It was breakfast time, 14th of May 2014. I was reading thru a Daily Mail article dated May 12 (updated the 13th): “Searchers fear “pings” they thought were from missing MH370 were not from the plane at all.”
I guffawed aloud, “Yeah, no shit Sherlock.”
When those black-box pings first made headlines round April 5th, I tracked down a scientist who helped direct the search for Air France flight 447, a Mr. Bill Meacham.
He said: “I don’t know any underwater acoustic people that think the pings have anything to do with the plane” – this was Monday April 14, just a week after the first reports – “One has to wonder if, in the eagerness to believe and the absence of any other lead, the authorities directing the search have downplayed evidence that is clearly contrary.”
But even before I spoke with Bill Meacham, I undertook my own preliminary research online which revealed to me that for several decades now, pingers with frequencies of 30 to 50kHz have been commonly used to track large, deep sea animals. Location and other data is transmitted to receivers in the ocean or to satellites whenever the animal surfaces. Acoustic pingers are also widely used as fishing net protectors, to drive away predators that would steal fish.
The more I learned about the specifics of the evidence obtained by the TPL (Towed Pinger Locater) the more it indicated that the received signals could have originated from any number of tracking devices, including all sorts of bio-telemetry tracked marine life. Anything from tagged whales to sharks, sea turtles, tuna, seals, swordfish, even a pinger attached to a net that is drifting.
Bill Meacham told me of a colleague at the University of Hong Kong who tracked a great white shark all the way from Australia to South Africa.
The first two pings detected on April 5th and thought to have come from the black box aboard MH370 came in at 33.5 kHz and later at 27 kHz. Remarkably, these detections occurred on the very first run of the TPL, and as we know if something seems too good to be true it probably is. But the experts on TV seemed very confident, especially with Prime Minister Abbott stating repeatedly that there was nothing in nature or commercial shipping that would make a similar sound.
That’s true, providing you exclude just one example (yes, just one of many) such as the real-time tracking of more than 400 marine animals listed at www.seaturtle.org/tracking.
But first and foremost, the signal’s frequency of 33.5 kHz and lower should have been the first red flag. This is NOT within the manufacturer’s specs of 37.5 +/- 1 for the black box pinger. It was written off at the time as “weakening batteries.” But reading this morning’s Daily Mail article, which caused me to spit toast crumbs all over my iPad, the authorities are at it again. The “vagaries of deep-sea conditions” they are calling it, with all the panache they can muster.
Meanwhile, Bill Meacham and his colleagues have been on record for a month saying the 33.5 kHz frequency alone proves that the signal did not come from MH370. Furthermore, that the frequency of the pinger would not change due to deep sea conditions.
The range of detection is another factor that adds to the skepticism. Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution studying Baleen Whales used a pinger with an identical specification to the one used on flight MH370. The maximum range of detection was recorded as 2.3km. By contrast, the distances between the black box pings for the detections recorded between April 5th and the 8th were rated at 9.5, 12.3 and 13.6km. Even supposing the voice and data recorders were separated after impact by ocean currents, the signals clearly cannot be from the pingers on MH370 (and don’t even get me started on lack of a debris field).
Yet another quandary is the first detection, which lasted over two hours, picked-up by a TPL moving at 2 knots. The TPL covered 9km for the duration of the detection (a little over 2 hours). Since a TPL can only pick up a signal at a maximum of 3km, this extended detection suggested something moving parallel or at an angle to the TPL. (Maybe it was Flipper!) The depth of the sea floor was estimated at 4.5km and the TPL at approximately 1.5km away from the black box, even when directly over it – it doesn’t add up. Equally problematic is the second brief detection. The signal picked-up by the TPL partially submerged at a depth of only 300m, so approximately 4.2km from a source lying on the seabed.
There’s something happening here. Is it a case of brains trying to baffle us with bullshit?
Perhaps I’m being too harsh. Maybe it’s just irony, but all these authorities directing the search seem to dismiss the reality of a double audience. They regurgitate the news to one particular group who upon hearing the updates hear but don’t understand. The other group are not acknowledged at all. Those who hear when more is meant than meets the ear, are aware both of that more and of the outsiders incomprehension. If thru persistence they are finally acknowledged it is merely to write them off as conspiracy theorists.
Even a Daily Mail reporter at the time remarked: “Call it a triumph of science, or incredible luck, but on the very first path, the Ocean Shield (towing the TPL)… detected a steady series of pings.”
Prime Minister Abbott, you’ll recall, was “very confident” that the signals had come from the black box. I’m sure he still is. I’m sure all G20 members are very confident that this search situation is normal; as normal as a group of dolphins with wings riding around on skateboards assuming we all live someplace where such behaviour is completely normal.
Since March 8, I have walked a line and I have not walked it alone. The line maintains that for whatever reason of turpitude, the authorities are not in any hurry to find this missing plane. It will take many more weeks and months and many more millions of dollars before it miraculously appears at a time and place of their choosing. On that day, the smug faces will smile above their blue ties and hands will be shook and backs will be slapped and a prayer will be recited. Stringent measures will be put in place to ensure that this sort of incident is never repeated. Speeches will be made. Listen closely when they are: it will be an orgy of credibility mired in fact. The surface meaning and the underlying meaning of what is said, however, will not be the same as the evidence.