Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WTC7: NIST Finally Admits Freefall (Part III)

Part III of this series fully explores the implications of NIST's admission that WTC7 entered actual freefall and critiques the foundations of their "investigation." In the end it calls for a new, independent, fully empowered, and open investigation.

WTC7: NIST Finally Admits Freefall (Part III)

Shyam Sunder is the lead investigator for the NIST analysis of the collapse of World Trade Center, Building 7. In the technical briefing on August 26th [2008], Doctor Sunder clearly explained why freefall for World Trade Center 7 was impossible.
Dr Sunder
"The analysis showed that there is a difference in time between a freefall time, a freefall time would be an object that has no that structural components below it, and that is not at all unusual because there was structural resistance that was provided in this particular case. And you had a sequence of structural failures that had to take place, when everything was not instantaneous."

That was before they were forced acknowledge that freefall actually occurred. Once they acknowledged freefall, they claimed, without elaboration, that their new analysis was "consistent with the results of the global collapse analysis".

I'm not making this up; this is their own words.
Dr Sunder
"Freefall time would be an object that has no structural components below it."
Sunder's original remarks make sense under the assumption of a natural collapse.

Anything at an elevated height has gravitational potential energy. If it falls and none of the energy is used for other things along the way, all of that energy is converted into kinetic energy, the energy of motion, and we call it free fall.

If any of the energy is used for other purposes, there'll be less kinetic energy, so the fall will be slower.

In the case of a falling building, the only way it can go into free fall is if an external force removes the supporting structure. None of the gravitational potential energy of the building is available for this purpose or it would slow the fall of the building.

The fact of free fall, by itself, is strong evidence of explosive demolition, but the evidence is even stronger than that. My original analysis looks like this [on the left].

I have since confirmed my measurement using a different software package. Both of these graphs plot velocity versus time. A straight line indicates constant acceleration and the slope of the line indicates the rate of acceleration. What is particularly striking is the suddenness of onset of free fall. The acceleration doesn't build up gradually; the graph simply turns a corner. The building went from full support to zero support instantly.

NIST's graph is upside down relative to mine, but that's really not an issue. Their data is almost the same. What is dramatically different is the curve they superimpose on the data. This curve has no physical significance whatsoever. It is merely a hypothetical interpretation of the data. It is literally the mathematical equivalent of laying a wet noodle on the graph and nudging it around until it fits the data. The straight part fits the data reasonably well. What is totally misleading are the gradual transitions in to and out of free fall.

The raw data speaks for itself. One moment the building is holding, the next moment it lets go and is in complete free fall.

The onset of freefall was not only sudden, it extended across the whole width of the building.

My measurement of the acceleration of the building was based on the northwest corner. NIST's recent measurement confirming freefall was based on a point mid-way along the roofline. The fact that the roof stayed level shows the building was in freefall across the entire width.

The collapse we see cannot be due to a column failure, or a few column failures, or a sequence of column failures. All 24 interior columns and 58 perimeter columns had to have been removed over the span of 8 floors low in the building simultaneously, to within a small fraction of a second, and in such a way that the top half of the building remains intact and uncrumpled.

Let's come back to NIST's acceptance of free fall. Here is their exact wording:
"The three stages of collapse progression described above are consistent with the results of the global collapse analysis discussed in Chapter 12 of NIST NCSTAR 1-9."

In other words, they're giving the appearance of claiming freefall is okay, but actually it's the 5.4-second duration of their three stage analysis that matches their model.

But we saw in Part II of this video series the 5.4 seconds depends on an artificially early start time, which has no valid observational basis. Without the 5.4-second fig leaf, they are left with freefall and nothing more. NIST does not show how free fall is consistent with their hypothesis, because, as Shyam Sunder has correctly and eloquently explained, free fall for a naturally collapsing building is impossible.

This brings us to their computer model. NIST's so-called investigation actually consists of finding a way to reproduce the mysterious collapse of the building using a computer model. The assumption is that if the computer model can be made to reproduce the observed collapsed pattern, that must be how it happened. The problem is, if something unexpected was going on, like explosives for instance, you're not going to discover it in the computer model. For that, you need to look at the actual evidence.

So why not examine the steel directly? Oh yes, there isn't any. At least there isn't any after it was hauled away to Asia and melted down. NIST's investigation has been compared to conducting an autopsy without the corpse. As of 2005, NIST reported having only 236 pieces of steel from the World Trade Center complex, none of them unambiguously identified as being from World Trade Center 7.

We've all watched CSI. Anyone serious about solving a crime knows the importance of physical evidence. Yet here the crime scene was scrubbed, the evidence was destroyed, and the investigation was delayed for years. Destroying a crime scene is, itself, a criminal act. Destroying the steel has absolutely no justification except to cover up the cause of the collapse.

So even if we knew nothing else about the events of that day, we can see immediately there was a coverup. Knowing there was a coverup is a strong indication there was a crime someone wanted covered up. Any investigation that does not acknowledge this basic fact is not really an investigation; it's an extension of the coverup.

NIST claims their computer model can account for the observed phenomena, so let's look at NIST's model, ... except we can't. The software they used to do the modeling is available but their model actually consists of all the numbers, measurements, and assumptions, together with any tweaks to the system they might have used to get it to come out the way they wanted. If that information were released, their results could be checked but anyone with the appropriate skills and software tools. But NIST has not released the numbers.

All we've been shown are some of the selected animated outputs they were able to get their model to produce. Is their model realistic? We don't know. Some models are chaotic in the mathematical sense. In other words, tiny variations in the inputs might result in wildly different outcomes.

Is NIST's model stable or chaotic, realistic or contrived, honest or fraudulent? We don't know! We can't know without independent testing.

The very process of running a model until it produces the kind of result you're looking for is called selection bias. If you think about it NIST's methodology is explicitly based on selection bias. Even if you could show what might have happened, it doesn't show what actually did happen. The very fact that NIST has not released their model strongly suggests they don't want their results checked. In other words, their results are intended to be taken strictly on faith.

If NIST has not released their modeling data and their assumptions, they have really not released the report. And the fact that this is their final report indicates they do not intend to do so. Therefore, on the face of it, their report is little more than a fancy, expensive coverup.

One fact we do know about NIST's model is it does not allow for free fall. The best they could do is 5.4 seconds for the building to crumple down through 18 floors. Crumpling absorbs energy, and that makes freefall impossible. There's nothing in the models we have been shown that even resemble a three-stage collapse with a free-fall component. After all, as Shyam Sunder put it himself, freefall happens only when there are no structural components below the falling section of the building. Any natural scenario is going to involve a progression of failures and these don't happen instantaneously.

So, in the end, we come back to where we were in the beginning. On first impression, we were looking at a classic controlled demolition. NIST claimed to have found a way it could have happened naturally. But in fact, they failed.

The only way they can support their claim is through lies, secrecy, and pompous, but false, pronouncements. That constitutes a failed agenda. Explosive demolition is the only scenario that has been put forward that could actually account for the observations.

Where does that leave us? We have a building that underwent directly observable, and now officially acknowledged free fall, with no plausible mechanisms other than explosive demolition. We have an official investigation by a government agency that has fraudulent manipulated data, that has refused to even consider existing physical evidence that explosives were used. They have wrapped themselves and their data in secrecy an offered up pronouncements as conclusions to be taken on faith.

The NIST investigation is a fraud and a farce. We need a new fully empowered, truly independent and open investigation.

[The WTC7 series has elicited a number of questions from people unclear on the details of how I did the measurements, compared to how NIST did them and how the representatives of NIST described their measurements. I have therefore created a WTC7 Measurement FAQ page. I will also use this FAQ as a place of reference for other questions that arise as well.]

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