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Sunday, April 29, 2007

What WILL Rosie Say?

Given that professors at University of Wisconsin and Rosie all claim to know that fire has never melted iron or steel in human history until 9/11, I think the freeway collapse in San Francisco caused by a tanker fire is going to generate some interesting theories:
A stretch of vital highway for San Francisco Bay area commuters collapsed on Sunday after a gas tanker truck crashed and ignited flames that shot more than 200 feet high, officials said.
Flames on a lower ramp melted the upper deck of a highway on the Oakland/Emeryville side leading to the double-decker Bay Bridge that connects the heavily populated East Bay to San Francisco. As the steel structure weakened, a concrete slab fell onto the ramp below.
There are, obviously, pressing questions which will emanate from the poorly educated or those holding graduate degrees from certain departments of the University of Wisconsin: Cheney or Bush? Was the motive hatred of homosexuals, or a desperate attempt to shore up the theocracy by attacking homosexuals? Will this incident hasten our impending death from global warming? Will we have Congressional hearings? Or, alternatively, you could get a Christian Anarchist aerospace engineer's questions, which I couldn't dream of predicting. But I am very, very sure that they will be fascinatingly lunatic.

All joking aside, people started smelting iron a long time ago. The poor commuters in that area are going to have a miserable time of it. One good thing - the driver made it out alive and is reported to be in stable condition.

The story caught my attention because GA is pretty much on fire. The firefighters put them out and more crop up. Nothing new, because in these conditions we do have fires. We need rain.

To heck with Rosie, M.O.M. The problem is that the 9/11 Denialists - the folks who gleefully participate in the so-called 9/11 truth movement - will either call this a bogus or staged event, or will simply change the subject to some other 9/11 canard they've been passing around. As far as Rosie goes, I think she's finally realized that she has to think before she talks. Which, frankly, is something she should've already realized before The View.

Be careful, M.O.M.: Everytime a blog makes even an oblique references to 9/11 mythology - and your was so oblique, you didn't even mention the Twin Towers, you just singled out some "truthers" - you get all sorts of 9/11 truth "questions" like "But I find it interesting that the buildings fell into their own footprint", or "They fell at free-fall (or 'faster than', or 'near') speeds, which means that there was no resistence to the collapse"

(Just so you know - Free fall fallacy debunked here: http://www.debunking911.com/freefall.htm

... and here: http://911myths.com/html/freefall.html

... and "footprint" fallacy debunking can also be found through the same sites.)

Anyway, just wanted to give you a heads up. Some other blogs I read made Rosie references, or talked about some single, isolated issue about 9/11, or some topic only tenuously related to 9/11, and voila! 9/11 denial comments appeared. See this post from Annika's Blog or this one on Ann Althouse's as milder examples (the really obnoxious examples admittedly are on 9/11 myth debunking sites, but those sites are sort of expecting that sort of commentary). Those two blogs don't do a whole lot of 9/11 talk, but the one or few times they did, they somehow got found by the conspiracy fantasists.

I'm sorry to be so forward with my advice, but from experience in watching others deal with the stupidity, I'd seriously consider disabling anonymous comments and enabling approval. You may not get hit hard, or maybe not even at all, but it's something to think about.
Well, thanks for the advice and the headsup. I hate to disable anonymous comments. If any appear, I'll probably try to chalk it up to amusement value.

Overall, I am less bothered by some people believing in 9/11 conspiracy theories than by universities that seem unable to rebut literal, factual inaccuracies.

I hope Rosie did learn a lesson. I bet in the circles she moves in, absolutely no one would have questioned the idea that fire can't melt steel. They probably think steel gets fabricated using phasers or lasers. After all, it's Hollywood. Sometimes, late at night, I try to imagine a welder watching the screen and wonder what that welder is thinking about such rhetoric. If they only knew how many people laugh until their bellies hurt, the wackoids might get a reality check.

From reading your response on Annika's, I gather you find this sort of thing as amazing as I do. You and Annika really walloped them!
Well, we did our best, but it's not hard to rebut someone who just parrots the regular, (dare I say it?), official (*snicker*) conspiracy canon. It's even easier when the guy's spouting old fantasy, like that guy did. But I don't know if I find it amazing as much as I find it painful; ignorance of logic and critical thought is borderline offensive to me. Willful ignorance of both is 10 times more so.

And yes, I agree with your take on Universities. To be fair to U.W., they have a number of people who find 9/11 conspiracy fantasy to be just full of it, so we can't exactly blame the entire university for the idiocy of the few. Or the one (BTW: Barrett was never a full professor at U.W.; he was in all respects, nothing more than a substitute teacher for a semester).

Re: Melting steel - To be fair, the argument isn't about point melting like welders do, or partial softening, which is what ancient swordcrafters did. It's about out-and-out liquid flowing steel. As in completely 100% melted and liquefied. The whole canard that Rosie is parroting is the charge that jet fuel isn't hot enough to melt steel, and the argument isn't as much about the steel structural elements supposedly melting and causing the collapse as it is a challenge for debunkers to explain the confirmed sightings of molten metals at Ground Zero. The answer to that can be found at Debunking 9/11 (Link to that section) and elsewhere on the net. But the point is that we're talking about potential masses of molten metals, not just small amounts.

And the other point is that Rosie just parrotted without critically thinking. The whole argument wasn't supposed to stop at "fire never melted steel", it was supposed to be "fire never melted a primarily steel constructed building to the point of collapse before". Which it didn't even do in this case (9/11 WTC), but that's a whole other argument. Anyway, that was an illustration that Rosie's mouth is faster than her brain is, and her brain's not all that swift, considering she still continues to parrot all this stuff.
I was at the Los Angeles Festival of Books over the weekend. The Truthers (TM) were out in full force, with sandwich boards proclaiming "THE *TRUTH* ABOUT 9/11!!!!!"

These days, whenever I hear the word "truth", my first reaction is "WHOSE 'TRUTH'?"

P.S. To collapse a steel-framed structure, it's not necessary to completely melt the steel, just get it hot enough to where it gets too weak to support its total weight.

But what does it matter? Rosie is a *CELEBRITY* and we're just Nobodies...
I can deal with wildly variant political ideas, etc. I lose my patience when people refuse to deal with physical reality, though. I see red. Are we going to develop political chemistries and metallurgies?

Yes, structures will collapse when steel supports weaken. The accident in CA was hardly unique.

As for the WTC, the pools of molten steel in the substructure were formed because the debris covering up the basement formed a blast furnace.

Maybe your "Truthers" should be forced to watch one of those old filmstrips about how steel was made in blast furnaces heated by coke fires. You'd probably have a hard time explaining to them what "coke" is, though. They'd roam the streets claiming that everyone knows that carbonated beverages don't burn hot enough to melt steel.

Bill Whittle's latest is a good read.
Ever since reading that famous online essay about "Fantasy Ideology", I figured a lot of today's Peace Activists (TM) are actually frustrated role-playing gamers who won't admit to it. Can even tell what ruleset they're using -- Star Wars: the Role-playing Game, West End D6 or WOTC D20 version, take your pick.

The "9/11 Truthers" are LARPing from a different ruleset, an X-Files Role-Playing Game.

Just as Peace Activists are really playing Luke Skywalker, leading the Good Guy Rebel Alliance against Emperor BusHitler's Evil Empire, so Truthers are playing Agent Fox Mulder -- "The TRUTH Is Out There" -- exposing The Vast Conspiracy of Deros, Telaug Rays, and Organic Robotoids.
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