Tuesday, February 21, 2012

dead and alive: belief in contradictory conspiracy theories

sagepub | Conspiracy theories can form a monological belief system: A self-sustaining worldview comprised of a network of mutually supportive beliefs. The present research shows that even mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively correlated in endorsement. In Study 1 (n = 137), the more participants believed that Princess Diana faked her own death, the more they believed that she was murdered. In Study 2 (n = 102), the more participants believed that Osama Bin Laden was already dead when U.S. special forces raided his compound in Pakistan, the more they believed he is still alive. Hierarchical regression models showed that mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively associated because both are associated with the view that the authorities are engaged in a cover-up (Study 2). The monological nature of conspiracy belief appears to be driven not by conspiracy theories directly supporting one another but by broader beliefs supporting conspiracy theories in general.

32 comments:

umbrarchist said...

Conspiracies are irrelevant!

How do you analyse whether or not an airliner could totally destroy a building 2000 times its own mass in less than two hours if you don't even have accurate data on how the steel and concrete had to be distributed in the building so it could hold itself up?
 

Tom said...

Umbra, I've been thinking about this problem since we talked about this lack of data before.

But even without detailed data, how about this approach?  We look at the strength of steel vs temperature.  The steel in the building might have 2x the strength it needs to stay intact, or 3x, or 4x, or whatever--some safety factor.  If you see the steel soften by 2x or 3x, though, at a believable temperature, then the whole airplane theory sounds plausible.  If the steel only softens by 25%, then it's a less plausible.

Have you seen that out there?  Somebody must have done that.

umbrarchist said...

 The safety factor affects the quantity of steel.  The physics may determine the minimum amount of steel but people, either designers or creators of building codes, decide the safety factor.

There was 100,000 tons of steel in each tower.  Counting the 6 basement levels  that is an average of 862 tons per level.  It had to taper up the building so presumably it was less than that where the planes hit.  My problem is with the TIME.  The steel would have to weaken in less than one hour for the south tower and less than 1 & 3/4 hour for the north tower.  I do not buy the fire getting hot enough to do that from jet fuel and office furnishings.

But even so how could the top 15 stories of the north tower crush 94 stories in less than 18 seconds?  How did all of those columns break loose so the top of the south tower could tilt 22 degrees?   The physics profession is allowing insanity to hypnotise the world.

Galileo should piss on their graves.

CNu said...

I do not buy the fire getting hot enough to do that from jet fuel and office furnishings.

lol, absent tons of jet fuel as an accelerent, do you have any first hand experience with what happens when contemporary office furnishings combust, any idea how hot those fires get even when they simply smolder along?

John Kurman said...

As a personal anecdote, some years ago I built a pickup kiln for a glassblower (a kiln to pre-heat murrini - small decorative pieces of glass - so that they do not thermal shock when they are "picked up" on a bubble of molten glass). I originally used square tubes of stainless steel to hold the plate that goes into the furnace. The first time we used it, going up to 1250F, after about 20 minutes both pieces of square tube had sagged and we could not pull the pickup plate out. The solution was to use gay iron round bar. So, yeah, steel softens way below its melting point.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kurmo/758604102/ 

John Kurman said...

gray iron.

Tom said...

I get that the safety factor is not a physical constant, but it is affected by cost.  I doubt that the safety factor was as low as 1.25, or as high as 10.

Tom said...

And a structural engineer could narrow that range of safety factors for us in a minute.

CNu said...

pause, no homo.  (rotflmbao....,)

CNu said...

On two BCPDR (business continuity and disaster recovery) projects in the early 90's - I got an opportunity to see first hand what happens in contemporary office fire situations. In a modest, five story glass and steel office building - a modest little fire broke out on the 2nd floor of this building in some trash, spreading to some prison manufacture cubicles and furnishings, then to a multifunction copier and so forth. The building never really burst into flames, but was totally destroyed just the same. Judging from the melting and paper combustion that happened two floors above where the fire started, temperatures had to have been in excess of 800 degrees and the building's frame definitely deformed in response to this incredibly high internal temperature.

The plastics and other materials making up the odd assortment of combustibles burn very hot and very gradually, and the building itself acted much more like a kiln than like a burning building with regard to retaining and internally radiating that high heat.

I can't even begin to imagine how much worse this all could have been made with the benefit of ample quantities of jet fuel running in, around and down through multiple floors and igniting a fat cross section of building materials and contents.

Tom said...

Says here steel loses 90% of its strength at 800C

http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/analysis/fires/steel.html 

(I'm just looking at the first graph, ignoring the verbiage that surrounds it for the moment.)

If the fire could have gotten as hot as 800 C (1470 F), then I'm starting to imagine I may be seeing a physical picture for the collapse.  

Dale Asberry said...

 There is a slight physics issue with this... a kiln can get no hotter than the fuel used to fire it burns at. Jet fuel, which is highly flammable (catches fire easily, burns completely quickly) actually doesn't burn at temperatures close enough to melt steel in air. In fact, jet fuel will burn at about 500 degrees C with diffuse flames (poor air circulation). So umbra is correct in that the fire did not get hot enough to melt or even sag the steel (significantly). However (to burst umbra's bubble)... tests on the steel for the rivets revealed they were extremely poor quality. The poor quality steel would've melted at even higher temperatures, but, they became extremely brittle at about 300 degrees C. In essence, the rivets started popping.

Tom said...

Some people on both sides of the debate are saying the "maximum burning temperature" of jet fuel is around 980 C.  That is with the perfect fuel-air ratio, etc., but except for both sides in a crazy debate agreeing on it, I can't seem to confirm the 980 figure. 

The open-air burning temperature is given as 260-315 C in Wikipedia.  

Unfortunately at this back-of-envelope level there's still room for both sides of the debate to be right.

Tom said...

Almost every piece I read on this stuff gives the first impresson of being  crap.    Umbra called it months ago, the style of these folks is to make things sound 20 times more complex than they need to be.  And not to make a fantastically detailed estimate--they still end up talking back-of-envelope, but with massive extraneous detail.

CNu said...

My point was that "net of jet fuel" office errata burns (gradually) but at very high temperatures - and - modern office buildings contain and sustain that smoldering action for an astonishingly long time.

With burning jet fuel splashing and running down and around multiple structurally compromised floors, that's a lot of hot burning office material that could be set on fire (accelerant) and thus - it's no stretch for me to picture based on prior personal experience the type of collapse which took place at the WTC.

Add in the element of the shoddy rivets, and this here situation looks like a wrap.

brotherbrown said...

Is that a pic of the actual plane just before it hit, and has it been photoshopped?  If it is real, it substantiates one of the rumors that the planes did not have windows and other identifiers of commercial airliners.

Vinz Klortho said...

There were not really any "columns" in the towers that had to break loose.  The structural steel of the towers were in the outer shell, not inner columns.  That's why the towers were so desirable for office space, they had no interior columns to break up the space.  Think of a milk carton, or a beer can, the strength is in the materials on the periphery.

Vinz Klortho

umbrarchist said...

 How can the rivets get any hotter than the steel around them?  The steel would conduct heat away from the source to pieces that were not even in the fire.

How BIG was the heat sink?  That is why it is so absurd to not have accurate data on the amount of steel on every level of the towers.  So why doesn't everyone on both sides of the issue want that information?  If the fire could start the collapse then having the information would not change the fact.

umbrarchist said...

 But the problem is this did not take a long time.  The south tower came down less than one hour after impact.  The north tower came down in 102 minutes.

So how does everyone explain the steel getting so hot in that little time but refuse to want accurate data on the amount of steel.

And even then they must explain how the top of the north tower destroyed everything below which was not on fire.

umbrarchist said...

 It looks like a rendering from a 3-D animation program link Blender.  The produce pictures that are photo-realistic but the tend to look "too clean" to be real.

umbrarchist said...

A simple thought experiment which our engineering schools should have
been able to simulate some time ago would be to merely remove five
simulated levels from the north tower, 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. Then let gravity take its usual immutably
boring course. The bottom of the 15 stories would impact the top of the
90 in just under 2 seconds at 44 mph or 65 feet per second.


The 90 stories should be 1080 feet tall so if the 15 stories could
maintain a constant 65 ft/sec while destroying them the collapse would
take 16.6 second plus the 2 seconds totalling 18.6 seconds.  But that is
significantly longer then most estimates of collapse time therefore the
15 stories would have to accelerate while crushing stories heavier and
stronger than themselves.


Now completely eliminating 5 stories to make that 2 seconds of
acceleration possible is more damage than the airliner impact and fire
could have done so we know that 60 feet of empty space never existed. 
But that thought experiment eliminates all argument about how hot the
fires got because they could not instantaneously disappear five stories.


The levels had to get stronger and heavier going down and lighter and
weaker going up. So how could 15 stories destroy all 90?  Even assuming
a 3 to 1 ratio of destruction, which I regard as unlikely, that would
leave 45 stories standing which is not what happened on 9/11.  So if
that simulation is done and it comes nowhere near complete collapse then
what is this nonsense that has been going on for more than TEN YEARS?


So why hasn’t any engineering school done such a simple simulation?
 

CNu said...

 Nah, pure fantasy from a 9/11 conspiracy site http://physics911.net/

CNu said...

 You mean like this one from Georgia Tech? hsrlab.gatech.edu/AUTODYN/papers/paper142.pdf

Dale Asberry said...

It's been photoshopped. You can see features of buildings in the reflections on the tail and you can see a uniform gray applied to the fuselage almost all the way to the tail.

umbrarchist said...

 Since this business has to involve mass hitting mass it is SO CURIOUS that the word CONSERVATION is not mentioned.  So how can they have incorporated the Conservation of Momentum into that model.  There is so much complicated material about the destruction of the WTC with lots of complicated technical verbiage but then you have to sift through it to see what is left out.

Skyscrapers must be bottom heavy to support so much mass so high up.  That is going to seriously interfere with any straight down collapse.  So any computer simulation that does not emphasise  that distribution is automatically suspect in my book.  That is the Elephant in the Room of 9/11.

I can't find the steel and concrete distribution data on any skyscraper in the world.   It is as though it is a guild secret.  Richard Gage does not even discuss it.

umbrarchist said...

 The really annoying thing about this business is the way simple ideas are made to appear complicated.  I have never seen anyone specify whether the safety factor is based on multiples of the live load or dead load and live load combined.

nomad said...

Interesting how diverse conspiracy theories are lumped together. The surest way to discredit a theory is to preface it by the word conspiracy. As W said "we must never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories"; much less take them seriously. Be that as it may; even if the official theory of how the steel was weakened by heat is correct, would this event be enough to cause the entire structure of the building to collapse? And even if the answer is yes, there still remains the mystery of the building that collapsed without being hit. (Probably some of the jet fuel from the other 2 splashed on it). And instead of piercing the the outer supporting pillars and exploding inside the buildings, shouldn't these planes have exploded on impact? I've heard several different conspiracy theories and the least believable of them is the one provided by the gummint.  

Tom said...

Yeah, calling things "conspiracy theories" does nothing to prove them false.  

nomad said...

He's news to me. Where would you recommend I start?

CNu said...

Ah..., interesting, see - I was a big fan of Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell, on which Strieber was a regular fixture - so he was already part of my pop cultural clutter. If you haven't heard of Strieber, and he's not part of your clutter, then it's probably just as well that you not bother.

nomad said...

I have this conspiracy theory conspiracy theory. The term itself is part of what is essentially a psychological operation. A way of preempting investigations into sensitive secret subject-matter. If you could program people to ignore certain subjects, it would be much easier to keep secrets. Hence, the gummint purposely pejorated the term "conspiracy theory" .

What is truly amazing is how the label of “conspiracy theory” has managed to marginalize a substantial portion of independent speculation. The most fundamental step in controlling the public is to limit their willingness to think about certain subjects. Nothing accomplishes this so well as to label a topic a “conspiracy theory”. So: What is a conspiracy theory? From Wikipedia:Conspiracy theory is a term that originally was a neutral descriptor for any claim of civil, criminal, or political conspiracy. However, it has become largely pejorative and used almost exclusively to refer to any fringe theory which explains an historical or current event as the result of a secret plot by conspirators of almost superhuman power and cunning.[1]The pejoration of the term is my objection. One could say that it was simply a natural development, as conspiracy theories of one sort or another proliferated. On the other hand the pejoration of the term was certainly exacerbated by the efforts of the authorities to discredit conspiracy theories. The media has in fact become the means by which authoritarian disinformation is disseminated. Hence the pejoration  of the term itself reflects a conspiracy to control public opinion, threatening the curious with stigmatization.

CNu said...

Well, conspiracies undoubtedly exist, and there are a great many folk who theorize about the specific authors/agents/aims of those conspiracies.  Wikileaks did the most stellar job here-to-date in my humble opinion, of forcing a certain degree of transparency on some gummint conspiracies, but you see the insufferable costs associated with doing so - and at the end of the day - the conspirators closed ranks, none were held accountable, and the only persons who experienced any consequences, were those who shed light on the conspirators!

It is hard, hard, hard (speaking from hard-fought/hard-won personal experience) to get permission, align the formal/administrative, media, and political elements, that are necessary to the task of documenting, penetrating, and exposing a conspiracy of any consequence. It's almost a lost art, because it requires a huge amount of subject matter expertise, legal and audit expertise, and journalistic patience and diligence - that has mostly vanished from the contemporary scene.

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