Does Rosie O’Donnell know the difference between a rivet and a bolt? Can she calculate weight bearing estimates for buildings, and does she know anything about metallurgy, construction, or even how to use a hammer? Before she opened her mouth, has she bothered to talk to anyone with first hand knowledge of such things, or merely find her “facts” on the internet?
We docs run into people with a little knowledge who refuse a life saving medicine because they “looked it up” and found a rare side effect. In the last fifteen years, we’ve seen hysteria about DPT then MMR then mercury in vaccines.

Do vaccines harm people? of course. But it’s a risk/benefit ratio. If a vaccine such as MMR harms one in 10 000 injections (mainly a high fever) and permanent damage in 1 out of 40 000, but the disease kills one out of 10000 and causes brain damage in 1 out of 1000, you chose the vaccine.

Alas, with the internet, we now see Nigerian Mullahs forbidding Polio vaccine thanks to a UK “expose” that said Polio vaccine caused HIV…leading to a couple hundred paralyzed kids. (the original polio vaccine in the 1960’s was made from Monkey kidneys, some of which had a virus associated with a rare cancer, not HIV. We knew about it then, but didn’t see problems. Back then most of us knew someone who wore a brace or was in a wheelchair from polio, so the small risk seemed just that: small. The vaccine is now made differently).

Often these rumors starts when a paranoid person “discovers” a small fact, then takes it out of context and builds up an elaborate theory about it. Often this type of person “feels” things are true, and trusts their feelings over those of us who studied a dozen years in the field.

That is why the US doesn’t need an untrained person like Rosy O’Donnell spouting her conspiracy theories on TV.

On the other hand, Popular Mechanics has a full report on the World Trade Center collapse, both on line and in book form. Presumably if they faked evidence, they’d get a couple hundred letters from engineers telling them in techincal detail why they were wrong, and if PM persisted, they’d literally lose their readership, who tend to be apolitical but well grounded in reality.
Their web page answers Rosie’s latest delusion: that a building that is burning from falling debris (and limited water and personnel to fight the fire) and structurally weakened by a nearby 100 story building collapsing will not collapse:

“[A] seismology report prepared at Columbia University provides a glimpse into how that damage [to the southwest corner of WTC7] was caused. The report notes that the collapses of the Twin Towers caused little ground instability, but nevertheless discharged a massive amount of energy—as much as 107 joules in the kinetic energy of dust and debris. Except for temperature, the effect was similar to the energy contained in the pyroclastic ash given off in volcanic eruptions. ‘Only a very small portion of the [gravitational energy associated with the collapse of each tower] was converted into seismic waves,’ the report states. ‘Most of the energy went into deformation of buildings and the formation of rubble and dust.’”

The report continues: “Most of the effects of those collapses on adjacent structures and people were related to the kinetic energy of falling debris and the pressure on buildings exerted by dust- and particle-laden air mobilized by falling debris.” From 300 hundred yards away—the distance from the North Tower to WTC7—that debris cloud devastated the base of World Trade Center 7. —Davin Coburn


Hmm. Wonder if Rosie knows what a joule is?

Nah, probably not.  

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. She writes about human rights at Makaipa Blogspot.

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