Web links related to the Back of the Book program of January 24, 2000

It's Sunday night, 1/30/2000 21:43:35. I'm declaring this Web page done at last. Sorry it's taken so long to get this page updated, but I've been having those ISP blues again. RCN is really making it difficult for me. So if you're using an ISP that you think is really good then please let me know about it.

Some folks take phone calls on the air, I take mail. Some of the E-mails I read on the last program are on this page too.

The reporters and stringers who work for the Pacifica Network News are threatening to go out on strike. Read about this latest development in the Pacifica Crisis via the link I have on the Pacifica Theft Page.

The Web cast of tonight's program is probably working. Here are your choices:

Paul Williams of UFO Desk is arranging for this feed. And we thank Porus dot com for this feed.

“Emmanuel Goldstein” of Off The Hook is maintaining this feed.

I talked about a scam called “Air Core Cooking” on the last program. The link showed up pretty late, so if you didn't get to look at this stuff, then here's a second chance.

I'm sure you've looked at the Moon some time when it's been coming up over the horizon or was pretty close to it. It looks huge then. Long ago I learned that this was an optical illusion. One way to prove that to yourself is to just hold you fist out at arm's length whenever you see the Moon. Extend your thumb. Compare the diameter of the Moon, the full Moon is easiest but anything other than a thin crescent will do, to the width of your thumbnail. They're approximately the same. You can see this no matter where the Moon is, overhead at its zenith or just over the horizon, when your brain wants to see it as gigantic.

So it's been known that this is an optical illusion for a very long time, thousands of years, and only in the past fortnight has a father and son team of scientists proven why this optical illusion occurs.

As I said on the air, this sort of thing happens because humans evolved to deal with that proverbial lion in the grass, not with objects a quarter of a million miles away in space. We are all still the products of those creatures that evolved on the plains of east Africa long ago. Natural selection made us able to deal pretty well with things on the ground at close range, but there was never any real threat to humans from the sky. So no ability to figure out just what we're looking at in the sky was ever necessary to our ancestors' survival. The end result is that our eye/brain combination doesn't have the ability to properly process information about things in the sky and so it applies the algorithms it uses to interpret what's seen on the ground to process these sky observations. The result is misinterpretation and the acceptance of illusion as reality. In my opinion, this is the root of almost all UFO sightings.

On the air I read a piece from the New York Times about the discovery that the CBS TV News is using digital technology to change their “actualities,” the things they show us that are supposed to be real life. What they've done is superimpose the CBS logo over things they don't want you to see, such as the NBC logo that was in Times Square during the recent hoopla. They've done this with sports in the past, and that's bad enough, but CBS has begun using this technique on its news programming, which is alarming.

The folks at CBS News say that it's all okay, as far as they're concerned. I see visions of George Orwell's 1984, and worse.

And of course there was mail! I'm always surprised when folks discover the program and like it. That's probably why I'd never make it in commercial media. Most of those folks have the opposite view: they can't conceive of anyone not liking any damned thing they do. Explains a lot.

Subject: your radio show Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 14:54:38 EST
From: LedBug
To: rpm@glib.com

i heard your radio show on sunday, nov 14th. i laughed my ass off. then i went to your website, and laughed once again. you are a funny guy, and i will be listening every other sunday at 1 am for you. thanks for the laugh.... adam ps. the story about the fat kid in 1st grade was funny as hell....

The next missive asks a question that becomes more and more relevant with every passing stupid court decision by an ignorant judge.

Subject: encryption
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1999 10:33:49 -0500
From: "jay"
To: <rpm@glib.com>

i need the strongest encryption program any ideas where i can get it. thanks good luck and love back of the book

The best encryption I know about that an ordinary person can afford is “PGP,” Pretty Good Privacy, which was a program written by a guy named Phil Zimmerman, who had to withstand some serious governmental oppression because he wrote something that the government snoops don't want people to have.

Here's a fast and dirty FAQ about PGP.

Here's where to get PGP if you want it.

And here are some other E-mails that I read during the last program. Return addresses withheld to avoid problems.

Subject: sunday night
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 23:41:55 -0800 (PST)
From: Inspector Gadget
To: rpm@glib.com

thanks for making me laugh. swamped by impending final exams this week (and a few prayers for the MTS strike) it was refreshing, to say the least, to hear you on the radio. A gal can only read “socially constructed” and “post-modern” so many time late Sunday night before going bananas. So thanks, and if Pacifica does can you, where will you go? Maybe you and Vin Scelsa can start your own radio station (oh and that nice Cousin Brucie too, he seems like such a lovely fellow!)

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 16:15:40 -0500
From: Andrew
To: "'rpm@glib.com'" <rpm@glib.com>

R. Paul
I've been listening for about a year and a half now. I enjoy your show. I've been wondering, each week you start the show by saying “the letter to Susan from Long Island is not yet ready”. What does that mean? Is it an inside joke that I missed before I started tuning in? Just curious.


Actually, I've owed the listener known as “Susan from Long Island” a letter for several years. I am such a procrastinator. With her permission I'm not mentioning it anymore — until I finally get it written!

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 16:58:13 -0800
From: john
To: <rpm@glib.com>

Hi R. Paul,
I am an 18 year old avid listner. I have a couple of questions though, if you want to answer them.
1. Why do you call Pickles of the North, Pickles of the North?
2. What do you think of America's relationship with Cuba?
3. Why don't you ever talk about some films that you like? I'd be interested in knowing your taste in movies.

I loved your show on Jean Shepard. I adore your show all around, you often make me laugh with all your voices and things. Keep up the great work!

There are a lot of issues that we can't talk about on the air at WBAI. But there is an Internet list called “Free Pacifica!” which you can subscribe to, and these issues are discussed there. If you subscribe to it you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

If you want to subscribe to the “Free Pacifica!” list just click on this link and follow the instructions, and you'll be subscribed. Could open your eyes a little bit.

The above list has occasionally produced a high volume of E-mail because of the attention that these issues have drawn. If you would prefer to subscribe to a low volume list that only provides announcements of events related to these issues then subscribe to the FreePac mailing list.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

Union bulletin #12

Free Pacifica Web site

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page and subsequent Web pages on this site are copyright © 2000, R. Paul Martin