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Physics, Psychology and the 9/11 Decade

By the 10th anniversary of 9/11 the 42nd anniversary of the Moon landing will have passed.  Newtonian physics will be 324 years old.  Newton's Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica was published on July 5th of 1687 and the first Moon landing was July 20th of 1969.  How can the major events of 9/11 not be fully explained by September 11th of 2011?

Jonathan Kay with his book, Among the Truthers, does the same thing as Penn and Teller with their television program.  They associated 9/11 Truthers with faked Moon landing conspiracy theorists.  Kay has a flying saucer abduction and an Illuminati pyramid portrayed on the cover of his book along with the twin towers and an airliner.  He is implying that questioning 9/11 puts the questioner into the same category with UFO nuts.  What does the media have most people thinking about 9/11 and skyscrapers regardless of the physics?

Getting to the Moon was Newtonian physics.  Isaac Newton could have done the calculations for the project 300 years ago.  The physics of an airliner crashing into a skyscraper and that skyscraper being collapsed straight down by the portion above the impact can't be more complicated than getting to the Moon.  But all skyscrapers must accomplish certain tasks before they can be hit by airplanes.  Skyscrapers must hold themselves up for their entire height therefore every level must be strong enough to support the combined weights of all levels above.  So the designers must determine how much steel is necessary to accomplish that, which means the amount of steel increases down the height of every very tall building.

The cores of WTC 1 and WTC 2 had 47 columns.  The 10,000 page NCSTAR1 report by the NIST says the cores supported 53% of each building's weight.  But since most levels were 12 feet high that meant there were 564 feet of vertical steel in each level of the core.  But there were horizontal beams connecting the columns on each level of the core also.  The cores were 136 by 86 feet.  Since the columns were not in an even 6 by 8 minus 1 array the arrangement must have been more complicated but the layout of the beams is never shown by any official source.  The horizontal steel should still consist of about 6 times 136 feet plus 8 times 86 feet, which comes to 1504 feet of steel.  So on every level of the core there should have been about 2.5 times as many feet of horizontal steel as there were of vertical steel.  But how much did it all weigh?

The steel in the columns was as little as 1/4th of an inch thick at the top of the towers but as much as 5 inches thick at the bottom.  In addition to greater thickness the box columns were longer and wider than the H-beams at the top.  But how much did the thickness of the horizontal steel beams change down the building?  That is another unknown we have to live with after ten years.  But why are we living with it?  Why weren't physicists and structural engineers demanding that information and telling everyone within weeks of 9/11?

Regardless of who destroyed the towers or why, an analysis of the physics would require accurate information about the state of the buildings before the impacts.  The NIST admits in three places that information on the distribution of weight in the towers is necessary to analyze the impact.  But then they didn't do that analysis.  They had empirical data.  They measured the deflection and oscillation of the south tower with recordings from a digital camera up to the 70th floor because the vertical columns on the outside of the building created a moving pattern with the pixels in the camera.  The skyscraper deflected 12 inches at the 70th floor even though the plane impacted at the 81st.  It must have moved about 15 inches at the impact level.  After the impact the tower oscillated for approximately four minutes in progressively smaller deviations.  So how could the bottom of the upper portion completely break loose and move horizontally more than 20 feet 50 minutes later?  Where was the center of gravity?  Where was the center of rotation?  What was the moment of inertia?  Where are the physicists asking about that?

What happened in New York on 9/11 was so unique and phenomenal one would think physicists would be fascinated and never let go of it until it was resolved.  But that appears to not be the case.  If anything there seems to be a deafening silence on the part of most physicists.  Consequently we have had nearly TEN YEARS of rhetorical and psychological nonsense.  We have the Orthodox 9/11 Religion versus the Heretical 9/11 Psychosis.  On the one hand 1360 foot skyscrapers collapsed straight down in less than 18 seconds and this miracle is supposed to be believed even though accurate data on the distributions of steel and concrete are not provided by official sources so the conservation of momentum can be reasonably analyzed.  IT'S A MIRACLE!  On the other hand shadow government agents used holographic planes to teleport explosives into the buildings with particle beams.  Or were they mini-nukes?  IT'S A TINFOIL MIRACLE!

But this is the nation that put men on the Moon.  The Empire State Building, which is only 3 miles from Ground Zero, will have its 80th anniversary this year.  What kind of electronic computers were used in 1929 to design a building that is still among the top 20 tallest in the world?   IBM had its 100th anniversary this year but there were no electronic computers in 1929.   Regardless of who or why or how it should be possible to definitively determine if NORMAL AIRLINERS could destroy buildings 2000 times their mass in less than TWO HOURS.  But no, we are treated to pictures of flying saucer abductions and can't even be told how many tons of steel were on each level within 5 stories of the airliner impacts.

Purdue has given us a computer simulation which they claim is scientific. 


But the core columns do not move in that simulation when the plane impacts.  This contradicts the behavior which the NIST documents for the south tower.  Is Purdue telling us that the conservation of momentum is unscientific?  The effect of mass and its distribution on a vertical flexible body can be easily demonstrated.


Then there is the effect of impacts from above on self supporting masses.  The north tower was hit by the plane at the 95th floor.  So there were 15 stories above that point and 94 below. 

A simple simulation would be to remove the simulated levels 91, 92, 93, 94 and 95. That would leave a 60 foot gap with 15 stories floating in the air and 90 intact simulated stories below. Let simulated gravity take its course. The bottom of the falling 15 stories would impact the top of the 90 in just under 2 seconds at 44 mph.

The levels get stronger and heavier going down and lighter and weaker going up.  Even at a 3 to 1 ratio of destruction, which I regard as extremely unlikely, that would leave 45 stories standing.  That destruction would require energy.  The only source is the kinetic energy of the falling 15 stories.  They would slow down.  Completely eliminating 5 stories is more destruction than the airliner impact and fires could have accomplished. So if that simulation comes nowhere near complete collapse then what is with this nonsense that has been going on for approaching TEN YEARS?


Grade school kids could build that and test it to their hearts content.  Computers must be told how to compute physics and it must be coded perfectly or else they can get it wrong.  Real models cannot escape real physics.  The problem with small models is being too strong in relation to their own weight because of the square cube law.  Engineering schools that charge $100,000 for four years of education should be able to afford to test larger models.  Where is the engineering school that has built a physical model that can completely collapse?  Maybe they don't find 9/11 interesting.

The Laws of Physics are incapable of giving a damn about psychology.  But this nearly ten year 9/11 phenomenon is extremely psychological.  What do psychologists know about Newtonian physics?  It is much older than Sigmund Freud.  If the physics dictates that the towers could not collapse straight down then physicists should have figured it out long ago.  If the physics makes it possible then they should have explained it in detail long ago.  But wouldn't that involve having accurate data on the distributions of steel and concrete in the towers?  So where are the physicists demanding the information?

But if the planes could not possibly have caused that much destruction and the majority of people around the world believe that they did, then the physicists have created a problem for themselves with their years of silence and the media has created a problem with its years of noise.  How do they expect to teach physics for the next 1000 years?  Do they really just want to pretend that Newtonian physics is extremely difficult and expect everyone else to just believe what they are told?  But 9/11 has been a catalyst for war and people with the credentials to supposedly explain this nonsense have allowed the chain reaction to engulf other countries.

Can this go on for another ten years?

There are a couple of amusing things about this fantasy event however.  There are two science fiction novels written before 9/11 which contain incidents which are easily comparable to 9/11.  One is Flag in Exile by David Weber from 1995 and the other is Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold published in 1998.  Weber's book has a dome collapse which is supposed to appear to be due to incompetence or corruption even though it was actually sabotage.  There is significant discussion of computer simulations which eventually uncover how the sabotage was done.  Komarr has a collision between a spacecraft and a huge satellite.  Again there are computer simulations which uncover peculiarities that cannot be explained by "classical physics".  Though not deliberate sabotage there was an unknown technological factor added by unknown individuals.  But in these fictional universes the mysteries are solved in days or weeks not years.  Weber's book also involves a propaganda campaign about the event so a psychological factor is incorporated into the plot.

So if airliners could not cause that much destruction then 9/11 is the Piltdown Man incident of the 21st century and the physics profession has a serious problem. 

Can their silence make it go away?


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 21st, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
Mohr Media
Chris Mohr, a journalist with an English degree, engaged in what is called a debate with Richard Gage on the subject of 9/11 in March of 2010. It is on YouTube


It is two and a half hours long and definitely not worth the time. These are some things he said in the first 15 minutes after claiming to have spoken with lots of experts.

This is my favorite:

"90,000+ liters of jet fuel"

This is the first time I have heard anyone specify the quantity of fuel in liters so the number did not set off alarm bells immediately. Then I recalled a liter is less than a quart. A US gallon is 3.79 liters and most sources say each plane had about 10,000 gallons which would have been 37,900 liters. So where did Mohr get that 90,000 number. The planes were only about 40% full of fuel but if they were FULLY FUELED they would hold about 90,000 liters. So he is telling the planes had the maximum amount of fuel they could hold when they hit the towers.

Is he deliberately lying or is he just really DUMB?

Mohr tells us the planes weighed 282,000 lb which is 141 tons. But doesn't that really BIG NUMBER sound so much more impressive? Each tower was more than 400,000 tons so the planes were not much competition.

"60% of the columns on the crash site were destroyed"

He also tells us that "60% of the columns on the crash site were destroyed". Now what exactly does that mean? 60% sounds like a lot. How could the number be determined that precisely? The planes only hit on one side of the buildings which had four sides, so that could be 60% of 25% which is only 15% of the perimeter columns. How much damage was done to the core is really only speculation since that could not be seen.

So if by crash site he means the side where the plane went in he could be correct but he admits the building was 3 times as strong as necessary and the perimeter only supported 47% of the weight according to the NIST. So if the core supported 53% then then that 60% of ONE SIDE OF THE EXTERIOR was really less than 7% of the strength of the building.

A nice way for him to exaggerate the damage and tell the truth. So the listeners have to know the subject already to figure out his distortions.

He goes on to say:

"fire insulation was stripped off right away"

What EVIDENCE does he have for this? None whatsoever! This is just another NIST speculation which has been exaggerated to ridiculous proportions which on one can prove.

And next we have:

"fuel went down the elevator shaft to the lobby"

Mohr has already admitted that the planes impacted at 450 and 550 mph. The plane hit the south tower at the 81st floor which was more than 900 feet up the building. Now for fuel to drop 900 feet down an elevator shaft without hitting the sides how much horizontal velocity would it have to have? ZERO! So once the fuel burst out of the tanks how could it go from more than 200 mph to ZERO velocity? It would have had to splash around the inside of the elevator shaft and flow down the sides while burning and spreading out over a 900 foot distance.

And then there is the matter of ONLY TWO elevator shafts running the entire height of the buildings. Only two shafts could take fuel to the lobby. But there were SIX BASEMENT LEVELS below the lobby. How could the fuel stop at the lobby? How long would it take to flow down the shaft. Could it even explode after flowing and burning 900 feet?

To be continued...
Aug. 21st, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
More on Mohr
But Chris goes on with more BIG NUMBERS.

"180,000,000 pounds of building crashing down at 100 mph plus"

That is 90,000 tons by the way. But how does it get to 100 miles per hour. That is 147 feet per second for more usual physics calculations. From the equation velocity = acceleration x time with an acceleration of 32 ft/sec it takes 4.6 seconds for a mass falling through EMPTY SPACE to reach 100 mph. So from the equation distance = acceleration x time x time / 2 it takes a fall of 337 feet through empty space to reach 100 mph. But that was equal to 28 levels of the World Trade Center. So how did the falling upper mass of the WTC accelerate through 28 stories of steel and concrete of the WTC to reach the speed of 100 mph?

Chris Mohr has failed to ask an obvious question about something that he claims is true. Chris Mohr believes in some kind of magical physics.

But this is the absurdity of TEN YEARS of 9/11. The physics profession should have been shooting this nonsense full of holes in 2002. But because they have allowed it to go on it appears to have plausibility despite its STUPIDITY.

So how will they let it play out. Is almost everyone supposed to believe in magical physics for the next 1000 years?
Jan. 27th, 2012 11:31 pm (UTC)
Re: More on Mohr
psikeyhackr - I am so grateful for your contributions over at the CFI forum. And glad to have found your site here thanks to your link regarding your additional comments on Chris Mohr. Funny how the Mohr article from Skeptic magazie was referenced as "debunking" 9/11 troofer 'nonsense', but from your refutations, it can be more accurately thought of as more of a case of "Weekend at Bernie's" v9.11 whereby yet another dead strawman comes back from the grave(or at least trotted out as if the dead were in fact living).

I thoroughly enjoy your contributions at the CFI forum and learn quite a lot from them as well.

Best regards,

Mar. 19th, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
CFI forums can't stand the heat
Just to let you know, psik, it appears I've been banned from the CFI forum (Physics & Skyscrapers), because of my lack of obsequiousness to the mods.

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. Thanks for your contributions. One other note, it didn't actually say "banned", it just says "system currently offline" from my IP, and then gives the same message when trying to log in from another IP.

What a bunch of wankers (at least one of the posts "disappeared")!


For the record, here's the supposed straw that broke the camel's back...

Ya know what?

That smug picking of nits (regarding "nauseous" vs. "nauseated") was pretty much the last straw for CFI.

I'll still support the activities at CFI-West and Jim Underdown (I once donated a 30' bobtail mail truck with hydraulic liftgate to them), subscribe to "Free Inquiry" ("Skeptical Inquirer" is less interesting to me now as they pick easier targets and anything written re: 9/11 seems poorly supported), and Paul Kurtz, Tom Flynn, and others with the CSH are still my heroes...

...but I swear, those of you in positions of authority here seem too smug in your "appeals to authority" with hardly a bit of actual examination of who you are championing. You buy into top down pronouncements every bit as much as the LDS do their Prophet.

I'd like to hold you in higher esteem, but if I may be allowed to speak freely and honestly (something not at all guaranteed here, apparently) , you come off like a bunch of wankers.

Sep. 29th, 2012 02:37 pm (UTC)
Another year of SCIENCE
So another year has gone by and another 9/11 anniversary has passed.

But 2012 has has been an interesting year for science. Something has been discovered relating to the Higgs Boson and a one ton robot has made a really impressive landing on Mars.

I haven't read much about the Higgs Boson. It is not doubt a big deal to physicists and it may turn up something useful eventually. The neutron was discovered in 1932, less than 100 years ago. 13 years later that knowledge gave us the atomic bomb. Maybe the Higgs Boson will give us anti-gravity, who knows.

Getting to Mars was more of a Newtonian physics problem with a lot of computer control. A rocket had to get the payload into space on the correct trajectory to hit Mars. The entry capsule had to approach the Martian atmosphere at the proper angle and orientation. The parachute had to open at the proper time and the heat shield drop off. Then the retro rocket robot had to lower the rover to the ground. I must confess that when I first heard about this Rube Goldberg touchdown I did not believe they would make it through the goal posts. But they did it. We gotta hand it to NASA for that one. Do you suppose they did computer simulations for that project?

But then we are supposed to believe they can't deal with the physics of skyscrapers? They can't figure out the significance of the center of mass of the tilted top portion of the south tower eleven years ago? This is ridiculous. But where does NASA get its funding and how is the scientific bureaucracy controlled? Jim Hansen was given a hard time over his climate warnings and that did not involve people getting killed.

The Laws of Physics are incapable of caring about the careers of physicists or any other scientists. So how will this 9/11 Affair look in a century or two? The Galileo Affair is trivial by comparison. Far fewer scientists and engineering schools involved.
Oct. 11th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
Another year, Another failure of Science
Some time ago I wrote Python program that computes the collapse time of 109 masses floating above one another 12 feet apart by dropping the top 14 onto the rest to be slowed down only by the Conservation of Momentum.


This could only happen in a computer with masses held up by "magic".

In the real world physical supports would be required to hold the masses 12 feet apart.

But destroying supports from above would require energy. But that would mean taking kinetic energy from the falling mass. That would slow it down. That would mean INCREASING THE COLLAPSE TIME.

So suppose we subtracted energy from the falling mass 1% at a time per collision and recompute the collapse time. Increase the percentage again and again and see how high would the percentage have to get until the collapse time was greater than the actual event? But if the percentage was still ridiculously low then how could it be explained?

0% = 12.88 sec
1% = 13.56 sec
2% = 14.22 sec
3% = 14.85 sec
4% = 15.47 sec
5% = 16.09 sec
6% = 16.69 sec
7% = 17.28 sec
8% = 17.85 sec
9% = 18.43 sec
10% = 18.97 sec
11% = 19.49 sec
12% = 20.04 sec
13% = 20.55 sec
14% = 21.08 sec
15% = 21.58 sec
16% = 22.06 sec
17% = 22.57 sec
18% = 23.07 sec
19% = 23.55 sec
20% = 24.03 sec
21% = 24.51 sec
22% = 24.97 sec

23% = 25.46 sec
24% = 25.94 sec

25% = 26.39 sec
50% = 37.71 sec
75% = 50.82 sec
88% = 60.47 sec
90% = 62.42 sec
95% = 68.71 sec

Since the momentum only collapse time was about the same as the collapse time of the main mass of the north tower that should have made it obvious to everyone that something bizarre had to have occurred. 0% energy lost breaking/crushing supports gives 12.88 seconds. That is with masses held up by "magic". But a 1% loss of energy raises the collapse time to 13.56 seconds. Then another percent gives 14.22 seconds. At 22% the time is 24.97 seconds. But 25 seconds is the total collapse time including what it took for "The Spire" to come down. That was just the damaged remains of the core. But this means all of the building supports had to absorb less than 22% of the Kinetic Energy, which had to come from the Potential Energy of the building. 75% would double the total collapse time.

That program reduces the kinetic energy right after each collision. Would computing it before the collision matter significantly?

Curious how our experts can't get this Potential Energy data reasonably correct in 12 years.

So how did breaking the supports take so little energy? Not that this is an actual calculation of the energy it would take to break them. Only the percentage required to slow things down and not get out of range of the time of what was recorded. So how could what was recorded have happened in so little time? Our physicists who claim to be scientists can't seem to address such simple questions.

Edited at 2013-10-11 08:08 pm (UTC)
Jun. 6th, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC)
Four years to Nowhere
So it has been nearly four years since I started this thread. We still haven't gotten simple physics resolved.

Dr. Tyson can tell us about asteroids colliding with the planet:


How can such things be figured out without computer simulations?


But in 14 years we do not have a simulation with complete information on the collapse of the north tower. We also don't have info on the center of mass of the tilted top portion of the south tower.

Great Science!
Nov. 17th, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC)
Fourteen Years & Two Months
I thought about posting something for the 14th anniversary, but that is all I did. It seemed so pointless. Then I found this:


"Bear with me as I tell you a story that might answer your question.

I was teaching at one of the top engineering companies in Switzerland on September 11th, and had 6 of the top engineers of the firm in my class. When I say top, I mean some of these guys were near geniuses and their company business was solving problems that other engineering firms were having trouble with solving.

So, 9.11 happened and every week for at least 3 months, the only thing these 6 guys wanted to talk about was what had happened. Each of them approached it from his own specialties in engineering or physics and would alternately come to class and present their findings to the class...in English. (Yeah, I had lost control of the lessons and was just moderating and correcting their English wherever possible.)

They made PowerPoint presentations showing graphs and equations I had no chance to follow and one of the engineers, who now teaches Thermal Dynamics at the top technical college after a stint on the R&D board of a presitigous laboratory, covered two whiteboards in equations from his mapping of the dust clouds and the energy needed to propel them the distance and the heights they had achieved, concluding that there was not enough kinetic energy in the building, nor the airplane to have achieved that.

Of the 6, five of them were in complete agreement that the Towers had to have been brought down in a controlled demolition with explosives. The 6th engineer, when questioned by his colleagues about why he disagreed, was silent for a moment, and then said, and I quote, "I can not refute your arguments, or your math. I just do not want it to be true."

And that was the last time we talked about it in class. It was a settled issue for the engineers, and in their minds, it was literally a "mystery solved, what else is interesting out there?" situation, because they were only interested in the physics and the math and had little interest in my interjections about the Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfield and Pearl cabal. Literally, "just the facts, m'am."

So that is my answer to your question. Some people, faced with the evidence, just do not want it to be true. Not really surprising when you consider the magnitude of everything that that thought destroys in one's mind and spirit.

The so-called debunkers and their theories can be dismissed in 5 minutes here:


So our social problem now is all of the scientific and educational institutions not resolving this in FOURTEEN YEARS.

NASA engineers can't wonder about the center of gravity of the tilted top portion of the south tower?

Whatever the truth of 9/11 is, scientists and engineers should have found a way to prove it by now. So what does it say about the world as a whole that they haven't? Can't Japanese engineers design skyscrapers?
Dec. 12th, 2015 03:22 am (UTC)
A Somewhat Interesting Video
Incontrovertible - New 9/11 Documentary by Tony Rooke

Nothing about the physics of skyscrapers over 300 meters tall.
Mar. 16th, 2016 03:24 am (UTC)
Relevant Video
Here is a video with reasonable experiments:


One has to wonder why engineering schools that charge $100,000+ forfour years of education haven't done better in FOURTEEN YEARS.
Apr. 30th, 2016 12:42 pm (UTC)
An Apparently Relevant Video
The Smithsonian must know what it is talking about.


I'll have to watch it some time.

OK, I watched it. It's dumb, but can impress non-thinkers.

Potential Energy changes with changes in distribution of mass:


Edited at 2016-07-08 11:35 pm (UTC)
Sep. 11th, 2016 01:38 pm (UTC)
Decade 1.5
Well the day has come around again. Nothing momentous has happened in resolving the issue in the last year. A professor in Alaska has begun a research project on building 7. Curiously he is not a young guy with a long career ahead of him.

World Trade Center Building 7 Evaluation Introduction

I have sent him an email bu gotten no response.

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jlhulsey@alaska.edu e-mailed on 8/7/16

Hello Dr. Hulsey,

I am emailing you because of this:


I went to one of Richard Gage's shows at Chicago Circle Campus in May of 2008. After the show I got into the question line and eventually asked him about the distribution of steel in the towers. He looked at me like I had grown a second head. Then said the the NIST was not giving out accurate blue prints.

I have been bothered by the destruction of the Twin Towers since it occurred. I doubted that airliners could do that from the moment I saw it on television and spent the next two weeks thinking of hardly anything else but why I could not accept it.

I went to college for Electrical Engineering and have never taken a structural engineering course. But how can the timings of these collapses be analysed without knowing the distributions of mass in steel and concrete down the towers? In fact, how can even the cost of any skyscraper be reasonably estimated without information that simple?

So after FIFTEEN YEARS I am in somewhat of a quandry about why this problem has not been settled by professionals in the field. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge makes for a very interesting comparison. It only took FOUR MONTHS for a professor and his students to construct a 50 foot, 1/200th scale model in a wind tunnel to study the oscillation of the real bridge. Unfortunately the bridge collapsed before they could begin applying what they had learned, but no one had expected the bridge to collapse. So where is there a model to solve the Twin Towers problem by any engineering school in the nation that put men on the Moon? In 1940 they could not do a computer simulation but we don't have that for the Twin Towers either.

I have made a couple of minor efforts at modeling but they are only indications at best, not solutions.



We have had years of conspiracy nonsense about 9/11. But this is a physics and engineering problem that should be resolved regardless of who was responsible for the events. Human beings cannot change the Laws of Physics, and with so many skyscrapers around the world this level of physics should not be any great mystery.



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So 2001: A Stupid Odyssey continues its 16 year mission?
Sep. 13th, 2016 03:34 am (UTC)
Another Youtuber Venting
What Really Happened on 9/11 and Why It's Still a Secret
Sep. 11th, 2018 04:16 pm (UTC)
17th of 9/11

Unhappy 17th Anniversary and 3rd Tuesday.

Maybe physics will be resurrected someday.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )