back to article MH370 hunters call for new search of extra 25,000km2

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is in charge of the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, has recommended an extra 25,000km2of the Indian Ocean be searched in an effort to find the plane. The new recommendation emerged today in the MH370: First Principles Review report that chronicles an early …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obvious

    "Drift experiments and new modelling suggests we've been looking in the wrong places"

    The fact that they haven't found anything suggests they've been looking in the wrong places.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obvious

      It's always in the last place you look.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Coat

        Re: Obvious

        It's always in the last place you look.

        Well, it's not fallen down the back of my sofa...has everyone else checked?

      2. x 7

        Re: Obvious

        "It's always in the last place you look."

        That's inevitable: after you've found it you stop looking, so its bound to be in the last place you look.

    2. JimC Silver badge

      Re: Obvious

      Quite probably its not where they've looked, but there's also the possibility that its in the area they looked but hidden from reasonable view. Its all very well looking at those images of smooth sea bottom ooze with 19thC shipwrecks, oil drums or cable sticking out, but at a guess its not all like that.

      I'm not quite sure how certain the "high degree of certainty" that its not in the current search area is, but I bet its nowhere near 100%.

      1. JimC Silver badge

        Re: certainty

        Having started reading the report in depth they reckon 95% certain they'd have found a debris field in the search area which seems astonishingly good to me. Impressed.

    3. GlenMidlandsUK

      Re: Obvious

      Not it doesn't ! ! Have you never given up looking for your copy of "Think-Before-You-Speak" in a drawer? only to find it was there in that same drawer all along? .... and if you've not got a copy, they sell it on Amazon you know... let me know your address and I'll by it for you.

    4. NoneSuch
      Gimp

      Re: Obvious

      This is well worth a watch. NOVA does a great job of giving the facts of what happened and outlining what they still don't know.

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/why-planes-vanish.html

    5. ShortStuff
      FAIL

      Re: Modelling suggests

      "Drift experiments and new modelling suggests we've been looking in the wrong places"

      They probably use the same modellers that prophesize global warming.

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    but the search has to date cost Australia over AU$100m.

    No it has not.

    The search has resulted in mapping the seabed in an area where it would have had to be done one day anyway. While the resolution at which it was done was in excess of the one needed for let's say geological mapping, the actual cost is 100-X where X is "this needed to be done anyway" and is probably somewhere around 30-40.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: but the search has to date cost Australia over AU$100m.

      'The search has resulted in mapping the seabed in an area where it would have had to be done one day anyway.'

      Why? I mean we've managed with the level of mapping we've got so far, it's not as if it's a frequently travelled bit of ocean.

    2. JimC Silver badge

      Re: it would have had to be done one day anyway.

      One day my house will need to be knocked down because its no longer safe, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't cost me if I did it this year...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: it would have had to be done one day anyway.

        > AU$100m.

        Not even real amounts of "money".

        This will increase the search capabilities in any case and teach people in the usage of tech, software and statistics. Go for it, I say!

        Could be we find R'lyeh by accident, if the stars are right.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: it would have had to be done one day anyway.

          > AU$100m.

          "Not even real amounts of "money"."

          It's about £59 million in real money...

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: it would have had to be done one day anyway.

            Yeah.

            So, 0.8% of Australia's F-35 program (planes they can't even use unless the Chinese are setting up bases on the mainland)

    3. Smooth Newt
      Meh

      Re: but the search has to date cost Australia over AU$100m.

      No it has not.

      The search has resulted in mapping the seabed in an area where it would have had to be done one day anyway.

      Regardless of whether "it would have had to be done one day", it has certainly incurred an opportunity cost. AU$100M+ has been diverted to this instead of being spent on something of more immediate benefit.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: but the search has to date cost Australia over AU$100m.

        > opportunity cost.

        Economically absolutely correct but this IS the century of Keynesian stimulus.

        Get ready for backdoor taxation!

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: but the search has to date cost Australia over AU$100m.

          Woah how sub 50 IQ must one be to downvote that?

  3. Geoff Campbell
    Mushroom

    Congratulations!

    You win today's award for "Most heinously gratuitous misuse of the currently fashionable but utterly misunderstood word 'metadata' in a supposedly technical journal".

    Please don't do it again.

    GJC

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Congratulations!

      It is the metadata that they're looking at. Specifically things like the doppler shift indicating the relative velocity between the plane and the satellite.

      The data received was meaningless as far as this investigation goes, but the metadata has proved to be useful (even if it's only to give hope).

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Re: Congratulations!

        That's still not metadata. It's just data.

        GJC

        1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

          Re: Congratulations!

          And you Sir win the needlessly pedantic comment of the week award. I'm sure someone somewhere who knows you will be very proud.

          1. Geoff Campbell

            Re: Congratulations!

            Thank you! It's been a few months since I managed such a feat :-)

            What can I say? It's one of those misuses of terms that really gets under my skin, for some reason.

            GJC

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
              Alien

              Re: Congratulations!

              In the next episode of Star Trek, you will get two androids, "Data" and "Metadata". "Metadata" gets captured by the Borg collective and analyzed to death, blabbing all the intimate details of what goes in crew quarters after 20:00. "Data" goes on an eating binge, becomes fat and toxic, then in the end drops into the Hadoop trash compactor and gets leaked into space. Then lawyers board the ship. THE END!

          2. Scott 53

            Re: Congratulations!

            "And you Sir win the needlessly pedantic comment of the week award. I'm sure someone somewhere who knows you will be very proud."

            No, they are just data. Data is a plural.

            Do I get a prize?

            1. Florida1920 Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Congratulations!

              --------------------------------------------------------->

              Do I get a prize?

              A free "beer."

            2. the spectacularly refined chap

              Re: Congratulations!

              No, they are just data. Data is a plural.

              Do I get a prize?

              No, it's a mass not a plural noun. "Four data" is meaningless - you have to have some units in there.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Congratulations!

          "That's still not metadata. It's just data."

          My understanding was that Metadata is data about data. And that Metadata is also data, but not all data is metadata. That Metadata is data that could not by definition exist without the data that it is about.

          So if a transmission was made from A to B containing information, then any additional data that was ABOUT the data that was transmitted (such as the measured doppler readings of the transmission could be argued to be metadata? I guess you could also argue that the doppler readings could also be considered data on their own, and that any information as to where the reading was from (taken from the southern hemisphere for instance) would then constitute metadata on data or metadata on metadata.

          Not to mention.. never mind

          1. Geoff Campbell

            Re: Congratulations!

            Metadata is more accurately "data that describes the structure of data". The most obvious misuse of the term is things like MP3 header tags, which *name* each individual set of data, rather than *describing* its structure.

            If there is more than one of something in a given collection of data, it ain't metadata. Hence, "additional data that was ABOUT the data that was transmitted" is just more data. Data about the location of the readings is also just data.

            GJC

            1. gypsythief

              Metadata is more accurately "data that describes the structure of data"

              Not always; it is broader that that. Have a read of:

              http://www.niso.org/publications/press/UnderstandingMetadata.pdf

              which lists three types of metadata: Descriptive, Structural, and Administrative. About Descriptive Metadata, the article states:

              "Descriptive metadata describes a resource for purposes such as discovery and identification. It can include elements such as title, abstract, author, and keywords."

              Which clearly covers things like MP3 header tags.

              1. Geoff Campbell

                Re: Metadata is more accurately "data that describes the structure of data"

                That seems to me to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of a bunch of things, not least the function of something like an MP3 header tag.

                It is theoretically just as possible to find a given MP3 file by searching for a given sequence of bytes in the sound data, if rather less human-friendly. Does this make the blocks of sound data into metadata? How about the index number of a record in a database, are they metadata? (hint: No, to both questions).

                That NISO paper seems to me to be justifying the existing misuse by redefining the term, rather than acting as any kind of authoritative source reference. In many ways "Descriptive metadata" in that context is an oxymoron. I'm not going to read the whole thing, but I suspect that "Administrative metadata" is similarly an oxymoron, and "Structural metadata" is a tautology.

                GJC

  4. Steve 114

    Conjecture

    If I were a pilot, with my own simulator, and planning a disappearance, I would definitely aim for some seabed with confusing profiles. We may wonder what evidence they have that has so firmly excluded the better hiding-places just north on the arc.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Conjecture

      Why would you think that far?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conjecture

      Are you suggesting the Pilot may have parachuted to land over Indonesia while setting the course of the plane into an unrecoverable dive over a hostile ocean so that he wouldn't be discovered?

      Or that he was wearing unflattering underwear and didn't want the embarrassment of being discovered wearing it so chose a place to ditch where it would have rotted away by the time they were brought back to the surface?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conjecture

      good theory but it suggests that somehow the unmapped seabed topology was somehow known to him in advance...

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Conjecture

        I'm not saying it was aliens, but....

  5. David Austin

    Scary

    I Know it's a tough job, but I still find it kinda scary, in the 21st century, with all our Technology and Telemetry, a plan can go "missing" for so long.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scary

      You seem to be yet another victim of the "tech is magic" Zeitgeist. It's a common affliction (and TV/Movie drama is a big propagator of this).

      This is why campers relying on GPS die!

      1. DaLo

        Re: Scary

        As a few planes have crashed into the ocean and there is a lot of ocean in the world, how about a small robust locator which automatically ejects and floats on the surface via a mechanical pressure switch that activates after 10m of water pressure?

        Simple tech, quite easy to retro fit, problem solved?

        1. grumpyoldeyore
          Flame

          Re: Scary - DaLo

          Ah! you mean an Emergency Locator Beacon like this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/18/uk_investigators_finger_emergency_beacon_for_787_heathrow_fire/

          Also I've read another report (can't find a credible link) which reckoned they only worked in about 40% of cases anyway

          1. DaLo

            Re: Scary - DaLo

            Nope, I mean a floating device that gets ejected only when the plane goes underwater. The problem with the standard beacon is, as in the case of the MH370, you have to have a good idea of a location to start with and trawl with a boat to find it.

            A combination of a flashing strobe, passive radio reflector, trail of dye and an active transmitter would work fine.

            1. Brian Miller

              Re: Scary - DaLo

              But the battery still goes out, the dye dissipates, and then it becomes a little bit of flotsam bobbing about in the ocean.

              There is no "radio reflector," it's a radar reflector, and those are not all that large. For a radar reflector to be useful for locating a craft's crash location given an ocean of area, it would have to be significantly large, probably larger than the wing piece that was washed up on a shore.

              Whatever happened on the airplane, none of the emergency signals were activated. Big mystery, that.

              1. DaLo

                Re: Scary - DaLo

                'There is no "radio reflector," it's a radar reflector'

                This device doesn't yet exist so it is not anything. i presume you weren't saying that a radio reflector can't exist? As they have been around for many years, my ski clothing has one called "Recco" which changes the harmonics of a radio signal so that it reflects back a specific signal at a certain wavelength.

                Whether the battery goes out is not an issue, it just needs to transmit a long wave signal or satellite signal for a short period - even a few hours would do it, but thirty days would be even better (similar to current locators).

                Even if you wanted to use a radar reflector - no need to, but you could just unfurl a large metallic net, that would provide enough of a reflection. It can also be something that can't be remotely turned off, it is only powered upon a crash into water and therefore does not have a powered state until that time.

                There are many ways of doing it - I note a lot of "meh can't be done" but that seems very limited thinking. I'm sure a good university student could come up with an effective device, let alone a free-thinking aircraft or other engineer.

                The issue is just that the locators at the moment are useless underwater, get a device to float on top of the water and you have a much better chance of finding the downed plane. In the past it was never felt to be necessary, due to the types of crashes, recent events over the last few years have shown that it would be very useful and might have saved a few hundred million in search costs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scary

      Its said we know less about the deep ocean than we do about space ... so its not suprising they've not found the plane yet ... after all in the last 30 years only one WW2 bomber has been found on the moon

    3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Scary

      Given we have early warning systems watching for Infra Red blooms from submarine launched missiles which could be anywhere in the ocean, I find it exceptionally surprising this aircraft wasn't tracked by NORAD.

      Also, given the events of 9/11, I should think the military would be looking for unexplained changes of course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scary

        Although I may tentatively agree that I am surprised that the global powers don't have any kind of surveillance or basic tracking of large parts of the planet for unexpected planes/missiles/ufo's and presumably earthquakes (you would think a high speed plane crash would make enough noise to detect if there were any) etc...

        based on the number of things that are supposed to be flying round I would be very surprised if any power would know all the expected movements of a given entity to detect and alarm on a course change. This I think would be very hard to achieve and would be unacceptable to anyone using airspace.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Scary

        I find it exceptionally surprising this aircraft wasn't tracked by NORAD.

        Why? The key is in the name "North American Aerospace Defense Command". It's a holdover from the Cold War when ICBM's were thought to come only over the North Pole. Yes, they do stuff like track things in space but the southern hemisphere is pretty much ignored.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    7°18'10.31"S 72°24'03.21E"

    Just Saying

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      thimblerig..

      Are you saying it flew there, or that something(s) operating from there rendezvoused with it 'avec préjudice extrême...'?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: thimblerig..

        7 juin 1862 trois-mâts Britannia Glasgow

        sombré gonie austral

        à terre deux matelots

        capitaine Gr abor

        contin pr cruel indi

        jeté ce document de longitude

        et 37° 11′ de latitude Portez-leur secours

        perdus.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      7°18'10.31"S 72°24'03.21" E

      Why, that's right next to Bin Laden!

    3. cork.dom@gmail.com

      I have always suspected its in Diego Garcia as well... seemed to be heading in that direction and the US had some rather good reasons to get hold of some of the people on board (Freescale employees on their way to China). I am very skeptical about the Immersat Pings.

      And no, i don't usually do conspiracy theories!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ..with all our Technology and Telemetry, a plan can go "missing" for so long.

    If only they had a Windows 10 machine on board.

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