New York City activist

February 7, 2008

Email debates, and more about Mark Roberts

Filed under: 9/11 Truth,reply - JREF,reply - Mark Roberts — Diane @ 5:49 pm

I just now ran across this post by Gravy (Mark Roberts) in the JREF forum. He says about me, “I asked her twice if she could name a single significant claim that the truth movement gets right. Like every other truther I’ve asked, she couldn’t or wouldn’t.”

What actually happened was that I refused to get into a debate with him via email and told him that if he wanted to get into an online debate with me, he was welcome to do so in comments here on my blog.

Obviously, this blog contains plenty of examples of claims that I think the 9/11 Truth movement gets right, although it also contains plenty of examples of claims which I think many people in the 9/11 Truth movement get wrong, or at least overstate, or which I think need further analysis or research.

Mark responded in an email, on Sunday, February 3: “Diane, this is simple: can you name one significant claim that the 9/11 truth movement gets right? I don’t want to debate it here. I just want to see what you think.”

I responded by pointing to a few specific posts on my blog.

Mark then sent me an email on Tuesday, February 5, in which he broke his word about not wanting to debate with me via email. He launched into quite a diatribe. Well, maybe he technically didn’t break his word, because he didn’t actually debate my specific points themselves. I guess it depends on how you interpret the “it” in “I don’t want to debate it here,” which is about as ambiguous as the “it” in Silverstein’s “pull it” remark. (I’m not inclined to use the latter as evidence, by the way.)

Anyhow, I responded very briefly and told Mark, again, that I did not want to debate with him via email, and that, if he wanted to continue our discussion, he was welcome to post a comment on my blog.

This morning I got an email from him saying, “Thanks for your non-reply, which demonstrates typical truther confidence in the power of your evidence.”

I replied, “No, it demonstrates a dislike of debates via email. I wouldn’t get into an email debate with a flat-earther, either.”

This episode, by the way, provides a good example of one of the reasons why I don’t like to get into debates via email, especially with die-hard opponents such as Mark Roberts. Statements made in private can easily be taken out of context or otherwise misreprsented afterwards, either deliberately or inadvertantly, perhaps through sheer carelessness or just one’s own personal bias as to what is or is not “significant.” And any subsequent dispute about the contents of a private discussion can easily become a “he said, she said,” almost impossible for anyone else to reach sound conclusions as to what really happened.

Once again: Anyone who wants to debate with me is welcome to post comments on my blog. Just keep in mind my comment policy, please.

Perhaps Mark doesn’t want to post comments on my blog because he doesn’t like my comment policy, for whatever reason?

My comment policy does allow for a very wide range of discussion, though some things are forbidden. Many official-story defenders have posted comments here, and I would be surprised if any of them were to complain that they had been unconscionably censored.

I’ll also mention that I am, albeit only to a limited extent, willing to discuss via email some of the kinds of things that are forbidden by my comment policy. So, if there’s something you[re absolutely dying to tell me that’s forbidden by my comment policy, you may post a comment containing a request that I email you. If you post a comment here, I am automatically given the email address that you used to register with WordPress. However, if a topic is perfectly suitable to be discussed here on my blog, then I prefer to discuss it on my blog rather than via email, unless you can give me some very good reason why you don’t want to discuss it publicly.

P.S.: I just now read this JREF forum post by Swing Dangler. Apparently, Mark doesn’t believe in always answering questions on demand, either.

P.S., 2/9/2008: I just now caught Mark Roberts misrpresenting me again — although, this time, fortunately, he has misrepresented public statements of mine, so others can double-check it. In this post in the JREF forum, he lists me as one of a bunch of people “who have agreed to be on Hardfire, then backed out.” I never actually agreed to be on Hardfire. I voiced only a tentative interest, in my post Reply to debate invitation from Ron/pomeroo on JREF. Furthermore, as explained in subsequent posts on my blog, I still do have a tentative interest in being on the show, just not in the immediate future.

P.S., 2/12/2008: For the latest developments in this saga, please see the thread Mark Roberts – some documentation of recent interaction in the Truth Action forum.

(Note: If you’re a “debunker,” thus not allowed to post in the Truth Action forum, you may post civilly-worded thoughts about that Truth Action thread here on this page of my blog, in accordance with my comment policy. If you ask me to, I’ll call attention to your comments in a post in the relevant Truth Action thread.)

Further P.S., 2/12/2008: In the JREF forum, Mark Roberts (a.k.a. Gravy) wrote:

In various email exchanges in the past 10 days I’ve asked truthers this question nine times: “Can you tell me one significant claim that the truth movement gets demonstrably correct?”

Not a single person had an answer. People have been touting Diane (last name?) as the most articulate truther they’ve come across. I asked that question of her three times. She had no answer, and became upset and accused me of “pestering” and “pressuring” tactics. It seems to me to be a simple question that any member of a “truth” movement should be able to answer immediately.

To any “debunkers” who may be reading this:

Imagine the shoe on the other foot. Suppose you’re a “debunker” with a blog, to which you’ve devoted a lot of effort.

Suppose you then get an email from some truther saying, “Please tell me one good reason why you believe the official story.” Assuming that you have a life and that you’ve budgeted only a finite amount of time for answering email, you would probably refer that person to your blog, correct? You might also add that, if the person has further questions, you would prefer that they be posted on your blog, rather than debating with you via email.

Now suppose that the truther then writes back to you saying, “I don’t want to get into a debate with you. I just want to know how you think. Could you please just answer one simple question?” Again, assuming you have a life, you would probably respond (if at all) by referring the person to a few relevant posts on your blog.

Suppose, then, that the truther responds with an email diatribe. Suppose, further, that the truther then posts in the Loose Change forum about how you were unable to answer his or her question.

Wouldn’t you be at least a trifle annoyed at this point? Perhaps even annoyed enough to write a blog post about this annoying pest?

Suppose then that the truther emails you yet a fourth time, trying yet again to pressure you into spending your precious time explaining your views to him or her via email.

You then either ignore the person or respond by explaining why you are annoyed. The truther then posts yet again about how you were “unable” to answer his or her question.

Reverse the roles of the truther and the “debunker” in the scenario above, and replace the Loose Change forum with the JREF forum, and you have how Mark Roberts has been behaving toward me recently.

P.S., 3/17/2008: This post has been noticed here on Justin A. Martell’s blog. Justin, thanks for recommending my blog. However, I should mention that the post above is old news. The episode described above is, as far as I am aware. old news. Mark Roberts has not been bothering me recently.

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23 Comments »

  1. Diane, I don’t think it’s important what Mark Roberts thinks (or others of a similar persuasion). He/they have made up their mind on this issue, and that’s fair enough. No worries (as we say in the Land Down Under). If I was contacted by any of these people (very unlike I know, this is hypothetical), I’d simply affirm their inherent human right to reach their own conclusions, and form their own opinions – and affirm that right for myself as well. Obviously, they’ve read the same material as yourself (or at least, I assume so), and formed a different view. How this is possible when 70% of legitimate questions re 9/11 remain ignored, key witness testimony (and other evidence), is excluded and there is still no official explantion for the collapse of WTC7 (or the complete collapse sequence of WTC 1 & 2), seems strange to me – but who am I to judge? Each to their own. Personally (if I was in shoes/history, which I’m obviously not), I’d find exchanges like the above very draining, depressing and unproductive. I also think your writings are excellent, and there are more fruitful and productive avenues for your talents than these kind of blind alleys. Depends how you feel yourself though (of course). Sometimes it’s useful to pay attention to the unspoken emotions/mood certain exchanges create, and decide from there. And in speaking to ordinary/everyday people I know, I’ve found the biggest element re 9/11 is simply education about the basic facts (either they don’t know, or they haven’t thought about it). I don’t think the people who take the “Official” story of 9/11 as absolute gospel (after, presumably, taking a thorough look at the background), are particularly representative of the wider population.

    Comment by wiccedwoman — February 8, 2008 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

  2. Drat, sometimes my brain types faster than my finger . . . just correcting some typos to the above.

    “If I was contacted by any of these people (very unlike I know, this is hypothetical)” should be:

    “If I was contacted by any of these people (very unlikely I know, this is hypothetical)”

    And:

    “Personally (if I was in shoes/history, which I’m obviously not)” should be:

    “Personally (if I was in your shoes/history, which I’m obviously not)”

    Comment by wiccedwoman — February 8, 2008 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

  3. Most of my interactions with various “debunkers” here on this blog have been civil and productive. (I’m able to maintain civility here because I control this blog.) Some have brought to my attention issues I was not previously aware of.

    I think it’s important to listen to what the other side has to say, insofar as they actually discuss issues rather than just insults and ad hominems. Sometimes they point out actual errors. Other times they point out things that might not actually be errors, but which are things that do require further research on our side’s part, to make a solid case. More often they just obfuscate, but it’s good to be aware of these tactics too.

    Usually I try NOT to get into personal nonsense, and usually I succeed in not getting into it. However, in this case, someone publicly misrepresented (by taking out of context) a private email exchange with me. I thought it important to respond to this and to state a general policy against debates via private email.

    Comment by Diane — February 8, 2008 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

  4. Very good points. Thanks for that Diane.

    But what I find genuinely puzzling, is that anyone can take an in-depth look at the official narrative, and its multiple ommissions, and believe the official line. And within the 9/11 Truth Movement, there seems to be a number of clear and critical thinkers (including yourself), who are not shy about dissecting evidence, and subjecting it to the clear light of day.

    Though I do concede there are some very genuine people who continue to believe the official line. One guy I know on an Australian peak oil email list (who could tell you the tiniest technical detail about oil depletion, and energy issues generally), was adamant that all 3 towers coming down the way they did was perfectly reasonable, and completely explicable. He even provided me with his version of the “Tech” reasons for it (though he wasn’t/isn’t a high-rise building expert). I should have pointed out (though I never got round to it), that maybe he should pass his expertise/conclusions on to NIST, as they obviously need his analysis . . . In other words, here was a clearly intelligent and discerning man, blithely making asertions that were (and are), even unsupported by what’s officially available. So my puzzlement deepens . . .

    Comment by wiccedwoman — February 8, 2008 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  5. I think there’s a bit of confusion here, which is not unusual in this area.

    The first relates to whether we should be surprised that the towers fell down due to a combination of structural damage and fire. The consensus among all experts* on the subject is that the damage suffered by WTC 1, 2 and 7 was sufficient to cause the collapse. It is also accepted that the speed of collapse was entirely normal for such collapses.

    That given, there’s some dispute as to the actual internal collapse mechanism. There are a number of different opinions on this, based on highly technical issues. But disagreement on this doesn’t mean that there’s the slightest need for additional elements such as thermite, thermate, space lasers or explosives.

    How important is it that we don’t know precisely how the buildings failed? It doesn’t matter at all, because we know why they failed.

    A question that wiccedwoman needs to address is why _no_ expert on the relevant issues thinks that the failure of WTC 1, 2 and 7 is in any way anomalous. If we extend the definition of expert to include anyone remotely qualified in the area, such as architects or physicists, we can replace 100% with an overwhelming preponderance.

    Let me reiterate. Out of all the structural, fire safety and demolition engineers around the world, none of them have come out to say “Those buildings could not have been brought down by impact and fire”. Isn’t that odd, when we have non-experts telling us that it’s entirely obvious?

    Comment by westprog99 — February 10, 2008 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

  6. To westprog99:

    Sorry about the delay in your latest comment appearing. For some reason, WordPress seems to think all your comments are spam. I don’t understand why that would be. Have you been posting comments on other WordPress blogs, where you might have gotten censored and possibly marked as a spammer?

    Anyhow, you wrote:

    The consensus among all experts* on the subject is that the damage suffered by WTC 1, 2 and 7 was sufficient to cause the collapse. It is also accepted that the speed of collapse was entirely normal for such collapses.

    No one really knows what is “normal for such collapses,” because there haven’t been any other steel-frame skyscraper collapses, period, at any time, for any reason.

    The collapses were accepted as “normal” after the fact, but they were a surprise even to many experts, as even some of the most prominent experts themselves have admitted. For some examples, see my blog post Engineers were surprised by the WTC collapses.

    As discussed also in the above-mentioned post, including the P.S.’s, note also the generally underdeveloped (due to lack of enough funding, most likely) nature of the field of structural engineering. In almost any other long-established field of engineering, studies of the kind discussed in this news story would have been done over a hundred years ago.

    Anyhow, what seems strange to me is not the mere fact that they collapsed, but the way they collapsed, especially WTC 7. Of course, as I said, no one really knows for sure what is “normal” for a skyscraper collapse, including me, but I feel that there are some good reasons to be suspicious.

    Anyhow, the question of whether WTC 7’s manner of collapse really is suspicious is now being discussed in the comment thread following my post Review of Hardfire debates between Mark Roberts and Loose Change crew.

    That given, there’s some dispute as to the actual internal collapse mechanism. There are a number of different opinions on this, based on highly technical issues. But disagreement on this doesn’t mean that there’s the slightest need for additional elements such as thermite, thermate, space lasers or explosives.

    Whether or not there’s a “need” for them, there’s still the separate question of whether there is any evidence for them. On the question of whether there’s any real evidence for explosives or indendiaries, I’m now taking a wait-and-see attitude toward much of the alleged evidence. (I also think there are some important lines of inquiry that the more scientific-minded people in the 9/11 Truth movement haven’t pursued yet.)

    Should I become convinced that there isn’t any evidence for explosives or indendiaries, I will then focus more of my attention on matters about which there is more widespread suspicion, such as air defense issues, the 9/11 Commission’s conflicts of interest, the whereabouts of high officials on 9/11, etc.

    How important is it that we don’t know precisely how the buildings failed? It doesn’t matter at all, because we know why they failed.

    I don’t see how you can really know the “why” for sure without the “how.”

    A question that wiccedwoman needs to address is why _no_ expert on the relevant issues thinks that the failure of WTC 1, 2 and 7 is in any way anomalous. If we extend the definition of expert to include anyone remotely qualified in the area, such as architects or physicists, we can replace 100% with an overwhelming preponderance.

    Due to a lack of very much hard scientific experimental evidence (as discussed in the second section and the P.S.’s of my post Engineers were surprised by the WTC collapses), there is lots of wiggle room in the relevant fields, lots of room for as-yet-unfalsified hypotheses. Had the Twin Towers remained standing, that wouldn’t have been seen as anomalous either. Had WTC 7 tilted 30 degrees and then shattered, that probably wouldn’t have been seen as anomalous either.

    People with careers in a given field need to protect their reputations, hence are unlikely to proclaim something “anomalous” (especially in any way that has controversial political implications) unless absolutely forced to say so by overwhelmingly incontrovertible evidence. Given whatever wiggle room they might have, most people will wiggle in whichever direction seems best for their careers.

    As a general rule (to which there have been some laudable exceptions), only people with less of a personal stake in a given field are likely to take the initiative in shaking things up in a politically risky direction, based only on very strong suspicions. Alas, this means that most such people aren’t fully qualified experts, which puts them at a disadvantage in terms of their ability to provide evidence.

    But occasionally such people do succeed. A historic example from the social sciences: The gay rights movement convincing the psychotherapeutic establishment that homosexuality should not be classified as pathological. Of course, many psychotherapy professionals happen to be gay, but, for the most part, the professionals weren’t the first gays out of the closet.

    Of course, regarding 9/11, the important question is whether the strong suspicions can and will lead us to hard evidence. That’s still an open question in my mind. Meanwhile, I share the strong suspicions.

    Comment by Diane — February 10, 2008 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

  7. Why but not how?

    If we don’t know exactly how the towers fell, how can we say that we know _why_ they fell.

    Consider a stack of cans in a supermarket. Throw a baseball at them. The stack will fall down. Now tell me exactly how they fell.

    As with any sufficiently chaotic situation, the _how_ is impossible to establish. However, the initiating event is obvious. The fact that we can’t reconstruct exactly which can was dislodged, and the order in which one can knocked down another, doesn’t mean that we are in doubt about what caused the cans to fall down.

    Comment by westprog99 — February 11, 2008 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  8. It may well be that some experts in the field were surprised at the time. The question is, did this lead _any_ of them, after looking at the events, to consider that there must be some additional cause for the collapse?

    The fact that some engineers were initially surprised means that they would be _more_ likely to consider hidden variables. That _all_ engineers*, worldwide have, upon consideration, decided that the impacts and fire are sufficient to cause the collapse as observed.

    Bear in mind, also, that the collapse of the WTC complex was the most observed, most filmed, most analysed structural collapse in history. A very high proportion of the structural and demolition engineers in the world would have watched it live. It isn’t the case that it is something that they could ignore. It would be like an aeronautics engineer ignoring the moon landings.

    Only a very small proportion of engineers would do a detailed analysis of the collapse. However, if there was anything remotely suspicious about it, there are many, many thousands of engineers who’d be qualified to smell a rat. So far, not one has come forward.

    What about peer pressure? I find it difficult to believe that structural engineering is a monolithic secret society where dissent is punished. Why on Earth would an Iranian or Chinese engineer need to fear speaking his mind?

    What we find in practice is a strong inverse relationship between knowledge and suspicion. Among people who really, really know what they are talking about, there’s no suspicion. Among people with some understanding of the concepts – physicists, architects, engineers in other fields – there are a tiny number of people expressing doubt. The vast majority of 911 doubts about the so-called “official” story come from people entirely unqualified to understand what’s involved.

    *N.B. I am not aware of _any_ practicing structural or demolition or fire safety engineer who doubts the “official” story. Anyone who’s commented agrees that there’s nothing, post facto, surprising about massive impacts and intense fire causing structural collapse.

    _One_ demolition engineer has expressed an opinion that WTC7 was demolished.

    Comment by westprog99 — February 11, 2008 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

  9. Incidentally, I’ve no idea why my posts should be marked as spam. I can’t remember posting on WordPress before- I registered just to use this blog.

    I don’t mind waiting for my comments to appear, as long as they do so eventually.

    Comment by westprog99 — February 11, 2008 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

  10. First, there ARE some structural engineers in Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, although, admittedly, not very many.

    Second, I think there’s a natural tendency for people, including knowledgeable people, to accept the first simple reasonable-looking explanation one comes across, especially if it comes from a respected authority, and not look further. Many engineers were surprised by the WTC collapses, but, within just a few days, Bazant published an article explaining them. That was probably enough to satisfy most people.

    Third, I think that the case for a not-purely-natural collapse of the WTC buildings is a lot more subtle than most people in the 9/11 Truth movement make it out to be, with many aspects needing further investigation before they can be considered to be really good evidence. See my post Demolition of WTC: Let’s not overstate the case, please.

    Comment by Diane — February 12, 2008 @ 2:19 am | Reply

  11. It may well be that there are some structural engineers in A&Ef911T, but that is not the same thing as an engineer giving his professional opinion. I’m still unaware of _any_ practising structural engineer making claims that break the consensus.

    While there’s a natural tendency to accept the most obvious explanation, that’s rarely a 100% consensus.

    I find the unanimity astonishing. I would have assumed that the field of structural engineering must have the occasional Judy Wood among its ranks. But there doesn’t seem to be.

    What we see is exactly what one would expect to see. There’s consensus among the people most qualified to voice an opinion. Then, among the less qualified, there are a tiny fraction of doubters.

    If the “accept the first reasonable looking hypothesis” hypothesis were true, one would expect similar dissent among physicists, architects and structural engineers. Instead, we see no structural engineers dissenting, and a small number of architects and physicists, and engineers in other fields. This is not what we’d expect from apathy or conspiracy. This is exactly what we’d expect if the explosives/thermite theories are without foundation.

    Comment by westprog99 — February 12, 2008 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  12. westprog99 wrote:

    It may well be that there are some structural engineers in A&Ef911T, but that is not the same thing as an engineer giving his professional opinion.

    I don’t know what the structural engineers in AE911T are or are not doing by way of voicing their professional opinion. Obviously it would be desirable to hear from them.

    Comment by Diane — February 12, 2008 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

  13. I note also that AE991T posits a particular theory – that explosives were used, and that, for example, the expulsion of debris was due to the explosives. There’s supposed to be thermate and thermite as well, and the word “pyroclastic” is in heavy use. I can’t really see a structural engineer defending such views, though I suppose it’s possible.

    It’s entirely possible that the engineers that signed the AE911T petition do not support the full extent of the AE911T position. I find it strange that, as the most qualified people on the list, they aren’t taking a more prominent part.

    I find most of what’s on AE911T inherently risible. Something written by a qualified structural engineer would have to raise the standard, whether it was correct or not. For some reason, this hasn’t happened.

    So to repeat – structural engineers worldwide have maintained a perfect consensus in their professional opinions. I find that convincing, argument from authority or not.

    Comment by westprog99 — February 12, 2008 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  14. westprog99 wrote:

    I can’t really see a structural engineer defending such views, though I suppose it’s possible.

    It’s entirely possible that the engineers that signed the AE911T petition do not support the full extent of the AE911T position.

    What you’re calling “the AE911T position” is Gage’s presentation, and I do think it likely that the more technically knowledgeable people in the group would not agree with everything in Gage’s presentation. I certainly don’t agree with everything in his presentation. I recently sent him a detailed critique vis email.

    I find it strange that, as the most qualified people on the list, they aren’t taking a more prominent part.

    I agree that that’s strange. I don’t know what Richard Gage has or has not done to solicit their input. Obviously he should do whatever he can to solicit the input of the most technically knowledgeable people in the group.

    Comment by Diane — February 12, 2008 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  15. Back to the original topic of my post at the top of this page:

    I just now added this P.S. to my post above.

    Comment by Diane — February 12, 2008 @ 8:43 pm | Reply

  16. I think that it’s up to not only Richard Gage, but any subscriber to the Inside Job theory, to try to access the best technical advice possible.

    There seems to be an entirely unwarrented confidence within the Truth Movement in their own technical ability, whether it’s limited, as with Gage and Jones, or severely compromised, as with Judy Wood, or entirely absent, as with Fetzer and Griffin. If they wanted to knock a hole in an internal wall to get into the parlour from the hall, they’d consult someone to see whether their house would fall down. If it’s a matter of whether the World Trade Centre would fall down in that particular way, stick a finger in the air, and throw out some half remembered high school science, and proclaim that it’s impossible.

    It doesn’t cost that much, in the great scheme of things, to get independent advice on engineering matters. The telephone book is full of engineering firms.

    Have a whip round among the activists, collect a few grand and get a report together. Come up with somebody’s independent opinion that the WTC was probably demolished, and there might be some prospect of that independent inquiry.

    Comment by westprog99 — February 13, 2008 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  17. Well, first we should track down the structural engineers who have joined Richard Gage’s group and see what they are willing and able to do pro bono.

    Comment by Diane — February 13, 2008 @ 9:14 pm | Reply

  18. If they can’t or won’t do pro bono, then fundraise to get a paid opinion.

    There’s a grey area between an off the cuff remark and a pro bono opinion. A paid opinion leaves no ambiguity.

    How much would such a consultation cost? How much would it cost per member of the truth movement who really, really wants to know?

    Well, at least the cost of such an investigation is something that could easily be found out by looking up the name of a structural engineer in the Yellow Pages and asking him what he’d charge. If it turned out to be massively too expensive to be shared out among the thousands of Truth Activists nationwide, you’d have to think again.

    Incidentally, if you want to have an opinion that will be accepted by the man in the street as valid, it would be better to start with an engineer who hasn’t made his mind up in advance. Choosing someone from AE911T or NIST or PM would bias it somewhat.

    Comment by westprog99 — February 15, 2008 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  19. Diane wrote: “Well, first we should track down the structural engineers who have joined Richard Gage’s group and see what they are willing and able to do pro bono.”

    A toned down version of my earlier post follows 🙂

    The who? Are there any? Here we have a man, who claims that 4 seconds after the collapses initiated, the masses of the upper parts of the towers were completely destroyed. He says the mass just disappeared. That’s an uneducated claim. But tells much about his lack of capabilities related to the collapses. Link here.

    [Comment by ref1, edited by blog author Diane to HTML-ize and prettify link.]

    Comment by ref1 — February 15, 2008 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  20. To ref1:

    Yes, there are some structural engineers in Gage’s group, albeit not very many. In my opinion, if he has not done so already, Gage should sit down with them and ask their help in putting together a better presentation that can attract more structural engineers into the group. Also, if he has not done so already, I think it would be a good idea for him to ask the structural engineers in his group to do some detailed studies that would be suitable for publication in a mainstream journal, if possible. (They might not get published anyway, but an effort along those lines, by the most qualified people in the organization, should certainly be made, if it has not been made already.)

    Anyhow, I’ll now comment briefly on the Screw Loose Change post you referenced. First, Gage is quoted as saying:

    In the case of the twin towers, what you have is the 20 stories in the north tower falling, not down from the point of impact but collapsing in on itself.

    True so far. It does collapse in on itself, up from the point of impact, while at the same time the lower part of the building is collapsing down from the point of impact.

    That is to say, the explosions are going from the point of impact up.

    This, of course, is the main point being disputed: What caused the collapse?

    And that mass is reduced in the first second or two to half its mass

    Well, quite a bit of mass does get ejected outward, reducing the mass of what’s left. I’m not sure, though, how to estimate what fraction of the mass gets ejected.

    and two seconds later it’s completely destroyed.

    He must mean here that the top part is completely shattered. I’ll need to look again at some collapse videos to see whether that took 4 seconds or longer.

    After that, after four seconds all you have is the building tearing itself apart at free falls speed. There is no pile driver, whatsoever.

    This is an error. See the section A faulty objection to the “pile driver” hypothesis in my post Demolition of WTC: Let’s not overstate the case, please. But please see also the comment thread starting here.

    The building is creating this incredible mushroom cloud, an extremely explosive event where all of the columns and beams are hurled outward at 50 MPH impaling themselves in buildings up to 500 feet away, and all the windows are broken within a 400 foot radius of the building. This is an incredibly explosive, energetic event, the ends of these beams are dripping with molten metal as seen by the iron workers.

    End of quote from Gage. In response, James B. says:

    He has made claims before that windows were blown out, but this is the first time he has claimed that all the windows were blown out. Oddly enough, they usually claim that WTC7, which was only 300 feet away, was virtually undamaged by the collapse. They even claim that the fires were not hot enough to break the windows. Well of course not, they were all blown out first by the explosions in the north tower!

    It is my impression that the windows of many buildings were shattered for several blocks around when the towers collapsed. James B. claims they weren’t, on the following grounds:

    This bizarre claim is clearly not true, just take a look at the World Financial Center, which were even closer to the north tower, being directly across the street, where all the windows at the top (near the alleged explosions) are intact, only the windows at the bottom which were hit by falling debris are damaged. Here is WFC3:

    James B. then shows this photo, without telling us when the photo was taken. Judging by the presence of a crane, the building is apparently in process of being repaired. So it’s likely that the photo was taken sometime after 9/11. Perhaps most of the windows had been fixed by then, and only the more severely damaged portions of the building had not yet been repaired?

    Comment by Diane — February 15, 2008 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  21. This photo is before any repairs of WFC 3. You can still see the WTC beams sticking out of the walls. And notice the intact upper floor windows.

    Comment by ref1 — February 16, 2008 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  22. Strangely enough, the direct link doesn’t seem to work. You have to copy and paste the address.

    Comment by ref1 — February 16, 2008 @ 9:54 am | Reply

  23. What’s the date of this photo, and what is the source?

    Again I see a bunch of cranes in this photo, so it looks like repair work is in process of being done.

    P.S.: In Chapter 7 of the FEMA report, there is a map showing all the damaged buildings. Note that there are quite a few buildings marked with the yellow color (indicating “Moderate Damage: Broken glass, facade damage, roof debris”) that are further away than the WFC buildings. The WFC buildings themselves are marked blue (“Major Damage”). So, yes, if the FEMA report is to be believed, it would seem there were indeed lots of buildings with broken glass or similar relatively minor damage.

    Further P.S.: Note that there are quite a few buildings marked yellow (“Broken glass, facade damage, roof debris”) beyond a 3-block radius of both WTC 1 and WTC 2. (The WTC complex itself is 3 blocks wide.) So the “windows broken for several blocks around” claim appears to be accurate, at least if you take “several” to mean approximately four and occasionally more. Maybe not all windows broken for several blocks around, but certainly quite a few of them on quite a few buildings, beyond those buildings that were hit by heavy debris.

    Comment by Diane — February 16, 2008 @ 11:46 am | Reply


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