.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, July 14, 2006

Plotting Crescent orientation using Google Earth

Those who are looking back for updates on the Flight 93 memorial story, I won't have anything to add myself until I get back from my meeting with the architect at the crash-site next week. In the meantime, Eugene Hound Dog Frowner came up with a nifty way to corroborate my mathematical and graphical demonstrations of the Mecca-orientation of the Crescent/Bowl of Embrace.

Eugene uses the direction projecting functionality built into Google Earth to make projections from the crash-site. I haven't tried it myself, but it looks like a perfectly sound technique. Eugene says he will post additional instructions for others who want to double-check this verification.

A new inconvenience for investigators is that the Memorial Project has restricted access to the Crescent PDFs (which, having been generated by a CAD program, amount to a set of blueprints, sans dimension marks). The plans are still available, but are now password protected. Call the archive curator at 814 443-4557 for access. I also have copies of the PDFs that I can email to investigators.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Model comment in favor of No Action Alternative for Flight 93 memorial

The Flight 93 Memorial Project is calling for certain guidelines to be followed when leaving feedback in favor of either the barely modified Crescent of Embrace design or the No Action Alternative. I have fashioned the following comment to reference the relevant comment criteria. Feel free to cut and paste. (You will have to leave personal information to comment.)

Salt to taste:

Comment on Flight 93 Memorial, in favor of the No Action alternative

“Information that is missing but should be included in the Final GMP/EIS in order for the agency to make a better informed decision”

Given that one of the “Key Decisions” to be made is whether the proposed Preferred Design Alternative satisfies the Mission Statement of the Project (to honor the heroes of Flight 93), the Final GMP/EIS should include the voluminous factual evidence that the Preferred Design Alternative is actually the blueprint for a terrorist memorial mosque. This missing information includes the following facts:

1. A person facing directly into the original Crescent of Embrace would be facing almost exactly towards Mecca.

2. A crescent that people face into to face Mecca is called a “mihrab,” and is the central feature around which every mosque is built.

3. The giant Mecca-oriented crescent is still present in the barely altered Bowl of Embrace redesign (the Preferred Design Alternative), now slated to be called simply The Flight 93 Memorial.

4. The Crescent/Bowl design contains numerous other mosque features, such as the hundred foot tall Tower of Voices minaret, formed in the shape of an extruded crescent.

5. The Crescent/Bowl of Embrace contains numerous other terrorist-memorializing elements, such as the 44 glass blocks emplaced along the flight path to ground. Flight 93 carried 40 passengers and 4 hijackers.

Graphical proof of the Mecca-orientation of the original Crescent, along with proof of its continued presence in the Preferred Design Alternative, and links to mathematical proofs of Mecca orientation, and to proofs of other untoward features, can be found at: http://errortheory.blogspot.com/2006/07/comment-period-now-open-for-flight-93.html

Many commentators who have viewed the information at this Error Theory website have been and will be leaving comments with the Memorial Project. The Project is hereby called upon to acknowledge that all commentary related to the Islamic and jihadist elements of the Preferred Design Alternative is commentary about information that is missing from the GMP/EIS when it should be included. By pointing out this missing information, these comments must all be recognized to “focus on the technical accuracy of the information presented in the document,” as per the comment guidelines.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Comment period now open for Flight 93 memorial: Keep the crescent-mosque off of the crash-site!

The Flight 93 Memorial Project has opened up a comment period (through August 14th) on whether it should proceed with its plan to build a slightly modified version of the original Crescent of Embrace design, or start over by adopting a No Action alternative.

Starting over is imperative because the Crescent design was, and still is, a plan to build the world’s largest mosque. For those who may be new to this controversy, I am posting a primer. For those who have already been following the memorial story, some startling new information is included. (My model comment here.)


When the Crescent design was unveiled in September 2005, many observers were stunned to see a gigantic, naked, crescent and star flag, planted on the Flight 93 crash site:

Figure 1. Crescent of Embrace publicity shot from Paul Murdoch Architects. Flag array at right compiled by T. Bevan at RCPPosted by Picasa

In short order, five other bloggers (myself included) verified that the bisector of this crescent points within 2° of Mecca. While only a few people worked through the math, many people saw the graphical demonstration of Mecca-orientation contributed by the pseudonymous "Etaoin Shrdlu":

Figure 2. Etaoin's world-map projection, with Mecca-line superimposed. Click for larger image. [North is straight up-screen from the crash site, both in the world-map projection, and in the site-plan inset. The green section of line shows the direction from the crash site to Mecca (55.18 degrees clockwise from north). When this same slope is superimposed on the crash site (red line), it almost perfectly bisects the Crescent of Embrace.] Posted by Picasa

A commentator on my blog (Yoel Natan) pointed out that a crescent that people face into to face Mecca is called a mihrab, and is the central feature around which every mosque is built. Here is the mihrab from the Grand Mosque in Cordoba:

Figure 3. Face into the crescent to face Mecca. Posted by Picasa

Usually a mihrab will have a vertical dimension as well as width and depth, but not always. Think of the Crescent memorial as a giant prayer rug. A prayer rug (called a “musalla,” which translates as “small mosque”) is just a 2-dimensional mihrab.

The phony redesign

When controversy arose over the giant naked crescent back in September, the Memorial Project agreed to make changes. A Bowl of Embrace redesign was announced in November where the sole change was the addition of some trees on the west side of the crescent:

Figure 4. Left: Crescent of Embrace with tip-line and bisector. Right: barely modified Bowl of Embrace redesign. Posted by Picasa

The only change from the Crescent to the Bowl is some re-coloring of the image, and the addition of some trees that extend the tree line from the top of the crescent further around to the left. These additional trees do nothing to affect the presence of the original Mecca-oriented crescent because the upper crescent tip never was defined by trees.

As can be seen in the image on the left, the upper tip of the original Crescent of Embrace was the end of the vast, curving, thousand foot long, forty foot tall, Entry Portal wall. This wall structure is unchanged in the redesign. The bottom crescent tip (the last red maple at bottom) is also unchanged in the redesign. Thus the giant half-mile wide Mecca-oriented mihrab is still there.

To understand the irrelevance of the additional trees to Murdoch’s mosque design, one just needs to recognize that, like the Christian cross, a mihrab is a self-contained religious construct. It should be placed in a clean area, but other than that, its meaning is unaffected by what may be around it. All architect Paul Murdoch did was plant some additional trees behind his mihrab (behind those will be facing into the mihrab to face Mecca). That is no different than having some trees behind a Muslim prayer rug. It makes no difference to the presence or meaning of the prayer rug at all.

Caught by gate security (the American people) on his first attempt to plant a terrorist memorial mosque on the crash site, Murdoch was told by the Memorial Project to go back outside and try again, which is exactly what he did. He added a few trees that make his Mecca-oriented crescent less obvious, but do not affect its presence at all. In effect, the only change he made was to put a fake beard on!

The Memorial Project knows

Since last Fall, I have engaged in extensive efforts to warn the Memorial Project that the Memorial to Flight 93 has been hijacked. By now, the leadership of the Memorial Project is very aware of what is in Murdoch’s design, and has been engaging in ever more ludicrous excuses for allowing it to go forward.

Project Superintendent Joanne Hanley admits that Murdoch’s giant crescent is oriented almost exactly on Mecca but insists: “It has to be exact. That’s one we talked about. It has to be exact.”

Project Manager Jeff Reinbold admits that the Crescent/Bowl design has forty four glass blocks emplaced along the flight path, exceeding the number of our murdered heroes by the number of their murderers, but he says that if we are going to start counting numbers glass blocks in the design, we also have to count the windows in the Visitors Center.

These rationales are being used, not just to dismiss concern about the Islamic and jihadist elements of Murdoch’s design, but as excuses for not telling the Flight 93 family members, who took on the responsibility of choosing an appropriate memorial design, what the project leadership knows.

Family member Gordon Felt told the press in February that my information had been investigated and debunked, which he had presumably been told by Superintendent Hanley. Joanne Hanley’s boss Mary Bomar sent me a letter in March saying that Hanley had told her the same thing. Thus Hanley is admitting to me in private that she accepts my analysis of near-exact-Mecca-orientation for Murdoch’s crescent, but has been telling other people that she has verified my information to be wrong.

There is now an internal investigation ongoing at the Department of Interior to determine whether Hanley has properly examined the information I sent her. Even so, Murdoch’s terrorist-memorial proceeds like a juggernaut. The current comment period may be the last chance to stop it.

Comment period

Here is one of the “Key Decisions” that the Project is seeking comment on:
What .. types of visitor experiences … are desired and consistent with the mission statement?
The mission of the Flight 93 National Memorial is to:
Honor the heroism, courage and enduring sacrifice of the passengers and crew of Flight 93;

Revere this hallowed ground as the final resting place of heroes who sacrificed their lives so that others would be spared;

Commentators are then asked to choose which plan they think best fulfills this mission statement:
The No Action Alternative and the Preferred Design Alternative [Murdoch's Crescent/Bowl of Embrace] are described in Chapter II. Each alternative description includes a management zoning map and a corresponding description of the desired resource conditions, intended visitor experience, and types and intensities of visitor uses.
Building a terrorist memorial mosque on the crash-site does not honor the heroism of the passengers and crew of Flight 93. It honors their murderers. It does not revere hallowed ground. It desecrates hallowed ground.

My comment to the Memorial Project. If anyone wants to come up with their own choice words that commentators can cut and paste, send me a link and I will post it here.

People might also want to send their comments to Memorial Project Chairman John Reynolds (jreynolds@nationalparks.org) and to Superintendent Hanley's boss Mary Bomar (mary_bomar@nps.gov). The Project has a history of ignoring information and criticism. CCing comments to the Project's overseers could help.

It points to the White House

My earlier blog posts contain many details about what is in Murdoch’s terrorist memorial, and more will be coming out when I make all of my information public. For now here is one new tidbit that followers of the Memorial story may find interesting. Not only does Murdoch’s giant central crescent point to Mecca, it also points to the White House (the presumptive target of Flight 93, before the passengers and crew of the hijacked airplane stormed the cockpit and smashed their murderers into the Western Pennsylvania countryside). Just draw a line across the tips of the separate rear crescent that is formed by the radial arbors of trees:

Figure 5: The crash-site to White-House line (in black), has the same slope as a line across the tips of the heavy rear crescent of the Crescent of Embrace. Posted by Picasa

[The White House sits just about at the middle of the “i” in “Washington” on this Yahoo map. It is used here as the Washington end of the superimposed Shanksville-to-Washington line. Yahoo’s red star marks downtown Shanksville. The crash site is about three miles north and slightly east of downtown Shanksville, which according to Yahoo’s distance scale, puts it just to the right of the top of the star. A line through the White House and the crash-site (depicted) turns out to have the same slope as a line across the tips of Murdoch’s rear crescent (129° clockwise from north).]

Now you know why the crescent of radial arbors at the back of the Crescent of Embrace (unchanged in the Bowl of Embrace redesign) is not symmetrical with the full crescent. It has a different job to perform. The full crescent gives the direction to Mecca. The rear crescent gives the direction to the target that the terrorists were trying to destroy. The full crescent is a mosque element (one of many). The rear crescent is a terrorist-memorializing element (one of many).

UPDATE: Eugene Frowner has posted some very interesting graphical verifications of the Mecca and Washington orientations of Murdoch's giant crescent. He superimposed the site plan onto Google Earth images of the crash site then projected the orientations of the crescent across Google Earth's global images to check how closely they come to Mecca and the White House.

His Washington line actually hits the White House. My best estimate was that it passed just south of the White House, but I did not align the site plan with Google Earth's true-north images (I accepted the site-plan's specification of true north as accurate) so Eugene's projection could be more accurate than mine.

Eugene's Mecca orientation is also comes close to my estimates. His projection of the bisector of the crescent passes about a hundred miles north of Mecca. My estimate was that it would pass about 175 miles north. But all of these estimates are within a couple of tenths of a degree of each other, which is about the maximum accuracy within which the orientations of Murdoch's crescent can be determined, given the pixel resolution of the site-plan graphics.

Thus it looks like Eugene has found a way to provide a purely graphical verification using Google Earth. What is missing is that he does not lay out all the steps that others would have to go through to recreate his graphics. If he can add a few footnotes so that others who are not so familiar with Google Earth can recreate his findings, this looks like a handy and accurate verification technique. END UPDATE

Public meeting on July 20th

The Memorial Project is holding a public meeting to present and discuss the choice between their Preferred Plan (the Crescent/Bowl of Embrace) and the No Action alternative. Any readers from the Western Pennsylvania area are encouraged to come by, ask questions, and make your feelings known. (Email Western Pennsylvanian Bill Steiner if you want to coordinate on the ground effort.)

I will be at the meeting. So will architect Paul Murdoch.

I’ll even let Hanley and Reinbold know in advance what question I will ask, if I get a chance:

“Superintendent Hanley and Project Manager Reinbold have both acknowledged to me in private that they do not dispute that the original Crescent of Embrace was oriented almost exactly on Mecca (such that a person facing directly into the crescent would be facing almost exactly at Mecca). Are they willing, here in public, to acknowledge this Mecca-orientation?”

And my follow up:

“Have they apprised the Flight 93 family members of this information?”

Reporters are encouraged to ask these same questions.


A commentator at LGF (thanks for the link Charles) notes that the Comment criteria could be interpreted to exclude criticism of the design of the memorial itself:
All comments will become part of the public record and substantive comments will be addressed in the Final GMP/EIS. Substantive comments are considered to be those that focus on the technical accuracy of the information presented in the document, not the personal opinion of the commenter.
Further provisions, however, open the door to all the relevant criticism:
- Is there information that is missing that should be included in the Final GMP/EIS in order for the agency to make a better informed decision?

- Does the Draft GMP/EIS fully evaluate the potential effects of the proposed action?
As noted earlier, a “Key Decision” to be made is whether the planned memorial satisfactorily fulfills the Mission Statement of the Project: to honor the heroes of Flight 93. The fact that the design is actually the blueprint for a terrorist memorial mosque is certainly “information that is missing that should be included… in order to better make an informed decision” on this question.

Seen in this light the seemingly exclusionary criterion mentioned by the LGF commentator is actually not so exclusionary either. Omitting the fact that the design is a blueprint for a terrorist memorial mosque is certainly a deficiency in “the technical accuracy of the information presented.” Thus any attempt by the Memorial Project to exclude criticism on the grounds that objection to building a terrorist memorial mosque on the crash-site will be purely disingenuous, which means in turn that they will certainly try it. Anyone who wants to guard against this might just note explicitly in their comments that the voluminous damning evidence of Islamic and jihadist intent is “missing information that should be included.”

My model comment here.

CORRECTION: I originally mispelled Etaoin Shrdlu's name as Eaotin Shurdlu. Thanks to Ben F, who passes on the explanation:
It's a code-breaker's mnemonic, and also a feature of Linotype machines. E is the most frequent letter in the English language. Followed by t, then a, etc.
Ben also posts an interesting observation about the enabling legislation.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?