The world, we’re told, is much smaller today, than it has been in any earlier age. That would be true if you measure its size in terms of the speed of travel and 4G communication and the volume of commerce among nations.
But the arduous task of locating the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean is a reminder of how puny we are, never mind that we have advanced technology. The elusive hunt for the missing jetliner has thrown in sharp relief the Cyclopean scale of the marine terrain and the immensity of our planet.
Each time a satellite spots pieces of debris and then ships and airplanes move in to get a close-up look at them, churning swells and strong winds have already swept them away, out of sight.
The conditions in the search zone are undoubtedly inhospitable, but they appear to have been aggravated due to a number of factors: (1) the slow reflex of the Malaysian authorities in responding to the incident, (2) their greenness in handling aviation disasters, (3) the precious loss of time in chasing false leads, and (4) the ever-shifting nature of misleading information.