Sunday, January 4, 2015

Maximum Acceleration: Not just an Ultravox song title

Australia's Fairfax Media Group is not as large as the Murdoch press empire, nor as aggressively devoted to reducing the intelligence of its readership, but sometimes they try harder in their reportage:
Even so, on early evidence that Soejatman has seen of what happened to QZ8501, the violence of this storm was extreme. It seems to have tossed this 70-tonne, $US90 million marvel of engineering and polymer composites like a toy into the sea at a sense-defying 24,000 feet per second.
In fairness to the trio of Fairfax journamalists responsible for this screed, they were trying to spin a 2200-word spacefiller out of an absence of facts, and current press standards still frown upon entire pages of Lorem Ipsum. Forcing them to cite the opinions of any American self-promoter willing to pose as an "aviation industry consultant".
Ipsum waits for vanity numberplate LOREM
Note also that "feet per second" is not a natural unit of measurement for Australians (where distance is measured in metres and time is measured in half-a-mo's or tinnies). Even so, I am pretty sure that QZ8501 was not travelling at Mach 22.

Bonus self-unawareness from the same sharticle:
The demands on air-safety investigators are enormous in the aftermath of a major crash. The clamour for answers has been exacerbated in the era of social media and 24-hour news, which produces a torrent of often unfounded, but firmly expressed, speculation about the causes of a crash.
UPDATE: Lest anyone think that NZ is a paragon of media accuracy, I should admit that the Fairfax group controls a swathe of papers on this side of the Tasman too. These include the weekly newspaper-shaped object the Sunday Star, which reprinted a version of the "Faces from a lost flight" Sydney Morning Herald story... chopping up the paragraphs but leaving the chimeric blend of units untranslated (metric tonnes, US dollars and imperial ft/sec).

The title has been changed lest it correspond too closely to anything in the text.


Yastreblyansky said...

My senses, they are defied. Their friends will be visiting Fairfax's friends to arrange a suitable time and venue and choice of weapons shortly.

rhwombat said...

Oy! Moa-mouth! Leave our home-grown Idjits alone or they'll all turn into Murdorcs and kick your Dominions down. Second, it was only a minute difference - and it weren't we who got smacked by Mars 'cause we mixed up our feet and metres (as opposed to mixing up our feet and meters, which is what happens when we try dancing to poetry)

Do you not realise that this is just the first step in Chairman Rupe's stupendous plan to outwit both Gough Whitlam and Sir Space-Time Eddy by building a Large Hard One collider to go back in time and recommit his mistakes? His cunning plan was to use his minion Prime Mustelid Toady Rabbott to secretly collect large, rigid objects, such as MH317 and QZ8501 (and was he ever pissed when his shirtless mate Vlad the Impala got too enthusiastic with MH17) and insert them into Intertropical Convergence Zones storms to get them up to relativistic speeds. Insert a few orange lifeboats at the right point, and Bob's your related male mollusc - instant diversion from plummeting polls (unless the said polls happen to be aboard the large rigid objects, in which case Rupert will have to borrow and thaw a spare one from Darth Cheney and find another moderate sized kleptocracy to subvert).