Search for missing MH370 flight reaches its end, main wreckage never found

The search for missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 is to be called off, almost three years after the aircraft mysteriously disappeared somewhere in the far reaches of the Indian Ocean.

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, a Boeing 777 with 239 people on board, took off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing in March 2014, but never made it to its destination.

Radar screens recorded the aircraft executing a series of unusual turns before vanishing. Satellite data showed that MH370 flew on a straight southwest course out towards the farthest reaches of the Indian Ocean, until it presumably ran out of fuel and crashed into the water.

Several pieces of wreckage identified as MH370’s washed ashore as far a Madagascar in 2016, but despite extensive aerial and maritime search operations across large swathes of remote ocean, the main wreckage has never been found.

A number of theories exist as to what might have happened on board the fateful flight, but nothing can be proved conclusively.

The search has now been suspended indefinitely, so it is possible that the true fate of MH370 may never be known.

Twitter: In the land of the trolls, the quick-witted one is king


Twitter crawls with trolls. So much so in fact, that if one were to play that game of quick word association favored by shrinks the world over and someone said Twitter, I would safely bet a month’s salary on what the response would be.


Twitter has lost out on big money specifically because of this scourge, as the tech wizzkids at Twitter HQ seem unable to control the rampant impunity of pro trolls. The company’s reputation is badly tarnished for becoming the platform du jour for zealous haters, loners, loonies, and overweight sofa dwellers the world over to funnel their own fears and insecurities at their target of choice.

But what is an online troll anyway? We’ve all heard about the other trolls, the ones you see in folk tales or children’s books in most European countries. They are short, stocky, ugly and rather repellent creatures with a penchant for hoarding stuff, particularly gold and other stolen valuables.

These mythological trolls enjoy living in isolation, out in caves up in snowy mountain peaks, or curled up inside makeshift burrows deep within the forest. Sometimes, trolls find shelter under bridges. Either way, they keep to themselves, and you better beware, for these beings certainly would not appreciate human company.

If they stumbled upon travelers, or wanderers lost out in the woods, trolls would set upon them and likely kill them and steal their valuables, perhaps out of fear and greed. Not a very gregarious bunch, these trolls.

Legend and mythology are not without a sense of irony, it seems, for today’s so-called online trolls are not that far removed from those monstrous creatures of yonder.

In fact, if there is one single feature that links both strands, is their marked lack of wit and intelligence.

Mythological trolls are easily outwitted by an intellectually superior opponent, no matter how strong or resilient the troll is, or thinks he is.

The rise of the online troll is far from a recent phenomenon, of course. They were already around by the time of the internet’s first careless whimper unto the free world, waiting to pounce on those whom they considered to be legitimate targets for abuse.

Truth be told, they have been around much longer, these trolls. In Norse mythology, five or six hundred years, give or take. In actual human society, far, far longer.

Today’s troll is yesterday’s bully. A short, stocky, ugly and rather repellent creature with a penchant for hoarding stuff, particularly gold and other valuables stolen from the other kids in the yard, or behind the local shop.

In today’s always-online world, the troll has found an easy, convenient -and more importantly, anonymous- way to bully his or her online peers. Heavy-duty trolls will be perennially at it, always searching for the next target on which to take a virtual dump.

But as we now know, the troll does have a key flaw. A monumental Achilles Heel hidden in plain sight that makes them vulnerable to quicker-witted heroes.

In dealing with the troll, avoid physical confrontation. Use your mind. Smite the offender down with one swift swipe of your crafty diction. Let them drown in their own brutish ignorance, and never, ever feed a troll’s misguided ego.

Galactic maws: Two gigantic black holes discovered in neighboring galaxies


Two black holes, some of the most enigmatic space-time anomalies in existence in the Universe, have been discovered lurking behind enormous clouds of gas in nearby galaxies.

The objects were detected by NASA’s orbiting observatory NuSTAR, which picked up X-ray radiation emitted by light as it becomes trapped in the inescapable pull of the black hole.

These aberrations of time and space were concealed behind enormous clouds of gas, like monsters lurking behind a curtain.

A black hole is an anomaly created when a celestial body, usually a star, runs out of fuel and collapses unto itself under the force of gravity. Eventually, gargantuan amounts of matter are compressed into a relatively small area of space, which creates a super-dense region of space with such colossal gravitational pull that not even light can escape. It is because of this trait that black holes are only revealed through special equipment and by observing the surrounding space.

At the center of the black hole lies a singularity, a region of space where things become really weird.

The outermost area of a black hole is called the event horizon. A good analogy is those slip road signs that say ‘Wrong way: Turn back now.’ If you drive past that sign, you’re facing oncoming traffic. If you move past the event horizon, you will never leave.

To an outside observer, a person crossing the event horizon would appear to slowly elongate and become dimmer. If this person was transmitting, pauses between transmissions would beome longer and longer as time dilation occurs. Eventually, the person moving towards the center of the black hole -the singularity- would appear dimmer and redder, until it could no longer be seen.

However -and this is where things become really interesting-, the person inside the hole would see no difference. This interstellar pioneer would now be trapped in an area of space where the curvature of time becomes infinite. Here, space and time as we know it does no longer apply. What really happens there, though, nobody really knows.

Luckily however, the two newest black holes discovered are unlikely to ever bother us.

The first was discovered in galaxy NGC 1448, which is 38 million light years away from the Milky Way.

The other is in the farthest reaches of space, in galaxy IC 3639, which is 170 million light years away.

Indonesian man says goodbye to 2016 celebrating his 146th birthday


Saparman Sodimejo has so far defied all odds, and turned 146 last night.

Yes, you read right. 146. According to the local birth register, Mr. Sodimejo was born on December 31st, 1870.

While Indonesian authorities do back up the claim, there isn’t yet an independent verification to categorically say that the man is indeed of such extreme age. If it turns out to be authentic though, he’d instantly become the oldest person alive, and by quite a margin too. The current record for human longevity is held by Jeanne Calment, who passed away August 4, 1997, at the good age of 122.

Mr. Sodimejo, who has seen off four wives, ten siblings, and all of his children, is said to be in relatively good health, and even allowed himself to have a slice of cake during his birthday celebration in central Java.

His secret for such a long life? Patience.