Web links related to the Back of the Book program of March 24, 2008

It's Saturday morning, April 5, 2008 11:56, and I've updated this page with the latest announcement of when the WBAI election results will be certified, and some information from Pickles of the North about that BudBurst project we covered on the air. Spring is here! And a hopping oyster to all who care. I'm told that I'll have to wait a month to wish everyone a merry underpass. We plan to talk about the below stuff and more on tonight's radio program, we also plan to get through all of the mail tonight. I'm sure we'll talk a bit about ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer, among other things.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of many of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do.

UPDATE as of Saturday, April 5, 2008: The balloting in the 2007, WBAI elections is over at last. The surviving Elections Supervisor has counted the ballots. Here is his latest E-mail on the subject.

Subject: Update from Caleb Kleppner
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2008 11:08:52 -0400
From: Vote WBAI
To: votewbai@gmail.com, "DanMSiegel@aol.com"
CC: caleb@trueballot.com

Caleb Kleppner reported that after all ballots had been scanned on Monday, March 31, he reviewed every single ballot in both staff and listener elections and reconciled the lists of PINs and eligible voters. This involved eliminating listener ballots cast by people eligible to vote in the listener election and eliminating original ballots cast when a replacement ballot was also received. From this reconciliation, he produced an overall list of PINs voted, a list of names and addresses of people who turned in eligible ballots, and a list of unmatched PINs that did not appear in the list of eligible voters. Official STV tallies will be run with and without the ballots containing unmatched. He expects to report final certified results by Wednesday, April 9.

Delays in certifying the election resulted from a) being home with a sick child, b) the large number of PINs that were not machine readable, and c) several features of the printed ballots that required a significant number of ballot images to be corrected in the reviewing process.

If you wish to contact Caleb before or after the results are certified, you can reach him at 203-376-4080 or caleb@trueballot.com .

On Saturday, March 15, 2008, Local Elections Supervisor Dale Ratner, who is now solely in charge of election supervision at WBAI, took the box of ballots that had been sealed by court order on November 19, and the ballots collected on November 16, and brought them to WBAI to be counted.

A quorum for the listener part of this election was 1,552 ballots. It is reliably reported that about 2,482 listener ballots have been cast.

A quorum for the Staff part of this election was 66. It is reliably reported that approximately 96 Staff ballots have been cast.

So the quorums for this election had in fact been met in November.

Here is a more detailed description of the ballot counting.

There has been a lawsuit filed about the way this election has been handled. Now that the balloting is over I can put in a link to the Web page that has the most detailed information about the lawsuit. Here is a posting about some of the later details of the case. The counting still has to be done and there's still the possibility that there could be further legal action, so I'll continue to update this information until we finally have certified election results.

There's a regular LSB meeting scheduled for March 25th at 7:00 PM, in the Bread and Roses Art Gallery of Local 1199, at 310 West 43rd St. between 8th & 9th Avenues, in Manhattan. Since the election results ought to be in by then this should be the first meeting of the Fourth WBAI LSB. The ballots may not be counted until March 31, so this LSB meeting will consist of the same bunch of holdovers.

WBAI 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.

WBAI has an official Web stream of what's on the air at any time! You can go here and pick which type of stream you want! If this stream isn't working let me know. It was working all right at 9:03 PM last night.

WBAI is archiving the programs! Just go here and you'll be able to listen to the program any time for the next couple of months. When you first go to the Web page you'll only see the WBAI programs for the past 7 days. If you want to see older programs you can click on one of the “See ALL Shows” buttons.

Back of the Book is now one of the programs that you can download, as well as listen to on line.

I'm glad to announce that with a new person doing the archives there have been some positive changes. In the table on that Web page Back of the Book and Carrier Wave are both in the Show column. The “Date and Category” column shows the date of the program. After the program I go in and write the details of the program and say which program it is. Of course I'd recommend that you just listen to both programs in this time slot!

cover of The Space Ship Under the Apple Tree

Our friend Seth gave me a book a while ago. It's the first book I ever got out of the library, and the first non-text book that I ever read.

I'd mentioned the book on the air at some point and Seth was able to find a copy of it somewhere. Thank you Seth!

The book is The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree by Louis Slobodkin.

About a month or two ago I decided that I should reread this book because it would be a way of sort of revisiting my first non-classroom reading experience. Well, my first my first non-classroom experience with a real book as opposed to comic books. I've been not getting to this project since then. However, this past fortnight I finally did read it.

I must say that I read it a bit faster this time than I'd been able to on the first try. When I was 6, or 6½ as I would have put it then, it took me 2 or 3 days at least to read it. This time it took me about an hour and fifty minutes, including a bathroom break part way through it.

I'd expected a little nostalgia trip with this book, but what I got right away was rather a surprise. The viewpoint character of this book is an 11½ year old boy named Eddie Blow who is into science and lives in New York City! There are some amazing parallels in this character to me.

So it raises the question: did this book have a huge influence on me and my life or did a canny Brooklyn Public Library librarian figure that this was just the book for a precocious 6 year old?

In fact I was technically too young to get my first library card, which is what I'd gotten that very day. But if you were 6 and accompanied by your parent you could sort of try out for one. The librarians would consider making an exception in some cases if they thought you could handle it. They would require you to know the rules of the library before they'd issue you the library card, which would actually bind your parent to being responsible for the books. So the librarian gave me a card with the rules of the library written on it to read and she walked away. I read it and memorized the rules in nothing flat. On the advice of my mother I didn't tell them I was ready for their little test right away, she had me pretend to keep on studying the card full of rules for a while. Of course I passed the test very easily, being able to recite back all of the rules exactly as they were written down. Hell, I was in Catholic School, rapid memorization of rules was already an adaptive skill I'd had to learn.

So I guess I have to consider the possibility that this little book influenced me for the rest of my life. Good grief.

We frequently talk about astronomical subjects on this program, and a lot of the most exciting topics in that area tend to concern events that we can only read about because only scientists with sophisticated equipment can see them.

Well, this past week a cosmic event happened that could actually have allowed a person to witness an explosion that happened about 7 billion years ago, around half the age of the universe.

A gamma ray burst is a phenomenon that is usually caused by some huge, explosive event. Scientists have been studying gamma ray bursts intently for a couple of decades because they were such an unexpected event when they were first observed. There are now observation satellites and ground networks dedicated to discovering and recording these explosive events.

This past Wednesday morning if you happened to be looking at the constellation Bootės you might have seen a faint dot of light show up and then fade away within a minute or so. If you had seen it you would have been looking at light that had been traveling since long before the Sun and the Earth had come into being.

Having some of the energy of the explosion that caused a gamma ray burst be visible to the naked human eye is pretty much unheard of, especially at a distance of 7 billion light years. The fact that any part of it was visible to the naked eye means that this explosion was one of the largest ever found.

If you somehow missed this event, no problem, it has been recorded here.

Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke died this past week. Pickles of the North will talk about his life and works.

Here is a Web site for a project, called BudBurst, that helps ordinary people and especially kids contribute scientific information to keep track of the effect of global warming on plants blooming where they live.

We've been reporting recently on censorship issues relating to the governments of some countries blocking access to YouTube within their borders, and sometimes blocking access to that Web site for the entire world. Well, This week China has been blocking everyone in China from seeing anything on YouTube because videos have been posted there which show the protests in tibet and the sometimes deadly Chinese Government's reaction to them. I guess you can really tell what medium is in the lead for getting attention worldwide by seeing who's cracking down in them. At this time YouTube must be in that lead.

Speaking of things on YouTube that some people might want to censor we present here a recent performance by Pickles of the North's father at his 53rd annual St. Patrick's Day amateur theatrical event.

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.

Our very own Uncle Sidney Smith, whose program Carrier Wave alternates with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

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

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2008, R. Paul Martin.