As the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 enters it’s third month, CNN has finally removed the story from their incessant “Breaking News” feed and are increasingly wringing their hands over the cost of the search. Approximately $40 million has been spent so far, the next phase is projected to cost around $60 million, and long term estimates suggest the final cost may be as high as $250 million. So fucking what?
It’s important to realize these are total cost projections, presumably to be split among multiple nations as well as the various companies involved. It’s not as if any single country or company is going to foot the bill. But even if they did … so fucking what? How does the high estimate of $250 million compare to a few other things?
The final cost of the search for MH370 could potentially pay for the following:
- One year’s salary for Opera Winfrey.
- Al Gore’s compensation for 250 days.
- Tim Cook’s compensation for 250 days.
- The combined annual salaries of 10 good news anchors, or 25 Anderson Coopers.
- About 0.625% of the cost to BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
- Two or three vacations for a US President (choose Bush or Obama as your villain of choice … it’s not as if the other is cheap).
The thing of it is: This is the 21st century. It is unfathomable that an aircraft with 239 souls on board can simply vanish without a trace, never to be found. It simply must be found, because if it’s not, what does that say about us as a culture, as a planet, as a technological civilization? That an aircraft can simply vanish in 2014 represents a failure of the human race and of our technological civilization. Facebook knows what products I might be interested in, but we can’t find that plane. Google knows what search results I might be interested in, but we can’t find that plane. If I get lost in a desert, or if my car gets stolen, either can be located to within one meter. But we can’t find that fucking plane? It’s not acceptable.
Sure, there is a price to be paid for continuing to search for MH370. But there is also a price to be paid for giving up, and I think that price is higher.