Web links related to the Back of the Book program of January 5, 2004
It's Sunday night 1/18/2004 21:26:08 and this Web page is done. Welcome to another year! We plan to get to more than the space stuff tonight, and we also plan on getting to a significant amount of the mail on this program. And we got to all of that; please excuse the different tenses of verbs. Different parts of this page were written at different times.
Okay, the only thing that counts now is the fact that Pacifica is finally running elections! Find out more details regarding these elections here. These elections will determine what will happen to the Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI, and what will happen to WBAI from now on.
Mr. Roger Manning from the listener group Coalition for a democratic Pacifica New York (CdPNY) attended and has posted his notes from the most recent interim Pacifica National Board meetings, along with other documents on the group's Web site.
As of September 15, 2003, the Pacifica Foundation has new bylaws! More about that here.
WBAI now has a program schedule up on its Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out. Here's a schedule made by a listener who has Web links for various programs and producers.
Our colleagues from Off the Hook now have both a RealAudio streaming web cast operating, and a new MP3 stream both of which were working at 6:44 PM last night. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed.
The Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI, has revamped its Web site and now has something called the Pacifica Lounge where you can post messages about Pacifica, WBAI and other Pacifica radio stations. This may be a good thing, and of course there are other, long term fora in which to participate.
WBAI also has a forum on its Web site now. You have to register to post messages, but anyone may read the messages.
Of course we're going to talk about all of the space related stuff tonight.
The NASA Stardust mission went off well. On Friday the spacecraft met up with comet Wild 2, coming within about 149 miles of the nucleus, and sampled the dust coming off the comet. It also took some very interesting photographs of the comet's nucleus. The folks who are in charge of the Stardust project are very pleased and now, in addition to the photographs, they're waiting for the mission to return the samples it took on January 15, 2006.
The Mars Express mission of the European Space Agency wasn't all that successful. The Mars Express orbiter arrived at Mars and has gone into orbit, and is sending back pictures of the planet. However, everyone was all excited about the Beagle 2 mission, which piggybacked on mars Express, because that lander was going to look for evidence of past or present life in an area of Mars called Isidis Planitia. Unfortunately, Beagle 2 seems to have suffered the fate of most of the spacecraft sent to land on Mars. All appeared to be going well, but no one has been able to hear anything from the Beagle 2 lander since it should have landed on the planet. Did those pesky Martians get it?
But everything got overshadowed by NASA's Mars Explorer Rover missions, which consist of two rovers that will explore the surface of Mars. The first rover is named Spirit, and it landed in the Gusev Crater on Mars late Saturday night (eastern time) and has performed perfectly since then sending back engineering data on itself and photographs of its immediate surroundings.
Pickles of the North is especially enamored of the Astrobots that are along for the ride.
The second Mars Exploration rover, named Opportunity, will arrive at Mars on January 24. We're certainly hoping that it's as successful in landing as Spirit was.
We once again read a little bit from the book The Mistakes we Make, which has a publication date of 1898. And, as you can see, the pronoun “we” in the book's title really is in lower case.
Here are the bits we read from it this time around. The excerpts have a light green background.
Gothic Architecture not invented by the Goths. — Gothic architecture, that is to say the ecclesiastical architecture characterized by pointed arches, is not in any way associated with the goths. The Italian renaissance writers applied the term Goth or Gothic in contempt of that medieval style of building prevalent in certain parts of Europe, just as they applied it to anything else that they considered ugly or in bad taste. In the literature of a hundred years ago articles of native manufacture brought to England from New Zealand and elsewhere were frequently called Gothic.
“Chamois” Leather a Sham. — Our German silver (which, by the way, is not of German origin, but has been known in China for centuries) we clean with a leather which is called chamois or “chammy skin.” This leather is not derived from the chamois, which, if we may believe the redoubtable Tartarin of Tarascon, is an all but extinct quadruped, but is the flesh side of sheepskin, reduced to an even thickness with pumice stone, and soaked in lime water and a solution of sulphuric acid. After being fulled with wooden hammers, fish oil is poured over it. This process is several times repeated, and after careful washing in a solution of potash, it is wrung, dried, made supple by stretching, and finally polished by rolling. The word itself may be derived from the Swedish samsk or the Romany chamische, meaning leather. Others derive it from the Dutch sam, soft.
Comets and Collisions. — Nervous persons are afraid the Earth may be struck by a comet. According to Babinet the chance of a collision between our Earth and a comet will occur once in fifteen million years. Arago said there was one chance out of 281,000,000.
Of course around a decade after the above was written the Tunguska event happened.
I also spoke about how Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or “Mad Cow Disease” has shown up in a cow from a herd in the United States.
Years ago I figured that this was inevitable. I cut way down on my consumption of beef and I'm glad I did. Of course there's no telling if 20 years ago I ingested some of those bad prions. The bad prions are the actual protein molecules that cause Mad Cow Disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease in humans.
I read a bit from an article about how non-deadly prions may function to help us retain long term memories. Apparently, prions taken from yeast and sea slugs have given insight into the mechanisms of long term memory storage and a hybrid of these two prions may show how Mad Cow Disease does its damage in cattle and humans.
And of course we got to some of the mail. We had a couple of cards and letters from people, and we also read some E-mail on the air. We present the E-mail here.
Fernando has been writing to us for a while. Unfortunately, Fernando has taken a nasty tack in recent months, making ridiculous accusations on a Pacifica forum and on the bleepin' blue board. Fernando seriously overstates his contributions during fund raising below, by the way. He also continues his tirade against Pickles of the North being on the program. Fernando has a problem with women in general. He also doesn't seem to understand what a non-profit radio station is allowed to do, and he has fantasies about being able to hire just anyone he's ever heard on the radio to come on to WBAI. Oh yes, we're not electing a “president” of WBAI, these is no such office.
Next we have someone who's got some ideas about what WBAI should do. There's a policy about attacking other producers on the air, so I had to edit this E-mail a little bit when I read it on the air, and those edits are reflected below.
Unfortunately, there's never any knowing in advance when I'm going to get to a particular piece of mail, so I was unable to tell Rich that I'd gotten to his. Maybe he'll see it here, however.
The next listener has a reaction to WBAI's General Manager issuing a press release starting up his old business again.
And, finally, we have a listener who corrected my misstatement about the results of an EKG I took in November.
Yeah, there's not much about me that could be labeled as “normal.” Thanks for the correction.
There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even now that the gag rule has been lifted. However, there is the Internet! There are mailing lists which you can subscribe to and Web based message boards devoted to WBAI and Pacifica issues. Many controversial WBAI/Pacifica issues are discussed on these lists.
Probably the most popular list that's sprung up is the “NewPacifica” mailing list. This one is very lively and currently includes over 400 subscribers coast to coast.
Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list and official announcements are frequently posted there.
You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.
There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.
This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.
There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand.
When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.
And then there is the historic “Free Pacifica!” list, which has been used to help organize resistance to Pacifica Management hijackers since the mid-90s. It's become a low volume mailing list because it's been eclipsed by some of the newer, more technologically advanced, lists. Just click on this link and follow the instructions, and you'll be subscribed. This is a mailing list only, it doesn't have a digest option nor does it have a web interface.
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