Thursday, April 17, 2014

About MH370

This lost plane enjoyed a particularly long stay on the news cycle. Even if it had been found off the coast of Australia a day or two after it had been lost the speculation as to why it had gone so far off course would have only lasted a week at most and then only on the dusty and seldom trodden 'southeast asian news' pages of the major news sites. While it is certainly a thought provoking and tragic story there seems to be something deep lurking here. While civil unrest in Venezuela went almost unreported and the action in the Ukraine took a back seat the world was gripped for a time in a frenzy over this lost plane. And perhaps sadly not because of the loss of two hundred lives, or the strange political dynamics. At least on the news I read the stories shied away from too much theorizing or analysis and relied heavily on the story of the technology used to track and locate the plane. Particularly the failure of these technologies. One long running headline on the BBC was something along the lines of 'How can a plane just disappear?'

I think the beautiful thing about this whole story, about the whole event really, including all of the people watching and the wonks working overtime and the analysis of signals to the end of the world is that it represents sort of the first major scale event where the steady, stochastic machinations of reality have punctured a significant whole in the web of technology that we have been weaving around ourselves. For the past ten, twenty, fifty, hundred years the international consciousness has been so caught up in the increasing abilities and reach of technology (people were outraged, yes, but not particularly surprised at the revelation a year ago that the NSA was having a hard time finding information it couldn't track and store) the weave of networks and connections that grow tighter and tighter by the day, that catch more and finer events in its electric claws that this event, the apparent disappearance of an entire everbeeping, radio-reflective airliner, seemed impossible. True there was sadness from the families of those lost on the place but you saw more shock and disbelief from the world at large. The confusion of 'How could something that big, something that well connected just disappear?' We have been steadily shrinking the world and placing our markers on more and more objects that this one has seemingly fallen into the last furious blackhole of the world. The last empty space left in our world of absolute connection.

No comments:

Post a Comment