Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Flight 370, extraterrestrials and the news

It seems 94.3 percent likely wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 that vanished with 239 aboard on Saturday will be located --- eventually. Less likely that investigators ever will know exacly what happened. But 100 percent certain that the jetliner was not transported to another dimension by extraterrestrials. 

That idea comes up only because it was among possibilities floated within the group I usually drink coffee with on Mondays --- two members are believers, in extraterrestrials. Apparently a good many people out there are engaged in cosmos-conspiracy theorizing this week.

People are welcome to believe what they will, so long as it does no harm --- but the variety of peculiar theories folks invest faith in is kind of amazing.

We also seem surprised that mysteries like this still can develop. Vanishing acts were taken for granted back in the day before instant global communications --- and entertainments that wrap up the loose ends of baffling situations in 90 minutes or less.

Now it's kind of assumed that all puzzling situations can be sorted out in, at most, a mini-series time span.


Personally, I've been nervous at the thought of intercontinental flight since the return trip via Tokyo many years ago from Vietnam. Somewhere over the Pacific, crew members began to trot at regular intervals from cockpit down the aisle, peer out at the engines on one side of the plane, then trot back up the aisle.

This is not a tactic that builds passenger confidence. Obviously, we made it --- but touchdown in Seattle resulted in considerably more celebration than might otherwise have occurred.


The drive to stay updated on Flight 370 finally has driven me into the arms of CNN and away from MSNBC, which underwent a format transplant some time ago.

I've always been partial to MSNBC, not because of my liberal bias but because I grew up watching NBC News on television. But the new online "magazine" format --- big illustrations mixed with scattered headlines and advertising in a long and confusing scroll --- has defeated me. It's a format even more difficult to deal with than Huffington Post's peculiar trendiness.

Over at CNN, the news remains categorized in a series of neatly arranged lists --- just what I like. Perhaps because it reminds me a little of a newspaper.

Who knows? Maybe the time is approaching when I'll subscribe to a real newspaper again. I've been hearing positive things about The Register's recent efforts to return to full-service news relevance. It would be interesting if "what goes around comes around" proved true in the news business, too.

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