Saturday, July 29, 2006

A memo from the secret underground bunker of the Gnomes of Zurich:

"zomg! WTC 7 collapsed straight down!"

Did gravity have a strong lateral pull in NYC that day? Which way was it supposed to collapse? The number of people who think that buildings are supposed to topple like trees shows the woeful state of science education in this country...

Somebody in that thread states that a current poll shows that 60% of people believe that dreck. I'm skeptical about those numbers without seeing the raw data, but assuming they're true, I'd like to see a followup poll showing the corellation with folks who think that Capricorn One was a documentary.


Abject Disappointment said...

I wasn't aware you had an advanced Degree in Physics, and/or an impressive background in structural Engineering.

You certainly are impressive, given your knowledge base.


Lizard said...

There's a lot of wanna-be Aristotles on the moonbat front. By this I mean, they do not care about facts or empiricism -- they have in their mind ideas of how things "should" be:"Buldings fall like trees! Planes leave huge holes as wide as their wingspan! The government is competent enough to pull off a huge scam!" They have no training or education or even direct experience -- they look at edited footage of an event, compare it to their imagined idea of what "ought to" happen, and then get all hot&bothered. They have one major difference from Aristotle, though -- he was smart. They ain't.

(see also:

Anonymous said...

"abject disappointment",

Let me guess: You're under 23, are in college, and are an "Anarchist".

How many did I get right?

Dr. StrangeGun said...

When you design a building so it's terminus of design load flexes directly towards the middle of all given floor, it has no *choice* but to fall straight down. It'll fall straight through the middle like it was guided by the hand of some disgruntled deity... a design just like the WTC towers.

How do you like them apples, you abject dissapointment?

B&N said...

Hey abject,

I have a clue for you. This isn't a subject for the ill-informed to debate without having some PLAUSIBLE explanation as to what should have happened, and from the attitude of your comment, it sounds as though you are advocating the theories of the moonbats.

If you want to know the truth, ask an expert. I am sure that Tam has reviewed the situation, and has laughed at the moonbats who are convinced that they know something because they have an irrelevent question that no one can provide an appropriate (for them anyway) answer for.

And yes, I am an expert at this kind of thing. It is what I do for a living. In fact, I had the collapse figured out about five minutes after I first tuned in, with the timing being the only thing that I couldn't predict.

Sorry if I'm coming off as a complete a$$hole about this, but I've been hearing about this BS a lot lately, and it is more than annoying. Misinformation like this is like a Democrat in the White House, exceedingly dangerous.

Justin said...


Abject is over 23 (26), in college but has been working a full-time job for the past 6 years or so, and isn't an Anarchist.

You scored about 0.5 for 3.

WTC7 can be a point of contention between Abject and I. Personally I have no idea why it went down like that.

I've seen footage of skyscrapers that burned longer than WTC1, WTC2, and WTC7 but still stood. I've seen footage of controlled demolitions gone wrong where the structure did topple like a tree.

Although in that case it was a silo of sorts, so it makes sense that it would naturally topple different than a multi-storied building.

I'm puzzled by the Murrah building that McVeigh blew up -- there was massive damage but the structure still held.

Then, of course, I've seen the Discovery/History Channel/TLC shows about building demolition that stress just how difficult it is to take a structure down cleanly. If modern structures are designed to collapse like this then what's the big deal about taking them down? Seems like it would be a pretty easy job - just blow out a central support column and watch it all come down. Piece of cake.

This, naturally, leads to another question I'm forced to ponder upon: We actually build buildings to collapse in total failure when there's serious damage done?

What yahoo thought this idea up? Are we still teaching this type of architecture in our universities these days?

Actually, have we rethought any of our skyscraper designs since 9/11? I think we should, but I'm not aware of any work being done to make sure this doesn't happen again. I am speaking only of education, not the War on Terrorism.

B&N, you might be able to comment on this one. I'm genuinely curious as to whether or not structural engineering has changed after 9/11.

Also, if you would be so kind, what's the difference between the Murrah building and WTC7? I gather they were constructed very differently because Murrah stood. What is the difference in structure? More importantly, why the difference in structure?

I'm not trying to be snarky -- I really want to know why buildings behave differently and why they're build differently.

I will close with a bit of snark, however:

The government is competent enough to pull off a huge scam!

Well, 58,000 men died in Vietnam and the final drop in the bucket to turn it into a full blown conflict was a complete lie. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident never really happened. LBJ and MacNamara spun a couple of gunshots into something that got Congress to authorize massive troop deployments.

Our government is capable of pulling off a lie. I just picked a handy example to show you that even Congress, I repeat, CONGRESS, can be duped by government lies.

Let's put WTC7 out of our minds and ask ourselves, honestly, if the American public can be duped into buying into a lie.

We can.

Social Security. :)

Dr. StrangeGun said...


Stop while you're behind. You've just attempted to equate about 5 different kind of building methods, construction, and materials in ways in which they could not be more different.

The WTC towers went down the way they did because there are no interior supports in that building design, everything is held up by the outer framework. Floors are spans of lighter materials. Anything falls from an upper floor, the lower floor buckles and puts the outer structure in tension. It's like dropping a bowling ball into a floating piece of plastic, it'll collapse directly downwards and pull the top (and now unencumbered) outer support inwards. It's like rolling a sock down, inside out. The outer frame took all the compression loads the falling tower created right up to the point where sideways tension exceeded the deformation point, and *swoop* in they go.

Silos are very similar but dofferent because there's no internal tension structure. The only way WTC could have fallen over like a botched silo demo is if the framework were severed at the bottom.

"standard" construction spans floors between compression members that are a few feet apart, many of them. That's why those are hard to demolish, you've got to sever the inner supports (that WTC didn't have) first, then ripple outward to generate the same kind of implosion that WTC could do all by itself.

As for the federal building, it collapsed the way it did because it was a poured-in-place reinforced concrete structure. The shock wave from the blast hit the underside of the floors where they were exposed (at the front of the building) and lifted them, placing the concrete in tension and crumbling it; that concrete gave way the moment it went back into compression, leaving just the front of the building, where it was tensioned, to collapse.

I'm sure B&N will back me up on this.. in fact I hope he does, he's the pro, I'm just some schlock with a learning addiction and a yen for mechanical engineering.

Just back off, you've lost this one.

Marko said...

Look at the construction and design details of the WTC...they're freely available online. They were designed with the outer frame and the core as anchors for the floors. The frame and core bore the load, and when the upper floors collapsed due to the supports melting in jet fuel ignited fire, the whole structure had no other way to collapse but straight down, pancaking the floors on top of each other.

The conspiracy folks have a woeful lack of basic engineering and physics knowledge. Besides, they fail to explain how 40,000 people a day could have missed the extensive preparations necessary for a controlled demolition of the buildings. It's not as simple as sticking a few sticks of dynamite into some support trusses.

But hey...for those who believe in a conspiracy, any positive evidence is sufficient, and no contrary evidence is ever enough.

T.Stahl said...

Several weeks ago we had the same discussion at the shooting club. Suddenly there was a bunch of self-proclaimed experts that knew all about structural engineering and the effect tons of burning kerosene had on the WTC's structure.

And they didn't give a *beep* about the opinion of an aeronautical engineer and structural analyst (me).

They just couldn't believe that it happened THE WAY it happened and WHY it happened.

ColtCCO said...

T. Stahl - the reason they can't bring them to beleive the "WAY" is the WHY.

For them to belive that it happened just like the way the smart people who could build another one said it did, they'd have to beleive the boring, humdrum story that all their boring neighbors beleive. 'C'mon, Islamic terrorists crashed planes into buildings? Bullshit, you have no idea! Dude, it was totally SECRET CABAL OF THE FREEMASON SKULLANBONES ILLUMINATISTS, you fnord-ignoring lemming.'

Sorry, the truth is boring, logical and obvious in this case. Some people can't accept Islamic terrorism at face value, some people want to belive that Bush is not just a bad leader, but a Hitler-esque Hyper-Evil mass murderer with ties to super-secret world-control groups, some people just wanna sound smart when they talk to their friends.


ycvfaggy!(faggy? What's up with the captcha filter?)

Anonymous said...

I am a lieutenant working for a fire department, and the WTC collapse is easily explainable.

If you want to know why buildings fail the way they do, read "Building Construction for the Fire Service" by Francis L. Brannigan. It explains how buildings can collapse from fire. It happens everyday in America.

You can also get:
Collapse of Burning Buildings: A Guide to Fireground Safety

Safety and Survival on the Fireground

and the Fire Officer's Handbook of Tactics

The collapse types of the Murrah and of WTC were from completely different and well documented causes. You cannot compare the two. And in case you didn't know, you cannot make a collapse proof building.

BobG said...

Given the structure of the building, and the type of damage it sustained, the downwards collapse makes sense to anyone with any background in physics and/or building structures.
There must be an awful lot of people out there wearing tinfoil hats...

Myron said...

Some moonbats claim Flt 77 didn't hit the Pentagon, either. Here's a computer simulation coupled with photos that show exactly what happened.

B&N said...

Thanks for all of the questions.

I am working on responses to most of them.

Hopefully I can post something here later today.

Anonymous said...

Why did WTC7 Collapse?

As that was the orginal point of the post, the debate regarding the Twin Towers is moot.

Tam said...

"Why did WTC7 Collapse?"

Not being an architect or demolition expert, I can't offer a professional opinion, but my layperson's hunch would say that it probably had something to do with being pelted with enough debris to open a twenty-story hole in the structure, combined with a fire that was fed by a four inch gas-line and as much as 40,000 gallons of diesel, and raged unchecked and out of control for hours.

When the fire guys started saying "Yup, that mother's coming down," early in the afternoon, I began to suspect that it would, in fact, come down.

phlegmfatale said...

I've barely heard the rumblings, and I'm already sick of the conspiracy harangue about the WTC towers. It's pitiful, annoying, and not a little embarrassing to watch. That this is given creedence by anyone is baffling.

Rustmeister said...

I saw some guy yesterday on C SPAN. Some group of "scholars" putting forth the conspiracy theories.

I liked how he could say things like "seven of the hijackers who supposedly died on 9/11 have been interviewed by British newspapers since then", I think something like that would be big news in most places. But not one shred of evidence. nada.

Hey, I can fathom the possibility of a JFK conspiracy, but this one defies logic.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Why did WTC7 Collapse?"

Are you attempting to be philosophical or just demonstrating a poor grasp of the language?

Anonymous said...

If there really was a big goverment conspiracy / plot, don't you think the New York Times would have published it? Really...

B&N said...

For anyone still interested in this thread, I have posted something that I hope addresses the issues presented.