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Sunday, September 04, 2011

"across those ten years have the charges that it was an "inside job," a favored phrase of the self-styled "truthers," received any serious buttress? The answer is no."
The 9/11 Conspiracists: Vindicated After All These Years? Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Alexander Cockburn in the piece above gives a pretty good rundown on the hapless state of 9/11 conspiracy theory "movements." It's always been a sad enterprise.

I think I won't write more about it, but if you are so inclined, here are two earlier posts:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A story about the woes of the gigantic particle smasher experiment in Europe is causing much agitation in physics departments everywhere:

The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate

By DENNIS OVERBYE | Published: Oct. 12, 2009
More than a year after an explosion of sparks, soot and frigid helium shut it down, the world?s biggest and most expensive physics experiment, known as the Large Hadron Collider, is poised to start up again. ...

A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather. [emphasis added]
I don't actually put much stock in this. But me no know particles. Well, I do know the difference between boson and fermion, sort of. Still, it is something to be excited about in the halls of physics.

Oh, I know where I saw a story about someone or some thing from the future coming back and trying to prevent creation of the Higgs particle before it destroys the universe. It was an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation where the Enterprise repeatedly blows up until they can find Kelsey Grammer. I think they found him when Data transmitted the number "3" backwards in time. Maybe in that case the Higgs particle was the carrier of interaction. Tell them at CERN!! Something to try!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sunday at 1159 UT (6:59 AM EST).

This is my favorite night of the year on Maine Public Radio. This year the Paul Winter Consort program was awesome as usual.

Monday, August 25, 2008

No evidence of planted explosives in World Trade Center building

According to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), the third and final building collapse in the World Trade Center area of New York City in the late afternoon of September 11, 2001 was due to fire. Read all about it in last week's press release, HERE.

This finding I imagine will ramp up reaction amongst 9/11 conspiracy movement people. They will pull out all sorts of speculation about why this is a put-up job. For a flavor of their brand of "proof", I recommend my post in the old blog about the misuse of physics amongst this conspiracy crowd. See that post HERE. And yes, I've watched the videos with speculative comments by Professor Jones about the "puffs" of smoke & debris, the supposed flows of molten metal, the "sturdy" nature of the materials & structure, and the rate of fall. He's going to have to do a lot better. Being a physicist, he must know dynamic loads are a very different animal than static loads.

Building 7 is the smoking gun for conspiracy proponents. But the findings of the lengthy and careful study by NIST are that, "The fires in WTC 7, which were uncontrolled but otherwise similar to fires experienced in other tall buildings, caused an extraordinary event" leading to the "Heating of floor beams and girders" which "caused a critical support column to fail, initiating a fire-induced progressive collapse that brought the building down."

In the old blog post, I had a mild go-round with some commenters sympathetic to the conspiracy theories who wrote things like this:
I have not hear[d] a good explanation as to how these collapses could have caused steel and concrete to vaporize and pulverize substantially into micron size particles.
You can read these posts and my responses at the above link.

In that post, I also recommend the fine articles posted at Counterpunch written by retired physicist Manuel Garcia in 2006. These have far more analysis than I was able to offer. Garcia has published a follow-up piece explaining areas where his hypotheses proved incorrect in the light of the NIST findings. His point today is about how science operates. Truth comes not from jumping to singular conclusions about observations taken as anomalies, as the conspiracy theorists do again and again. Rather, the "detail and pace of NIST work" is the key to arriving at a supportable scenario for the "phenomenology of the WTC building fires and collapses."

Finally, I'll note my own follow-up post from April 2007 describing a split between another physicist -- this one, Steven Jones, who I mention above and who is sympathetic to certain conspiracy notions -- and a group with even vaster belief in U.S. government involvement through use of mysterious super-weapons. A fellow who taught university-level philosophy in Minnesota, named James Fetzer, appears to believe that it just might have been energy beams from spaced-based platforms that started the collapse of the WTC buildings. That was too much for Jones, who quickly broke with the "Scholars for Truth" a couple of years ago.

Friday, February 29, 2008

5 hours, 48 minutes, 46 8/100 seconds

That's how much longer a "tropical" year is (on average in this epoch) than 365 solar days. (A solar day is measured from the point the sun crosses the meridian from one day to the next, as opposed to a sidereal day, which is measured by the time a distant star would require to pass through the same complete cycle.)

The calendar in a non-leap year does not account for this. So, let's see, if we add a 24-hour day every four years, 6 hours per year... Hey! That's gonna be pretty close! But it is too much--the calendar will measure 11 minutes, 13 92/100 seconds too many every four years.

This is not a real big deal, unless you're worried about centuries, which you probably should worry about if you want your calendar stable. So, in 400 years, the calendar with a leap day every 4th year would be 1123 minutes, 12 seconds too long. Taking out three leap days every 400 years just about does the trick. This removal of a leap day is done at the end of every century, except those divisible by four. (We had a leap day in 2000.)

The calendar ends up losing only 48 minutes every 400 years. Not too shabby.