Web links related to the Back of the Book program of August 6, 2001

On Sunday, October 18, 2015 07:14, I added an update to the DMCA article below. Well, it's Monday morning 8/13/2001 00:46:24 and this page is at long last done! I've added a link or two along with the E-mail. As always there's a mixture of tenses on this page, some stuff is from before the program some from after it. This is life in the age of radio and the Web. Hell, it's August! If we survive another month we'll have a 15th anniversary of the program to celebrate. I have a few First Amendment things to talk about tonight, and I'll continue talking about the latest breaking news in the area of cosmology.

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.

There have been some developments in the listener lawsuits, as well. Keep watching these lawsuits because there are rumors of something big happening with them soon.

Some listeners are convinced that only open elections will provide a long range cure for the Pacifica Crisis. Here's an election proposal.

Our colleagues from Off the Hook have a RealAudio streaming web cast operating. For a while they were trying to provide a new, permanent MP3 stream but the link to the MP3 stream now just gives you the RealAudio stream. At 8:17 PM last night this feed was working.

Some morons just want to spoil things for everyone. The jerks who make computer viruses and worms are among those. The Code Red worm is still posing a danger, but most ordinary folks are advised to beware of the SirCam worm even more.

Dmitry Sklyarov in 2010.
Dmitry Sklyarov in 2010
photo credit: Alexander Klink

Russian, Dmitri Sklyarov, was arrested last month at a computer hacker convention in Las Vegas. This is another example of copyright laws, specifically the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, metamorphosing into thought control in this country. Adobe is trying to distance itself from this arrest, but the guy is still in jail has been released on $50,000 bail. This happened the day after my program aired. There have been protests from various cities and countries over this.

The 26 year old Mr. Sklyarov had made a presentation at the convention about how easy it was to break Adobe's copy protection scheme for their electronic books. Apparently the company he works for in Russia, ElcomSoft has marketed the copy protection crack as a utility so that licensed users of Adobe e-books can make backup copies of the information they've paid for. Adobe said that they had asked the government to arrest Mr. Sklyarov because they didn't think they could beat him, or the company he works for, in civil court. He now faces five years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted.

This is such ridiculous crap. More and more companies are trying to make it impossible to back up things you've legitimately bought. And what if you don't back them up and they get erased or something? Well, you just try and get the company to do anything other than offer to sell you another copy at full price! A lot of these companies really want the consumer to just be fish in a barrel.

UPDATE: From Wikipedia, “The US government agreed to drop all charges filed against Sklyarov, provided that he testify at the trial of his company. He was permitted to return to Russia on December 13, 2001.

On December 17, 2002, after a two-week trial in San Jose, California, a federal jury found ElcomSoft not guilty of all four charges under the DMCA.”

I talked a bit about Cosmology again. I also read an article about recent discoveries that may show direct evidence of the theorized cosmic dark age.

You can find a lot of the cosmology stuff I'm talking about on the air here at the Scientific American Web site.

Well, scientists have finally discovered why the famous Iceman discovered in the Alps a few years ago died. He was shot with an arrow!

Writer Vanessa Leggett has spent almost three weeks in a Texas jail as I write this. Her crime? She won't hand over her research on a 1997, murder. The person who was accused of the crime has already been acquitted, and he's out walking around. The lazy bums at the U.S. Department of Justice [sic] want her work and are willing to jail her for not handing it over to them.

She has some support from journalists.

This is another blatant assault on freedom of the press. Given that in a short while it looks like 99+% of all the media in the United States will be in the hands of a very few rich people this is very disturbing stuff.

Speaking of smaller media operations getting gobbled up: WLIW, Channel 21 in the New York City/Long Island area, is “merging” with WNET, Channel 13. This because WLIW can't afford the enormous expense of going over to all digital broadcasting in 2003. Hey, what's the Pacifica National Board doing about the expensive digital switch over that radio will have to make in a few years?

As I mentioned on the program, we'd had a wee mousie around the house for a week or more. Pickles of the North had been especially plagued by this thing because it ate her plants and the new seeds she planted to replace them.

I am pleased to report that while I was doing the program one of the traps ended the life of the wee mousie and saved Pickles' plants from further mayhem.

And of course we also got through some of the mail. Fernando is really starting to hog the E-mail portion of the program. I think we're going to have to ration him in the future.

Subject: A missive on space
Date: Mon, 7 May 2001 12:46:08 -0400 (EDT)
From: Fernando
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R.,

I respect your knowledge on science and particularly astronomy a great deal. Your discourses on these topics make for your most interesting broadcasts. Having a similar interest in space, I was wondering what your view is on the recent trip to the Russian space station taken by and bought by California millionaire, Dennis Tito. Is this right? I think this was a dangerous stunt.
I do not feel that this was a good idea. In fact, I feel that it was a very risky venture that could have jeopardize the viability of space exploration. Every nation involved in any type of space program was against Tito's trip with the exception of the Russians of course since they were the recipient of his twenty million dollars. I believe though that present space technology is not up to the degree where civillians can safely be ferried up into orbit on sight-seeing cruises. If anything were to happen to Tito, it may have cast the space program in a negative light and possibly delayed indefinitely any future launches. Notice how gun shy NASA became after the Challenger disaster or after they lost their two Mars probes. Where did those go, R. Paul? I want to know that.
I do believe that the future of space travel does lie in the private sector. Once space travel proves to be a profitable venture it will draw the aggressive investing by private firms and corporations who will aggressively pursue advances in the technology necessary to propel this area of study significantly further. My theory is that the discovery of refinable fossil fuels or natural gas reserves on Mars will cause a modern “gold rush” that will prompt privately-held companies like Exxon, AT&T, and Ford to establish their own space programs. A new space race will be on to develope better more secure propulsion systems and possibly temporary or maybe even permanent settlements on our neighbor, Mars. Competition and profit is a better motivator than simple, niave curiosity. Please let me know your thoughts on this matter, R., as I am very interested.
On a lighter topic, R. Paul, I have gathered from some of your comments that you are a fan of science fiction and in particular Star Trek. I recently attended a convention in which I saw Mr.Chekov, the russian on the original Star Trek show. I brought my own food. He is not looking well. His face is looking very pasty from excessive make-up and too much plastic surgery. I am against surgery for cosmetic purposes and hair pieces which I am sure he was wearing. He is starting to look like an elderly chinaman. Regardless, I still waved at him and he winked back. Major Don West from Lost in Space did the same. I had met him previously at another show and he blessed me. I also met Kung Fu, Batgirl, Linda Blair of the Excorcist who looks great, and a Japanese man who plays evil Japanese characters in a lot of movies. He will be the villain in the upcoming “Pearl Harbor” movie. It was a good day, R. Paul. The highlight for me personally came in meeting two stars of HBO's The Sopranos. Do you get cable? I love this show particularly since they shoot in alot of places where I grew up. I got their autographs even though it set me back about twenty five dollars each. I also bought six video tapes of a computer generated animated series for seventy dollars. The dealer originally asked ninety-five but I got him down to seventy. That's a little more than ten per tape, R, so I treated myself to them. Did I do the right thing?
In a rare find, R. I found a paperback copy of Martin Caidin's novel, Cyborg. This was the book that inspired the TV series, The Six-Million-Dollar Man. I was happy to find it and bought it for six dollars. Its been gently used, but I will read it anyway this summer. I will continue to listen to your broadcasts, R. Paul and I hope to write to you again soon. Thank you for your consideration.

Florham Park, NJ

Of course I said a few things about Fernando's message on the air. What I'll repeat here is that the idea of bringing natural gas from Mars to Earth economically is one of those things you can count on never happening. As for fossil fuels, the only fossils likely to be found on Mars would be microbes. They don't generally produce much in the way of fuel.

Next we have a missive from, oh jeez!

Subject: A Missive of Complaint
Date: Tue, 8 May 2001 00:16:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: Fernando
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,

Happy Cinco de Mayo.
There is a situation here in my home state of New Jersey that I would like to bring to your attention. There is a road here in Bergen County, New Jersey that once featured three go-go bars alongside one another. Now this was very convenient not just because of the variety and convenience, but because these three establishments were right down the road from the horse track. I used to spend many nights gambling at the track and then spending my winnings on the strippers at the go-go bars. It was great. Those were beautiful evenings particularly in the summers. I spent two Valentine's Days in a row this way.
Now even though there were three strip jopints on one block, all three were not of equal calibre. I truly enjoyed only one of these places. It was very comfortable there and they had a high quality of girls. more importantly the girls were nice and not just out to take my money. Unfortunately this did not last. This north New Jersey community persecuted these establishments until two of them, including my favorite, were forced to close. The local town council cited drug trafficing and prostitution as the reasons why these places were forced to close. I, however, never saw any of this go on and at the height of my attendance, I was a VIP at my regular place. The last remaining go-go, R, quite frankly is a dump! They are all about the money, R. As soon as you walk in the door you pay a guy ten bucks to enter. Then, you MUST immediately buy your two drink minimum at five dollars a drink. I may not be thirsty then, R. I hate doing this. Then when the waitress brings you your drinks she demands an additional tip! They all have their hand out at this place, R. It's all about the money for them and I'm only looking for a good time. Now this place is considerably smaller than my old favorite haunt. Sometimes you are forced to sit at the stage because that is all that is available. Their policy, however, is that if you sit at the stage you have to tip EVERY LAST stripper. I don't want to do this. Every last girl may not deserve my dollar! At my other place, I would tip the girls I was interested in getting a lap dance from later. I would put a dollar in their underwear and then I would gesture to them to catch up with me later. I did not tip the girls I felt did not measure up to my tastes.
The lap dances at all of these places are twenty dollars for about five minutes. Now not all girls give good dances, Martin. Be very careful. Some girls will be quick. Some girls don't get into it. At this place that I hate, some girls will even drape a veil across your lap before they ride you. What good is this? I can sit at home with a veil on my pants. I have not been to this last remaining strip joint for almost two years. The last time I went, I did so in celebration of my thirtieth birthday and because my friend got into a fight with a dancer over the tipping issue, we were thrown out. They also accused us of peeping into the lap dance room, but how else are you going to be sure which girl gives a good dance? I only had about eighty bucks on me, Paul. That's only four dances. I can't waste them! I still had to buy groceries.
I don't know where to go this year. I already had to sit out this past Valentine's Day and I fear I will have no where to spend the summer. Is Bergen County acting properly in driving out these establishments? Where do the girls go? Are these accusations legitimate? Are the damn go-go's in fact corrupt?
I appreciate the opportunity to vent for frustration and my sadness particularly as we head into the summer like this. I'm sure I will be inconsolable on my birthday again. I will be thirty-two in October. I will be listening as always.

Your devoted fan,
Florham Park, NJ

This really makes me think that Fernando is trolling me here.

I skipped over yet another of Fernando's long E-mails and went to the next couple. This first one has a link to an article about scientists finding a brain mechanism that is probably related to superstitious nonsense. Real feelings, real processes, stupid attribution to myths and nonsense.

Subject: Brain hardwired for meditation, religious experience?
Date: Sun, 13 May 2001 22:39:10 EDT
From: kalipadma
To: rpm@glib.com

Click here: Scientists find biological reality behind religious experience - smh.com.au - World

Subject: No Subject
Date: Sun, 13 May 2001 23:03:07 EDT
From: LJM
To: rpm@glib.com

Hi, do you have a show tonight? thanks

I sure did, and I had one when I read it too. An amazing coincidence!

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.

Another 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. With that warning in mind, you can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too, although you'll have to deal with Yahoo! to do so.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. This one has a great many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary board that's just totally out of hand.

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

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

Free Pacifica Web site

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page and subsequent Web pages on this site are copyright © 2001, R. Paul Martin