Wednesday, December 26, 2007

reading the fine print of FEMA 403

[fine print - click to read]

FEMA's World Trade Center Building Performance Study (a.k.a. FEMA 403) was first released in May 2002. It is available in the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page, which links to FEMA's online collection of PDFs. But if you order a CD of the Study from FEMA's site, you'll receive the Second Printing of FEMA 403, from September of 2002. I haven't been through them both for the sake of page-to-page comparison, but one obvious difference is the addition of a disclaimer (excerpted above) to page 2 of the Table of Contents.

Normally disclaimers are no big deal. Websites use them to say 'we're not responsible for the content of third-party links'. Companies use them to say 'we're not responsible for your misuse of our product'. But this one strikes me as particularly odd. Considering that the purpose and scope of FEMA 403 included "determining the probable causes of collapse" (FEMA 403, Chapter 1, page 1) of the Twin Towers, and that the resulting documents bear the seal of FEMA and the logo of the American Society of Civil Engineers, it's somewhat disconcerting to see that "The U.S. Government, FEMA, and other Federal agencies assume no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information herein."

So it really doesn't matter if FEMA misrepresented the true size of the core columns in WTC 1 & 2, or didn't sufficiently explain the collapse mechanism(s), or referred to the unique collapse of WTC 7 as an "implosion" (FEMA 403, Chapter 5, page 31), because they're not responsible for the contents of their own report.

CYA at its finest.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The 'Deep Mystery' of Missing Steel

This is a poster i've been working on for a while now.

The pic above links to the MissingSteel blog, where you can obtain a full-size 150dpi copy of the image, suitable for printing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Popular Mechanics debunks Rosie... with a lie

Everyone by now is (or should be) familiar with Rosie O'Donnell's rants on The View recently, in which she single-handedly brought the as-yet-unexplained implosion of WTC7 back to the forefront of the 9/11 discussion.

Her words were met with scorn and ridicule by the usual suspects: the braintrust at FoxNews, the armchair 'debunkers', 'renowned metallurgist' Jonah Goldberg, and now the nattering nabobs of nincompoopery, Popular Mechanics, have chimed in on their blog.

PM's derisive 'debunkings' of the 9/11 Truth movement, and the straw-man tactics which they've employed in the process, have become the stuff of legend among the 'bunkers', and they're always diligent in giving the appearance of a strong backing by 'the experts'.

But in this case, PM is 100% WRONG on the facts, and their mis-characterization (whether intentional or not) is perhaps the most glaring example yet of their abandonment of scientific method in favor of regurgitated propaganda.

And now, to the quotes:


"I do believe that it’s the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel. I do believe that it defies physics that World Trade Center tower 7—building 7, which collapsed in on itself—it is impossible for a building to fall the way it fell without explosives being involved. World Trade Center 7. World Trade [Center] 1 and 2 got hit by planes—7, miraculously, the first time in history, steel was melted by fire. It is physically impossible."

"Ms. O’Donnell fundamentally misstates the case with her use of the word 'melted': Evidence currently points to WTC7 also collapsing because fires weakened its ravaged steel structure."


FEMA 403 Appendix C, an examination of steel recovered from WTC7 and WTC 1 or 2:

"Evidence of a severe high temperature corrosion attack on the steel, including oxidation and sulfidation with subsequent intergranular melting, was readily visible in the near-surface microstructure" - FEMA 403 C-1.

"The eutectic temperature for this mixture strongly suggests that the temperatures in this region of the steel beam approached 1,000 C (1,800 F), which is substantially lower than would be expected for melting this steel." - FEMA 403 C-2

It seems clear from the above quotes that FEMA's experts (Jonathan Barnett, Ronald Biederman, and Richard D. Sisson, Jr. ) saw visible evidence of melted steel.

Thus, Popular Mechanics fundamentally misstates the case with their attempt to disallow the use of the word 'melted'.

PM goes on to say that NIST's 2006 WTC7 Progress Report "points out that 'NIST has found no evidence of a blast or controlled demolition.' ", without bothering to mention that NIST has also claimed, and continues to claim, that "no steel was recovered from WTC7" .

NIST, in this case, appears to be inexplicably unaware of the existence of the above-referenced steel samples from FEMA 403, Appendix C.

That, for NIST, is called 'plausible deniability'. As long as they contend that the WTC7 steel samples don't exist, they can continue to insist that they've found "no evidence", and keep their 'investigation' in the realm of the hypothetical.

It is also the epitome of bad science, to ignore empirical data because it invalidates pre-determined conclusions.

The editors of PM, in their latest desperate attempt at 'debunking', seem to be skating on some rather thin ice as we enter the Spring Thaw...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

SecondLife Photoset on Flickr

Skeptosis Link on Flickr

I've just uploaded 20 pics from SecondLife, showing various details from the inside of my building.

Still very much a work in progress, but i've been busy. Should be open for visitors within a week. Comments are welcome.

9/11 Truth in Second Life

A 21st pic has been added. I re-designed the WTC model to accurately reflect the size & positions of the 47 core columns, thanks to the recent release (via an anonymous Whistleblower and Dr. Steven E. Jones) of architectural drawings of the North Tower.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

debunking Star Wars...

just when it seems the 'bunkers' couldn't get any stupider, they do. i originally came across this bit of idiocy-parading-as-satire on a myspace group (the same group whose members seemed convinced i was a 'government disinfo agent'), so i spent an hour or so and debunked it there.

but now it seems to have found a wider audience on the web, so here we go again:

1) Why were a handful of rebel fighters able to penetrate the defenses of a battle station that had the capability of destroying an entire planet and the defenses to ward off several fleets of battle ships?

The capability of destroying an entire planet is one thing, planets travel in a fixed orbit and cannot perform evasive maneuvers.

Further, the author does not cite a source for the claim that the Death Star had 'the defenses to ward off several fleets of battle ships'

2) Why did Grand Moff Tarkin refuse to deploy the station’s large fleet of TIE Fighters until it was too late? Was he acting on orders from somebody to not shoot down the rebel attack force? If so, who, and why?

"The Imperials were so confident in the Death Star's might that they never considered the Rebel fighters a viable threat."

Grand Moff Tarkin, in particular, being the mastermind behind the design & construction of the Death Star, was most likely overcome by a mental deficiency now known as 'Imperial Hubris'.

3) Why was the rebel pilot who supposedly destroyed the Death Star reported to be on the Death Star days, maybe hours, prior to its destruction? Why was he allowed to escape, and why were several individuals dressed in Stormtrooper uniforms seen helping him?

a. He was reported to be on the Death Star because he was, in fact, ON THE DEATH STAR. [insert sci-fi word for 'duh' here]

b. He was not, as the author suggests, 'allowed' to escape, but rather took advantage of the distraction caused by the Kenobi/Vader lightsaber duel to escape under heavy fire.

c. Only one other individual ('Han Solo') was seen dressed in a Stormtrooper uniform (the result of an advanced space technique known as 'disguise') The author is challenged to present any & all photographic evidence of the 'several individuals' of whom he/she/it speaks, or else abandon this canard.

4) Why has there not been an investigation into allegations that Darth Vader, the second-ranking member of the Imperial Government, is in fact the father of the pilot who allegedly destroyed the Death Star?

Such an investigation is rendered moot by the simple fact that Darth Vader was killed while defending his son from the force lightning of Emperor Palpatine. A posthumous inquiry into his backstory would require approximately six hours of uncomfortable viewing and/or suspended disbelief, and would change nothing.

5) Why did Lord Vader decide to break all protocols and personally pilot a lightly armored TIE Fighter? Conveniently, this placed Lord Vader outside of the Death Star when it was destroyed, where he was also conveniently able to escape from a large-sized rebel fleet that had just routed the Imperial forces. Why would Lord Vader, one of the highest ranking members of the Imperial Government, suddenly decide to fly away from the Death Star in the middle of a battle? Did he know something that the rest of the Imperial Navy didn’t?

a. the author is challenged to specify the 'protocols' to which he/she/it is referring.

b. the TIE fighter piloted by Darth Vader was not, in fact, 'lightly armored' as the author suggests, but was instead an enhanced version of same, with both a reinforced hull and high-powered shielding.

c. Darth Vader did not, as the author claims, 'suddenly fly away', but rather was sideswiped by another TIE fighter and sent careening into space.

6) How could any pilot shoot a missile into a 2 meter-wide exhaust port, let alone a pilot with no formal training, whose only claim to fame was his ability to “bullseye womprats” on Tatooine? This shot, according to one pilot, would be “impossible, even for a computer.” Yet, according to additional evidence, the pilot who allegedly fired the missile turned off his targeting computer when he was supposedly firing the shot that destroyed the Death Star. Why have these discrepancies never been investigated, let alone explained?

Every Jedi in the world understands how the shot was accomplished, and although the Imperial Institute of Standards and Technology (IIST) have yet to release their 'final report' on the destruction of Exhaust Port 7, you can be assured that there is a simple, logical explanation. (space sarcasm)

7) Why has their been no investigation into evidence that the droids who provided the rebels with the Death Star plans were once owned by none other than Lord Vader himself, and were found, conveniently, by the pilot who destroyed the Death Star, and who is also believed to be Lord Vader’s son? Evidence also shows that the droids were brought to one Ben Kenobi, who, records indicate, was Darth Vader’s teacher many years earlier! Are all these personal connections between the conspirators and a key figure in the Imperial government supposed to be coincidences?

a. Investigation into this non-issue is entirely unnecessary, as one of the droids was built by Lord Vader at a young age, but was then abducted by Tusken raiders, in a traumatic event that also took the life of his mother. The other droid was never owned by Lord Vader, but was in fact the property of his childhood sweetheart.

b. The droids were not, in fact, 'brought' to Ben Kenobi as the author suggests. After fleeing Darth Vader's Imperial Star Destroyer via an escape pod, one of the droids (R2-D2) purposely directed the craft to the desert planet of Tatooine, in order to convey vital information to Mr. Kenobi. Once there, the droid's mission was side-tracked after it and its companion were abducted by Jawa traders. Once acquired by a local farmer and free of the traders' control, the droid immediately sought out Mr. Kenobi to deliver the information with which it had been entrusted.

c. The author seems to have confused 'personal connections' with 'geographic proximity'. Darth Vader was from the planet of Tatooine. When he fathered children later in life, the boy (Luke Skywalker) was taken back to that planet by Mr. Kenobi, who entrusted a local couple with his upbringing, and remained nearby to live out the rest of his life in peace and obscurity, and to watch over the young man.

8) How could a single missile destroy a battle station the size of a moon? No records, anywhere, show that any battle station or capital ship has ever been destroyed by a single missile. Furthermore, analysis of the tape of the last moments of the Death Star show numerous small explosions along its surface, prior to it exploding completely! Why does all evidence indicate that strategically placed explosives, not a single missile, is what destroyed the Death Star?

Clearly the author has not examined, even superficially, the plans of the Death Star. "A small ray-shielded thermal exhaust port led directly from the surface of the station into the heart of its colossal reactor. If the port could be breached by proton torpedoes, then the resulting chain reaction would destroy the station."

Furthermore, he/she/it seems unfamiliar with the universally recognized definition of 'chain reaction': an exponentially increasing series of reactions. In this case, explosions.

and now that we're all done laughing, let's get back to the subject at hand: the murder of nearly 3,000 people on 9/11, and the lies and half-truths fed to us by our own government (and their cadre of apologists) in the 5.5 years since.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

United 93?

United Airlines Flight 93, the source of so much controversy, speculation, and skepticism.

Why? Because so little about the alleged 'crash' of this flight makes sense. One anomaly, sure, dismiss it. Anomalous events occur all the time. But this is more than a mere series of anomalous events...

1. Time of Crash
On September 12, 2001, the FAA turned over a radar record of Flight 93's flight path to the FBI. At that time, a reporter from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was told that radar contact with the plane was lost at 10:06am.

The Maryland Geological Survey released a report entitled 'Seismic Observations during September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attack' [pdf], on March 10, 2002. Using data recorded by the Seismographic Station in Standing Stone, PA (SSPA), the report's authors (Won-Young Kim of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Gerald R. Baum of the MGS) concluded that United 93 crashed at around 10:06:05 (+/- 5sec).

This seismically deduced crash time for UA93 is contradicted by three sources: the 9/11 Commission, UA93's Flight Data Recorder (FDR), and UA93's Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).

The 9/11 Commission's report, in particular, uses a series of unverifiable assertions to discount the accuracy of the MGS report, saying in a footnote (Chap. 1, note #168) that "the seismic data ... are far too weak ... and far too speculative...". The footnote refers to an unpublished email from Won-Young Kim to the Commission, and an unpublished (or unavailable) follow-up paper written by Mr. Kim, which allegedly contradicts his earlier report, still online @ the MGS website. While the seismic data for the recorded event at 10:06:05 may indeed be 'weak', it's interesting to note that there are even LESS seismic data to indicate that United 93, or for that matter anything else, crashed at 10:03am.

The same footnote goes on to say that the Commission established 10:03 as the time of impact by using "the very accurate combination of FDR, CVR, ATC, radar, and impact site data sets." Aside from the obvious question of how the impact site could give any indication whatsoever as to the exact time of the crash, there's also the fact that most of the ATC and radar data are unavailable to the public, and the only known media reports that reference these data all mention a crash time of 10:06am.

Which leaves the FDR and CVR, both of which apparently stopped recording at 10:03am, and one of which was allegedly found 25 feet underground.

2. FDR Data - NTSB DCA01MA065 [pdf]
United 93's Flight Data Recorder, an Allied Signal SSFDR, was allegedly recovered in the crater in Somerset County, and the data stored in its memory card was extracted by Honeywell. The contents of the Flight Data Recorder have been made available to the public, thanks to a FOIA request. Several interesting points are illuminated by this data.

a. The aircraft apparently crashed at a speed of over 500mph, inverted (upside-down), at an angle of ~40 degrees. This angle does not correspond with the actual crater in Shanksville, a crude outline of what one would expect to see from a jet that had crashed 'straight down' into the ground.

b. the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) aboard United 93 never activated, but neither did 'GPWC Failure', implying that the GPWS was operating, but failed to register any alerts in the moments leading up to the alleged crash.

SINK RATE - generally sounds when an aircraft's rate of descent is dangerously high (the threshold for a 'dangerously high' rate of descent is variable, and depends on the aircraft’s altitude, flap position, and landing gear position). According to the FDR, Flight 93 descended from 10000ft to impact in its final alleged minute. From 10:02am – 10:03am, UA93 supposedly descended at a rate of 10000ft/min, yet the ‘Sink Rate’ warning did not activate.

TERRAIN - Did not activate

TOO LOW TERRAIN - Did not activate

TERRAIN AHEAD PULL UP - Did not activate

GROUND PROX WARNING - Did not activate

GPWC FAILURE - Did not activate. Again, this seems to indicate that the GPWC onboard UA93 was functioning throughout the flight.

3. CVR Data
The Cockpit Voice Recorder was also allegedly recovered in the crater, at a depth of 25 feet. The recorder was described as being in 'fairly good condition', and a transcript of the CVR data was admitted into evidence during the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui. The CVR transcript, like the FDR data, shows that NONE of the typical GPWS warnings which should have activated (esp. 'Sink Rate') did, in fact, activate. It has been suggested that this could be a result of the alleged hijackers pulling the aural warning breakers, but this suggestion overlooks the fact that there is nothing in the FDR data to indicate that the warning(s) would have activated, as no trigger conditions were encountered by the GPWC or recorded by the FDR.

4. Crash Site
The spot where United 93 is said to have crashed is an open field near Shanksville, PA - the former site of a stripmine which had since been covered over with soil. One engine was allegedly recovered from the 'crater', as were both black boxes. Those black boxes are installed in the tail of an aircraft, which seems to indicate that the entire plane from nose to tail crumpled into the soft ground. Also allegedly discovered in that crater, however, was a pristine red bandana (another piece of 'evidence' featured at the Moussaoui trial). The government asserts that the alleged hijackers of UAL93 were all wearing red bandanas on their heads, and to think one of these bandanas survived in such mint condition, while the head around which it was supposedly wrapped was 'vaporized' by the crash, strains credulity.

5. Debris Field
The debris field is perhaps the most puzzling of all, with initial reports claiming that 'nothing larger than a phone book' had been seen, followed by reports of debris falling like confetti from the sky, nearly six miles from the alleged crash site. Debris was found at Indian Lake, and also at businesses outside Shanksville proper, which is itself miles away from the alleged crash site. It has been alleged that the wind on 9/11 (9mph) was sufficient to blow light pieces of paper and fabric over these great distances, but the on-the-scene reports from local media indicate that the items found included "clothing, books, ...and what appeared to be human remains." - common sense suggests that a 9mph wind is not powerful enough to blow anything much heavier than a feather across a distance of a few hundred feet, let alone a few miles. And yet enough substantial debris was recovered at these distant locations that local residents were turning in bags full of it. Additionally, one of the two engines (or rather a one-ton piece of one of the engines) was allegedly discovered hundreds of yards from the crater, though Popular Mechanics and its cadre of experts have asserted that the 2000 lb. engine-piece likely 'bounced' that distance...

This post is a rough draft, and may be amended as further information comes to light. Readers are encouraged to follow the links, research the evidence, and draw your own conclusions. Killtown and 911Research have done a great deal of detailed analysis of just about every possible aspect of the 'crash' of United 93, and i put this post together to sum up my own personal problems with the official version of events.

Any and all feedback is welcome.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fire vs. Steel - the facts

WTC5, 9/13/01, hit by the North Tower and consumed by fire, yet still standing

"Prior to 9/11, no steel-framed buildings had ever collapsed due to fire. On 9/11, three steel-framed buildings collapsed, supposedly due to fire." - you've probably heard something along those lines in the past 5 years.

And you've probably also heard the rebuttal, "The planes hit the buildings, the buildings caught on fire, the buildings collapsed - simple as that."

In fact, some lucky viewers were fed the ‘fire caused the collapse’ line almost immediately after the towers fell...

More recently, the folks at Protec Documentation Services (and/or released a paper late last year, designed to rebut various claims regarding the collapses of the buildings at the WTC complex. And they must be doing something right, because even the US State Department refers skeptical visitors to the ImplosionWorld website...

- -

This post focuses on one single aspect of the Protec/IW paper, specifically Protec's comment in response to Assertion #8 (A steel-framed building has never collapsed due to fire...)

Protec's answer? "The fact is, many steel structures have collapsed due to fire..."


That answer (and the sentences surrounding it) seemed like a weak and/or disingenuous response. The assertion was about 'steel-framed buildings', the rebuttal was regarding 'steel structures', and the author makes no mention of the number or severity of these other fire-caused collapses. So i did some digging, in an effort to discover what these 'many steel structures' might be.

First stop, Fire Protection Engineering's online archive, which has their Historical Survey of Multistory Building Collapses Due to Fire. More of an 'overview' document, really.

And that led me to NIST GCR 02-843.

This report was prepared by Hughes Associates, Inc. under Contract Number NA1341-02-W-0686.

Their data (not included in the fpe article) shows the other two steel structures which, in addition to WTC 1, 2, 5, and 7, make up the total of SIX steel buildings (in all of modern recorded history) which have collapsed due to fire.

1. One New York Plaza (NY, NY, 08/05/70) - partial collapse
50-story office building. Fire caused several steel filler beams on the 33-34th floors to fall and rest on the bottom flanges of their supporting girders.

2. Alexis Nihon Plaza (Montreal, Canada, 10/26/96) - partial collapse
15-story steel-framed office building. Approximately five hours after the fire started, a section of the 11th floor collapsed onto the 10th floor.


The NIST report also goes on to list the many steel-framed buildings that have suffered extensive fire damage and NOT collapsed:

  • One Meridian Plaza -
    38 floors, no sprinklers, 18-hour fire, no collapse.

  • Mercantile Credit Insurance Building -
    12 floors, no sprinklers, fire burnout of floors 8-10, no collapse.

  • Broadgate Phase 8 -
    14 floors, mostly not fire protected, no sprinklers, 4.5-hour fire, temperatures up to 1000C, no collapse.

  • First Interstate Bank -
    62 floors, no sprinklers, 3.5-hour fire, no collapse.

When Brent Blanchard, the author of the Protec/IW paper, wrote that "the fact is, many steel structures have collapsed due to fire", he must've realized that 2/3 of the 'many' structures he was referring to were in fact the WTC buildings themselves.

And he also didn't differentiate between the FULL collapses of WTC 1, 2, and 7 and the PARTIAL collapses of WTC5 and the two examples above.


So again, just to re-state the undebunkable truth, prior to 9/11, no steel-framed building had ever fully collapsed due to fire.

Hope that's clear enough for everyone.