Web links related to the Back of the Book program of April 5, 2010

It's Sunday night, April 18, 2010, 20:58, and this Web page is done. I've updated this page with more about the various topics we covered on the air. Previously I'd added another kvetch about that blinking light in Master Control, before that I'd updated the date for the LSB meeting, and I'd put a link to this program's archive on the page — NOTE: at this time the archives are not working right. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Arrgh! Any pirate Popes around?

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

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting will be held on April 14, 2010 Thursday, April 29, 2010, at 7:00 PM at a location to be announced.

Since our February radio programs there have been two WBAI LSB meetings. Here's a full report on the February 25, 2010, WBAI LSB meeting. It happened in the midst of a blizzard and the faction had a majority at it. There was another WBAI LSB meeting on March 10, 2010. The faction was better behaved than usual at this one.

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 stream was not working for me last night. They are switching the server from Virginia to Texas, so that may have something to do with it. They have a new Flash stream here, make sure you enable Javascript so it can work for you.

Please note that the archives are not functioning properly as of April 14, 2010; folks are working on restoring the archives as soon as that can be accomplished.

WBAI is archiving the programs! Just go here and you'll be able to listen to this program any time for the next couple of months. You may need to scroll up one line to see the audio archive. Let me know if you find this feature useful.

If you want to listen to any part of the WBAI archive click here to go right to the archives. 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.

You can also go here to subscribe to the podcasts of Back of the Book and Carrier Wave.

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 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 was 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.

The new Executive Director of Pacifica, Arlene Engleheart, has appointed a new interim General Manager of WBAI starting February 1, 2010.

The Large Hadron Collider has finally starts to work. But it'll shut down for all of 2011, in order to fix the electrical connections.

After the last program I posted a page about the destructive nor'easter of 2010, that wrecked so many trees. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look. Pickles of the North reports that Inwood Park in upper Manhattan also had a lot of trees blown down

We were very pleased to report on the ruling of Judge Robert Sweet of the United States District Court that genes cannot be patented. It has always seemed bizarre that corporations could snip a gene out of a human being and then announced that they were getting a patent on it. This practice has been compared to the first surgeon to have removed a kidney from someone having announced that he was patenting kidneys and no one else could even do research on kidneys, or possess a removed kidney, from then on. It's indicative of the sad state of patents in the United States that this sort of nonsense was allowed in the first place.

Myriad Genetics is the company that claims to hold patents on bits of human DNA along with the University of Utah Research Foundation. They've been gouging people and holding up further research for a while now on this front. We're hoping that the decision will be upheld on appeal, and maybe it'd be good if it went to the Supreme Court, where we hope it'd be upheld.

We talked about some research into black holes and dark matter on this program.

Basically, some scientists have determined that the density of dark matter at the centers of galaxies, around their supermassive black holes, tends to remain constant over the course of billions of years.

I'm not surprised at this discovery. I've said in the past that I think that the reason why dark matter, whatever the hell it is, doesn't just coalesce into some huge black holes that eat most of the universe is that the dark matter can't get rid of its angular momentum.

Black holes absorb most matter from the accretion disk that forms around them. Accretion disks are rather chaotic and the matter in them is constantly interacting, which results in a lot of collisions of all sorts and which means that some of that matter in the accretion disk is going to lose angular momentum. As the matter loses angular momentum it falls closer and closer to the black hole's event horizon, from which nothing can escape. Eventually a lot of the matter in the accretion disk falls into that event horizon and disappears from the universe we experience.

The matter loses angular momentum because it can react with other matter. But dark matter doesn't interact with anything, except gravitationally. So the dark matter can't lose angular momentum. I think that the result is that the dark matter just goes into a stable orbit around the black hole. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my thought on this stuff. And it seems consistent with what these scientists have discovered.

I said I'd post a photograph of a galaxy, but I figured I should show some spiral galaxies from more than one perspective. The supermassive black holes are usually to be found in the central bulge of the galaxy. So I've pointed out the central bulge in an edge on galaxy. Of course the perspective we have on each galaxy is the only one we'll ever have.

Galaxy M 66
M-66 a spiral galaxy that's tilted from our perspective
Photo credit: ESO
Galaxy M 101
M 101 a spiral galaxy that's face on from our perspective
Photo credit: Credit: NASA, ESA, K. Kuntz (JHU), F. Bresolin (University of Hawaii), J. Trauger (Jet Propulsion Lab), J. Mould (NOAO), Y.-H. Chu (University of Illinois, Urbana), and STScI
Galaxy NGC 4565
NGC 4565 a spiral galaxy that's edge on from our perspective
Photo credit: ESO

On this program we talked a little bit about evidence of what may be yet another new defunct human species having been found, this time in Siberia.

The original Pope John XXIII
The Original Pope John XXIII

So during this program we found that the revered religious figure The Easter Bunny was hopping down Wall St. The metaphysics of that passage sparked a supernatural event: R. Paul channeled the original Pope John XXIII. Pickles of the North had a conversation with the channeled Pontiff, whose Papal name was taken by a usurper in the mid-20th Century.

Since before becoming Pope Cardinal Cossa had been, among other things, a pirate we had a lot of nautical references during this short interview. The deceased and denounced Pontiff also gave us a little rendition of the song about him titled Barnacle Bill the Pope, from which he and Pickles of the North sang a few lines.

After a little while the channeling wore off, possibly because the Easter bunny had moved farther away, and R. Paul became his usual, grumpy self.

That blinking light in Master Control

This damned blinking light, as shown on the left, is still blinking away every time we open the mics to talk in Master Control.

We've complained about this thing before, but it's still there and it's still really distracting while we're on the air. I am amazed that WBAI Management is keeping this thing going.

Pickles of the North and I put whatever we have available over this odd distraction when we're on the air. Every time I look into Master Control while a live program is on the air I see that those producers too have put something over the blinking light.

As of the time of this program we still have not received any communication from Management about this intrusive distraction. I've heard a rumor that it's there to let people know when they're live on the air, but if that connection hasn't been publicized to the Staff then how are the people who are so clueless as to not know when they're on the air to know to wait for the blinking green light to talk?

This particular annoyance is far from the worst thing going on at WBAI, but it reminds us of its goofy presence every time we go to do a radio program.

I don't know that anyone has brought it up to Management yet. I know that I've had to deal with other priorities and this blinking light is just not a priority for discussions with Management, but at some point someone's going to have to bring it up and I'd hope that Management wouldn't want the people who are live on the air to be annoyed by this thing. Maybe a large, non-blinking lighted sign that says “On-Air” right in front of everyone would do the trick for those who can't cope otherwise.

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

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2010, R. Paul Martin.