Many found it impossible to believe that a modern Boeing 777 carrying 239 people could just vanish without a trace in an age where an iPhone can be tracked just about anywhere.

And so they tuned in to watch the latest developments. And when there were no new developments, they stayed glued to their smartphones because the suspense of not knowing – or possibly missing something new – somehow spiked when nothing was going on. From oil slicks to pings from dying black boxes, each new lead provided a salacious morsel that drove viewers to wonder: Will this be it?

“I find myself drawn into watching or reading about it because it has taken on seemingly mythic worldwide importance,” Paul Mones, an attorney from Portland, Oregon wrote in an email. “In this modern world we simply refuse to accept that something so concrete can get so out of our physical reach and understanding. … People just refuse to concede that the cause of the disaster will likely forever remain unknown.”