Web links related to the Back of the Book program of November 30, 2009

It's Sunday evening, December 13, 2009, 19:03, and this Web page is done. I've updated this page with more about what we did on the air, and I've previously updated it with a piece on our excursion after the previous program, I'd already updated it with the very latest election information. And we did get to some of the mail on this program. Here's the original top of this page ⇒ Oh, the turkeys are glad that's over! We're going to talk about the below stuff and we plan to get through a lot of the mail tonight.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of many of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do, and I've recently updated this stuff a tiny bit.

There was a sudden Town Hall meeting held on Monday, April 13, 2009, at 7:00 PM at The Fortune Society, 630 Riverside Drive at 140th St. in Manhattan. Here's a flyer that was passed out at the event.

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, December 9, 2009, at a location to be announced. This should have been the meeting at which the Fifth WBAI LSB convened. But the Election will still be going on for a day after this meeting. So this could be an odd meeting, if it happens at all.

There was a regular meeting of the WBAI LSB held on Wednesday, November 11, 2009, at 7:00 PM, at the Judson Memorial Church Assembly Room, 239 Thompson Street (just south of Washington Square Park, between W. 3rd & W. 4th St.), in Manhattan.

Not that many of the FoBs came out for this meeting. Their disruptions were a lot less crazed than previously. They may have realized that they are exposing themselves as bullies and thugs with such behavior so the leaders of that faction have toned down the disruptions.

This ought to have been the last LSB meeting for a number of LSB members. If the elections hadn't been so screwed up we would have had the election results by now, at the latest, and the Fifth WBAI LSB could have been seated at the December 9th, meeting. Exactly what will happen now is a question. There could be a very strange LSB meeting on December 9th.

At the start of this meeting a faction operative, whose name I can say until after the elections are over, pulled an old trick that she'd pulled two years ago. She wanted to put on the agenda a Delegates Assembly meeting for the purpose of removing two people from the LSB.

Two years ago this tactic had been used to try to smear other candidates for the elections then. Her faction could go around saying that action was pending on throwing her opponents off the LSB, which might sway some voters. In fact it takes 16 votes to remove someone from the LSB, and the current majority is very unlikely to start kicking itself off the LSB. Even when the FoBs had a majority two years ago they didn't have the votes to do it. And in fact they just dropped the entire process as soon as it was no longer useful to use these sorts of allegations as smears. One member did amend that motion to allow any number of LSB members to be removed. That was just a little message to the the FoBs that if they want to play such games they can be played both ways.

In the end the LSB intelligently defeated the motion to waste time on any of this.

The LSB renewed the current Programming Committee for another six months.

I gave the Treasurer's Report. All of Pacifica is tight on money, and WBAI is currently up to $1.26 million in the red. WBAI's budget is late but it's coming along. Some faction operatives decided to open their mouths about the late budget. I reminded them that they had passed total fantasy budgets in the past, and that they'd covered up embezzlement at the station. They were not pleased to have their rhetoric brought down to Earth like that. I have issued a Treasurer's Report in writing about the embezzlement.

The 2009, WBAI LSB elections are under way at Pacifica. This meeting was another example of the FoBs trying to regain a majority on the LSB and the PNB in an effort to reinstall their faction boss and turn back the clock for WBAI and Pacifica, which would of course result in the destruction of both, which may be exactly their goal.

At its January 21, 2009, meeting the LSB voted to hold its meetings on the second Wednesday of every month and/or the last Thursday of that month, subject to change by the LSB, which gives us the following schedule:

All of these meetings are set to begin at 7:00 PM.

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 main stream was not working at 9:23 PM last night, but the low resolution stream was.

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 the archives have seen 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!

The 2009 Local Station Board Elections Have Begun!

The Local Station Board (LSB) is the primary governance body for WBAI. When meeting as delegates the LSB members elect the Directors of the Pacifica National Board, which is the governance body for the entire Pacifica Foundation. The Pacifica Foundation owns WBAI.

Here is the official time table for this crucial election.

If you have not gotten your ballot yet you need to contact the Local Election Supervisor, Ethan Young, about that immediately! You can call him at 212-209-2828, and you should definitely E-mail him at election@wbai.org.

This election is crucial for the survival of WBAI and Pacifica. WBAI and Pacifica are in a precarious position right now as current Management attempts to reverse the death spiral that the station and the network have been in for years. If some bunch of chuckleheads gets a majority on the WBAI LSB they'll be able to change the composition of the Pacifica National Board and revert to corrupt, incompetent and malfeasant Management, they might even sell WBAI.

We need decent people on the WBAI LSB who will be interested in preserving the station, not in selling it or running it into the ground. I hope that the listeners will educate themselves about the candidates and vote for good ones.

The official Web page containing the list of candidates and their statements is here. You'll have to scroll down the list to find the WBAI candidates.

UPDATE: WBAI Staff are just not getting ballots. I have had an exchange with the Elections Supervisors, well, with one of them, and I still don't know why Staff aren't getting ballots. Here are the E-mails sent and received on this matter.

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in New York City from Friday July 23, to Sunday July 26, 2009.

The meeting was held at the Beekman Towers Hotel, 3 Mitchell Place, in Manhattan, a couple of blocks north of the United Nations.

There's an election going on in Pacifica, so there were a few candidates attending and speaking during the public comment sessions. Some disrupted the meeting.

Here's the Web page I did about this PNB meeting and the amazing things that went on at it.

And the PNB has also met in Houston from Friday October 9th, through Sunday October 11th. The official audio archive of that meeting is here. It was not disrupted as the New York meeting was, although some of the same miscreants got out there to say stupid things.

Hey, if you want to help some astronomers figure out how galaxies interact with each other, here's your chance. You can go here and start to participate in the Galaxy Zoo Mergers project.

The project is explained here.

I've spent some time putting out a Treasurer's Report on what happened to some cash receipts from an off-air fund raiser some years ago. You can read the report here.

I had one hell of a time trying to get past all sorts of technical problems. some were caused by my doing new things with some software and some were my own screwups and some were surprises, like the size of the file limits on Yahoo! groups. But I got the report out.

We also talked about the Large Hadron Collider getting protons circulating without the destruction of any part of the huge, costly, mechanism. It still has a lot of parts to be repaired before it can operate at its full designed power of 7 TeV, but this was better than the last time they tried to use it and it tore parts of itself to pieces.

I also mentioned that, thanks to neutrino experiments, it has been established that the half life of the proton cannot be less than 6.6 x 1033 years. Some theories have held that protons will decay over time. Many particles do. Neutrons, a major component of almost all atomic nuclei, decay after only several minutes when they're on their own. Luckily, when bound to an atomic nucleus they last a lot longer. But if proton decay really does happen neutrons will decay with them. Then eventually, which is a very long time from now, all of the atoms in the universe will just evaporate into sub-atomic particles and scatter. It's one of those profound things to contemplate. Luckily, if wholesale proton decay happens, it'll be long after we're in any condition to care about it.

A Battery Park geyser
An eruption by the near geyser
The nearby geyser's erupting again
Another eruption by the near geyser

After the previous program Pickles of the North and I did what we frequently do, we went down to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan.

When we got down there we saw right away that it was high tide. We usually don't see the high tides at Battery Park, but we knew what to expect. The high tide usually results in what Pickles and I have termed the “Battery Park Geysers.”

They're not really geysers, of course. But they do share with real geysers that suddenly eruptive behavior which can drench you in nothing flat if you're too close to one when it goes off.

The mechanism of real geysers is based on geothermal energy. What happens there is that water accumulates over some hot rock underground and is set to boiling, or in some cases it's turned directly into steam. The hot water or steam find its way up to the surface of the Earth and bursts forth as a geyser.

Another storm-drain geyser
Here the middle geyser erupts

At Battery Park the geysers are caused by wave motion under the park's promenade.

All of Battery Park is land fill. The Battery Park promenade is basically a deck built out over New York Harbor and supported by pilings.

Of course sometimes it rains, and you need to drain the promenade of rain water, or harbor water that splashes up on it. Well, the drains on the promenade don't connect to any sort of sewer system the way that most drains in the city do; the drains are just grates over holes in the promenade. The water drains directly into the harbor beneath.

It's a simple and effective system. But there's nothing forcing it to operate in only one direction.

At high tide the surface of the harbor water is only a foot or two below the deck itself. So when a wave, or series of waves, comes charging up to what should be the shore the rising water gets trapped under the promenade. Or it's trapped until it builds up to the height of the drains. That's when we get the geysers.

The harbor water can't just go shooting up through the drains all on its own. Something has to cause waves of sufficient height to blast the water upward. Usually the various ferries and other harbor traffic early in the morning stir up the waves that come shooting up through the drains. But sometimes at high tide a column of water shoots up and no boat has gone by recently. So the geysers can be pretty unpredictable.

We've been at Battery Park in really cold weather and then we've seen the geysers actually form tiny calderas of ice. This was how we first saw them happening. You do not want to get soaked by one of these things on a morning when the temperature is in the single digits Fahrenheit!

So here we have some photographs of a pre-dawn vigil at the promenade on a mid-November Monday morning. I really had to wait a while to get these photographs of the water shooting up through those drains. The wave action is unpredictable, however there's usually a premonitory growling of the water beneath the promenade before the geyser happens. But not all growling sounds precede a geyser. Sometimes all you get it the sound. The timing of the geysers after the growling starts is something I have yet to figure out. So I have lots of photographs of a wet promenade where either no geyser happened or I've gotten the photograph after the water's already fallen back down.

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. UPDATE: The bleepin' blue board has had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it's under attack by spambots. When you click on the above link you may be asked for a username and password. Type in Username: poster Password: enternow

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

Back to the Back of the Book page

Back to my home page.

The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2009, R. Paul Martin.