Back of the Book — October 31, 2020

It's Friday, November 20, 2020, 08:49, and this Web page is finished. I've updated some parts and I've put in Pickles of the North's segment on Halloween, along with an explanation of why it's here and was not broadcast. The original top of this page follows the arrow. So this was our 16th pandemic program. We talked about the below topics and more. We're trying to keep safe, and R. Paul has voted. We hope that all of you are safe too, and it would be so good if all of you voted this coming Tuesday. I'll try to update this Web page soon.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of some of the WBAI LSB meetings?

I have also posted a whole lot of the minutes of the Pacifica National Finance Committee on this Web site. I'm a member of that committee because I'm the WBAI LSB Treasurer.

The next WBAI LSB meeting is scheduled to be held on November 11, 2020, it will be held as a teleconference meeting, as the eight previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

The LSB meeting spent almost ten whole minutes discussing the station's draft FY21 budget proposal.

The usual disruptions were endured. Before the meeting I had put out a written Treasurer's Report for all to read.

Some years ago the WBAI LSB voted to hold its regular meetings on the second Wednesday of every 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.

Here is WBAI's current Internet stream. We can no longer tell if the stream is working without testing every possible stream. Good luck.

WBAI is archiving the programs! WBAI has permanently switched to yet another new archive Web page! This one is more baffling than the previous one. For some time I was unable to post archive blurbs, then I could, and then I couldn't again. You can take a look at it and see if I've been able to post anything on it lately. There are still some limitations, but I am assured that I can plug in the archive blurbs that were lost in the latest upgrade.

This is a link to the latest version of the official WBAI archive. The archiving software appears to have been at least partially fixed. To get to the archive of this program you can use the usual method: you'll have to click on the drop-down menu, which says Display, and find Back of the Book on that menu. We're pretty early in the list, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Once you find the program name click GO and you'll see only this Back of the Book program. Management has fixed some problems that we'd been having with the archives.

For programs before March 23, 2019, we're all out of luck. The changes that took place once WBAI Management took control of the WBAI archives seems to have wiped out all access to anything before that date in March. You'll have to click on the same drop-down menu as above, which says Display, and find Specify Date, it's the second choice from the top. You are then given a little pop-up calendar and you can choose the date of the program there. Then click GO and you'll see a list of programs that aired on that date. For those previous programs you can get the audio, but nothing else, since I can't post anything to those pages anymore. Yeah, it looks like they'll have some alternating program's name prominently there, but if you have the right date it'll be our program. Good luck.

Since the General Manager has banned Sidney Smith from WBAI he's not alternating with us on the air. There is another program in the alternate week's time slot.

Bring Back Uncle Sidney!

Our friend, fellow WBAI producer and Saddle Pal Uncle Sidney Smith has been banned from WBAI by General Manager Berthold Reimers. The General Manager will not say why. He won't even tell Sidney why he's banned! This is grossly unfair to Sidney and constitutes abuse of Staff. Why did Berthold ban Sidney?

More to come.

R. Paul Voted, You Vote Too!

So they've plugged in this creature from a Catholic cult group to help make sure that Trump wins any close calls in the election. Will there be a bigger Constitutional crisis in the next few days than we've seen before? How much history can we stand to witness in a short time?

R. Paul was able to find out about the status of his absentee ballot. The Board of elections has received it and they say it's valid. At least that anxiety is dealt with. If you want to check to see if your absentee ballot has been received by the Board of elections go here: and then click on Track Your Ballot.

masked_virus (22K)

We had quite a few things to say about the current pandemic, which is resurging all over the world, and about the moron in the White House who's been making it all so much worse.

Trump continues to spread disease. He's holding these packed, maskless rallies all over the place in an effort to get reelected. At some rallies attendees are passing out from the heat. At other rallies attendees are waiting in vain in cold weather for buses that never come. This shows how much he really cares about people, if his reaction to the pandemic didn't already do that. Now everyone around Pence is infected. Trump and Pence just continue to lie.

The asteroid Bennu
The Asteroid Bennu
photo credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

We talked about the dramatic events that happened around the asteroid Bennu this past week. NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully picked up material from the surface of the asteroid Bennu on October 20.

Bennu is a carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid. So it contains a lot of carbon. Those carbon compounds will be of especial interest to the scientists who will be examining the material that OSIRIS-REx picked up.

Since Bennu is a near Earth asteroid it comes quite close, in cosmic terms, to the Earth at times. In fact it will get quite close in 2135, and that event may set it on a course to collide with the Earth some time between 2175, and 2199. On September 24, 2196, there is a 1 in 11,000 chance of an Earth impact. So people better start partying like it's 2199 at some point. Right now Bennu is more than 200 million miles from Earth.

The October 20th, touch and go sample mission was apparently so successful that the mylar flap that is supposed to seal the sample container is wedged slightly open by some of the small rocks that were collected, and some of the other material that was collected is escaping back out in to space. Well, that's a bit of a problem. The estimate is that they have retrieved about 400 grams of material from the asteroid, but it's possible that they could have almost a kilogram of stuff in there.

Right now the team handling Osiris-REx is trying to figure out what to do. They are concerned about losing some of that precious stuff they've retrieved. They need to get the collection head into the Sample Return Capsule ASAP. They had a way to weigh the sample by spinning the spacecraft, but they aren't going to do that now because they would probably lose more of the material that way. Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, the mission's principal investigator, said, I don't see a way out of that, I think we have to accept that and reoptimize. Well, I guess we'll get a bunch of asteroid stuff no matter what.

How many science fiction stories have featured retrievals of material from some celestial body and it went wrong? Well, I don't think we have to worry about Bug Eyed monsters from this space mission.

Merry Halloween


We had recorded a segment of this program wherein Pickles of the North had talked a bit about Halloween, or Samhain as some of our ancient ancestors had called it. Well, Windows 10 had burped a bit while I was editing this program for broadcast and patching Pickles' segment into the program file got undone. This segment can't just be put off to another program, so we're posting it here. Sorry, Pickles!

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 open list that no longer exists was the WBAI specific Goodlight Web based message board. It was sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as the bleepin' blue board, owing to the blue background that was used on its Web pages. This one had many people posting anonymously and there was also an ancillary WBAI people board that was just totally out of hand.

In June 2012, I ended up having to salvage the bleepin' blue board, and so I was the moderator on it for its last seven years, until it got too expensive.

Sometimes we used to 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 used to alternate with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

One formerly popular mailing list is the NewPacifica mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list has been moribund for a couple of years due to de facto censorship by the group owner. As of February 2019, it had 696 subscribers coast to coast, but postings on it had become very infrequent. During the WBAI Coup of 2019, traffic picked up on that board again, for a while.

Back in the day it sometimes also got a bit nasty. All sorts of things used to happen on that list and official announcements were 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.

We like to stay interactive with our listeners. Here are the various options for you to get in touch with us.

You can also send me E-mail.

And now you can even reach me on Twitter Twitter logo

WBAI related links

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WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2020, R. Paul Martin.