Web links related to the Back of the Book program of June 16, 2008

It's Sunday morning, June 29, 2008, 05:55, and I think I've made the final update to this Web page. As usual some parts of this page were written before the program and some parts were written after it, so the tense of verbs will vary. Summer is almost here! We plan to get to the below topics and more on tonight's radio 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 recently.

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

There's an adjourned LSB meeting scheduled for Thursday June 26th, at 7:00 PM, at the Sixth Street Community Center, 638 East 6th Street, between Ave. B & C, in Manhattan. This meeting will be a continuation of the June 4th meeting.

The June 4, 2008, WBAI LSB meeting picked up where it had left off on May 21. We talked about the report that WBAI's new General Manager Anthony Riddle had given us at the previous meeting. A motion suggesting an increase in funding for the WBAI News Department was passed. I don't know where that money would come from. We also set up a “task force” to put together a strategic plan for off-air fundraising for WBAI for the rest of this fiscal year.

And this meeting got seriously disrupted by a large nutcase. We spent some time discussing this after he was escorted out and I said that we needed to get a restraining order to keep him out. Faction operatives were pushing training for the LSB to deal with these sorts of things. Some said that we've all disrupted meetings in the past. Of course this came from the same people who'd suspended one LSB member for the rest of his term 18 months, for disrupting meetings far less than this guy has. The faction was trying to enforce another of their double standards. This issue of disruptions by this nutcase is still going to be dealt with.

This meeting didn't finish its entire agenda so we've scheduled a continuation of this meeting for June 26.

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. The stream was working at 8:23 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!

On this program we talked about our visit to my relatives on Long Island this past Saturday and the big storm that we got caught in. I'm sure that many of you got caught in it too. I know that the F train got caught in it!

a diner in the rain
Long Island Diner Through a Rain Swept Car Window

My cousins are not involved in any political organizations, they are not “activists” and they don't listen to WBAI. They're just normal people!

Hanging out with them is always something of a culture shock for me. But it was interesting sitting there with them when we're all adults who are middle aged and older while I remember them as small children.

We talked about our late parents and how things had been for them when they were young, and just generally talked like family members. It's not something I do often, obviously.

I've included a photograph of the diner that we waited outside of for about 40 minutes as a giant thunderstorm cell moved over Long island and my cousin's car had to sit there feeling as if we were being subjected to the attentions of a huge hose in the sky. At one point a lightning strike put out the local street lamps and some advertising signs.

And after the visiting and supper were over they dropped us off in eastern Queens where we could catch the F train, but as we started to go down the steps of the F train station at Jamaica-179th St. a young woman was coming up the steps and told us not to bother, that the F train wasn't running due to flooding from the storm! So I tried to stop my cousins but they were already driving away. We asked the young woman where we might catch a train and she said that they were having shuttle buses nearby. This was good because we really are not familiar with Queens County, and it's huge.

So we raced across Hillside Ave. to get onto a shuttle bus which was obviously about to leave, but that bus was promptly emptied as we got onto it because of some defect in the bus. We were then taken on a long ride through Queens and deposited at a subway station that only had the E train running through it. We took that into Manhattan, switched and got home right after another deluge, which ended just as we exited out subway stop in Brooklyn. What a time.

The Summer Solstice will occur this coming Friday, June 20th, at 7:59 PM (ET). You can read more about the seasons here.

We reported on the last program about New York Governor David Paterson issuing a directive that same gender marriages from other jurisdictions be honored in New York State. Well, the anti-gay bigots have since filed a lawsuit trying to stop this from happening. What creeps.

Pickles of the North and I will be marching in the annual Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans Pride March on June 29. If you're going you might want to look at the listing of who lines up where for this march. I'm glad that Heritage of Pride, which runs the annual march, is putting this information up on their Web site ahead of time for folks.

On our previous program we also talked about a Supreme Court decision that would make offering or asking for something and calling it “child pornography” a serious crime even though it wasn't “child pornography.”

And then we got a notice from Verizon going on about “Reporting of Actual or Potential Violations of Child Pornography Laws.”

Well, it turns out that this bit of hysteria is being prompted by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo having his office do little sting operations on Verizon, Sprint and Time Warner Cable where people complained about “child pornography” and the Internet Service Providers named above did nothing about it.

Now they're going to block access to such sites as part of a plea deal.

Internet censorship starts here and goes on to become the sort of censorship that places like Pakistan and China now practice.

Of course if some complainer sends them the URL of a site that he or she says contains “child pornography” and it doesn't they're liable to end up getting arrested under the law that the Supreme Court upheld last month. Strange world.

We talked about some recent discoveries related to type 2 diabetes on this program, and not just because I have it.

A couple of studies have been done recently which sure seem to indicate that type 2 diabetes is a lot more complicated than anyone had previously known.

Both studies, which included 21,000 people, indicated that keeping a tight control over one's blood sugar did not decrease the incidence of heart attacks and strokes for people with type 2 diabetes. Heart attacks and strokes cause 65% of deaths among people with type 2 diabetes.

The studies described tight control of blood glucose levels, as determined by the HbA1c test, as being in the range of 6% to 6½% with less rigorous control being defined as 7% to 7.9%. In one study the people with tight control actually suffered more heart attacks and strokes! My HbA1c tests have come in between 5.2% and 5.8% over the past four years. Good grief!

It was found that lower glucose levels did help to stave off the blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage typically caused by diabetes. So keeping good control of your blood sugar levels is still a very good idea.

The bottom line of these studies is that people with type 2 diabetes should be treated as heart patients and given statin drugs to control cholesterol levels, drugs to control high blood pressure and aspirin to control blood clotting. they also indicated that losing weight and exercising were very important.

I've been getting the statin drugs since I began trying to control my diabetes 5½ years ago. I'm on the highest dose they can give me. Jeez. And I have lost weight but it's a constant battle, and I don't get nearly as much exercise as I should.

The Veterans Administration has been doing a similar study, but its results weren't made public before this program aired. Pickles and I wondered if I was a part of that study without even knowing it!

In the May 2008, Scientific American the effects of insulin problems on the brain were outlined and the idea was floated that maybe Alzheimer's Disease should be called type 3 diabetes! Oh, not good news for me at all.

And in April there was a piece on 60 Minutes about a surgical procedure called a gastric bypass operation that is used to help very obese people lose weight. And this surgery also seems to stop type 2 diabetes in the people who'd had it and who got this surgery! Clearly this kind of surgery is not a thing to be taken lightly, but it might really help some people.

This operation severs the duodenum from the stomach and so food doesn't pass through the duodenum anymore. Surgeons reattach the stomach to the small intestine farther down. In tests with rats this procedure also stopped type 2 diabetes, and when the doctors reattached the duodenum the rats' diabetes came back!

What I think needs to be done is that the reason for the success of this gastric bypass operation in stopping type 2 diabetes needs to be really researched. What happens when the duodenum is detached from the stomach? Some sort of malfunctioning signalling mechanism must be getting cut as well and this is an area ripe for research. Maybe type 2 diabetes could be entirely forced into remission by some pill that mimics the effect of the gastric bypass surgery. Sure sounds worth a try to me.

The Mistakes we Make We had another little article from that 1898, book named The Mistakes we Make edited by Nathan Haskell Dole. I find it interesting to see what's changed and what's still the same in the world of the first decade of the 21st Century as compared to the last decade of the 19th Century when this book was written. And we had something new to compare it to on this program.

As in the past, quotations from the book are set off by a green background.

Mummy Wheat. — There is no foundation for the belief that wheat 2,000 years old will come to life. The stories of wheat found inside sarcophagi and mummy cases germinating after thousands of years have been proved unauthentic times out of number by Hooker, Carruthers, Flinders-Petrie, Newberry, and every other botanist and antiquary of any eminence, and likewise by committees of the British Association and the United States Department of Agriculture. Wheat seldom preserves its vitality beyond the eighth or ninth year. In the “Standard” lately appeared a letter from Mr. Newberry, who says that out of the seeds of thirty species of plants found by him in similar situations not one sprouted. His latest failure was with three peach-stones — probably of Roman date — disinterred from a tomb at Beni Hasan, in Upper Egypt. The fact is seeds, like the mummies, have been oxidized to the centre. At the South Kensington Health Exhibition there was shown a model of the Roman baths uncovered at Bath, and in the centre stood a large seed-pan filled with ferns, with a label attached stating that they were grown from seeds (spores) obtained from fern leaves during the excavations, and found so many feet under the Roman ruins, where they had lain so many hundreds of years—and the public believed it!

Pickles of the North read a piece about a palm tree named Methuselah.

This palm tree, believed to be an example of the extinct Judean date palm, had been planted in 2005, by researchers at the Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center at Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel. It's the subject of an article in the journal Science, which you need to subscribe to in order to read so I'm not going to post a link to it.

The seed had been found at the site of Masada, where about 900 ancient Judeans committed mass suicide rather than give in to the Roman army that was about to conquer them.

Radio carbon dating of the seed's shell and other seeds found with it, which didn't sprout, indicates that the seed is about 2,000 years old. The radio carbon dating was done by researchers at the University of Zurich. A DNA analysis shows that this little seed shares about half its genome with modern day palm trees.

The oldest documented seed to be grown before this was a 1,300 year old lotus grown by researchers at the University of California. That seed had been recovered from a lake in China.

So this shows that Nathan Haskell Dole's disdain of those who would believe that seeds could last this long was not entirely justified. Of course we have no idea of whether or not the seeds exhibited in his time were really as old as they were claimed to be. And I don't think that anyone is claiming to have grown wheat that's so old. And any seeds in close proximity to the natron-soaked mummy would probably get pretty rapidly killed off.

I'd heard for years about wheat from King Tut's tomb being grown after it had been in the tomb for 3,300 years. It looks like that might well have been a folk resurrection of the false tale started about wheat growing from ancient tombs in the 19th Century. It's funny how little stories like that can gain traction and be applied to later occurrences. King Tut's tomb was discovered in 1922, of course, decades after Mr. Dole's book was published.

So while we've not had a documented case of wheat being grown from an ancient seed we do have two documented cases of other plants growing from such seeds. So seeds in general are pretty damned tough things. I guess they'd have to be to have survived so much better than animals after the worldwide extinction events that have occurred over the geological ages. And thus we've related another of Mr. Dole's book's entries to the modern world.

Pickles of the North also talked about the phenomenon which we've been following for a while now of bees disappearing around the world. It's called “Colony Collapse Disorder” and there was a Nature program devoted to it on PBS recently.

There's a new fingerprint technology that's been developed in England. Of course this doesn't clear up the question of whether or not finger printing is really scientifically reliable nor does it say anything about how rigorous various law enforcement agencies are in their use of finger printing.

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.

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WBAI Management's official Web site

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