Web links related to the Back of the Book program of May 5, 2008

It's Sunday morning, May 18, 2008, 03:18, and this Web page is going to have to be declared finished. My old computer finally gave up the ghost more than a week ago. So I haven't been able to do any more updates here. The photograph of the fountain at the ass end of Wall St. will have to wait until the next radio program. Before the final computer crash I'd again updated this Web page with a few more things related to the radio program, including something from Pickles. It's the Middle Third and mid-Spring! We plan to get to the below stuff, mail, voice mail and more on tonight's program.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of many of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do, and I've updated them this past week.

We posted the election results from the WBAI elections on the Web page for the April 21, program.

There's a regular LSB meeting scheduled for May 21st, at 7:00 PM, at District Council 1707, at 75 Varick St., just north of Canal St., on the 14th floor. Take the A, C, E, or 1 trains to Canal St. Bring a photo I.D. to get into the building. This location is wheelchair-accessible, and public comment is welcome.

At the April 23, 2008, WBAI LSB meeting we really crammed two meetings and three meetings worth of elections into one night.

I've already posted a Web page about this meeting. And I've also posted the results of the elections for LSB officers, PNB Directors and PNB committee seats on that page.

As you can see, I got elected to be the Treasurer of the LSB. Good grief.

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 8:04 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!

While we're on the air there will be a meteor shower going on! The Eta (η) Aquarid meteor shower is supposed to peak at 4:00 AM today, Monday, May 5, 2008.

This meteor shower consists of the debris from Halley's Comet.

You can read more about it here.

We'll be pitching on the next program on May 18/19.

We hope that you'll pledge to WBAI while Back of the Book is on at that time.

If you listen to the radio program on tape or via the Internet archives you probably won't be able to pledge during the program, but you can send us a check ahead of time. A regular one year membership is $25. So please send a check made payable to “Pacifica/WBAI” and send it to:

R. Paul Martin
120 Wall St. 10th floor
New York, NY 10005

And we hope that everyone who listens pledges or sends in a check.

I should also point out that we'll need help answering the phones. In order to answer the phones you'll have to get into the building. The building Management now requires that you get your name added to a list so you can enter 120 Wall St. So if you want to volunteer to answer phones for this 'thon you should call the WBAI switchboard at 1-212-209-2800 during business hours and let the folks in charge know you want to volunteer so they can put your name on the list. We always need more folks to answer the phones.

dawn of the Middle Third
Dawn of the 2008 Middle Third

The Middle Third is here! The months May, June, July and August constitute the Middle Third of the year. To me this is the best part of any year. There's lots more sunlight and the weather is warm, sometimes even hot. I always look forward to this time of year. Hell, it already smells like the Middle Third out there!

I just had to take a photograph of the Sun as it rose for the first dawn of this Middle Third. I attenuated the fierce glare of the Sun by holding the “eclipse glasses” we got from Astronomy magazine some years ago in front of the digital camera. With everything as protected as I could get it I shot this photograph as the Sun cleared some buildings.

And it will be exactly mid-Spring at 10:53 AM (ET) today!

We're going to talk a little bit about a couple of new studies that suggest that about 70,000 years ago the human species had dwindled down to only about 2,000 individuals.

The scientists who did one of the studies, from The Genographic Project, think a drought in Africa was what caused the number of humans to plummet. But 70,000 years ago was not that long after the most recent super volcano exploded. I've done a show about the super volcano in the past.

I still think that it's possible that the near extinction of humanity is related to the ecological devastation caused by the explosion of the Toba super volcano about 75,000 years ago.

As part of the 18th anniversary of the launching of the Hubble Space Telescope the Hubble Site has released 59 images of galaxies in various states of collision. The collection is called “Galaxies Gone Wild!”

NGC 6050 galactic collision - courtesy NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Project

Some of the images really are wild looking, especially if you understand what you're looking at: gigantic collections of stars, gas, dust, planets, and maybe some living beings, all gravitationally bound to each other and in many cases tearing each other apart.

What must it be like to be living in a galaxy that's colliding with another galaxy? Well, it's like this. I mean, you're in a galaxy that's involved in a collision right now. In fact our own Milky Way Galaxy is involved in collisions with several galaxies at this moment. Some galaxies that are colliding with “us” are going to have some stars stripped off them but they'll get away, some others are in the process of being terminally consumed by the Milky Way. In a couple of billion years all of their stars, gas and dust will be incorporated in the Milky Way and they'll cease to be separate galaxies.

Of course the big show will commence in a somewhat further future when M31, the Great Galaxy in Andromeda, collides with the Milky Way. M31 is bigger than our galaxy, and the two will most likely merge. That event will probably be as spectacular as any of those in the images they're showing from the Hubble Space Telescope. None of us will be around for that show so we may as well marvel at these images from the Hubble Space Telescope while we can.

Pickles here. We also discussed the growing global food crisis. It's pretty bad and only going to get worse, as extreme weather due to global warming makes growing crops ever more difficult, along with agribusiness destroying subsistence farming and big nation's wantin' their beef. Not to mention crops that would go to feeding people being used for biofuels. Yikes.

As I noted on the air we had an unpleasant surprise as we were heading into this program.

We were leaving the Wall St. IRT station when Pickles noted that I'd wanted to photograph the air sampling machine that's down there. We don't know if this thing is sampling the air for ordinary air pollution, unexploded dirty bombs or particulates left over from 9/11. It has a sticker on it identifying it as belonging to the Department of Environmental Protection.

my dead digital camera
Mustek MDC 830Z

So I whipped out my digital camera, a Mustek MDC 830Z, and went to take a fast photograph of it before we continued on to the radio station. But the camera was dead! It wouldn't turn on at all. I tried again and it turned on for less than one second, extended the lens and then died again. After a few more tries I got it to turn on briefly again and retract the lens. With that I put the camera away and we continued on to the station.

After the program and since then I've been trying to get the camera to work. But all it'll do is initially turn on and then shut down. Something is definitely wrong with it. So I'm not at all pleased with this development. I've been getting used to being able to photograph things and put them right up here on the Web site. I really don't want to have to go back to the days of having to get the film developed and then scanning it in before I have a digital image.

So this looks like another technical problem I have. Wrecked computers, dead cassette recorders and now my digital camera won't work anymore.

Pickles has found the warranty information. Mustek is based in Taiwan, and they're apparently dumping this line of cameras on the market now. On their site they offer them at an amazingly high price and offer a 30 day warranty. We got ours from BUY.COM for a much more reasonable price. The warranty card says that we have a 1 year warranty, so it's still in effect, the camera is only 9 months old, and the company that issued the warranty is located in California. We're hoping that this doesn't become a long, sad saga.

Today we celebrate the festival of Sinko da Mayo.

This is the commemoration of the event in the 19th Century when the Hapsburgs needed an important shipment of egg yolks to be delivered to Mexico. They put all of the egg yolks in a ship named Mayo. Since the Hapsburgs were never very popular outside of a small valley in Austria there were folks who wanted to stop this shipment. Chief among these antagonists were the disgruntled culinary artistes of Mexico City. So as the Mayo drew close to the shore the order was given to “Sinko da Mayo!” The culinary artistes attacking the ship didn't have proper shells for their cannon so they instead used whatever was nearby that would fit in the guns. Since they were headquartered in a seaside delicatessen they were surrounded by many bottles of vegetable oil and vinegar which they fired at the ship.

The bombardment was fierce and eventually the ship ran aground, violently shaking the cargo and crew. Meanwhile the vegetable oil and vinegar had soaked into the hold where the egg yolks were and it had all been mixed thoroughly together.

The joyous culinary artistes boarded the ship and engaged in hand to hand combat with the crew, showering them with tomatoes and lettuce. After the crew fled the culinary artistes were hungry and decided to eat some of the produce which had helped them win the great victory. So they put their former ordnance between slices of bread and ate it. But some of the sandwich filling had gotten covered with the mixed up cargo in the hold. The victors ate the sandwiches anyway and were amazed that they liked the taste.

And this is how mayonnaise was invented. And I certainly hope that this is not a wasted yolk.

R. Paul's now late computer
My Computer on its Final Legs

As regular listeners will know I've been complaining about my old computer for a long time now. Well, it finally died so dead that even I couldn't revive it this past fortnight. As a result I was unable to put stuff up here to update this Web page as much as I'd have liked to.

Some stuff didn't even get written down.

I still plan to show you all the fountain at the ass end of Wall St. at some point. That'll probably have to wait until the next program, however.

Anyway, I've obviously got a new computer now, not that I can afford it. And I'll be updating Web pages as much as I can for the next program. But I expect the new computer to last a couple of years at least.

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.