Support 911Blogger

Unscientific American?

Scientific American magazine, through columnists like Michael Shermer, has supported the notion that the World Trade Center was destroyed by fire, just like the government said it was. However, a recent article in the magazine, "Castles in the Air" (September, 2011), discusses the building boom in high-rise steel superstructure buildings and does point out how ironic it is that these buildings continue to be built.

A letter to the editor about the article was published in the January 2012 edition from Luke Bisby, a Senior Research Fellow in Structures and Fire at the University of Edinburgh (see the link below). His letter comes to the conclusion that architects and engineers need to face the reality of what a fire can do to a high-rise building. Neither the letter writer, nor the editorial staff of Scientific American bothered to note that over 1,600 architects and engineers have faced the notion that fire destroyed all three buildings at the World Trade Center and rejected it.

Science Hurts My Head

I was teasing a friend of mine the other day because she said that nothing can go past the speed of light. I told her that scientists had recently clocked neutrinos moving faster than that. She wouldn't believe me and I had to prove it to her. I told her don't look at science if you don't want to hurt your head. I have dozens of audio books on sub atomic physics and when I am in the mood for a migraine (like when I am waxing my no-wax floor) I will listen to them. Me: "did that guy just say 'Charm' and 'Strange Forces'?"

I have pretty severe insomnia and some kind of circadian rhythm disorder. When I used to find myself suddenly awake at 2:30 am with no cable or internet and no prospect of sleep; I used to go to the grocery store and get a copy of Scientific American. This was in the late 1970s and early 80s. The magazine was so challenging that I forgot my problems. Often, as I like to joke, my head would hurt from what I read as I struggled to understand the material. Well, those days are gone. Scientific American is not the SA of old. It has been dumbed down to rag status. I don't know why this is. I suspect that part of the reason is that so much of science is militarized that it is all secret and not discussed. Others have speculated that it is a result of a dumbing down and compartmentalization of the whole society. Anyway, this is right where Shermer belongs. I never knew what the function of a "skeptic" was supposed to be. I have read some of the materiel in that "field" (if weed infested vacant lot passes for field) and have been thoroughly discouraged with the practice. So, the methodology and pissy hermeneutics of "Skepticism" should be right at home in a dumbed down popularized rag that portends to evoke what science is today in America.

Four comments on the page are spot on!

I don't know whether these comments will be deleted - but they are spot on!

Add Comment

1. Andy Swamp 05:04 PM 12/30/11

Finally, with the publication of Luke Bisby's letter, Scientific American has dared to touch (however obliquely) the scientific question of what happened to cause three steel superstructure buildings to collapse on September 11th of 2001. The official pronouncements from our government are that somehow three steel frame buildings of two different construction designs collapsed completely and symmetrically due to fires on that day. They were--supposedly--the first three steel superstructure buildings ever to completely collapse due to fire.

With the collapses of the twin towers we are asked to believe that buildings damaged high up in the structure could burn for an hour to an hour and a half and then collapse completely to the ground at or near free fall speed. This would mean that each of the 47 huge steel columns in the center of the building for all those lower floors--undamaged by either the airplane crash or the fire--snapped on each floor in anticipation of the falling debris, otherwise the resistance from these central columns would certainly have slowed (and probably stopped) the collapses. And, they all had to snap simultaneously on each floor because otherwise the collapse would have been asymmetrical.

Of course, Building 7--the third building that fell that day--also collapsed absolutely symmetrically and for at least eight floors fell at free fall speed. Supposedly, this building also fell because of the effects of fire on a single column. However, the government's report stops short of saying how a collapse of a single column could lead to the instantaneous collapse of all the columns on eight floors of the building.

After over a decade of silence on this issue--to disastrous effect to our political and economic environments--Scientific American should bring this issue into the light. Mr. Bisby is absolutely correct in saying architects and engineers should face up to this issue. What Mr. Bisby and Scientific American fail to mention is that over 1,600 architects and engineers have indicated that there is no way that fires brought down these buildings. This magazine should be at the forefront in demanding a scientific investigation into the causes of these collapses, not bringing up the rear. It's just like Galileo all over again, Scientific American can either side with science or with the dictates of the political authorities of our time. It's way past time that the magazine spoke up for science.
Reply | Report Abuse | Link to this

2. UncleJoe223 12:17 AM 1/3/12

What is absurd is the belief that the three WTC buildings collapsed due to fire. So far, I have seen no evidence to support this outlandish claim, but have seen over a thousand architects and engineers sign a petition sighting the obvious flaws in such an account and demanding a new explanation.

Chief among the multitude of attributes of the collapses that point to explosive demolition is the free-fall, symmetrical collapse of WTC 7. Fire cannot achieve this, but I would expect Un-Scientific American to recognize this simple fact.

Additionally, fires have occurred that burned longer and hotter in a myriad of other steel framed skyscrapers (including, ironically, the WTC) none of which resulted in sudden, progressive collapses.

Reply | Report Abuse | Link to this

3. Matt Muellenkamp 01:07 AM 1/3/12

Well, I can't top the comments left by Andy Swamp and Uncle Joe, but I thought I'd offer them my support. One day, the real truth about what really happened on 9/11 WILL come out, and people like Luke Bisby and organizations like Scientific American will one day be regarded much the same way as we now regard the people who opposed Galileo. First, the fires were not "uncontrolled" nor were the buildings a raging inferno. Most of the jet fuel was gone in the initial fireball, and the fires were mostly smoke (indicating a cool oxygen-starved fire). Burning furniture, office equipment, etc. is not going to cause a skyscraper to completely explode.

9/11 is a wake up call to just how the govt can deceive the people and tightly control the media, even in a supposedly "free" society with an "open press."
Reply | Report Abuse | Link to this

4. De Vries 05:43 AM 1/3/12

Matt, Scientific American and Popular Mechanics - along with the world's media which shamefully self-censors this story - already look bad because they fail to grasp Newtonian physics our grade-school physics students can grasp.

The Laws of Conservation mean that the Towers could not have totally dismembered in 11 seconds without any resistance - absent an extra energy force.

The Towers - with dozens of massive cold steel columns in the bottom two-thirds of the structure - were shredded and pulverised in the time it takes to clap your hands 11 times.

Then you have Building Seven, not hit by a plane, imitating a text-book implosion in the time it takes for your phone to ring three times. If random, asymetrically burning fires on a limited number of floors can sink a building symmetrically into its own footprint, then why has the world wasted time on expensive demolition companies for decades? Set the office furniture on fire, wait a couple of hours and voila! Global, vertical, rapid implosion. All Demolition Companies out of business forthwith.

The problem for America and Scientific American is that many rational people in the rest of the world, those with basic science and physics under their belts, are shaking their heads in astonishment and sadness at the ignorance and naivete on display. Wondering when Mickey Mouse and Daffy Duck are going to grow up and apply their minds to the scientific method.

The United States Department of Commerce NIST report is a political - not scientific - document.

Read "The Mysterious Collapse of Building Seven: Why the Official Report is Unscientific and Fraudulent" by Dr David Ray Griffin. The physics teacher at our kids' school has read it, digested it and is using the WTC building implosions as a successful teaching tool for the Newton module.

There is one more

There have been thousands of fires in highrises all over the world, turning many of them into raging infernos, but only three steel-framed highrises have totally collapsed - all at the WTC.

Whatever the precise cause of the total destruction of the third skyscraper, WTC 7, its demise would amount to probably the most perfect controlled demolition in human history.

Many controlled demolitions have failed, as all columns throughout a couple of floors need to be destroyed within a fraction of a second. As a result of mistimed or partially failing explosions, some buildings have only descended a couple of floors until the intact structures have arrested the descent, and some buildings have fallen to one side. Reducing a highrise to a rubble pile is a highly challenging, skill-demanding task.

However, fire alone accomplished this for WTC 7, a modern, 47-storey highrise.

In light of this, it is utterly amazing that, according to NIST, all the research material was destroyed without investigation: "No metallography could be carried out because no steel was recovered from WTC 7."

Jim Hoffman, who contributed to Scientific American in the past, writes on

"Being the only such building in history in which fire is blamed for total collapse, Building 7's remains warranted the most painstaking examination, documentation, and analysis. Building 7's rubble pile was at least as important as any archeological dig. It contained all the clues to one of the largest structural failures in history."

We know that over the years, NIST came up with different "interim hypotheses" about the cause of the destruction. Why weren't they allowed to examine the steel debris to determine why and how the skyscraper was destroyed?

After publishing their draft for final report in 2008, NIST lead WTC investigator Shyam Sunder said that WTC 7 could not have collapsed at free fall acceleration, as crushing structures necessarily takes time and slows down the descent. However, after a physics teacher demonstrated that WTC 7 did in fact descend at free fall acceleration for over 2 seconds, NIST concluded in their final report that "a freefall descent over approximately eight stories at gravitational acceleration" took place, without explaining how this could happen.

Following Luke Bisby's advice, it is indeed high time to take a real scientific look into the total destruction of WTC 7 and the Twin Towers. Over 1,600 architects and engineers, among others, have already paved the way for this - google "Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth".

Shermer writes for Scientific American?

On the WTC ? What are his credentials? I'm pretty sure he's openly stated somewhere that he doesn't have any, and that he really doesn't understand the science of the "collapses", as has Jonathan Kay. I'm curious as to what kind of professional opinion he claims to be offering on this subject.