How the Media Melds My Mind – an Airplane Lesson

Mind Meld

My mind meld this morning begins with a morning review of global media over my Ethiopian coffee, enjoyed in my flat on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya.  I’m ecclectic like that.

ecclectic

Al Jazeera reports on the G7 threatening Putin and Russia, and then the missing Malaysian flight now three weeks into its disappearance.

The “they” of the aircraft search world have announced somewhat formally throught the Malaysian PM that the aircraft expired somewhere out in the middle of the southern Indian Ocean and all aboard are dead.  No one knows this definitively, however, an exclusive high-tech system, Inmarsat, had tracked pings and directions to lead all involved to believe “beyond any reasonable doubt” that the plane went down in remote waters off western Australia.  Quite harsh and sad.  Grief blue eye tear goodbyeFamilies, friends, colleagues… all in a state of great grief and I think even we strangers feel it in the pits of our stomachs, no matter how far removed we are from the actual tragedy.

So, after perusing the BBC, Nation Media and various other global outlets (read “the Onion” and Huffington here) I move on to my dose of the CNN effect.  Indeed in a moment worthy of a bipolar episode, I read a story about a Southwest Airlines jet in the U.S. landing at the wrong airport.  Click those orange words back there and you will be transported to the article if it is still published.  The story is brief and truly quite light.  The pilots are speaking to air traffic control at the Branson airport, the correct airport, but apparently have just landed on the strip at a different airport some miles away:

“I assume I’m not at your airport,” one of the pilots radioed to controllers at Branson Airport, the Boeing 737’s intended destination.

“4013, um, have you landed?” comes the response, according to the recordings released by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Yea,” says the pilot, after a brief pause.

Then the controller calls to another air traffic facility for the area to inquire about the plane, and there is this exchange:

“Did you watch Southwest land?”

“Yea, why?”

“Did you see it come here? They’re saying it landed at the wrong airport.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Yea, no, I’m not.”

And that is apparently not all. The airstrip upon which the pilots set down was half the distance of the Branson strip.  Those pilots had to step on the brakes with renewed purpose…but alas, all lived to tell the tale and snicker a bit.

And this is where my brain goes:  “Huh?  With all the high-tech gadgets in the world, with all the pinging and tracking and satellites and US spying toys…. wow, with ALL that, you can actually LAND at the wrong airport and no one notices?  The Branson air control didn’t notice that the plane wasn’t even in sight on their runway?”

Mind melt thought secondary to that:  “And come to think of it, we can lose an aircraft completely?  There is no satellite auto-tracking on planes these days? Lose a plane and land another plane at the WRONG airport, but put dudes in globe-topped white suits on the moon and bring them home successfully…….  Really?  REALLY?”

So, because I am trained to intake facts and then synthesize those facts into some meaningful construct, I start thinking back to my initial response on the Malaysian flight.  I wrote a piece, only half finished, questioning what technology is embedded in airplanes now in the post-9/11 terror era.  I am certain in my soul that since the 9/11 tragedy in the U.S., there are all kinds of super secret monitoring devices embedded in planes unknown to the general public’s psyche or awareness.

certainty dicecertainty fibonnaci spiralSo sure of it.

I am talking Fibonacci golden spiral sure.

We may find out that the Southwest Airlines pilots were enjoying a good Sambucha perhaps, giving rise to momentary synapse-receptor lapses of judgment… i.e., a bit drunk.  I ask around but get no positive responses from my contacts in the know.  Sometimes silence is the confirmation.  The difficulty is knowing when that is.  Thus, a half-finished suspicion piece sits in my Drafts cue.

But I can’t help but “go there”… the dystopic paranoid place…. where I might find the answer in a beta testing hack job on air traffic controller software.  Probably one of Ponto’s  U.S. based tech friends who signed up for a beta testing spot in a company’s Research & Development call, thinking he or she is beta testing a new digital “game”, a real life Ender’s Game.  Investigations involve connections and motives.

money trail

The connection is the air traffic and guidance element, and the motive… that will take a touch more thought and probably involve a money trail (mom’s lesson long ago during a particularly confusing investigation).

Yep, that’s gotta be it.  Definitely someone out there is hacking air guidance system networks.  Definitely.

 The Thinker, Le Penseur, by Rodin, 1904.The Thinker, Le Penseur, by Rodin, 1904.

I am still pondering my Fascism and media pieces…..