Crowd sourcing vs. network news
A missile was fired off the coast of California. CBS repeatedly referred to it as a “mystery missile” and bothered the ambassador of NATO about it, with moderately comic results:
“It’s spectacular… It takes people’s breath away,” said Ellsworth, calling the projectile, “a big missile”.
Then they called up the Navy, which denied any knowledge of the launch.
Meanwhile, at reddit.com, one of the crowd-sourced community’s tens of thousands of users of differing backgrounds and skill sets happened to know that U.S. missile launches are always accompanied by air traffic alerts. He dug up the pertinent alert, confirming that the Navy had indeed launched the missile, and posted it to the reddit page on which the CBS article was being discussed. It was quickly voted to the top, such that anyone who checked out reddit would be immediately privy to the following piece of data:
NOTAM for LA.
KZLA LOS ANGELES A2832/10 – THE FOLLOWING RESTRICTIONS ARE REQUIRED DUE TO NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER WEAPONS DIVISION ACTIVATION OF W537. IN THE INTEREST OF SAFETY, ALL NON-PARTICIPATING PILOTS ARE ADVISED TO AVOID W537. IFR TRAFFIC UNDER ATC JURISDICTION SHOULD ANTICIPATE CLEARANCE AROUND W537 AND CAE 1176. CAE 1155 WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR OCEANIC TRANSITION. CAE 1316 & CAE 1318 WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR OCEANIC TRANSITION. CAE 1177 WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR OCEANIC TRANSITION. W537 ACTIVE, CAE 1176 CLOSED. SURFACE – FL390, 09 NOV 20:00 2010 UNTIL 10 NOV 01:00 2010. CREATED: 08 NOV 20:52 2010
Unless this particular Notice to Airmen is utilizing some time zone on the other end of the planet – which is unlikely, not least of which because this is directed at California – the above references a restriction that goes into effect today, rather than yesterday when the missile actually appeared. There should be an equivalent notice for the actual time of the launch – assuming that the Navy or whoever is not just firing missiles off the coast of California without warning these days.
Update II: The Awakening
A contributor to National Review has now linked to this post, apparently without having caught the relevant update or the date discrepancy (which is something I should have caught myself originally). Anyway, welcome, National Review readers. Please enjoy this article about Rich Lowry.