Now Reading: Malaysia Airlines flight 370, Beats music, Scarlett Johansson

A few things I read around the Web today …

A simple theory about the Malaysia Airlines jet

We’ve all been fascinated by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. It’s impossible not to be interested, if not obsessed, with the outcome. How an airplane – a big ass jet, in technical terms – can just be lost in 2014 is, quite literally, unbelievable. And because it is unbelievable and currently unresolved, the public, via the media and our own twisted imaginations, have been subject to rampant theories about what really happened to the plane.

So it’s interesting that Wired has a piece written by Chris Goodfellow, an experienced pilot and thus easily among the 1 percent most qualified people to construct a possible explanation for the missing plane, that disputes all dark conspiracies and offers the simplest explanation of what happened to the plane. No, Goodfellow does not believe it was hijacked. He does not believe a pilot went rogue. He does not believe there was some murder-suicide at work.

Instead, Goodfellow believes an electrical fire resulted is the cause for the plane’s disappearance. I’ll let you read his piece for the full explanation, which makes as much sense to me as anything. But I’m willing to concede it’s only the most plausible explanation and not actually what happened – because we don’t really know.

Goodfellow acknowledges he doesn’t know for sure what happened and is open to further evidence if someone has a conspiracy to fling at him, but then he states, without a doubt he says, he knows the intentions of those flying the plane or what their thought process was. That seems like a stretch to me, but again, I certainly give Goodfellow’s opinion the most weight of any theorist on television or the Internet.

That’s the other entertaining part of this. Television networks – or mainstream media in general – want no part of a logical, conspiracy-less explanation like Goodfellow’s, because they’re going for their ninth helping of ratings by now. They want drama and speculation, as they capitalize on the nation’s captivity with this story.

Hopefully, a definitive conclusion is eventually reached – if only so the families of those on board don’t have to wonder about what really happened like those in “Vanished” did.

Beats’ new model for serving up music

Beats Music is diving into the streaming music business, which is becoming crowded but not oversaturated quite yet, with a model it believes will be the best and most unique.

Instead of giving users the autonomy of creating their own playlists, Beats is offering playlists created by industry stars. What this is supposed to tell you, I suppose, is two things: 1) Let us save you time by taking the curating process off your hands 2) These music experts know what you will like better than you do, so let them show you.

It’s a cool concept – sure, Dr. Dre, I’m open to your advice about which rap songs I should put on my playlist – but I wonder how much weight the “industry stars created this playlist, therefore you should like it” thing will hold in the end. The convenience is nice, but once the music starts playing, I don’t think I’m going to remember the artist who curated the playlist; I’m only go to care if the music is good.

The one streaming music idea I’d like to see someone try, as I’ve written before, is a curation model attached to emotions and/or moods. If I say or type “lonely” into my music app, it should quickly curate a playlist of songs designed to uplift me. If my word is “workout,” the songs should motivate. If it’s “party,” they should be fun and energetic. Users could create profiles with and submit a baseline of information – what music you like, don’t like, artists you really love, etc. – to give the technology some guidelines, and then within those guidelines it could curate based on mood.

This idea has offers the same convenience as others (taking the work out of your hands), but it provides an intimacy to music listening that seems absent in the streaming world. At best, it really does become the soundtrack to which people live their lives, with the songs in step with your emotions, helping you through various stages of your day.

(If this is being done somewhere, apologies – I just haven’t seen it. If not, well, let’s try it out!)

The unstoppable Scarlett Johansson

Not much to say here, other than superb writing and a fun profile by Anthony Lane on the wonderful Scarlett Johansson.

Twitter: @TMitrosilis Email: tmitrosilis@gmail.com

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