Saturday, November 11, 2006

The 911-Pound Gorilla in Cato's Room

This article is dedicated to the reality-based community,
members of which often rightly state,
"extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

"I should not believe such a story were it told me by Cato, was a proverbial saying in Rome, even during the lifetime of that philosophical patriot. The incredibility of a fact, it was allowed, might invalidate so great an authority." David Hume, Of Miracles.

"When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened." David Hume, Of Miracles.

"The American people know what they saw with their own eyes on September 11, 2001. To suggest any kind of government conspiracy in the events of that day goes beyond the pale.” Robert Gates, President of Texas A&M University, nominee Secretary of Defense.

We have a problem, Dr. Gates, because I am one of the American people, and do not know what I saw with my own eyes on September 11, 2001. However, my arguments below are within the bounds of your Pale, by my choice, as questions of government conspiracy are beyond the scope of my argument.

Below, I analyze two papers by structural engineers. I think they show that what appears in this video

could not have happened in the real world.

[Update, 2/3/2007: YouTube has removed this video, so here's a a nice compilation which contains this and other videos that I believe show physically impossible events, as explained below.]

Or see here for some quick flash versions:

I also briefly discuss the collapses of WTC 1 and 2, official explanations of which rely heavily on an assumption that the planes penetrated the towers with enough residual kinetic energy to cut a number of the thick core columns.

Links to more videos of the second plane are available here:

Images of the first airplane impact are much less numerous and less clear, and the papers I analyze below assume the faster speed of the second plane impact. For those interested, images can be found here.

My conclusion applies to both airplane impacts - I do not believe that a Boeing 767 impacted either of the towers. As I will show, saying that they did is an "extraordinary claim [which requires] extraordinary evidence."

Hume defined a miracle as "a violation of the laws of nature." Hume went on to say that "no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish." None of the questions I raise in this article are extraordinary in the sense of violating laws of nature.

Carl Sagan, distilling Hume's view of miracles, said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." The claims I make are not extraordinary, other than that they defy convention.

Below I posit that two physical phenomena of 9/11 - the planes slipping into the towers 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center, and the collapse of these towers at free-fall speed solely as the result of plane impacts and fire - are in violation of the laws of nature, and that experts supporting the official theories have not rationally explained these phenomena. That these experts might be testifying to falsehoods, not necessarily intentionally, is not more miraculous than the facts which these experts endeavor to establish.

The global collapse at free-fall speed of the WTC Towers, solely as a result of plane impact and fire, and the butter-knife planes that slipped into the Towers – these are the extraordinary claims. No evidence or plausible argument has been provided in support of these extraordinary claims.

When I see an image of a supernatural event, I have two choices. I can either believe in a miracle, or I can question the image's authenticity.

When I hear an explanation of an event that I know violates fundamental laws of Newtonian mechanics, that even a non-scientist like me can understand, I have two choices. I can either believe in a miracle, or I can question the explanation and consider other hypotheses.

Note that I posit no theories as to how the 9/11 events, images of airplane impacts and actual tower collapses, occurred, nor do I speculate as to who is responsible for these events. I seek merely to show that the official and academic explanations of the airplane impacts and tower collapses are incorrect. I focus on the planes, which are important to both events because they are assumed to have cut many core columns.

The papers I have read and found unconvincing are Wierzbicki and Teng, How the airplane wing cut through the exterior columns of the World Trade Center, Int'l J. of Impact Engineering 28 (2003) 601-625, and Karim and Hoo Fatt, Impact of the Boeing 767 Aircraft Into the World Trade Center, J. of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 131, No. 10 (October 2005).

Professor Wierzbecki is about as expert as you can get in these matters, being in the Impact & Crashworthiness Laboratory of the Dept of Ocean Engineering at MIT.

In the above article, he and Teng state:
To the casual observer, it would appear that the facade of the Twin Towers did not offer any resistance at all, and that the plane's wings and fuselage slice through the exterior columns as if they were made of cardboard. . . How was it possible that the relatively weak, light, and airy airframe damaged the apparently heavy lattice of high strength steel columns? The devastating result of this encounter came as a surprise to the engineering and scientific community or at least to the present authors.

I find this statement most intriguing. My intuition as a casual observer matched the intuition of experts in this field.

Wierzbecki and Teng purport to show in their paper how the wings sliced through the exterior columns with little loss of kinetic energy. Wierzbecki and Tang's conclusion was that the process of wing cutting through the exterior columns consumed only 7% of the initial kinetic energy of the aircraft moving at 240 m/s (500 mph). (In effect, their modeling is of the South Tower impact, as the North Tower plane was said to be moving slower than that.) However, one of their assumptions was not realistic, as the wing they modeled combined the mass of the engine and wing mass into one thick box beam, which they treated as rigid and not deformable.

This is Karim and Hoo Fat, not me, saying that this assumption is incorrect. Karim and Hoo Fat model the wing without the engine mass, which is treated as impacting separately. They conclude that their modeled exterior columns could have been penetrated, but that "[a]t the top speed of the aircraft of 240 m/s, about 46% of the kinetic energy was used to damage the columns and the aircraft." They pointed out that Wierzbicki and Teng's 7% "only considered one column and a portion of the wing that interacts with this." So presumably the latter's model also shows much higher loss of kinetic energy to get those wings through the external columns.

Karim and Hoo Fatt's stated purpose was to determine how thick the columns, as they modeled them, would have to be made to avoid penetration by an aircraft. However, the title of the paper suggests that they are attempting to explain what happened that day, and their operating assumption is that the airplanes penetrated the towers as shown in the videos. However, they made an assumption that is quite unrealistic and very significant: they did not consider the floors.

Even without the floors, they estimated that the plane lost 46% of kinetic energy just to get through the external columns. Yet there was no explosion outside, no debris left outside, and the plane does not appear to decelerate at all. This cannot be true.

Wierzbecki states in another paper that 48% of the initial kinetic energy of the aircraft was dissipated by the floor structure, which is what the aircraft had to get through to reach the core columns. He says about 25% of the energy was dissipated in damage to the core columns.

The following calculation may not be accurate, but adding Hoo Fat's 46% just from the external columns to Wierzbicki's 48% from the floors, there is very little energy left to damage the core columns. (Wierzbicki also states that damage to the plane dissipated 23% of the initial kinetic energy, but his 23% is the reaction of the airplane not only to the external columns as in Hoo Fat's 46%, but also to the floors and the core columns.)

This just does not add up. The bottom line is that those buildings would have provided much more resistance to a Boeing 767, which would show at least deceleration, if not gross deformation, fragmentation, and fuel explosion outside the building. There is no way that plane slips in to the building like a knife into butter. In the real world, that is.

The floors are massive structures, and Wierzbicki shows in the second paper that the plane either hit one floor head-on, or hit two floors. The latter would result in more loss of kinetic energy, so he averaged the two assumptions. It should be fairly easy for FEMA or NIST to determine exactly where the planes hit in relation to floors.

This second paper is available online:

It is also unclear whether the models use steel of the same strength and thickness of the actual columns at the floors impacted. This information appears to have been unavailable to the authors.

Given these figures, which comport with the experiential common sense of Professor Wierzbecki and me, I do not believe that the plane slipped into the South Tower as shown on television. I also do not believe that there was much energy left to reach the core columns, and certainly not to damage them as much as was assumed in the collapse models.

I am neither a physicist nor an engineer. I cannot follow mathematical arguments, and could certainly be missing something. However, I do think I can understand their assumptions and conclusions, and draw a reasonable conclusion therefrom.

Unlike Mathew Rothschild of the "Progressive,"

I do not simply trust experts when what they are saying makes no sense to me. Particularly when the stakes are so high.

My reading of FEMA, NIST, and the above papers is that 800- pound gorillas of physical impossibility are being avoided with tortured arguments. For example, see NIST's FAQ:

Their answer to the question of how the towers free-fell, which is really a question of why there was so little resistance, is this:

"Since the stories below the level of collapse initiation provided little resistance to the tremendous energy released by the falling building mass, the building section above came down essentially in free fall, as seen in videos."

This is a tautology that avoids the question of why the stories below appeared to provide virtually no resistance.

They might as well say, "The buildings free-fell because they did."

There is one paper I do not understand at all: Bazant and Zhou, Why did the World Trade Center Collapse? - Simple Analysis, J. of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 128, No. 1 (January 2002).

There is a copy of this paper online at:

I don't trust the intersticed critiques at this website, because the critic doesn't seem to realize that "plastic hinge" is a term of art, and interprets the word in its layman's sense.
But this website does have a copy of the paper.

Plastic hinges are defined here, under the heading "Stress in a beam."

Bazant and Zhou seem to be saying that a stress wave propagated down quickly, and that multistory sections further down buckled almost immediately. I don't know exactly what they are saying, but it does not comport with my common sense belief that the building below should have provided very much more resistance than it seemed to. What I saw did not look like buckling, it looked like the building disintegrating in mid-air.

[Update: 2/23/2007 - I have since come to understand that Bazant and Zhou assumed that 3-10 floors instantly buckled with no resistance, so that the uppe block came crashing down at high velocity and destroyed the building below. This tautological assumption is not realistic, and even if it occurred, I do not believe that the entire mass, much greater, of the lower building, would have been destroyed so quickly. Moreover, the upper block disappeared early in the process, so what was the mass driving down?]
This engineer's paper finds that the building collapse would not have
continued solely as a result of gravity, but would have stopped:

I cannot follow Ross' mathematical arguments any more than Bazant
and Zhou's arguments, really, but his conclusions comport with my
common sense as to what should have happened with gravity alone.
This website, by Judy Woods, a professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson University, cogently explained the physical impossibilty of the NIST-filtered official story of free-fall collapse as the result only of airplane impact and fire:
This professor, working with Morgan Reynolds, professor emeritus of economics at Texas A&M University, goes on to postulate what really happened at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Their theory seems far-fetched, even fantastic, but makes a lot more sense than the official story, because it explains why the buildings were pulverized in mid-air. What they describe is not extraordinary in Hume's sense of a miracle. Whatever you think of their theory, the images of the World Trade Centers on and after 9/11 are stunning, and well worth viewing in their own right:

I want to see the crashes modeled with precise assumptions clearly disclosed, down to the actual thickness and grade of the steel at the impacted points, correct air speed, amount of fuel, behavior of wings, direction of fuel dispersion given the attitude of the plane going in, etc. Hoo Fat uses a Pentium IV and says the detail has to be limited as a result. If it will help, do it on a supercomputer if that is possible. But model with accurate assumptions, not assumptions the lead to the desired result. I attempted to find a detailed description of the World Trade Center design in the libraries of a large university, but was unsuccessful. I would not be capable of running models with any new data I found, but wanted to see if the assumptions in the above paper were accurate.

As one example of what seems an inaccurate assumption, Karim and Hoo Fatt modeled the fuel tanks as full, when they were probably a little less than half-full as stated in this paper:

And of course, not considering the resistance of the floors is not realistic, though I suppose for the limited purpose stated by Karim and Hoo Fatt it might be sufficient.

Another expert, Les Robertson who helped design the building, said on the radio recently that he has not modeled past the point of initiation of collapse, and neither has NIST. He said Congress did not charter or fund NIST to do that. He then made a remarkable statement -- that this did not matter because the purpose was to learn how to design buildings in the future.

How can this be? Not only would engineers want to avoid expensive over-design based on erroneous conclusions, we all should want to know why firemen and other people died in an unexpected collapse. Are building codes to be rewritten based on this conclusion? How can not learning why "global collapse ensued" not be important? In terms of fire safety, could not an erroneous assessment of the global collapse risk cause rescue operations to be called off in an existing building in a future fire, leading to unnecessary loss of life? There are surely more reasons why understanding the real mechanism of collapse is necessary. Nonexistent criminal investigation aside, of course the public and experts need to know what really happened from a public safety standpoint.

This was in a debate with BYU's Dr. Steven Jones, here:

Once again, it's the 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to notice. Our society is like an alcoholic family dominated by the presence and denial of alcoholism. This need to deny basic facts about 9/11 distorts even science, I would submit.

Karim and Hoo Fatt state at the beginning of their paper: "Before the buildings collapsed, one can see an imprint of the fuselage, engine, and wings on the side of the buildings. This means that the wings must have perforated the buildings before exploding and starting fires within the buildings." Does it mean that? I say that it cannot mean that, and that their own paper shows that. What it does mean is beyond the scope of my argument. It should not have been relevant to their conclusions, either, but I cannot help but think that they took perforation as a verity and designed their research accordingly.

Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, says that "given the tainted legitimacy of a political system that either allowed 9/11 to happen . . . or conspired to make it happen, there is a deep, paralyzing secret harbored in the recesses of the governing processes." I agree, and would submit that this paralyzing secret compels us to accept preposterous explanations for the events of that day.

The official story is not explained by experts that are offered in support of that story. The televised image of a plane penetrating the South Tower is not explained by the experts that are offered in support of the story. I trust my mind more than I trust mediated images. The extraordinary events of three unprecedented building collapses and four disappearing planes, all in one day, must be reasonably explained.

The government has not provided a reasonable explanation for the events of 9/11, so I have had to seek an explanation for myself.

Because so much of our news and analysis is based on widely held assumptions that I know cannot be true, I experience cognitive dissonance when hearing or reading about 9/11, and the "War on Terror."

Help me, please. Prove my cognition wrong. Life would be much simpler. I want to believe my government and the media, I truly do.


Appendix A - sources consulted and a short history of the controversial
"no-planes theory" or "no-big-Boeings" theory

The foregoing is my own analysis of the above papers, but I should credit those who got me
to look at those papers in the first place. Several weeks ago, I heard a speech by Dr. Morgan Reynolds in which he asserted that there were no big Boeings that hit the towers on 9/11. My first reaction was shock and disbelief. But he mentioned a website so I read his papers on the issue, and kept looking on the Internet, where I learned that many people have been questioning the televised images of planes for several years.

These are the websites and articles which I read as background. I order them according to my understanding of when the author started questioning the planes, though this order
may be incorrect.

Rosalee Grable

Marcus Icke (I think)

Gerard Holmgren:
Morgan Reynolds:


If I have left anyone out I apologize, but these are main sites I looked at.

These websites convinced me that I should go to the library and see what the experts are saying, and I found the above engineering papers. I'm sure these websites also gave me ideas that are reflected in my writing.

The rest is my work, my mistakes.

I now realize Nico Haupt has also been questioning the planes for a long time, and recently launched this website:

Mr. Haupt also wrote the below FAQ, which talks about a debate among 9/11 researchers about whether the no-plane theory should be pursued. Apparently, some people are more concerned about how this theory will be perceived than whether it is valid, thinking that pursuing this theory will discredit the "9/11 Truth Movement."

This is not a proper criterion by which to judge whether a hypothesis should be pursued, and conclusions reported if that is what the researcher believes to be true. Those people who think,
a priori, that anyone who questions the official story is a nutty "conspiracy theorist" will not be convinced regardless of how "credible" the argument appears. Those people who maintain an open mind will consider any argument on the merits.

All of this is interesting to me but should not be relevant to my argument that the expert's papers show that the planes could not have penetrated the towers as shown on television,
as there would have much more deceleration and deformation, and probably an explosion of the fuel outside the building.

Of course, I am biased in that I have long doubted the official story, even before the 9/11 Commission's report with its great number of implausible assertions or unexplained omissions. All I can say about this bias is that I attempted to find expert analyses that would disprove assertions that a plane could not have penetrated the towers as shown on television, and was unsuccessful. These expert analyses seem equally if not more biased in assuming without question facts stated in the official story or images shown on television, which is not surprising given the criticism and ridicule faced by those who question the official story.

Tenure notwithstanding, dependence on government funding, careerism, or fear of ridicule or worse could be inhibiting objective research into 9/11:

Finally, my inquiries may be offensive or painful to many people, especially if they have families members that died on 9/11. I will not presume to be seeking the truth on behalf of these people, and can only apologize if I am causing pain. I am trying to find out what happened on 9/11 for myself, as it has affected me deeply. I will presume to speak for my country and its legal system, which have been profoundly affected by 9/11 and the subsequent "War on Terror." The full story, whatever it may be, has not been told, and it must be told.

Appendix B - Response to a contrary view
The scope of my argument was to prove that the images
of the second plane penetrating the South Tower do
not reflect physical reality, and thus cannot be
authentic. I make no assertions as to the authenticity
of other images. Other writers have long questioned
the televised 9/11 images, including the websites
cited in Appendix A above.

These writings, which go beyond what I am attempting
to show above, prompted a response which was published
at a website called the "Journal of 9/11 Studies."

A Critical Review of WTC 'No Plane' Theories
Eric Salter

also here:

Mr. Salter's main arguments are: (1) there were
too many independent observers at the scene for
faked images to have been possible; in other
words, video fakery would not be attempted
because perpetrators could not guarantee that
a contradictory video might not surface, and
(2) his analysis of a video of the second plane
shows that "the plane does decelerate as it
enters the building, losing about 12% of
its speed and 25% of its kinetic energy as
it passes through the outer wall and office

My tentative responses to Mr. Salter's first
argument are:

(1) His first argument is attractive, as it
does seem hard to believe a deception could
be successful, particularly on the second
tower as so many people were watching at the
time. Nevertheless, at least as to the images
of the plane penetrating the South Tower,
nobody could have witnessed an impossible
event, in the same way that a video of an
impossible event cannot be authentic. That's
really the end of the debate for me. How this
video came to be shown on CNN is not relevant
to my argument.

Another response might be that no one could
have filmed something that was not there,
so there could no videos that prove a negative.
Granted, a video camera trained on the point at
which the plane supposedly entered might have
shown a sudden explosion, with no plane entering
just prior to that. No such videos ever existed
to my knowledge. Again, this is speculation beyond
the scope of what I was trying to show above.

A video purporting to show no plane has just
surfaced on the Internet:

I have no way of authenticating this video,
and my understanding is that a real object
could be edited out as well as a fake image
could be inserted. It is interesting that
the video not only shows no plane, it also
shows no explosion or hole where the plane
was supposed to have hit. Again, I don't
really care about videotaped images,
because videos are not immutable. The laws
of nature are immutable. Absent extraordinary
evidence, of course.

Here's what videos can do these days:

(2) Since Mr. Salter talks about witnesses
on the scene, I will say that there are people
that did not witness an airplane or thought they
saw a smaller plane or a military plane.

An example is in the above recent video where
two women thought the second plane was a military
plane and one woman is heard saying she saw the
first tower explode but did not see an airplane.

Another example of a witness who saw an explosion
but no plane is here:

Here, there is an interesting exchange between CNN
Anchor Carol Lin and a woman named Jeanne Yurman
who identified herself as a witness:

LIN: Jeanne, we are continuing to look at pictures
of this devastating scene, according to Sean Murtagh,
vice president of finance, who witnessed what he
described as a twin-engine plane, possibly a 737.
He was almost absolutely sure it was a large passenger
jet that went into that.

Jeanne, you are saying you didn't see anything
initially. You didn't see a plane approach
the building?

YURMAN: I had no idea it was a plane. I just saw
the entire top part of the World Trade Center
explode. So I turned on the TV when I heard
they said it was a plane. It was really strange.

LIN: Were you living in New York during the
World Trade Center bombing?

YURMAN: No, I wasn't.

So we have a CNN anchor citing a CNN VP of
finance, contradicted by a witness who does
not work for CNN, followed by a non-sequiter
from the CNN anchor, who does not explore
the contradiction.

[Revision: It is true that Yurman may have
simply been viewing the building from a position
that prevented her from seeing the plane. However,
a reporter should ask. Where were you standing?
Did you hear a plane prior to the explosion?
Did you hear the impact? What did you think was

Whatever this is, it is bad journalism, as a reporter
should not be telling a witness what other people saw
but should be asking what that person saw. This could
be example of 9/11 group think already in operation,
or it could be an example of the intentional creation
of 9/11 group think. Of course, the woman could be
mistaken. Regardless, not everyone reports seeing
a plane at the time of the explosion of the North
Tower, which is said to have resulted from the impact
of Flight 11.

Other witness reports are discussed here, the author's
conclusion being that they do not prove what kind(s
of object hit the tower(s), but nor do they prove
that whatever hit was a large jet.

My response to Mr. Salter's second argument about
visible deceleration (slowing) of the second plane
is as follows:

(1) Other people have found no or little declaration.
See, e.g., Rick Rajter's analysis at:

(2) Even a 12% deceleration, corresponding he says to
loss of 25% of initial kinetic energy, does not fit the
loss of kinetic energy found by Karim and Hoo Fatt, as
described above. Karim and Hoo Fatt found a loss of 46%
just for the plane to penetrate the external columns,
which should have resulted in a 23% decleration. Karim and
Hoo Fatt did not include the floors, while Salter did,
describing them as "office space." There should have been
a much higher deceleration than 12%, so Salter's research
confirms that the video image does not conform to physical

Earlier, I wrote a critique of Salter's writing style,
which I thought inappropriate for a journal that purports
to be scholarly. I do not mean this as a criticism of
other articles published there, one of which I cite above.

Appendix C - a new video surfaces

There is a new eyewitness video of the events of 9/11, which was taken from an apartment facing the North Tower. I have no way of knowing whether it is authentic, but it sounds and looks authentic.

It is very disturbing to watch, as the apartment is close to the World Trade Center. The collapses are horrific on this video, and so is the aftermath where people are walking around breathing horribly dangerous air. There are voices of three or four people who were understandably scared and horrified.

I don't know what to make of their comments about a military plane at 12:15 of the video, right after the South Tower exploded. The video cuts in at 11:46 in the middle of the South Tower explosion, right after the plane hits, so the plane is not visible in their video. It seems edited, though I suppose the camera person could have resumed filming at that exact moment. That is merely my observation.

I also find the people's observations at the beginning, starting around 00:50, very interesting. A woman states she saw a plane fly over, then she saw the building explode from inside. This suggests she was looking right at the part of the building where the first plane supposedly hit, and did not see a plane hit, but rather saw an explosion from inside the building. This contradicts the official story.

For what it's worth, this is what I think happened - explosions within the building. Something else could have hit the North Tower, though this woman does not report that, but it could not have been a Boeing 767.

In any case, eyewitness testimony on the type and size of the plane or planes is inconsistent, and generally speaking, eyewitness testimony is less reliable than physical evidence. I have seen no physical evidence that would overcome my refusal to believe that planes flew into the towers like a knife into butter. I have no other conclusions, just questions.

Appendix D - Ground Zero rescue workers betrayed

Here is a New York police officer who was permanently injured
by his rescue work in the polluted air at Ground Zero. I think
his call for more investigation into 9/11 is powerful. He deserves
a proper investigation. He also deserves more compensation for
his injuries and better medical assistance, which it seems he is
not getting.

He criticizes not only the 9/11 Commission, but also the
EPA's Christine Todd Whitman for saying that the air was safe.

He says, "I'll ask any official at the Pentagon - what the
fuck are you trying to hide?"

The Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency
found that the EPA lied, at the behest of the White House,
about the safety of the air in New York.

Mount Sinai Medical Center recently released a report showing
high rates of pulmonary and other illnesses among rescue workers
at Ground Zero.

When I think about whether my government would kill citizens or
allow them to be killed, I think of the gross disregard for human
health shown by the White House in lying to the people of
New York about asbestos and other poisons in the air after 9/11.
Once you start cost-benefitting with people's lives, where is the


TonyLevy said...

cool blog, i'll look forward to more of your writings, and comments on the CovertOperations has many rarely seen clips has full length vids...
keep digging, and connecting the dots...the truth will shine like gold...

StillDiggin said...

Although I am an engineer, my specialty is in manufacturing.

For this reason, I prefer to defer to structural engineering & physiscs experts when it comes to the task of assessing the amount of kinetic energy which would have been applied to the steel beams.

When you read any of my posted interpretations of this specific topic, you will notice that I try my best to use "layman's terms," since the majority of my audience doesn't speak "Engineer-ese."

Since you have personally invited me to review this analyis, I will offer the following as "my 2 cents."

There are so many broken Laws of Physics in this "impact," that it is difficult to establish where to begin.

Upon close inspection, the steel beams appear to be cleanly severed, and with the only exception being a couple of columns in the North Tower, completely unbent.

The kinetic energy that would be required to accomplish that feat is somewhere in the neighborhood of hundreds of times greater than that which would be required to simply break the steel beams.

Because the alleged impact occurred at an angle ("impact" beginning with the port wing), the greatest kinetic energy would have been applied to the steel beams in the immediate vicinity of the left engine.

When considering load distribution across the entire wingspan, it is necessary to treat each beam independently, since what we are really comparing is the shear strength of each box-frame steel beam relative to the shear strength of the section of wing that is "impacting."

The mass of the engine only helps the wing to shear more quickly, since the shear strength of the wing would is so low relative to that of the steel beam.

Here's an example to explain what I mean when I say the mass of the engine "helps": Imagine the wings are a broomstick handle. If you were to throw that broomstick handle at a steel beam, chances are that it would bounce back at you.

Now imagine a ten pound weight attached one each end of that broomstick handle. If you were to throw that contraption at the steel beam... SNAP!

Even in the worst-case scenario of the steel beam immediatly left of the port engine, it should be a relatively easy task for anyone versed in impact physics to ascertain that the wing would have sheared when subjected to a MINISCULE percentage of the energy required to cleanly shear through the steel beam in question.

In other words, the entire concept of a aircraft wing being able to shear through the outer steel beams of the WTC towers is so ludicrous, it's laughable.

Even the engine, which is much stronger than any wing section, wouldn't come close to the required energy to accomplish this.

Reverting to my use of layman's terminology, comparing the energy that would be required to shear cleanly through those steel beams with the energy that any part of a Boeing 767 traveling at 500+mph is essentially like trying to compare the size of an elephant to the size of an atom.

When ignoring the nature of the shear and imagining that the beams were bent and torn, we can then upgrage the atom to a mosquito and perform the elephant comparison again.

Do we really need equations to prove that the elephant is bigger?

If so, go to your local physics professor and ask him for it. If he doesn't laugh when you ask him why you want it, make sure you don't enroll your children in that school.

Yeah, it really is THAT ludicrous.

Ningen said...

Thanks, StillDigger. On second reading, I think I got what you said.

Although I am a lawyer, my specialty is not engineering of an sort or anything with equations. But I think I can see that their numbers and assumption don't make sense.

This wing shearing is the biggest question I had. Does shearing mean fragmentation? My common sense idea was that the engine hitting would rip the wings off, because the connection to the fuselage must be weaker than the wings themselves and especially the columns.

Would the wings fragment? If so, would they have been visible? Seems like they would have been.

What about the deceleration and deformation implied by Hoo Fatt's calculation of a 46% loss in kinetic energy, even without the floors. Does it match the videos?

This seems to imply two possibilities: (1) the videos are faked; and/or (2) the core columns would not have been damaged nearly as much as assumed by NIST and the others, if at all.

Would the wing fragment in that situation ?

StillDiggin said...

Funny, I was about to guess that you were a lawyer. You seemed to be searching for grounds to make a definitive statement.

This is why I hesitated before commenting. Like I said, I am a manufacturing engineer and the last time I dealt with these kinds of equations was something like 15 years ago.

I don't agree with the approach made in the paper you referenced, because it doesn't treat each beam independently, and because it begins with the assumption that the beams were "penetrated."

I've seen this approach used many times. The instance that angered me the most was when one of these MIT professors (I can't remember his name) used wood models to explain how the steel structure of the towers were weakened after the trusses failed.

I believe he also used plastic models to show how the steel floor trusses themselves sagged when exposed to fire.

I almost threw my shoe at the TV... (I would have, but it wasn't my house - and therefore not my TV to hurl things at).

Finding experts who will stick their neck out is difficult in this arena. This guy was obviously paid to deceive.

Your best bet would be to find a retired expert who has little to fear.

Like I said in my first post, the key element to look for is shear strength. To answer one of your questions, shear does not necessarily "mean" fragmentation.

Shear itself can manifest itself as any form of deformation of a solid body due to a laterally applied force.

In this instance, I would say that fragmentation would occur as a result of shear.

Anyway, back to the analysis...

The momentum of the wing would need to be broken down appropriately according to the effective mass that would have struck each beam (Momentum (M)= mass X velocity, Kinetic Energy (K.E.) = 1/2 mass X velocity squared).

The acting mass would essentially have been applied to only a cross-section of the wing as wide as the steel beam and the steel beam itself.

Starting with the left wingtip acting on the left-most column, the calculation should yield that the column is minutely damaged (if at all), and that the wing shears/fragments/ crumples.

This result would be "amplified" by the angular nature of the impact, since the leading corner of the box-frame beam represents the most shear- resistant point of the steel beam, in addition to providing a cutting edge that would aid in the "dismissal" of the wing.

Because these parts are so far away from the center of gravity of the acting mass, they would suffer the same fate as the mofified broomstick example I provided in my last comment.

In this case, because there is only mass on one side of the "broomstick," the only question becomes where it will snap, and how much angular momentum would be transferred to the rest of the plane as a result of the K.E. distributed back to the wing by the steel beam.

My personal belief is that until the engine itself would have impacted, the K.E distributed back to the rest of the intact wing would have been negligible, since so little of it would have been required to shear the wing, thus the rest could not be applied to the remainder of the plane because it would become a separate entity (i.e. disconnected from that particular impact).

After the port engine would have struck is when the majority of wing breakage would have occurred, since the combination of massive deceleration and substantial angular momentum transfer would have snapped the wing assembly somewhere between the two engines.

The thought of the fuselage itself doing any damage at all is a joke. If you want to make your expert's job really easy, ignore the wings and just look at the beams that were supposedly sheared by the fuselage.

To answer another one of your questions, the "splat" of the fuselage and the fragmentation of the wings would have resulted in a substantial amount of highly visible wreckage remaining outside the tower and falling to the streets below.

I will stop here, because my goal here is not to provide you with the actual answer. My goal is to show you a proper scientific approach to the answer, so you'll know what to look for from your expert.

He/she would ordinarily require the material composition of both the steel beams and a Boeing 767 to provide any kind of accurate answer. However, this impact would have represented such a lop-sided result that any old steel will do and all that would be needed are the dimensions of the steel beams, including thickness.

Avoid any expert who starts with the assumption that the steel beams "lost." This is a common tactic of the "paid" experts. They start with what was supposed to have happened, then they work in reverse, fudging numbers (lying) until they arrive at the desired conclusion.

Instead, look for a beam-by-beam analysis with no assumption as to the final outcome.

Look for K.E./momentum/Impulse (all related), shear strength, and center of mass/gravity as the relevant parameters in any equations used.

Sorry, that's about the best I can do without going back to school for a refresher course.

Hopefully, I've at least shown you what to look for from an "expert."

Good luck!

Ningen said...

Thanks again, still diggin, for the really informative advice. I guess I'm acting like a lawyer in wanting a definitive statement, but it's really for my own peace of mind. My gut is telling me this no-Boeing, faked video scenario is true, but I want something to back that up. It's like you say about experts -- they don't want to stick their necks out, and some of them are just plain lying. That's why I'm doing it on my own, even though I am obviously unqualified.

Once I decide this is true and easily defensible, I will not shut up about it, and I will not be anonymous. Those *#&@ers appear to have invaded the sovereignty of my mind by getting me to believe a lie for 5 years, and that really pisses me off.

Ningen said...

"Avoid any expert who starts with the assumption that the steel beams "lost." This is a common tactic of the 'paid' experts. They start with what was supposed to have happened, then they work in reverse, fudging numbers (lying) until they arrive at the desired conclusion."

Exactly -- even I could see that. Thanks again, StillDigger, like you say, you gave me a framework for working with an expert. Now I have to find a volunteer with some guts -- it's not like I'm getting paid for this.

StillDiggin said...


FYI, I just posted Part II of "Pinocchio."

This should relieve anyone of the need for a complicated physics analysis in order to "know for sure" that there were no real planes.

IHSIHM said...

Thank you for an interesting and well-written blog!

There is another glaring 911-pound gorilla issue that desperately needs some work -- SOUND!

Let's turn for a moment from discussing video images of the impossible impact to the fact that it was SILENT.

Frame it this way -- What sound does a 100-ton airplane, travelling at 100s of miles per hour, make when it hits a 100-storey building? Care to estimate the decibels and how many damaged eardrums there should be within a short radius?

Watch the news footage again, from any source, and you will observe that the sound of an explosion occurs AFTER the supposed plane impacts the building.

Also, the November 2001 New York Times article referenced by Webfairy contains an interview with Evan Fairbanks in which the strangely silent impact is mentioned. (Of course, the reporter never asks "How can this be?" but at least did report it.) I don't know of any conflicting testimony to this, but it seems that no one has explored this issue.

No sound, no impact, no plane!

Ningen said...

ihsihm, sorry to leave you in moderation purgatory so long. I forgot to check.

Thanks for kind words of support.

I've wondered about the sound -- planes fly over my house at about 2,000-4,000 feet (it's hard for me to estimate), and they are plenty loud when I'm outside. I recall that Morgan Reynolds questions the lack of sound in his paper at

Unknown said...

Thank you for the tip-of-the-hat to what I wrote (and spoke).

I spoke to a friend who is a patent attorney and also a long-time sailing enthusiast. He said that when sound travels over the water there is a delay, compared to what you can see. His notion that was the Towers being almost 1/4 of a mile high the lag in the sound was explainable.

I am going to risk embarrassing myself again with the math, but I'm basing this on sound advise from someone with experience in this (no pun intended):

770 miles per hour =
12.83 miles per minute =
.214 miles per second.

approx. one tenth of a mile per second.

(So I guess that still doesn't explain the lag. I will have to go over it with him again. He seemed to think it was explained?)

But maybe it does? One would have to time the videos? It seems like one second would approx. the lag heard in the video since the sound came from the top of a building .25 miles high. Say it hit .2 miles high. That would make a 1-second delay reasonable.

Could all these 1000's of scientists in the U.S. just think science is regurgitating socially acceptable answers?

Part 2:
I have another close friend who is an audio engineer. He makes sound effects. (Even did some for the "rape by the devil" scene in "Rosemary's Baby") Has done thousands of sound effects. He told me that often the sound effect heard in media does not match what that sound actually sounds like in real life. It sounds what you'd *think* it sounded like instead? (Perhaps, over many years, people are conditioned to believe the sound effects promoted through artificial experience are what the real-world sounds actually are like. Therefore, may not recognize the real sound or know the difference? Many sounds, living a limited life as most people do, they would not have had the opportunity to actually hear?) For instance, my friend says the sound of a gunshot in real life sounds nothing like how it is imitated on a soundtrack - which is what people are used to in the artificial reality of Media. I suppose people who work with guns would recognize this?

I think it might have gotten to the point where people do not recognize the difference between the fake reality created by the Media and actually what is. And example of this is all the people who swear they saw the aircraft's hitting. And aren't even aware that what they are talking about is seeing it on TV. One person I have spoken to, a witness, an extremely intelligent man confessed to me the strangeness of realizing he did not see or hear the airplane and had been confused since he had believed he had seen it, but that had only been on TV. Most people are not, by themselves, aware of the difference.

I gave my audio engineer friend the Cheney clip - the one with French voices on it. He agreed with me there is no sound of a crash. There is merely the sound of an explosion. For What It's Worth.

I'm reading Orwell "1984" tonight:
"Freedom is the freedom to say 2 + 2 = 4. If that is granted, all else follows."

Orwell's narrator explains that in Big Brother's world there is no need for reality. It's all obedient perception. I suppose that's why the motto of your site, Ningen, references a "reality-based" community?!

Peggy Carter

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
IHSIHM said...

Thanks for your reply. Yes, the lack of sound has received a brief mention in a few places. But this is one of those absolute killer facts, not just a side issue, and it deserves to be highlighted as it simplifies the debate.

I should point out that I am not speaking of the sound of the plane overhead -- although that is an issue too, and the few brief seconds of "Flight 175" airplane noise heard on all the news coverage tapes are really laughable. Maybe broadcast from WTC7? Who knows. But the sounds of a speeding Boeing at low altitude should have had thousands of people cringing and ducking for cover for quite a distance along its path before the WTC!

It is the noiseless IMPACT that renders the whole plane issue absurd. Have you ever heard a freeway crash, even from a distance? The impact of metals, concrete, glass etc. on 9-11 should have been deafening. A plane cannot silently glide into a building. The properties of the materials involved in such a collision simply demand a sound release in a huge number of decibels.

I am not saying that all the research into video fakery, lack of deceleration, etc., is not important. Just that the idea of a silent impact completely trounces any claim of a plane -- it's over, game, set, and match. This is an issue that is simple to frame, for if there was NO SOUND, there was NO IMPACT, and with no impact, NO PLANE.

I wish someone would take this issue and run with it, and challenge all the defenders of the plane hypothesis (Salter, et al.) to explain the absurdity of a silent crash.

Ningen said...

Peggy, thank you for your thoughts. I will think about this more. Thanks for the Immortal Technique video, too.

ihsihm, I'm sorry I didn't respond to your point -- I read it quickly and had in mind Morgan Reynolds' question about the plane roaring through Manhattan.

Yes, I imagine that impact would be really loud. Even according to the NIST story, tons of aluminum are being shredded by the external columns, then the heavy engines are smacking the building. Yes, all that metal on metal at 450 mph would have to be deafening, wouldn't it?

I think both of you are right. Wow. If it is undisputed that the video is authentic and has picked up all sound that was at the impact location and time, then that would be game, set, match. I agree, it is easier to understand than deceleration, etc., and it seems like it would be harder to dispute.

This may be complicating things, but I wonder if there is a way to model some miminum level of decibels that would be produced by such an impact, then model how that sound would spread - how it would sound on the street and inside the building.

Peggy, you said:

"Could all these 1000's of scientists in the U.S. just think science is regurgitating socially acceptable answers?"

I don't know. It makes me sick. It is absurd that I am critiquing MIT engineers, utterly absurd. But again and again, I see experts referencing what they saw and coming up with explanations that either match the video or match the official explanation, and just don't make sense. I think if the plane impact study had been done as a worst-case hypothetical before 9/11, the results would have been different.

It's nice to meet you both. I don't know that I have anything original more to say, at least for a while. I spend a lot of time reading Spooked's stuff at Humint Events. Right now, he has the debunkers in a frenzy with his "chickenwire" model.

IHSIHM said...

Hello Ningen,

Yes, there is sound modelling software. I am merely a data analyst, not an engineer or programmer, but I have some passing familiarity with sound meters and software used to predict effects of increased traffic (e.g., building or extending a freeway, widening a road, etc.).

An engineer within this specialty certainly should be able to model the sound of an airplane colliding at a particular speed and height with specific materials. We need someone willing to take this up!

I think it was in 2003 that I first discovered Rosalee Grable's work. As soon as I realized that by all accounts this impact was silent, I knew it was fake, even if I did not know how (and my personal jury is still out as to how it was accomplished).

The point is, here is a dead simple fact that can be used to put the planehuggers on the defensive. I am so sick of all the whining about the supposed eyewitnesses! (My hat is off to StillDiggin here, I just love his attention to detail.) If anything was indeed seen with the eyes, it was a silent illusion or apparition produced by technical trickery.

Ningen said...

"There is one paper I do not understand at all: Bazant and Zhou, Why did the World Trade Center Collapse? - Simple Analysis, J. of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 128, No. 1 (January 2002)." I understand it now. They assume what they purport to prove, free fall collapse. Manuel Garcia does the same.