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Speed of Fall: The Towers' Tops Fell Virtually Unimpeded The time it took the Towers to fall may be one of the most important pieces of evidence in determining their mode of destruction.
It is widely accepted that both Towers completely fell (nearly everything but the dust reached the ground) in around ten seconds. This estimate appears to be based mainly on seismic data. However, video evidence of the North Tower collapse suggests that it took close to 15 seconds for the destruction to reach the ground. Establishing a precise time of duration for each fall may not be possible, but there are measurements that can be made. Video records show that each Tower's top began its fall precipitously, and show the falling tops for a few seconds before they disappeared into the exploding dust clouds. It is also possible to track other features of the waves of destruction that traveled down each Tower. In both collapses dust clouds, exhibiting the behavior of pyroclastic flows associated with volcanoes, rapidly grew as they fell. 1 Each cloud consumed its Tower's top in a few seconds, then continued to descend, remaining centered around the Tower's axis. Each cloud had a fairly well-defined top and bottom, whose descent can be timed using video records.
Despite the availability of detailed studies of collapse times based on the compositing of video and photographic evidence, and in-depth analysis of the seismic records, many commentors have incorrectly treated the durations of the largest seismic signals as synonymous with total collapse times. Statements that the Towers fell in eight and ten seconds have been repeated by both proponents and critics of the official explanation. (911Research.com)
Debate on energy, climate bill to begin next week -- At a summit on energy and climate policy at MIT, Obama administration leaders John Holdren and Carol Browner make the case for clean energy investments. Congressional hearings will begin next Tuesday on an energy and climate bill that backers say will spur innovation in clean energy technologies and use the marketplace to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions.
One of the bill's sponsors, Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Edward Markey, hosted a forum on clean energy policy and climate change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Monday where he announced the planned hearings.
Two influential figures in the Obama administration--Carol Browner, assistant to the president for energy and climate change, and John Holdren, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy--also delivered speeches at the event, arguing for a sustained commitment to green technologies for economic and environmental reasons. - Large-scale geoengineering projects designed to cool the Earth could "conceivably" be done, John Holdren said, repeating an assertion he first made last week. (CNet News)
Pot, Cigarette Smoke Wreaks Havoc on Lungs People who smoke cigarettes and marijuana increase their risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease almost threefold, but smoking pot alone doesn’t seem to increase the risk of the deadly lung condition, researchers report (Health.com)
Does Having Children Make You Unhappy? Using data sets from Europe and America, numerous scholars have found some evidence that, on aggregate, parents often report statistically significantly lower levels of happiness, life satisfaction, marital satisfaction and mental well-being compared with non-parents. (New York Times)
Extremist Web Sites Are Using U.S. Hosts: Ease and Anonymity Draw Taliban, al-Qaeda On March 25, a Taliban Web site claiming to be the voice of the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" boasted of a deadly new attack on coalition forces in that country. Four soldiers were killed in an ambush, the site claimed, and the "mujahideen took the weapons and ammunition as booty."
Most remarkable about the message was how it was delivered. The words were the Taliban's, but they were flashed around the globe by an American-owned firm located in a leafy corner of downtown Houston.
The Texas company, a Web-hosting outfit called ThePlanet, says it simply rented cyberspace to the group and had no clue about its Taliban connections. For more than a year, the militant group used the site to rally its followers and keep a running tally of suicide bombings, rocket attacks and raids against U.S. and allied troops. The cost of the service: roughly $70 a month, payable by credit card. (Washington Post)
H.R. 875, Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 Should the measure in its current form become law, "food establishments", which to quote Patrick at Popehat "means anyone selling or storing food of any type for transmission to third parties via the act of commerce", will have to register with a new federal regulatory agency, submit to federal inspections, and, perhaps most significant, keep "copious records of sales and shipment by lot and label". Penalties for infractions will be very, very steep. (Overlawyered)
Obama looks at climate engineering Holdren, a 65-year-old physicist, is far from alone in taking geoengineering more seriously. The National Academy of Science is making climate tinkering the subject of its first workshop in its new multidiscipline climate challenges program. The British parliament has also discussed the idea. - But Holdren noted that shooting particles into the air—making an artificial volcano as one Nobel laureate has suggested—could have grave side effects and would not completely solve all the problems from soaring greenhouse gas emissions. So such actions could not be taken lightly, he said. (Associated Press)
Poplawski's Web postings warned of 'enemies' Richard Poplawski posted dozens of racist and anti-Semitic messages on a far-right Web site over a span of 15 months, decrying race-mixing, sharing his thoughts on the best weapons and predicting chaos as the economy collapsed at the hands of "Zionist occupation," investigators said (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
China's Yuan Ambitions: Currency swap agreements are part of a larger plan to extend the Chinese currency's role in global trade. China is playing a growing role in discussions over solutions to current economic problems. Much of the talk has focused on money -- whether Premier Wen Jiabao's concerns about the value of China's U.S. treasury investments, or the People's Bank of China's paper floating the idea of a de-dollarized international monetary system. Up to now, one limit to China's ability to contribute to global monetary reform has been its own currency policy, particularly the fact that the yuan is not convertible. However, now there are tentative signs that's starting to change.
Beijing has signed currency swap agreements with six central banks: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Belarus and most recently Argentina. These swaps permit those central banks to sell yuan to local importers in those countries who want to buy Chinese goods. This is particularly useful for importers struggling to obtain trade finance as a result of the financial crisis. As such, it's consistent with China's desire to participate in the Group of 20's efforts to support trade financing.
China has long wanted its currency to play a more important role in the global financial system. These swap arrangements come in the context of that broader policy aim. The broader policy goal also has a more practical function in reducing currency exposure and transaction costs for Chinese exporters. The rise in the yuan's value relative to the dollar in early 2008 was a reason why some Chinese exporters went bankrupt. The ability to settle trade in yuan would reduce this risk in the future. (Wall Street Journal)
ISPs to record all emails and calls -- Recorded delivery: New data retention law Internet service providers are to keep records of emails and online phone calls under controversial new government regulations that come into force today.
ISPs will be legally obliged to store details of emails and internet telephony for 12 months as a potential tool to aid criminal investigations. Although the content of emails and calls will not be held, ISPs will be asked to record the date, time, duration and recipients of online communications.
The new regulations are contained in an EC directive on data retention that already applies to telecoms providers and is now being extended to ISPs.
The directive was conceived as a response to the London bombings of July 2005, following which the Council of the European Union highlighted "the need to adopt common measures on the retention of telecommunications data". (London Guardian)
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