Audio Debate Transcript: 09-11-11: "9/11's Footprint on America Ten Years Later"

We have gone through the audio of the recent 9/11 debate between Richard Gage and Neils Harrit against Dave Thomas and Richard Muller:

The transcript of the debate follows below. We encourage everyone to read this carefully to understand the true character of our county's enemies. We will be going through their statements point by point to identify existing video/audio/text to refute them. We will add our own where we need to. Our intention is to produce text and video responses for widescale distribution. If anyone would like to participate in the complete dismantling of these ridiculous and unethical 'arguments' we would welcome your help. We are a small group but determined. Email us at the following address. Thank you.

Oregon AE911Truth - Ashland - Newport - Portland


9/11 Footprint on America


Participants in the debate:

Dave Thomas: Head of New Mexicans for Science and Reason (, fellow of Committee for
Skeptical Inquiry

Dr. Richard Muller: Prof. Physics, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, author of Physics for Future Presidents

Richard Gage: Founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, member of American Institute of
Architects (AIA)

Dr. Neils Harrit: Associate Professor Emeritus, Nanoscience Center University, Copenhagen, Denmark,
author of 60 peer reviewed scientific papers

Opening Statements

11:20: Dave Thomas (3 minutes)

Hello. I'm Dave Thomas with New Mexicans for Science and Reason,
and I'm not a government employee and I don't work for NIST, but I've been researching
9/11 conspiracy theories for a while, most intensively since I had a debate in October 2009
with Richard Gage at my school, New Mexico Tech, in Socorro, New Mexico. I would like
to say that speaking for myself, I would certainly have supported an investigation into the
Bush/Cheney run up to the war in Iraq. And I think that hinged heavily on the Bush
administration's attempt to link Iraq with the 9/11 attacks. I think the Bush administration
manipulated 9/11 to get us into Iraq, but I don't think that they caused 9/11 or were
responsible for a controlled demolition by any means. So the run up to Iraq, that's the
investigation I'd like to see.

I've got some comments on three main topics;
- the collapse of the Twin Towers themselves,
- whether thermite was used to destroy the towers, and
- thirdly, World Trade Center 7
...and I may not get to all of those in this introductory segment. But starting with the
towers, I think my research has led me to think that it was their unique design construction
(tube within a tube) that made them so vulnerable and I've explained this in a recent article
in the July-August 2011 Skeptical Enquirer, which is also posted on on our
9/11page. One reason it was not a controlled demolition that collapsed the towers was the
complete lack of high explosive detonations. There was no ‘boom, boom, boom’ that you
always hear at controlled demolitions. Another fact is that both collapses started right
where the planes impacted each tower, and it would be impossible to protect like detonation
cords and high explosives from these energetic impacts of the planes full of jet fuel. The
dynamic impacts of the upper sections once failure occurred because steel was made soft –
it didn't have to melt; it just got soft enough to lose the structural strength, and once those
upper sections started falling they had so much impact, probably 30 times the static weight
of the upper section, that they caused an avalanche basically that collapsed each building in
15 to 20 seconds, definitely less than freefall, resistance at every step, in fact my model,
physics model, shows that the (time up)

14:36: Richard Gage (3 minutes)

The first step in looking at the evidence objectively is to realize that we've been misled into
equating conspiracy theories with theories that are not evidence based and people that are
But the official story...
Moderator: OK, let's remember the rules, Richard, please
Well that's what we are called. I'm not saying anyone else.

But Osama bin Laden and 19 hijackers did it – it is a conspiracy theory itself. In fact, any
crime planned and committed by two or more people is a conspiracy by definition. So
conspiracy is a crime. Before 9/11 the FBI charged bin Laden with the crime of conspiracy
because they had evidence that he was involved in planning the attacks on our embassies in
Africa. But they said they did not charge him with the crime of 9/11 because there is no
hard evidence that he was even involved. So that's just a theory. The official narrative is a
conspiracy theory – the official conspiracy theory.

Fifteen hundred architects and engineers that I represent, and millions of other people, have
taken the time to examine the scientific forensic evidence regarding the destruction of these
three skyscrapers. They agree that the evidence supports the hypothesis of explosive
controlled demolition of these buildings. This is a building-destruction theory, not a
conspiracy theory. And it is supported by an overwhelming amount of hard evidence. The
official-collapse theory is not supported by the evidence. In fact it denies, ignores, and
obscures it. I will focus on a few key pieces, but the issue of the destruction of these three
high-rises is far too important to take anyone's word, so I want to make sure everybody has
a chance to look at the evidence on our website, which is AE911TRUTH.ORG.

So my first point here is that the official theory reported by NIST (National Institute of
Standards and Technology) argues that this building's destruction was due to normal office
fires. They say that the fire on floor 12 on the northeast side of the building heated the
floor beams under floor 13 causing them to expand to the point where they pushed a girder
off of its seat, and then started a chain of collapses that turned this 47-story skyscraper into
a pile of rubble like a house of cards altogether in less than 22 seconds. But photos reveal
clearly that the fire had already burned out in that part of floor 12 where the collapse
supposedly began, over an hour before the collapse. So they could not have caused the
collapse. Period. End of story, really, for Building 7. In fact fires have never cause a total
collapse of any skyscraper, even though we have up to a hundred examples of very hot,
very large, and very long skyscrapers. So NIST should have examined the hypothesis of
explosive controlled demolition first, and then fires since no skyscraper has ever collapsed
by of fire, and every one that has ever come down has come down as a result of controlled
(time up)
...and it looked exactly like it as well.

17:45: Richard Muller (3 minutes)

Thank you very much. I'm simply going to stick to the physics here. On 9/11, I watched
the buildings collapse, and my reaction was "oh, of course." As soon as I saw them collapse
I realized why such a fire up on the 90th floor should cause a building to collapse, many
kinds of buildings, not just that one. What happens is that there were enormous fires inside
of the building, fires including much of the jet fuel.

I had taught my class the week earlier that jet fuel contains ten times as much energy as
TNT per pound. It contains 40 times as much energy per pound as thermite. Gasoline; the
reason we use it, the reason we love it is because it has so much energy. Some of that
gasoline, only part of it, burned along with everything else in that floor. If the temperature
reaches merely 600 degrees. Now 600 degrees is what you get in a typical office fire, it's
what you get if your house burns down, you get 600 degrees. The fact about steel and
concrete, is that when it gets to 600 degrees it loses half of its strength. This comes about
simply because the molecules expand; they're further apart from each other; they're not as
strong; and so these columns are designed to hold up twice as much weight as they actually
hold. But once they lose half of their strength then they are bound to buckle.

Buckling is the next important thing here. Once a column buckles, take a soda straw and
squeeze it between your hand and it's an enormous force, except when you push a little bit
too hard, then suddenly it goes. And there's no resistance whatsoever. That's buckling;
that's what happens. Now this floor in which the columns have collapsed, slams against the
lower floor, I call that the ‘hammer effect.’ It multiplies the force. You take a hammer
sitting on your hand, it's a pound. You swing it down on your hand and it could be 100
pounds. There's probably an amplification of about a factor of 30 as this came down. That
means the columns below will buckle. Boom, boom, boom, boom, all the way down.

This thing will happen at virtually freefall because of the fact that a buckling column has no
resistance whatsoever. The energy carried by these airplanes was enormous. I calculate
that for the two airplanes the total energy was about 14 percent of the Hiroshima bomb.
That's surprises a lot of people because they don't realize how much energy there is in
gasoline. Fire is far more destructive than explosion. Explosions tend to move around the
columns. A fire heats the columns, weakens it and makes it go. When I saw all this that's
what I ... On 9/12 I went and told my class that... how it did. If I were a conspirator and
wanted to bring down a building, I wouldn't use thermite, I wouldn't use dynamite, I would
somehow get gasoline into that building and set it on fire. (time up)

20:51: Neils Harrit (1 minute rebuttal)

OK. I'm a scientist, and natural science is based on experience, so I wonder where
Professor Muller got that "oh, of course" feeling from, since this has never before happened
in history that a steel-framed high-rise has collapsed due to fire. It means that the
experiment has been done many times over and over again. Each time you concluded that
the building did not collapse. Once you have done the experiment a sufficient number of
times you conclude that steel-framed high-rises do not collapse due to fire. Period.
Regarding the jet fuel, I'm a chemist. If you watch the impact of the airliners in(to) the
skyscrapers, you see a huge fireball outside the building. There went the jet fuel, 90% of it.
It’s gone. It’s outside of the building; it’s out of this business. So the jet fuel could never
have done that. Thank you.

21:52: Richard Gage (3 minutes)

Let's continue talking about Building 7, the ‘smoking gun’ of 9/11. Physics teacher, David
Chandler, using an online program that his students use demonstrates that World Trade
Center 7 fell at free-fall acceleration. Now, a building can't fall at free-fall acceleration
and convert all of its gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy, motion, and do any
other work – like buckling columns as Professor Muller (in the case of the Twin Towers) is
pointing out. Those columns had to buckle. How did that energy get started? It can't. The
building would have to slow down substantially. Ninety percent (90%) of the Twin
Towers' strength was removed which enabled that building to come down at 66% of freefall.
It is accelerating straight down through the path of what was the greatest resistance.

And its almost symmetrical, indicating that almost every column in the Twin Towers is
being removed, and that has to be done simultaneously, virtually on each of any given floor
—synchronistically timed explosives on those floors. And the first responders heard those
explosions. They documented it, over 150 of them, in the oral recordings. [They] talked
about bands of explosions, "pop, pop, pop" at the onset of the destruction of that building.

Back at World Trade Center 7, there was no resistance. NIST acknowledges absolutely no
resistance. And that building came down even more symmetrically, indicating that all of
the 24 columns had to have been removed virtually simultaneously and probably the
perimeter columns as well, because not one of those 80 columns on each of at least eight
floors gave any resistance. And they are five times stronger than they need to be in order to
hold this building up. Buildings have structural resistance. That's why we feel comfortable
going into a building, because of the resistance.

The question on the table is, "Where did the resistance go, and why do have the chemical
evidence in all the dust of explosives? In this case, thermite and nanothermite, which
Professor Harrit will be talking about next. Where did... why do we have that evidence,
and why would (in a deceptive controlled demolition) why would we be using thermite? It
is more efficient, and it is quieter and it doesn't have the loud bright flashes that would give
away high-energy explosives like C4 and RDX. So it’s the perfect solution.

25:00): Dave Thomas (1 minute rebuttal)

25:00: Basically there is an explanation for that free-fall. What Richard is not telling you
is that NIST identified three stages of the collapse of the facade and the whole collapse took
like 16 seconds, not the 6 and a half seconds, including the penthouse dropping, a lot of
things failing inside, but for that, about the 6 and a half seconds of the facade falling... the
first stage was the crunching phase where columns were broken and that was definitely less
than free-fall. And then once those were broken, like the straws that Richard Muller
mentioned, once you crimp a straw it doesn't support and that's where you got the two and a
quarter seconds of free-fall. And then after that there was a third stage where the structure
impacted the building below and slowed down again. So, Richard is only telling, talking
about stage 2 of a 3-stage process and that's just for the facade of World Trade Center 7.

26:21 Neils Harrit (3 minutes)

What Mr. Thomas has just said is a complete misunderstanding of the NIST results. He's
talking about the whole collapse should take six seconds. Now please tell me, Mr. Thomas,
next time you get the chance, when did NIST start their clock? Because their clock was
ended when the facade, or the roofline, went down to the level of the 29th floor, but they
never told us when they started the clock. When you should start the clock of course is
when the top roofline starts moving.

This is the point that the whole building is going down in free-fall if you monitor the
roofline. And there is no kink in front of the roofline. It’s an error, because you're
watching the building from below. If you watch the building horizontally the top roofline
is completely unbroken. So you are simply, excuse me, messing up the observations and
the data when you talk about this three-period thing. You have to make the observation
when the roofline starts moving until it reaches the 23rd floor.

Beyond that, NIST's argument is completely irrelevant. What you are saying is completely
irrelevant. It doesn't matter. NIST is admitting that the building is going into free-fall for
more than two seconds. It doesn't matter if this is two milliseconds or ten seconds. The
fact that you at all see free-fall, which is admitted NIST actually, better than David
Chandler did. NIST is exactly on the point on free-fall acceleration. And this is the key
observation. NIST is admitting it, and it means that at that time, when the roofline starts
moving, all the internal structure has been removed, and this can only be accomplished by
explosives fired in a very accurate sequence. Very, very meticulously done. Thank you.

28:44: Richard Muller (1 minute)

I really recommend (that) the members of the audience take a sheet of paper, 8 x 10, roll it
into a cylinder, put a little Scotch tape on it, and then put it on its end, and put a book on
top. It’s amazing that paper can hold up a book. Then put a second book on top, then a
third, and add them up until the thing collapses. You'll find that when it collapses it doesn't
take energy. It doesn't take time. The whole thing collapses very suddenly. This is the
nature of buckling, that it doesn't take very much energy and it is very fast.

Comment on the thermite: Many people don't appreciate that thermite is not a super exotic
material. It basically consists of rust and aluminium, or a paint pigment and aluminium.
The papers that claim to have found thermite simply reported that they found the rust and
the aluminium together. That would happen. They never tested to see whether they would
find that in a normal building.

29:45: Dave Thomas (3 minutes)

OK, I'd like to talk a little bit more about World Trade Center 7, since that's the new hot
topic. And it was not hit by an airplane, but it was hit by a flaming and collapsing 110
story skyscraper, World Trade Center 1. And it had huge fires that raged for seven hours,
with physical deformations. The New York City Fire Department knew it would collapse,
and they saved many lives by evacuating many blocks around World Trade Center 7. And
it did not fall in its own footprint, but it fell asymmetrically, tipping over and it crashed into
buildings across very large 4-lane streets. And as far as what Richard said about the fires
going out, and how could an extinguished fire cause the collapse, I'd like to point out that
not all investigations agree with NIST that it was thermal expansion. And in particular the
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats, CTBUH, disagrees with NIST on the
expansion and thermal contraction and about column 79 being the Achilles heel. But, they
agree that it was fires that brought down World Trade Center 7. It was not thermite.

And as far as that brief period of free-fall, that definitely was the roofline that NIST was
looking at. And they looked at three stages of that corner of the facade collapse. And so
basically, has a steel-framed structure ever collapsed before? Yes. The Kader Toy Factory
failed. It was a steel structure and it failed because of fires. And the Mumbai High North
Platform in India, total steel structure, it burned, seven stories, it collapsed. And so my
point is, if a 4-story can fail just from fire, a steel framed structure, and a 7-story steel
framed structure can fail from fire, so can a 110-story structure, or a 47-[story] structure.
And the actual experiment, the first experimental evidence of this was on 9/11, 2001 at the
World Trade towers.

And another question is why do building codes require fire insulation on steel beams? And
in particular, in the World Trade Center the fire insulation was blown off the beams. So the
beams were not as protected as they should have been. And that's why the buildings failed
in a mere hour or so.

And finally getting back to the Twin Towers, they did not collapse at actual free-fall
speed(sic), but my physics model shows that the initial collapse would be about two-thirds
of gravitational acceleration because of resistance. Every floor that was crushed resisted
the fall... (time up)

32:52: Richard Gage (1 minute)

Yes, these fires are documented quite well. There are only about eight of them that can be
found. They're not large, huge all-engulfing fires like is claimed by our opponents. These
are fairly small and scattered office fires. And they are not uniformly distributed around
the building such that they can cause eight floors in a row to collapse, and symmetrically.
The building was hit by a small amount of debris and NIST claims that this is not a part of
the destruction of the building. So that's wrong. And other steel structures have failed, but
not high-rise structures. These are fire-proofed heavy steel-framed structures. Structures
that have failed are factories that have unprotected lightweight steel trusses.

34:25: Richard Muller (3 minutes)

Let me talk a little bit more about the physics of a collapse, because I think this is the thing
that everybody can understand. Physics tends to make great simplifications. It’s a joke that
a physicist wanted to help the dairy industry so he assumed that the cow was spherical in
shape. Engineers go into all the details and physicists try to get the broad overview. When
I saw that thing collapse my reaction was "That makes sense from the physics I know. I
would expect almost any tall building if it weren't particularly adapted to prevent that kind
of collapse to collapse in such a way." Let me address a few of the points that were raised
so far about how this happens.

Now you have a fire that's going on. And as I said, even in a house fire you typically get up
to the 600 degrees that you need to weaken the steel. Once you start weakening those
columns, then they no longer support the weight above them. They will continue to be
there until the weight above it is large enough to collapse them all. And then it goes down.
It will always start at one side so the building will tilt a little bit, but it should all go down.
The so-called uniform distribution is not a problem. That is what you expect. The
buckling, and the point was right. Every time you hit a new floor you have to accelerate
that, so it won't quite be at free-fall.

But buildings are like houses of cards. They are made lightweight. They are not full of
material. They are made lightweight on purpose so that you don't have to have a huge
structure at the bottom to hold it up. Notre Dame in Paris is quite different because they
could only use stones, so it was really solid at the bottom. These things are really solid at
the bottom too.

Remember the amount of energy released here. Remember that jet fuel has about 15 times
the energy of TNT. We use TNT not because it has a lot of energy, but because it gets its
energy out very quickly, and that can fracture rock. It’s very bad in a loose structure like
the World Trade Center because it will tend to go right around the columns and blow out.
The energy is 15 times that of TNT. It is 40 times that of thermite. Thermite is the last
way I would try to do anything. You have to put it into place; you have to aim it; it's very
very difficult. And you have so very little energy in it.

Jet fuel is really the way to go. That's why we use jet fuel and gasoline in our automobiles.
We use it because it has so much energy. We would eat it if it weren't toxic.

37:11 Neils Harrit (1 minute)

Mr. Muller keeps on talking about the jet fuel but there was no jet fuel in the towers. Most
of it was in the fireball outside. Only a few percent went into the towers and they were
gone after five minutes. Mr. Muller may be aware of the experiment, which was done by
British Steel from 1993 until 2001. On eight occasions they set fire to a real scale 8-story
steel-framed building. And in the worstcase scenario, the temperature in the steel reached
1100 degrees centigrade. But the building remained standing. Now the columns, what was
captured, was investigated of the steel, core steel. None of the WTC was beyond 250
degrees centigrade. It didn't even get hotter than 200 degrees centigrade. And the earlier
experiments proved that you could stay until 1100 degrees centigrade.

38:19: Richard Gage (3 minutes)

There are a whole bunch of reports of companies like Tully Construction, Peter Tully, the
president of that company, seeing ‘pools of molten steel,’ as he called it. Leslie Robertson,
the structural engineer of the World Trade Center himself, documents in a video that he saw
a ‘little river of molten steel.’ Structural engineers document melted beams and iron
workers and first responders see ‘molten steel flowing like lava’ the say. Where... And it's
pouring out of the South Tower 10 minutes prior to its collapse. It's bright orange, molten
metal. It turns out to be molten iron, by chemical tests, all of this stuff. In fact, R. J. Lee
and the USGS independently confirmed the existence of billions of small, previously
molten iron microspheres in all the World Trade Center dust samples. In fact, up to 6% of
the dust sample in the Deutsche Bank building is confirmed to of these small spheres. How
could they get there? Officials have no explanation. What does it mean? It means
temperatures exceeding 2800 degrees, the melting point of iron.

This is a matter of physics. This is not another ‘magic show.’ We've got to get to the
reality of the physics and what could create those temperatures. Thermite issues molten
iron as its byproduct when it's set off after it burns through structural steel, which is what
it's designed to do. We not only have these molten-iron microspheres and all of this molten
metal, but concrete, which is flowing like lava, they say. It’s in the museum, in the police
museum here in New York and you can go and see it. The melting point of concrete is
3000 degrees. It's formed itself around the gun. There is no question about the
temperatures required to produce all these phenomena. The question is, “What produced
it?” Jet fuel only burns up to 1200 degrees or so. So we're looking for temperatures that
exceed 2800 degrees. There is no source for all of that material in the dust outside the
debris pile pouring out of the South Tower or in the melted beams documented by
structural engineers in the debris pile. This is a ‘case closed.’ Now, FEMA finds in their
analysis in appendix C of NIST’s*1 report in May of 2002. They document the hot sulfur
corrosion attack on the steel. Inter-granular melting with the eutectic mixture of molten
iron. This is a problem.

41:22: Dave Thomas (1 minute)

I'd like first to respond to all the reports of molten steel, and those were not really validated.
Dave Perassa(?), the chief engineer in charge never could get any actual documented
molten steel. What we think happened, there was molten aluminium. That's what was
flowing out of the towers, and it's really hard to identify molten steel from a visual.

But let’s move on to the microspheres. USGS and R. J. Lee did find microspheres. They
found the iron microspheres in dust that was not from the World Trade Center. There was
more of it in the WTC dust, but it turns out, if you have a rapid rate of reaction, if you have
a thin piece of iron like steel wool you can just take a Bic lighter to steel wool and make
iron microspheres like a millimeter size. I've done it last week. So it does not prove

42:20 Neils Harrit (3 minutes)
Well I didn't get the mechanism that Mr. Thomas suggested for the formation of iron
spheres. It requires that the iron has been molten and has been up flying [airborne]. You
get the spherical shape from the surface tension of the liquid. So the only chemical
reaction, which can be made responsible for the formation of iron spheres, is a thermite
reaction. So I just didn't get the experiment Mr. Thomas was describing. There is no other
chemical reaction which can account for the iron spheres. And the number found by the R.
J. Lee group is a huge number – 5.87%. It's a gigantic number, and it's not found anywhere
else in ordinary building dust. Period.

43:19: Richard Muller (1 minute)

I was told I should mention my book again, 'cuz it's for future presidents. It was a best
seller and only costs $10. I see some skepticism-bias here. I see people who are willing to
accept verbatim statements made by people who see molten stuff flowing from a building.
It's very hard for an amateur to tell the difference between molten steel and falling debris
that's burning. I'm old enough to remember the fireball, or what's called the "fire-fall" at
Yosemite where they set a bonfire and they poured it over the edge. And sure enough, it
really looked like molten steel going down. So be careful of the skepticism-bias.
As for the fireball which consumed all the jet fuel, I guarantee it didn't. We had 900 tons of
TNT equivalent. That fireball... I've seen bigger ones at Burning Man [gatherings].

44:14: Dave Thomas (3 minutes)

I'd like to use the three minutes to talk about thermite, and thermite just burns way too slow
for a timed, controlled demolition. And plus, it's really extremely difficult to apply to
vertical beams without lots of give-away cladding and devices. And Dr. Harrit did a paper
with Steven Jones and they did some interesting and scientifically correct methods, but they
missed the big picture. They did not test for the things that would have proved it to be
thermite. And all the sort of bi-layered thermitic material in that paper is most likely floor
truss primer paint produced by the Laclede Steel Company. And this burns at 430 degrees
centigrade, just as shown in Dr. Harrit's paper. Unlike thermite, which combusts at 850 to
950 degrees centigrade.

Mark Basile who is a Truther who analyzed*2 that, found like 1.68% aluminium 2.63%
iron composition, and mostly carbon, over 70% carbon. That is not thermite. Thermite is
major parts of aluminium and iron oxide, so it's got aluminium, iron, and oxygen. And to
have just, you know, like 2% aluminium and iron, that's not thermite.

Another big problem was that Dr. Harrit's experiments were performed in air, where
oxygen can promote burning of, say, paint chips. And those experiments need to be
repeated in an inert atmosphere like argon. And I request that Dr. Harrit consider doing
that test.

A lot of talk is made of NFPA, the National Fire Protection Agency rules, and the reason
they didn't really search for thermite is because those elaborate rules are for fires of
unknown origin, and we know exactly what caused the fires in the towers, it was flights 11
and Flight 175. And the iron-rich microspheres are expected in normal office fires. And
they are also a part of fly-ash that was used in cement in the towers. And the experiment I
mentioned is take some steel wool and light it with a Bic lighter and you can create iron
microspheres. They get hot enough to melt. The little filaments can easily get hot enough
to melt and no thermite is required for that.

So, basically, Richard Gage has an organization that makes hundreds of thousands of
dollars a year and I encourage Richard Gage to get an independent lab – it doesn't have to
be in America if you don't think any American lab can do it. Get a good reputable non-
Truther European lab to test for thermite.

47:17: Richard Gage (1 minute)

I'll leave the nanothermite opportunity to Neils. Regarding our income here, it’s a common
attack, if you will. I make about half the income I had as an architect and I'm working
about three times the number of hours. One of the things I do as I represent these 1500
architects and engineers who're technical and building professionals, not conspiracy
theorists. They have solid scientific evidence, including these iron microspheres. When
you burn steel wool, you get melted steel. You don't get molten iron microspheres. You
don't get 6% of the dust sample on top of the Deutsche Bank building composed of molten
iron microspheres which tests show had the traces of aluminium, manganese, silica, and
other thermite-bearing chemical signatures. This is extraordinary.

48:51: Dave Thomas (90 seconds)

I'd like to refer listeners to my website and we have a 911 actually several pages
that discuss all of this, thermite and the collapse of the towers and David Chandler's stuff.
And also we have a YouTube channel "TheNMSR" seven letters, all one word. And I'd
like to just urge Richard Gage to go ahead and submit his petition to congress, because like
the Grateful Dead said, “Sometimes your cards ain't worth a dime if you don't lay 'em
down.” So I wonder when he is going to finally turn in that petition to Congress.

49:40: Richard Muller (90 seconds)

The building should have collapsed. There was one engineer who ran to the building trying
to get there, an engineer who helped design the building who realized it was going to
collapse. When it collapsed, elementary physics said it should collapse. Now, maybe
there's something that violates elementary physics, I don't know, something that I don't
know about that meant it shouldn't work. But it should have collapsed.

Now, when it collapses, more energy is released. It's about 200,000 pounds of TNT
equivalent, in simply the collapse of the building. Once it's all collapsed you have
smoldering flames, and that makes it even hotter down there. Maybe that even accounts for
some of the molten steel, I don't know. But this is a building that if I wanted to attack a
building and make it collapse, I would deliver gasoline or jet fuel onto the 91st story and do
it in this way, because it is so straightforward that you hardly need a conspiracy.

50:41 Neils Harrit (90 seconds)

Well I was jumping around for joy when I heard Mr. Thomas actually endorsing the
application of nanothermite to the World Trade Center. He was admitting all the
characteristics of our findings. He didn't mention that the stuff was reacting to juicing”
elemental iron, but I assumed that when he characterized this, as ‘thermitic paint.’ This is
what David Thomas told us. We call it ‘painted-on thermite’ eventually. So if Mr. Thomas
called it ‘thermitic paint,’ I can easily live with the difference. So I welcome you Mr.
Thomas on board, on the ‘thermitic paint’ team. Because this was basically what you said.
And as to Mr. Muller, I would just as a final remark say that he is still referring to an
experience, which does not exist. Steel-framed high-rises do not collapse due to fire. Now
the science that we share is based on experience, and there is no experience for you to refer
to when you bring up your claims. Thank you.

51:57: Richard Gage (90 seconds)

The Twin Towers, we are told, were dropped by jet fuel and airplanes. The problem here is
that that's not what we see. We're told the upper portion drove the rest of the building down
to the ground. Not what happened. Watch the videos very carefully. You'll see the upper
15 stories in the case of the North Tower disappearing. Absolutely disappearing in a
telescoping miniature controlled demolition. After that, there is nothing left to drive the
rest of those buildings down. The building is tearing itself apart, hurling four-ton perimeter
wall units laterally at over 70 miles per hour – instantly – outward. Gravity works
downward. These two physicists can tell you that. But what we have is the lateral
dispersion of material out to a 1400-foot radius. This is a very explosive event with lateral
forces here. So the other thing about nanothermite is that they are composed of extremely
small particles, nano-size, a thousand times smaller than a human hair. These are
intimately mixed with iron oxide and aluminium powder in the perfect percentage to
become what? Nanothermite. And that does not happen in some gradual process of falling
debris from the Twin Towers. So I encourage everybody to get yourself informed and don't
be bamboozled by fancy-speaking physicists.

53:27 END
*1 Mr. Gage is most certainly referring to the FEMA's "WTC Building Performance Study, Appendix C
(Limited Metallurgical Examination)"

resistance of a buckling steel column

I found it interesting that Thomas and Muller based their arguments largely on claims about steel columns, and how they get weak after they start to buckle. They do have a point, in theory, but their numbers are badly off.

1. They have a point, in that the collapses of the towers don't violate any *basic* physics, as is often claimed. The gravitational collapse theory of Bazant and NIST doesn't contradict Newton's laws. I myself have made a full dynamical computer model of the collapsing towers, in one dimension. Each floor is a dynamical variable that obeys Newton's laws at all times, and (with carefully chosen parameters for the steel columns) the observed collapses can be closely approximated.

2. HOWEVER, getting such a rapid collapse requires FALSE column parameters. If one uses column data obtained from the NIST reports, and NISTs SAP2000 model (provided to me by Tony Szamboti) then my model shows collapse arrest after a few stories. In this model I am using Bazant's own 3-hinge buckling model, which in the case of the perimeter columns probably underestimates the buckling resistance. According to civil engineer Robert Korol, who squashes steel columns in his lab under hydraulic presses, such stocky square tube columns will crush axially rather than forming plastic hinges. The average buckling resistance is then about 50% of yield, rather than the 20% or so that one gets with 3-hinge buckling.

3. Muller and Thomas claim that the safety factor for WTC 1 and 2 was two. Actually, based on the NIST data, it was roughly 4, at the 98th storey where the collapse of WTC1 began. They claim that buckling columns have zero resistance, whereas actually it's at least 20% of yield. With a safety factor of 4, you see that the resistance is at least 80% of the weight. Then you factor in the inertia of the impacted floors, and you quickly see that the collapse can only occur at something like constant speed, at "best". In my model it stops, and there are many energy drains that the model leaves out.

4. I believe that sceptics of the official story of 9/11 need to stop saying that the collapses violate Newton's laws. They don't. They only violate the mechanics of a buckling column. If you made a high-rise with glass columns, and a safety factor of 3, and the top part dropped at 8 m/s onto the lower part, it would go down the same way WTC 1 and 2 did. The point is that structural steel is extremely ductile, so it doesn't fracture the way glass would. It's a very safe material, because even after it fails it continues to absorb energy.

First of all I have no

background in engineering of any kind, but I do have a general understanding of basic physics.

I agree that one shouldn't use that often used phrase of "The collapses violated the laws of physics". First of all I would not describe these events as "collapses", but rather as "explosive disintegrations" or something like that. Second, no laws were violated, the laws are what they are. The Bazant theory uses (if I'm correct) a couple of absurd assumptions, like freefall of the toppart, so that this part could accelerate to around 30 km/h before it hit the lower part. I believe David Griscom already pointed out (in an article debunking Manuel Garcia's hitpiece) that if only a few columns were intact or partially intact, that 30 km/h would've been much less (and also the descent would not be straight down then, but the toppart would topple immediately to one side), and therefore the downward force of the toppart would've been much less I presume.

I'm curious about your dynamical computermodel, isn't the timing of the (sudden total) failure of that one floor absolutely crucial to ensure a collapse all the way down to the ground? I presume it would topple when the initial tilt was only slight.

I personally find he verinage demolition technique very intriguing. I actually find the pointing to this technique a very solid argument to state that the neat straight down "collapses" were the result of some type of controlled demolition, the difference bein there were no hydraulic aids to initiate the "collapse".
Plus I have yet to see the first verinage demolition of a steelframed structure. I've seen many of concrete ones.

I have trouble believing the part where you state that if you made a highriser with glass columns, and a safety factor of 3, and the toppa rt dropped at 8 m/s onto the lower part, it would go down the same way WTC1 and 2 did.
Would it really?

Once again one would have to assume that that (glass) top part would have to hit the lower part exactly perpendicular to the ground, otherwise it will tilt and eventually topple. Or wouldn't it?

The false assumption that's being made by Bazant I believe is that he claims that all of the kinetic energy of the top part goes into one floor at a time, that being the first (upper) floor of the lower part that gets hit. That I believe is absolutely false and not true, could you confirm this?

Other than that I just want to say that I appreciate the work that you've done and showing that the official story is bogus and tha NIST actually contradicts it's own conclusions if it only had used it's data in a proper manner (as KR has done also of course).
Those were my 2 cents...

You're right that tilting might be

an important issue. I mentioned that my model follows Bazant in being just one-dimensional. This means the model can only collapse straight down, if at all. My claim about glass columns was made in this context. I've no idea what an accurate 2D or 3D model would do in terms of falling over. I suppose verinage demolitions show that vertical crushing is possible, at least with a planned CD.

You also raise an important question about Bazant's model, that the lower part of the building gets crushed on floor at a time. Gordon Ross suggested that this was a mistake. I actually made my computer model largely to test this matter, as well as the whole crush-up versus crush-down issue. My model actually crushes up, one floor at a time. With different parameters, such as a bigger mass, it does crush down or even do a bit of both. It generally does crush one floor at a time, for realistic parameters, so I think Ross is mistaken. Elastic waves propagate rapidly up and down the tower, in my model, but the plastic compression is local to the collapse front.

To model glass columns, one just sets the resistance to zero at the onset of plastic compression. In this case, you sometimes get columns shattering far ahead of the collapse front.

Thanks for your reply

A couple of things I would like to add:

I didn't say that the lower part of the building gets crushed one floor at a time. What I wrote was that Bazant assumes that all of the kinetic energy of the top part goes solely into the first floor (of the lower part) that gets hit. In my mind this is simply not true or cannot be true, since every floor has columns that run all the way down to and even into the ground (bedrock). That's why it's not 15 floors (or 30 for WTC2) versus one single floor, but (the weight of) 15 floors versus (the weight of) 95 floors.

Another thing about the supposed crushdown-crushup: on most video's it's plain to see that the top part is disintegrating in midair. But it's not only that; What seems to be happening is that the systematic topdown destruction of the lower part is accompanied by the systematic bottom up destruction of the top part. So other than action = reaction causing the top part to suffer equal damage (or even more since it is lighter and has thinner columns), one can witness the explosive destruction of the top part, certainly the topfloors. But your model is not about stuff like this, is it? :)

I have seen only one example of verinage demolition where a relatively small top part was able to crush a larger lower part, usually they start right in the middle. But (to my surprise I must admit) it can seem to happen, contradictory to what one feels should not be possible.

Here's a good video of the

Here's a good video of the first few seconds of North tower collapse from plague puppy's site:


I also do not have engineering training and only high school physics, but it seems obvious to me that the one-way crush down model is not a realistic model of anything in our physical world, when we're speaking of something crushing itself (as opposed to, say, heavy matter crushing lighter matter) and thus does indeed violate the laws of physics.

As you point out yourself, your own model predicts collapse arrest. This is also predicted intuitively. Intuitively we know that a lighter portion of something cannot crush through a heavier portion of itself. We know this intuitively, but Newton's Third Law explains why.

I can understand an argument that a block-on-block physical model does not apply to the towers, and therefore Newton's Third Law is not something that can simplistically be applied to the towers' collapses, but unfortunately for Bazant, he's the one who set up this model in the first place, so, as I see it, criticisms of this have to address his block-on-block physics.

In addition, a model that discusses how an upper block or assembly of stories crushes through only one story at a time of the lower building not only ignores how the lower building's intact steel structure would be absorbing and redistributing the impacts from above, but ignores how the upper assembly's would as well. Indeed, the video evidence shows us that the upper block demolishes itself, as per Newton's Third Law. So the Bazant model again violates not only physical laws, but principles of engineering as well. Surely you must agree, Mr. Johns? So I see it as perfectly valid to point out that this model is not supported by known physical laws.

I also don't see that it matters what kind of material we're talking about. Like Sandberg, I doubt that you would get global collapse if you had a tall structure made of glass columns where the upper portion gets "dropped" on the lower. Of course, glass is a different material and will shatter rather than buckle, but you would still get collapse arrest, because the smaller upper "block" will expend its energy crushing through the lower before it reaches the ground.

Hope this doesn't sound argumentative. I truly welcome correction and exchange here.

I think intuition here is misleading.

It does seem crazy, that a 12-storey chunk of building will crush the 98 storeys below it. As I said in my post, I don't think this can happen for a real steel-framed structure, but it is physically possible for brittle materials, such as glass. Apart from my model, one does get similar behaviour in real verinage demolitions. (Though the upper part is about half the building in that case.) I doubt that verinage would work for a steel-framed structure, because steel is a lot more ductile than concrete, and will absorb a lot more energy beyond the point of failure.

The basic point is that the lower part of the building gets crushed one storey at a time. The huge structure below is almost irrelevant -- not entirely, as it does provide some elastic cushioning -- but the overall behaviour of my model doesn't change much when I get rid of the lower 60 stories! As I said in my reply to Sandberg, only elastic waves propagate rapidly through the whole tower, and these involve very little energy.

On the crush-up versus crush-down issue, it's not just Newton's second law that determines what happens. In my model either can happen first, or a bit of both, depending on the exact parameter values. Yet the second law is built into the code. It's true, for example, that the upper columns are thinner, and have lower yield strength. But they also have a little less load on them. The columns that crush first are the ones with the slightly higher stress on them, and this depends on the exact rate of increase in column thickness as you go down the building. At the onset of buckling, the column resistance drops rapidly, which makes it very hard for two stories to buckle simultaneously. After one storey begins to buckle, the load on the other set is reduced, so that they stop getting shorter. With some parameter values I get crush up and down, alternating, one storey at a time, i.e. storey 99, then 97, then 100, then 96, etc.

I see that you envision a collapse arrest, even with a glass-column tower. Let me tell you some other features of the model, which may change your mind. I assume that the floors are left intact by the collapse, and that as they collide they just stick together. (I know this is false, but the context is an argument against Bazant, who makes this assumption. I show that even such assumptions lead to collapse arrest.) I assume that no mass is "ejected" during the collapse -- again contrary to fact. So imagine for example an alternating stack of say 20 heavy ceramic tiles and wine glasses -- the wine glasses representing the columns, the ceramic tiles the floors. (Lower down you will need sturdier glasses, of course.) Lift the top (say) 5-tile stack a few inches, and drop them onto the 15-tile stack below. Even if crush-up happens first, which it could, those top 5 tiles will end up stuck together into a solid mass and falling onto the lower stack, smashing it one layer at a time. The point about glass is that it takes very little energy to destroy it. Steel absorbs about 100 times as much energy as glass of the same strength.

Thanks for your reply. I get

Thanks for your reply. I get what you're saying about the properties of glass and the fact that the whole structure can fracture, causing complete collapse, but that isn't a crush down process, that's a fracture wave, and that might be in part what is occurring in verinage. But it is not top-down crushing of the lower stack, step by step, by the upper. It's just smashing. And, as you acknowledge, this is not a process that would occur with structural steel framing.

Even if in your model we assume a crushing process, and that crush-up occurs or finishes first, then I would predict there is no cohesive mass left to finish crush down, and so collapse is again arrested, unless you're just talking about the bottom glass fracturing, and in that case, we're not talking about a step by step destruction. Also, as you acknowledge, in real life, the crushed glass and tile will spill over the sides, thus losing mass. So I don't see the point of assuming something, for the purposes of proving a model, that nevertheless would not work in real life. But I hope I've understood your point. It's a model that can actually be tested, so that might be an interesting experiment some time.

The point I was trying to put forward is that the issues you raise in your original post show in themselves that a purely gravitational collapse model for the WTC collapses (as they occurred) is not supported by basic science. You say that the collapses "only violate the mechanics of a buckling column". But what other mechanics is being considered in this debate? A collapse model that violates the mechanics of buckling columns is a model that is violating basic physical principles. You also mention that the rapidity of the destruction could not occur, as has also been pointed out by others. How is this not a violation of physical laws? And finally there's the issue of no jolt or deceleration visible in the upper block's descent. This also defies physical laws for a gravitational process. For these reasons, and others, I think it's accurate to state that a gravitational collapse explanation for the towers, both as it is posited and as they occurred in real life, is not supported by basic physical principles.

But again, if there is some clarification you or anyone else can provide, I welcome it. I make my argument here not to be right, but to understand why you make that statement.

Not much real disagreement ...

I'm not sure that there's much substantial disagreement between us. It may be largely how we are using words.

One slight misunderstanding concern the "glass tower" model I referred to. It does crush down, very much like the WTC1, as seen on videos. Its behaviour is very similar to the "floating floor" model of Kenneth Kuttler, in the Journal of 9/11 studies -- not surprisingly, since the glass columns absorb very little energy.

Other than that, I think maybe we just are using "basic physics" differently. I meant Newton's Laws, more or less. I was saying that an analysis of the "collapses" depends crucially on what is called the load-displacement function for the columns, i.e. the function that gives the resistance force of the column at each stage of its compression. This is really engineering, and it depends on the type of material and the geometry of the column.

BTW Tony Szamboti and I have used the model to analyse the "missing jolt" issue. It's the same story there. With realistic numbers, the model has a substantial jolt. With cooked up column parameters you can make the jolt effectively disappear, i.e. become too small to see on videos.


Thanks, Portland Truth, for the transcript. Hilarious!

Our pleasure!

Our pleasure!

Some Questions

Hey richardjohns, this is some good stuff. Now we have some questions.

1. Is the 20% resistance for a buckling column that you cite a well known result? Do you have a reference?

2. Do you have a ready pointer to the particular NIST document (and page number if not too much work) where the x4 safety factor is mentioned?

3. Is the work involved to produce accurate collapse models of the Twin Towers and Building 7 too excessive for grassroots ae911truth structural engineers? It would be valuable to have models and animations, where the animations exactly match the actual videos (and feel free to throw in some nano-thermite if you need to). Imagine a YouTube video with the Building 7 video on the left, the NIST animation in the middle, and the ae911truth ‘nano-thermite model’ on the right, the ae911truth model exactly matching the video. Then we can dare NIST to show us what we got wrong.

4. Repeating question 3. but add in modeling of horizontal forces to show ejection of material (in the case of the nano-thermite model) and non-ejection (in the case of the thermite-free model).

Thank you for your response and any more feed back you can provide.



1. Is the 20% resistance for a buckling column that you cite a well known result? Do you have a reference?

The 20% (of maximum) minimum resistance isn't a general figure, applying to all columns. It's a bit complicated, so it might be better if I email you some papers, with the formulas and graphs. Bazant's own curve in his 2002 JEM paper shows a minimum resistance of 25%, for example. My email is johns (at) interchange DOT ubc DOT ca

2. Do you have a ready pointer to the particular NIST document (and page number if not too much work) where the x4 safety factor is mentioned?

No, unfortunately. The NIST reports aren't very forthcoming with these sorts of numbers, that one needs to build a model. The safety factor that Tony and I came up with for the 98th story is based on a lot of calculations. For example, NIST does say that the perimeter columns have a plate thickness of 0.25" and up, and that the yield stress is 50-100 ksi. We supposed 0.27" thickness, just because that was Bazant's value. The data for the core columns are given in the SAP2000 model data. The mass is the big unknown -- NIST doesn't say what it is, just that it is more than 250,000 tons. The best estimate seems to be the one published by Urich in the J. 9/11 Studies, of 318,000 tons.

The modelling I've done is very simple, actually. I can provide you with the source code if you want to play with it, modify it, etc. I haven't modelled Building 7, by the way. I'm not sure if the necessary data are available. If they are, it would be easy enough. My guess is that if you removed the columns on the bottom 8 storeys it would come down pretty much as observed.


Okay, we will contact you directly for more details. Thank you.
As far as building structural parameter data goes, isn't this available outside of NIST somewhere? Surely something like this could be gotten via FOIA??? Here we're assuming the data that NIST refuses to release involves their modeling of the damage and fire effects on the structure, not the data on the structure itself.
What special software is required to model structures in this way and how expensive is it? How long would it take someone already familiar with the modeling methods and tools to do these building collapses?
Wouldn't this make a great masters thesis project for somebody?


maybe this might help?

This pamphlet, "Contemporary Steel Design" volume one, No.4, focusing on the steel used on the towers, was produced around 1964. Some brilliant info there, such as this, ''...there is built in reserve strength to resist damage from an explosion or an extensive fire.......This system has enough reserve strength to withstand between 400 and 2200% increase in live loads based on factors of safety from 1.8 to 5.4 respectively”
Given the fact that this predates the construction of the towers by some years, this information could only have come from original drawings and is referring to the outer column steel when making the 2200% increase statement. A construction like this would gain in redundancy along with height, and I’m pretty sure that the 2200% refers to outer columns at and above the impact zones, these columns having been upgraded to 100,000 from the 85,000 psi steel that was the original intended grade proposed. As the pamphlet states, there were 13 different grades of steel proposed, and there are some interesting diagrams illustrating their placement.
Perhaps the floor shortening calculations would be handy in estimating the weight of the upper block as far as dead load goes, but I prefer to say that if the upper block was 22 floors for example, although this would represent more than 18% of the towers height, it would contain way less than 18% of the towers dead load, mass.
If you are interested, the links to the pdf are here>

the number can be changed to 3,4 and 5 for the rest of it and the cover is-

If you have any trouble with the links let me know, and I will send you the complete booklet if you are interested.

Nice Links

Do you have the full citation for this document or a pointer to where to look? Thanks.

The "reserve strength" mention that you cite, plus NIST's own document mentioning the same thing, plus the fact that the South Tower was cooling for 30 minutes IN THE IMPACT ZONE (inferred per NIST), plus the fact that firefighters reported only scattered, two-hose fires IN THE IMPACT ZONE, plus the fact that TV newscasters were calling the fire "almost out" should put to rest Muller's fantasies about the obviousness of the collapses. It's amazing how far some people will go to damage their reputations in such public ways.




09/21/01 The American Iron and Steel institute published a pamphlet on the World Trade Center in approximately 1964. "Contemporary Steel Design," Vol. 1, No. 4. The publication is now available in pdf format. The files are very large so it could take a long time to download on a slow connection. Cover, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10.

Good work from Richard Gage

Good work from Richard Gage and Neils Harrit under pressure and I find it appropriate that Richard has the last word here. What a surprise that the 'Committee for
Skeptical Inquiry' aims its skepticism at the pesky 'conspiracy theorists' that question the Government's official story, rather than the gang of moneyed establishment authority figures that lied to us regarding disputed election results and the WMD rationales for invading Iraq. Thank you to Portland Ae911Truth for making this transcript.

Paper tubes

If apologists for the "official" conspiracy theory want to use a paper tube to illustrate that a structure can crush itself while simultaneously accelerating through itself, they need to use just one type of physical structure. Sure, we can crush a paper tube with a heavy book, but there were no giant "books" crushing the towers or WTC7. They need to demonstrate that a paper tube can crush itself under its own weight. I once had someone use the absurd "analogy" of a person standing in a soda can. They claimed that the soda can might support the person's weight until something dented in the sides, at which point collapse would be very quick. I pointed out that a person weighs several thousand times more than the can, but there was nothing that weighed several thousand times more than the towers crushing them. I explained that in order to make the "analogy" more accurate, they would need to use only the cans. Build a stack of cans welded together, then try to make it crush itself from the top down by damaging and heating the stack near the top, but of course, make the cans near the bottom considerably thicker and stronger than the cans near the top.
Also, I think we should focus on WTC7's free fall. Free fall can only take place if the fall is *free* from resistance, so followers of the official conspiracy theory need to identify the energy source that removed all the structural support in an instant.
Also, as Richard Gage explained, regardless of whether you believe that some fellow living in cave thousands of miles away or people working with members of the U.S. government were responsible for 9-11, you believe in a conspiracy, and we should always refer to the government's story as a conspiracy theory. We can't let them abuse that word for their benefit.

Inappropriate analogies

I share your frustration at inappropriate analogies. I remember one about a foot and a bowling ball. It went something like:-

A foot can hold up a bowling ball no problem. However, if the bowling ball is dropped from 12 feet onto the foot, the foot will be crushed.

While this is undoubtedly true, it is not an appropriate analogy for the towers because the smaller, weaker section was the top section. Therefore, a more appropriate analogy has to be:-

A bowling ball can hold up a foot with no problem. If the foot is dropped from 12 feet onto the bowling ball, what will happen? The foot may well get bruised, even a broken bone, but under no circumstances would the foot crush the bowling ball to the ground.

How do you turn a rational, intelligent person into a blithering idiot?
Tell him 9-11 was an inside job!

I think one can put it even better

SInce the speed at impact is an important factor here, one should hold the bowlingball just a few inches above one's foot, then let the bowlingball go. No fractures will occur. The same goes for the hammer analogy; if one just drops the hammer onto a nail, that nail won't go anywhere. One has to accelerate the hammer beyond the gravitational acceleration, in order to make the nail penetrate the wood.

If the top part of WTC1 hit the lower part at let's say, 60 mph, we could all imagine that top part crushing a few floors (while it's own floors would also be destroyed in the process). I still cannot see how that top part would remain above the lower part and not slide off at some point, but that's another (important) story, and this is crucial for the credibility for the official explanation..

The fact is that top part of WTC1 went from 0 mph to 2/3 of gravitational acceleration, and instead of slowing down, increased it's speed.

Feet and bowlingballs are not so good to compare to the towers, since both are solid objects, while the towers were anything but solid. One should therefore refer to the insufficient speed of impact and absolute odds against a top part staying above the footprint while doing crushing work, while accelerating doing that. At least, that's how I feel about it.

These kinds of analogies are

These kinds of analogies are all over the internet in the 9/11 "debunking" world:

Dave Thomas again, with one of many of his:

"Most people can hold a 50-pound bag of rocks, However, the impact of that same bag, dropped from 12 feet up, would almost certainly be lethal."

It's the kind of statement that's so idiotic in its inapplicability that you almost can't find the words to counter it.

Put another way

'If the foot is dropped from 12 feet onto the bowling ball, what will happen? The foot may well get bruised, even a broken bone, but under no circumstances would the foot crush the bowling ball to the ground.'

And I would add: Under no circumstances would the impact of bowling ball upon foot result in their both being pulverized into dust.