3The World Trade Center Did Not Collapse at "Free-Fall Speed"
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Because it occurred in the Internet era, the 9/11 World Trade Center attack is the one historical event that has generated more conspiracy theories than the Kennedy assassination. There are tons of equally crazy variations of the theory, but they all come down to the curious way the towers fell.
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"This is clearly a murder/suicide. The South Tower was jealous of the North Tower's hat."
Conspiracy theorists say the buildings fell at "free-fall speed," meaning that they didn't just slowly crumble away or tip over like you might expect, but that the whole damn things just fell down at once, like a house of cards. That, they say, proves that the towers were wired with explosives by the U.S. government. Why else would sturdy skyscrapers just collapse in a puff of smoke like that?
The Simple Misunderstanding:
When somebody tells you that the towers fell at "free-fall speed," they're more or less pulling that out of their ass. Or at least, they're referencing some other conspiracy theorists who pulled it out of their ass. They're not referencing any kind of scientific theory or measurement; they're just timing the fall as they watch YouTube videos and declaring that it looks different from how it plays out in their imagination. In other words, they don't actually know what they mean by "free fall" except that the buildings seem to be falling more quickly than they'd expect from the almost certainly zero controlled demolitions they've seen before.
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Structural engineering is probably one of those "gut" things anyway.
Most of the video of the actual collapse is filmed in Cloverfield-style shaky-cam, but if you watch any of the still-camera footage, you can debunk the free-fall claim simply from the fact that there's debris coming off the tower that's falling faster than the tower is. We've known that objects free fall at the same speed ever since Galileo dropped some balls off the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so that more or less puts the kibosh on the whole free-fall business.
Part of the problem is that the Twin Towers were basically big, featureless rectangles that made it look like the whole thing was falling at once. Conspiracy theorists like Rosie O'Donnell like to rattle off statistics like how the towers fell in nine seconds, which just happens to be free-fall speed. But nine seconds is more likely the amount of time that Rosie put into researching the issue, because if she'd actually timed the collapse, she would have found that the towers took about 15 and 22 seconds to collapse, well short of free-fall speed. But then, that's why very few engineering graduates cite Rosie O'Donnell as a source.
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She is, however, considered a reputable expert on the Crimean War.
As for why the buildings collapsed at all, that has to do with the way they were designed and their resulting inability to stand up to the horrific fires caused by the crashes. As for why the buildings weren't designed to withstand this kind of attack, it's because the world can only do so much to protect you from unthinkable horrors, and nothing will change that.
2Kurt Cobain's Suicide Was Not That Mysterious
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Every celebrity who dies before their time winds up with a conspiracy theory surrounding their death, because that's how we avoid having to admit to ourselves that we're mortal and people just die sometimes. The most famous theory, besides the one about how Elvis is alive and well and working at a gas station somewhere, is the theory that Kurt Cobain was actually murdered -- possibly by his wife, Courtney Love.
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The famed teetotaller Christian rock star.
Conspiracy theorists argue first of all that Cobain's suicide note looks partially forged -- the bits at the end, where he breaks his rambling diatribe about nothing to actually make clear that this is a suicide note, look like they're in different handwriting:
And then there's the fact that he was high on heroin when he pulled the trigger. Really high -- three times a fatal dose, according to authorities. So they're asking us to believe that Cobain, a man who was already dead three times over, somehow committed suicide and killed himself again? Bullshit -- she murdered him and put the gun in his hands.
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With Kurt out of the way, Courtney stood to inherit a sweater collection worth dozens of dollars.
The Simple Misunderstanding:
First of all, despite the "three times the lethal amount" number that gets thrown around, judging how much heroin somebody pumped into himself at the time of death isn't an exact science. Interpreting that data requires experts to correct for the user's addiction history, because heroin addicts build tolerance fast. And regular users retain some drug byproducts in their system, so the test might also be picking up some of last night's binge as well. So was Cobain using often enough to skew the results? Actually, Cobain's tolerance to the drug was so insanely high that the amount he had in his system was probably a pretty standard nightcap for him. Kurt Cobain was really, really good at heroin, is what we're saying.
As for the note, forensic experts looked at that already because they're kind of paid to make sure murders don't get written off as fake suicides, and what they found was, well ... Kurt wrote it.
It's true that the last part of the note looks like it was written by a 5-year-old, and Courtney Love does sort of fit that description. But then, it would also make sense if it had been written by Cobain as he was deteriorating from, for example, some kind of substance he was putting into his body. We'll let you figure out what that might have been.