Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

New Clues About Missing Aviator Fossett–Whom the Internet Has Tried to Find–Discovered by Analog Hiker

A man hiking in a remote part of Mammoth Lakes in California’s Sierra Nevada found a pilot’s license and an FAA card, both bearing the name of aviator Steve Fossett.

Authorities are now trying to verify the IDs and other items for authenticity. No human remains or plane pieces were found nearby so far, although a fleece pullover and some money were also retrieved in the same area.

The discovery is about 50 miles away from Nevada desert locations where teams had been searching for the well-known adventurer, who vanished while on a solo flight in a single-engine Bellanca Super Decathlon a year ago.

It has been assumed that Fossett, who has since been declared legally dead, crashed, and the search for him was suspended a month ago.

After Fossett’s disappearance, tens of thousands of Web users mounted an unusual online search mission, studying satellite photographs of a huge swath of ground.

The images were uploaded by Amazon (AMZN) to its Mechanical Turk, in an attempt to find a possible crash site.

Google Earth (GOOG) was also used in the effort, which is called “crowdsourcing.”

The Turk was also used in another unsuccessful search for Microsoft (MSFT) techie Jim Gray, who went missing on a boat off the coast of California.

Computer-aided image-scanning technology has also been used in the search for Fossett, to no avail, until this very old-school break was made.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik