The staff of THE WORLD ALMANAC wishes to extend our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the catastrophic events of September 11. We offer extended coverage of this event in the following sections: a special chronology "Terrorists Attack U.S.," Science in the News, and a feature article on The Red Cross. The "Links of the Month" section offers locations at which donations can be made to help the families of those lost to this act of terrorism, children's sites, sites dedicated to the memory of those lost, as well as sites to learn more information.


The World Almanac E-Newsletter

Volume 1, Number 10 - October 2001



What's in this issue?

October Events
Holidays -- National and International
This Day in History - September
October Birthdays
Featured Location of the Month: Kansas City, MO
Obituaries -- September 2001
Special Coverage of the Terrorist Assault on the U.S.
Science in the News
Special Feature: The American Red Cross
Chronology -- Events of September 2001
Offbeat News Stories
100 Years Ago in the World Almanac: The Production of Books in 1900
Links of the Month
How to Reach Us

October Events

October 1-31 -- National AIDS Awareness Month
October 1-31 -- National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October 1 -- Supreme Court session begins
October 2 -- Harvest Moon
October 3 -- NHL season begins
October 5 -- NBA pre-season begins
October 10-15 -- Frankfurt Book Fair, Germany
October 27 -- Breeders' Cup; World Series begins
October 28 -- Daylight Saving Time ends in the U.S.

National Holidays

October 1 -- Child Health Day
October 8 -- Columbus Day (observed); National Children's Day
October 9 -- Leif Erikson Day
October 27 -- Navy Day
October 31 -- Halloween; National UNICEF Day

International Holidays

October 1 -- Children's Day
October 3 -- German Unification Day; National Foundation Day, Korea
October 8 -- Thanksgiving Day, Canada
October 12 -- Día de la Raza, Mexico
October 16 -- World Food Day
October 20 -- Kenyatta Day, Kenya
October 24 -- United Nations Day
October 26 -- National Day, Austria
October 29 -- Republic Day, Turkey

This Day in History - October






Henry Ford introduces the Model T car, priced at $850.



The "Peanuts" cartoon strip makes its first appearance.



East and West Germany are reunified.



Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn dies in Amsterdam at the age of 63.



President Harry Truman delivers the first televised presidential speech to the nation.



Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat is assassinated in Cairo during a military parade.



Palestinian hijackers seize the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro at sea as it approaches Port Said, Egypt.



The Great Chicago Fire begins.



The Boer War is touched off when the British government gets a telegram demanding the immediate withdrawal of all British troops from South Africa.



Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns after pleading no contest to a charge of income tax evasion.



The New Netherlands Company is chartered.



Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, dies from injuries he received in an October 7 beating.



France ratifies the Treaty of Versailles.



Captain Chuck Yeager, flying in an X-1 rocket plane, becomes the first person to break the sound barrier.



I Love Lucy has its TV premiere.



Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, is elected pope, taking the name of John Paul II



A major earthquake strikes the San Francisco Bay area moments before a World Series game is to begin.



The House Un-American Activities Committee begins investigations into Communist influence in the movie industry.



British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders to George Washington at Yorktown.



The Senate ratifies a treaty for the purchase of the Louisiana Territory.



Thomas Edison and his associates successfully test an incandescent light bulb.



In a television address, President John Kennedy reveals that he has ordered a naval and air quarantine of Cuba because of a Soviet buildup of offensive missiles there.



Hungarians revolt against the Communist dictatorship.



France's Chartres Cathedral is consecrated.



The "Charge of the Light Brigade" takes place during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War.



The "Gunfight at the OK Corral" takes place in Tombstone, AZ, with the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday facing the Clanton brothers.



The first part of the New York City subway system opens.



The Statue of Liberty is dedicated by President Grover Cleveland.



On "Black Tuesday," the stock market crashes, plunging America into a devastating Depression.



Orson Welles causes a nationwide scare with his radio broadcast of a Martian invasion in War of the Worlds.



Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by Sikh members of her bodyguard and is succeeded by her son Rajiv.

September Birthdays






Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States (Plains, GA)



Sting (Gordon Sumner), musician/songwriter (England)



Chubby Checker, singer/musician (South Philadelphia, PA)



Susan Sarandon, actress (New York, NY)



Mario Lemieux, hockey player (Montreal, Canada)



Thor Heyerdahl, anthropologist/explorer/author (Larvik, Norway)



Desmond Tutu, archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner (Klerksdrop, South Africa)



Matt Damon, actor (Cambridge, MA)



Trent Lott, Mississippi senator and Senate minority leader (Grenada, MS)



Brett Favre, football quarterback (Gulfport, MS)



Elmore Leonard, mystery writer (New Orleans, LA)



Marion Jones, track star (Los Angeles, CA)



Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of England (Grantham, England)



Anne Rice, writer (New Orleans, LA)



John Kenneth Galbraith, economist (Iona Station, Ontario, Canada)



Tim Robbins, actor/director/playwright (West Covina, CA)



1938 Evel Knievel, motorcycle daredevil (Montana)



Martina Navratilova, tennis champion (Prague, Czechoslovakia)



Evander Holyfield, champion boxer (Atlanta, GA)



Art Buchwald, humorist (Mount Vernon, NY)



Whitey Ford, former baseball pitcher (New York, NY)



Annette Funicello, actress/singer (Utica, NY)



Pelé, former soccer player (Tres Coracoes, Brazil)



Kweisi Mfume, NAACP leader and former congressman (Baltimore, MD)



Midori, violinist (Osaka, Japan)



Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. senator (NY), former first lady of the United States (Chicago, IL)



Patty Sheehan, golfer (Middlebury, VT)



Bill Gates, Microsoft executive (Seattle, WA)



Richard Dreyfuss, actor (Brooklyn, NY)



Grace Slick, singer (Evanston, IL)



Dan Rather, TV journalist/anchorman (Wharton, TX)

Featured Location of the Month: Kansas City, MO

Location: Western Missouri, a port of entry at the confluence of the Kansas (Kaw) and Missouri Rivers

Population (2000 Census): 441,545

Mayor: Kay Barnes

October Temperatures: Normal high of 67.5°F; Normal low of 45.7°F

Colleges & Universities: Avila College, Calvary Bible College, Cleveland Chiropractic College, DeVry Institute of Technology, Kansas City Art Institute, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Nazarene Theological Seminary, Rockhurst University, Saint Paul School of Theology, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Maple Woods Community College, Penn Valley Community College

Museums: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Black Archives of Mid-America; the Kansas City Museum of History and Science; and the Liberty Memorial Museum

Zoos: Kansas City Zoo

Events: Youth Leadership Summit 2001 (October 4), American Royal Association Barbeque (October 5-6), Hunter/Jumper Horse Show (October 8-11), American Royal Grand Prix (October 12), American Royal Livestock, Horse Show, and Rodeo (October 15-17; October 22-25), American Royal Rodeo (October 26-November 4)

Sports teams: Kansas City Royals (baseball), Kansas City Chiefs (football)

Places to visit: H. R. Bartle Exposition Hall; the Kansas City Zoo and Starlight Theater, in Swope Park; the Municipal Auditorium; the American Royal Center, an entertainment complex featuring the R. Crosby Kemper, Sr. Memorial Arena and the American Royal/Hale Arena; the Crown Center; and Worlds of Fun, an entertainment park. Royal Stadium (home of the Kansas City Royals professional baseball team) and the adjacent Arrowhead Stadium (home of the Kansas City Chiefs professional football team) together form the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex

Tallest Building: One Kansas City Place (42 stories)

History: Settled by 1838 at confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers; incorporated 1851.

Birthplace of: Robert Altman (1925), Ed Asner (1929), Don Cheadle (1964), Evan S. Connell (1924), Ellen Drew (1915), Dianne Wiest (1948)


Obituaries in September 2001

Arkoff, Samuel, 83, Hollywood producer of low-budget genre films who gave many subsequently well-known actors and directors important early breaks; Burbank, CA, Sept. 16, 2001.

Barnard, Christian, 78, South African surgeon who in 1967 performed the world's first human-to-human heart transplant; Paphos, Cyprus, Sept. 2, 2001.

Donahue, Troy, 65, actor whose appeal to teenagers made him one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the early 1960s; Santa Monica, CA, Sept. 2, 2001.

Kael, Pauline, 82, film critic, long associated with the New Yorker magazine, nearly all of whose provocative and influential reviews were eventually collected in book form; Great Barrington, MA, Sept. 3, 2001.

McGuire, Dorothy, 83, stage and screen actress who in her heyday from the 1940s through the mid-1960s was known for her portrayals of kind, soft-spoken women; Santa Monica, CA, Sept. 13, 2001.

Perez Jimenez, Marcos, 87, Venezuelan general who presided over his country's last military regime (1952-58); Madrid, Spain, Sept. 20, 2001.

Pomeroy, Wardell, 87, psychologist who collaborated with biologist Alfred Kinsey on pioneering studies of human sexuality and who later wrote a biography of Kinsey; Bloomington, IN, Sept. 6, 2001.

Stern, Isaac, 81, world-renowned violinist, recording artist and music educator who led a successful campaign to keep New York City's Carnegie Hall from being demolished in 1960; New York, NY, Sept. 22, 2001.

Thieu, Nguyen Van, 76, South Vietnam's head of state from 1965--and its president from 1967--until days before the country's collapse in 1975; Boston, MA, Sept. 29, 2001.


Terror came to America from the skies on Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, as commercial airliners hijacked by men armed with knives smashed into both twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and into the Pentagon, the nation’s military nerve center outside Washington, D.C. Another hijacked airliner plowed into a field near Pittsburgh after passengers apparently thwarted an attempt by hijackers to fly it into another building. Soon after being struck, both of the 110-story New York City towers collapsed.

About 5,700 people--mostly Americans but including nationals of 62 other nations--perished in the onslaught. Most of the victims were in New York; the toll at the Pentagon was put at 189, including 64 on the plane.

Pres. George W. Bush pledged to destroy the responsible international terrorist organizations and punish as well the regimes that supported and sheltered them. Military retaliation, however, did not come immediately, and the new war would be waged against unknown enemies concealed in mostly unknown locations.

American Airlines Flight 11, out of Boston and scheduled for Los Angeles, struck Tower 1 of the World Trade Center in the financial district of Lower Manhattan. After impact, between the 96th and 103rd floors, the plane remained imbedded in the building, and a long plume of black smoke rose from the tower. Fifteen minutes later, as millions in New York and tens of millions at television sets stared at the World Trade Center, United Airlines Flight 175, also out of Boston and bound for LA, swooped low over Manhattan and struck Tower 2 between floors 87 and 93, creating an orange fireball as it too remained inside the building.

Forty minutes later, American Flight 77, which had taken off from Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, VA, on a flight to LA, struck the western side of the Pentagon in an area that had just been renovated and was lightly occupied by employees. Among the victims on that plane was Barbara Olson, a lawyer and television commentator and the wife of U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson; she had called her husband by cell phone to describe the hijacking. About 25 minutes later, at 10:10 a.m., United Flight 93 from Newark and scheduled for San Francisco, crashed in Somerset County, PA, while headed toward Washington. The planes that hit the World Trade Center were Boeing 767s, the others 757s.

The modus operandi of the hijackers varied little. Five each seized 3 of the flights, and 4 commandeered the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Passengers making last calls to loved ones on cell phones said that they were armed only with knives and box cutters. Several callers described the hijackers as apparently being of Middle Eastern origin. The 4 planes carried 265 passengers and crew, all of whom were killed.

Pres. Bush was notified of the initial strikes while speaking to elementary-school children in Sarasota, FL. He left Florida on Air Force One which, for security reasons--officials believed the plane was a target--pursued a zigzag course that took it over the Atlantic Ocean, then to stops at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, LA, and Offutt AFB in Omaha, NE, before it flew to Washington. He arrived at the White House in the late afternoon; earlier, it and other federal office buildings in the capital had been evacuated for a time.

After having issued brief statements during the day, Bush spoke to the nation from the White House, asserting that "our way of life, our very freedom came under attack." He said that "our nation saw evil" but had responded with "the best of America" in the daring of rescue workers and the caring for suffering neighbors and strangers. He vowed to bring the surviving perpetrators to justice, making "no distinction between the terrorists . . . and those who harbored them."

In New York, rescue efforts proceeded under horrific circumstances. At the time the twin towers were struck, at the beginning of the workday, about 10,000 people were in the buildings. Towers 1 and 2 had collapsed 100 and 56 minutes, respectively, after impact. That provided sufficient time for thousands to flee, most of them scrambling down many flights of stairs. A number of people trapped above the level of impact, and doomed by the flames, leaped to their deaths. Some 350 NYC firefighters and 70 police officers rushed into the towers to save others and died when the towers fell. The collapses were attributed to the intense heat from fires that weakened steel columns and trusses. The buildings came straight down, each floor being flattened in turn by the combined weight of the floors above. On the ground, immense billows of ash spread rapidly, overtaking hundreds fleeing down the streets. Adding to the chaos, several big adjacent buildings, including a Marriott hotel, collapsed, and others were shaky.

The massive around-the-clock rescue effort, supported by emergency units from as far away as California, yielded meager results--only 5 people were pulled live from the wreckage, none after Sept. 12. All hospitals within miles and several other buildings were converted into emergency medical centers, and some 600 survivors received treatment. Thousands of family members and friends of the missing waited for days and weeks in vain for news; many posted and passed out fliers with photographs of the missing. Pres. Bush visited "ground zero" in Lower Manhattan Sept. 14, thanked the rescuers, and received a roaring welcome in return. Thousands of people in NYC helped in various ways, donating blood, joining the bucket brigade that removed debris, and bringing food and clothing to the rescuers. By Sept. 15, the city was turning volunteers away.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded all commercial flights within minutes after the 2d plane hit the World Trade Center. Many planes landed far short of their scheduled destinations, stranding thousands of passengers. Most arriving international flights were diverted to Canada or sent back to their cities of origin. U.S. military aircraft patrolled the skies above New York and Washington. Navy ships able to mount air defenses moved toward West Coast cities. A number of countries imposed restrictions on air travel. Long after other airports had been allowed to reopen on Sept. 13, Logan International Airport in Boston and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport were kept closed. The FAA Sept. 12 eliminated curbside check-ins and barred all kinds of cutting instruments, not previously forbidden, from carry-on luggage. The government said Sept. 12 that armed sky marshals would henceforth travel on some commercial flights. Vice Pres. Dick Cheney revealed Sept. 16 that on Sept. 11 Bush had ordered the military to shoot down any other airliner believed in the hands of hijackers and bound for a target.

A nation already apparently entering a recession experienced slumps in its stock markets and a decline in business activity, particularly in the New York City area. Wall Street’s financial markets closed quickly on Sept. 11 and would not reopen until Sept. 17. Voting in primary elections for local offices throughout New York State, in progress at the time of the attacks, was put off until Sept. 25. By Sept. 27, New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani had approached the three mayoral candidates to seek their agreement to let him stay in office an extra three months (Giuliani cannot run due to term limits), so that he could continue his work in the recovery of the city.

The assault prompted numberless declarations of patriotism and unity by Americans high and low. The nation’s flag suddenly appeared everywhere. Political leaders declared an end to partisan wrangling. Congress Sept. 11 adopted a resolution giving the administration broad power to act against terror groups and nations protecting them. Bush Sept. 12 called the attacks "acts of war." He asked for emergency funding, and Congress granted him $20 billion that day--only to double it to $40 billion Sept. 14. Both houses (the Senate 98-0 and the House 420-1) Sept. 14 authorized Bush to use all "necessary and appropriate force" needed against those responsible. Bush Sept. 14 authorized the call-up of 50,000 military reservists.

On Sept. 13, Sec. of State Colin Powell called Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi exile believed to be operating out of Afghanistan, as the prime suspect. Bin Laden, thought to run a shadowy organization called Al Qaeda with operatives in many countries, had been linked to other attacks, including the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. He had departed Saudi Arabia with a $250 million inheritance in 1991, and was motivated by a determination to extirpate U.S. influence in the Middle East.

The Taliban, a Muslim fundamentalist group, ruled most of Afghanistan; their leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, criticized the attacks Sept. 11 and said bin Laden, a friend, was not responsible. Most Middle East rulers joined national leaders throughout the world in deploring the attacks; an exception, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, called them the result of America’s "evil policy." In Afghanistan, by Sept. 12, foreign aid workers and thousands of Afghani citizens were fleeing the impoverished and war-ravaged country. A huge refugee population massed across the border with Pakistan. The Taliban said Sept. 13 they would turn bin Laden over to an Islamic court if the United States could prove he was to blame. On Sept. 14, Omar called on Muslims to prepare for a jihad, or holy war.

Meanwhile, Bush, working the telephones, began to organize an international response. On Sept. 12, for the first time ever, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization invoked its mutual defense provision stating that an armed attack against any member would be treated as an attack against all, and, if the United States moved against the terrorists, it required a unified military response. Russia Sept. 13 said it would work with the alliance. Pres. Jiang Zemin told Bush Sept. 12 that China would join the anti-terrorist effort.

In Pakistan, a Muslim country, Pres. Pervez Musharraf Sept. 13 pledged his support to Bush. Heavily pressured by the United States, and fearful of unrest among fundamentalist Muslims at home--some of whom took to the streets daily to denounce the United States--Pakistan, Sept. 14, agreed to allow American access to its air space and military facilities, and promised to share intelligence on bin Laden and cut off fuel and other supplies to Afghanistan.

An international investigation, led in the United States, progressed quickly. Germany reported Sept. 14 that 3 suspects who had died in the crashes had lived in Germany; one had obtained a pilot’s license. By Sept. 14 the FBI had the names (all of apparent Middle East origin) of all 19 hijackers. It was soon determined that several of them had received instruction at several flight-training schools in Florida.

Pres. Bush declared Sept. 14 a day of national mourning and remembrance; he and 4 former presidents were among those attending a service in Washington’s National Cathedral. New York’s Cardinal Edward Egan Sept. 16 conducted a mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the victims. First Lady Laura Bush Sept. 17 attended a memorial service near the Pennsylvania crash site. Pres. Bush visited a mosque at the Islamic Center in Washington Sept. 17 and decried violent acts reported against Arab-Americans since the terrorist attacks. A Sikh (who in any event was not a Muslim) had been shot to death in Arizona Sept. 16.

Two of Afghanistan’s northern--and Muslim--neighbors spoke up Sept. 16. Uzbekistan said it would consider letting the United States use its territory or airspace for an attack on Afghanistan. Tajikistan said it would not allow a "third country" to do so. Bush, Sept. 17, said of bin Laden that he was "Wanted: Dead or Alive." China, Sept. 18, urged that anti-terrorist efforts be implemented through the U.N. Security Council. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said Sept. 17 that Canada was "at war" with terrorism. The Saudi foreign minister, in Washington Sept. 18, said that Saudi Arabia had provided intelligence data to the United States. Meeting with Bush in Washington, Sept. 18, Pres. Jacques Chirac said France stood in solidarity with the United States. Indonesia’s new president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, with her own problems of Muslim unrest, met with Bush Sept. 19 and denounced the attacks, but declined to go further. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Sept. 19 that Japan would give what military help it could; Japan’s constitution permitted military action only in self-defense.

The U.S. Defense Dept. Sept. 19 ordered deployment of combat aircraft to the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The Army announced Sept. 20 that ground troops were being sent to the Middle East. On Sept. 20, Afghanistan’s senior clerics issued an edict saying bin Laden should be prevailed upon to leave the country. In a stirring speech to a joint session of Congress, , Pres. Bush demanded that Afghanistan go further and hand over bin Laden; otherwise, he said, the Taliban would share his fate. He told the U.S. military to "Be ready" for a fight. He announced that Gov. Tom Ridge (R) of Pennsylvania would head a new Office of Homeland Security that would co-ordinate efforts by 40 agencies to thwart terror attacks. British Prime Minister Tony Blair attended the speech and flew to New York Sept. 20; Britain had lost 250 citizens in the collapse of the towers, and Blair had pledged his solid support to the anti-terrorist effort. Bush consulted with Russian President Vladimir Putin at length on Sept. 22.

A Sept. 21 telethon, America: A Tribute to Heroes, raised more than $150 million for the United Way in pledges in the United States and Canada, as well as on the Internet. The 2 hour, commercial free event, featured numerous live musical performances, interspersed with words of inspiration offered by celebrities, and appeared on 35 broadcast and cable stations, 8,000 radio stations, and was played in 200 countries. A CD and DVD version was expected to bring in more donations. By Sept. 27, over $500 million had been raised by various charities to assist the families of victims lost in New York, the Pentagon, and the Pennsylvania plane crash.

Pres. Bush signed a $15 billion aid package Sept. 22 to the nation’s airline industry, which had suffered great losses since Sept. 11. On Sept. 27, Bush said that government would take a larger role in airport security and that National Guard troops would begin protecting the nation’s 420 commercial airports.

Continuing efforts into the investigation of the Sept. 11 bombings, by the F.B.I., caused the U.S. Government to ground Crop Dusting planes on Sept. 23, fearing biological and chemical warfare.

Herbert Villalobos, became the first person charged, Sept. 24, by Federal authorities, with aiding the terrorist hijackers. By Sept. 28, over 500 individuals had been detained or arrested in the investigation into the Sept. 11 tragedy.

President Bush ordered a freeze Sept. 24, on the assets of 27 people and organizations with suspected links to terrorism, including Islamic militant Osama bin Laden, and urged other nations to do likewise. Foreign banks that don't cooperate could have their own transactions blocked in the United States.

Citing security concerns, New York City officials, Sept. 26, banned single occupancy vehicles from entering the city via bridges and tunnels below 62nd Street.

In New York, by Sept. 30, 314 had been confirmed dead, with most victims still entombed. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who had vigorously overseen the rescue efforts and indeed seemed to be everywhere at once, said that 5,219 people were missing (including passengers and crew of two planes); that figure continued to change as lists of the missing were reviewed.

Several thousand anti-war demonstrators Sept. 30, marched in Washington, D.C., to call for peace following terrorist attacks.


The Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers

By Peter Falcier

It has been widely reported that what brought the World Trade Center towers down was the intense heat of the jet fuel fire, which melted the steel support structure of where the buildings were hit, allowing the upper floors to collapse and pancake story upon story to the ground. All this is true, but there is more to the tragic tale of destruction. Frank Moscatelli, professor of physics at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, told The New York Times that the total energy released in the disaster was equivalent to the explosion of 600 tons of TNT dynamite, about one-twentieth the energy discharge of the 10-kiloton atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. His calculation accounts for the weight of the planes, their speed at impact and the jet fuel, but by far the most energetic of the contributing forces was plain gravity. "People don't think of an item standing still as having energy, but it does," said Moscatelli. "The energy from gravitational collapse is what the controlled demolition people use to take down structures, and it is very powerful." Demolition engineers explained that it was the gravitational acceleration of the massive concrete floor pads in the Twin Towers that turned everything in their path to dust. Each floor that collapsed built momentum that added to the force the structures below had to resist. "If the rest of the building can't do it," Moscatelli said, "everything begins to fall straight down." According to seismologists, or earthquake scientists, at Columbia University at the opposite end of the island of Manhattan in New York, the tower collapses were powerful enough to outregister Manhattan's last small earthquake (January 17, 2001) at slightly greater than 2.4 on the Richter scale.

What explains the volcanic plume of smoke and dust that followed the collapses? Engineers attribute the spectacular cloud eruption to two things: compressed air and atmospheric vacuum. The release of all the compressed air within the buildings propelled the pulverized bits and pieces of the structure in outward jets that initially measured as fast as 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour. "People don't think about it, but there is a large amount of air in a structure," James Redyke, president of Tulsa, Oklahoma demolition company Dykon Blasting, told The New York Times. "A building is like an accordion, and when it collapses the air has to exit someplace. It exits at a pretty good volume, carrying all the dust from concrete, sheetrock and other things inside." Another demolition contractor, Larry Gilmore, president of Controlled Blasting in Norcross, Georgia told the New York Times that air displaced from inside the buildings was not the end of the story. "As a building falls," Gilmore explained, "it pulls the atmosphere down with it, creating a vacuum behind it. Air rushes into the space that has been evacuated above and creates a downdraft that hits the debris below, pushing even more dust out with great force." The force of this torrential "debris surge" was enough to carry substantial deposits of dust more than a half-mile (0.8 km) from the site, down nearby streets and around buildings. Some smaller amounts landed up to two miles (3.2 km) away.

For those who wonder why the buildings pancaked instead of toppling over, one answer is the straight-down momentum of gravity, but another has to do with the great towers' clever engineering. The buildings had a so-called "hollow tube" design, which consisted of 61 steel columns per each face of the building connected by steel trusses to a cluster of metal columns in each tower's center. The outer ring of metal columns gave the structures a pliable stiffness and also supported much of the weight of the buildings components, including the floor pads. Jon Magnusson, chairman and chief executive of the Seattle engineering firm Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire that evolved from the Twin Towers design firm, explained in The New York Times, "As you look at the videotape, it seems that as the building frame peels back, it stays long enough for the floors to pass. The reason the buildings stood and the reason they went straight down was that strong exterior tube." The engineering firm Leslie E. Robertson Associates, R.L.L.P., named for the Twin Towers’ chief structural engineer, issued a statement underscoring the life-saving resilience of the innovative design: "We take comfort in the fact that the structures of the twin towers [survived] the impact of the aircraft, and withstood the intense heat of the fire long enough for thousands to evacuate." It is safe to say that Twin Towers architect, Minoru Yamasaki, and Robertson’s WTC engineering partner John Skilling--neither of whom were alive to witness the destruction of their creations--would also have been proud that their buildings withstood the initial impact of Boeing jumbo jets, for 767s are much larger than the biggest planes, the 707s, that flew when the men were designing the towers. Legend has it that Yamasaki's fear of heights prompted him to space the outer steel columns only 22 inches apart--less than shoulder width--but it was that framing design that may have saved thousands of lives in ways he never could have imagined.

DNA and Identifying the Dead

Elizabeth Barden

Doctors and forensic scientists are beginning the gargantuan and gruesome task of identifying the remains of people who died in the World Trade Center Attack on September 11, 2001. As rescue and recovery workers dig through the rubble, they find a few bodies and tremendous numbers of body parts. With the help of traditional identification techniques such as autopsies and studies of dental records, fingerprints or X-rays, doctors have confirmed the identities of 255 bodies as of Sept. 30. But in order to find the remains of many of the 5,219 people still missing, scientists are turning to DNA analysis. By comparing the DNA from body tissues recovered from the site with samples that friends and relatives bring in, gathered from hair brushes, tooth brushes, lip balm, and even swabs from relatives’ cheeks, scientists hope to match at least some tissues from most of the victims, and return something to their families. Because some of the remains were exposed to intense heat that could degrade DNA, scientists will try to find cells deeper inside the remains that might still be intact. The New York State police will test the DNA donated for comparison, and two firms, Myriad and Celera Genomics Corporation, will analyze the tissue recovered from the site.

Two types of DNA testing are being used, depending on the state of the tissue. The first method, useful when tissue is in fairly good shape, is standard, nuclear DNA testing. Standard DNA testing extracts the genetic material from a person’s cell’s nucleus, and examines the order of sequences of the four chemicals, or nucleotides, that comprise it. This technique focuses on 13 particular sites located at different places on the 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up human DNA. The sequences of the DNA at those sites tend to vary from person to person, so that the probability of finding a match of all 13 sites between people who are not related is less than one in a trillion.

The second type of DNA testing uses mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Mitochondria are the energy-producing organelles in each cell, and they have DNA that is separate from the rest of the cell. There is much more mitochondrial than nuclear DNA in a single cell because there are many more mitochondria in the cell than there are nuclei. Thus, even if a cell’s nucleus has degraded due to heat, pressure or bacteria, there may remain some intact mtDNA. Both men and women inherit mitochondrial DNA almost entirely from their mothers. Thus, samples for comparison can come from a victim’s mother, grandmother, maternal aunt or uncle, or any sibling. If the victim was herself a mother, samples can also come from her children, but since fathers do not pass on their mtDNA, samples from men’s children can not be used. If two or more victims are descended from the same woman, their mtDNA will be the same and their tissues will be indistinguishable using this test. Regular nuclear DNA could tell them apart unless they were identical twins.

DNA testing has become standard procedure for identifying otherwise unrecognizable remains. It revealed the identity in 1998 of the "unknown soldier" who had died in Vietnam, and pinpointed 22 of the 230 victims in the crash of TWA flight 800 off Long Island in 1996. The scientists expect to perform tests on as many as 1 million tissue samples, at a rate of 4,000 a day.

Special Feature: The Red Cross

By David Faris

When hijacked planes destroyed the world trade center, damaged the Pentagon, and crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001 some of the first aid workers on the scenes were from the American Red Cross. The international aid organization sent not only volunteer medical workers and counselors, but also much-needed blood to the scenes of unfolding disaster, providing vital support and medical help to the scores of wounded, grieving, and shell-shocked. Though nothing could mitigate the horror of the worst act of terrorism in U.S. history, Red Cross workers did their best to help control the chaos. It may have been the finest hour for the American Red Cross, but it certainly wasn't the first time that the organization's volunteers have rushed to ground zero of disaster and warfare.

What now is one of the largest international agencies in the world, with chapters in nearly every country in the world, began life as a mere proposition in the mind of a Swiss philanthropist. In June of 1859, Franco-Sardinian and Austrian forces were clashing near Solferino, Northern Italy in a particularly gruesome engagement of Italian War of Unification. On the 24th, Swiss philanthropist Jean Henri Dunant was on his way to meet with Napoleon III of France when he encountered about 9,000 soldiers from the battle in the town of Castiglione. He did what he could to assist the medics in a makeshift triage unit in a church called the Chiesa Maggiore. So horrified was he by the carnage that he stayed for several more days and in 1862 published a book called A Memory of Solferino. An international success, the book, combined with Dunant's tireless efforts, led to a conference held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1863 to discuss the treatment of wounded in wartime and the possible formation of an organization to help them, attended by delegates from 16 nations. It was there that Dunant and five other men formed International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, which would later become the International Committee of the Red Cross. The following year in Geneva, 10 nations signed the first Geneva Convention, which governed the treatment of wounded and the protection of medical personnel in hospitals. The convention defined battlefield medics as neutral and thus provided the foundation for the Red Cross's wartime activities.

Red Cross volunteers, wearing their armbands with the trademark red cross set against a white background, were able to aid soldiers in the German-Danish War of 1864. During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Red Cross workers encountered great difficulty in carrying out their jobs, as Austria and her allies had not yet signed the Geneva Convention. But the principles of free passage for medics caught on as more and more states, including Austria, signed the Geneva Convention. The Red Cross began to spread overseas, and noted humanitarian Clara Barton formed the American Red Cross in 1884.

Over the years, the Red Cross was to aid the victims of war all over the world, and the organization's flag become an international symbol for peace. For the most part, Red Cross workers were not harassed, and although they were sometimes prevented from doing their jobs - most notably during the Holocaust, when Germany prevented Red Cross workers from visiting concentration camps - the Red Cross brought comfort to untold millions. And eventually the organization's mission was expanded beyond war to encompass aiding the victims of natural and man-made disasters, like hurricanes, floods, train wrecks, and earthquakes, and famines, as well as refugees from internal conflict.

Dunant was awarded the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, and the Red Cross has received the award three times. One of the crowning achievements of the Red Cross was its effort to secure a ban on chemical weapons after workers had seen the devastating effects of mustard gas and other chemical agents during First World War. A protocol by the League of Nations in Geneva in 1925 outlawed the production and use of chemical weapons. Though the protocol has been repeatedly violated, most notably by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War and against Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s, it still stands as arguably the most successful effort to control the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Recently, Red Cross members have encountered increasing risks in their efforts to bring relief to the victims of international conflict and disaster. Red Cross workers were killed recently in the Congo, aiding victims of the terrible civil war-turned-regional conflagration that has claimed more than 2.5 million lives. And aid workers were kidnapped and later released in Somalia recently, a trend that shows no sign of abating. The organization now keeps an especially close watch on all of its deployments to make sure its workers are not put unnecessarily in harm's way. Despite the extra caution, Red Cross workers refuse to be deterred from doing their jobs. In recent years, they have stayed on resolutely in Kabul, even as the fundamentalist Islamic Taliban consolidated its brutal control over the country, and re-entered the Serbian province of Kosovo, even as NATO jets screamed overhead.

Risking life and death is part of the territory with the more dangerous humanitarian missions of the Red Cross. Today, the Red Cross has chapters in 176 countries, and carries out relief activities all over the world. It's 12,000 staff delivered 200,000 tons of food and clothing in 2000, as well much-needed medical supplies. It is also the world's largest blood-gathering institution (it provides half of the blood in the United States). The Red Cross spearheaded the massive blood donation effort after September’s terrorist attacks. The organization also provides orthopedic devices and prostheses for amputees, runs a nursing program, organizes organ retrieval and donation operations, and performs clinical blood research. 20 million people currently serve as volunteers with Red Cross and Red Crescent societies all over the world. The American Red Cross, whose New York chapter was on the scene last month, is part of a nation-wide network of 2,800 local chapters and 56 regional blood centers.

Nearly 140 years after its inception, the scope of the Red Cross's activities far exceeds anything imagined by the great humanitarian Jean Henri Dunant. He passed away in 1910, but his influence lives on in Red Cross and Red Crescent (the symbol adopted for Islamic and other non-Christian countries chapters all over the world, whose members risk life and limb in the service of bringing comfort to people in their darkest hours.

For more information about the American Red Cross, visit If you'd like information about the international network of Red Cross chapters, you can visit the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at or the International Committee of the Red Cross at, which together make up the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Chronology -- Events of September 2001


   Sen. Phil Gramm (R, TX) announced Sept. 4 that he would not seek re-election in 2002. Elected to the House in 1978 as a Democrat, he had switched to the Republicans in 1983, and in 1984 won the first of 3 terms in the Senate; a fiscal conservative, he was the 3d southern Republican senator, after Jesse Helms (NC) and Strom Thurmond (SC), to announce he would not run again in 2002. On Sept. 24, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the U.S., Sen. Fred Thompson (R, TN), announced he would run for re-election in 2002, saying, "Now is clearly not the time to leave."

   The Justice Dept. Sept. 6 said it would no longer seek to split Microsoft Corp. into more than one company, or pursue the legal claim that the company had illegally tied its network browser to its operating system. The department said it would seek to curb anti-competitive actions by Microsoft.

   The terrorist attacks accelerated fears for the economy, which already appeared headed toward recession. On Sept. 17, the Fed cut the federal funds rate for overnight loans between banks from 3.5% to 3.0%. The stock market reopened Sept. 17 and fell sharply, with equity values falling 14.3% by Sept. 21, as measured by the Dow Jones industrial average-in the worst weekly percentage decline since the Great Depression.

   The airlines, which were losing $100 million or more per day in the days after the attack because of disruption in service and a declining patronage, began laying off employees. Midway Airlines went out of business altogether Sept. 12, laying off 1,700. Continental announced Sept. 15 it would dismiss 12,000. It was followed by US Airways (Sept. 17, 11,000), America West (Sept. 18, 2,000), American and United (, 20,000 each) and Delta (Sept. 27, 13,000). The Boeing Co. said Sept. 18 that it would lay off 20,000 to 30,000 by the end of 2002 because of fewer orders for aircraft. Congress, Sept. 21, approved a $25 billion bailout package for the airlines.


   The U.S. and Israel, Sept. 3, walked out of the U.N. conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, prompted by the popularity there of a draft resolution that equated Zionism with racism and that denounced Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. The U.S. State Dept. had only sent a small midlevel delegation to the conference. On Sept. 8, the delegates from some 160 countries accepted a milder resolution that recognized the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to "an independent state" but also "the right to security for all states in the region, including Israel."

   A Palestinian suicide bomber died Sept. 4 when his bomb went off in Jerusalem. The militant Palestinian group Hamas claimed responsibility for the Sept. 9 bomb explosion in the Israeli town of Nahariya that killed the bomber and 3 others. Responding to the attacks, Israeli tanks Sept. 11 rolled into Jericho and Jenin in the West Bank, and within 3 days 13 Palestinians had been killed. On Sept. 18, the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel both ordered a halt in offensive actions. Israeli tanks and troops began to pull back in the vicinity of Jericho and Jenin. Arafat and Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres met on Sept. 26, pledging to renew peace efforts. On Sept. 28, the first anniversary of their renewed uprising, 3 Palestinians were killed, and 80 wounded, as Israeli troops opened fire on demonstrators.

   Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban militia Sept. 4 put on trial 8 foreign aid workers on charges that they had sought to convert Afghan Muslims to Christianity. The accused--4 Germans, 2 Americans, and 2 Australians--worked for Shelter Now International. On Sept. 9 Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the armed opposition to the Taliban, was killed by a bomb at his field headquarters.

   In a visit to the United States Sept. 5/6, Pres. Vicente Fox of Mexico appealed to Pres. George W. Bush, and the U.S. Congress, to legalize the status of 3.5 million Mexicans who had entered the country illegally. On Sept. 7, Fox urged the scrapping of a 1947 defense treaty among the United States and Latin nations that he said was obsolete.

   The parliament of Macedonia Sept. 6 voted 91-19 to draft constitutional changes granting more rights to the Albanian minority, in accord with an August peace agreement. Macedonia's rebel leader announced Sept. 27 that his group had disbanded. This followed news that the government had agreed to let about 700 NATO troops stay after they had disarmed the rebels in order to oversee the implementation of other aspects of the peace plan.

   A Sept. 21 explosion in a Toulouse, France, chemical fertilizer plant left 29 dead, and up to 20 people missing, and injured over 2,500.

   The U.S. House voted Sept. 24 to release $582 million in back dues to the UN. The Senate had approved the measure Feb. 7. In a vote of 99-0. Hours earlier, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had called for a role for the U.N. to play a major role in fight against terrorism.

   Friedrich Leibacher, a 57-year-old Zurich, Switzerland resident, opened fire and dropped a grenade in a crowded Zug state legislature Sept. 27, killing 14, before shooting himself dead. Switzerland's worst mass murderer, had been feuding with local authorities over a 1998 incident in which he pulled a gun on a bus driver.


   General Motors announced Sept. 25, that it would stop making the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird, two of America's favorite sports cars. The popularity of sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks was noted as the reason for the demise of the cars, introduced in 1966.


   Venus Williams defended her U.S. Open tennis singles title Sept. 8 against her sister Serena Williams, winning 6-2, 6-4. On Sept. 9, Australian Lleyton Hewitt defeated American Pete Sampras 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, 6-1, for the men's U.S. Open singles championship.

   After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the sports world was put on hold for a week. The NFL, Major League Baseball, NCAA Football, Major League Soccer, and women's U.S. Cup all cancelled or postponed games through the weekend of Sept. 16. In golf, the LPGA and PGA both cancelled events, and the Ryder Cup, scheduled for Sept. 28-30, was postponed until 2002. The NHL delayed the start of its preseason and the NBA cancelled or delayed orientation and exhibition events. In auto racing, NASCAR and the Indy Racing League also postponed events.

   Michael Jordan officially announced his return to the NBA as a player on Sept. 25. The 5-time MVP, who led the Chicago Bulls to 6 NBA titles, retired for the 2d time in January 1999. Jordan, 38, has signed a 2-year contract with the Washington Wizards. NBA rules required him to sell his ownership stake in the team and resign from his position as president of basketball operations. Jordan has said that he will donate his first year's salary--$1 million--to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Offbeat News Stories

By Kevin Seabrooke

A rose by any other name could be lunch according to organizers of a one-day food festival at the four-star Fortune Hotel. In Bangkok, where deep-fried rose petals and Thai tulip omelets were on the menu. Crowds from all over Thailand gathered to see top professional and amateur chefs create their flowery fare. Popular "foods" at the show included plumeria, a strong-smelling white flower found in most Thai gardens, as well as pink roses, marigolds, and red marsh flowers, all turned into fancy dishes or used to decorate more traditional dishes. The event's goal was to encourage Thai hotels to put the colorful creations on their menus, perhaps cultivating an interest for exporting the exotic cuisine--though not in the near future. Some observers were attracted to the aesthetics of the odd dishes, while others believed the flowers had a medicinal value similar to herbs. "My father in northeast Thailand used to teach me that if it is safe for birds and monkeys to eat, it should be safe for human beings," said one chef.

A Connecticut man was arrested in September after firefighters, responding to a report of a brushfire at his home, found him in the backyard burning a teddy bear. The man told police he was burning the stuffed animal as part of a voodoo ritual because it was possessed and he was trying to rid it of evil spirits. He was charged with reckless burning and held in custody.

100 Years Ago in the WORLD ALMANAC

The subject is "The Production of Books." Here is a list of American and Imported publications in 1900 recorded by "The Publishers' Weekly," not including government works and the production of the minor cheap libraries.





Juvenile Books


Library, History and Misc.


Theology and Religion


Education and Drama




Poetry and the Drama


Medical Science and Hygiene


Social and Political Science


Description of Travel


Biography and Memoirs


Fine Arts and Illus. Books


Physical and Math. Science


Useful Arts


Spots and Amusements


Domestic and Rural


Humor and Satire


Mental and Moral Philosophy




Of the production of 1900 there were 3,876 books by American authors, 1,390 American reprints of foreign authors, mostly fiction, and 1,090 books were by British authors imported bound or in sheets.

Links of the Month

Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief

How you can help the victims of the September 11th tragedy:

The September 11th Fund, sponsored by the United Way, is a collective national effort which is mobilizing financial resources to respond to the pressing needs of the victims and their families and all those affected by the tragedies of September 11th.

The Red Cross National Disaster Fund provides support for people in need following this disaster as well as emerging human needs resulting from this tragedy.

Just Give Relief Fund ways/ newtragedy.html. Funds will be dispersed to the families of the firefighters and police officers, the passengers and airline crew members, and the occupants of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Save the Children has established a Fund for U.S. Children in Crisis to help children who are struggling emotionally as a result of the attacks forms/ donation_us_tragedy.shtml.

New York State World Trade Center Relief Fund wtc/ ny/ nystate.htm. This fund is for the benefit of all victims both injured and deceased, including innocent civilians, the dedicated firefighters, policemen, Port Authority officers, Emergency Medical Personnel and relief workers.

Sites for Children:

Weekly Reader is providing an area on their Web site, titled "Spirit of America", to help students, parents, and teachers deal with this momentous chapter in American history.

If there are children in your life who want to express their thoughts on this tragedy, as well as learn how they can help, they should visit: site/ CDA/ CDA_Page/ 0,1004,309,00.html. YouthNOISE is an initiative of Save the Children Federation, Inc., which is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization that has been working to improve the lives of the children and youth all over the world for over 65 years.

Online Memorials

911 A Tribute to America tribute/ tribute911.html commemorates the disaster as well as the response around the world.

The New York Times has set up a site, nytimes/ sept11.asp intended as a place to remember and celebrate the lives of the men, women and children who were lost as a result of the events of September 11, 2001. There is a National Book of Remembrance that can be signed (via e-mail), as well as links to charity and relief organizations.

American Memorials memorial/ first_page.asp? idMemorial=1451 has opened up a section entitled "National Tragedy September 11, 2001," dedicated to the victims of the World Trade Center, U.S. Pentagon Building, American Airlines Flights 11 & 77, and United Airlines Flights 93 & 175. Its main purpose is to serve as a center where we may all gather to express grief and share the stories of this tragic day.

American Tragedy, a site dedicated to the memory of those who perished on September 11, 2001 and is intended as a permanent and lasting memorial. People to express their feelings about this day, tell the story of their personal experiences, or add to information on the memorial list.

Information is a the official website for the United States' response to the September 11th event, offering one-stop access to all U.S. Federal Government resources featured/ usgresponse.html

The U.S. Department of State has issued a map of the world that shows the International Toll of the September 11, 2001 topical/ pol/ terror/ terrormap.htm

World Almanac Education Group

World Almanac E-Newsletter
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
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