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Henican: Vanished Malaysia jet baffles know-it-alls

A foam plane with messages and cards dedicated

A foam plane with messages and cards dedicated to people involved with the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner MH370, are placed in the viewing gallery at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Saturday, March 15, 2014 in Sepang, Malaysia. Credit: AP / Wong Maye-E

Here in the Age of Easy Certainty, we don't do mysteries well.

Everyone's an expert on everything now, including what's wrong with Washington, which movie deserves Best Picture and what could possibly cause a crowded jetliner on a clear day to fall unexpectedly from the sky.

A solid week after Malaysia 370 evaporated from the radar, we still don't know a whole lot more than we did at the very start. Was it a freak accident? Is terrorism to blame? Was it a suicidal pilot? Are the passengers buried at the bottom of the ocean or trapped in the opening episode of "Lost?"

The truth is I don't know and you don't know and neither does anybody else, most especially the somber experts with showy Chyrons who are suddenly all over cable TV. And none of this mystery is the least bit natural in the Age of Easy Certainty.

Blame it on the news-channel talking heads, the modern cultural equivalent of barroom blowhards. Blame it on the Internet. Blame it on Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia, which fuels so much of this pseudo-expertise. It's gotten so easy for anyone to gain what used to be highly inside knowledge, there are only three words left that no one will ever utter, three simpler words that are the honest-to-God truth.

I. Don't. Know.


1. Not much.

2. Less than you think.

3. Nothing special.

4. Beats me.

5. Enough to be dangerous.

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Suffolk County's PulsePoint sounds great, an app that alerts passersby if I'm having a heart attack. But are there unintended consequences here? Untrained strangers rushing up trying to "help" me in mid-cardiac arrest? . . . Who will outplace ex-Adecco employees now that the outplacement firm is shifting HQ from Melville to Florida, whacking more than 200 from the 450 LI head count? . . . An 80-foot question for Manhasset: Did it only just occur to folks that "taller, wider, hurricane-resistant" utility poles along Searingtown Road would be way uglier too? . . . It'll take S & M Rubbish another seven months to remove 1.5 million busted tires from the Izzo family property on Old Northport Road in Kings Park? No wonder it's taken two decades of litigation, court orders and fines to get this dump -- I mean, recycling facility -- cleaned up . . . Now that the Diocese of Rockville Centre is dumping its pension plan for a 403(b), how many LI employers still offer traditional pensions? I mean, besides government agencies? . . . Next year, should 15 Ward Melville science whizzes study the effects of weather on mail service? Due to a snowstorm delay, they missed the application deadline for this weekend's state Science Olympiad . . . Why not goats? Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt have tried everything else to control unwanted fauna at the 39-acre preserve off Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike.

THE NEWS IN SONG: Whatever happened to Amelia Earhart? "Someday We'll Know" by the Young Radicals,

Follow on Twitter @henican

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