Web links related to the Back of the Book program of May 17, 2010

It's Sunday evening, June 13, 2010, 19:12, and this Web page is finished at long last. I've updated this Web page with more about the Neandertal DNA story. Previously I'd put up information about the location of the June 9th LSB meeting and about the 2010, Pacifica elections with links so you can run in them, I've also updated the tally and the section about horseshoe crabs, added more about the LSB report and a correction of the full Moon dates, along with a link to the archive for this program. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Of course we'll be pitching on this program, but we hope to give you as much radio content as possible. A lot has happened over the past fortnight, and we'll be talking about it tonight.

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 Wednesday, June 9, 2010, at 7:00 PM in the Bread and Roses Art Gallery of Local 1199, at 310 West 43rd St. between 8th & 9th Avenues, in Manhattan.

The May 12, 2010, LSB meeting was full of faction disruptions, and I, as LSB Treasurer, gave a financial report that was not encouraging. So we really need to do well during this spring 'thon.

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 working at 8:41 PM last night. They have switched the server from Virginia to Texas, so that may have something to do with various problems. They have a new Flash stream here, make sure you enable Javascript so it can work for you.

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 2010, Pacifica election cycle has begun. A National Election Supervisor has been hired, she is Renee Asteria. The official Web site is here.

The 2010 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.

This election is crucial for the survival of WBAI and Pacifica. The Sixth WBAI LSB, which will be created by this election, will last for two full years. WBAI and Pacifica are in a precarious position right now as current interim 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 where you register to get a nomination package is here.

We are pitching on this radio program! If you can please call 1-212-209-2950 during the radio program and pledge some amount of money to help keep Back of the Book on WBAI and help keep WBAI on the air.

It should be noted that many of the overnight programs are preempted for this 'thon. Back of the Book is on tonight because we did well enough raising money during some previous 'thons. If you'd like to see this program continue please pledge tonight.

Program note: The interim Program Director has informed us that Back of the Book is preempted for the May 30/31, program. Well, preemptions happen. If we do well enough pitching tonight we should be back on June 13/14.

UPDATE: We raised $600 on this program, less than usual. We also got a donation via the Web for $80 some days later. So that's what we made this time. A Web donation that came in while we were on the air did not name this program as a “favorite” so it doesn't count for us. Thanks to all who pledged to the program, it really does mean a lot to us.

I should also point out that we'll need help answering the phones. In order to answer the phones you'll have to get into the building. The building Management now requires that you get your name added to a list so you can enter 120 Wall St. So if you want to volunteer to answer phones for this 'thon you should call the WBAI switchboard at 1-212-209-2800 during business hours and let the folks in charge know you want to volunteer so they can put your name on the list. We always need more folks to answer the phones so if you want to volunteer to answer the phones for another program during this 'thon the above procedure is the way to do it.

Max, Pickles and Sidney
Maxwell J. Schmid, Pickles of the North and Uncle Sidney Smith

Hey, the LSB did a report on the air on Friday, May 7th, at 6 o'clock in the morning, and I was on the first hour as Treasurer. You can download that report here and you can listen to the second hour here.

The report was not a rosy one. WBAI is still in bad financial shape. I brought up the current 'thon and told people that we'd need them to pledge.

When we took calls we got a caller who insisted that people at the station were keeping her from getting on the air when she tried to call in and hanging up on her when they saw her phone number. I told her that at WBAI we have no mechanism for knowing who's calling in until we pick up the call, and even then we don't really know who they are, only what they're saying. Well, nothing we said would convince her that her idée fixe was not totally correct. The same person wanted Bernard White back. Yeah, that's his audience.

We took some other calls, and I slipped in some more financial information, and the hour was up.

the addle pals
The Saddle Pals
Maxwell J. Schmid, R. Paul Martin and Uncle Sidney Smith

The Pacifica Directors from WBAI came on for the next hour and had a fun time, of course.

After I got done with the report the Saddle Pals and Pickles of the North went off to eat breakfast, which for most of us was more like a second supper.

We ate in the little non-chain fast food joint on the southwest corner of Water & Pine Sts. Everyone else was coming in to grab something fast as they rushed to work in the area, and we were getting food to stay and eat there.

Unfortunately, we had to eat breakfast food, and I went a bit off my diet there. But the four of us had a good time just hanging out after the LSB report.

After we were done eating Max and Sidney had to go home; Pickles of the North and I walked around a bit, went to Battery Park much later in the day than we usually do, and took some more photographs. Well, it was a pretty nice Friday morning, and it was interesting being on the air in the daylight at WBAI.

Neanderthal Skeleton at the American Museum of natural History
Neandertal Skeleton, American Museum of Natural History
Photo credit: Claire Houck from New York City, USA

On this program we began to talk about the discovery that most of the people on the Earth have some Neandertal DNA in them.

This discovery was something of a surprise because the Neandertal mitochondrial DNA is quite distinct from that of living humans. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany were able to tease DNA from three bones from three female Neandertals whose remains were found in a cave in Vindija, Croatia where they'd died between 38,000 and 44,000 years ago. The scientists used very small amounts of DNA from Neandertal bones found in Spain, Germany and Russia to confirm what they were getting from the three ancient bones from Croatia.

For comparison the team sequenced five modern human's genomes. The ethnicities of the five living people were San from southern Africa, Yoruba from western Africa, Papua New Guinean, Han Chinese and French European. They then went over these genomes the same way they'd gone over the Neandertal ones.

With two thirds of the Neandertal genome sequenced it appears that the human and Neandertal genomes are 99.84% identical to each other. Which is understandable since both species have arms and legs, heads and other similar body parts, stood upright and created and used similar tools. Also, Neandertals and humans shared a common ancestor only about 270,000 to 440,000 years ago, which is not that long a time in evolutionary terms.

One thing that surprised scientists was how close the human genome is to the Neandertal genome in the first place. In the hundreds of thousands of years since Neandertals and humans shared an ancestor there have been only 78 nucleotide substitutions that modern humans have that Neandertals didn't. That's 78 out of 3 billion base pairs. Evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada is quoted in the May 7, 2010, issue of Science as saying, “Only 78 substitutions in the last 300,000 years! ... The fact that so few changes have become fixed on the human lineage is amazing.”

The scientists theorize from their data that there appears to have been just a little bit of interbreeding when early modern humans radiated out of Africa 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, and this contributes to an approximately 2% to 4% sharing of genes between the non-sub-Saharan people of the world and Neandertals.

One long shot idea is that maybe the ethnic substructure of Africa has changed over tens of thousands of years and that the 2% to 4% similarities are inherited from ancient ancestors in sub-Saharan Africa and that those populations that shared these genes radiated outward and also ceased to exist in Africa.

The scientists will continue working on the Neandertal genome, and more insights into humanity may be forthcoming from their further research. There's definitely more to come on this topic.

We've been lounging around in mid-Spring for a while here, but we'll enter late Spring on Friday, May 21st, at 9:29 PM (ET). More details about the seasons of 2010, here.

horseshe crabs
A pair of horseshoe crabs mating

The Horseshoe crabs are coming! May and June are when the horseshoe crabs show up and mate on the shores of various bodies of water.

They are most active on the nights of the Full Moons of May and June, after which they crawl slowly back to the bottom of the sea.

The Moon will be full late on the evenings of May 27th, and June 26th. If you can find a place where they'll be then it's really worth getting a look at these ancient creatures.

Unfortunately, I missed a chance for May 27th, because I had a Finance committee meeting. And June 26th is not only a Saturday night, when going out to tidal nooks to watch arthropods mate in the early Summer moonlight can put one in conflict with the local drunks, but it's also the night before the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans March. And I will need to rest my old body the night before that long walk in the hot Sun. Well, maybe I'll catch sight of them at some point before they slowly crawl back to the bottom of the continental shelf.

The gas giant planet Jupiter has “lost” its South Equatorial Belt. But this has happened before, and it'll probably show up again soon. It does give the largest planet in the solar System an odd look, for those who are familiar with how it usually looks.

The Great Red Spot is still visible, but it's a little hazy looking. Here's NASA's story on this development.

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.

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