back to article Ten years after the Twin Towers: What's the Reg angle?

In one of the first stories The Reg posted following the attack on September 11, 2001, then-reporter Kieren McCarthy said the internet had faced its first real test as a communicator – and failed. "It seems that the internet has failed in its first truly hard test as a news disseminator. The best coverage is coming from the …


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  1. Yet Another Commentard

    News and Web2.0rhea

    "the internet still hasn't beaten TV for serving up breaking news, but it's at least an equal player now, with news organizations trawling Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and personal blogs to find out what is happening on the ground."

    Yes, that's right, why bother doing journalism when you can sit in an office and watch a hashtag? the Internet - allowing news Agencies (I'm looking at you, BBC) to report random opinions as fact since 2001...

    Even more bizarre is the way they put so much emphasis on Twitter "MP X Tweets..." when there is no need, why not just say "MP X says..." there is no need to invoke the Twitter source except to either advertise Twitter, or show how "down with the kids" you are. It's the same as asking cabbie 43455B his view on the riots, or 9/11, or taxes. It is not proper journalism. Forcing the relevance of Twitter was done quite oddly with the death of Bin Laden. News agencies gushed that the story was first broken by a Twitter user in Abbottabad. Not quite. He had no idea what was going on, he just wrote a line that said something like "that's a lot of helicopter noise, I hope it's not going to kick off". Do we now plan to report every tweet of a helicopter in Pakistan as being a World Breaking News exclusive (to all papers)?

    The we have nonsense like the BBC having "live feeds of big events" on its home page. It then goes to the trouble of saying that one of its own journalists has tweeted some inane thing. Why? If he is a BBC journalist can't he file copy at the BBC? Why does the BBC employ someone to post on a different website (goodbye any scoop) and then report that website?

    I think my point is that all this Web2.0 stuff has a place in news media, but on the whole it is "truthiness" not proper reporting.

    I'll get back to my Sunday now, I feel better for the irony of decrying random website postings via a random website posting.

    1. Asgard

      @"News and Web2.0rhea"

      I wish all news sources were reliable. I wish everything I heard was the truth, but unfortunately life isn't like that. Sadly not all humans are like that. Some lie to get their own way. Therefore we have to guard against the potential for lies and manipulation. Its a tiresome lesson but one everyone has to learn for their own protection. Everyone has to test what they are being told to see if it really is true or not.

      The issue of reliability of news sources is a very important one, but ironically its an important lesson long over due. Media was once held up far too much as an authoritative source of views on subjects. Yet whenever we hold any source as authoritative, we expose ourselves to the potential that what we think we are being told is the truth. This is how propaganda has been disseminated throughout the centuries. Its how people in high profile positions have been able to abuse their high profile to manipulate and bias public opinion very often for their own gain.

      So ironically the Internet's ability to expose the extent of unreliability of news sources is a big step forward for society.

      History is filled with examples of groups of society believing too much in what their high profile leaders tell them and it is still a massive problem today in every country. Even more importantly this need to test what we are being told applies to all forms of leaders in every aspect of society and thankfully the Internet is starting to help expose leaders of groups who lie.

      Yet one of the biggest problems we still face in society are the people who still follow their leaders unwilling to even believe their leaders could be lying to them. The worst lying leaders even teach their followers to look away from anyone who questions the intentions of these leaders. The leaders don't want their followers to see the truth. Fortunately the Internet is helping to expose these liars for what they really are.

      For example, leaders are very often Narcissistic people who are desperate to have power over others because they fear anyone ever having power over them ever again the way they suffered excessive control and abuse as a child. So these Narcissistic people seek to become leaders of groups of people by whipping up their followers to allow the leader to have more power to influence all around them. Plus the Narcissists who are also Histrionic enjoy and love being the centre of attention that their power gives them. These also Histrionic people love attention because they seek to make up for the lack of parental attention they suffered as a child, which leaves them forever craving being in the centre of attention. So we have two personality disorders that both give reasons for these people to lie to others, to give them what they want for their own gain. The people with these personality disorders crave power and attention. Sound familiar?!

      Now apply that to the behaviour of the terrorist leaders to see why they behave the way the do!. Its the very reason why we are all today remembering 911 with its incredibly horrific lesson that groups of people can be whipping up by their leaders to commit such horrific acts against other people. Don't forget leaders need a group to follow them to give the leader a feeling of power over people. So in the case of these terrorist leaders their rallying cry to get people to follow these leaders was to portray the American financial district as the centre of America power and these terrorist leaders wanted to destroy the symbol of that power. Look at the horrific lack of empathy these leaders showed driven ultimately by their endlessly desperate need to gain power themselves and through that need they were prepared to kill as many people as they could to gain their feeling of power over others.

      Look also at how many times leaders of groups of people have committed horrific acts of violence to maintain their position of power over others. Its the same pattern time and time again, their need for power over others at any cost no matter how many die in the process. A Narcissistic personality disorder is ultimately about their need to be seen as having power over others. Its why they have such a need to portray themselves in having such a grandiose superior way over others. Sound Familiar?!

      High profile people are able to use their high profile to lead and bias the views of large numbers of people and we have to question their intentions, but its still not happening enough. Too many people still want to believe too much of what others tell them.

      What makes it harder to see the truth is some of the liars in society are not so aggressive people. The aggressive ones are easier to see for what they are. But the passive ones are still just as capable of lying just the same for their need to feel power over others and attention from others. They just let their followers do their bidding whilst pretending to be above such behaviour themselves. For example, even now, there are still many followers of religious leaders who refuse to believe their leaders are capable of any form of mental and even physical abuse of any of their followers. Yet try telling the idea that religious leaders don't abuse their followers to the many thousands who have been abused by catholic church leaders. Try telling the families of the millions who have died in the name of religions throughout history. Try telling so many millions of poor in so many countries that their money is making their religious leaders rich whilst they suffer poverty. Ask yourself what the leaders get out of telling their followers what to do.

      Unfortunately the terrible horrors of the events of 911 illustrates all too well the importance that we all, in all societies around the world must learn to question all who seek to lead all groups of society. We must all bring an end to the lying manipulations of all leaders in all aspects of society and only collectively can we do that. So the Internet's ability to expose the extent of unreliability of news sources and the lying words of high profile people is a hugely important step forward for every society, that we all must defend from all who lead whilst seek to hide anything they and their groups do in society. The Internet finally provides us with a way to learn to build a better world for all of us.

      Then hopeful some good can finally come out of the terrible pain and horrors of the events of 911 as we all try to build a better world for all of us and all future generations.

  2. Ol'Peculier

    I remember hearing about the first plane when I was getting into my car, went back to the office to loo at the BBC, Guardian etc., totally knackered.

    Seem to remember one of them ended up dumping all graphics and just having a text only home page - Telegraph maybe?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re text-only home page

      My recollection is that (after an hour or two of failure) the BBC pretty much dumped their entire site in favour of a *static* HTML page. (Since that presumably behaves nicely with downstream web proxies, it is about as good as a text-only page.

      Sadly that was one lesson that wasn't learned and the world *didn't* wake up to the fact that dynamic HTML is overkill for 90% of web pages. The *home* pages of any serious news organisation ought to be static precisely so that they don't fall over when a big story breaks.

      1. Pigeon

        Re: Static pages

        I worked for Yahoo 10 years ago, and they had 12 home-page servers dedicated to delivering the static home pages. The engineers mandated it. I look at it now and despair. Obviously, the engineers do not run the show anymore.

  3. Annihilator

    Four years later, nothing changed

    I guess it remains to be (hopefully never) seen how we cope and where the best source for information is, but in terms of when the July 7th bombings happened in 2005, the Internet remained a poor source of information. I recall getting very frustrated with news sites and just finding a TV when in the London office.

    What has changed for the worse today now however, is TV's incessant guesswork and subsequent hauling in of "experts" and little done to retract them. If you recall, when the Norwegian mass murder happened back in July this year, the immediate suspicion was of an Al-Qaida attack, which quickly became fact, and quickly resulted in pundits (or experts as they were called) being dragged in to explain why Norway was a target. Within 24 hours it was clear it was actually the opposite, yet the same pundits were in with a brand new tact with no mention of their previous expertise.

    It seems we've now moved to a full 24-hour rolling news where in absence of facts, we've accepted poetic licence to elaborate on theories as fact until we're told differently.

    1. Tom 13

      Well there's one thing changed for the better already,

      even if you didn't recognize it: if this were 1970, you'd never have known the experts were wrong about their initial assumptions.

  4. Mickey Finn

    It Always takes two to tango

    Well done to the Reg for its continuing coverage of world events, along with its excellent regurgitation of all things IT.

    Horrific though it was, this event and others like it in Spain and the UK etc., are not without some sort of stimulus.

    The "International Community" has been interfering both militarily and commercially in Arab affairs for as long as I can remember, and deep into the past (Richard the Lionheart anyone?).

    Events such as this will always happen occasionally as long as others try to export "democracy", or otherwise interfere instead of engaging only in friendly trade and dialogue.

    1. Daniel B.


      About less than a week after 9/11, most of us got a chain mail stating all the "niceties" the US has done in the last 60-100 years, and the death toll from many of their interventions in other countries. It ended up saying "6000? That was cheap!" or something like that.

      Most Latin Americans, and keen historians will know that Sept. 11 has been an infamous date loooong before the WTC attack. It is the date of the (allegedly CIA-backed) Chilean coup that brought Pinochet to power. Some of the ha-ha-but-serious jokes actually mentioned that there was a good chance that Chileans would end up being the ones responsible for 9/11!

      Flames, 'coz that's how the Twin Towers went out, along with a lot of our liberties.

  5. James Woods

    Is el reg just jealous of the traffic other sites get?

    I guess im a conspiracy theorist for questioning how building 7 fell without being hit by anything.

    How the then mayor pulled his security detail out of one of the basements of the towers days before the attacks occurred.

    How immediately after the 9/11 "attacks" planes around the country were grounded while the elite still were flying out of the country.

    How bin ladens families assets were put off limits in nyc by gw bush. Sorry if I commit a crime and the police come knocking they aren't going to care what family of mines' doors get kicked in. They'd be lucky to have the doors fixed.

    The reg angle is jealously.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      What a peculiar reading.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Peculiar isn't the half of it - THAT, my friend, was British understatement at its finest.

      It's a bit terrible, really - this is the only 9/11 comment thread I've seen today which isn't entirely filled with hateful/enraged/partisan/racist/paranoid/all of the above screeds. In a survey of posts on cnn, abcnews, nbcnews, fox, and yahoo, they were all entirely devoid of anything but pure hatred. Hell, most were US citizens hating other US citizens. We've moved on from hating Muslims - now we hate each other, too!

      It's ironic to see those comments dangling angrily from sappy, feel-good stories of unity, strength, and forgiveness. It belies the reality behind the ceremonies, monuments, and interviews: it shows our weakness, our fear, our divisiveness, racism, rage, and arrogance.

      9/11 didn't bring us together, as the somber-but-not-TOO-somber news assert. It was the perfect excuse to be unreasonable, since the act itself was so unreasonable. You can't turn into a hyperpartisan ball of anger because someone knocked your coffee over, but 9/11 was good enough to justify almost anything - including, say, enraged, vein-popping fury at the enemy. And, of course 'the enemy' refers to the fifty percent of people in the US who are The Other Party.

      At this point, we have a situation where governing is essentially impossible - no longer a way of running the country, but rather a big arena in which the only goal is to ruin your opponent.

      We have racial and religious hatred normalized, we have invasive and useless security theater, and we have politicians who were willing to destroy the world economy for decades rather than discontinue tax loopholes for the super-rich. It seems, sometimes, like it's only a matter of time before the extreme right manages to actually tank the whole financial system in a fit of pique.

      Ten years later, what more could any terrorist leader ask for?

      Well, aside from not being paid a social visit by SEAL Team Six, anyway.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: The Other Party

        "And, of course 'the enemy' refers to the fifty percent of people in the US who are The Other Party."

        Here in the UK, we have other parties with non-negligible support, so hate-mongerers in either of the main parties have to put up with the fact that "the enemy" is *two-thirds* of the population. I don't know if it produces better government (both the US and UK seem to be equally badly run) but it does stop the nutters from claiming to be "the majority".

  6. Marco van de Voort
    Thumb Up


    I was at work at the time, so no television. We mostly survived on webbased teletext pages.

    While the main websites crashed down, a lot of webbased portals to teletext remained up, probably because they were lowbandwidth and static.

  7. Andus McCoatover

    Yeah, I remember watching it.

    Work colleague told me about the first attack on the north tower. We put the TV on in the dining room, just as the second plane slammed into the south tower.

    When I saw the videos of people jumping from the building, I went outside and puked.

    God bless America, indeed. Today, just remember them, and their familes. That's all the world has to do today. Easy, isn't it?

    1. Andus McCoatover

      I got downvoted?

      Maybe there are still nutters posting here. Sigh.

      Maybe, just maybe, if someone wants to vote, it should be made possible by login for one to see who voted. AC's shouldn't be allowed, natch. I know it goes against the principles of democracy, but....

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it me

    Or did the article gloss over all the technological intrusions foisted upon us in the name of security?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it me

      We tackle that here.

      1. Visible Otters

        Shirley you mean here:

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I think the Net was and is a blessing...

    Yes, if you're just going over several news sites hoping for some news then its not going to work out IMO. Sort off; sometimes different news agencies show a different angle on the news, this goes double when we're talking politics and the likes. In those cases I think the Internet to be wonderful.

    But lets not forget that in a majority of cases one news agency will basically copy the other, or they simply share the same news source and report those findings in a different manner. And sometimes, as has been clearly demonstrated on both El Reg and iirc Slashdot, sometimes the news can be fake or simply untrue. And then the reliability is showing.

    But speaking over the Net.. I think it has done very good things. Sure; some people (ab)use it for their own gain (its easier to follow an rss feed than it is to research stuff yourself) but that phenomena works both ways. During the (illegal) Iraq invasion (and the aftermath) the press reported many different stories. From the alleged tortured female US soldier (which turned out to be a lie) to rumors / stories about thousands of civilian casualties who resisted the invasion with rocks and stones, only to be met with direct gunfire from US troops (that's one way to bring 'freedom').

    Whats great about the Internet is that those stories nowadays also surface and cannot be kept secret. Sure; not everything gets international media attention, but the local media often knows damn well what's happening around them. A friend of mine lives in Egypt, I know him back from the IRC era now what... 20 years ago? Sometimes we talk news and politics too and it has always amazed and baffled me to learn that sometimes the local press knows the surrounding news much better. Or that the local press gives out a totally /different/ story than the one carried by the international media. Sometimes that was all there was to it, at another times it turned out that the local media was right and that the international media was being played (at least that's what it looked like to me).

    And that is the power of the Internet IMO. No, you don't turn to (IMO) dumb websites like facebook or twitter or whatever for this stuff. This isn't about trying to bring out stories hoping that many people will like it so you get lots of good "like" feedback. This is about sharing a mutual interest regarding certain events and being able to compare views, opinions and stories.

    And yes; even having access to websites carried by local media can sometimes be an eye opener.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My experience was a little different

    I was stuck at desk and had a tiny video open (on the Guardian site I think) listening to a US tv broadcast as I couldn't get to a tv. I happened to catch the second plane crashing into the 2nd tower live. Making this possible made me think it was the event where the internet came of age (although I agree I had to hunt around a bit to find a website that hadn't crashed due to overload).

    Like one of the other posters I am surprised by the lack of twitter filtering nowadays. Gossip and rumor-mongering is not news.

  11. Stewart Knight

    I remember

    The number of times El Reg poo-poo'd terriorist threats and attacks, I remember how the register "exposed" that terrorists couldn't mix chemicals in an aircraft toilet to make a bomb.

    I remember how many times our civil liberties were cast aside in the name of anti-terrorist legislation (according to the register); but most of all, I remember how the register has got it wrong. Wrong on the issues of civil liberties, wrong on the motives and techniques of terrorists and wrong on how we in the west should see potential threats.

    O.k., as a tech site, I can see how people who read the reg are amongst the most savvy about tech, but your scare mongering about tech and civil liberties, and washing over the clear and present danger of terrorist extremism worries me.

    Sure, not everything the goverment does is in our interests, BUT, nothing terrorists do is in anyone interests except their own. The sooner El Reg stops siding with the extremists, and becomes less anti-establisment the better.

    We all accept the failings of government, but more, we need to acknowledge the disgusting practices of Islam on our society and stop beating ourselves about how we could appease the violent minority.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I remember

      This is the article about airplane bombs.

      It pooh poohs supposed terrorist technologies, not terrorist threats. Let's remind everyone of the conclusion.


      It's a pity that our security rests in the hands of government officials who understand as little about terrorism as the Florida clowns who needed their informant to suggest attack scenarios, as the 21/7 London bombers who injured no one, as lunatic "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, as the Forest Gate nerve gas attackers who had no nerve gas, as the British nitwits who tried to acquire "red mercury," and as the recent binary liquid bomb attackers who had no binary liquid bombs.

      For some real terror, picture twenty guys who understand op-sec, who are patient, realistic, clever, and willing to die, and who know what can be accomplished with a modest stash of dimethylmercury.

      You won't hear about those fellows until it's too late. Our official protectors and deciders trumpet the fools they catch because they haven't got a handle on the people we should really be afraid of. They make policy based on foibles and follies, and Hollywood plots.

      Meanwhile, the real thing draws ever closer.


    2. Intractable Potsherd

      This article is drawing some very odd posts ...

      James Woods and Stewart Knight really seem to be a bit "tired and emotional".

      I see no signs of "clear and present danger" from anyone but my government. I *am* adversely affected every day by what government has done to "protect" me, whereas there is no significant chance of me being affected *at all* by terrorist activity. Yes, somebody might be one day, but sometimes numbers do matter - my moral calculus states that the infringement of an entire population's liberties over years(and I'm not even counting the "beneficiaries" of our military interventions here) is not worth even a few thousand deaths.

  12. jake Silver badge

    Missed in the article ...

    The fact that the twin towers were a major Internet hub. I had gear on top of both, and in the basements of both (and at Sun, on floors 25 and 26 ... all Sun employees got out safely). The entire Internet infrastructure rang like a bell for a couple days as the equipment (tried to) automatically figure out new routes.

    A couple dogs I had trained were involved in the search and rescue effort, but the authorities decided my techie skills were more important than my dog handling skills ... a couple dozen of us were awake for about a week, cat-napping occasionally, rebuilding the logical infrastructure manually. It wasn't "hackers" that hosed up TehIntraWebTubes[1], it was a bunch of major fiber and radio links, and their attendant equipment, suddenly going missing that caused the trouble.

    1. Tom 13
      Thumb Up

      Thanks for your work.

      I'm sure it wasn't easy going back to the site and putting your nose to the grindstone.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Tom 13

        I wasn't in New York, I was sitting at my desk at Sun on Fabian Avenue in Palo Alto. My network alarms for equipment on top of the North Tower had started shrieking (sonalerts) a little over an hour earlier. I already knew that an airliner had hit WTC 1 ... Time was compressing for me, so my personal time-sense doesn't track the actual time of events.

        I was talking to a compadre in the Sun offices in WTC 2 over a private line about the problem. He said "What the fu ...", and the line went dead. Simultaneously, my network started shrieking again as the alarms went off. I hit the "kill the noise" button again & eyeballed the network ... only to discover that I could no longer see any of the equipment on the roof of the south tower. I echoed the "what the fuck?!!!??" sentiment ...

        I reconfigured my telephone[1] to connect thru' the basement of WTC 2, and called my compadre. He allowed as to how rumor had it that a second airliner had hit the building. Again, I exclaimed "WTF??? Get the hell OUT! And take the stairs, not the elevators ... And make sure the folks who have issues get help getting out. NOW!"[2] ... His reply was "we're already on it" ... and the phone again went dead. They all got out[3].

        I only spent about five days "hands on" at Ground Zero; most of the work I did was from Palo Alto and Redwood City. I don't need thanks, but I appreciate it. You'd have done the same as I did, had you been in the wrong place at the wrong time with the right tool set.

        [1] Was on an NET IDNX based network that I had admin rights to. I wasn't a Sun employee, I was a private contractor, acting as a NET liaison between Sun and IBM.

        [2] I'm an ex-volunteer firefighter ... funny how training helps in emergencies.

        [3] Sun employee Philip Rosenzweig was aboard Flight 11 ... RIP, buddy.

  13. Jani-Matti Hätinen
    Black Helicopters

    As the article points out, 9/11 was a slam dunk for the military-industrial complex. Kudos to Raytheon, Lockheed, BAE et al. Well played.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course there wouldn't have been nearly as many terrorists if we hadn't gone around carpet-bombing civilians for the subsequent decade.

    1. StephenD

      This doesn't make sense unless the real conspiracy theory is why El Reg has been keeping from us the fact that time travel has been perfected.

      1. Graham Marsden


        I suggest you look up the word "subsequent"...

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: subsequent

          Er, Graham, I think that was his point.

          Being generous, I suppose it depends on how you interpret "There wouldn't have been". I find it hard to read that talking about the number of terrorists "now" rather than "ten years ago before the subsequent bombing". If "now" was the intended meaning then I think "There wouldn't be" would be the correct tense.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yep, what goes around...

      The West, esp. The US were playing world politics in other countries' backyards for decades, never worrying about the casualties. How terrible when they got some of their own medicine :-\

  15. hokum

    Conspiracy nonsense

    "I guess im a conspiracy theorist for questioning how building 7 fell without being hit by anything."

    Yep, and you're an idiot, too. It was hit by debris which knocked not-insignificant chunks from the structure, suffered seismic shock from the fall of the towers and burnt uncontrollably for hours before collapsing.

    Engage brain, then post.

    1. Poor Coco

      According to NIST themselves, the damage to Building 7 was more cosmetic than anything; and if that damage had caused the collapse then the building would have fallen to the south, in the manner of a felled tree which falls to the damaged side. WTC7 did not topple, it fell straight down directly through all of its undamaged structure; to "explain" this NIST claims it was "differential expansion of steel and concrete" which they could only get to happen by heating up the steel and NOT the concrete in their computer models. In other words, they haven't explained shit. Furthermore, the only steel-framed buildings they could cite for structural failures from fire were the McCormack Center in Chicago (very light steel frame without fire protection and extremely high fire load) and Place Alexis Nihon here in Montreal, in 1986.

      Alexis Nihon is a most interesting case; a telephone switching box failed and caught fire on the 10th floor, setting an adjacent storage room, which was packed to the roof with paper in violation of fire codes. That fire burned through the firewall to the adjacent stairwell, and the blazing inferno caused a girder to fall out. Did it melt? Sag under heating load? No, it had shitty Quebec construction, and the improperly welded shear-tabs that attached the girder to the columns failed. Did Place Alexis Nihon collapse into its own footprint? Of course not, it stands to this day and is a busy shopping centre.

      And that is the total sum history of structural failure in steel-framed buildings due to fire. Oh, except for two 110 storey towers that exploded like sticks of dyanamite, and a 47-stroey tower that crumpled into its own footprint while expending not a single joule on destroying its own framework (since it fell at free-fall speed, according to NIST). And which resulted in a grand total of zero changes to building codes and design practice, because it really is not mysterious at all what happened to them; there is just very uncomfortable implications to the Western power apparatus.

    2. Alan Firminger


      1 Where's the 'plane.

      The mousehole in the Pentagon was made by something much smaller than a Boeing 757. When an airliner crashes it leaves plenty of debris, outside the Pentagon the ground was totally clean.

      2 Building 7 collapse

      When a large building is demolished this is seen from the outside as a series of collapses that are designed to drop the structure into its own footprint. That pattern is exactly seen in film of the collapse.

      Anyone who voices doubt is bombarded with challenges about the implications. I know nothing about the implications.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Conspiracy Theorists

        Have you actually read the NIST report on WTC7. There is no mention in it of differential expansion of concrete and steel which, if you knew anything whatsoever about structural engineering, actually have the same coefficient of thermal expansion. The key mention about thermal expansion is: "The fires burned out of control during the afternoon, causing floor beams near Column 79 to expand and push a key girder off its seat, triggering the floors to fail around column 79 on Floors 8 to 14." Fire causing collapse of a steel framed hire-rise may not be common, but it is definitely feasible. Interestingly, if the conspiracy nuts think carefully about their own theories they fail the occam's razor test. If you watch videos of the building, or listen to the firefighter's reports, the first signs of a problem occur around 2pm when bulging on one side of the building is apparent, and various creaks and groans are heard from the structure. The firefighters become so concerned that by 3.30pm they have evacuated all firefighting in the building. The collapse of the building started with the East mechanical penthouse at 5:20:33pm but the main collapse didn't start until 5:21:10pm. If you were bringing the building down with explosives, simulating all this, along with the clearly visible fires, would have been a nightmare. Trying to keep fires burning apparently uncontrolled in a building packed with explosives would be a complete nightmare.

        I've watched loose change, and as a professionally qualified engineer I laughed all the way through. Not a single thing it claims stands up to even the most basic of tests. I suggest you watch some of the refutations of loose change which are excellent.

        1. Tom 13
          Black Helicopters

          @AC: Conspiracy theorists think Occam's Razor

          is something the guys in the black helicopters will use to fake your suicide when they catch you.

      2. jake Silver badge

        @Alan Firminger

        Regarding the 757 that hit the Pentagon, I double-dog dare you to try explaining your theory to any surviving family member of the passenger and crew list. Idiot.

        1. Alan Firminger

          Thousands died, including the crew, passengers and hijackers in four aircraft. I grieve for all victims.

          No-one has a sentimental ownership of the truth.

  16. Sean Baggaley 1
    Thumb Down

    No. Just... no.

    I'm sorry for all the poor innocent buggers who were killed in the subsequent wars in the Middle East. There have been an order of magnitude more of them than the 2752 killed in the WTC collapses, and these wars are *still* going on.

    How the hell ANYONE can stand there, hand on heart, and claim to be "honouring" those killed on that sorry day while their own damned nation continues its endless childish retaliations over *ten years later* beggars belief.

    Granted, the war in Iraq is rather less relevant to the events of 11-SEP-2001, but it's painfully clear Bush was just gagging for an opportunity to show his dad what a man with a brain smaller than a singularity can achieve when he puts what passes for his mind to it. And Al Qaeda handed the opportunity to him on a plate.

    The US' allies can shut the hell up too, especially the UK, with their sad, pathetic military, now a fading shadow of its glory days, forced to fight with one hand metaphorically tied behind its back to hold off the armies of bean-counters in the British Treasury.

    This should be a day of shame, not remembrance.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slashdot and Drudge were the only sites I remember being always-accessible and decently speedy. I'm sure there were others, but those two got me enough info for the time being on that day.

  18. veti Silver badge

    Not much has changed

    I had occasion to put this "Internet-as-primary-news-delivery-mechanism" idea to the test back in February, with the Christchurch earthquake.

    My conclusion was - for all you can talk about faster responses, larger reporting populations and improved infrastructure - when a big story breaks, so does the web.

    About an hour after the story first broke I was fed up with trying to access meaningful news from the usual sources, and tried Twitter. Lots of tweets coming out of the stricken area, surely? Well, no. Most of them were from people watching news - on TV.

    Decisive victory to Old Media, I thought. And I'm convinced that if Al-Qaeda had managed to pull off something big on the anniversary, the same thing would have happened again.

  19. Magnus_Pym

    Major tech angle

    It in the form of CAD and mathematical modelling helped make buildings able to withstand the impact and subsequent fire long enough for the vast majority of the occupants to escape and the evacuation of neighbouring buildings to be instigated. While the death toll is tragically high I'm sure it is nothing like as high as the planners expected it to be.

  20. Anonymous Cowherder

    When the tube was bombed on 7th July one major source of news was football message boards, in particular the network (which sky has since bought and borked).

    Some of the mainstream media sites struggle to cope with the increased traffic during times of crisis but other sites flourish.

    During the recent English riots, the web2.0 darlings twitter and facebook were good sources for information, of course your bullshit filters had to be employed but this is also the case with the old media news channels, who can forget Kay Burley's "the whole of the eastern seaboard is under attack"?

    I turn to the web for my news fix and only turn to the tv channels when I'm offline or want to see something on a bigger screen. It isn't far off when the internet does best the rolling tv channels, if they already haven't for pure facts.

  21. Pete 8


    that the length of aftercare on psyops, even if poorly done, is of higher quality than in the medical sector.

  22. Bernard M. Orwell

    Old School saved the day.

    On 11th September 2001 I was logged into my "hobby game", a simple MUD using Telnet as its primary interface. I'd been working on it since 1997 and it had attracted a fair few players (maybe a couple of hundred) from all over the world.

    The TV beside me was the primary source of information, with one news report after another, one update after another arriving minute by minute. I watched as the very first reports were broadcast and didn't stop watching for the next three or four days.

    However, in front of me, in simple green text on a black background, I was able to observe responses of people all around the globe. From the UK to Japan, from New Zealand to Russia. It's all anyone was talking about, with questions and speculation flying left right and centre.

    Then, in the middle of it all, I and the other administrators online became aware that we had at least two well known players inside the towers and several outside. One poor young lad was logged into the game, waiting for his parents to come home from central New York (we sat with him for hours, and they did eventually turn up, covered in dust).

    Despite being sat thousands of miles away, logged into a rather frivolous game, I felt the world around me move that day, and I heard it talk. It felt as though it'd happened right there and then, and it all seemed very personal.

    I have to say, that on that day, I didn't feel like the tech. let me down at all. Simple telnet and an SSH connection was all it took.

    Both of the players we knew in the towers lost their lives that day. I haven't stopped asking questions since.

  23. Dick Emery

    Conflict always drives technology. Don't you remember the old analogy about the Swiss and their watches?

  24. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    My take on BBC & Sky coverage of Sunday's ceremony:

    BBC: 0

    Sky: 9

    (marks out of 10)

    The Beeb's commentards (a bit like El Reg's?) just don't know when to be quiet and thrustfully place over aspired analytical analyses somewhere personal to the commentard where the sun is hardly ever likely to shine.

    Sky on the other hand let people's voices be heard in a way that made the ceremony meaningful rather than a Beeb platform to promote one's ... (I think that is about the gist of it)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    War! What is it good for ....?


  26. Bernard M. Orwell

    Occam's Razor

    I've said this before, and I'll no doubt have to say it again, but those of you who like to cite Occam's Razor, either in favour of or against "conspiracy theories" (or simply theories, as I like to call them) are getting it wrong.

    Occam's Razor cannot be used to analyse complex social or mechanical interactions where the work of humankind is involved, only for natural processes. Worse, its original use (alleged to be by one "Friar William of Ockham") was to PROVE the existence of God. (well, surely the simplest explanation for all this incredibly compex nature is that God made it?!)

    It's not exactly a scientific tool, is it?

    Personally, I prefer "When you have eliminated the impossible, what remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."


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