Back of the Book — May 29, 2021


All right, we've talked about the below topics and a bit more on this program. There are still some additions we can make to this Web page, including filling out the part about mapping the universe. I will try to get this Web page updated soon, so check back for the updates.

You can now listen to this program on the official WBAI Archive.

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 Wednesday, June 9, 2021, it will probably be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 16 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

The LSB passed three motions regarding something I can't talk about on the air or even on this Web site, for now. But you'll hear about it on the air at some point, just not from me - until later. Have you visited the official Pacifica Web site lately? Ahem.

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. As of November 2020, Back of the Book airs weekly.

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?

Discovering the universe.
Exploring The Universe

I've read an article in the May 2021, issue of Scientific American about some astrophysicists who have been mapping the universe. Not a small job. The two authors of the article Kyle Dawson professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Utah, and Will Percival Director of the Waterloo Center for Astrophysics at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada have been working for years on a project called the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. They say that they've created the largest map of the cosmos ever made. The map is in three dimensions and contains the positions of four million galaxies.

So all sorts of things are getting discovered there. These two scientists admit that maybe the current cosmological model needs some tweaking, at least. And so now we have better ideas of how the universe is structured although we do not yet know why the factors that make it get structured that way do their work.

global warming
It's Warming, All Right

The World Meteorological Organization has said that there is a 40% chance that by 2025, one year on Earth will be 1½ degrees Celsius, about 2.7° F., hotter than the pre-industrial level. Previous models from the last decade estimated that reaching the 1½ degrees Celsius threshold was just 20%. The researchers pointed out that reaching the the 1½° C. mark would only be temporary in 2025, and the 1½° C. mark would not be permanently crossed for another one or two decades. Unfortunately, scientists have determined that the Earth is on target to heat up by 3 degrees Celsius, 5.4° F., maybe by the end of this century.

First-edition cover of Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four

Microsoft president Brad Smith told the BBC that, If we don't enact the laws that will protect the public in the future, we are going to find the technology racing ahead, and it's going to be very difficult to catch up. I'm constantly reminded of George Orwell's lessons in his book 1984. You know the fundamental story about a government who could see everything that everyone did and hear everything that everyone said all the time. Well, that didn't come to pass in 1984, but if we're not careful that could come to pass in 2024. The BBC report focused on AI innovation in China and its support from the country's ruling Communist Party.

In what I think is a related story British drug dealer Carl Stewart sent a message in an encrypted chat that showed him simply holding a block of blue Stilton cheese. It tuned out that the British police had cracked the encrypted chat service, EncroChat, and they traced the photo to Stewart by determining his fingerprints and palm prints based on the cheese photo. Stewart plead guilty and was sentenced to more than 13 years in jail.

And here's another one from the Washington Post, DUBAI — Using drones armed with cameras and facial recognition software, a police station here has issued 518 fines for not wearing masks in the first quarter of 2021, local media reported Thursday.

According to the Gulf News, two drones were used to scan the Naif neighborhood in a first of its kind initiative. In addition to policing mask-wearing, the drones helped the station issue 2,933 fines for traffic violations.

Brigadier General Tarik Tahlak, director of Naif's police station, told the paper The drones have the latest face recognition technology and can record in narrow streets and alleys. Getting beggars off the streets and apprehending runaway maids are among the other activities of that police station. In January, police said they solved a crime using a P300 wave machine to measure suspects' brain wave activity when shown the scene of the crime!

Trump behind bars.
Lock Him Up!

According to the Washington Post Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. has impaneled a grand jury to weigh evidence in a criminal probe into former President Donald Trump and his businesses.

Last month we talked about having heard just as we were about to record the program that the former daughter-in-law of Trump's main money man for decades had been talking about all of the evidence that she had about Trump's business practices. Well, she got served with a grand jury subpoena and she apparently gladly turned boxes containing years of evidence over to the District Attorney's investigators.

It's also being reported that Trump's former fixer and personal attorney Michael Cohen, is cooperating in the probe and he recently dropped off a case load of documents to the District Attorney's office.

New York Attorney General Letitia James launched a civil probe into the Trump Organization in March 2018, and last week her office confirmed that her investigation is now criminal in nature. Also, we're reading that two assistant attorneys general have since been embedded in the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

What all of these investigators are looking at is the tendency of the Trump businesses to allegedly inflate and deflate the value of assets in order to on the one hand secure bank loans at a favorable rate because the business is doing so great while on the other hand showing large business losses to get tax breaks, and generally presenting the state of the businesses in whatever way will get them other financial benefits. That sort of activity can amount to fraud, and we're not talking small amounts of money or small misrepresentations here.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is saying that this grand jury will be impaneled for six months, which is longer than grand juries usually tend to sit. So they know that there will be a lot of go over.

The big question will be if Trump and his cronies can stall and delay the grand jury, and/or any court proceedings that follow it, enough to have the entire process just peter out due to exhaustion. Prosecutors will also have to present what may be pretty complicated and possibly convoluted financial shenanigans so that a trial jury will be able to grasp everything that went on. Given what a liar Trump is I'm sure that any and all legal proceedings will have to deal with misrepresentations and tricks designed to keep Trump out of prison. Whether he'll also pull out all the stops for his family members is a question. I suspect that if he finds that he can save himself by throwing one or more of his kids under a bus he'll do it.

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.

There used to be a number of mailing lists related to Pacifica and WBAI. Unfortunately, they were all located on Yahoo! Groups. When Yahoo! Groups was totally shut down in December 2020, all of those mailing lists ceased to exist. One year earlier their file sections and archives of E-mails, had been excised leaving only the ability to send E-mails back and forth among the members. Now it's all gone. Older Back of the Book program Web pages tell a little more about those lists.

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

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