Sunday, August 5, 2007

Bad, bad, bad, bad vibrations...

You may have first read of the vibration conjecture concerning the Minnesota bridge collapse here, though Pat Doyle of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune quoted a former National Transportation Safety Board chairman as suggesting the possibility that vibration was potentially an important issue in a story that appeared Thursday, a day before my jackhammer physics post.

Following my post was an excellent Chicago Tribune story (see below) on the opinion of structural engineers about the plausibility of the vibration conjecture. Yet, TV news has mostly ignored that issue, as have major print media outfits, other than those that ran the Doyle story. An AP reporter also quoted one expert to that effect within a larger story, but no AP feature on that issue has shown up.

I ran a search of the words 2007, bridge, vibration (or vibrations) at the New York Times, Washington Post, London Times, Reuters and BBC and came up with zilch in every case. Likewise for searches of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. A Google search shows little coverage.

Still, today is Sunday, so it is possible the vibration angle will appear in various newspapers. Yet, the fact that it is missing from TV news -- as if Americans can't absorb the word vibration -- suggests a general agreement to spike the story.

So why would establishment media largely shrink from covering such an obvious follow-up issue?

Paranoia is a possibility. News chiefs fear being accused of putting ideas into the heads of terrorists. What if terrorists, posing as construction workers, use jackhammers to set off a bridge collapse? The fact that for any particular bridge the possibility of success is extremely remote wouldn't enter the discussion.

Then there are those in the invisible government who are horrified at the idea that yours truly might be on the right track about a structural collapse. Does that mean -- dear God -- that there are experts who agree with this critic about the 9/11 building collapses?

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