Web links related to the Back of the Book program of November 8, 2004

It's Sunday night 11/21/2004 20:51:57 and this WEb page is done. We talked about a bunch of scientific stuff on this program, as well as that election, but only a little bit about that election. We never got to the mail on this program, so we'll have to catch up on the next one.

The WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) will meet next on Friday, November 19th, at 6:30 PM. at Junior High School 8 located at 108-35 167th St. in Jamaica Queens, just off of Merrick Boulevard and between 108th and 109th Avenues. Public comment is invited and the space is wheelchair accessible. Public transportation: take the E train to the last stop in Queens, Parsons Blvd. then transfer to the Q85 bus and take that to Merrick Blvd. and 108th Avenue. Then you take a little walk. Here's a map of the place where we're meeting.

The elections for WBAI Local Station Board are going on right now! If you've contributed at least $25 to WBAI between August 31, 2003, and August 31, 2004, you are a member and are eligible to vote. If you do not receive your ballot by this Friday, November 12, be sure to call the Pacifica National Office at 877-217-6928 x205. DO NOT CALL the WBAI election hotline. ONLY Pacifica can send a duplicate ballot via first class mail. Here's more on the ballot they've sent out, including some instructions.

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.

Our colleagues from Off the Hook now have both a RealAudio streaming web cast operating, and a new MP3 stream. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed. Both feeds were working at 5:54 PM yesterday evening.

The Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI, has revamped its Web site and now has something called the Pacifica Lounge where you can post messages about Pacifica, WBAI and other Pacifica radio stations. This may be a good thing, and of course there are other, long term fora in which to participate.

WBAI also has a forum on its Web site now. You have to register to post messages, but anyone may read the messages.

Brand new is the Pacifica Internet Radio site.

The Little People aren't just doing advertising for Lucky Charms cereal anymore! Paleoanthropologists have found some pre-human skeletons on tiny Flores Island that indicate that anatomically modern humans co-existed with a branch of Homo erectus a mere 13,000 years ago. This new species has been named Homo floresiensis.

Interestingly, with a brain case smaller than that of a modern chimpanzee these ancient pre-humans still used tools and organized a society. In fact the stone tools made by Homo floresiensis seem to be more advanced than those of any other branch of Homo erectus found so far. Scientific American has an interview with the scientist who headed the team that discovered these small folks and he tells more about his feelings and thoughts about it all.

In some places they have an odd concept of privacy. Why can't people just mind their own damned business and not interfere with others? And why are there laws that reach into people's homes anyway?

Tonight I want to talk a little bit about some new ideas regarding accretion disks. Our entire Solar system probably started out as an accretion disk, and then from that disk the Sun and planets formed. The physics of accretion disks has been something that's taken a bit of work to figure out, and it's not at all completely figured out yet.

It turns out that accretion disks around black holes may be the most powerful energy producing mechanisms in the universe. Owing to the intense gravity gradient caused by black holes and the very slight magnetism in the accretion disks they are estimated to end up converting up to 10% of their matter into energy as per Einstein's famous formula E=MC 2. For comparison, a hydrogen bomb only converts about 1% of its mass to energy. The most spectacular aspect of the biggest accretion disks are the jets that they project out into space. Streams of electrons and maybe some other sub-atomic particles shoot out at right angles from the black hole that the accretion disk orbits and that matter moves at nearly the speed of light. And it moves that fast while escaping a gravity well so intense that it can tear molecules apart. Examples of these powerful jets are the galaxy M87 and the phenomenon known as Quasars.

We also talked a little bit about cornholing. It's amazing that there are now official leagues and Web sites dedicated to cornholing. I spoke about how I used to do a lot of cornholing. It was good to cornhole and to be cornholed. I remember cornholing in my youth, and then down at what were referred to as The Trucks and various bathhouses around New York City decades ago. I suppose that for me the 1970s were the golden age of cornholing. And I'm glad to see that some people have formed the American Cornhole Association and are being so open about it all.

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.

And then there is the historic “Free Pacifica!” list, which has been used to help organize resistance to Pacifica Management hijackers since the mid-90s. It's become a low volume mailing list because it's been eclipsed by some of the newer, more technologically advanced, lists. Just click on this link and follow the instructions, and you'll be subscribed. This is a mailing list only, it doesn't have a digest option nor does it have a web interface.

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 are copyright © 2004, R. Paul Martin.