Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Truth Melts in Manhattanville

Someone in Manhattanville has an axe to grind -- an axe the size of the World Trade Center. On several of the steel beams and girders which hold up the elevated viaduct of the number 1 subway line at West 125th street and Broadway, there is a growing array of fliers and posters which call into question the ‘official’ account of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.

I’ve noticed these posters for several years now, at the same spot. As one layer wears and weathers off, fresh sheets are posted. Someone is determined to convince any passer-by that the attacks on the twin towers were not carried out by Islamic terrorists trained in camps in Afghanistan but by the U.S. government itself.

Conspiracy theories around 9/11 fall into several categories, such as ‘did the government co-ordinate the attack using fake scale model drones tarted up to resemble passenger jets?’ or ‘did the government know the attack was being planned and allowed it to happen?’ The Manhattanville person (or persons) focuses -- but not sharply enough -- on some supposed scientific fundamentals from the attack.

“Physics of the Impossible” proclaims one almost-completely worn away poster. There follows, interspersed with other comments on creeping fascism, a key plank of the conspiracy theory of a government co-ordinated 9/11: jet fuel burns at 1200 F, but steel melts at 2800°F (actually 2500°F). How then, could the raging fires from the two jets crashing into the towers, ever melt the steel supports to cause a catastrophic collapse?

Well, steel doesn’t need to melt in order to lose significant strength. At 500 degrees and up to 1000 degrees, steel weakens and becomes like, to use the description I’ve read most frequently, “like play-dough.” If the mid-section supports of an enormous steel tower suddenly start to become putty-like, is it any wonder the twin towers collapsed, regardless of how hot the fires burned at? They were clearly hot enough.

Such niceties do not seem to bother the Manhattanville Dissident. I noticed after I walked eastwards on 125th Street that an AM-NewYork newspaper box had also received the treatment (below).

What bothers me about this, is that I really applaud dissent, especially if aimed appropriately at the centers of extremely concentrated power in the world in which we live, such as the U.S. Government. But the Manhattanville Dissident shoots his or her (or their) foot off by continuing to undermine their argument with wrong-headed 'science.' It's not even science, it's just a mistake. And one that isn't helped by the snarky comment: "Denial ain't just a river in Africa."