Thursday, August 30, 2007

CRUCIAL VIDEO : Dr. Steven Jones at 'Rebuilding America's Senses'

Here's another 9/11 video, but not just another 9/11 video, if you get my drift. It's Dr. Steven Jones, a physics professor formerly of BYU, discussing the results of his recent experiments regarding the destruction of the World Trade Center in a presentation so good, it easily overcomes some unfortunate production.

The audio gets wonky from time to time (but never for very long), and there are many occasions where I wanted to see what was being projected on the screen rather than Dr. Jones standing there speaking. But these are minor quibbles, and the negatives are vastly outweighed by the positive aspects of this video.

When I say the performance is good, I don't mean it's polished or professional -- quite the contrary. It's so down-to-earth, it's so clearly real -- I can't help thinking Steven Jones must have been a great professor.

He does all the wrong things right, in my view. He interrupts himself, he interjects funny little asides, he's got a lovely modest self-deprecating sense of humor, and it's clearly not forced or rehearsed -- the sincerity is just so obvious. He reminds me very strongly of the best teachers I ever knew, and the sort of teacher I stove to become, back in the days when I used slate to grind chalk into powder for my daily bread.

There's no flash here, no glitz; it's all straight from the heart. But it's not all heart; there's a very sharp mind at work here, too! The combination is fabulous, and you can see it from the opening moments of this video, where they're fumbling with the microphone and Steven Jones says "You might want to turn this up. I'm not Alex!"

You can hear Alex Jones laugh, as well as everyone else in the room. It's just one of many funny moments; I also loved his remark about his critics: "They call themselves debunkers!"

But this is not about humor, because what's really remarkable here is the content. Steven Jones is a real scientist; a bright and very curious man who knows how to design experiments that either confirm or refute particular hypotheses. He understands that if you want to learn, "it's helpful to do experiments."

And in this video he presents the results of a couple of his recent experiments -- or more accurately, a couple of series of experiments.

In the first series, he was trying to figure out what the orange molten metal was that was seen flowing out of the towers just before they collapsed. The official narrative says it was molten aluminum. Dr. Jones wondered if it would be possible to heat aluminum so hot that it would glow orange.

This is a perfect illustration of the scientific method at work. Dr. Jones was thinking, "If we can make aluminum glow orange then the official story is tenable on this point; otherwise not." And it was a well-designed experiment, because no matter what happened, he was guaranteed to learn something.

That's the whole point. You go in with an open mind, with all possibilities on the table, so to speak, and then you rule various possibilities either in or out, depending on what happens when you run the experiments. This is the way science works. Or at least this is the way science is supposed to work.

The second series of experiments was a bit more technical and therefore harder to explain, but it involved the small heavy metal spheres that were found in the dust that came from the towers. Dr. Jones devised a simple, elegant way to separate the metal from the rest of the dust, and he took some of that metal to be analyzed. He was trying to answer questions like: "What is this metal? Is it structural steel? Is it aluminum? Is it something else? Can we make something similar in the lab? Can we make something identical?"

And again he designed a series of very simple experiments to answer the questions. I'm not gonna give you all the answers; for that you'll have to watch the video. But as I've been saying, I think it will be time well spent.

So, without further ado, here's Dr. Steven Jones, speaking in April of this year, from the "Rebuilding America's Senses" conference held at the University of Texas at Austin: