It sounds like the search for the missing flight 370 may be shifting west, into the Indian Ocean.

So how hard is it to find a Boeing 777 in the Indian Ocean*? Since we humans are so bad at contemplating things at massive scale (the solar system, for example), Rob Cockerham has helpfully translated this problem down into more approachable scales.

Finding a 777 in the Indian Ocean is like finding:

A single grain of salt A pen somewhere in the city of San Francisco.

Or a sesame seed shoe in Yosemite.

Or a red blood cell pin at Burning Man.

* The search area isn't the entire Indian Ocean, of course, they'll start at the eastern side and work out, but still.. oceans are big! And also note that these comparisons are surface area. Once that thing sinks, oh boy.

UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, Cockerham's original calculations were off, he's posted an update. The point remains - oceans are big.