Lets say you were a pilot with intent to commit suicide (and take everyone with you; ignoring the sociopathy involved in that)... Why go through the effort of 'hiding' the plane? Turning off the transponder and comms, changing altitude and direction, and flying for a few more hours? The plane was already over the ocean, easy to dive it straight down. Less than a minute and it's done.
My intuition says that someone wanted a 777 and wanted to hide it.
So first, a potential argument against the suicide scenario is that it would be more rational to simply fly the plane straight down instead of flying on for 7 hours. Of course, if we are talking about a suicidal pilot, then we're talking about someone sadistic and deranged enough to kill 238 people. This is, by definition, not someone who is thinking in terms of what is the most rational response to a given situation, but a deeply fucked up individual. If they're sadistic enough to kill over 200 people and inflict untold suffering on their loved ones, maybe they're also sadistic enough to torment them for seven hours first. We're not talking about a simple suicide here, we're talking about a murder-suicide like Columbine or a suicide bomber.
Second, if someone wanted to steal a 777 for a terrorist attack, then why haven't we seen the attack? If there's a terrorist plot like during 9/11, then it requires the element of surprise. The more time passes, the more time there is for people to unravel the plot and send in the Special Forces to take out the plotters.
Third, if it's piracy, why haven't we seen the ransom? If you're a Somali pirate, then once you've got the ship safely in the harbor in Somalia, you send a message to the owners of the ship that you're open for negotiation. Also, if you want to do the piracy thing, you have to find somewhere sufficiently lawless that they won't arrest you when you land. Even a place like Kazakhstan isn't lawless enough; you don't just need a repressive dictatorship, you need a failed state level of anarchy, somewhere like Somalia or the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. And as for selling the plane on the black market, you might be able to pinch and sell a few parts... but this is the most famous airplane in the world right now. there's no way in hell you could sell so much as a rivet if it had the serial number on it.
Pilot suicide is, unfortunately, the simplest explanation that fits the facts. We've seen it before and it would fit what happened here. For the sakes of the crew and families, I desperately hope that's wrong, but it's been more than a week- if these people were alive, we'd probably have heard by now.
It's not unreasonable to say that they should be able to track the plane using satellite. There are a lot of media reports to the effect that it's not quite as easy as Find My iPhone but the technology is there. In fact it should be far easier to locate a plane than an iPhone, because unlike an iPhone, a 777 is a very large piece of equipment with plenty of power, so it's trivial to install satellite communications. So sure, it's true ACARS won't do it, but that's because ACARS is an obsolete system.
For $150 and a $100 annual fee you can get a portable satellite beacon that broadcasts the position of your trek or your kayak trip every 5 minutes. It's bullshit to argue that it's difficult or expensive to do for an aircraft what you do for your kayak trip, and ridiculous that this isn't already required for every large commercial aircraft. And in fact there's a company- FLYHT Aerospace- that already delivers a system that does real-time black-box reporting via satellite networks. It costs around $100,000 to install during routine heavy maintenance, and it will automatically relay data on position, altitude, heading, fuel use, etc. every few minutes.
If they had had this technology installed, not only would they know what happened to the plane, they would have known within minutes that the plane had changed course. They could have radioed the pilot, and if he didn't respond they could have scrambled interceptors, and if it still crashed, they could have put rescue helicopters in position to respond. Not having real-time reporting in place cost lives.
(Disclaimer- I like to play the stock market, so I took a sizeable position in FLYHT).
BULLSHIT. I don't care how much fucking pain you're in. You want to end your own life? Fine, go right ahead. I believe everyone has the right, and God knows I understand the appeal. I've been there. It's not so much the pain, which is bearable, as the lack of joy or any pleasure in your work, your friends, or your family, and the prospect that it will never end. In that situation, suicide becomes a rational decision.
But even when things were at their darkest, I never lost sight of one fact: the fact that killing myself was in the end a purely selfish act, and one that would cause a tremendous amount of pain and suffering and trauma. For my friends and my family when they found out, for the people who would find my body hanging by a rope, for the people who would have to go through my things and figure out what to do with them... it was the quickest and easiest way to relieve the suffering, but I never thought for a moment that there would be anything remotely noble about going through with it.
But if killing yourself is selfish, how much more selfish is it to kill 233 other people- the people who put themselves in your care, in your trust? That's not selfish, that's outright malicious. There is something deeply fucked up, purely malicious, and wholly evil about someone who, in the process of killing themselves, takes other people with them. It's one thing if your life is so fucked up you just want out. But just because you're miserable, what the hell gives you the right to deny other people their happiness? The poor bastards from Iran who just wanted to have opportunities abroad that they didn't have at home, and used those stolen passports... if this was a pilot suicide, no matter how much pain he's in, what gives him the right to deny them their dreams, to take them from their friends and family? If this is in fact a pilot suicide, then I hope there's a Hell, and I hope it's got all nine levels like in Dante, because this guy should straight to the lowest fucking level, the level for people who commit treachery, and there's no amount of suffering that would be too much for a crime like that.
I've always thought of San Francisco as the new Sodom and Gomorrah.
That's a decade or two out of date. Maybe more. Here's this weekend's list of sex and fetish events in SF. There's a nostalgia tour for tourists of SF's sex history, and a screening of porn films from a Berlin festival. Yawn.
I'm not seeing this. It's a dull period for San Francisco. The first dot-com boom was more fun. Connecting up everybody and everything was important. This boom is all from ad-based companies, and most of what they're doing is rather banal. So are many of the people doing it.
Almost all the artists who need more than a desk and a laptop moved out years ago. SF used to have lots of big empty warehouse and factory spaces that were used for art projects and wild parties. That's what SOMA was. Those are gone, replaced with "live/work lofts" or giant bullpen workspaces.
I do not get why tech people want to live in the Mission. I've had friends there for years, and it's tolerable, but not a place to live in by choice. Wednesday I went to a stand up comedy improv thing in the Mission where people tried to put together presentions from random PowerPoint slides. Heavy bouncer presence outside because it was right next to a service center for homeless people. The comedy sucked, too. That's what the tech crowd is bringing into the area.
Here's a typical Mission location, one which also happens to be a Google bus stop. "Cafe la Boheme" has crappy food, and it's had crappy food for years. The place with the graffiti is an upstairs dance studio which is hanging on. "Chinese Food and Donuts" isn't very good at either. That corner has looked the same for many years. There are some decent restaurants a few blocks over on Valencia, but not at this corner. There are cool places to live in SF, but this isn't one of them.
This is what the European Union really does - they set standards so stuff works all over Europe, across borders and across vendors. Like GSM phones. In the past, over 20 years they moved the 220V and 240V countries to 230V. That was completed in 2003. Trying to get the whole EU to use the same AC power plug, though, was not successful.
"I'll just fix this quick and dirty for now, management will allow me time to redo it properly later."
I don't ever get the flu shot because it makes me have the same symptoms as the flu the few times I did get it. I know you can't get the flu from the flu shot, but if you get all the same symptoms, you "effectively" have the flu. Should I be denied care in the case where I do get the flu?
Should people who smoke be denied care because they were told many times that it's bad for them? What about people who refuse to eat well, even though they can afford to? What about those people who don't exercise, even though you can do so for free in your own spare time?