Naturally, no sooner than I'm charged with keeping the peace, tensions rise and people get jiggy.
Major_Tom, I'd say 'windbag' is over the top.
David B. Benson: as I see it, Major_Tom is trying to delve deeper than the myriad simplifications and formulate first a narrative of confirmed and likely events, then perhaps a corresponding model. It may seem folly to you, unnecessary, or may even contradict your understanding of events on several points. However, some weight has to be given to observables - a lot, in fact. There will always be some disagreement on particulars but certain things, like a 10+ story differential in crush front location north to south, plainly visible, are not addressed by the current state of the art.
Now, if you look around, you'll see plenty of people crowing about long-explained, phantom anomalies. Nobody really gives a rat's ass about that... However, having a crush front ahead of where a momentum transfer model with no energy sinks would predict is something to look at, attempt to understand, and explain. So is an upper block that got shredded; nothing intact passed through that spire. Now, I know you say you only need the mass present for VAF, but that's not the case for any of the Bazant series of articles. These are formulated based on a rigid top. It was not. Therefore, the mechanics, however good the results may be, is missing something very fundamental and it is legitimate to probe further.
Things like this will keep coming up! It may never be explained to the satisfaction of everyone, so be it, but if there's no attempt to explain it then it's moot.
Sure, one can say it's outside the scope of the model, or it's within the error band, or the model represents aggregate as opposed to specific behavior. Fine. Then it's unexplained. And the questions will keep coming forever.
Major_Tom wants to explore and sees you as raining on that parade by insisting that everything's fine, none of this matters. Against the backdrop of countless hours poring over images, seeing things which do not correspond to any model, that's bound to be frustrating. Likewise, I'm sure it's frustrating to do a great deal of textbook style analysis and parameter estimation, getting good fits to actuals, only to be told you're crapping on ideas by pointing out those things you believe to be true or already settled.
I still see both sides of this. This is like the two raging hemispheres of my brain. This is what synthesizes new ideas, pushes the envelope until it bends, and forges new models. But, at some point, it's going to devolve into ugliness, if it hasn't already.
Could we all please try to have more respect for the ideas of others? Somehow, I manage to juggle these seemingly contradictory ideas, maybe it's the choice of brandy in my snifter, who knows...