what to make of "conspiracy theories"?

Martin Schreader mschreader at npns.org
Wed Feb 13 07:15:40 MST 2002

Les Schaffer wrote:
> it did survive the initial impact. when they spoke of "survive" they meant
> you couldnt topple the towers via a sideways blow. they didnt consider
> weakening the joist system with consequent loss of stability.

I would think that the structural engineers and architects of the building
had to have considered that. Both the lead structural engineer and one of
the architects expressed "shock" and "surprise" that the WTC fell. They both
said in interviews (one for UPI, one for the Jerusalem Post) that they
expected the building to remain standing indefinitely. They certainly did
not expect them to collapse.

> capitalists count $$$$ very carefully.

Yes, I am aware of that. At the same time, I would think that every corner
cut would have only bitten into the over-design of the building
(redundancies, etc.).

> do you know what high-temperature creep means??? that's why i asked about
> your training.

Maybe I'm not getting you here. Please explain.

> also, there is loss of strength with increase of T in steels. see any
> strength of materials text.

I'm not disputing that. For that matter, I'm not disputing the potential for
the WTC to collapse due to a high-temperature fire. What I question is
whether jet fuel (kerosene) can give off that kind of heat. A bullet can
kill a person; but can it do that if it does not have the force necessary to
penetrate the skin?

Three government studies (two U.S., one Canadian; all done prior to Sept.
11) I have all put the temperature of an open-air kerosene fire between
300-500 degrees Centigrade -- far less than the 1583 degrees C needed to
melt steel. Also, kerosene boils while it burns, so usually the fires don't
last very long.

(For those doing the math, Jet A boils at 176 C, and its flash point is 250

> notice too that the __second__ tower to be struck fell before the first.
> now why on earth would that be???
> well, second tower struck was hit LOWER than the first, hence buckling
> loads (more mass above imminent failure point) were higher and hence for
> the time dependent problem failure was achieved first in South Tower.

I understand that. But this raises another question: If the top part of the
second tower fell as a unit, as seen in several photos, how come there was
no visual evidence of this later (e.g., from satellite photos, on-site
photographers, etc.)?

I've heard some construction engineers also complain about the fact that the
concrete pulverized the way it did. They said it should have crumbled, not
atomized. But that's another, separate issue.

> you understand the concept of structural stability, yes or no???

Maybe not as well as you. But, as I said, my problem is with the contention
that an open-air jet fuel fire could have done the job, not whether the
building was structurally stable.

> whats your theory, anyway???

I really don't have one. I've worked with several hypotheses (the most
credible one being controlled implosion), but I am not willing to stand
behind any theory until I have the facts in hand. Hence the discussions I am
trying to have.

Look, I know I jumped down your throat yesterday about this. That's because
some of the people I've raised these questions with have called me a
"traitor", a "terrorist", and said I "should be cleaning toilets with my
tongue". And almost all of them started by asking about "credentials". Like
Yogi Bera used to say, it was deja vu all over again.

One more question for now: Why did WTC 7 collapse? It took that building
almost eight hours to fall. This is something that gets the conspire-o-meter
jumping off the scale. After all, WTC 7 housed the CIA's double agent
operations in New York (for those wondering, I got this information from the
New York Times).


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