times:

Moscow’s Actions Upend Europe’s Post-Cold War Order
By STEVEN LEE MYERS, ELLEN BARRY and ALAN COWELL

Defying the United States and Europe, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he was reversing what he described as a historical mistake, declaring, “Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia in the hearts and minds of people.”

Now, just for fun, how many proper nouns can you use to replace the bolded "Crimea" in the quote above, and still have it make sense?

Putin's stated reasons for the annexation could have been exclusively historical or legal.  He's already made the point that the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine by Kruschev was illegal, and he's stated his demographic argument for not leaving ethnic Russians out in the cold.  Putin goes further.  Crimea is a part of Russia, he argues, because it's a part of Russia in the "hearts and minds of people." [my emphasis]  Bush thought he could see into Putin's soul.  Putin's powers are apparently much greater.

Putin's logic does beg the question: "Which people?"
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Foundational prinicples: Choosing between competing goods

Version 1:

There should be stability of law. 

We need a regulatory, entitlement and tax code framework that is palatable across the vast middle of the political spectrum, so that it is not constantly redrawn when power changes hands. 

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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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