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November 15, 2010

Geraldo: Yeah, I'm Open Minded About 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

Via Hot Air's Headlines, Geraldo, some kind of engineer now, has "questions."

"Building seven came down, went into a sudden collapse across the full width and length of the building, for 2.25 seconds, which amounted to 105 feet or eight stories, eight 13-foot-tall stories -- it was in full free-fall acceleration, " explained Tony Szamboti, a mechanical engineer who appeared on Fox News with McIlvaine.

"That is impossible because, in a natural collapse, columns would have to buckle," he said. "When columns buckle, there is a minimum resistance. ... It would slow down."

First of all, this is stupid. The proof they offer is that the building couldn't have fallen at "freefall acceleration;" it's impossible.

The next proof is that the building did fall at freefall acceleration. Ergo something odd must have happened.

Do they not notice the problem here? Their big proof is that it's impossible for a building to fall at freefall acceleration. But it did. How about modifying your original claim that it's impossible?

In other words: Whatever happened, the building did fall at freefall acceleration. Whether it's a plane doing it, or their stupid theory about a controlled demolition -- either way, the fact is that the building fell at that speed. So what proof is this? Either way, the claim they're making is that what happened is simply impossible under any circumstances.

But that is what happened.

Second of all, that's not what happened. The modified version of this claim is that the building fell almost at freefall acceleration (because apparently it did collapse down more slowly than at a full 1 g.)

So... um. The claim is that any building that was collapsing in on itself must fall at some trivial discount to 1 g, which is... what happened.

And from this stew of angry crazy -- controlled demolition.

"What are you suggesting brought it down?" Geraldo asked.

"I'm suggesting there was some form of demolition devices in that building," he replied. "... I'm not saying I know what it is. I'm saying that it was at freefall acceleration and the NIST admitted to that."

Geraldo agreed that it looked like a structure "being demolished by the professionals who can actually collapse a building right into its own footprint".

Let me get to the central stupidity of this proof, which is repeated over and over and over again -- that the building looked like a building brought down by a controlled explosion.

There is a reason people say that. A simple reason, actually. I'm surprised these geniuses have never considered it.

The reason they liken it to a building brought down by controlled demolition is because they have never seen a building brought down in any other fashion. That is, their visual memory of buildings coming down is always a memory of big casino-hotels in Vegas being brought down that way. That's what they all look like.

But have they ever seen a skyscraper that didn't collapse due to a controlled explosion?

That is, is there a single filmed record of any building falling due to some other cause?

I can't remember any. If anyone knows, let me know.

Here's a possibility for the Truthers -- 95% of all buildings which collapse will pancake down, one floor collapsing on to the next, just like the 9/11 buildings, whether brought down by controlled demolition or non-controlled unexpected demolition, because that is how these things tend to collapse.

They lack a contrary case -- that is, in their stupid little minds they are thinking that most buildings brought down by uncontrolled explosions topple over like Lego towers, falling over to their sides (and knocking over the dinosaur toys right next to them). Thus, any building that pancakes must be brought down by controlled demolition.

That is what they are thinking. Their stupid little memories of knocking over Lego towers. It does not occur to them that they cannot simply "upscale" from that example -- that perhaps the forces of friction holding Lego bricks together, and the structural strength of plastic, are both quite a bit stronger than the absolutely trivial forces pulling down a two foot tall, zero point one kilogram of mass Lego tower. It doesn't seem to occur to them that in a real110-story building, the force of gravity dramatically outpace the structural integrity of Lego bricks.

Do they have a single recorded case of this happening in the real world? That is, not involving a Lego tower, but a real tower in the real world toppling over to its side like a giant domino?

If 95% of all buildings will pancake down, no matter what brings them down, with just one in twenty falling to the side, then what kind of proof is it that the 9/11 buildings pancaked down? They would pancake down 95% of the time no matter what the cause of the demolition was.

The Truthers cannot point to a single building falling down in any other way -- and yet they assert (through an unstated but quite visible assumption) that the "normal" way buildings fall down is toppling over to one side, and it's only the controlled sort of demolition that causes pancaking.

Where is their evidence for this? Apart from disaster movies, I mean, which, um, don't count. Where is their film showing a building falling over to the side?

Guys -- gravity pulls down. Directly down. Unless there is a very serious force being applied to the side of a very heavy structure, 99-100% of its movement during a collapse will be directly down, not off to the side (gravity doesn't pull to the side).


Did I Make My Point Clear? I don't think I did -- that's why I kept writing and writing. Because I suspected I wasn't making my point clear.

I'm talking about a control. Like in a drug test-- a placebo control group alongside the actual group the drug is being tested on, to make sure that any effects are coming from the drug itself and not generally-existing factors.

Where is their "control study" of a building falling by some cause other than a controlled demolition? How can they say with certainty that buildings don't naturally fall in a pancake collapse without a single control case of a building falling in any other manner?

Update: Here's One Building That Toppled Over. I said 95% because I was pretty confident this sort of fall-over was possible -- but unlikely.

Note it's only a 13 story building.

Thanks Hoss Fuentes.

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posted by Ace at 12:20 PM

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