Plane Stupids: Global Media Madness

Our overnight data run with web-sweeping software about puked on the word autopilot which was not how I planned to start this morning’s column.

And what it brings into focus is how mass media is massively manic.

Here’s the deal:  The MH370 flight went missing back on March 8th.

I’m an Excel jock, so everything is a date range to me:  that was 110 days ago.

Fast forward to this morning and Google News pops with 12,300 results for “autopilot” and leading the pack is Australian officials announcing that the planes autopilot was likely on.”

A short class in common sense, if we could?  Being a pilot, If I have an autopilot, I use it.  Duh.  There’s plenty else to do when flying besides hand steer.  (Since I don’t have an autopilot, Elaine flies the plane while I navigate or talk to ATC.  In a jet the autopilot doesn’t go shopping.)

The idea that the “autopilot was on” is about as useful, pertinent, predictive, or significant as “The aircraft’s collision avoidance lights may have been on.”

Useless.  Noise.  Impertinent data based wholly on speculation.  Insanity.

I want to learn more about all those computer scientists onboard.  But to tell the public that the “search zone” is moving is an insult to at least half the public’s intelligence.  Obvious to even us barely above average types:  If you don’t find wreckage one place, you move on. Do we need a media frenzy to remind us?   Oh FMTT this is stupid.  Announce finding the bloody plane or STFU.  Move on.

Useful:  If your IQ is above 100, you might want to blacklist any media outfit that doesn’t label this as pandering and hype which it is, and it’s so labeled here.

If I get time, I’m planning to launch a “How many reporters does it take to change a  light bulb?” page.

More after this…

(I may have to enroll in something…)

Personal Income and Other Humor

I don’t know how many of the gub’munt statisticians go on to become joke-writers for late-night TV, but when you read this morning’s personal savings numbers, it becomes clear that the question is a reasonable one:

“Personal income increased $58.8 billion, or 0.4 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $55.6 billion, or 0.4 percent, in May, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $18.3 billion, or 0.2 percent. In April, personal income increased $49.9 billion, or 0.3 percent, DPI increased $50.8 billion, or 0.4 percent, and PCE increased $2.3 billion, or less than 0.1 percent, based on revised estimates

Personal outlays — PCE, personal interest payments, and personal current transfer payments — increased $18.0 billion in May, compared with an increase of $2.1 billion in April. PCE increased $18.3 billion, compared with an increase of $2.3 billion.

Personal saving — DPI less personal outlays — was $620.3 billion in May, compared with $582.7 billion in April. The personal saving rate — personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income — was 4.8 percent in May, compared with 4.5 percent in April.

Of course, paying off your credit card isn’t really savings, any more than filling your car up with gasoline is savings but I’m not doing the accounting.  Leave the definitions loose enough and I can show you anything you want for a number.

Stock market looks to open about flat this morning (at least that was the earlier reading) and gold was going through its end of month beat down.

Life in the Datamocracy

*(this will be reposted on my site this morning, too)

The courts have really talked out of both sides of their mouth on life here in the information age

For one thing, the Court has turned down Aereo, which was in the nifty business of pulling “off the air” TV signals and piping them down the internet.  No biggie?  Well, the real deal is the Court just got into the “defending dead industries” position with this one.  Cable operators gotta love it, though and the satellite guys too.  I look for industry contributions in 2016. The internet is gonna cream ‘em though…give it time.  It’s coming.

Meantime the other Datamocracy headlines this morning include how a federal judge has ruled that warrantless bulk surveillance is legal. Oh, crap, like that’s a surprise.

Of course a court’s also saying that what’s on your cell phone can not be searched without a warrant, but it’s likely to be only a matter of time till that falls, too. Police will press on this issue as hard as they can…

And then it will go to the Supreme Court and there will go that Constitutional guarantee about privacy of your papers.

Six Country War 


Other than the mythical savings rate and searching for search news, the elephant in the room is there are now six countries involved in the fighting with ISIS/ISIL and the Saudis on one side and Syria, Iraq and Iran on the other. 

Six countries, in all, by the account on the Debka site over here.  “As firs US advisers reach Baghdad, Iranians and Saudis airlift weapons to opposing sides in Iraq.”

I promise to take your editorial guidance here, but when six country are throwing in weapons isn’t that up to your definition of regional war?   It is mine…when Syrian planes are bombing runways with Saudi plans on them.

Cashing In on Fads

Fine example about to pop:  GoPro – the portable camera folks.  Can a great product make a great company?  Put’cher money on…new shooter….coming out….

Free Lunching Notes

From our news analyst fellow in Winnipeg:

Dear Mr. Ure,

This “Telegraph” article explains how a wealthy Chinese philanthropist’s promotion of feeding impoverished Americans went off-script. The indigent diners learned that an expected $300 each would not materialize and a commotion ensued. Perhaps the benefactor will be recalled for instructive political tutelage to avoid future operational miscues in opposition venues?


Not a chance…this is a lesson of politics that is forgotten every time learnt.

Wager-Earners Notebook

Ikea is raising its minimum starting salary to $10.76 starting January 1.  California looks at a $13/hour minimum in 2017. 

Watch Starbucks’ prices for drinks and beans.

Let Them Eat…Dog?

The WSJ China Real-time note makes skipping breakfast easier:  “Dog Meat Prices Skyrocket after Activists Hound Festival in China.”

There must have been a clever headline consultant in at the WSJ lately because elsewhere they report “Rising hops prices make craft brewers jumpy.”