"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
As the search continues for missing Flight 370 and no one explanation has been confirmed to explain the vanished jet, U.S. authorities looking at the time that communications devices on the plane shut down say clues may point to sabotage. The mystery remains unsolved, however.
New reports suggesting possible foul play were reported first by Reuters, based on sources who refused to be named. The theory holds that someone on board the plane purposely shut down its communications systems. Malaysian authorities have not confirmed these claims. As Reuters reported:
Military radar data suggests a Malaysia Airlines jetliner missing for nearly a week was deliberately flown hundreds of miles off course, heightening suspicions of foul play among investigators, sources told Reuters on Friday.
Analysis of the Malaysia data suggests the plane, with 239 people on board, diverted from its intended northeast route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and flew west instead, using airline flight corridors normally employed for routes to the Middle East and Europe, said sources familiar with investigations into the Boeing 777′s disappearance.
Two sources said an unidentified aircraft that investigators believe was Flight MH370 was following a route between navigational waypoints when it was last plotted on military radar off the country’s northwest coast.
This indicates that it was either being flown by the pilots or someone with knowledge of those waypoints, the sources said.
In his Thursday night segment, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes detailed four prominent current theories. In brief, they are:
1. Hijacking or terrorism: As noted here before, early concerns that Iranian nationals traveling on fake passports had some terrorist ties have been dismissed. No group has come forward to take credit for the attack and there’s no evidence of explosion.
2. Pilot suicide: A rare instance, but not unheard of. The shutdown of communication systems might suggest a purposeful crash, but it is certainly far from likely.
3. Mechanical failure: The idea of catastrophic mechanical failure is unlikely. The jet is considered one of the safest models, and the lack of a traceable explosion points away from this theory.
4. Human error: The most likely cause of commercial plane crashes, but as Hayes noted, “In the absence of more evidence, none of these theories seem convincing.”
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com.More Natasha Lennard.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)