Originally Posted by jay howard
What an interesting question! Let's look at the authors, and define their expertise based on 4 criteria, shall we?
1) # of papers published in peer reviewed, mainstream, high impact factor journals dealing with forensic analysis, composition of dust/ash, paint/pigment analysis, X-ray analysis, quantitative particle sizing, differential scanning calorimetry, automated particle analysis or thermite demolitions.
2) Dissertations or theses published to UMI database or listed as part of CV whose topics or methods were relevant to any of the above subjects.
3) Employment at a prestigious, well respected institute, company, academy, think tank or book club whose primary purpose is to research and conduct analyses in one of the above mentioned topics.
4) Membership in a professional society whose aim is to foster understanding of one/some/all of the above mentioned topics.
Now I'll list each author with 4 scores in each of the above categories, and I'll include myself in the list, for comparison.
1) Niels Harrit 1*,1,1,1
2) Jeffrey Farrer 1*,0,1,1
3) Steven Jones, 1,0,0,0
4) Kevin R. Ryan 0,0,0,0
5) Frank M. Legge 0,0,0,0
6) Daniel Farnsworth 0,0,0,0
7) Greg Roberts 0,0,0,0
8) James R Gourley 0,0,0,0
9) Bradley R Larsen 0,0,0,0
10) The Almond, 4,1,1,1
*I'm giving Farrer and Harrit a bonus credit for publishing extensively in fields not directly related to the above disciplines. Both have impressive publishing records in the areas of nano-technology and semiconductors/ceramics. Farrer especially is well published in Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD), a technique that would have been very useful given the subject matter in question, had it been used.
I think this exercise shows that most of the authors are operating wildly outside of their realm of expertise. The two most qualified scientists, despite being subject matter experts in areas unrelated to this particular paper, have never published or shown that they have researched the areas covered in the paper.
There were no statistical data presented which could be used to established the relevancy of the data.
Their methods were wrong. The conclusion is that they're incompetent.
Incorrect. It's the equivalent to saying to Jones et al, "You're all idiots, start over."
See above. My master's thesis was on quantitative analysis of cementitious materials using SEM-EDX. My dissertation is on quantitative automated particle analysis of fly ash, bottom ash, ground granulated blast furnace slag and other supplementary cementitious materials. I eat, breathe, sleep and poop X-ray analysis, hyperspectral imaging, image processing, multivariate statistics, and surface chemistry. For the last 10 years, I've been doing nothing but XRF, XRD, EPMA, SEM, ICP-MS, LA-ICPMS, Auger/X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy. I know way, way, way more about this stuff than all of the authors combined, and I'm far more handsome, stylish, clean shaven, good smelling, pleasant and humble than they are.
It is unfortunate that your summary of the argument misses so many of the salient points and inaccurately summarizes the exchange. Iron oxide particles do exist in nature as a common component of dust and ash and within the size range you have arbitrarily defined. Iron oxide particles were identified in a 1967 book on pigments as being as small as 100 nm and were identified as an ocher pigment. Presented with references refuting your claim, you countered that it is difficult to make "uniformly" sized iron oxide particles based on your vast experience as a professional paint and pigment manufacturer (oh wait...). It was pointed out that a protective, anti-corrosive coating was applied to every major structural element in the tower, and that the manufacturer noted the specific use of iron oxide as a colorant. That was where the debate ended.
This, too, misses many of the salient points of the previous debate. I went to the library in order to do research for a paper I'm working on. Having completed my more important tasks, I went over to the section on paints and pigments and selected, from among 100 or so texts, the 3 I thought would be easiest for you to find. All three texts confirmed the existence of iron oxide in the size range you identified and provided interesting (for me, at least) insight into the materials science of pigments, especially those comprised of iron oxide. It confirmed that uniformity in particle sizing is necessary for consistent colorization since the wavelength of the emitted light from the particles varies with their average diameter. Have you looked up the references yet? Or did you decide to shell out $600 for the McCrone Particle Atlas?
False. The contender material is the material applied to every major structural member in the twin towers. It's up to Jones et al to eliminate it from consideration.
Because particle sizing at the length scales of 100 nm is not trivial and scale bars applied to SEM images are an educated guess at best. I know this because I've been working with electron microscopes for the last 10 years. You don't know this because you haven't.
Nor the standards of any of the journals I've published in. My scientific standards were developed and tempered by participation in the scientific community. It's sad that Farrer and Harrit are so ready to fling their process and method to the wind in order to further their demented world views.
The more important question is, why are you ready to believe that which is irrelevant, invalid and statistically questionable?
Only if they think the particle sizing is important. They need to calibrate the bars and do an actual particle size analysis, with random sampling across a statistically relevant number of particles. They need to produce a histogram, determine the error budget and calculate the particle size distribution curve.
Unless, of course, Jones doesn't think the particle sizing is important. Then what? If it's not the smoking gun, what is?
The issues with the methodology make their data irrelevant. Irrelevant. Irrelevant. It is the author's job to establish relevancy. The data do not speak for themselves. This is the first thing you learn in graduate school when you start writing your thesis. We do not just throw a bunch of numbers in the air and say, "Make up your own mind!" The author establishes relevancy by means of appropriate experimental design, adherence to accepted methodology and the production of valid data from valid samples. Without that, the relevancy is not established.
This is where your reasoning gets squirrely. The question for all of these supposed "data" points is, "So what?" So what if the chips ignite at 430 C? Most carbonaceous material will ignite at approximately that temperature in an oxygen rich environment. So what if it "made" microspheres? Such microspheres are a very common component of dust and ash. So what if their wildly inaccurate XEDS analysis showed more aluminum? Who cares?
What do these supposedly irrefutable data prove about the collapse of the WTC towers? The DSC data prove that the material can't be thermite. So then what?
False choice fallacy. Also, repeating the same arguments over and over again is boring.