Saturday, December 1, 2012

Taylor Contra Power

Science blogger Myles Power has recently uploaded a series of videos to YouTube documenting his interaction with several members of the 9/11 Truth Movement at Ground Zero for the 11-year anniversary.[1] He claims in these videos that he “debunks” several points made by the Movement. Here I will address his arguments and show why they fall well short of debunking the Movement’s case for the WTC being destroyed with controlled demolition.

WTC buildings built to withstand airplane strikes
The first issue Mr. Power addresses is the fact that the Towers were originally built to withstand airplane strikes. However, he disputes the specifics of this issue, arguing that the circumstances on 9/11 were far more severe than what was expected by the original designers. Specifically, he claims that the Chief WTC engineer Leslie Robertson only designed the Towers to take the impact from a Boeing 707, which would be flying at only 180 mph, and low on fuel. Since the planes that hit the Towers were Boeing 767s, travelling much faster and contained more fuel, he argues it’s not surprising the Towers collapsed. But his points are all shown to be either false or misleading.
1.      Leslie Robertson, the Chief WTC engineer. It first needs to be pointed out that Leslie Robertson was not the head engineer for the Towers. John Skilling was clearly the lead engineer on the project, while Robertson was his subordinate.[2]

2.      Speed of the aircraft. That being the case, records show that calculations carried out by John Skilling and his team indicated that the Towers were actually built to withstand the impact of a 707 flying at its cruising speed of 600 mph.[3] The planes that hit the Towers were only travelling at approximately 440 and 540 mph, respectively.[4]

3.      Fuel load. Furthermore, John Skilling indicated that he anticipated the fuel load for a plane that might crash into the buildings, saying that:
We looked at every possible thing we could think of that could happen to the buildings, even to the extent of an airplane hitting the side… Our analysis indicated the biggest problem would be the fact that all the fuel (from the airplane) would dump into the building. There would be a horrendous fire. A lot of people would be killed. [But] the building structure would still be there.[5]

And of course this makes perfect sense when one considers the circumstances. Power argues that only planes low on fuel would have been considered by the designers because they would have only anticipated planes seeking to land at an airport. But as correctly points out, “if you take into consideration planes that are landing at an airport, then you must consider planes that are taking off, and such planes are fully laden with fuel.”[6]

4.      Wingspan. Power also claims that because the wingspan of a 767 is longer than that of a 707, the planes that hit the Towers would have done more damage. However, it can be argued that the wings from a 707 would actually cause more damage than a 767’s wings. A 707 has four engines—two on each wing—compared with a 767, which only has two engines—one on each wing. The engines are without a doubt the strongest part of an airplane. Wings with two engines each rather than one each would undoubtedly cause more damage. The fact of the matter is that the planes that hit the Towers were well within the design parameters expected by the original designers.[7]

The fires at the WTC

Mr. Power then argues that the fires in the Towers would have been hot enough to heat the steel to the point of failure, causing them to collapse. He also explains that dark smoke is not an indication that the fires were cool or oxygen starved. While I agree with his points regarding the color of the smoke, there are several other features of the fires that indicates they were not particularly severe.[8] The greatest piece of evidence that the fires were not severe enough to cause collapse is the simple fact that the official investigators, NIST, have no evidence of high temperatures in the buildings in the first place.[9]

Inward bowing

From this point we get a discussion of the inward bowing seen happening in the videos of the Towers. Mr. Power parrots the explanations provided by NIST; that the fires in the buildings caused the floor trusses to sag downward, causing the exterior columns to bow inward and eventually breaking, initiating the collapse. The inward bowing of the Towers perimeter columns has been a subject of much debate regarding the controlled demolition of the Towers. As we have already established, NIST has no evidence of high temperatures in the buildings in the first place, and this sort of phenomenon has never caused the total collapse of a steel-framed high-rise before.[10] All NIST has is evidence that the columns bowed inward, but they have no evidence that fire alone is what caused it. Though Mr. Power asserts that controlled demolition cannot cause this event either, those in the Movement have proposed ways it can be done.[11] As noted by mechanical engineer Tony Szamboti:

It is instructive that the first visible signs of failure on the North Tower are when the antenna mast moves downward by ten to twelve feet before the perimeter roof line moves. This is indicative of the central core suddenly and completely failing first. If you haven’t seen this watch it frame by frame at the link below.

These frames don’t show slow creep, they show sudden failure of the central core itself. They certainly don’t show the perimeter walls failing first. If the central core failed first it would cause the floor trusses, not to sag, but to follow them downward. In this situation the other end of the floor trusses would apply a tremendous force and bending moment to the perimeter wall columns, causing them to bow inwardly and ultimately to fail. Some of the NIST photos of WTC1, showing inwardly bowed perimeter columns, are frozen frames taken from video. In these photos the roof of the building and antenna mast are not shown. It would be interesting to see these videos, without cropping of the roofline and antenna mast, to determine if the bowing of the perimeter columns occurs after the antenna mast starts moving downward.[12]

The inward bowing of the Towers’ columns in no way disproves the notion that they were destroyed through controlled demolition.[13]

Free-fall speed

The next issue Mr. Power discusses is the fall rates of the Towers. He explains that the Towers did not collapse at free-fall rate, noting that a) the collapses took longer than 10 seconds; b) parts of the cores were still standing after the collapses; and c) the debris falling outside the footprint of each building fell faster than the actual structure.

a)      Here I actually agree with Mr. Power, as more accurate measurements indicate that the Towers collapsed in approximately 15 seconds in either case.[14] While the Towers clearly did not collapse at free-fall, this is the case for most controlled demolitions as well. It has been established that the fall times for the Towers is consistent with the fall times of other controlled demolitions, and had the buildings really collapsed through natural causes, their collapses should have taken much longer.[15]

b)      Although parts of the cores of each Tower were standing after the collapses, analyses done by mechanical engineer Gordon Ross demonstrate that the cores were attacked first in the collapses, and that critical sections of them collapsed along with the rest of the structures.[16]

c)      It’s true that the debris fell faster than the actual structure. However, close inspection of the videos show that the debris actually falls at around the same rate as the wave of ejections seen travelling down the faces of each building.[17]

Mr. Power also questions why truthers count the full height of the Towers when timing the collapses instead of counting only where the collapses started at the plane-impact areas. The reason for counting the full height of each building is rather simple. The videos show that the lower sections of the Towers do not even begin to start collapsing until the upper sections are completely destroyed.


Basement/lobby explosions

The last subject of discussed in part 1 Mr. Power’s video series is one of the most debated topics of the demolition issue; the explosions reported in the basement and lobby of WTC1. My personal beliefs regarding the basement and lobby explosions are somewhat agnostic. As I have explained in another article I’ve written on this topic:

Although viewpoints differ in the 9/11 Truth movement regarding the cause of these explosions, some features of the lobby damage indicate that they were not due to a fireball explosion from the jet fuel. For example, the white marble walls show no signs of being exposed to fire, and the plants next to the blown out windows show no signs of burning either.

And at least one explosives expert has stated that he does not believe the damage was caused by the jet fuel traveling down the elevator shafts, based on the appearance of the lobby. Whether or not the lobby damage is indicative of explosives, however, is essentially irrelevant to the discussion of the Towers’ demolitions, as the collapse sequence started above the plane impact zone, not at the lower levels. The lobby damage is not necessary to prove the Twin Towers were destroyed by controlled demolition…[18]

Thermite and Nanothermite

The second video in Mr. Power series discusses the issue of thermite and nanothermite being used to demolish the WTC buildings. Like other debunkers, Mr. Power believes not only was nanothermite not used to demolish the Towers, but that it can’t be used in a demolition anyway. We will discuss this latter point later on. For now, we’ll examine his issues regarding the study carried out by Dr. Steven Jones et al documenting that unreacted nanothermite was found in the WTC dust.[19]


For some reason, Mr. Power seems to have a problem with how much detail Dr. Jones et al discussed in their paper regarding how the dust samples were collected. He apparentl finds it all unnecessary. The reason for the large amount of back-story was obviously done to ensure that they established a clear chain of custody. This makes perfect sense, and shows that these scientists were indeed practicing careful scientific research when collecting the dust. This is also why the fifth sample was not included in their study, since they could not give the original owner’s name. Had they included this sample in their study, debunkers would likely have cried foul, demanding to know who this person is. Debunkers have often criticized members of the Movement for failing to provide adequate details of their work. Now Mr. Power seems to have a problem with there being too much detail. Is there no way to make debunkers happy?

Thermite components

Mr. Power is also unimpressed with the findings of the paper due to the fact that the components of thermite are very common, and could have simply come from prosaic sources in the buildings. But other members of the Movement have explained why this argument is complete nonsense. As explained by mechanical engineer Gordon Ross:

[I]f I leave margarine, flour, sugar and fruit in a cupboard, when I next open the cupboard I will not find a fruit crumble. Some mechanism is required to convert the ingredients. Similarly, if I take these same ingredients, set them alight and throw them out the window, I still will not get my fruit crumble. The mechanism must have some order.[20]

Similarly, as Jim Hoffman explains in more technical detail:

Although these elements -- aluminum, iron, oxygen, and silicon -- were all abundant in building materials used in the Twin Towers, it is not possible that such materials milled themselves into fine powder and assembled themselves into a chemically optimized aluminothermic composite as a by-product of the destruction of the Twin Towers.[21]

Simply put, these elements did not just randomly assemble themselves into a high-tech incendiary through a building fire and collapse.


Like so many other debunkers, Mr. Power then calls into question the validity of the peer-review process the paper went through at the Bentham Open Chemical Physics Journal. In order to discredit the paper’s peer-review process, Mr. Power cites the fact that fake science papers were submitted to Bentham and were ultimately accepted for publication. He feels this is sufficient grounds to call the journal standards into question. However, this incident in no way demonstrates that Bentham does not practice sound peer-review for their journals. As explained by Erik Larson:

[It] has not [been] proven that even the single journal that has been shown to have accepted a hoax paper is a “vanity publication” where ANYONE can publish; so far a single instance of a failure to conduct a proper peer-review has been documented. Perhaps there are other incidents, and perhaps NONE of the papers published were legitimately peer-reviewed, but the experiment conducted by Scholarly Kitchen does not document that, and the authors don’t claim it does. In addition, the problem has only been documented at a SINGLE journal among the hundreds published by Bentham- as Scholarly Kitchen notes, another Bentham journal rejected the hoax paper for publication. They say this incident only proves the peer-reviewed process is applied inconsistently.[22]

Mr. Power also notes (again, like many other debunkers) that the editor at Bentham disputed the paper and quit over it since it apparently was published without her permission. However, a closer look at this incident reveals far more. The editor, Marie-Paule Pileni, claimed to have resigned because she was not told about the paper. But, she also did not present any scientific criticisms of the paper, claiming that the topic of it lied outside here area of expertise. However, this is patently untrue, as demonstrated by Dr. Niels Harrit:

Her List of Publications reveals that Professor Pileni has published hundreds of articles in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology. She is, in fact, recognized as one of the leaders in the field. Her statement about her “major advanced research” points out that, already by 2003, she was “the 25th highest cited scientist on nanotechnology” ( Since the late 1980s, moreover, she has served as a consultant for the French Army and other military institutions. From 1990 to 1994, for example, she served as a consultant for the Societe Nationale des Poudres et Explosifs (National Society for Powders and Explosives). She could, therefore, have easily read our paper, and she surely did. But by denying that she had read it, she avoided the question that would have inevitably been put to her: “What do you think of it?”[23]

Because her claims about not being qualified to review the paper are evidently untrue, her story ultimately does not add up. It’s obvious that neither of these points diminish the validity of the journal’s peer-review process,[24] and only serve to cast doubt rather than to address the science discussed in the paper. As Dr. Steven Jones explains:

This paper was thoroughly peer-reviewed with several pages of tough comments that required of our team MONTHS of additional experiments and studies. It was the toughest peer-review I’ve ever had, including THREE papers for which I was first author in NATURE. (Please note that Prof. Harrit is first author on this paper.) We sought an established journal that would allow us a LONG paper (this paper is 25 pages long) with MANY COLOR IMAGES AND GRAPHS. Such a scientific journal is not easy to find. Page charges are common for scientific journals these days, and are typically paid by the University of the first or second author (as is the case with this paper) or by an external grant.[25]

Dr. James Millette

We then get a discussion of Dr. James Millette’s study of the WTC dust, and how his study came to opposite conclusions to Dr. Jones’ et al. Millette’s study ultimately determined the material found was likely paint from the Towers. However, a recent article posted by my colleague John-Michael Talboo shows many flaws in Millette;s study, and that further research needs to be done.[26] His article quotes Dr. Jones as saying in response to Millett:

James Millette did NOT do DSC analyses at all for his report MVA9119. What a shame, really...
When Dr Farrer burned epoxy paint in the DSC, it gave a very broad thermal trace, NOT at all like the spiked exothermic DSC peak in our Fig 19. This is one of the many tests he did to check things.
Also, we checked the electrical resistivity of several paints – consistently orders of magnitude higher than that of the red material. We reported the resistivity of the red material in our paper, page 27 in the Journal. Millette did not report any electrical resistivity measurements. This measurement is rather easy to do so I was surprised when he failed to do this straightforward test. There is a lot of red material of various types in the WTC dust, so one must be careful to make sure it is the same as what we studied, and not some other material.[27]
We also note with puzzlement Mr. Power's claim that the red/grey chips are not explosive. He argues that burning similar material will cause the kind of bright flash seen in the ignitions of these chips.[28] But this is demonstrably false, as paint chips would not react this way. John-Michael notes in his article:

The original paper also reports that paint samples as well as the red chips were heated with an oxy-acetylene torch and that the paint samples "immediately reduced to fragile ashes," but "this was not the case, however, with any of the red/gray chips from the World Trade Center dust."[29]

Millette’s paper far from debunks the findings of the Active Thermitic Material paper. But even if that were the case, the evidence of demolition for the Twin Towers and Building 7 would still be substantial, as well as other non-demolition issues.[30]

Core columns again

In Mr. Power's third video in his series, he begins by discussing the placement of the explosives inside the buildings. I agree with his assertion that the explosives would not be placed all throughout the cores, since large portions of the cores remained standing after the collapses. But as we previously discussed, the core evidently was attacked by explosives in the demolition, and it was only the 24 outer core columns that were taken down in the demolition. This fact greatly contradicts the idea that the Towers were destroyed by being crushed by the upper sections. As explained by Tony Szamboti:

The fact that 50 to 60 story high portions of the central core remain standing for several seconds, in the collapses of both twin towers, does pour cold water on the crush down (pile driver) theory of Bazant and the NIST. What many don’t know is that it was only the 23 inner core columns which remained standing, and none of the significantly larger outer 24 core columns. This was brought to light by Muhammad Columbo in 2007 and enabled mechanical engineer Gordon Ross… to be the first to fully dissect just how the towers were demolished. The reality is that the 24 outer core columns and the corners of the perimeters were taken out to effect the demolitions of the twin towers.[31]

The fact of the matter is that the Towers could very well have been accessed to place explosives in them, and it could have been done secretly.[32]

Explosives surviving the plane impacts

Mr. Power briefly questions how the explosives placed in the Towers could possibly have survived the plane impacts. However, I have already written on this topic extensively and shown that—using the right kind of explosives and placing them in just the right way—they could indeed have survived the planes impacts and ensuing fires.[33]

Molten aluminum

Next, Mr. Powers addresses the issue of the molten metal seen flowing out of the South Tower shortly before its collapse. Many in the Movement have cited this as direct evidence of thermite being placed in the Tower. However, Mr. Power argues that this material is actually molten aluminum, and that molten aluminum can glow bright orange, rather than just silver as others have asserted. Again, this is an issue I have already addressed extensively in my other writings. I as explained in one of my articles:

Some still may argue that the material was molten aluminum and that it was heated to high enough temperatures to get it to glow that brightly. Below is a chart showing temperature-dependent colors of metals. At about 980ºC (1800ºF), most metals begin to glow “light orange.” PM asserts throughout the book that this is how hot the fires could have been in the Towers. However, we previously noted that NIST has no evidence that the fires did reach these temperatures in the buildings. However, even if we accept that the fires did reach those temperature levels, the material still could not have been aluminum because of how long it was heated. As explained by physicist Jerry Lobdill:

The problem with concluding that the liquid flowing from the tower’s 82nd floor could have been aluminum… is that the liquid in the tower was not confined in a container so that more heat could be applied to raise the temperature of the liquid above its melting point. Instead, as soon as the metal liquefied it flowed away from the heat source under the force of gravity. Therefore, the color of the liquid flowing from the 82nd floor [indicated that it] was at approximately the melting point of the metal. And therefore, it was molten iron from steel.

Perhaps the most important reason why the material could not have been molten aluminum is that the material actually became white hot. Regardless of what kind of material was glowing, nobody has explained what would have heated it to over 2000ºF to get it to glow that brightly.

In addition, there is simply little chance the material could have been molten aluminum, based on the fact that the material glowed for as long as it did. As Dr. Jones summarizes:
[F]alling liquid aluminum, which due to low emissivity and high reflectivity appears silvery-gray in daylight conditions, after falling through air 1-2 meters, regardless of the temperature at which the poured-out aluminum left the vessel. Aluminum does incandesce (glow) like other metals, but faintly, so… falling liquid aluminum [in bright daylight] will appear silvery-gray.

While molten aluminum can be ruled out because of the reasons stated above, there is a known substance that easily could account for the observations: thermate, which is thermite with added sulfur. The thermite reaction produces temperatures in the white-hot range up to 4500°F, and the added sulfur lowers the melting point of iron significantly.[34]

Thermate debate

We then hear Mr. Power's arguments regarding controlled demolitions and how loud they are. He correctly points out that one of the reasons the Movement cites thermate and nanothermite being used is because they are quieter than normal explosives. But, he then shows a video of civil engineer Jon Cole cutting through steel with thermate, and notes that it makes a large bang. He also argues that thermate and nanothermite does not have the ability to demolish steel structures. In regards to his first point, though thermate can be loud when set off, it obviously is not as loud as the 130-140 decibels given off from regular explosives. And with nanothermite, it can indeed be formulated to be quiet as well.[35] His second point is rather odd, as he shows Jon Cole’s video, which demonstrates that thermate can be used to cut through  structural steel. And research shows that it has even been used in the demolition of large steel structures.[36] Mr. Power also makes mention of the fact that barium nitrate is a component of thermate, but none of it was found in the debris after 9/11. But this claim is somewhat misleading. Barium nitrate is only used in one very specific form of thermate known as thermate-TH3, which is the military patented form of thermate.[37] There are different varieties and formulations of thermite and thermate, so finding barium nitrate is not at all necessary. It certainly does not need to be found in nanothermite, as explained by Dr. Jones:

Thermate (sulfur plus thermite and possibly the form thermate-TH-3) was ALSO in evidence and probably intended to weaken critical steel members (e.g., residue/ material flowing with orange glow from the So. Tower just minutes before its collapse and the sulfidation of WTC steel reported in the FEMA report but ignored by NIST). Thermite incendiary without sulfur is not in evidence at the WTC to date. But sulfur is NOT needed for the function of explosive nanothermite and would not be expected to appear in the red/gray chips.[38]

Cut columns

Mr. Power next turns his attention to the cut core columns seen in some photographs of Ground Zero. Many in the Movement have cited these as evidence of the columns being cut by the explosives placed in the buildings. But Mr. Power disagrees, noting that these cuts could simply have been caused by the clean-up operations. I happen to agree with this assessment, but Gordon Ross has also examined photos of core columns in the debris, and notes that their appearance is consistent with explosives attacking them.[39] Finally Mr. Power asserts that the pieces of debris seen being ejected from the Towers was not steel sections, but rather aluminum cladding. However, videos show that indeed several multi-ton steel sections of the Towers were ejected from the buildings.[40]

[This review is incomplete, as Mr. Power plans on uploading one or more videos onto YouTube in the series. Relevant sections will be added to this review when the relevant videos are uploaded.]


[2] See: Jones v. Robertson A physicist and a structural engineer debate the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center, by Gregg Roberts, pg. 3
[3] See: City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center, by James Glanz and Eric Lipton, pg. 131
[4] Though Mr. Power says in his video that the plane speeds were 470 and 590 mph, the NIST report gives the speeds as approximately 443 and 542 mph, respectively. See: NCSTAR 1-2: Baseline Structural Performance and Aircraft Impact Damage Analysis of the World Trade Center Towers, by Fahim H. Sadek, pg. 1xxiii
[5] Quoted from: Twin Towers Engineered To Withstand Jet Collision
[7] For more information on this subject, see: Towers’ Design Parameters and FAQ #9: Were the Twin Towers Designed to Survive the Impact of the Airplanes? by AE911Truth
[9] See: Falsifiability and the NIST WTC Report: A Study in Theoretical Adequacy, by Anonymous and Dr. Frank Legge
[10] For example, Jim Hoffman notes that: “The idea that fires could have caused floors to sag is not unreasonable, since it has been observed in fire tests and in cases of severe fires in steel-framed buildings, such as the One Meridian Plaza fire. What is not reasonable is the degree of sagging NIST used in its computer models compared with the amounts its physical tests showed. Whereas the 35-foot floor model sagged only a few inches in the middle after two hours in a high-temperature furnace, NIST's computer model showed a sagging of 54 inches.” Quoted from: Review of ‘A New Standard For Deception: The NIST WTC Report’, by Jim Hoffman
[11] See: A Hypothetical Blasting Scenario A Plausible Theory Explaining the Controlled Demolition of the Twin Towers Using Aluminothermic Incendiaries and Explosives with Wireless Ignition Means, by Jim Hoffman
[12] Quoted from: The Sustainability of the Controlled Demolition Hypothesis for the destruction of the Twin Towers, by Tony Szamboti
[13] For more on the subject of the inward bowing issues, see: WTC Pre-Collapse Bowing Debunks 9/11 “Controlled Demolition” Theory? by John-Michael Talboo
[15] See: Collapse Time Calculations for WTC 1, by Dr. Kenneth Kuttler
[16] See: How the Towers were Demolished, by Gordon Ross
[18] Quoted from: Debunking the Real 9/11 Myths: Why Popular Mechanics Can’t Face up to Reality - Part 1, by Adam Taylor 
[19] See: Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe, by Dr. Niels Harrit et al.
[20] Quoted from: Gordon Ross is pretty sure he exists
[21] Quoted from: Thermitic Pyrotechnics in the WTC Made Simple, by Jim Hoffman
[22] Quoted from: Dr. Moffett Smears ‘Active Thermitic’ Paper by Association- Again, by Erik Larson
[23] Quoted from: Professor Pileni’s Resignation as Editor-in-Chief of the Open Chemical Physics Journal, by Dr. Niels Harrit
[24] For more information, the following video is recommended:
[25] Quoted from: What you need to know about “Peer-review”, by Dr. Steven Jones
[26] See: A 2009 Paper Claims to Have Found Explosive Material in Dust from the 9/11 Tragedy, by John-Michael Talboo and Ziggi Zugam
[27] Quoted from: Letter regarding red/gray chip analyses, by Dr. Steven Jones
[29] See reference 26
[30] See: What Does it Mean for the 9/11 Truth Movement if James R. Millette Proves Nano-thermite Wasn’t Used to Take down the WTC Towers on 9/11? by John-Michael Talboo
[32] See: Demolition Access to the WTC Towers, by Kevin Ryan
[33] See: FAQ #2: What about the planes that slammed into the Twin Towers? Wouldn’t they have disturbed the demolition devices? by Adam Taylor
[34] Quoted from: Debunking The Real 9/11 Myths: Why Popular Mechanics Can’t Face Up To Reality - Part 5: Nanothermite in the Towers, by Adam Taylor
[35] See: Magic, Mythology or Science? by Adam Taylor
[36] See: FAQ #8: What Is Nanothermite? Could It Have Been Used To Demolish The WTC Skyscrapers? by Adam Taylor
[38] Quoted from: Steven Jones and Frank Greening (and others) correspond - April-May, 2009, by Dr. Steven Jones
[40] See: