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9/11: Conspiracy v. Science NGC documentary
I saw this documentary on Netflix over the weekend. It can apparently also be viewed here:

It is a National Geographic channel "debunker" documentary, but it actually contains some interesting experiments which are worthy of some thought. Invited to speak in the documentary are the guy that made Loose Change, an engineer from the Engineers for 9/11 Truth, and another engineer. They are permitted to express themselves, but it is apparently only for the purpose of attacking the science underlying their claims, and/or filming the blank looks and bad responses these three give when confronted by the demonstrations (described below). There are four "scientific demonstrations" as a part of the documentary.

The first is the most interesting. A steel beam is suspended over a jet fuel fire until it begins to soften and sag. There are several issues with comparing this demonstration to 9/11, which the guest speakers weren't filmed asking the correct questions.

Here is a hopefully legible sketch of the first test.

[Image: attachment.php?attachmentid=6589&stc=1]
Hopefully that sketch worked out, the beam was weighted horizontally, instead of vertically (like a structural beam). I suspect that had the beam been placed vertically, with the weight at the top, it would have taken considerably more heat to weaken the beam. In addition, the beam used in the test was an "I shaped" beam, whereas the structural columns were "box columns". Thirdly, the demonstration beam was 8 inches (at its widest) (and, I'm guessing, an inch thick) and weighted by 3000 pounds. I have no idea if this load is representative of the much larger steel and much heavier load in the building.

Fourthly, the fire under the beam was fueled by 700 gallons of jet fuel, a full 7% of all the (estimated by 9/11 Commission) fuel left in the building, in the relatively tiny restricted fire-pit area under the beam. So the fuel fire in the demonstration burned much longer than the fuel fire (portion) in the Towers (although the Tower's fires would also have been fueled with paper, wood, plastic). The Commission (and Purdue University) suggested that the remaining 10,000 gallons of jet fuel would be spread out over much of the entire set of hundreds of steel beams, and would have burned away in 5 minutes. Lastly, the demonstration steel beam was directly exposed to the fire, which the Commission suggests happened by having the fireproofing stripped away by the collision. Not everyone agrees with that, but I have no idea if it's possible or not.

After all that, we can see by the demonstration that an exposed 1 inch thick steel beam, bearing a horizontal load and horizontally heated (like a barbecue) continuously by a jet fuel fire will reach 2000 degrees and lose some of its structural integrity within minutes (well below its melting point ~2600 degrees). How that translates into the WTC - much thicker steel, much less jet fuel per beam, vertical position and load - I couldn't say. [If I were to extrapolate from this demonstration to 10,000 gallons of jet fuel it would suggest that you could cause 17 inch thickness of steel to lose its integrity, which doesn't seem like very many supports if the columns were made of 4 or 5 inch thick beams.]

A better demonstration would be a vertically positioned box column loaded with a weight at its top that corresponds roughly to the relative load and thickness of each column (or the same % of its maximum carrying capacity as the WTC columns were said to experience), with a paper/wood fire around its base, doused with (say) 20 gallons of jet fuel and lit. Let that burn for a couple of hours and see if you get a structural weakness.

The second demonstration is an actual demolition. It didn't appear to me to be a very carefully timed demolition of an 8 story building from the bottom, and it didn't even bring down the condemned building completely. The interesting part of this demonstration is that the demolition guys had to cut with torches into the steel beams at a specific angle to plant their explosives, which to me appeared curiously similar to some of the angled and cleanly sheared off beams that I've seen in photos (and some of which are apparently still on display in a warehouse somewhere in New York).

Also, the demolition guys in the demonstration were so bold as to be able to estimate the man-hours it would take to wire one entire tower for demolition: anywhere from roughly 50,000 to 100,000 man-hours. It would be a lot less if you had some idea at what altitude the plane would hit. So, if you just were to wire the upper 1/3 of a tower it would be 16,500 to 33,000 hours. If you had a really good idea where the planes would hit, say, from floors 80 to 100, you'd need 9,000 to 18,000 man hours... which, if you had 10 nights to pull off (according to some alleged CIA leak about trucks and deliveries), would require a crew of 112 to 224 people.

If you happened to know exactly where the planes would strike, and you only needed, say, 5 floors of demolitions, you could pull that off (according to the demolition guys' estimate in the debunker film) in 10 nights with a crew of 30-60 people per tower. Or 1 floor (IF you can start a "pile driver"-type collapse that way?), 6-12 guys working 8 hours per night for 10 nights.

The third experiment used thermite to try to cut a steel beam. It didn't work. I assume that (since we know that, when done properly, it does work) the fact that the demonstration beam didn't have an acetylene torch-made seam in which to plant the thermite, or the fact that the container used to hold the thermite near the beam was open at the top (which would have released 50% or so of the heat away from the beam), or the fact that it didn't use "SuperThermite" or "nano-thermite" (whichever was state of the art in the early 2000's) rendered that demonstration less useful.

The fourth experiment involved shooting an aluminum tube at high velocity at a wooden box. The tube cut a nice round hole in the box. Then they put some explosives in the box, which blew it to smithereens. They should have really used some sort of reinforced concrete to build their box. And I have no idea whether the proportion of explosive to building material was in any way representative of the proportion of a missile explosive to reinforced concrete. The fact is, there WAS an explosion. You can see it on the Pentagon security footage. This experiment should be redone with an actual airplane nose and actual reinforced concrete.

The Purdue computer simulation of the Pentagon situation uses merely data given to it by the Transport & Safety Institute for airspeed and angle of approach. Purdue does not know from where the data originated. (You probably know of the two Washington DC cops that personally witnessed a different angle of approach than the official story.)

Lastly, the film makers propose an interesting "straw-man" scenario which they claim to be the "best case" for an inside job, which involves substituting one plane for another in midflight (three times) and then crashing the luckless travelers from those three flights into the ground at Shanksville. But they don't discredit this straw-man by proving that it is physically impossible, or that the timing of these events make it impossible... they simply say that this scenario would require "tens of thousands" or "hundreds of thousands" of people to be in on it in order to work.

To sum up, the documentary is worth a look, if only to get some idea what debunkers are claiming.

Attached Files
.jpg   beam.jpg (Size: 6.38 KB / Downloads: 16)
"All that is necessary for tyranny to succeed is for good men to do nothing." (unknown)

James Tracy: "There is sometimes an undue amount of paranoia among some conspiracy researchers that can contribute to flawed observations and analysis."

Gary Cornwell (Dept. Chief Counsel HSCA): "A fact merely marks the point at which we have agreed to let investigation cease."

Alan Ford: "Just because you believe it, that doesn't make it so."
National Geographic is owned by Murdoch.

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