What's the best popular account of the WTC collapses?

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econ41

Senior Member
.....Like I say, a book by a qualified science writer to sort the wheat from the chaff in all of this would just be nice. It doesn't exist. And early on in this thread, that's basically what you and everyone tried to explain to me -- it doesn't exist
That much agreed. Which answers your primary OP questions.
.....you and everyone tried to explain to me -- .... there's no need for it because it's all there in the NIST report.
Some have said that. Definitely NOT "everyone". I certainly do not agree "all there in the NIST report". I have specifically agreed with your need for a laymans version book INCLUDING your opinion that NIST is not appropriate.

NIST is not written for ease of understanding by lay persons. And it is definitly not "...all there in the NIST report..." for the sort of questions that lay persons ask. So NIST cannot be the final resort in youur book for laypersons. It must be subject to the same professionally valid critique as all other sources.
 

Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
The buildings succumbed to a "progressive" collapse... because their designs had features which lend themselves to progressive collapse. Empire State Building has features which would mitigate against progressive collapse - common grid w/ bolted / riveted connections for starters.

++++

I would recommend John McPhee to write this book.

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/john-...MI74qXjqK67AIVDR-tBh3Y4Ae1EAAYASAAEgL3VvD_BwE


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McPhee

++++

Re the NIST report.
They had the largest data set but their theories though possible were not convincing to me. I thought "global collapse" was a huge cop out and this was something "every-man" would need help with.
 
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econ41

Senior Member
The buildings succumbed to a "progressive" collapse... because their designs had features which lend themselves to progressive collapse.
BUT ONLY when subjected to gross trauma an order of magnitude greater than designed for. The WTC buildings were STRUCTURALLY more than adequately designed.
Re the NIST report.
They had the largest data set but their theories though possible were not convincing to me. I thought "global collapse" was a huge cop out and this was something "every-man" would need help with.
This falls outside the scope of Thomas B's claims - he has already agreed that the NIST explanations don't meet his requirement. PLUS you are confusing two distinct issues.

1) "global collapse" is NOT the "cop out". There is zero doubt among members here that all three WTC Towers did in reality totally or globally collapse.

2)The concern you refer to is the NIST claim to the effect that "from that stage global collapse was INEVITABLE". It referred to the "progression" stage of collapse and is accepted that global collapse was in fact inevitable once the Top Blocks started to bodily move downwards. Whether or not NIST correctly understood why it was true when they said it. The main reason shown by this graphic of mine from Nov 2007....
003c350.jpg
... introduced into mainstream on-line 9/11 debate labeled "ROOSD" from 2009. And that same point of applied physics demonstrated by Mick West's models linked earlier in the thread.

All of which is true despite all of us being mere amateurs who do no meet Thomas B's criteria as "authoritative". ;)
 
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Thomas B

Active Member
All of which is true despite all of us being mere amateurs who do no meet Thomas B's criteria as "authoritative". ;)
It once again sounds like you've taken offence so I want to be clear that I'd be pushing for a popular book with a major publisher even if Leslie Robertson or Shyam Sunder or Uwe Starossek were explaining their views to me on this forum using their real names. I'm sure you're smart people and, as I keep saying, I am (slowly) learning things. But this is just not the most efficient way to make make people comfortable with the physics of 9/11. It takes way too much patience and concentration (and thick skin) from all of us.
 

Thomas B

Active Member
The buildings succumbed to a "progressive" collapse... because their designs had features which lend themselves to progressive collapse. Empire State Building has features which would mitigate against progressive collapse - common grid w/ bolted / riveted connections for starters.
BUT ONLY when subjected to gross trauma an order of magnitude greater than designed for. The WTC buildings were STRUCTURALLY more than adequately designed.
I think a detailed comparison of WTC and ESB would be really useful if what Jeffrey is saying is true. The thought experiment in which the top 20 or 30 floors are shifted half-a-column off (or dropped half-a-floor onto) the bottom section could be carried through on simplified models of the structures.

If it is true that the ESB would not be totally destroyed by this, then it would be demonstrating something like the behavior that truthers expected of the WTC. So the puzzle is resolved by identifying the points on which the structures differ (yes, perhaps the "common grid w/ bolted / riveted connections for starters," as Jeffrey suggests.)

It is usually said that the WTC used a very "efficient" structural design. But this is often understood (or I at least normally understand it) to mean that it was just as strong as, or stronger than, existing skyscrapers, using less material, labor, and time in its construction. If the comparison ends up showing that WTC was uniquely (or specifically) vulnerable to total progressive ("runaway") collapse then this would certainly help square our understanding of 9/11 with our physics intuitions.

It would, however, raise the question of how such a design, which produced a building that was (in what turned out to be an important sense) weaker than the otherwise "less efficient" Empire State Building, got approved. Another interesting part of the story.
 
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Thomas B

Active Member
I think a detailed comparison of WTC and ESB would be really useful if what Jeffrey is saying is true.
PS. Another instructive comparison would actually be the pyramids. These are, I take it, much stronger than the WTC in the relevant sense. (Dropping the upper third on the lower two-thirds wouldn't completely destroy a pyramid.) But they are also much less efficient uses of (much weaker) material. I imagine it would be structurally impossible (and certainly unwise) to build a megalith of solid limestone 1300 x 400 x 400 feet. It would be even less possible to make room for over 100 floors of office space within it. So working through how steel lets you accomplish something like the structural strength of a pyramid (though of course without their ridiculous safety factor) might explain to the lay reader where the threshold is reached and you end up with a building that is likely to behave like the WTC under conditions like 9/11. (I bring this up because, if @Jeffrey Orling is right, that efficiency threshold was not reached with the Empire State Building.)

PPS. This relates back to what I said about the movie that @Mendel mentioned: At one point the narrator tells us that "the efficiency of the design meant that with any major element removed the whole structure would fall."
 
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Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
BUT ONLY when subjected to gross trauma an order of magnitude greater than designed for. The WTC buildings were STRUCTURALLY more than adequately designed.

This falls outside the scope of Thomas B's claims - he has already agreed that the NIST explanations don't meet his requirement. PLUS you are confusing two distinct issues.

1) "global collapse" is NOT the "cop out". There is zero doubt among members here that all three WTC Towers did in reality totally or globally collapse.

2)The concern you refer to is the NIST claim to the effect that "from that stage global collapse was INEVITABLE". It referred to the "progression" stage of collapse and is accepted that global collapse was in fact inevitable once the Top Blocks started to bodily move downwards. Whether or not NIST correctly understood why it was true when they said it. The main reason shown by this graphic of mine from Nov 2007....
View attachment 41835
... introduced into mainstream on-line 9/11 debate labeled "ROOSD" from 2009. And that same point of applied physics demonstrated by Mick West's models linked earlier in the thread.

All of which is true despite all of us being mere amateurs who do no meet Thomas B's criteria as "authoritative". ;)
You misconstrue what I am suggesting.
The entire event was a progressive "collapse scenario" and had different processes in play. The so called global collapse was the part when the buildings appear to completely collapse.. But, for example, the collapse of the EPH was a step in the total progression... and it was preceded by whatever caused it to move.
It is agreed and accepted that the trauma for the twins and I suppose 7wtc far exceed expected conditions because of the unfought fire which raged absent working sprinklers.
So once the structures went "run away" the fire did not matter. It was then a basic engineering calculation of load (mostly dynamic) fart exceeding capacity, The fires acted to turn enough of the static structure into a dynamic load which exceed the capacity of the undamaged part(s) to support those loads.

The reference to the ESB is not that it would resist a mass of 16 floors dropping on an intact floor.... but its grid of columns would tend to isolate local collapse to within one columns bay for example... if if THAT bad went runaway leaving a hole inside the building all the way to the ground. Open office plans tend to involve all the floor are outside the core as they are designed to act like rigid composite plates.

Redundancy or over design is too expensive. But redundancy for sprinkler systems for example is not. Sprinklers depend on a tank and gravity feed or a pressurized system. If the electrics fail the system can possibly function very long. And the system needs to be designed to handle (apparently) larger fires than a typical isolated office fire fueled by combustible office contents. Jet fuel and stored diesel inside the building for back up power would require more robust fire suppression systems I would think. BTW I believe the twin towers were designed without sprinklers... and they were a retro fit. If true I wonder what the engineers were thinking? And why were the shaft enclosures to "flimsy"? That to me is a design flaw... because safe egress is a key design function.

I believe (without proof) that the collapse was not as much drive by failed columns as much as by "displaced columns" forced out of alignment by heat expanded beams. girders, bracing etc. Out of aligned bearing conditions led to bucking.

And YES there were failures of the OOS truss seats... but (I think) the seat failures were more likely an artifact not the cause of the floor plates collapsing. Bolt shearing and tear out and seat bending seem to be signs of failure from dynamic over loading.

The duration of the fires is worth consideration. 7wtc took quite some time for the structure to begin to fail compared to the twins. But the failure in 7wtc we are told was from expanding beams and girders forcing them to be pushed off a beam seat. In 1wtc and I suppose 2wtc we are told that expanding trusses deformed the facade to the point of buckling. How do you explain the drop of the antenna of 1wtc from sagging floor trusses?

You can't summarize the collapse "progression" in the initiation period unless you account for all the observations and link that to the effect of heat. After release the explanation is mechanical and related to failures from load redistribution.

No observations were possible INTO the structure. The explanations are best guess theories of what was happening.
 

econ41

Senior Member
It once again sounds like you've taken offence .....
Not so. Just my sense of humour in face of the frustration of your circling the debate. Hence the ;) emoticon.

I repeat my advice - I recommend that you learn the details of the collapse mechanism that would be most of the topic of your book. Don't remain in ignorance whilst waiting for the book. I'll respond to your next post and give you several examples of why "undestanding the topic" would save a lot of discussion.
 

Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
PS. Another instructive comparison would actually be the pyramids. These are, I take it, much stronger than the WTC in the relevant sense. (Dropping the upper third on the lower two-thirds wouldn't completely destroy a pyramid.) But they are also much less efficient uses of (much weaker) material. I imagine it would be structurally impossible (and certainly unwise) to build a megalith of solid limestone 1300 x 400 x 400 feet. It would be even less possible to make room for over 100 floors of office space within it. So working through how steel lets you accomplish something like the structural strength of a pyramid (though of course without their ridiculous safety factor) might explain to the lay reader where the threshold is reached and you end up with a building that is likely to behave like the WTC under conditions like 9/11. (I bring this up because, if @Jeffrey Orling is right, that efficiency threshold was not reached with the Empire State Building.)

PPS. This relates back to what I said about the movie that @Mendel mentioned: At one point the narrator tells us that "the efficiency of the design meant that with any major element removed the whole structure would fall."

A mostly air pyramid with the same floor space at the twin tower had would have a too large footprint. Real estate is precious hence they concept of a small foot print repeated multiple times. The design would determine if a top section collapsing in a pyramid would "radiate" destruction outward as it dropped vertically. I think the dynamic loading would rip the structure (joints) and loads would not moved effectively laterally.... essentially leaving a hole in the center of the pyramid to the ground. The expanding debris pile would undermine the structure as well... but it would be difficult to calculate.

I suspect it was the expanding debris which led to the undermining of the columns supporting the 7wtc moment frame. However the moment frame might not be able to self support without lateral bracing,
Not so. Just my sense of humour in face of the frustration of your circling the debate. Hence the ;) emoticon.

I repeat my advice - I recommend that you learn the details of the collapse mechanism that would be most of the topic of your book. Don't remain in ignorance whilst waiting for the book. I'll respond to your next post and give you several examples of why "undestanding the topic" would save a lot of discussion.
The precise mechanisms in play are somewhat uncertain. But the various ways structures.... or their components fail IS settled science and engineering. So we DO know how steel behaves when heated... same with concrete, glass, GWB, aluminum and various types of connections used to tie structures' materials together into a "composite?
So actually the various collapse sub processes are reasoned "what-ifs" based on reasonable presumed energy inputs.
 

Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
Not so. Just my sense of humour in face of the frustration of your circling the debate. Hence the ;) emoticon.

I repeat my advice - I recommend that you learn the details of the collapse mechanism that would be most of the topic of your book. Don't remain in ignorance whilst waiting for the book. I'll respond to your next post and give you several examples of why "undestanding the topic" would save a lot of discussion.
Many (if not most) details are not known... and you know this. What is known is the structural design... the measurements of movement/deformation caused by the plane strikes which is visible and the movement of building parts as the fire progressed. Of course there is visual evidence of smoke and some fire. But most of the "details" can only be assumed based on engineering and materials science.
 
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econ41

Senior Member
As promised - these are examples where understanding the actual mechanism would reduce the need for inappropriate speculation - speculation about details which did not happen when we can be sure of what did happen:
I think a detailed comparison of WTC and ESB would be really useful if what Jeffrey is saying is true.
The principle issue is whether or not the structure would fail catastrophically if subjected to gross overload. Be clear on what that means. All buildings are designed to remain safe when subjected to an envelope of likely extreme loadings AND a margin for "safety". It is neither practical nor economically feasible to design for loadings grossly in excess of the likely anticipated peak loads. Put simplistically - should all buildings be designed for 10 times the likely loading "just n case".... Obviously not THEN
What happens if the building is subjected to trauma grossly in excess of what it is designed to resist. Some buildings will "hard fail" > run away progression. Others will "soft fail" and possibly halt before catastrophic total failure. >> There is a big issue of design philosophy here - I wont try to fully explain BUT building safety has two main goals which are (1) protect occupants - provide for escape and (2) minimise building damge. And for WTC1 WTC2 structural failure under gross overload was NOT the proximate cause of deaths.

The thought experiment in which the top 20 or 30 floors are shifted half-a-column off (or dropped half-a-floor onto) the bottom section could be carried through on simplified models of the structures.
IF you want a thought experiment it would be better to base one on the actual details of the relevant WTC collapse. For the Twin towers neither "shifted half-a-column off" or "dropped half-a-floor onto" were parts of the actual mechanisms. In fact "dropped some distance onto" was one of the biggest causes of false reasoning over many years. And models are only useful IF (a) You know what you are modelling; (b) you can in fact model it and (c) the model actually makes the mechanism clearer than words or pictures. Both b and c usually limiting given the complexities of most parts of the WTC collapse mechnaisms. Note the dangerous word "SIMPLIFIED" models >> risky. Very dificult to make simplified models that are valid for complex bits of mechanism
If it is true that the ESB would not be totally destroyed by this, then it would be demonstrating something like the behavior that truthers expected of the WTC. So the puzzle is resolved by identifying the points on which the structures differ (yes, perhaps the "common grid w/ bolted / riveted connections for starters," as Jeffrey suggests.)
Sorry but there is near zero chance of EITHER getting a truther to state specifically what they "expected" OR ~19 years history says it is futile to expect truthers clams to be resolved.

It is usually said that the WTC used a very "efficient" structural design. But this is often understood (or I at least normally understand it) to mean that it was just as strong as, or stronger than, existing skyscrapers, using less material, labor, and time in its construction. If the comparison ends up showing that WTC was uniquely (or specifically) vulnerable to total progressive ("runaway") collapse then this would certainly help square our understanding of 9/11 with our physics intuitions.

It would, however, raise the question of how such a design, which produced a building that was (in what turned out to be an important sense) weaker than the otherwise "less efficient" Empire State Building, got approved. Another interesting part of the story.
Both those sets of speculations are meaningless UNTIL you (or "we") put them properly in the context of a rational design philosophy as per my first comments in this post.
 
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Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
I would posit that the WTC towers were efficient designs/and erections, economical and very robust. I would also posit that the FORM of their collapse was embedded in the "DNA" of their designs.
There are few to no commercial buildings designed or should I say.... over designed to withstand excessive "conditions".. like hardened "bunkers". This would be wasteful and too expensive. The life safety issues are handled with egress strategies... getting people quickly and safely out of harm's way.
 

Keith Beachy

Senior Member
We know everything that a government agency wants us to know about an investigation it was commissioned to do. In the case of the Rogers Commission, by contrast, we also know what journalists and other researchers learned through their own inquiries.

There are a lot of openly available materials about the process of the NIST investigation. The process itself was indeed pretty transparent, with public presentations along the way. The advisory board meetings were also open to the public (I remember listening in on some of them) and there are minutes.

What we are missing is any independent, journalistic interest in and curiosity about these materials. We are assuming that both NIST and the original architects/engineers of the buildings did a good and thorough job.

But people on this forum seem undecided (or in disagreement) about whether the WTC buildings behaved "normally," i.e., as one would expect any tall building to behave, or were uniquely (but understandably) vulnerable to total collapse under the circumstances of 9/11. An issue like this came up in one of those advisory board meetings:



What I'm missing is the media coverage of the follow-up on these points. If investigators were questioning how buildings are designed in America, then either those questions were answered, or design practices changed, or a bit of both. But surely it's all interesting stuff -- for both the engineers who design buildings and the public that uses them.

It's fine to refer me back to the totality of materials NIST published on the collapses and their own investigations. But that doesn't help the public. Someone needs to represent the public's curiosity about this, and their (fully warranted) concerns about the safety of tall buildings.

One question I keep asking (mostly myself, and have never found an answer to) is what the Chicago FD would do if a 767 crashed into the Aon Center. Would they expect it to collapse within an hour or two because of its design similarities with the WTC towers? I think that question itself would be a nice hook for the whole book I'm imagining. (Or choose some closer structural analogue if it exists.)
Comparing NIST to the Rodger Commission? There was no decision to launch the collapse. Did UBL expect the towers to collapse, I doubt it. Had UBL studied the friable insulation, and wallboard in the core, did knew the speeds at impact (1600 to 2000 pounds of TNT kinetic energy impacts) which resulted in compromised fire insulation in the towers cores, and under the floors. How are NIST reports on the WTC complex like the Rodgers Commission for what you are trying to imply.

Cherry picking and quote mining a report, Meeting of the National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee December 18, 2007, is for what purpose? Do you know if they made a statement when all of the analysis was finished and were in a position to make a statement about design practices - as pertains to spray on insulation. Did you follow up? Why bring up this when there is more to the story. What is the purpose? Is this a Gish gallop in disguise...

The WTC complex disaster studies by NIST, it is like going to school for four years. How much time did it take you to finish reading all of NIST? Why not write a the "best popular account of the WTC collapses" - take the NIST reports and other studies/paper/books and have at it. For instance, to explain the tower collapse after the top sections failed, summarize the floors are held up by the core and shell connections and fail when overloaded, reminding everyone the floors don't hold up the upper floors. The collapse progression for the towers, the easiest part to explained when we know the structure of the towers. Do you understand why the collapse progressed, it has been explained.

I would love to have the time to make the best popular account of the WTC collapse, I'm an engineer. My writing skills are deplorable. I understand how and why the towers collapsed (thus I have no motivation). I understand steel fails fast in fire.

It is sad the conspiracy theorists have wasted 19 years making up fantasy, instead of studying, reading, and gaining the knowledge to understand the WTC disaster. Conspiracy theorists have failed to study NIST, other reputable studies, fires science, material science, engineering, physics, structural engineering, and gain skills required to understand the reality of the WTC disaster. A "best popular account of the WTC collapse" will not cure gullibility in the ironic disguise of open mindedness.

The Aon Center in Chicago, how it similar, and different? For one the exterior is clad in Granite, after they removed the marble which could and did fall off, the WTC was aluminum clad. Aon does maximize column-free space, like the WTC towers. Have you studied the floors, the thickness of the shell steel? Insulation, is it friable? Is wallboard used as insulation in the core? Who is going to fly a 767 at high speed into Aon? Do we need to design building to survive planes flying at illegal speed as weapons of mass destruction? From giant bombs? Where do we draw the line? I know the design of the WTC towers for stopping aircraft, what is it for the Chicago building. How fast is your 767/757 going? Who is dumb enough to fly a 767/757 into a buildings, I think they have exhausted the pilot pool for idiot followers. (image if someone was a UBL follower, and the plot was explained, I would jump up and have UBL demonstrate the plot himself, "you first UBL")

The WTC towers would have survived impacts at legal airspeeds allowed for airliners below 10,000 feet, and in the traffic area. It would still be a disaster, like other buildings hit by aircraft. It would be a disaster to have a 757/767 crash in NYC.

lol, pyramids, how much rentable office space did they have -

Cure for Conspiracies? /Bottom line
Will there will be a "best popular account of the WTC collapse" to cure conspiracy theories... will that be when we have a "best popular account of Bigfoot".
 

Thomas B

Active Member
There are few to no commercial buildings designed or should I say.... over designed to withstand excessive "conditions".. like hardened "bunkers". This would be wasteful and too expensive. The life safety issues are handled with egress strategies... getting people quickly and safely out of harm's way.
In the NIST advisory board meeting minutes that I quoted from before (with the wrong link, I just realized; thanks Keith) there's an exchange about whether buildings like WTC7 are expected to remain standing:
Q: If fires start in a building and there is no firefighting effort, is the building expected to come down? Or would it be expected that the building would remain standing after the fires have burned out?

A: Buildings are currently designed based upon E119 test results for building components and subassemblies. [...] This would provide sufficient time for people to evacuate and for automatic sprinklers or manual firefighting efforts to control the fire. [...] The assumption is that the system as a whole will survive that exposure. The implicit assumption is that when there is a situation where the sprinklers do not function, there would be burnout of the building contents without collapse. [... But] The science has not evolved to the point of designing to meet the performance objective of burnout without collapse.
So there's an interesting story here about science catching up with reality to understand how buildings can be designed to meet previously "implicit assumptions" about what would happen in the event that fires cannot be controlled and keep going until they run out of fuel. In that sense, it seems, WTC7 did not behave "as expected" and the explanation being offered here is that the relevant science wasn't yet "evolved" enough. That's exactly what the book I had in mind what deal with.
...the frustration of your circling the debate.
I'm not sure why you need to be frustrated. This isn't really a debate. I'm just clarifying what kind of book I'd like to read on this subject. Our discussion is driven forward (not in circles) by (1) people claiming that the book I want is not needed, (2) people claiming that the book I want already exists in some form, (3) people claiming that the book I want is impossible to write. I try to explain that (1) it would do a lot of good, (2) the existing books/reports/forums aren't what I mean, (3) there must be good understanding of the collapses in science. And each of these points have details that are, at least to me, just interesting in themselves to talk about.

If you feel like we're "debating" maybe you can tell me what issue you think you and I disagree about?
...what you are trying to imply. // Cherry picking and quote mining ... Is this a Gish gallop in disguise...
Second time I see that phrase. It does feel like some of you are debating with me. But it implies that I have some other point than "I wish there was a good popular book on the collapses. Does anyone else here feel the same way? Or is there a book I've missed that satisfied you?"

Sorry but there is near zero chance of EITHER getting a truther to state specifically what they "expected" OR ~19 years history says it is futile to expect truthers clams to be resolved.
This surprises me. One thing that attracted me to this forum was @Mick West 's interviews with "recovering" truthers. Their exisence suggests that "resolution" is possible and, like I say, perhaps even an "ounce of prevention"...
Cure for Conspiracies? /Bottom line
Will there will be a "best popular account of the WTC collapse" to cure conspiracy theories... will that be when we have a "best popular account of Bigfoot".
I think good popular zoology books are saving people the trouble of becoming cryptozoologists every day without fanfare or drama. Imagine if there were no such books and people said "It's impossible to write an 'authoritative', 'definitive' guide to the flora and fauna of the Rocky Mountains because there's just too many different kinds of plants, too many species of birds and insects! You want a complete account? Give it up! Is this some sort of gish gallop?" I must say, I feel a bit like that's what some of you are saying to me about this book I lament the non-existence of.
 
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Thomas B

Active Member
lol, pyramids, how much rentable office space did they have
I'm curious to know if you seriously didn't see that this was my point. Read that entire passage and tell me that I didn't imagine, first, a 1300 x 400 x 400 foot limestone monolith and, then, WTC made out of limestone. Both as highly dubious construction projects. But what we can be sure of is that the Great Pyramid is not vulnerable to top-down progressive collapse. So that's a great contrast case to the WTC, which clearly was vulnerable to top-down progressive collapse.
 

Thomas B

Active Member
The Aon Center in Chicago, how it similar, and different? For one the exterior is clad in Granite, after they removed the marble which could and did fall off, the WTC was aluminum clad. Aon does maximize column-free space, like the WTC towers. Have you studied the floors, the thickness of the shell steel? Insulation, is it friable? Is wallboard used as insulation in the core? Who is going to fly a 767 at high speed into Aon? Do we need to design building to survive planes flying at illegal speed as weapons of mass destruction? From giant bombs? Where do we draw the line? I know the design of the WTC towers for stopping aircraft, what is it for the Chicago building. How fast is your 767/757 going? Who is dumb enough to fly a 767/757 into a buildings, I think they have exhausted the pilot pool for idiot followers. (image if someone was a UBL follower, and the plot was explained, I would jump up and have UBL demonstrate the plot himself, "you first UBL")
Some of these questions probably have interesting answers. My question is a bit simpler: given what did in fact happen to the WTC, what would the Chicago Fire Department do when faced with what looks like the same situation, however it may have come about? Would they encourage people to leave (maybe even help them) but basically expect the building to collapse within a couple of hours? If not, is that because of a scientifically demonstrable difference between the buildings? That would be interesting and should go in the book.
 

Thomas B

Active Member
I would love to have the time to make the best popular account of the WTC collapse, I'm an engineer. My writing skills are deplorable. I understand how and why the towers collapsed (thus I have no motivation).
I don't understand that last part. (Especially given the first part where you say you'd love to do it.) Why would knowing how the buildings collapsed demotivate you from writing a book about it? Time is a real problem. Writing skill (and thrill) is another. I'm not demanding you write it. But I'm surprised no one (with your knowledge) has.
 
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Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
.......
I'm not sure why you need to be frustrated. This isn't really a debate. I'm just clarifying what kind of book I'd like to read on this subject. Our discussion is driven forward (not in circles) by (1) people claiming that the book I want is not needed, (2) people claiming that the book I want already exists in some form, (3) people claiming that the book I want is impossible to write. I try to explain that (1) it would do a lot of good, (2) the existing books/reports/forums aren't what I mean, (3) there must be good understanding of the collapses in science. And each of these points have details that are, at least to me, just interesting in themselves to talk about.
I am not interest in debating.
I do think the subject of the collapses of the WTC buildings "deserves" a decent summary explaining the "history" post 9/11 of various efforts to explain the collapses.
We all know of the NIST report and it seems to be accepted as the "official" account.
There were some other "theories" presented and discussed in various formats.... some articles in professional journals, articles in consumer media, some in online articles, websites, some presented informally in assorted online forums such as MetaBunk, 911FreeForms, JREF etc. FEMA published preliminary "findings". Truth guys has theories such as nano thermite, mini nukes, "space beams" and so on. I think a book should summarize and "critique" all these "ideas/theories" from an engineering/scientific perspective. That is to say all of theories put forth are just that... there is insufficient evidence to yo call them conclusive. All of the reports make "scientific" and engineering claims... ie use science and engineering principles as framework for the theory.
Evidence based "reports" MUST reveal what is known and what is unknowable. And what is UNKNOWABLE is what was happening to the structure and material inside behind the facade that was no seen. What was happening unseen, for sure, did not defy science or engineering. We know where we see smoke.... there is fire. We can't quantify the temp or the size or the location in most cases from the smoke alone... smoke will provide an estimate.
Finally a progressive collapse works its way through a structure ultimate causing the entire structure to "come apart"/fail. It is not knowable in many cases the PATH of the progression.... which is why the collapses are BLACK BOXES.... we see (observables) input (fire) and we see output (collapse) but we can't see inside the black box and know how the fire WITH specificity caused the collapses.

The FACT that these are black boxes is frustrating... and unsatisfying. But NIST and others have DEBUNKED the elements of "conspiracy theories" such as massive explosions, or nano thermite etc. So by "default" the causes were explainable by materials science, structural engineering, fire science, physics. And the vast majority of people accept this and see no reason for further pursuit and it becomes fruitless debate.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
(1) people claiming that the book I want is not needed, (2) people claiming that the book I want already exists in some form, (3) people claiming that the book I want is impossible to write. I try to explain that (1) it would do a lot of good, (2) the existing books/reports/forums aren't what I mean, (3) there must be good understanding of the collapses in science.
I am at a loss to see where you're coming from, can you show quotes?
(1) The point has been made that there is no evidence that such a book would cut down on conspiracy theories (and conspiracy theorists). If your claim is that such a book prevents CTs and "would do a lot of good", do you have evidence for that, or is it just your opinion?

(2) I haven't seen the claim that the book you want exists. But the topic is you asking for "The best popular account", so you have been pointed at some that do exist.

(3) Yes. The authority such a book can have is limited. If your claim is that there "must be good understanding" despite the lack of data about the collapse, please bring evidence for that, or realize that this is your own unfounded expectation.

Why would knowing how the buildings collapsed demotivate you from writing a book about it.
Writing a popular science book is often the outcome of the author going on a journey of discovery, which is exciting and can drive the writing process. Keith has already undertaken that journey.
 

Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
Some of these questions probably have interesting answers. My question is a bit simpler: given what did in fact happen to the WTC, what would the Chicago Fire Department do when faced with what looks like the same situation, however it may have come about? Would they encourage people to leave (maybe even help them) but basically expect the building to collapse within a couple of hours? If not, is that because of a scientifically demonstrable difference between the buildings? That would be interesting and should go in the book.
My hunch is that post 9/11 DOBs around the world began a review of high rises and their fire protection/ fire fighting and egress strategies including time / motion studies of occupants.... and undertook some changes to improve survivability of occupants short of major retro fits.
 

Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
Writing a popular science book is often the outcome of the author going on a journey of discovery, which is exciting and can drive the writing process. Keith has already undertaken that journey.
Where is your evidence for this? Can you give some examples? What is the motivation of Richard Dawkins.. Here are his books:

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/richa...MIoN219Y-87AIV4R-tBh1PNQNtEAAYASAAEgKUPvD_BwE


"Dawkins is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008.

Dawkins first came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme. With his book The Extended Phenotype (1982), he introduced into evolutionary biology the influential concept that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism's body, but can stretch far into the environment. In 2006, he founded the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science....."
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Where is your evidence for this? Can you give some examples?
I don't know much about John McPhee, but it seems he is one of these?

You are citing a scientist who writes a popular book on their subject of expertise. That's something different, and often borne out of explaining something to people first before putting it in a book.
 

Thomas B

Active Member
My hunch is that post 9/11 DOBs around the world began a review of high rises and their fire protection/ fire fighting and egress strategies including time / motion studies of occupants.... and undertook some changes to improve survivability of occupants short of major retro fits.
I think I'm just going to start saying, "That would be interesting and should go in the book," as a kind of mantra. ;-)
 

Thomas B

Active Member
Truth guys has theories such as nano thermite, mini nukes, "space beams" and so on. I think a book should summarize and "critique" all these "ideas/theories" from an engineering/scientific perspective.
I wouldn't be against such a book, but it is explicitly not what I'm asking for, and I hope at least one book in this area would leave many of these "ideas" on the side. What is needed is a book that is not oriented around or driven by the conspiracy theorists' interest in the collapses, but one that comes at them from the point of view of curiosity about how tall buildings (cf. cruise ships and space shuttles) work.
 

Thomas B

Active Member
If your claim is that such a book prevents CTs and "would do a lot of good", do you have evidence for that, or is it just your opinion?
I'm happy to say that it's just my opinion. But it seems sort of plausible. I had a chance earlier today to say that we don't give "flora and fauna" books enough credit for stemming what could be a much bigger tide of Bigfoot believers.

My argument is that, unlike other natural and technological disasters, there isn't a lot of information in the mainstream to let people satisfy their curiosity about what happened and why without going down the rabbit hole of truthers vs. debunkers. And a common answer around here seems to be, "Why would anyone be curious about why the WTC collapsed if they're not a conspiracy theorist or a debunker of conspiracy theories?" I just think there's a big group of people that are plain, oldfashioned curious. And they're clearly not being satisfied.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I just think there's a big group of people that are plain, oldfashioned curious. And they're clearly not being satisfied.
How is it clear? I mean, obviously, YOU are not satisfied, but is there really this "big group of people"?

If you put aside your feeling that there would be such a group, what's the objective evidence that such a group exists?
 

Thomas B

Active Member
I have a question for @Jeffrey Orling and @econ41. As I understand it, you both have expertise in structural engineering, and, as far as I can tell, you have serious disagreements about how the WTC collapsed, as well as what has been "settled" and which questions remain open. Who would both of you recognize as authorities on the issues you argue about (Robertson? Bazant? Sunder? Starossek? Isobe?) Whose book would you read with rapt attention? Or a book about whom would you pay attention to? (I'm not saying you'd just believe them. I'm saying they'd have your attention.)
 

Thomas B

Active Member
How is it clear? I mean, obviously, YOU are not satisfied, but is there really this "big group of people"?

If you put aside your feeling that there would be such a group, what's the objective evidence that such a group exists?
It's just that we've all agreed the book doesn't exist. I may be wrong that the audience for it exists. But I think there's a consensus that if the audience exists it is not being satisfied. I agree that whether or not there's a big group of people (I'm thinking several thousand at least) is an empirical question and one I don't have evidence to answer.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I had a chance earlier today to say that we don't give "flora and fauna" books enough credit for stemming what could be a much bigger tide of Bigfoot believers.

you think if people don't know bears exist, that they might see a bear and think "Big foot"! You dont seem to know much about Bigfoot either.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
(I'm thinking several thousand at least)
even if you could keep all the profits from your book because you self publish on Amazon. what is the profit you are looking at? hoouw much time do you think it would take to write such a book?

I'm only pointing out these specific questions because you seem to be disparaging people who don't think will happen (let alone that it will convince fledgling conspiracy theorists).
 

Thomas B

Active Member
you think if people don't know bears exist, that they might see a bear and think "Big foot"! You dont seem to know much about Bigfoot either.
I think it would be very strange if there were no popular books (and only government reports) about bears. And that would allow people to believe much stranger things.
 

econ41

Senior Member
I have a question for @Jeffrey Orling and @econ41. As I understand it, you both have expertise in structural engineering, and, as far as I can tell, you have serious disagreements about how the WTC collapsed, as well as what has been "settled" and which questions remain open.
I am a retired engineer qualified in Civil and Military Engineering. Jeffrey is an architect and we are long term colleagues in these discussions. We have very different styles of discussion but only one quite broad area of disagreement. Put simply Jeffrey recognises the complexity of WTC collapses and tends to take the position as per his recent post "Many (if not most) details are not known... and you know this." Whilst I would assert strongly "We know enough to push forward in argument and explanation". And I could explain rigorously why my position is valid/supportable. The difference of our styles should be apparent from recent posts. Be assured - we are still friends. ;)

I know from experience approaching 10 years that Jeffrey and I actually hold very similar views on WTC collapse mechanisms. He has a few personal "hot issues" which I have reservations about (e.g. early antenna movement on WTC1 and transfer truss failure as the cause of "free fall" at WTC7) (We have interacted so many times over the years that both of us can probably anticipate the other's responses. ;) )

My own career experience ranges over about half a dozen areas directly relevant to WTC collapse discussion:
1) Applied physics structural design;
2) Regulatory oversight of building services;
3) Emergency management;
4) Organisation spokesperson on major infrastructure programs;
5) Diverse experience in conflict resolution;
6) Management of engineers and applied scientists who often "lose the plot".

Those should be enough - all relevant to WTC discussion.
Who would both of you recognize as authorities on the issues you argue about (Robertson? Bazant? Sunder? Starossek? Isobe?) Whose book would you read with rapt attention? Or a book about whom would you pay attention to? (I'm not saying you'd just believe them. I'm saying they'd have your attention.)
I cannot speak for Jeffrey BUT my position is clear. I do NOT recognise any third parties as authorities on those aspects of structural applied physics I rely on in discussion or debate. I agree with those such as NIST, Bazant, Sunder on those assertions where they are correct. It is my own primary area of expertise and - if I need to disagree with them I cannot concurrently regard them as "authorities". BTW I also agree with truth movement side persons on those matters where they are correct. My approach to explanation and supporting argument of WTC applied physics is that I only rely on elements of evidentiary proof which are demonstrably correct based on the source evidence. I NEVER rely on the reasoning of third party authorities. So whatever elements of fact are "provable" in lay person language.

Therefore - if any of those "authorities" wrote a book about collapse physics I would assess it on two main features viz accuracy or correctness of asserted facts and argument AND communication "style" - suitability for the audience. And my "audience" almost always the same "informed and interested lay person" audience that you recognise Thomas B

Briefly - for other areas of professional expertise e.g. the aeronautical aspects of 9/11 and the metallurgical chemistry of thermite I assess and recognise persons whose expertise I respect.
 
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Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
I have a question for @Jeffrey Orling and @econ41. As I understand it, you both have expertise in structural engineering, and, as far as I can tell, you have serious disagreements about how the WTC collapsed, as well as what has been "settled" and which questions remain open. Who would both of you recognize as authorities on the issues you argue about (Robertson? Bazant? Sunder? Starossek? Isobe?) Whose book would you read with rapt attention? Or a book about whom would you pay attention to? (I'm not saying you'd just believe them. I'm saying they'd have your attention.)
I am hardly an expert. I am an architect in NY and ironically dis work in the office of Emory Roth & Sons, the architects of record... they did the architectural drawings for the twin towers... Yamasaki was the designer... back in the early 70s. I do not design steel frame high rises, but as an architect I have of course some competence with structure.
Like many... including engineers and architects... I was startled how these towers came down... in the case of the twins in less than 2 hrs and in 7wtc longer but it had not had major structural damage.
I had never studied or was taught a thing about progressive collapse in my architecture education. I was aware that all design load tables for steel etc. include a "healthy safety" factor.
When the first accounts of pancake collapse inside the twins appeared.... my jaw dropped. What nonsense I thought. Conceptually I understood the "progressive nature" this suggested. But it made no sense that the floors would each been uniformly over loaded such that all truss seats failed simultaneously. Not credible to me as an architect. I thought that this was very sloppy thinking.

NIST report came out and it was all about these crazy light weight bar trusses and light weight slabs. So now I knew a bit more about the structure. Information was published about the steel columns, the panels system and some details about the pre fab floor pans.

I also had a problem with the NIST truss explanation which still appeared to me to require simultaneity.... all trusses would have to fail at the same time for the "entire floor collapse"... pancakes or whatever. I saw no visual evidence of a uniform facade "pull in" from sagging trusses either. There was one SE location they cited. Ha?????

I then joined AE911T because I (wrongly) assumed that the group had professional expertise to do a building performance study and propose a credible hypothesis. WOW was I wrong. They has NO interest in this and were at the time promoting nano thermite. This group is a scam to support Gage in a easy peasy job as a snake oil salesman.

Then I decide to see what I could come up with on my own. I thought... maybe this was like a vertical avalanche... avalanches are unstopple. I discovered the 911FF and began reading and saw serious discussion by people with science, physics and engineering backgrounds. The people essentially tried to figure out the inside based on what they saw on the outside... movements and so forth... and attributes of the structural design. FINALLY.... the correct approach I thought. Many relied on NIST supplied data and so on.

This was in early 2010 and the so called "ROOSD" explanation appeared by Major Tom. THAT made sense. FINALLY the runaway (avalanche) progressive failure was properly and convincingly described. There was of course the "mystery of 7wtc" and the more vexing problem... what got these 3 collapses going? The what was FIRE and heat... but it was really the HOW... and WHERE in the structure was the heat causing the "undoing?

In the twins NIST had a floor truss driven collapse concept. That in my mind had problems as noted above. Why not look at a core driven initiation? So I took this on attempted to see what excessive heat would do to the core. There was no evidence of melted steel columns... There was evidence of some buckled core columns which is a tell that they were either weakened or way over loaded, or lost adequate bearing area or a combination of all three. Could a core failure initiation the ROOSD? How?

It occurred to me that there HAD to be some load redistribution inside the core because the plane HAD destroyed core columns. This was actually a straight forward calculation of the energy of plan parts hitting the core columns. So we now had a core missing column, the facade missing some and fires raging without mitigation. The design of the facade was ingenuous and would effectively redistributed axial loads if some panels were "removed" such as by the plane impact. There seemed to be adequate safety factor in the facade panel design to cope with the wound.

The "tell" for me was the FACT that just before the top section began to move down as what appeared to be a solid "block" (it wasn't for the most part)... the huge antenna began to descend into the roof. Whatever was supporting the antenna could no longer support it.

Enter the hat truss. This structure was design to support the antenna. The antenna represented a very local... 15'x15' or so at its base... concentrated load or 360 tons. This FAR exceeds the roof design load for 225 SF of snow.

To handle such a large concentrated load in the center of the building... the engineers designed the had truss which would move the load with the diagonal members of the truss to all but 8 of the 47 columns... AND moved some load to 12 locations on the facade. I can not do the math. But the had truss moved the 360 ton load which was on top of the 3 weakest (smallest cross section) columns of the core to 51 locations for carrying the load.

But the hat truss was not "spanning" across the top of the tower. It was a 3 dimensional structural lattice which was integral with 39 core columns and 12 locations of the facade. SO IF... those columns which were "holding up" the hat truss failed.... the hat truss would then have to essentially "span" over the failed column or be compromised at the location of the failed core columns.

So next I used my crystal ball to imagine what happened inside the core. Good assumption is that 4 columns of line 500 and 2 of line 600 were severed by the plane. And fire was raging. What WAS the fire doing in the core region? Just as NIST had told us the beams and girder in 7wtc were "expanding" from heat.... that the floor trusses in the twin towers were "expanding" from heat... the bracing inside the core was "expanding" from heat. Restrained heated beams can't expand... they would sag under load. But an "unrestrained" beam can expand. And that condition existed in the core thanks to the plane severing 6 core columns. SO... what was likely going on is the the bracing that was framed into the columns still intact around the severed column might have expanded TOWARD the missing severed columns. This expansion pushed about 8 columns toward the severed columns. This expansion began to push laterally and might have caused additional 8 columns to displace or begin to buckle. Now 10 columns supporting the hat truss were not only carrying redistributed loads, but were being distorted and or being pushed such that bearing has decreasing,

The hat truss was working over time to get all the loads over to the intact columns many of which were weakened from heat. Some core columns went from compression to tension as loads were "hanging" from the hat truss where bearing was lost.

Excess capacity slipped below service loads.... and the hat truss buckled in its center. With that the antenna dropped into the roof... all floors and materials on those floors in the core dropped with it. There was a rapid hollowing out of the center of the core... what happened next was very much like a sink hole with the earth around the hole plunges into a growing sink hole.

The hat truss and caving in floors manage to move the facade laterally sufficiently for the columns to lose bearing and buckle or by passed. The top block was not moving down... floor materials inside and facade cage.

There was now sufficient mass all around the foot print to initiate the ROOSD.

What survived the ROOSD were the strongest columns of the core with the most robust bracing... at the elevator/mechanical shafts which were in rows 500, 1000 and the columns n001 and n008.

Has any "expert" proposed a core led collapse let alone suggest how it might have proceeded? NO

tony's columns_page1.jpg

On to 7wtc
 
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Jeffrey Orling

Senior Member
Indeed I great admire and respect econ41. We agree on all broad issues about the collapse of these towers.

So now what happened in 7wtc?

There is not doubt support under the EPH was lost early on. For it to drop completely it seems that ALL 6 columns below it had to have failed... not ONLY column 79. A single column collapse would not produce the collapse of the EPH we saw.

Column 79 could have been the first failure... but in short order the other columns beneath the EPP failed. I assert that this was because below the EPH were 2 massive transfer trusses TT1 and TT2. When those fail all 6 columns below the EPH would fail. It is CONCEIVABLE that the transfer trusses failed FIRST... or the columns which support them. There is no evidence of what was happening inside 7wtc. It would be speculation.

The collapse of TT1 and TT2 would certainly lead to a PROGRESSION of failures rapidly proceeding east to west ... which explains the east to west progression of the roof structure collapses. If true this suggests that the interior of 7wtc was also "hollowed out". So how did an intact trapazoid moment frame collapse as a unit... what we ACTUALLY saw collapse after the roof structures collapsed into the roof.

To understand the behavior of the moment frame... we need to look at what supported it. The moment frame had 57 columns connected by spandrel beams...making a a composite 4 sided tube. But those 57 columns were supported by only 26 columns going down to the foundations. The remaining columns were "bearing on" truss/transfer structures which aggregated to loads to the aforementioned 26 columns.... and 8 of the columns were supported on the end of cantilevers!

What MAY have happened is that the massive amount of the interior came down and exerted lateral forces at the bottom... not unlike the lateral forces inside a grain silo. These lateral forces dislodges or displaced the 26 columns or enough of them such that there was not enough cross sectional area to support the moment frame. It was like kicking out the legs of a table...

The moment frame WAS "carried" on a 2 - 4 story belt truss making the entire bottom composite structurally.

NIST doesn't bother to speculate on any of the above except for how col 79 lost bracing... floors around it collapsed and then came global collapse. Got it. Good job NIST makes perfect sense!

WTC 7 57over26_page1.jpg
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I think it would be very strange if there were no popular books (and only government reports) about bears. And that would allow people to believe much stranger things.
No. people still see bears. so they would believe government reports. People belive in Bigfoot because they see him and think "it wasnt a bear".
I'm just saying your Bigfoot analogy doesn't fly.

also bears are cute and cool. the 911 collapses aren't.
 

econ41

Senior Member
I'm just saying your Bigfoot analogy doesn't fly.
Agreed - I've seen better analogies. Then to (mis)quote the old aphorism - since "We are unlikely to observe aeronautical manoeuvres by members of the family Suidae", flying by Ursus is even less probable.
 

econ41

Senior Member
ericclip.png
This surprises me. One thing that attracted me to this forum was @Mick West 's interviews with "recovering" truthers. Their exisence suggests that "resolution" is possible and, like I say, perhaps even an "ounce of prevention"...
Agreed but it is not the point I was trying to make - we have a "set<>sub set" confusion. Yes there are some truthers who "recover". More in the past than now for simple reasons of CT group dynamics. My comment was about current probability of getting truthers to "state specifically". I did not say "no truthers ever escape the rabbit burrow".
 

Thomas B

Active Member
we have a "set<>sub set" confusion
Isn't our confusion easily cleared up, then: the book I'm imagining would help many truthers in the "set", even if it would help few truthers in the "subset". And it might prevent someone from joining the "set" in the first place.

I'm just saying your Bigfoot analogy doesn't fly.
I'm not sure why I have to explain this, but it wasn't my analogy (it was @Keith Beachy 's), and I was showing it doesn't fly. I am not proposing a book that would be like "the best popular book on Big Foot"; I am proposing what would be, analogically, a good book about (or at least including) the bears that do exist in the same environment. That book would not, of course, even mention Bigfoot. There are many of them, and most don't. (Do I have to find examples, @Mendel? Or can we just stipulate that there are lots of popular books about flora and fauna.)

In other words, the publishing environment for "Bigfoot" and "Controlled Demolition" are, at present, radically different -- totally unlike each other -- and only the negative analogy flies. Belief in Bigfoot is constrained by a continuously updated set of books that satisfy general, popular curiosity about mountain fauna. These books are informed by continuously updated zoological research -- ongoing scientific study of the habitat of, say, the Rockies.

I believe there is a similar general, popular curiosity about the building collapses on 9/11. At present, the belief in controlled demolition is unconstrained by even the occasional publication of a good popular book about what really happened. And that is despite the fact that structural engineers continue to study the progressive collapse of tall buildings and other effects that fire has on them.

In other words, when talking to a Bigfoot believer it makes sense to say, "The fauna of the Rockies is well understood and all existing animals produce 'evidence' (for their existence) well beyond mere 'sightings' -- 'shit and bones' as some people put it. It's very unlikely that a bear-sized mammal has escaped the attention of zoology -- here's a really good book about that science for laypeople by a recognized authority..." That last move is (analogically) unavailable when talking to truthers.

The idea that WTC truthers are analogous to Bigfoot enthusiasts is not mine, and I do find it strained (and actually unfair, in different ways, to both sides). But I made the effort to show exactly how it doesn't fly. And I just made an even greater effort. Please don't come back at me now and explain, again, why comparing WTC to Bigfoot is specious (I agree that it is). Or pick at some thread in this long post that lets you roll your eyes and balk at the whole subject.
 
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Thomas B

Active Member
I cannot speak for Jeffrey BUT my position is clear. I do NOT recognise any third parties as authorities on those aspects of structural applied physics I rely on in discussion or debate.
Maybe "authority" was a poor choice of words. I was trying to say that you and @Jeffrey Orling consider yourself competent analysts of the collapses, i.e., you are qualified to understand them, and you probably don't consider yourselves uniquely qualified. Who do you recognize as peers and how do you recognize them? Clearly, it's not just by whether they agree with you. After all, you recognize each other.

And I should have focused on this question: Is there someone who, if they wrote "the book" on it, or if someone else wrote "the book" about them, you'd eagerly buy and read it? It's sort of like this: there are lots of "popular physics" books, but many people were especially excited when Leon Lederman published The God Particle and eagerly anticipated the follow-up after the Higgs discovery. That's in part because Lederman was a recognized authority and in part because he's an interesting person. Is there anyone like that in re the WTC collapses?
 
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