I’ll now continue my review of Joseph Nobles’s review of Richard Gage’s slide show. I’ll also take the opportunity to voice my current beliefs and questions about WTC 7 in general, and to suggest some research projects for the engineers in Gage’s organization.
- Nobles’s brief summary of the official story (in the January 2008 slide show)
- NIST and other experts say that WTC 7 collapsed solely due to fire (and gravity)!
- The big question about the official story on WTC 7
- The “symmetry of collapse” argument (in the September 2007 slide show)
- The Dan Rather video and Nobles’s video fakery allegations
- The NBC video, the northeast video, and the kink
- Timing of the core column collapse vs. the final global collapse
- The West Street video – 6.5 seconds for the collapse of the outer wall?
- Why the symmetry argument (and defending it, if possible) is important
- Suggested WTC 7 research projects for engineers in AE911T
(P.S., 3/1/2008: Below, I’ve corrected what was previously a reference to Gage’s “paid staff.” In email received today, Gage told me that only two of his staff members, who work for the organization close to full time, are paid stipends of only $250 per month. The staff also includes about ten other people who don’t get paid at all.)
Let’s look now at Joseph Nobles’s page on Slide #20 – What Demolished Three of These Skyscrapers?.
Joseph Nobles’s answer: “Crippling Structural Damage, Massive Fires, and Gravity.”
On this page, Nobles has made some errors, including one very significant error, in his summary of the current expert consensus about WTC 7.
The above-linked page also contains what looks to me like a decent summary of the NIST hypothesis regarding the Twin Towers. But I’ll discuss just WTC 7, which I’ve studied more than the Twin Towers.
7 World Trade was a similar building overall to the towers, but it had some highly unusual parts to its structure. It was built over a Con Ed substation and was designed to transfer as little weight to that structure as possible. This shoved the core columns to the south in the building, and a ramp used to access the entire WTC complex shoved the columns to the west.
The above explanation is accompanied by diagrams.
The structure compensated for this by building a dense network of transfer trusses in the fifth and seventh floor of the building, a “foundation in the sky”, as I refer to it.
Minor error: It would be more accurate to speak of the transfer trusses as being “between” the fifth and seventh floors. They didn’t skip the sixth floor.
When structures are compromised the way those three buildings were on 9/11, their ability to redistribute normal and abnormal loads is weakened. This is the first part of our answer.
How significant this is depends on where the structual damage occurs. Mora about this in the next section, NIST and other experts say that WTC 7 collapsed solely due to fire (and gravity), NOT the south side damage!.
Though 7 World Trade wasn’t stripped of its fireproofing, those fires were allowed to build unimpeded by any fire suppression effort. … 7 World Trade was determined to be a lost cause for many reasons and abandoned. One firefighting official called it a “battle we were going to lose,” and in the sheer volume of duties in that single day, 7 was written off.
I’ve no doubt that if the FDNY had been able to concentrate solely on WTC 7 with all its marshaled forces, the building wouldn’t have fallen. That was not in the cards dealt to 7 World Trade on 9/11. Instead, the fires would grow until other officials called it a “candle,” “fully involved,” with “all 47 floors” on fire. And after burning for 7 hours, it finally collapsed.
Nobles doesn’t give a source here for the “all 47 floors” quote. The fire observations in Appendix L – Interim Report on WTC 7 (PDF) in NIST’s June 2004 Progress Report do not seem to indicate that there was fire on all 47 floors.
The initiating event for its collapse began low in the building. First, the east interior of the building fell after the loss of a single column in that area. The resulting debris falling into the building included a large mechanical penthouse on the roof.
The above paragraph is consistent with Appendix L of the NIST prelim report. However:
This debris would have torn apart two of the three critical transfer trusses for the west side of the building. This would have allowed the heavy supporting structure in the fifth and seventh floors to slide to the east. This failure would have dragged the rest of the building down behind it, allowing the immense mass of 7 World Trade to crush itself up as it fell.
Minor error: In the above paragraph, Nobles gets “east” and “west” mixed up.
Next, we now come to a major error in Nobles’s understanding of what the official story is regarding WTC 7:
These Three Elements Demolished These Three Buildings
It was the combination of these three elements that tore down all three of these buildings.
Actually, NIST’s hypothesis about WTC 7 implies that it was brought down by just fire and gravity. The structural damage to the south side did not play any significan role in the initiation of collapse, at least not directly. More about this below.
Take a single one from the equation, and those buildings would probably still be standing.
Note that Nobles is conceding, here, that just two of the above factors (say, fire plus gravity) should not have caused WTC 7 to collapse. That is correct. But then Nobles says:
This is why you will hear conspiracy theorists pretend that only one of these elements is used in various “official explanations.” Alone, none of them could have overwhelmed the towers and Building 7. Together, they explain the collapses easily.
Perhaps, together, they could “explain the collapses easily,” if indeed all three were involved in the initiation of WTC 7’s collapse. But that’s not NIST’s actual hypothesis.
As I said earlier, according to both the NIST prelim report and other papers I’ve read by various experts, the structural damage to the south side of WTC 7 did not play any essential role in the initiation of collapse. Before I explain why, let me first point to the relevant literature.
See, first, the NIST preliminary report, especially Figure L-23c, on p. L-23, and Figure L-36, on p. L-37. See also Single Point of Failure (PDF) by Ramon Gilsanz, Structure magazine, November 2007; The Collapse of Building 7 (PDF) by Arthur Scheuerman, on the NIST site; and Chapter 5 (PDF) of the FEMA report.
How can it be that the south side damage played no essential role?
As Joseph Nobles himself acknowledges on this page, among other places, the column that is believed to have failed first was column 79, in the northeast corner, far away from the damage to the south side. The flying debris from WTC 1 may have damaged two or three core columns near the center of the south side, but did not affect any of the easternmost columns, nor any columns adjacent to the easternmost columns. Thus, the south side damage would not even have put any extra weight on column 79. (If anything, the damage to the south side would most likely have caused the building to lean slightly toward the south, thereby taking some of the weight off of column 79.) So, the damage to the center of the south side apparently had very little, if anything, to do with the failure of column 79. Nor does it seem likely that the south side damage contributed in any significant way at all to the initial vertical collapse of the east side, nor to the beginning of the westward horizontal progression.
Of course, no doubt it would have helped a little once the horizontal progressive collapse got to the center of the building. Also, the south side damage no doubt caused the southward slump as the building fell.
But I doubt that any of the experts would claim that an absence of the south side damage would have stopped the horizontal progressive collapse, given the hypothetical mechanism of that horizontal progressive collapse, which had more to do with the behavior of floors 5 and 7 than with the behavior of any the columns themselves. Hence, the damage to the south side seems to have played no significant role at all in NIST’s collapse initiation hypothesis, at least not directly.
One could argue that the fire may have been started, in the first place, by some of the same flying debris that also caused the south side structural damage. Furthermore, the south side damage may have played a significant role in facilitating the spread of the fire. Thus one could argue that, via the fire, the south side structural damage played a major though indirect role in the initiation of collapse as per NIST’s hypothesis.
But fire was not observed on anywhere nearly as many floors on the east side (where the interior collapse apparently began) as on the west side, according to the fire observations in NIST’s prelim report. So, the east side collapse can’t even be said to have been due to the spread of fire onto some abnormally huge number of floors that would have been impossible without the south side structural damage.
Hence the south side structural damage played no essential role in NIST’s collapse initiation hypothesis.
As I’ve explained, what we have here is a collapse alleged to have been due solely to fire plus gravity.
And that, of course, isn’t supposed to happen. Skyscrapers are supposed to be designed not to collapse due to fire (plus gravity). And, indeed, no other skyscraper has ever completely collapsed due to fire (plus gravity), either before or since 9/11.
Hence, at least one of the following must be true: either (1) the building had a serious design flaw, or (2) something else was done to the building, besides what the official story acknowledges.
Of course, it is certainly possible that the building might have had a serious design flaw. Skyscrapers are designed not to collapse due to fire (and gravity), but so too the Titanic was designed to be unsinkable.
However, if the problem was a design flaw, what might that design flaw have been?
One might be tempted to blame the transitional structure on floors 5 to 7, which indeed are thought to have played a significant role in the collapse. But the fires on floors 6 and 7 apparently never found their way to the east side, which is where the initiating event happened. (See the fire observations in the NIST prelim report.) If indeed the collapse proceeded according to NIST’s hypothesis, then, whatever caused the initiation of collapse, it had to be something near column 79.
Arthur Scheuerman believes that the initiating event was caused by a “very severe, but ordinary, office fire” on the east side of the 12th floor. He hypothesizes that this fire made the ceiling expand, sag, and then contract after the fire burned out, yanking at the easternmost core columns. What design flaw allowed that to happen? Scheuerman blames the sheer length of the spans between the core columns and the perimeter columns on the north and east sides.
To determine whether the above is a credible hypothesis, one would need to compare the design of WTC 7 with the design of other skyscrapers that have suffered severe fires but did not collapse. (At least some of these other skyscrapers are listed on the page about Other skyscraper fires on Jim Hoffman’s site.) For example, did any of these other skysscrapers have similarly long spans?
I would recommend that the structural engineers in Richard Gage’s organization look into such a comparative analysis.
I’ll now look at a portion of Nobles’s review of the older (September 2007) version of the slideshow dealing with the “Straight Down Symmetrical Collapse” argument.
This slide is headlined: “Straight Down Symmetrical Collapse with all Columns Cut at Once.”
What a foolish claim for Gage’s first point. All I have to do is show that all columns were not cut at once, and the point is denied.
It is true that the core columns failed before the perimeter columns. However, Gage could correct this simply by changing “all columns cut at once” to “all perimter columns (except a few damaged earlier) cut at once.” If the outer wall of a building is falling more-or-less straight down, as a single unit, then, clearly, all the perimeter columns (except the few that were broken earlier) are all breaking at once.
But I can do better than that, and you would expect me to. The collapse didn’t happen symmetrically, not at all.
It didn’t quite go straight down, either. Yes, there are many videos that make it appear to have done so. It is one of the more remarkable features of this collapse that during the last stage of its progressive collapse, it dropped down in some ways similar to a controlled demolition.
But there is an explanation for this. Because of the immense size of 7 World Trade, it could have done very little else. Without a sufficient amount of resistance below, the mass of 7 World Trade could go nowhere else but as straight down as possible.
And no such resistance would have been found in the lower structure of the building. Even without the damage done by the falling debris of the North Tower and the failure of a crucial core column, the building’s structure could not have resisted the momentum of the building falling.
I’ve seen it claimed elsewhere that a falling skyscraper can’t tilt, for the above reason. However, let’s look at the the world’s only other examples of falling skyscrapers: the Twin Towers. The top 30 floors of WTC 2, tall enough to qualify as a skyscraper in its own right, did tilt over quite a bit, more than 20 degrees, at the very beginning of its fall.
Furthermore, the global collapse of WTC 7 started at the bottom. That being the case, the fulcrum for any tilt was the ground beneath WTC 7, a much better fulcrum than the bottom part of WTC 2. So, I see no reason why WTC 7 couldn’t have tilted quite a bit at the beginning of the global collapse.
Of course, once the collapse of the outer wall picked up sufficient momentum, that momentum indeed would, then, overwhelm any gravitationally-induced torque, so the building would not topple all the way over like a tree. But it seems to me that it could tilt pretty far during the first couple of seconds or so of the global collapse, as the top part of WTC 2 did.
Admittedly, I’m not sure exactly how far WTC 7 should reasonably have been expected to lean, if indeed the collapse was purely “natural.” And the video which I’ve referred to as the “northeast video” (in my blog post Two WTC 7 collapse videos: Can both be real?, and in comments below my earlier post Review of Hardfire debates between Mark Roberts and Loose Change crew) does show a greater lean than I was previously aware of before seeing that video.
Dan Rather has not just said that the building was literally a controlled demolion. He has only remarked how much that particular shot of the collapse looks like a CD.
This is known as a simile. Similes generally use the word “like” to compare two otherwise dissimilar things.
A good journalist will avoid jumping to conclusions. Professional caution dictated that Dan Rather refrain from making any pronouncement about what had or had not caused the collapse of WTC 7. The most he could say was to share his impression of what the collapse looked like. So, we don’t know whether he thought that what had happened to WTC 7 actually was a controlled demolition. Most likely, he just didn’t know.
But Dan Rather’s first impressions are interesting in their own right, even if they were not presented as an actual conclusion or explanation.
But there are many other angles to view this collapse from, and there is a lot of evidence left to consider. Indeed, the way that Gage keeps choosing shots that only come from the north or the north-northwest shows that he is using this illusion for his own benefit.
Or it could simply mean that Gage used the most easily available videos. The three videos that Gage uses are the exact same ones that are also found on Jim Hoffman’s WTC 7 collapse video page, which is probably the best-known WTC 7 collapse video page, and probably the one that has been around the longest.
Jim Hoffman’s WTC 7 website has been around since August 2003 or earlier, judging by the Internet Archive site, and the page with the three videos was already there in August 2003 too. In March 2004, the collapse video page began to be featured in the top right corner of the main page.
That video page was referenced in the first edition of Steven Jones’s first paper on the WTC collapses, if I recall correctly. Indeed it would seem that the videos on that page are what got Steven Jones interested in WTC demolition hypotheses in the first place, if I recall correctly from one of the Steven Jones DVD’s that I’ve seen.
Richard Gage did not join the 9/11 Truth movement until early 2006, if I’m not mistaken, so it’s most likely that he, too, got the three videos from Jim Hoffman’s WTC 7 video page.
The Oslo Demolition Clip
In slides 12, 14, and 15, Gage continually looped a 15-story building in Oslo, Norway as it was demolished. The video on this and the next few slides are meant to be the payoff of that conditioning.
However, only one of them is close enough to have recorded any sounds of explosives (the clip on slide 25). And that clip is severely trimmed.
Because of the way Gage manipulated the sound on the Oslo clip, you didn’t hear sounds of explosives going off there. So when you get to that closeup shot with actual sound, you aren’t supposed to realize that you don’t hear explosives.
I don’t think Gage “manipulated the sound.” The Oslo clip was, most likely, acquired via the web either by Gage or by one of his organization’s staffers, who most likely didn’t bother to compare the sound track to those of other videos to make sure that the soundtrack was genuine.
I emailed Gage about the Oslo clip’s soundtrack when this matter was brought to my attention this past fall, and it has been fixed. (See the discussion about the Oslo video here on my blog, in my post Richard Gage’s slide show, WTC 7 section: Reply to charlienneb and in comments below that post. About the alleged fakery, see also the comments below my earlier post The 9/11 Truth movement and me: Further reply to Pat Curley.)
Lesson to be learned here: We really should, to the extent possible, try to verify the authenticity of any and all videos used as evidence. (See also my blog post Two WTC 7 collapse videos: Can both be real?)
Next, Nobles inadvertantly presents some evidence against his own claim that Gage is deliberately deceiving us:
However, the truncation of that and other videos from Gage are meant to obscure another feature of this collapse.
The East Mechanical Penthouse
Watch the Rather video again. The collapse begins at the very beginning of the clip, even while Rather is saying that they are going to videotape.
If Gage really wanted to deceive us, why didn’t he truncate that video at the beginning, too? After all, Dan Rather doesn’t say anything terribly interesting at the beginning of that video. The interesting stuff, about controlled demolitions, is said only after the collapse. So, why not cut off the beginning, if one is deliberately trying to hide the collapse of the east penthouse?
That same video is, likewise, not truncated on Jim Hoffman’s site either.
So it would appear that Gage (or the person on his staff who put his slide show together) simply copied the videos off of Jim Hoffman’s site, without asking any questions.
When I am finished writing this, I will email Jim Hoffman to ask where he got the three videos on his page, and what, if anything, he knows about the prior chain of custody of those videos.
Nobles then goes on to discuss NIST’s modeling of the early stages of the collapse. An accurate summary, as far as I can recall.
Another View of the Collapse
This slide shows another view of the collapse from the north. This one isn’t as dark as the CBS clip, but here a lot of detail is obscured by the buildings. It’s also quite a distance away from the building, so no sounds of the collapse can be heard here.
Again, the building seems to just sink down to the ground. But if you pay close attention to this video, you can see it moving to the south before the plummet begins in earnest.
I don’t see that movement to the south. Maybe the problem is just my eyesight, which isn’t the greatest. I do see what looks like a very slight lean toward the east, which grows greater as the building falls.
To catch it, you need to see the collapse from a slightly different angle.
The Asymmetrical Move To The South
This video was shot from the northeast of the building, and it captures just how far the building had slumped south before the crush up could be denied no longer.
Here he shows what is apparently a YouTube version of the same video he called my attention to in comments below my post Review of Hardfire debates between Mark Roberts and Loose Change crew, and which I discussed further in my post Two WTC 7 collapse videos: Can both be real?, where I refer to it as the northeast video.
So the building doesn’t move straight down into its footprint. It falls first to the south toward all that damage from the debris of the North Tower.
To me this is indeed a significant objection to the “symmetry of collapse” argument, as I’ll discuss further below.
The Asymmetrical “Kink”
In the NBC footage, you can also see the asymmetrical kink in the north facade.
I’ve added a highlight to this picture so you can see just how assymetrical that kink is. Would it surprise you to find out that the east mechanical penthouse was pretty much on one side of that kink and the rest of the building was on the other?
What seems to be happening in the collapse is that the east penthouse drops and clears out about a third of the floor area underneath it all the way down. As the rest of the building then falls, it kinks asymmetrically at the place where floors still remain and where floors have been cleared out. As the rest of the building then falls, it kinks asymmetrically at the place where floors still remain and where floors have been cleared out.
What has long seemed remarkable to me is that, despite the above, the building did not slump more to the east than it did during the final global collapse.
Where’s the Symmetry?
Until I saw the northeast video, it always seemed to me that WTC 7 went down in a remarkably close-to-perfectly straight down manner. The final global collapse might not have been perfectly symmetrical, but it seemed awfully darned close.
The existence of the kink is, in my opinion, not a significant objection to the “symmetry of collapse” argument. I’ve always understood “symmetry of collapse” to refer only to the building’s direction of motion and nothing else.
To many people, the “kink” might seem like just a relatively mild form of the segmentation that one would expect to see in a controlled demolition. The fact that the building didn’t actually split apart at the kink (or anywhere else) could be interpreted as meaning that a smaller-than-normal amount of explosives was used, since this was not a standard controlled demolition.
One aspect of this video was discussed in my post Richard Gage’s slide show, WTC 7 section: Reply to charlienneb.
Slide 23 Suggests all colummns failed simutaneously and WTC7 fell in 6.5 seconds. They did not and it fell in around 16 seconds.
To which I replied:
The final global collapse did indeed take 6.5 seconds, did it not? Yes, the core columns failed earlier, during the 10 seconds or so before the global collapse. Anyhow, given the almost-perfect symmetry of the global collapse, it does indeed seem that all or most of the perimeter columns (other than ones previously damaged) failed at the same time. Would you not agree?
Subsequently, the slide has been significantly revised. Various other errors were fixed too.
The older version of the slide (which I found in the version of Gage’s DVD that I bought back in September) also contains some other errors, some of which are rather strange. As Nobles points out, it is hard to imagine an architect making some of these errors. I can only guess that the slide was put together by a member of Gage’s staff, and that Gage procrastinated on getting it fixed.
Alternatively, it’s possible that the “symmetrically positioned” error was just a typo. Maybe Gage actually meant “asymmetrically positioned”? (That would be a better argument for the unlikelihood of a natural close-to-symmetrical collapse, after all.) Alas, it is, all too often, hard to see one’s own typos.
At the bottom of Nobles’s page about this slide is a YouTube video he made about the “lie” of the “6.5 seconds.” Alas, I can’t watch YouTube videos, so I can’t comment. I’ll have more to say about this alleged “lie” later.
Also on this page is an explanation of the order in which the core columns collapsed, according to NIST’s model.
On this page, Nobles gives some further description of the building’s structure, and some further explanation of NIST’s collapse hypothesis. As far as I can tell, he gets this correct here.
Nobles finds nothing wrong on this slide, but makes a bunch of sarcastic remarks about how Gage got one thing right.
On this page, Nobles says:
7 World Trade Only Partially Seen
This is one of Gage’s more amusing mistakes. There are clearly buildings in the foreground of this shot, yet Gage is counting his 6.5 seconds of falling from the moment the northwest corner begins to drop to the moment the building falls out of view behind the foreground buildings.
Obviously 7 World Trade has to fall a few more stories at that point. And we can tell exactly how many by counting the number of floors visible and subtracting that from the number of actual floors – 47.
There are 18 floors visible in this shot. When Gage stops counting his 6.5 seconds, the building still has 29 stories to fall, almost two-thirds of its height.
I’d like to know how Nobles times this. How does he get 6.5 seconds “from the moment the northwest corner begins to drop to the moment the building falls out of view behind the foreground buildings”? Doing the best I can to time it myself, I get at most 5 seconds for that time interval.
Admittedly I don’t have a stopwatch handy, so, the best I can do right now is to watch this video (as I downloaded it from Jim Hoffman’s WTC 7 video page) side by side with a browser window giving me the official U.S. time, with seconds. So my measurement could be about half a second off, maybe even a second off. But I’m definitely not getting anywhere near 6.5 seconds for the visible portion of the collapse of the outer wall. More like somewhere between 4 and 5 seconds, closer to 4 seconds, I think.
Nobles is watching the videos online on Gage’s slides, rather than the downloadable video files from Jim Hoffman’s site. I wonder if the online versions on Gage’s online slides are (unintentionally, I would presume) slowed down a bit, for whatever strange reason. I can’t watch the online versions, so I wouldn’t know. I’m just wondering if something like that might account for the difference in timing observed by Nobles and myself.
Nobles says the total collapse time, according to seismological data, is 18 seconds. That might, perhaps, include one or two seconds’ worth of the internal collapse on the east side before the east penthouse dropped, 10 seconds before the final global collapse.
Anyhow, Nobles also writes:
Look at an illustration from NIST using this very video to demonstrate their working hypothesis:
And then he shows us Figure L-33 from the NIST report, containing what appears to be a still from this very same video, earlier than the clip available on Jim Hoffman’s site. (The still in Figure L-33 shows the east penthouse, which has already dropped by the time the clip on Jim Hoffman’s site begins.)
The NIST prelim report doesn’t mention a source for the video, unfortunately. (This is the northwest alleged CBS video that I discussed in my blog post Two WTC 7 collapse videos: Can both be real?.)
Nobles then goes on to berate Gage for not including the collapse of the core columns in the total collapse time.
Indeed one should distinguish between the total collapse time and the collapse time of the outer wall. The latter does seem to be about 6.5 seconds total – or maybe just a little more than that, perhaps 7 seconds.
As I’ve said before, I’m a “demolition agnostic.” I strongly suspect that more was done to the WTC buildings, especially WTC 7, than the official story admits. But I certainly don’t claim to know this.
This past summer, when I first began exploring the case for the idea that the WTC buildings were destroyed by more than just jet crashes, I spent a lot of time looking both at 9/11 Truth movement sites (primarily Jim Hoffman’s) and at some of the better-known “debunking” sites (such as Mike Williams’s).
I soon realized that many pieces of alleged evidence for controlled demolition were, at best, in need of further investigation and analysis to determine whether they were really sound evidence. (See my blog post Demolition of WTC: Let’s not overstate the case, please, November 20, 2007.) However, in my mind, one piece of alleged evidence stood head and shoulders above all the rest, in terms of clarity and simplicity: The almost perfectly symmetrical, straight-down nature of the collapse of WTC 7, at least as seen in the videos available on Jim Hoffman’s website. None of the “debunking” sites I had looked at had an even remotely convincing answer. (See my blog post Straight-down collapse of WTC 7 – what do “debunkers” say?, written back on September 22, 2007.)
At no time was I ever 100% convinced that any of the WTC buildings were brought down by controlled demolition. But WTC7’s close-to-perfect straight-down vertical motion, alone, made me feel “90% convinced” that WTC 7, at least, was brought down by CD. And that, in turn, made it seem to me very likely that something (although maybe not necessarily full-fledged CD) was done to the Twin Towers, too, besides just hitting them with jet planes.
To me, the almost perfectly straight-down nature of the collapse was much more than a mere “characteristic” of controlled demolition. It was evidence for CD in a much stronger way than that.
According to the How stuff works article How Building Implosions Work by Tom Harris:
The main challenge in bringing a building down is controlling which way it falls. Ideally, a blasting crew will be able to tumble the building over on one side, into a parking lot or other open area. This sort of blast is the easiest to execute, and it is generally the safest way to go. Tipping a building over is something like felling a tree. To topple the building to the north, the blasters detonate explosives on the north side of the building first, in the same way you would chop into a tree from the north side if you wanted it to fall in that direction. Blasters may also secure steel cables to support columns in the building, so that they are pulled a certain way as they crumble.
Sometimes, though, a building is surrounded by structures that must be preserved. In this case, the blasters proceed with a true implosion, demolishing the building so that it collapses straight down into its own footprint (the total area at the base of the building). This feat requires such skill that only a handful of demolition companies in the world will attempt it.
In other words, making a building fall straight down (or close to straight down) is much harder than making a building tilt significantly as it falls.
If that’s correct, then one can argue as follows: If a building were to collapse “naturally” in a manner that just happened to resemble a CD, would we expect it to resemble the hardest-to-achieve kind of CD, or would we expect it to resemble an easier-to-achieve kind of CD? For a building to collapse “naturally” in a manner that just happened to resemble the hardest-to-achieve kind of CD would be like expecting someone to hit a home run just by swinging a baseball bat around randomly. A randomly swinging baseball bat might occasionally hit the ball, but it could hardly be expected to hit a home run.
To whatever extent the above argument is valid, it’s a very strong (though probabilistic) argument. Note how it avoids the “affirming the consequent” fallacy that Nobles calls our attention to regarding other common arguments for CD.
However, I’ve come to realize that this argument, too, needs further investigation and analysis to determine whether it is valid:
First, there’s the question of exactly how close to perfectly symmetrical the collapse needs to be in order for the above argument to be valid.
And then there’s also the question of exactly how close to perfectly symmetrical the collapse of WTC 7 actually was. See the section on The “symmetry of collapse” argument (in the September 2007 slide show), above, and see also my blog post Two WTC 7 collapse videos: Can both be real? and the comments following my earlier post Review of Hardfire debates between Mark Roberts and Loose Change crew.
I strongly recommend that these questions be examained, closely and carefully, by the structural engineers and other mechanical engineers in Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, and by any video experts in that organization. Because the answers to these questions might establish a very sound and strong argument for CD of WTC 7, they deserve careful scrutiny, not just hand-waving.
Alas, I’ve had quite a bit of difficulty trying to get other people in the 9/11 Truth movement to see the importance of the above questions and careful analysis thereof. (See, for example, the thread Two WTC 7 collapse videos: Can both be real?.) It is my hope that the engineers in AE911T can better appreciate the importance of this matter.
Below is a concise list of WTC 7 research projects which I myself am not qualified to do, but which I consider to be very important. I would love to see the following issues addressed, carefully and in detail, by relevant engineers or other experts who are members of Richard Gage’s organization:
1) For the structural engineers: Do the necessary comparative analysis to determine whether Arthur Scheuerman’s fire-induced collapse hypothesis for WTC 7 is plausible, as discussed above, in the section NIST and other experts say that WTC 7 collapsed solely due to fire (and gravity), NOT the south side damage. If indeed Scheuerman’s hypothesis is correct, then this would be the first and only time in history that a steel-frame skyscraper has ever completely collapsed due solely to fire (and gravity). Hence it deserves careful scrutiny. (See the sections NIST and other experts say that WTC 7 collapsed solely due to fire (and gravity)! and A question worth exploring, above. See also Other skyscraper fires on Jim Hoffman’s site.)
2) There are also some fire experts in Gage’s organization. I would recommend that they analyze the reported fire observations, to determine whether there is any evidence that the fires in WTC 7 were not completely natural. (See my post WTC 7 fire weirdness, taking FEMA and NIST at their word.)
3) For any experts on explosives: Were the explosions heard by witnesses consistent with explosive demolition? Nobles claims that they were not. (See his comments on the following slides in the September 2007 version of Gage’s slide show: 026 – “Sounds/Sights of Explosions” Orientation, 027 – “A Sound Like A Clap of Thunder”, and 028 – Craig Bartner’s Account.) If indeed it can be proven, on these grounds, that explosive charges were not used, then the only other likely non-natural collapse hypothesis would involve incendiaries (e.g. thermite) placed at strategic points.
4) A related issue has to do with seismographic data, which various “debunkers” have used as evidence against the use of explosives in any of the WTC buildings. However, this might not be a real issue. Jim Hoffman has found information which would seem to indicate that explosive demolitions don’t necessarily produce any significant seismic spikes at all. Hoffman cites the Aladdin Hotel demolition, which “didn’t even register on the nearby seismograph at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, according to geology professor Dave Weide,” because all the explosive charges were placed above ground. (See If The Big One Hits Here, Will We Be Ready?, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sunday, April 11, 1999.) This should be double-checked.
5) Another problem for structual engineers and other mechanical engineers: If the collapse of WTC 7 were purely “natural,” how far should the building reasonably be expected to have leaned as it fell? No doubt a precise answer to that question is impossible, but perhaps it might be possible to set some upper and lower bounds. (See the sections above on The “symmetry of collapse” argument (in the September 2007 slide show) and Why the symmetry argument (and defending it, if possible) is important.)
6) For any video experts: Verify the authenticity (including chain of custody) of the various WTC 7 collapse videos that have been circulated on the web. For one reason why this is important, see the section above on Why the symmetry argument (and defending it, if possible) is important, and see my blog post Two WTC 7 collapse videos: Can both be real?. Furthermore, even without the question of how far WTC 7 really leaned, it’s important to verify that all our evidence is indeed authentic. Our tangles with “debunkers” such as Joseph Nobles should teach us at least that much.