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This week’s blog gets the short shrift as Sea of Lies undergoes a substantial edit prior to submission to a potential publisher.

But in case you missed it, as of 31 August CNN.com is leading with a short article saying that the Spanish firm that should have been able to confirm it was the manufacturer of the flaperon is unable to do so.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/31/world/mh370-investigation/index.html

This would be funny (in a cynical sense), if there weren’t 239 families looking for closure.

To my eye, the flaperon is probably legitimate, and MH370 is likely to have crashed with senior pilot Shah at the tiller. But there’s certainly no proof of the former, much less the latter.

Meanwhile, the conspiracists spin their interpretations. Jeff Wise is my favorite skeptic. He’s written at length on MH370 and his blog entry of 28 August is certainly interesting reading at http://jeffwise.net/2015/08/28/new-york-the-strange-saga-of-the-plane-part-that-was-supposed-to-solve-the-mh370-mystery/.

In short, Jeff makes the following points on the one-month date of the discovery of the flaperon:

1. No one in authority other than Malaysia Prime Minister Najib (on 6 August) has stated the the flaperon came off MH370. In particular, the French prosecutor, French investigators (quoted anonymously) and subcontractor in Spain have not been able to make the flaperon found match up to what was on MH370. The official wording is woolly, with MAS maintenance records and the flaperon “not an exact match”. As Wise notes, airplane parts are precision-engineered and every alteration logged. So if the records report that a piece had five holes drilled in it and someone finds a piece with three or seven holes drilled in it, then this isn’t the same part. I would draw a distinction between MAS’s maintenance records (which could be inaccurate), and the manufacturer’s records (which I would accept as being correct).

2. A French news report quoted an anonymous Toulouse-based aeronautics expert as saying that the flaperon would have been neutrally buoyant and drifted for several months a few meters under the surface. This is consistent with the pattern of goose barnacles which cover the entire skin of the flaperon. Had the flaperon bobbed along on the surface, then the barnacles wouldn’t have grown above the waterline. However, Jeff Wise quotes ocean-drift expert Curtis Ebbesmeyer, professor emeritus at University of Washington, who contradicted the Frenchman. “My experience is that things will go up or down–they will never stay statically neutral.”

In a latter post, Wise provides a translation of an article from Der Spiegel (http://jeffwise.net/2015/08/31/translation-der-spiegel-simulations-call-mh370-search-strategy-into-question/). No one has come up with a generally-agreed path that a suspended object might have followed to find its way to Reunion across an Indian Ocean with enough conflicting currents and gyres that drift models have been compared to trying to predict what happens to a ball bounding about in a pinball machine. That caveat aside, Wise quotes researchers at Kiel University as saying that their drift models suggest that the plane must have crashed closer to the equator vs. the 35 degrees south location cited by the official investigation. That is, IF the flaperon found on Reunion is legitimate.

Meanwhile, several legitimate researchers lament online that they haven’t been offered access to the flaperon, its barnacles, the MAS maintenance records, the manufacturing records of the part maker, etc. Not surprisingly, the legions of MH370 followers see this as further evidence of obfuscation and ineptitude at best, and the conspiracy-word at worst.

As for China, well, no one has heard a peep from the authorities since the flaperon washed ashore. Why the silence, especially after the vociferous complaints a year ago and 152 China passport holders on board?

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If I didn’t know better, I’d say that there was a book in all this . . . . In fact, there is. It’s called Pack of Lies and is due out in 2017. But first I need to get Sea of Lies released into the wild.

Bradley West, Singapore, 31 August 2015