Sunday, September 16, 2007

Scientific debate over WTC collapses heats up

A scientific debate over the plausibility of the official theory of the World Trade Center collapses is gaining momentum as a Cambridge University engineering lecturer joined the fray by tackling a big hole in the National Institute for Standards and Technology investigation.

The lecturer, Keith A. Seffen, did a study on whether the collapse times -- which were close to the free fall rate -- were plausible and found that they were, according to a BBC news report. Seffen and several other scientists have worked to fill in the gap left by the NIST, which published nothing about the matter.

Seffen's paper is to be published in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics.

Among reasons that the sudden, rapid, symmetrical collapses have generated skepticism is that the top section of each building was lighter than the corresponding bottom section. Usually, it takes a heavier object to plow throw a lighter one in order to reduce it to shambles rapidly.

Let's spike the conspiracy theorist phrase

The phrase has been turned into a pejorative -- a cheap shot and an easy way to scornfully blow off a critic. Reporters who use it may say that, objectively, the phrase is accurate. But, the Murdoch press and others have made it into a term of derision, and reporters and editors should avoid such labeling.

Personally, I wouldn't mind being termed a treason theorist.