We’re well into the second week of a growing 24/7 Media obsession, indulged in compulsively around the world – you can’t escape it.  Where is Malaysian Air Flight 370 already?!?

CNN has been devoting hours upon hours of programming.  Holding for “Breaking News,” happens right in time for each commercial break.  Panels of Talking Heads aviation experts opine endlessly, repeatedly, tackling the Twitter feed from viewers, who are busy sending in questions at rates exceeding 60, and more, per second, the other night as I watched.  Everywhere you go during your day, there is visible somewhere a TV screen with those two red arcs, one drawn going North into Central Asia and, one South, into the vast and two-mile-deep Indian Ocean – the red arcs being the result of GPS needing the confluence of three satellites to pinpoint the exact location of a 3-D object on the surface of our 3-D earth, but so far, only having one satellite which has reliably transmitted data.

The Malaysian authorities, thus far, are coming across about as professionally as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.  Every day, seemingly every few hours, the Malaysian spokespeople seem to shift their story, change their direction, and looking truly distressed by it all.  We are regularly tortured by seeing film of waiting families, slowly going mad from the stress of not knowing if their loved ones aboard Flight 370 are alive, starving on some desert island airstrip where the plane has been parked, or are dead, and lost in a debris field which has not materialized yet from a search area the size of a good chunk of North America.  We are regularly reminded that the French flight that went missing a few years back after takeoff from Rio over the Atlantic, on a heading to Europe, took two years to find.  It is hard to imagine keeping this level of Media intensity for two years, but it’s been nearly two weeks and, despite major events in Ukraine and Crimea competing for attention, we find ourselves repeatedly faced with more Breaking News updates on Flight 370.

And, of course, everybody has an opinion.  As Rolling Stone, Keith Richards, himself a medical miracle of survival after the raucous life he’s led, has noted, opinions are like a certain body part for the elimination of waste – everybody’s got one, and they all stink.

Go and watch again the “Lost” TV series of wild fame a few years ago, the pilot first episode.

The parallels are mind-boggling.  Putting that one aside, did 370 proceed up the northerly crescent from the TV Talking Heads graphic, somehow evading the bristling radar of both Pakistan and India, nations which have gone to war against each other some five times since Colonial days ended?  If it did, could it then, further, miraculously evade our own formidable air defenses set up in Afghanistan, and in Iraq, and the air defenses of China, whose western-most portion intrudes well into central Asia?  If so, could 370 have landed on some small regional airfield in any of those areas, or is it now a miles-long debris field, strewn along the slope of one of the Himalayas, some of which rise nearly 6 miles above sea level?

Or, was it aliens?  If you watch the H2 channel regularly, and the ‘Ancient Aliens’ series even occasionally, will that guy come on to pronounce this to be the work of extraterrestrials, perhaps?  If it was terrorism, how come no terrorist groups have come forward to claim this prize?  If it was pilot derangement or suicide, there does not seem much to work with in the backgrounds of either the senior pilot, with some 18,000 flying hours, or his junior co-pilot, a 27-year old readying for marriage.

The Media seized on the fact that the senior pilot had a flight simulator in his home last weekend, as if this was some kind of smoking gun.  It’s not.  Flight simulation is a major computer hobby enjoyed by many, whether on Microsoft’s products, or on X-Plane, or a number of other formats.  Computer flight simulation has progressed with X-Plane 10 to a level of sophistication where even a rank amateur can fly, with varying degrees of competence, a Boeing 777-200ER, just like Malaysian Flight 370 (you can even paint it in the Malaysian airlines livery, if you want), and take it on the exact route that these pilots followed that fateful night out of Kuala Lampur, on their route north to Beijing.

But, the very fact that this senior pilot owned and used a flight simulator is a highly irrelevant point, wholly overlooked by our 24/7 Talking Heads Media in this televised orgy of ‘Where’s Waldo,’ but playing with real human lives in the balance.  I own an X-Plane 10 flight simulator and, if I took the time to really learn the handbook for a 777-200ER, or watched enough YouTube videos taking one from ‘dark and cold’ to full operational readiness, and then taking off and flying those friendly skies, I could track this flight’s steps, and I’m not even very good at flight sims, having only received one as a birthday present some months ago.  There is simply nothing nefarious about a pilot owning a flight sim setup – in fact, many pilots, and retired commercial pilots, are big flight sim fans who craft their own airplanes for their favorite flight sim software, which easily expands, written in an open format, so that flight sim fans can design working airplanes (with 3-D cockpits you can explore inside), helicopters, airports complete with ground traffic, entire cities with realistic buildings and landscaping, real weather, and much more.  But, you wouldn’t know it from listening to the TV coverage . . . .  Realizing this, it always makes me wonder what other irrelevant facts the Media may have seized on in their quest to fill all these programming hours and to feed the obsessional level of interest on a story like this one.

Our brains are hard-wired to abhor unsolvable mysteries, but, at the same time, to be attracted, even obsessed, by trying to solve them – something which is happening at an epidemic level right now.    Until something in one of those ‘Breaking News’ segments announces that they have found a debris field, or a live, intact plane with over 200 hungry souls on board (how did they neutralize all the cell phones this long?), or anything else which explains this colossal aviation mystery, we will remain glued to our bigscreen TV’s and our computers.   Perhaps, next to the story of the daring and fearless, Amelia Earhart, still officially unsolved since she disappeared while flying her Lockheed Model 10 Electra over the central Pacific Ocean, near Howland Island, on July 2, 1937, this 21stC aviation mystery will continue to enthrall – and, you will know where to find me, watching it all unfold like all the rest of you.