Monday, August 25, 2008

Writing Reports, NIST Style

Here's an anatomy of the NIST's 115-page WTC7 final report. They use two pages to tell us what happened, and 14 pages to show pictures generated from their computer simulations. Don't miss the 4 pages where they put in disclaimers about the simulations! I found precious little "beef" anywhere in the 115 pages.

Number of PagesDescription
38Preface including disclaimers, contributors and contractors, dedication, table of contents, abstract, list of figures and tables, list of acronyms, executive summary, etc., etc.
17Historical World Trade Center information, WTC 7's structure, occupancy by floor, and NIST's best guesses about what floors were on fire when, and how the fire moved around.
2NIST describes "Probable Collapse Sequence."
2NIST lays out the hypothesis they ended up proving.
2NIST does its best to debunk a commonly held hypothesis.
14NIST treats us to a lengthy discussion about the computer simulations they used to prove their initial hypothesis.
4-1/2NIST adds disclaimers re: the results of their computer simulations.
1/2NIST shows its math for calculating the actual speed of fall for a few stories of WTC 7 at the beginning of the collapse, and compares it with free-fall speed.
14These pages recap the findings.
10NIST provides recommendations based on their findings.
11Finally, these many pages are devoted to appendices and references.

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