Web links related to the Back of the Book program of August 25, 2008

It's Sunday afternoon, September 7, 2008, 17:07, and I've finished updating this Web page. So it looks like we're entering Cold War II. We got to the below topics and some of the mail on this program.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of many of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do.

There will be a regular meeting of the WBAI LSB on Wednesday, September 3rd, at the Judson Memorial Church Assembly Room, 239 Thompson Street (just south of Washington Square Park, between W. 3rd & W. 4th St.), in Manhattan. The space is wheelchair accessible and the public is welcome to attend. Among other issues the WBAI FY09 budget will probably be discussed here.

There will also be a regular meeting of the WBAI LSB on Wednesday, September 17th at 7:00 PM, location to be determined.

The first meeting of the WBAI LSB this month was held on Thursday, August 7th, 2008, in the Assembly Room of the Judson Memorial Church, just south of Washington Square Park.

This was a special meeting which the LSB voted to convene as a “Committee of the Whole” to discuss WBAI's FY09 budget and also the topic of violence and intimidation. The idea was that not only LSB members but anyone who attended could speak on these topics. It started out with a somewhat cluttered agenda. That got fixed. And we spent the entire evening talking about WBAI's precarious finances.

We had a much larger turnout for this meeting than usual, despite the venue for this meeting having only been announced the day before.

A bunch of new people were there, as well as some of the usual crowd. The new folks heard about the financial problem and some offered to help in various ways.

We never got to the violence section of the meeting because we started late and the LSB had voted to add half an hour onto the financial part.

The second WBAI LSB meeting of this month happened on August 13, and was again held at the Judson Memorial Church just south of Washington Square.

The Secretary resigned. A Secretary pro tem was elected, and there will be an election for a Secretary to fill out the rest of the 2008, term at the next LSB meeting on September 3. A faction operative tried to nominate me as Secretary but that would be illegal because I'm already the Treasurer and you can't be two officers on the LSB at once. Interesting that they'd prefer I be Secretary than Treasurer.

The LSB voted to have two meeting in the coming month, on September 3rd, and on September 17th. The first of those will definitely be dealing with the WBAI FY09 budget.

WBAI Arts Department Director Janet Coleman made a report to the LSB, the first time an Arts Director has done so. She reported that she'd like to get short, produced arts programs on the air, and told the LSB about the trials and tribulations of that department and her job.

Three LSB members were elected to the new Programming Committee and a substitute Management Evaluation Committee was formed to replace the old one which was not only moribund, as are most of the WBAI LSB committees, but had a sad history of serious irregularities.

We got around to having a Committee of the Whole on violence. Nothing came out of it, various faction operatives denied that anyone in their faction had ever been violent, despite the videos, and said that people not in their faction hadn't gone to some meetings and that this was violent. It was bizarre. Others just talked about the real problem of violence. There were no motions coming out of this portion of the meeting.

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 11:16 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!

Lake Renaud
Lac Renaud in the Laurentian Mountains

Pickles of the North went up north this past fortnight. She'll be talking about this on the program, along with a bunch of other things.

Pickles here. I just returned from a visit to the North, the land of my birth, for a mini reunion with the Of The North clan. Not only did we roam our island of Montreal, we also ventured into the beautiful Laurentian mountain range, or as we locals call it, going up north. Here are some of the ancient hills that hundreds of millions of years ago were once mighty mountains as tall as the Himalayas. The Laurentians, or Laurentides en francais, survived being ground down by glaciers and are chock full of maple, pine and birch tree forests. Lots of berry bushes, too! And lots of chipmunks, beaver, birds, and don't forget the heat bug (which I think is the local name for a kind of cicada). This is a picture of one of the glacier formed lakes, fed by several mountain springs. Good air, lots of sun, and icy water- that makes perfect swimming for we Of The North's!

We talked about what's looking like the start of Cold War II. Vladimir Putin, temporarily posing as merely the Prime Minister of Russia, is making his move and of course the rest of the world is adjusting to this reassertion of an old empire. He's really looking like he wants to be Czar Vladimir I.

There have been various Russian Empires from the old Czarist ones to the Soviet one which was cloaked in a thin veneer of Communist ideology to what is looking like an attempted reversion to the Russian Empire of the Czars. Empires are ancient structures, and they're still with us.

We brought up the little noted fact that cyber attacks on the Georgian Internet structure preceded the actual shooting conflict. Gosh, it looks like maybe Russia really started that war.

Meanwhile a rendering of the most basic military facts regarding Russia and Georgia should be informative.

Military Spending$40,000,000,000$997,000,000
Combat Aircraft1,70012

Source: Associated Press

So this is going to be an ongoing situation in Transcaucasia. How significant it will be for the future is a wheel still in spin.

I guess that we sort of had an anthropology/archeology section of this program.

I read some bits from an article in the New York Times about Dr. Paul C. Sereno, a scientist from the University of Chicago, working on a site called Gobero in Niger. Gobero is in the Ténéré Desert part of the Sahara Desert. This area is referred to as a “desert within a desert” by the Saharan nomads.

But this area was fertile a long time ago. Dr. Sereno, a paleontologist who stumbled across the site by accident when he was hunting for dinosaur bones, has been excavating stone age graves in the area for the past 8 years. These graves are from two different peoples who lived there.

Members of the Kiffian culture lived in Gobero between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago. They sustained themselves by hunting, gathering and fishing.

The people of the Ténérian culture lived there between about 4,500 and 2,500 years ago and besides hunting and fishing they raised cattle. The two groups do not seem to be closely related to each other.

It's interesting to think of the worst part of the Sahara Desert as having been forested and having lakes and rivers in it at a number of times in the past. It just shows that what we see today is not indicative of what's always been here. Manhattan used to be part of a mountain range. Brooklyn, Queens and the rest of Long Island are just the piled up debris scraped off the continent by glaciers and deposited in the Atlantic Ocean as the glaciers melted not all that long ago. All of Long Island will eventually erode away. Talk about your sic transit gloria mundi!

And then I talked about an article in the July 2007, issue of Scientific American.

This article talks about human migrations around Africa and then out of Africa to the rest of the world. A lot of DNA evidence is cited in the article and it really supports the “Out of Africa” theory of human radiation across the entire planet.

By taking DNA samples from people living today the relations of those people to each other can be determined. The scientists look at the differences in the haplotypes that we each inherit from our ancestors. From this data scientists have been able to produce a map of human migrations over the past 60,000 years.

I noted that a settlement beside a river in Georgia, getting back to Transcaucasia briefly, has been dated to about 1.75 million years ago. The folks populating this settlement were not modern humans but a much more ancient species either Homo Erectus or Homo Habilis. Since these more primitive hominids were able to get all the way up into Asia I wondered if maybe human migration might have begun a lot more than 60,000 years ago. Modern humans seem to have come into existence about 200,000 years ago. Why didn't they spread out sooner?

Well, I speculated on the air that maybe they did. About 74,000 years ago a supervolcano erupted and the human species was reduced to no more than several thousand individuals in the aftermath of the drastic reduction of food sources owing to volcanic ash killing off a lot of plants. Being at the top of the food chain isn't a guarantee of a good time, or even of survival.

So maybe early modern humans did spread out much sooner and farther than is now known and the sparse evidence of their migrations just hasn't been discovered. And of course if none of them survived then there will be no DNA evidence to be found today. Just another of my little speculations.

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.