TIME privacy

Google Begins Scrubbing Search Results in Europe

The tech giant is removing requested search results for the first time

Google has begun removing results from some searches in accordance with Europe’s landmark “right to be forgotten” ruling, the company told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

The European Union’s top court ruled in May that individuals had the right to request search engines remove certain results when their names are searched.

More than 41,000 requests were submitted to Google in the first four days after the ruling. Google said it would send out the first emails informing individuals that their requested links had been removed on Thursday.

“This is a new process for us. Each request has to be assessed individually, and we’re working as quickly as possible to get through the queue,” a Google spokesman told the Journal.

[WSJ]

TIME Innovation

This Computer Wants To Teach Itself Everything About Anything

The more it learns, the better it gets at sifting the web for the content we've always wanted

The world’s most curious computer is now scanning millions of online books and images in an attempt to understand all of the web’s images the way a human might.

Computer scientists at the University of Washington say the new program, called Learn Everything About Anything, or LEVAN, could produce more intuitive responses to image searches. The program begins with a basic search term like “shrimp.” It searches for the word across millions of Google Books, taking note of every modifier, be it “boiled,” “fried” “steamed,” or “peppered.” Armed with a Bubba Gump-like knowledge of shrimp, it searches the web for shrimp pictures, grouping them by appearance under the categories it has just learned. The result? A visual grouping of pictures that’s a feast for the eyes.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 1.43.02 PM
Source: LEVAN, University of Washington

The search results spare users from clicking through page after page of nearly identical looking pictures. And unlike current visual groupings, no human curator is needed. “The new program needs no human supervision, and thus can automatically learn the visual knowledge for any concept,” said research scientist Santosh Divvala.

There’s just one drawback — LEVAN has a lot to learn. It currently has the vocabulary of a toddler and takes upwards of 12 hours to learn broader terms, such as “angry.” As a result, researchers have invited the public to pitch their own one-word concepts to LEVAN, because evidently it takes a village to raise an artificially intelligent algorithm.

TIME Advertising

Pinterest Ads Are About to Become a Way Bigger Business

Online scrapbooking website Pinterest is planning an aggressive expansion of its ad business this summer.

The company will begin offering self-service ads through online auctions in this month, operations head Don Faul told the Wall Street Journal Thursday. The ad units, targeted at small and medium-sized businesses, will allow marketers to bid to have their ads served against specific categories on Pinterest, such as fashion and home decor, and pay on a cost-per-click basis. Previous Pinterest ads targeted large, deep-pocketed brands and had rates set based on a cost per 1,000 views.

The new ads will put Pinterest in more direct competition with other social networks that use an auction system, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as search engines like Google.

Pinterest has recently been trying to reposition itself as a curated search engine, rather than a social media site. The company unveiled in April a more robust search engine that helps guide users toward specific experiences and products when they input broad search terms. The new engine also presents a great opportunity to show off more ads, which appear as promoted pins at the top of search results.

Pinterest closed a $200 million round of venture funding in May, valuing the company at $5 billion.

TIME Big Picture

Scio Pocket Molecular Scanner Is a Google-like Device for Physical Objects

The handheld Scio scanner can detect the molecular makeup of certain objects Consumer Physics

A couple weeks ago I had a fascinating video call with a gentleman named Dror Sharon, the CEO of a company called Consumer Physics. He showed me a product called Scio that just went up on Kickstarter last Tuesday: a hand scanner that can scan physical objects and tell you about their chemical make up.

“Smartphones give us instant answers to questions like where to have dinner, what movie to see, and how to get from point A to point B, but when it comes to learning about what we interact with on a daily basis, we’re left in the dark,” Mr. Dror told me via Skype. “We designed Scio to empower explorers everywhere with new knowledge and to encourage them to join our mission of mapping the physical world.”

Consumer Physics launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $200,000 for Scio (which is Latin for “to know”) on April 28th, 2014. They reached that goal in 20 hours and raised a total of $400,00 in 48 hours.

At first Scio will come with apps for analyzing food, medication and plants. You could, for instance, use it to refine the ingredients of your home-brewed beer or figure out if an Internet site’s cheap Viagra is fake. Later, the company will add the ability to check cosmetics, clothes, flora, soil, jewels, precious stones, leather, rubber, oils, plastics and even human tissue or bodily fluids.

scio
Early prototypes of the Scio physical object scanner Consumer Physics

Mr. Sharon told me, “The spectrometer figures out what the object is based on an infrared light that reflects back to the scanner. Most objects have different absorption rates as they vibrate at different levels on the molecular scale. The app takes the data and compares it to a cloud-based database of objects in a distant data center. When it gets a match, it sends the results to the user’s smartphone.”

According to Mr. Sharon, “The food app tells you calories, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, based on your own estimate of the weight of the food you’re about to eat. (With many food packages, you can get the weight from the label). The app could tell dieters exactly how many calories they’re about to consume, while fitness apps can tell them how many calories they’re burning. That helps people figure out exactly how much exercise they need to do in order to burn off the food they’re eating.”

As I understand it, the food app can also gauge produce quality, ripeness, and spoilage for foods like cheeses, fruits, vegetables, sauces, salad dressings, cooking oils and more. It also analyzes moisture levels in plants and tells users when to water them. Mr. Sharon suggested that you could even be able to analyze your blood alcohol level one day, but Scio is not currently approved as a medical device.

What I find most interesting is that as users conduct more tests, the app gets better and better at correctly identifying objects. The more people use it, the richer the database of information will be, which will add to the precision levels of the Scio over time and, more importantly, expand what it can understand. In the demo I saw on an Android smartphone, a ring fills up with circles on your smartphone screen to deliver the proper info, and it takes a matter of seconds to recognize something. Scio has to be about 20 millimeters from an object before it can be used for scanning, and the scanner uses Bluetooth low energy (BLE) to connect with a smartphone, which in turn needs to be running either iOS 5 or Android 4.3 or higher.

He also showed me its ability to scan what looked like a unmarked white pill. Scio correctly identified the chemical makeup of the pill as aspirin and even showed that it was made by Bayer. These are the first types of categories of physical products Scio will target, but eventually it could identify the chemical makeup of just about any object. That is why he likened it to being “Google for physical objects.”

If you are a fan of police procedural TV shows like CSI or NCIS, you already know about things like mass spectrometers and other professional machines that analyze the chemical makeup of objects. These machines can be very large. Although there are some handheld versions available today, they’re all pretty expensive. Scio aims to do similar tasks with a device that can fit into your pocket. And when it ships, it will cost considerably less than professional solutions — as low as $149. Now, I am not suggesting that Scio is as powerful as professional mass spectrometers. However, from what I saw in the demo, it can do similar types of chemical analysis and do it pretty quickly, with the readout showing up on your smartphone.

While I find the idea of a pocket spectrometer interesting, where this could have real impact is if it could be built straight into a smartphone. According to Mr. Sharon, this is ultimately where he sees his technology going. His initial focus is on food, medication and plants, although over time, it could be expanded to cover just about any physical object. Imagine being able to point the scanner in a smartphone at an apple and know exactly how many calories were in it based on its weight. Or if you had a stray pill lying around and you wanted to know what it was before you dare ingested it.

I see this particular device as a game-changer of sorts. Today, all of our searches are being done via text, numbers and through structural databases of some type. But with a consumer-based spectrometer initially designed as a pocketable device that could eventually be built into smartphones, gaining a better understanding of the make up of the physical objects we come into contact with each day would vastly expand a person’s knowledge base. I could imagine it as being part of a set of teaching tools to perhaps get more kids interested in science. Or it could be used in a science-related game as an important tool used to solve a puzzle. At the other extreme, its impact on health-based problems and solutions could be enormous.

This is a technology to watch. As Scio gets smarter as more people use it — and perhaps someday finds its way directly into smartphones — it would add a new dimension to our understanding of the world around us. It could become an important means for connecting us to our physical world in ways we just can’t do today.

Bajarin is the president of Creative Strategies Inc., a technology industry analysis and market-intelligence firm in Silicon Valley. He contributes to Big Picture, an opinion column that appears every week on TIME Tech.

TIME Supreme Court

Supreme Court Wrestles With Warrantless Cellphone Searches

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments over when and whether the police can search cell phones after an arrest, as lower courts have been split on whether that's allowed by law and, if so, just much information can be taken off them and stored

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in two cases tackling the same difficult question: If you get arrested, should the police be allowed to search your cellphone without a warrant?

It’s well-established that police can search people they arrest to ensure they don’t have a weapon and to prevent them from destroying evidence. Police can also search things on or within easy reach of suspects, like wallets or address books, for evidence relating to the crime for which they were arrested.

But those standards were set long before people started carrying their lives around on computers in their pocket. Lower courts have split on whether cellphones can be searched without a warrant after an arrest and how much information can be taken off of them and stored.

The first case the court heard Tuesday was brought by David Leon Riley, who was stopped in August 2009 for driving with expired license plates. A legal search of his car found handguns, and he was arrested. A couple of hours later, police searched his smartphone without getting a warrant and found photo evidence of his alleged involvement in a gang shooting. The California courts ruled against Riley’s argument that the smartphone evidence should be excluded because it had been gathered in an illegal search.

Riley’s lawyer, Jeffrey Fisher, argued Tuesday that there’s now so much information in a smartphone, there’s a danger police will go on a fishing expedition to find crimes, against which Americans enjoy broad Fourth Amendment protections. Fisher further pointed out that the government has acknowledged in court filings the FBI’s collection and storing of telephone metadata from phones seized in similar arrests in an ever-growing database. Even the hawkish Justice Antonin Scalia said Tuesday that “It seems absurd that you should be able to search [the entire contents of a person’s] iPhone” without a warrant after a simple traffic stop.

The second case the court heard Tuesday was originally brought against Brima Wurie in 2007 after his arrest in Boston, Mass. for selling crack cocaine from a car. Wurie convinced an appeals court that prosecutors should have been blocked from telling jurors police had found drugs, cash and guns at his house after determining his home address by checking his incoming call records on his flip phone. The appeals court ruled the cell phone search was illegal. Wurie’s lawyer argued Tuesday that even a small amounts of information on a cellphone should be protected against a warrantless search.

The Roberts court has often ruled in favor of cops in questions of searches and seizures, and there was plenty of sympathy for the needs of law enforcement during the arguments Tuesday. But the justices have also struggled with technological issues brought on by what they like to call “the digital age.” Several justices asked questions about the FBI’s long-term storage of data downloaded from seized cell phones through the use of a so-called “Universal Forensic Extraction Device,” for example.

The justices acknowledged that privacy expectations are diminished when you’re arrested. The question that they seemed to be wrestling with most was how to limit the amount of data that can be taken from a smartphone after a routine arrest. The government argued it should depend on the type of crime for which the person had been arrested. But even the pro-enforcement Chief Justice John Roberts admitted that “it’s very hard to see how that limit would be applied. You can see and the police would be able to articulate why almost every application, every entry on a cellphone would reasonably be anticipated to have evidence of a particular crime.”

Rulings in both cases could come by early June.

TIME Internet

‘Cat Dating’ and Other Weird Things People Are Searching For on Google

Ever wondered why men have nipples? You're not alone

Have you ever Googled something really weird and then wondered what strange things other people must be searching for?

Well, this infographic created by Australian agency SearchFactory visualizes worldwide average monthly search data to show just how weird people’s queries really are:

Weird Google Searches Infographic

 

TIME Technologizer

Pinterest’s Guided Search Looks Like Good, Serendipitous Fun

Pinterest
Pinterest

The pin-your-favorite-stuff service now makes it easier to find more stuff

At an event at its San Francisco headquarters this evening, Pinterest announced a major new feature: Guided Search. As you’ve already figured out, it’s a way to find things–images, products, recipes and more–which other people have pinned on the service.

But search is traditionally text-oriented and meant to help you find something specific; Pinterest is largely visual and mostly about stumbling across stuff which you’ll enjoy. So Guided Search isn’t just a conventional search engine. And since 75 percent of people use Pinterest on mobile devices, it’s designed to be something you do with one hand, minimal typing required.

Ben Silbermann
Ben Silbermann of Pinterest announces Guided Search Harry McCracken / TIME
You do initiate a search by beginning to type a word. As you do, Pinterest suggests terms. And then it turns your query into tags which you can delete or add to, letting you refine or broaden your search. It also starts showing the names of Guides made up of pins relating to terms associated with your search; you can pull up any of these Guides with one tap.

In a search shown in a video at the event, for instant, starting to type “Vespa” lets you quickly create tags for “Vespa” and “Vintage.” It also shows you Guides such as “vintage,” “scooters” and “helmets,” letting you pivot from your original Vespa search into a board made up of items which might be closely related to the topic, or only tangentially associated with it.

Besides Guided Search, the company announced a couple of other changes meant to help people discover pins. A feature called Custom Categories lets you browse through pins on niche topics which weren’t formerly organized in one place. And Pinterest says that the Related Pins feature now does a smarter job of identifying interesting pins related to the one you’re looking at.

“There’s a lot of pins and not a lot of time,” said Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann at the event. “That’s a problem. At Pinterest, we’re making it easy to find just what you were looking for, or maybe what you didn’t know you were looking for.”

Pinterest says that Guided Search will get better as more and more people use it. It’s rolling out first in the service’s apps for iPhone, iPad and Android, and should be available shortly. (I don’t see it in the App Store on my iPhone just yet.)

TIME Earnings

This Is What’s Really Powering Google’s Ambitious, Long-Shot Projects

The Google logo is spelled out in heliostats during a tour of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border
The Google logo is spelled out in heliostats (mirrors that track the sun and reflect the sunlight onto a central receiving point) during a tour of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border February 13, 2014. The project, a partnership of NRG, BrightSource, Google and Bechtel, is the world's largest solar thermal facility and uses 347,000 sun-facing mirrors to produce 392 Megawatts of electricity, enough energy to power more than 140,000 homes. Steve Marcus / REUTERS

Tech stocks have declined lately, but Google's core business remains strong as the company powers ahead with futuristic "moonshots" from wearable devices to robots and drones

Google’s core online advertising business continues to generate gobs of cash, allowing the company’s braniac founders to pursue all manner of futuristic initiatives. From computerized eyewear to self-driving cars to robots and drones, Google continues to push the boundaries of technology in pursuit of “moonshots,” as the company calls its most audacious projects.

On Wednesday, Google will report earnings results for the first three months of 2014, and Wall Street analysts are hoping that good news from the company will be a positive sign for technology stocks, which have suffered recently. Over the last month, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index has fallen by 6%, with many big name companies, including Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter suffering double-digit declines.

Google hasn’t avoided the sell-off—it’s down 8% over the last month—but the company hasn’t been battered as hard as other tech companies, in part because investors remain confident about the company’s core strength in online advertising. “Google has actually hung in there quite well,” Paul Sweeney, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Industries, told Bloomberg West. “That reflects the fact that their core business continues to put up very good top-line revenue growth.”

Google continues to benefit from the relentless shift of ad dollars toward online platforms. Last year, U.S. online advertising revenues increased by 17% to hit an all-time high of $42.8 billion, exceeding broadcast television advertising revenues for the first time ever, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). In search advertising, which accounted for 43% of online ad revenue last year, Google remains dominant, with 67.5% of the search market, according to comScore. The next closest competitor is Microsoft, with 18.6% of the market.

Google is also a beneficiary of the ongoing shift away from traditional desktop computers toward mobile devices. For the third year in a row, mobile advertising revenues experienced triple-digit percentage growth according to IAB, increasing to $7.1 billion during 2013, a 110% jump from $3.4 billion in the 2012. Mobile advertising accounted for 17% of 2013 revenues, compared to 9% in 2012. Google’s Android mobile operating system accounted for 79% of global smart phone market share in 2013, according to Strategy Analytics.

“We continue to believe that Google is one of the best-positioned stocks for many of the secular growth drivers in the Internet space: the dramatic Mobile shift, the migration of TV ad budgets online, the growing importance of local Internet, and the Internet of Things,” Mark S. Mahaney, a technology analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients this week.

Wall Street analysts estimate the Google will report earnings of $6.39 per share, which would be a 10% increase compared to last year, on revenue of $15.52 billion, which would amount to an 11% increase, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. That would be a solid showing, but some analysts have expressed concern about Google’s profit margin, which has been under increasing pressure as the company pours money into its far-flung advanced research projects.

It’s those so-called “moonshots”—developed by the company’s secretive Google X lab under the leadership of co-founder Sergey Brin—that offer the most intriguing indication of where Google is headed in the future. This week, Google offered its Glass wearable computing product to the general public for the first time. At $1500 per unit, Glass remains out of reach for many consumers, and it remains unclear if the device will catch on with the broader public.

But Glass may only represent a glimpse of things to come. Earlier this year, Google filed a patent application for a contact lens with a built-in micro-camera that could be controlled by blinking. Such a product is most certainly years away from the market, but the patent application offers an indication of the scope of Google’s ambitions. In the nearer term, Google plans to focus on more conventional forms of wearable computing. Last month, the company announced Android Wear, an initiative that extends the operating system to wearable devices, starting with watches.

Google has also made clear that it plans to focus on robots and drones. Google’s self-driving cars have been well documented. Late last year, the company acquired Boston Dynamics, an engineering firm that has developed robots for the Pentagon. (Google said it will honor existing military contracts, but it doesn’t plan to take on new ones.) It was Google’s eighth purchase of a robotics company in six months, and although the company’s robotic ambitions remain vague, potential applications include manufacturing and logistics.

And this week, Google purchased Titan Aerospace, which manufactures solar-powered drones designed to stay aloft for years without landing. In a statement, Google said that such atmospheric satellites “could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation.” Facebook, which is also interested in using drones to deliver Internet access, had been in talks with Titan, but was outbid by Google.

Wall Street analysts have occasionally expressed concern that Google’s futuristic projects—from wearable devices to robots to drones—could cause the company to lose focus on its core online advertising business, which is the main driver of shareholder value. But with Google continuing to dominate the online search market, and continuing to capitalize on the inexorable shift of ad dollars toward the Internet and mobile devices, investors seem content to go along for the ride.

TIME How-To

11 Google Search Tips Everyone Should Know

Searching the web for information is a skill. Yes, you can enter a term into Google and find information, but by using a few simple tricks, you can quickly and easily whittle down your results to get exactly the information you’re looking for.

Start out by simply asking Google a question. What’s the weather? What’s the stock price of Fanny Mae? Be specific and you’ll often get the results you need. If not, try the following tips.

1. Find new stories

Google

In general, putting a year or date in your search term will help limit results to more recent entries. However if you want to limit your results, Google lets you search by the past hour, past year or create a custom date range. You’ll see this option when you click on Search Tools.

2. Search for a specific phrase

When you’re looking for search results for a specific phrase, put your search term in quotes. For example: “Internet privacy.”

3. Search a specific site

Most websites have their own search function, but it’s often not as good as Google. To limit results to a particular site, you can add “site:” and then the web address of the site. For example: site: techlicious.com “Internet privacy”. To exclude a site, put a minus sign before the word site. You can also search just those pages you’ve already visited, if you’re trying to go back and find something you’ve seen before.

4. Eliminate a term from search results

Want to find information about Donnie Wahlberg but getting a bunch of results pertaining to Mark Wahlberg? You can put a minus in front of any term you want to eliminate. So you’d type: Wahlberg -Mark.

5. Using an image to search

Google

See a dessert you’d like to make but don’t know what it’s called? If you have the image saved on your computer or open in another window of your web browser, you can use it to search using Google’s image search. Simply select the image and drag it into the search bar on the Google image search page and Google will find similar images and make a “best guess”. This feature is great for finding clothing, identifying plants and tracking down furniture and other items that may otherwise be hard to identify.

6. Searching for local results

Often your search engine will already know where you are. If it doesn’t or you want to search in another location, you can add a zip code to the end of your search. Or, under Search tools, you can select your location.

7. Finding appropriate content for children

Google

If you’re running into complex texts, you can search by Reading level, which you find by clicking on Search tools and then All Results. When Reading level is turned on, search results are sorted into Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. It’s a great way to find age-appropriate texts for school projects.

Of course, you should also turn on SafeSearch, which you can find under the settings button, the cog icon in the upper right corner. This will filter out explicit results. You can also lock on SafeSearch with your Google account ID and password.

8. Finding apps for your phone or tablet

Google

If you’re trying to find out if there’s an app for that, click on the More tab and select Apps. Then click on Search tools to narrow you selection by price (Free or Paid) and source (google.com for just Android devices and apple.com for just iOS devices).

9. Finding a product

Google

If you’re looking to purchase a product, type in the product name or category and then click on Shopping. On the left side, you’ll be able to sort by price, whether the product is in stock nearby, the color, brand and more. You can also add a price range to your search term by adding the minimum price followed by two periods and the maximum price. For instance, you’d type: red pumps $50..$100

10. Solve a math problem

Kids checking up on their math can type a numeric equation into the search bar and you can get the answer. You can also get quick number conversions by inputting the conversion factors, like liters to cups or dollars to Euros.

11. Get immediate results

Google

Google prepackages relevant information on frequently searched topics. So you can simply type in a flight number to get flight status, the name of a sports team to get the score, a stock ticker symbol to get the current stock price and weather to get the forecast.

Still haven’t found the right information? Advanced search, which you can find under the cog in the upper right corner, adds the ability to search by country, when the post was last updated and for a word just in the title of the page, among other options.

This article was written by Suzanne Kantra and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME

New Theory Sees Possible Fire on Missing Jet

A man recites the Koran after a special prayers held for the missing Malaysian airliner MH370, March 18, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Rahman Roslan—Getty Images

A new theory claims that a fire broke out aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the crew was doing what it could to save passengers and themselves

As the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 enters its twelfth day, conspiracy theories and suggestions of foul play are giving way to the idea that a fire broke out onboard and the crew were simply doing everything they could to save the passengers and themselves.

That theory, first floated by Chris Goodfellow, a pilot with 20 years of experience, holds that a fire on board the aircraft caused the pilots to set course for the nearest viable airport. Heading back to Kuala Lumpur would have meant traversing 8,000-foot ridges. A much more feasible option would have been the 13,000-foot runway at Pulau Langkawi, a destination which would correspond with the new route the aircraft appeared to have followed.

Once the course had been altered, the fire could have melted electronic wire bundles, causing cyanide gas to be pumped through the cockpit and cabin, rendering everyone unconscious (oxygen masks don’t help since cyanide gas can be absorbed through the skin), and leaving the aircraft heading along its path until it ran out of fuel.

“I think it’s very possible that this is what happened,” says Bruce Rodger, the president of the aviation consultancy Aero Consulting Experts. “It’s my favorite analysis because it means there wasn’t a bad guy doing something bad to an airliner.”

The fire scenario could also explain the loss of communication systems. Either the pilots started killing electrical busses in order to contain the fire, or an electrical fire caused the gradual collapse of various systems on board.

“Taking busses offline is a big process, and it may leave you without computer and navigational instruments,” says Rodger, who believes it is more likely that a fire took down the aircraft’s communication systems.

Investigators still believe the flight was deliberately taken over. An unnamed “senior American official” told the New York Times the new flight coordinates were entered into the flight computer, which “has reinforced the belief of investigators – first voiced by Malaysian officials – that the plane was deliberately diverted and that foul play was involved.”

Rodger, on the other hand, believes entering the new route into the flight computer would be the easiest, and first resort in such a scenario. He also says that he and several experts with him agree that it is unclear how anyone could know whether the course was altered manually or via the computer.

The causes of a fire on board could meanwhile be many. While Goodfellow believes that a fire could have been ignited by overheated landing gear, Rodger says that it more likely would have started in the cargo hold. “We know that the cargo compartment contained lithium-ion batteries,” Rodger says. “I don’t want to discredit another pilot’s theory, but it is very unlikely that a flight would have been able to continue for that long with an overheated landing gear.”

A fire could possibly also explain the reported fluctuations in the aircraft’s altitude – perhaps the pilots as a last-ditch effort tried to suffocate the flames in the thin air at 45,000 feet. Smoke may also have hindered them from seeing their controls clearly and fire may have damaged the computers so that crew commands were not carried out correctly.

The search for the missing jetliner, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crewmen, currently runs along a southern and northern corridor, spanning a total of 2.24 million square nautical miles. There are 26 nations are involved in the massive operation, taking place in the Indian Ocean as well as in China, India and central Asia. However, several countries have already reported that they have found no evidence that MH370 entered their airspace, and a source “close to the investigation” told Reuters Wednesday that the aircraft most likely flew into southern Indian Ocean. This route could possibly match one set for Palau Langkawi.

Malaysian officials have previously said the communication systems on MH370 were shut off deliberately as the aircraft was in transition between Malaysian and Vietnamese radar coverage — a notion that has given rise to several conspiracy theories. The homes of captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his first officer Fariq Abdul Hamid have been searched, and their backgrounds as well as everyone else on board the jet are being scrutinized.

“Both the theory of foul play and that of a fire are possible and important to explore,” concedes Rodger. “But I’m an optimist. I want to believe that the pilots did everything to save the airplane.”

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