Back of the Book — March 17, 2012

It's Saturday afternoon, April 7, 2012, 15:43, and I've updated this Web page with a short (too long) rant about that damned blinking light I complain about periodically. Previously I'd added the list of program Web pages I'd updated during the fortnight before this program, I've also corrected a typo or two. More to come. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ All right, this is the last radio program of Winter. Spring is rapidly approaching! Pickles of the North is on assignment at the North Pole for this program. I'll be updating this Web page, so check back soon.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of some of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do, and I've recently updated all of that.

There will be an extra WBAI LSB meeting held on Thursday, March 29th, 2012, at the “Brooklyn Commons” 388 Atlantic Avenue, 2nd floor between Hoyt & Bond Streets in Brooklyn.

There was an LSB meeting held this past Wednesday, March 14th, 2012, at the “Brooklyn Commons” 388 Atlantic Avenue, 2nd floor between Hoyt & Bond Streets in Brooklyn. We mostly heard from Management and the Development Director about how swimmingly things are going. After that we had an executive session.

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 01:47 this morning. The station has a Flash stream here, make sure you enable Javascript so it can work for you.

New WBAI stream! WBAI has just put up an experimental stream for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. This is a brand new, experimental stream. So if you have one of those devices you might try the link out. And let us know how it works for you one way or the other. That way the folks implementing it can iron out any kinks in the system.

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.

Back of the Book is again 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 Saturday Morning With the Radio On 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.

setting the clocks forward
R. Paul Got All Dressed Up To Set the clocks Forward

Daylight Saving time is back! Yay!

Now the Sun sets at around seven o'clock in the evening. And it'll set later and later until the very end of June and the beginning of July. I really prefer it when the Sun sets at seven o'clock or later.

And Spring is nearly upon us! The Vernal Equinox will occur on Tuesday March 20th, 2012, at 1:14 AM (ET). So not only will the Sun set later, but the days will be longer than the nights. Oh, I am looking forward to that! More about the season dates here.

I'm going to talk a little bit about  Robert Manning (1948-1969)  on this program.

I remember him as Robert Manning, the kid who sat in front me me for most of my time in high school. They lined us up alphabetically so Martin came right after Manning.

Why I'm talking about him on this program has to do with his death as PFC Robert Manning on March 24th, 1969.

Here's some information about him and his death, although the folks who put it together didn't know his religion. And here's another page about PFC Manning.

that damned blinking light in master control!
This thing is so annoying!

So since Pickles of the North wasn't here for this radio program I completely forgot to try to do anything about this annoying blinking light that we have in Master Control at WBAI. Pickles usually throws her coat or something over the light stalk before we go on the air. By the time I realized I needed to do something about it I was on the air and couldn't get anything to throw over the damned blinking light.

This thing starts to blink the second you open a mic in Master. And it keeps on blinking until you turn the mic off. I find this awfully distracting. Other producers do too. Complaints have been made about it, but the thing's still there more than two years after it was installed.

This annoyance was installed to remind people that the mics are open. This was done after some incidents where people said things that they thought were off-air but which went out over the air. The problem is that we have people on the air at WBAI who have little or no training. Some very basic training will get you to reflexively look to see if the mics are open, and if you can't tell if they're open you just default to assuming they are and you don't say stuff that you don't want going over the air.

Well, training is apparently still anathema at WBAI and so we have this idiot light for radio to remind the untrained that they're on the air and to annoy those of us who are not so pleased with having a light blinking on and off in our faces.

Yeah, something else that will probably never be dealt with properly.

A dust devil on Mars
A Dust Devil Swirling Around on Mars
Photo: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

On the right is a recent photograph of a dust devil on Mars. The photograph was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The dust devil, just some swirling wind, we gets lots of them on Earth too, was observed in the Amazonis Planitia area of Mars. The top of the swirling cloud of dust, the white curve, is more than half a mile high. The dust devil is about 30 meters in diameter. The darker curve in the photograph is not the shadow of the dust devil, it's the track of the dust devil. It's left darker dust in its path.

The wind speed of this thing must be pretty hight. Even though the dust on the surface of Mars can be pretty fine the atmosphere is very thin, about 0.087 psi, as compared to Earth's 14.7 psi. And this part of Amazonis Planitia is about 800 feet high.

Yeah, I think it's just fascinating that we can watch weather phenomena on another planet like this.

One of the science topics I hope to get to tonight will be about the scientists at CERN producing enough anti-hydrogen atoms to start doing spectroscopic analysis of the stuff.

An anti-hydrogen atom consists of an anti-proton and a positron, an anti-electron.

We're all surrounded by, and made of, ordinary matter atoms. But anti-matter atoms are just not around, at least not anymore. So the scientists are going to see if the spectroscopic analysis of this anti-hydrogen is at all different from that of ordinary matter. Prior to these experiments no one's been able to confine a sufficient amount of anti-protons and positrons in a state where they are cold enough to combine into atoms and could then be examined.

It's possible that there may be subtle differences between the anti-hydrogen and the ordinary hydrogen that's all around, and inside, us. If that's the case then the differences may give scientists a big clue as to why we only see matter and no anti-matter.

I have updated the following program Web pages over the past fortnight:

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even though the gag rule was lifted in 2002. 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.

One popular list the “NewPacifica” mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list is sometimes lively and as of mid-2011, has 687 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 Saturday Morning With the Radio On 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 © 2012, R. Paul Martin.