We Don't Track Planes As Much As You Think

Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today we have reports from Wired, The New York Times, and Car and Driver.

How It's Possible to Lose an Airplane in 2014Wired

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has turned up a lot of theories, but very little concrete evidence. What we do know is that an event like this is actually much more possible than we might think, despite everything we track today.

It is a misconception that airline pilots are in constant communication with air traffic control, or that planes are constantly watched on radar. Once a plane is more than 100 or 150 miles from shore, radar no longer works. It simply doesn't have the range. (The specific distance from shore varies with the type of radar, the weather, and other factors.) At that point, civilian aircraft communicate largely by high-frequency radio. The flight crew checks in at fixed "reporting points" along the way, providing the plane's position, air speed, and altitude. It isn't uncommon to maintain radio silence between reporting points because cruising at 35,000 feet is typically uneventful.

A Dot on the Map, After Scandal, Could Be Wiped OffThe New York Times

An tiny, corrupt town in Florida is in big trouble that was caused by local traffic enforcement issuing more than 12,000 speeding tickets between 2011 and 2012. Read up on just how bad Hampton, Fla. is.

In 2011, the city took in $268,624 from traffic fines. The sum was $197,247 in 2010 and $151,000 in 2012. Despite those windfalls, the city operated at a deficit.

Traffic fines were by far the chief source of revenue in a city with two gas station convenience stores and only scrapings of property taxes. In fact, Jim Mitzel, 50, a former mayor who left office in 2008 after a conflict with the police chief and the city clerk, said he helped Hampton annex the tiny slice of 301 in the mid-1990s simply to help fill city coffers.

The 5 Most Normcore AutomobilesCar and Driver

I don't really understand Normcore, but this one from the C/D folks is actually funny. You all know exactly what the most Normcore cars are.

So what, then, would the most stringent normcore adherent drive? We've chosen five vehicles that comprise a smorgasbord of vehicular anonymity, with choices appropriate for anyone interested in being a part of the latest cultural phenomenon, from those merely dipping a toe in the tepid waters of normishness to the most ardent J.C. Penney customers.

Photo: Getty Images