Web links related to the Back of the Book program of February 19, 2011

It's Thursday, December 22, 2011, 10:26, and this Web page is finished at last. I have made a correction and added much more to the sections about the topics we covered on this program. And I added in the photographs of our last outing after the previous program. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Well, we're actually here this time! We'll be pitching, so we hope that listeners will pledge while we're on the air.

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

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 9, 2011, at 388 Atlantic Ave. between Bond & Hoyt Sts., in Brooklyn. This meeting will be on the ground floor.

The regular LSB meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 9, 2011, was not totally insane. We elected the officers and put people on PNB committees. While the faction operatives has various comments to make they never mentioned their phony LSB meeting that they held after the real LSB meeting broke up in December. Maybe they actually embarrassed themselves.

Here are the Officers elected for 2011

At a previous meeting the WBAI 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. And you can see the status of the streams at any time by clicking here. The stream was working at 2:30 this morning. The station has a 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. Or to see only the two shows in this time slot click here. The archives of our programs in our previous time slot are here.

Back of the Book is one of the programs that you can download, as well as listen to on line.

In the table on the archive 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!

In the Summer of 2009, there was a Pacifica National Board meeting held in New York. 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, 2009. 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 Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in Manhattan the weekend of October 1-3, 2010. The audio has been posted for the first day of the meeting, the second day of the meeting and the third day of the meeting.

Subject: [WBAI-LSB-PUBLIC] Announcement: Berthold Reimers appointed GM of WBAI

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:43:09 -0500

From: Mitchel Cohen

To: wbai-lsb-public@yahoogroups.com

I've just received word from Arlene Engelhardt, Executive Director of Pacifica, that she's appointed Berthold Reimers as the General Manager of WBAI.

Mitchel Cohen
Chair, WBAI Local Station Board

We've Sort of Moved

Back of the Book has been moved to this time slot. We'll see how this move works.

The interim Program Director has issued notice of program changes. The evolving, relevant documents are below. We are hearing from other producers who have been told they are being moved to other time slots and having their time cut in half. One producer has been told he's off the air entirely and another producer has decided that he would rather resign than be treated in a way that he can't abide.

Some producers are lobbying heavily to retain their current time slots, and some have lobbied to get better time slots amid the chaos of this sudden program shakeup. One producer got moved, accepted it, and then got pushed out of the new time slot by another producer who had publicly quit and then successfully lobbied the interim Program Director, with the aid of four supporters, for a better time slot. The producer who got pushed out has quit WBAI.

We got a call on our answering machine from WBAI interim Program Director Tony Bates at 5:17 in the afternoon on November 1st. He said that the grid was changing and that Back of the Book would be affected. When I called back at 7:15 that evening I got his voice mail and the voice mail was full so I couldn't leave a message.

I called the interim Program Director about this again the next day. He told me that he was moving Back of the Book to 5:00 AM on Saturdays! And in this new time slot the program is only one hour long. Let's just say that we are not jumping for joy about this change in the program. It's quite a change for us, and for our listeners. And, yes, Uncle Sidney has moved his program Carrier Wave, or whatever he's calling it lately, to this same time slot and will continue alternating with us.

Here are the latest documents from Management about the programming shakeup:

Management's Original FormatsWeb Friendly Formats
First letter from WBAI ManagementFirst letter from WBAI Management
Second letter from WBAI ManagementSecond letter from WBAI Management
The new WBAI program gridThe new WBAI program grid
 The new WBAI program grid in HTML format
 Updated schedule as of 11/15/10
 Updated schedule as of 1/5/11

In the grid I do not know whose picture that is to the right of the data. Even now I don't know that these program changes are fully settled.

Of course I've had something to say about all of this. I sent this out as an E-mail on November 11th. If we don't get more listeners soon WBAI will cease to exist.

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.

If you want to pledge to the program via the Web you need to do so while we're on the air, and you also need to go here and be sure to pick Back of the Book as the favorite show. Otherwise your pledge won't be counted towards the program.

UPDATE: We ended up raising $480 on this program. We used to raise more in our old time slot. Thanks to all who pledged, and thanks to those who took the calls in the Tally Room.

I should also point out that WBAI always needs help answering the phones. In order to answer the phones you'll have to get into the building. The building Management 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.

Back of the Book did not air on February 5, 2011. Click here to see the start of an explanation of why that happened.

On a previous program we talked about an amateur astronomer reporting that Jupiter appeared to have been struck by something. Here's an update on that story. We are so lucky that Jupiter is there to soak up so much of the cosmic debris that's whipping around the Solar System.

On this program we talked rather a bit about advances in computer technology. Well, some may not see all of them as advances, exactly.

One Earth shaking computer technology event that you'll actually hear on this program will be our new announcer Henrietta Hexadecimal who will do all, or at least a lot, of our station breaks.


Some folks are making entirely too much of a big deal about the move over to IPv6.

What most of us are using now is IPv4. This stands for Internet Protocol version 4. The Internet Protocol is part of what gets you on the Internet. It provides the “address” for anything you go to or use on the Internet. Without an IP address you just can't get there from anywhere. You may have seen references to TCP/IP as the thing that you use on all sorts of networks, including the Internet. Well, IPv4 is what the IP stands for in that acronym. Here's more on IPv4.

The big thing that happened this past fortnight was that the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which hands out the IP addresses in blocks to regional authorities, handed out the last blocks of IPv4 addresses.

People have known for more than a decade that this day was definitely coming, and they started working out what to do quite a while ago. There will be some issues moving from the current IPv4 to IPv6, but the sky is not falling.

About these huge numbers

Some folks are not used to exponential numbers, and some of these numbers are so large that they defy human comprehension.

I've taken a stab at making the comparisons a little more accessible. For a page that may make this a little more clear, click here.

The issue is that a network using IPv4 has 232 possible addresses. That's 4,294,967,296 possible different addresses for everything. And some of those addresses are reserved for specific duties and are not available for general use. In 1981, the subset of the 4,294,967,296 possible unique addresses was seen as a nearly inexhaustible store of them. And then everybody got on line and started wanting IP addresses for Web sites, various pieces of hardware that are attached to the Internet and cell phones, among lots of other things. Luckily, there are various tricks that are used to sort of recycle the IP addresses, but there are limits to what these tricks can do.

So when various technical people saw that there was going to be this IP address shortage problem they started working on a new IP address protocol. What the folks at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) came up with was IPv6. IPv6 has 2128 IP addresses. This results in a number that is not even useful to write down. Suffice it to say that it translates to about 340 undecillion or 3.4 1038 IP addresses which in ordinary numbers is: 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

That's a whole lot of addresses. And adding more cell phones, Web sites, etc. should be no problem, at least as far as IP addresses are concerned.

IPv6 will also have more inherent capabilities than IPv4. Some of these are highly technical, but some will just allow for faster connections.

The good news is that just about all computer operating systems have been IPv6 capable for years now. The bad news is that almost all of our personal hardware is not. So when IPv6 really snowballs into our lives, which I guesstimate to be in about two to three years or so, we'll all have to buy new Network Interface Cards (NICs), routers and modems. The large companies that run the backbones, switches and networks that make up most of the Internet have been deploying IPv6-ready hardware for some years now.

So the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will be a pain in the ass, and cost us some more money, but other than that we ought to not have too bad a time of it.

Some are concerned about some privacy issues with IPv6 due to the ability of everything to be assigned a single IP address. Right now most of us fire up our computers and go on-line via routers and modems that hook into our ISP's network. At that point the ISP assigns us an IP address. This is because they need to constantly recycle the limited number of IP addresses that they have. But with IPv6 the ISP can just let you have a single, permanent IP address. And spammers, governments and other malefactors may well be able to work up profiles of you and what you do when you're on-line. There's supposed to be a pseudo-anonymizing process used by your ISP to protect you from these predators, but how will that work out in practice? That may be a big issue for most of us when IPv6 finally takes over completely.

IBM's Watson on Jeopardy

This past fortnight there was a three day game of the quiz show Jeopardy featuring IBM's Watson computer versus the two previous most successful (carbon based) players. Watson, named after IBM's first corporate president, was backed up by 90 high powered servers comprising 2880 CPU cores and 16 Terabytes of RAM.

The computer complex won the game.

This isn't the end of the world, of course. It may not even be a nodal event in the progress of technology in general. But it sure did get the attention of people who previously were oblivious to the power of computers these days.

At IBM they're touting this as a great breakthrough that will be used for medical purposes. Yeah, instead of seeing a real doctor people who can't pay much or can't pay at all will go to a Health Kiosk and be one of the 5,000 people simultaneously diagnosed by a computer that has a capacity a tenth that of the one that played on Jeopardy. Meanwhile one with ten times the capacity of the one that was on TV will be scouring the Internet for dissenting voices. Oh yeah, things will be wonderful in the future.

Image of my male ex projected on a wall at the Center
Picture of My Male Ex Projected on Wall

This past fortnight the NYC Gay Men's Chorus and the Hettrick-Martin Institute held a memorial for my male ex at the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered Center on W. 13th St. in Manhattan. I spoke at it.

Fred, my male ex, was a founding member of the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, and he was the first teacher at the Harvey Milk School, New York City's “gay high school.”

There was quite a crowd there at this memorial. Pickles of the North and I were there. Most of Fred's surviving relatives were there, as well as his domestic partner Wilfredo and some of we past lovers. The large room was packed with others whom Fred had known and whose lives he had affected over the decades, including many other old gay activists.

A photograph of Fred laughing was projected on the wall of the large room we were in, My photograph of it is on the left.

Iconic Possessions
Stuff My Male Ex always Carried

On the right is a photograph of a little, temporary memorial to Fred in the room we were in. It consisted of the iconic stuff he was always carrying around in the last few years of his life. There's the cane he had to use after a while, the huge, over-stuffed backpack he carried that I always tried to get him to lighten up, one of his jackets and a crummy boom box of the sort that he was always using to record Chorus rehearsals for use later on when he practiced. The banner in back belongs to the New York City Gay Men's Chorus. Each of the silver stars on the banner carries the name of a Chorus member who has died. The Chorus has had a lot of its members die over the decades of the AIDS Crisis. Fred's name will be added to that banner.

After the evening's host made introductory remarks I was the first to be called on to speak.

It was an emotional thing for me. Decades ago I had gone to memorials for people I'd known well. Some had died of AIDS, before we even had a name for it or knew what it was, one had died of complications from diabetes, another had died of cancer. But as the number of AIDS deaths among gay activists mounted in the '80s I found that the memorials were just having a cumulative bad effect on me. Quite a few superstitions promote the idea that the deceased person is floating on a cloud watching everything that the living are doing. As an atheist I do not buy that idea. So the memorial is not of any real benefit to the deceased. It is in fact for the living. It may help some of the survivors come to grips with the person's death and it may comfort some of them and provide a communal method of mourning. But since the memorials were screwing me up I decided not to attend them after there were just too many in the '80s. I did make exceptions for WBAI's Receptionist and long time producer Fred Kuhn's memorial, for pal and also long time producer Paul Wunder's, memorial and for Gay Men's collective colleague and producer Lee Ryan's memorial which was more like an Irish Wake.

Years ago, when Fred, my male ex Fred, and I were discussing these things I told him that I indeed would attend and speak at his memorial, and so I did.

The host, or Master of Ceremonies or whatever the position is called, was quite tall. I am quite short. So when it came time for me to speak I found the microphone mounted above a lectern that was already too high for me. I had to speak up towards the microphone. And when I started to speak I noted that my legs were shaking. I speak to listeners over the air all the time, I've spoken to live crowds of all sizes. I'm not nervous doing it. I wasn't feeling nervous as I spoke at my male ex's memorial. I wondered while I spoke if my legs were shaking because of the emotion of the moment, even though I did not feel nervous at all. Only through a lot of concentration could I stop the legs from shaking. Since that memorial I have noticed my legs shaking during non-emotional events. The shaking legs were probably caused by my having to stretch towards that microphone that was way over my head, or maybe my legs are just getting shaky as I age.

In any case I reminisced about my male ex in the '70s, and '80s, and on into his later life, his struggle with AIDS and the risks he took as a gay activist who was also a New York City school teacher.

I did my best to not stay up there for too long, I hope I gave those assembled a good idea of what my male ex was like before most of them knew him. I ended my little speech by saying that I would miss Fred every day, and I have.

Southeast Corner of Battery Park in the snow
Southernmost Tip of Manhattan in Icy Conditions

After the last program Pickles of the North and I went down to Battery Park. It was still mostly covered in snow. The paved pathways and the Promenade were all at least partly cleared of snow.

In one photograph you can see the weak January Sun peeking through the clouds as the Staten Island Ferry closes in on its dock. The Promenade was plowed of snow so that people could move from one end of Battery Park to the other. The rails, benches and areas next to the water were left covered, and the snow from the plows was piled there in some cases.

And it was cold out there.

Looking west on Battery Park Promenade
Hardier Joggers Were Still Out

Looking west towards Jersey City on the Battery Park Promenade there was still one jogger coming around to have her exercise.

Yeah, the park wasn't jumping with tourists that morning.

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 © 2011, R. Paul Martin.

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