Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An Open Letter

To Mr. Ross:

I haven’t done any debunking in about a year. But imagine my surprise when I visited your website recently and found that you had finally crafted a “response” to my refutation of your “Moment Transfer in WTC1” “paper”. Please note the words that I have in quotations: response and paper. This is because I hold these items in contempt, not because they’re imaginary. I also find your lack of testicular fortitude contemptible. When in a lively internet discussion such as the one that we have had, try to have necessary courage to actually inform your opponent that you’ve said something. Otherwise it would appear (as it does now) that you’re afraid of a real response. Let’s take a look at what you’ve written and I’ll respond to it paragraph by paragraph.

If only you could investigate 911 as thorough as you investigated my name.

A few people have written to me over the past few months regarding an article by Mr. Trevor Self, from Albuquerque I believe, styling himself Newton’s Bit. Rather than continue to answer these individually it will save time and effort if this reply is placed on the web and freely available. I have not previously bothered to answer this article because I did not believe that anyone would be taken in by his rubbish, riddled as it is with very basic errors, but for those who have not studied the subject it may prove beneficial to have some of these errors explained. Firstly I will deal with the arithmetical errors, then I will explain the engineering errors.

You’ve outed me! You have done a wonderful investigation and examined all the various clues I’ve left of myself over the internet and figured out my real name! I fear the massive unwashed hordes of Truthers hounding my every step. Or maybe I would, if I wasn’t sure that the hygiene-challenged Truthers were huddled in their parent’s basements playing the latest Halo game.

First of all the conversion from degrees to radians used by Mr Self is incorrect. There are pi (3.142) radians in 180 degrees, except apparently in New Mexico. This introduces an error of 200%.

You got me, an arithmetic error. I intended to use 30 degree angles (pi/6) but incorrectly used 15 degrees (pi/12). Unfortunately for you, 15 degrees still falls within the bounds of my “fudging”. You see, steel columns have ruptured by 8-12 degrees anyways. Let’s just call this one a wash. I made an error, but it doesn’t matter.

There are four rotations in a three point buckle except in the mind of Mr Self who believes there are only three. A further error of 133%.

Incorrect. This should be self-explanatory to an engineer, but I guess you didn’t have to take any Mechanics of Materials classes. Under an arbitrary amount of work, the top and bottom buckle points will rotate X degrees, however the middle one will rotate an angle of 2*X. Each buckle point absorbs the same amount of energy. Let me know if you need me to explain this further, it’s a tad bit complicated (I’m lying here: I’m trying to protect your feelings, it’s really not complicated at all).

Mr Self uses a slenderness ratio which assumes that the columns in the towers were fitted with hinges on every storey. A casual glance at the towers proves this false, and the very fact that they stood for many years would help to confirm the non existence of these hinges. The error in slenderness ratio is 200%.

Do not put words into my mouth, HVAC designer. I never said that the tower was fitted with hinges. I can only surmise that you are making the same basic mistake that Tony Szamboti made regarding the effective length factor “K”. Please see my response to him, I’m really getting tired of having to correct this insanely basic concept of engineering. Here’s the link.

Educate yourself.

Mr Self chooses to call himself Newton’s bit for some reason but his refusal to accept Newton’s laws would have that famous man turning in his grave. Isaac Newton, or “whirling Isaac” as he is now known told us that each action has an equal and opposite reaction, but Mr Self chooses to ignore this fact conveniently allowing him to understate the energies involved by half. An error of 200%.

Hmm. I’m not sure how my handle has anything to do with what I write. Nor do I see where this “error” occurs as my paper only deals with recalculating things you did incorrectly.

Mr. Self ignores the strengthening and bracing effect of the spandrel plates, core bracing, etc. The error is more difficult to quantify but is clearly significant. Why else would they have been included in the original design?

The spandrel plates do not brace from buckling in a direction orthogonal to their length. They provide stiffness to in-plane forces (thus a moment frame) to deliver shear forces to the bottom of the structure. This is basic engineering mechanics. There is no excuse for not understanding this.

These errors when combined add up to ridiculous. It is easy to see therefore why I have previously dismissed this article without much comment. The only interesting part of this episode has been the manner in which supporters of the official story have latched onto it. There are those without the specialised knowledge to judge, who have betrayed their own unthinking bias by adopting Mr Self’s article without question. More importantly there are those who are or claim to be engineers and who do or should have that specialised knowledge and yet they have allowed the article to stand and allowed

Mr. Self to continue to embarrass himself, even when these most basic errors have been pointed out.
I hope that this clears up a few issues for some people, but if questions continue then please do not hesitate to contact me.

As an aside, I have always thought that the custom on the web of allowing everyone to choose their own nickname is a little bit strange. If this were the case in real life then all the Porkys and Kiffys of this world would be calling themselves Ace or Tiger. Mr Self, or Newton’s Bit, as he appears to prefer, is a definite case in point.

You managed to find an arithmetic error (that's posted on the JREF forums) that doesn't actually change any results.  You also showed how ignorant you are of structural design.  Anyhoo, this has been pretty dang entertaining for me.  When you have more “problems” (this quotation is both for contempt and because it’s imaginary), please actually grow a pair and let me know about them instead of hiding it on your website.

Trevor Self

P.S.  My middle name is Newton.  And my blog is my bit.  Hence: Newton's Bit.  Do you get it?