To be alive in 2020 and connected to the immense information network is to experience a rich confusion of images, videos, social-media posts, and reportage about everything, all the time. The latest example: a Ukrainian-airliner crash outside Tehran. The plane, a Boeing 737-800, crashed shortly after takeoff yesterday, killing everyone aboard. There were unconfirmed rumors and general confusion and Twitter threads with videos, pictures, and analysis of what might have happened. (A missile? A malfunction?)

Beyond and next to the tragedy, it felt as if reality had melted and balled up together in one news story. The U.S. strike on an Iranian general last week had tilted the world toward a new precipice. Boeing’s problems with a different model of 737 have been global-headline news. And, of course, Ukraine is also at the center of geopolitics (not to mention American campaigns).

How could anyone know what happened? The Ukrainians, Iranians, and Americans were all saying different things (not to mention the Canadians and British).