Web links related to the Back of the Book program of April 30, 2001
It's currently Saturday morning, 5/5/2001 09:37:32 and I've finished updating this page. We did get on the air and talked about various topics, including the scale of things, which I've got some links to below. As usual, there are some comments below in future tense and some in past tense, artifacts of the update. We put a dent in the mail backlog and the E-mails I read are posted on this page, along with comments and links. So this page is done now, and I'm already working on the next program, optimist that I am.
Here is the latest on the theft of Pacifica.
Here's my take on the current WBAI and Pacifica crisis.
And remember, there's still a gag rule at WBAI.
Okay, so our colleagues from Off the Hook probably have a RealAudio streaming web cast going. At 8:35 PM last night it was working, so good luck. There's supposed to be a new, permanent MP3 stream going, but it wasn't working when we tried it last night. I'm sure it's going to become the big stream in the future though.
The “Middle Third” is almost here! This is the best time of the year, in my opinion. The “Middle Third” consists of the months May, June, July and August. This year mid-Spring will occur on Saturday, May 5, 2001, at 6:34 PM EDT.
I read part of an article from the New York Times about what's being termed the “mesoscale.” This is not to be confused with mesoscale meteorology.
We have lots of instruments and research devoted to the largest things in the universe, such as cosmology, and we have a lot devoted to the smallest things, like quantum theory, and of course a whole lot of things devoted to the scale we live in every day. But the mesoscale, defined as being between 10-7 centimeter and 10-5 centimeter, bigger than a molecule but smaller than a living cell, has not been well explored. Indeed, there are inherent difficulties in exploring objects and processes at this range. Clearly, the activities of cells fall into this range, so this kind of exploration will probably have a lot of relevance to biological studies.
Some scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, they're not just about atomic bombs anymore, have formed the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (ICAM) to study things at this scale.
Scale is an important thing. None of us is bothered by putting a finger in contact with a drop of water, the molecular forces that keep the drop cohesive are trivial to us. But for some insects it's a major chore to get free of that drop of water, and some insects just can't do it. And of course none of us can walk on water, despite Mark 6:47-52, but some insects live on top of the water.
Of course time also has its scales. As I mentioned on the air, although I think I bollixed his name, Dr. Harold E. Edgerton (1903 - 1990) invented stroboscopic photography in order to “freeze” things that happened too fast for humans to see. Here's a Web page that shows some of Dr. Edgerton's famous photographs of things that happen on a time scale too short for us to perceive. At the other end of the time scale we have the expanding universe that moves too slowly for us to perceive. And of course there's the fact that plate tectonics is so slow that we think the land we stand on is solid and unmoving.
So this new attention to the mesoscale of things will undoubtedly give rise to insights into biology and other activities that are or will be vital to human activities.
So we got to some of the E-mails on the air. In our first missive Fernando was still going on about The Usurper George W. Bush. What can I say? He's just wrong. Fernando then goes on to his next incredible claim which is that the Roman Catholic Church is not homphobic. Anti-gay bigotry is doctrine for this superstition, and how ironic it is that so many of its clergy are gay. And as I said on the air, I separated myself from the Roman Catholic Church 33 years ago. Now if only they'd stop bothering me!
Subject: Broadcast of January 23 1am
Mon, 22 Jan 2001 18:10:08 -0500 (EST)
Merry Christmas, R.Paul,
I am writing in response to your broadcast of Monday morning January 23, 1 am. You are flat out wrong in characterizing President George W. Bush as not having been constitutionally elected. Al Gore sought to defy Florida's election rules with his illegal recounts and arbitary standards and constant re-defining of election rules when convenient. If Al Gore had been successful in this gambit, then it would have been he who had been unconstitutionally elected. PRESIDENT Bush won the electoral votes in Florida legally and therefore, as the Constitution provides, he is our legally-elected president.
You were also wrong in your portrayal of President Bush as being the candidate who sought to end the affair once it reached an outcome that suited him. That description better fits Al Gore, who sought recount after recount because he was dissatisfied with the results which constantly favored President Bush.
There is a great misconception that George Bush sought to prevent votes from being counted in Florida. He never attempted to exclude votes but instead wanted the establishment of a uniform standard for a statewide re-count. This is something Al Gore de-railed right away. Gore wanted a selective recount of votes in counties that he believed would most favor him. Remember how he attempted to obstruct the counting of the military votes, which tend to favor Republican candidates.
Another popular error is that a recount was never completed. Three recounts were in fact completed of the counties Al Gore selected and under the standards Al Gore imposed. All three recounts favored Bush. It was only when he was cornered at that point that he called for the state-wide recount of all counties. This was a clever, albeit under-handed move on the Democrats' part, since it forced Bush to appear as though he was opposing a fair re-count. By this point, however, what else could he do? There was still no uniform standard being applied, and after three recounts, which he won EVERY time, those voted were being contaminated more and more. Remember the flaking chads and misp[laced votes. A comedian at the time said it best when he described those votes as being “used like a sloppy whore.” I have followed this story closely. Take note that this past week a Miami newspaper held a recount f the votes in question and STILL Bush maintained his lead. I find it curious that this story, which could serve to remove lingering doubts about George W.'s presidency is being buried by most news outlets.
On a different subject, I ave to point out that your descriptions of the Catholic Church and Bishop Eagan are blatant bigotry. The Catholic church does not foster any homophobia but merely classifies certain acts as being contradictory to its accepted code of behavior. The Curch does not condemn people based on who or what they are. They condemn based on the actions. If you feel slighted by the Catholic Curch, remove yourself from it, but your continued tirade undermines any credabilty you might otherwise claim. Now shape up!
Maybe Fernando just needs someone to talk to. Here's another E-mail from him. Apparently he doesn't listen to what I say on the air, but instead makes up his own radio program and writes to me about it. Of course I never defended child molestation on the program he references. This doesn't matter to Fernando on his high horse, however.
Subject: Remarks regarding Feb. 5, 2001
Mon, 5 Feb 2001 02:12:35 -0500 (EST)
Dear R. Paul,
Happy Ash Wednesday! I have never thought I would live to hear anyone complain about the severity of laws against child molesters. In your broadcast of February 5, 2001, you describe the laws against child molestation as “draconian.” I say to yu, Sir, these laws can NEVER be draconian enough. Child molestation is the most vile and destructive of all crimes. It is violent, demeaning, and can have far-reaching harmful consequences as a result of starting the well-documented “Chain of molesters.” A molester does not only damage the child he is molesting but all the children, the victim in turn goes on to victimize as a result of the psychological decimation he received. How can ANY punishment be enough to make ammends for the innocence lost in these horrible, horrible situations. You have spouted a great deal of comments that I have disagreed with but these comments usually make themselves absurd by their own extreme left-wing nature and I can therefore easily disregard them. This most recent disertation defending the rights of child molesters, however, needed to be addressed by me. You should be ashamed of yourself. I would suggest that if the penalties passed on child molesters were MORE draconian, we may succeed in deterring such crimes in the future. I realisticly of course am aware that contemporary society does not have the intestinal fortitude so as to practice the terminal measures I support to the degree or scale on which they would be most effictive. We live in a world where justice is compromised for political expediency.
I must also take issue with your defense of pornography and the material you described which contained the images of minors performing sexual acts. I have to wonder why this material needs to be defended. Would the world really suffer if kiddie porn were outlawed? Don't cry first ammendment rights here as you are prone to do. There is a HUGE margin between the Big Brother-esque degree of censorship you so fear and simply doing away with CHILD PORNOGRAPHY! I really have to wonder about people who defend this stuff so fervently. If it is a genuine concern over random censorship, you are being extreme and paranoid. This is simply doing away with material that would inspire nothing good in any case. Thank you.
Our next correspondent refers to my talking on the air about having been in Las Vegas for a few days at the end of January and beginning of February. Pickles of the North and I went around on the monorail system as much as possible. It shows how things would go if public transportation were left up to commercial interests. The monorails go where the casinos want them to go and that's to their properties - period.
A Woman Named Cyn, whom our listener also mentions, has moved to California and we even have some recent correspondence posted from her.
Subject: las vegas
Sun, 11 Feb 2001 0:39:29 -00
Dear Mr.Martin, I was in Las Vegas too, @end of January. We stayed at the Riviera, and I took the local bus #301 to go to MGM Grand. Then, I took the tram/monorail to the Manderlay Bay and Luxor. It was strangely fun, because we get to stay up all night, and walk around each Casino in the wee hours. Some stores are closed, but it was safe and there were always people playing. I liked free access to new and clean buildings/hotels. Even homeless person in NY can appreciate clean/luxurious bathroom and safety. It was like exploring mazes played the five cent slot machine too. I won thirty dollars from video game with leopards in jungle. It was odd that Vegas designed five cent game so we can have fun rather than gamble. I also went to Laughlin, Nevada. They have same Casino center in smaller scale, but even more desolate and isolated in the desert, except the Casinos and the trailers. The bright lights were erie? and air was very clean and crisp at night. I really like Nevada now. By the way, whatever happened to your friend Sinn? You uesd to talk about Sinn, and apt moving.
This next E-mail comes from a listener who refers to the WBAI “Midnight Coup”. I think I had to leave out a little bit of this letter on the air because of the gag rule.
Subject: S-tek7 - 2001.02.19
Mon, 19 Feb 2001 01:58:04 -0500
I am a young black man that started listening to WBAI about half a year ago. The show that “brought” to WBAI was Off The Hook... because I am a computer junky. I wrote this tell you I like your show, it is very informative. Recently am kind of intrigued and appalled of the things that have been happening to WBAI after the “coup” and I have seen the dramatic change between 6 months ago and now, just listening to the last fund drive and the current one, there is a big difference. Keep up the good work. I know the a lot of people have probably said this but, WBAI has challenged and changed my way of thinking... well not change but made me more open to ideas because I have always though out of the box. Thanks for your time, and again keep up the good job.
Our next E-mail writer talks of the Roman Catholic Church appointing a Patron Saint for the Internet. I remember all of this Patron Saint crap from when I was in school. There's a Patron Saint of not quite everything, and I've inserted links to a couple of specific ones referenced in the E-mail below; alas there is no Patron Saint of the commode. And, yes, all Roman Catholic saints are A.D. They'd have to be since the superstition that invokes them could not by definition have started in times “B.C.” I've had to amend Nick's link below because it was so long it caused problems in formatting. Just click on it and you'll still go there though.
Subject: Holy Net!
Mon, 19 Feb 2001 03:29:08 -0500
Hi R. Paul,
I just saw an article on the WEB stating that the Vatican is about to name a patron saint for the Internet. The link to the article is [excessively long so I've just provided a link - rpm]
Apparently, it's going to be St. Isidore of Seville, born 560 (A.D., I presume), who believed all knowledge could be written down, and who wrote a 20-volume encyclopedia in that effort - according to the article. I know that occupations (groups of people) have patron saints; it never occurred to me that things can have patrons saints. Does my radio have a patron saint
, my shoes
, my toilet bowl? This patron saint idea probably goes back to the Romans, who had numina (spirits - sort of) who had to be placated. A crossroad was a very big deal; each had it's own “spirit.” the household had it's guardians - lares and penates. well, it's good to know st. isidore will be looking out for us.
(please use only my first name if you read this on the air.)
Fernando is back with another E-mail, this time in credulous reference to a stupid presentation on the Fox Network, which brought us the “alien autopsy” program a few years ago that was so obviously a hoax. This latest assault on reason contended that the Apollo Moon landings never occurred. I guess the Fox motto is “There's a Fox viewer born every minute.”
There were far too many witnesses to the Apollo Moon landings for them to have been a hoax. Would no one have said anything after almost 32 years? Also, the landing area for one of the Lunar Lander Modules has apparently been photographed by a recent spacecraft. This is contrary to the main contention of the wacky author that the Fox Network based its latest fraud on.
Oh, yes, Pluto: Pluto's a planet unless you're from the Hayden Planetarium.
Subject: Astronomy question
Tue, 20 Feb 2001 17:54:09 -0500 (EST)
Dear R. Paul,
I listen to your broadcast regularly and while we don't share any similar political opinions, I believe I am correct in my belief that we are both interested in the field of Astronomy and we are both curious in all things pertaining to the stars. As a fellw fan of the cosmos, I would like to know your thinking on the following matters.
First, I have recently read an article concerning a disagreement over the classification of Pluto as a planet. There are some scientists who believe Pluto is actually part of a debris field that lies just beyond our solar system and therefore can not be technically a planet. What do you think? Have you heard about this debate? Do we really only have EIGHT planets in our solar system?
On another matter, I recently watched a TV special on the FOX network that raised the question of whether or not the famed July 1969 Apollo mission to the moon was faked. The special primarily cited the work of Bill Kaysing, who wrote the 1981 book, We Never Went To The Moon, to support this idea. Kaysing points to the very footage taken by the alleged Apollo astronaughts as evidence.
Kaysing states that this footage shows the flag waving when there should be no air to cause this. He also points out contradictory lighting in the footage and the lack of a blast crater underneath the lunar lander. What do you think about this, R. Paul? Did we really go to the moon or not? Why is the flag flapping in that footage? Was the technology to reach the moon really not available? Please ANSWER!
Thank you for your attention. I will be listening.
This next one I couldn't read in its entirety on the air. We do live in troubled times at WBAI. What to do about the marathon is a serious and troubling question for most of the people on the air. I think that there's a serious problem of the station getting defunded, and yet I also know that the Pacifica National Board spends listener sponsors' money on things like trying to bust the Unions at the various Pacifica radio stations, and for armed guards, public relations firms to cover up their incompetence and for flying Board members all over the country when it's not necessary. I believe in informed consent for the listeners. I think that listeners should be informed of exactly what the situation is and then they can decide if they want to contribute and how much. I say, “Share the dilemma.”
Subject: the marathon
Sat, 24 Feb 2001 11:54:08 -0500
I admire what YOU are doing, both on the air and in your very well designed web-site. I still don't see any reason to make any monetary contribution to a station with a gag rule policy. When we can learn what the “facts” are, who the alleged Svengali is, what are the justifications for these drastic acts - when we can be respected and assumed to be able to make up our own minds about what has occurred, I will be happy to double my contribution to WBAI.
(Sorry to load all this on you...I'm just letting off steam)
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.
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