9/11, Steven Jones, and Me – Part 3
Don’t you just love egg nog? Me too.
For part 3, I would like to tell the story of what happened when I went to one of Professor Jones’ presentations at UVSC (Utah Valley State College) that was held on Wednesday, 1 Feb 2006, at 7:00 pm. UVSC is about a 15-minute drive from BYU. At the time of this presentation, I had already had email interaction with Professor Jones, as described in part 2.
I knew that there was going to be a question and answer period at the end of the presentation, so I typed up the best question I could think of: Why demolish WTC 7 when it was going to fall down on its own anyway? And then I provided the testimony of the firemen and the transit data, etc. that I covered in part 2. In preparation, I also printed up our entire email conversation and made notes as to questions I might ask him during his presentation.
I arrived and found that two of my friends were there. One was the guy I mentioned before who introduced me to Professor Jones’ work and the other was videotaping the presentation. You can probably find that presentation video online somewhere – I’m the one whose head explodes about 1 1/2 hours into it. ;-)
I sat down in the middle of the audience and they announced that the question and answer period would be at the end and that Professor Jones would not be taking any questions during the presentation. Oh, and the questions would be written and handed in, reviewed, and then given to Professor Jones. Cool – I already had mine typed up, so I handed it in and sat back to soak in the content of the presentation.
I was annoyed by the number of times “WTC 7 wasn’t even hit by a jet” and “no other steel high-rise has ever collapsed because of fire” were repeated, but I got over that. He brought more political and religious information into his presentation than he does in his paper. I’m ok with people having an opinion on political and religious issues, but when billed as “Professor Jones – physicist”, I expected more material that deals with his area of expertise.
I saw one slide that had the infamous photo of the “column cut at an angle” on it. Professor Jones said that it’s still under investigation but the message I got as he talked about it was that this was one of the core columns that was cut with thermite at an angle so that the building would come down. The people all around me were full of “ooh’s” and “aah’s” and were just giddy about how this was surely the smoking gun that would blow the cover off the official government story. I believe it was at this point that I figured out that I was probably in an audience of mostly “true believers” of government conspiracy theories.
Well, I had seen that diagonally cut column before but hadn’t really looked into it. Since then, I have. It turns out that excavation crews cut steel columns at a diagonal because the melting steel runs down, pre-heating the cut so that even though it’s a longer cut, it cuts faster. I then found this page that has other columns being cut at a diagonal by excavation personnel.
This is what bothers me so much about conspiracy theorist methods. They dig deep enough to find something that looks like it matches their beliefs but then they stop digging. Did they go so far as to ask an excavator if that would be a normal cut? Did they Google around to find the page that the photo in question originally came from?
So, I think it was scheduled to be a two-hour presentation with a lot of time for questions at the end. Professor Jones was going into detail about how the government went around telling people that the air at ground zero was safe to breathe when it really wasn’t – fair enough – put those people in jail. He seemed to be picking out whatever he could to sell the audience on the idea that we couldn’t trust the government and so there was one more reason to believe in a demolition theory. I thought this was going to be about physics.
He took up so much time talking about all of this other non-physics stuff that he only left a few minutes at the end for questions. There was a guy reading through the questions and handing them to Professor Jones. Mine was on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper and the rest were on quarter page sheets, so mine stood out. It contained details about the firemen testimony and so it was longer than the other questions, but it was still only about a quarter page of text.
I watched the guy reading through my question and handing Professor Jones other questions over and over again until they were out of time. It was a bit frustrating. So I went up afterward and got my printed question from “the question guy” and went up to Professor Jones and waited for him to get done talking to some people who were also asking questions.
It was finally my turn to talk to him. At this point, Professor Jones didn’t know who I was and that I had been conversing with him via email. This was the first time we had seen each other face to face. I told him about the various firemen testimonies of severe damage to WTC 7 and the transit data and how they had set up a collapse zone hours before it collapsed on its own. I read a lot of testimony to him. He said – no lie – “I don’t think there was that much damage.” What? I said that these were firemen standing at the base and inside of WTC 7 on that day telling us what they saw. I asked him on what basis did he think there wasn’t that much damage. We were being rushed out of the room at that point since others had reserved the room. I think my head exploded again in the car on the way home – I can’t remember for sure.
I didn’t hear from him for several months after that until about two months ago when he contacted me again asking if I had any other unresolved issues with his paper. It was a bit strange. I asked him a few questions about chain of custody and he replied with a partial chain of custody that didn’t include dates or names. I then asked him a few more questions and gave him new links to video and photos of the badly damaged south side of WTC 7. He didn’t respond. I sent it again. No response. I received delivery receipts for both emails and so I’m pretty sure he got them.
So, that was a strange story, eh? It left me puzzled about what was going on in his mind to so flatly reject relevant testimony about the condition of WTC 7. It does go against the demolition theory and he’s heavily invested in that theory being true but I don’t know if that’s what’s causing him to ignore this testimony. Hopefully, he’ll reply again and I’ll find out what’s going on.
In part 4, I will go through the current version of his entire paper and bring up any other unresolved issues I see. I’ll be posting that soon. See you then.
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