Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Quote Miners for 9/11 Truth

Some truthers are all ecstatic over a letter from the National Institute of Standards and Technology posted at the George Washington Blog.

While the reply is mainly bogus, and the filers of the petition intend to appeal the decision of NIST not to correct the many fatal errors in its reports, attorney James Gourley (who drafted the petition) has pointed out one interesting statement. Specifically, NIST says in its reply:

"We are unable to provide a full explanation of the total collapse".

Well, yes! That's exactly the point the petitioners are trying to make. No modern steel frame high-rise building has ever collapsed before or after 9/11 due to fire other than at WTC 1, 2 and 7, even though other fires have burned longer and hotter. And even if they somehow did start to collapse, the collapse would not have occurred at virtual free-fall speeds while creating enormous dust clouds right from the start.

Kevin "Hang 'em High" Barrett even managed to bizarrely interpret this as:

In an amazing about-face, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has implicitly admitted that its 10,000-page report on the destruction of the Twin Towers is a fraud, and that the buildings were destroyed by controlled demolition.

If you read the actual letter though, and not just the part of that one sentence they quote, you will find though that what NIST is talking about is the goal of their report, and the difficulty in making a detailed computer modeling of the full collapse. It is not, in fact suggesting that the total collapse was anomalous or unexpected, or supporting the controlled demolition theory in any way, implicit or otherwise (emphasis added):

F. The Goal of the WTC Report and Its Overall Analysis.

The final section of your request asserts that the WTC Report's stated goal and overal analysis violates the Data Quality Act and OMB/NIST Information Quality Standards. The basis given for this assertion is that NIST did not fulfill its responsibilities under the NCST Act because the focus of the investigation was on the sequence of events from the instant of aircraft impact to the initiation of collapse for each tower. The NCST Act, as you note in your letter, requires NIST to "establish the likely technical cause or causes of the building failure." In the case of the WTC Towers, NIST has established that the failures initiated in the floors affected by the aircraft impact damage and the ensuing fires resulted in the collapse of the towers. This conclusion is supported by a large body of visual evidence collected by NIST. Your letter suggests that NIST should have used computer models to analyze the collapse of the towers. NIST carried its analysis to the point where the buildings reached global instability. At this point, because of the magnitude of the deflections and the number of failures occuring, the computer models are not able to converge on a solution.

Your letter contends that NIST's report violates the Information Quality Standard of "utility." NIST believes that the report has utility. In fact, the codes and standards bodies are already taking actions to improve building and fire codes and standards based on the findings of the WTC Investigation. As we mentioned previously, we are unable to provide a full explanation- of the total collapse.


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