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.
Diet can have a profound effect on brain health. One example of this is epilepsy. It turns out that fasting can reduce epileptic seizures- in fact this was originally documented by the Greek physician Hippocrates, in the 5th century BC- but obviously that's not a viable long-term treatment, since eventually you have to eat or you starve. However, it's possible to mimic the state of fasting if you cut your carbohydrate consumption- the body burns fat, instead of sugar, just as it does in a fast. Using low carbohydrate diets- either a fat-heavy ketogenic diet or the induction phase of the Atkins diet- it's possible to reduce seizure frequency in most people with epilepsy. Often it's effective where drugs fail, and a small percentage of people- around 15% actually see seizures eliminated, sometimes permanently, even after they discontinue the diet. In other words, in a small number of patients, diet can actually cure a severe neurological disease like epilepsy.
A few years ago some psychiatrists speculated that it might work for bipolar disorder as well. The thing is, drugs that work for epilepsy also work for bipolar, suggesting they are somehow related. This was purely speculation at the time, but there are now a couple of documented cases of people suffering from bipolar who have been successfully treated with low-carbohydrate diets- and they claim it works better than the drugs.
The implications are profound. Some psychiatric and neurological disorders may in fact be metabolic disorders, perhaps in part caused by diet. There's been a big push in the past few decades to focus on DNA as the answer to everything, but there's a huge environmental component to these disorders. Twin studies show that if one twin has epilepsy, the odds of the other getting it are only around 50%. So even with identical DNA, and being raised in a similar environment, they only have about a fifty-fifty chance of getting the disorder... clearly genetics aren't destiny. What we really need is a better understanding of the environmental effects that cause one person to get a neurological disease, while the another stays healthy. Throwing drugs with severe side effects at people after they get sick is a good business model for pharmaceutical manufacturers, but what we really need to do is prevent people from getting these disorders in the first place.
Last, the observation that low-carbohydrate diets can be effective in treating severe neurological and psyhicatric diseases... well, it has disturbing implications for modern, high-carbohydrate diets.
The logistics involved here aren't impossible, obviously islands like Hawaii, Iceland, Great Britain or Ireland can survive by shipping in food, fuel, and goods from elsewhere. But the Ukraine can shut off the flow of supplies into Crimea, and it will hurt. If they have to truck everything to a port and then ship it over- all the food they can't grow locally, all consumer goods, all fuel- it's going to cause severe disruptions to supplies and hurt the local economy. It's not impossible for Russia to hold onto the Crimea -the Alies managed to hold onto West Berlin even though it was isolated in the middle of East Germany- but it's going to be more difficult for Russia to supply and defend.
The situation in the Ukraine just confirms that Obama f***ed up on Syria. Obama explicitly warned Assad against using chemical weapons, saying that this was a "red line" that wouldn't be crossed without serious consequences. And Assad crossed that line, and crossed it again, and finally crossed it in a massive way, gassing 1400 unarmed men, women and children in a coordinated assault on civilian populations.
The consequence? Obama dithers, says he'll ask congress for permission to act, and finally brokers a deal (with Putin's help) to hand over the chemical weapons.
The correct response would have been to launch the goddamn Tomahawks. Hit Assad hard: bomb his runways, destroy his artillery, blow up his communications centers and headquarters. Obama's response, or lack of a response, showed weakness. Imagine if a teacher tells the school bully to stop beating kids up, and then the bully goes and beats a kid up with a baseball bat and puts him in the hospital... and the only consequence is that the baseball bat is taken away. Would you have even the slightest amount of respect for that teacher? Obama's response showed weakness. It showed that he was more afraid of congress, more afraid of Assad's ally- Putin- than he was committed to America's values. This is the consequence of that.
I'm not saying that American power should be used recklessly; the Iraq invasion was a massive mistake. But failing to exert that power can also be a mistake.
It's simple, while I may not be rich now, tomorrow I could be! And then I won't want my hard earned money going to poor people like I was.
Wow! He managed to sum up the entire Republican platform, AND went an entire 28 words without saying anything positive about rape in the process! Just add in a few words about doubting global warming and maybe 'teaching the controversy' on evolution, and I think we will have our 2016 Republican presidential nominee!