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

It's Friday 7/28/2000 09:24:15, and I'm hoping that I'm done with this page. I've been delayed by my time being taken up trying to get a network to function, but here it is at last. I've corrected a little code problem on this page that was sending folks back to my former Web site. So you won't get lost so easily now. There's another black box on this page. I'm not thrilled with this. I did get to a significant amount of mail on the program. This Web site is on a new host now, so let me know if you have any troubles, or if it's better or faster than it used to be.

On the last program I reported that the Pacifica National Board, the governing body of the Pacifica Foundation which owns WBAI, had announced that their next meeting would be held in New York, after an absence of more than two years. Well, their New York meeting will be held in Washington, D.C. in September! Makes you wonder what they're afraid of. Pacifica Management has also hired a new, expensive, Public Relations firm. This is what they're spending listener sponsors' donations on. Take a look at the Pacifica Theft Menu.

The WBAI Web cast was working at 8:20 PM. So you should be able to get it.

This is the latest WBAI RealAudio feed.

David Ben-Ami
1954 - 2000

Someone else I know has died. David Ben-Ami produced at least one radio program on WBAI back in 1996, or so. He was a good guy and I talked about him a bit on the program. I knew him mostly as a bisexual activist.

I remember David as almost always smiling. He was very encouraging to me during my years all alone when I was looking for a relationship and couldn't find anyone who wanted to be in one with me. He once said that those of us who are odd shouldn't think that a “normal” wouldn't be able to have a successful relationship with us. And as it turns out, I'm in that situation now! He had kind words during the trials of my 1994 Spring Offensive.

David was a bright guy. He knew nothing about computers, but found them interesting. One day he was cleaning out somebody's basement or something and he found a couple of ancient Kaypro computers. These things ran on an Operating System called CP/M. David asked the owner if he could have them and the owner said sure, since they were being thrown out anyway. David was able to teach himself about computers through this acquisition and eventually made at least some part of his living, I don't know how much, in computer work.

David published a little pamphlet/magazine called Different Drummer some years ago. It stopped publishing after a while. He also had a Web site that, unfortunately, also is rather out of date.

He was a good guy and I'll certainly miss him


Speaking of bisexual stuff, I find that The Villager published an article on bisexuals in the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans movement. I'm in this one. So here's the article.

During the program I went on about this amazingly bizarre proposal from North Korea, communicated to the rest of the world by former Soviet KGB grunt and current President/Dictator of Russia Vladimir Putin, that they'd forego further missile development if the rest of the world gave them rockets! They said that they just wanted to explore space. Yeah, right.

They've since clarified their proposal, or backed off it a bit, and say that they'd like other countries to put their satellites in orbit for them. This would be for free, I suppose. Everybody else who can't loft a payload beyond the Earth's atmosphere has to pay through the nose for these kinds of services. The United States even has paid other countries, like Communist China of all places, to send satellites into space. But the idiot government of North Korea is supposed to get a free ride. They're still not quite in touch with reality.

The latest proposal is in some ways worse than the original wacky idea. The stupid Commie bastards are now saying that they want their satellites launched by other countries, but they'll still continue working on missiles as a self defense measure! The only bait they had for this scheme in the first place was that nobody wants these lunatics making missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead to American territory. Here's the story from the New York Times.

So some folks at the Cognition and Brain Science Unit of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, say they have isolated two parts of the brain that are involved in the cognitive processes that we generally think of as actual thinking or “intelligence.” I read a little from a piece in the Times about their research. They say that they've found that when people are thinking about something like a question on an I.Q. test the prefrontal lateral cortex of the brain, two small bits on either side, show a lot of activity. Dr. John Duncan is the main guy in charge of all this.

Let me say first of all that in my opinion I.Q. tests are a crock of, um, used food. I did a program about this topic about ten years ago. Maybe it's time to revisit it.

But this is intriguing research in that it may have found the place(s) in the brain where we organize our thoughts about the world around us. This may all turn out to be much more complex as the research progresses, but this is certainly an interesting piece of science news. Of course we shouldn't get our prefrontal lateral cortexes in a tizzy over it.

Oh yeah, I got the spatial question right in the Times, but I couldn't get the verbal one. And I don't think the verbal one was a verbal question, either. These two questions didn't do anything to alter my opinion of I.Q. tests.

A trial began in Federal Court in Manhattan last week pitting the powerful and connected Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) against WBAI's own Eric Corley, aka Emmanuel Goldstein, who does Off the Hook on WBAI on Tuesday's at 8:00 PM. He's also the guiding light of 2600 Magazine, where they are posting trial transcripts and depositions related to this case on a daily basis.

It all centers around the fact that the folks who produce DVD disks have chosen some odd copy protection strategies. Besides the fact that their copy protection, named Content Scrambling System (CSS), is weak it also doesn't support the Linux operating system. And the film industry reportedly spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this turkey! Also, CSS prevents DVD disks from being played on DVD players that are not “licensed.” Europeans are especially disadvantaged because of this, and some of them get pissed off. After all, they say, they bought the DVD disks and they should be allowed to play them where and when they please. So several people started exchanging what they knew about CSS and eventually they were able to puzzle it out and write a little piece of code that allows DVD disks to play on Linux systems, and systems in other countries. This software is called DeCSS.

So DeCSS got posted a few places. A Norwegian teenager is credited with having posted it before anyone else. The DVD folks immediately started legal actions against everyone who had posted DeCSS on line. The MPAA put its considerable political and financial muscle behind the lawsuits. Among those who are being targeted are Eric Corley and his web site. He's under a Federal Court injunction to not only not post DeCSS but to not link to any sites that do post it!

Clearly there are three questions here:

Are the answers to these questions clear and simple, or are they conditional and complex? Clearly a law that outlaws linking would open an unmanageable can of worms.

Here's a site that's being legally harassed that's also tracking this entire issue.

The Harvard University Openlaw site is also tracking this story from their own perspective.

In my opinion the DeCSS software shouldn't be branded as illegal, and so the rest of the MPAA's case falls apart after that. The attempt to prevent links to sites that carry DeCSS is absurd because the entire World Wide Web is linked to itself. Theoretically, every site is linked to every other site, albeit in some cases very circuitously. in a practical sense you really can get to a hell of a lot of places just following the links. This promises to be a big trial for the Web and for the continuance of free speech on the Internet in general because if you can outlaw links you can shut down the Web.

I did manage to get through some of the backlog of mail on the program. I really shouldn't let it build up like this, and I'm going to try to get to more mail on the next few programs and get up to date with it all. After which I'll try to not let it get out of hand again.

On one program I talked about the Willamette Meteorite and the dispute that was swirling around it because some native Americans claimed that it was a sacred shrine, or something, for them and they wanted it back. I said then that superstition shouldn't take precedence. This dispute has since been settled, by the way. Zigman found some inspiration in it all, however. When I read this on the air I sort of left out some parts.

Subject: willamette meteorite return
Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2000 15:26:43 -0800 (PST)
From: <zigman>
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,

Your comments on the Hayden Planetarium's Willamette Meteorite, and the comparison to returning Manhattan to the indians reminds me of a joke that my boyfriend loves (he happens to be “Native-American”) almost as much as me!!!!!! I've cleaned it up so you can read/tell it on the air!!!!!

The chief of the tribe is at a meeting of the tribal elders and tells them about his trip to Washington and his meeting with the head of the Department of Indian Affairs. He tells them that he has good news, bad news & great news. He explains that the DIA wants to give them back the Island of Manhattan.
“What's the catch?” screams one of the elders. “There's always a catch with the Feds!” shouts another. “My Brothers! My Brothers! Please calm down!” the Chief tells the elders. “Yes, there are some catches. The good news, as I said is that they want to give us back Manhattan. The bad news is that it is loaded with blacks, hispanics and orientals; and has a Jackass as it's leader. The great news is that he's already pre-scalped!!!!!”

Subject: hours and enumerations
Date: Sat, 04 Mar 2000 20:02:27 -0500
From: <Jersey Jim>
To: rpm@glib.com

On your Feb. 27 2000 program you mentioned some characters, who, apparently alarmed by the percentage of total waking hours which some other characters (not themselves) habitually spend on the Internet, have arrogated unto themselves the prerogative of suggesting an arbitrary limit beyond which one presumably runs the risk of stepping into the Twilight Zone. I am reminded of a gaggle of news articles which similarly seek to imply common cultural acceptance of a new Maginot Line with respect to alcoholic beverage consumption, specifically the notion that to consume more than four laboratory-measured “drinks” at one session is to indulge in something called “binge drinking.” Usually these Orwellian tidbits are dispensed in the context of a story about some stupid freshman majoring in boot-licking who chugs a quart of ethanol at a fraternity pledge-hazing ritual and then croaks. To the mouthpieces of corporate fascism, such occurrences are seen as opportunities to pontificate -- and, of course, to indulge in class prejudice as individuals who mistake their own identities as lackeys with those of the ruling class that employs them. To drink a six-pack of beer, after all, is so Blue Collar! What's worse -- why, it's binge drinking! My God, those people are still back in the Seventies! Don't they know a new line has come down?
-- sign me “Jersey Jim.”

Subject: Northie's Brother
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000 17:58:08 EDT
From: <North American Shirley>
To: rpm@glib.com

My bro who teaches math in Las Vegas (on being directed to your web site) made this observation:

>>That looks like a fascinating website, although that specific URL apparently is just the one for April 3, 2000. Is there a sort of home page from which I can begin surfing through all of his (and his contributors') various ideas and messages?<<<

how 'bout that? Time for syndication....

As always,
North American Shirley

Good grief! Don't I make the home page clear enough? That's it, from now on I'll not only mention GLIB.COM every five minutes on the air, but I'll plaster the page with it! GLIB.COM! GLIB.COM! Well, maybe that's enough for now.

Subject: this was for real!
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 16:45:46 -0400
From: <North American Shirley>
To: rpm@glib.com

from the Medline research of North American Shirley:

The history of poisoning in the future: lessons from Star Trek.
AUTHORS: Chyka PA; Banner W Jr
AUTHOR AFFILIATION: Southern Poison Center, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38163, USA. pchyka@utmem.edu
SOURCE: J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1999;37(6):793-9
CITATION IDS: PMID: 10584594 UI: 20051989
BACKGROUND: The Arts are replete with examples of presaged events of the future. Since a unique glimpse of the 23rd century is afforded by the television series Star Trek, a survey of the toxin-related events as chronicled by the crew of the USS Starship Enterprise may provide insight to prepare toxicologists for the future. METHODS: An investigation of the logs of the Enterprise was undertaken for the years 2266 to 2269 which were part of its first 5-year mission. Internet sites, published databases, and selected recorded episodes from the original Star Trek television series were searched for poisonings or toxin-related incidents.
RESULTS: Out of the 79 Star Trek episodes, 28 (35%) involved toxin-related incidents. A total of 31 poisoning incidents were documented with 13 environmental, 9 intentional, 5 unintentional, and 4 homicidal circumstances. Biotoxins (10 incidents) were the most frequently involved toxin followed by neurotoxins (9), radiation (3), cytotoxins (3), temporal toxins (3), acids (2), and phytotoxins (1). Of these cases, 2 involved hazardous materials incidents, 1 was contamination of food, and 3 involved therapeutic misadventures.
CONCLUSIONS: Many of the circumstances encountered in poisonings of the future will likely be similar to contemporary reasons, but the nature of the toxins will differ. Clinical toxicologists should prepare for the future by increasing their study of molecular biology, comparative medicine, physics, and history.

Subject: Yes It Is Spring And I Am As Usual Depressed But Basically Okay
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 03:57:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: <Susan> (not from Long Island)
To: rpm@glib.com

Hi R. Paul -

Things are starting to sort themselves out a little. My eye is better, I'm finishing up a temp job, and if we can figure out all of the complex logistics I plan on moving in with my girlfriend at least on a trial basis. If things work out we may move back to NJ where she is from also, but at this point who knows?

Thanks for reading my note on the air and for putting it up on your web site. Glad to hear you weren't counting on Lottery winnings to finance Back of the Book program guests or money from the station's budget.

No, I don't know what my plan is when the WBAI LAB nominates me for membership at their May 23 meeting. When I move maybe I can represent the disenfranchised community of Internet Listeners.

I guess I'd better get back to measuring my fingers.

Take Care,


The finger reference above is to the piece I talked about on the air about some research study which said that you could tell lesbians by the lengths of their fingers.

Next we have a missive from a long time listener who's working during the program. Ah, it's good to know that somewhere in Greater New York there's a token booth blaring out the verbal karma piracy that is Back of the Book!

Subject: I'm finally writting
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 13:16:05 -0400
From: <Ziggie>
To: rpm@glib.com

I listen to your show every other Sunday, and I tell you it's good to be back in the booth. I been working for transit you 9 years in the token booth, then got a promotion to another department.This department has a night shift and the head person was listening to WBAI. When I told here that I was a listener, she change the station.I guess that was her way of being nasty. Well the job was boring, you only did 3 hours work, and you slept a lot. A type of job like that is good for a lazy person.They then switch me to the pm shift, I didn't like it.I didn't send that much time with my dauther.To make a long story short, I went back to the booth, and the first show I listen to was back of the book. You don't know how good the felt after a year. BAI is the greatest station in the world and your show is the best. I been listening to you for 10 years, and like your letter from Susan I wanted to write, but never got around to it. well! I gota go. I which I could say any time your at my station the fare is on me but I can say that. One more thing,whats about that little door mouse, what's that about.

Ah, the mysterious dormouse. Every now and again I do give a hint about that. I should try dropping another hint in the next month or two.

Our next missive references a book by one Ian Tattersall. I spoke on the air some months ago about his big dispute with some other folks on whether or not Neandertals interbred with modern humans tens of thousands of years ago. This has become a fierce debate in academia.

Subject: The Last Neanderthal
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 11:24:37 -0700
From: <North American Shirley>
To: rpm@glib.com

sadly, missed your show, but here's a great book on the subject (available on Amazon):

The Last Neanderthal : The Rise, Success, and Mysterious Extinction of Our Closest Human Relatives; by Ian Tattersall


Subject: your ISP
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 16:08:17 -0400
From: <Nathan>
To: rpm@glib.com

I spoke to RCN today (I also have an interport account) and mentioned your comments about their service to the customer service rep at their Springfield MA office. I gave them your URL thinking that you might have archived your program and they could listern to your harrangs. The rep thought that might be fun for their staff.

I'm sure it would be, since they have no clue about how disgraceful their treatment of customers is. Hell, at least if they listened to a radio program they'd be doing something, as opposed to what they do during working hours now. There's no audio archive of the program, but now that this Web site, at least, is free from RCN I'll consider putting the actual program audio up here. No promises, but I'll look into it.

Subject: Manhattan North American Shirley Mystery
Date: Thu Apr 27 19:30:08 2000
From: <North American Shirley>
To: rpm@glib.com

I was locked in the stairwell today seeking a private place to talk to my psychiatrist on my cell phone. It was nice and secluded and I finally figured out why. There's no reentry on any of the 12 floors! Turns out I wasn't in the stairwell that opens onto the street. I think there's a scene like that in Manhattan Murder Mystery. Of course I had the cell phone and could have called a colleague but would have felt a little silly.

Next time it's the "A" stairwell I should be in, not the "B," which may have some emergency fire exit through the basement but I didn't want to start setting off alarms.

It's true what they say; manic-depression is not just an illness; it's an ADVENTURE! Now, how am I going to get out of this darn stairwell? (Got my powerbook with me too.)


Subject: Biological Exuberance, Animal Homosexuality, and Natural Diversity
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 10:24:44 -0400
From: <North American Shirley>
To: rpm@glib.com

you might find interesting ....


Subject: Elian Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2000 22:25:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: <D D>
To: rpm@glib.com

I heard one of your shows where you talked about the Elian gonzales case. Your view was that Elian should go back to Cuba with his father. I disagree. I don't think you have all of the facts. You should know that it has been proven that the father was in contact with the miami relatives the day that Elian and his mother left Cuba. This of course doesn't necesarly mean that he had knowledge of what that Elian was going to miami head of time. The cuban relatives claim that he knew about it ahead of time and called them to say "take care of my boy". But consider that the father claimed that no phone call took place at all and then been proven wrong by sprint phone records. It does suggest that Castro might be controlling the father and that what he says has no crediblity.

When the father came to the US with his family, there were still other relatives in Cuba that were being watched very closely. Also consider that Elian was notliving with his father in Cuba. All these things of course don't prove that he should stay in the US either, only that it should go to family court. If it was the other way around and an american boy ended up in cuba or even just mexico with his mother dead. Even if that boy is returned willingly to the US the father would have to prove his compentence in court in order to get custody. Because what kind of father would let this situation happen?

I hope you consider these points, and not argue just for the sake of argueing or winning.
I enjoy your show very much and find alternative points of view on curren events very interesting.
thank you.

Argumentative? Me? Nah.

Of course events have overtaken this story, at last. The bottom line is that the law has said again and again that the parent is supposed to have custody of the child. If the kid's from another country and is stranded in the U.S., and the surviving parent wants him back, it's an issue of international law that's not new. The law says he goes back home with his father. If this were not done then what would DD say to foreign courts that are considering petitions for returning custody of children who've grown up in America all their lives to their American parents?

Subject: neurologers
Date: Tue May 02 11:29:35 2000
From: <North American Shirley>
To: rpm@glib.com

they let me hang with the neurologers in San Diego at the annual American Academy of Neurology meeting because I have media credentials; maybe some year you can come as the WBAI correspondent; I bet you'd like some of the brain stuff... meanwhile you can see our report in the next week or so on medscape.com. Specifically


Want a Medscape hat?

-North American InfoBabe Shirley

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.

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