Back of the Book — July 16, 2022,

It's Saturday morning, July 16, 2022, 03:28, and I think that this Web page is just about finished. I only have a couple of very small things to add, and then it will be all done. We covered the below topics and a little bit more. The possibility that the Secret Service was taking sides and that possibly some of them were in league with the insurrectionists is disturbing. We know from history how the Praetorian Guard worked itself into power in Ancient Rome. A nuclear power with that kind of internal power structure would be such a bad idea.

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? Well, I do, and I've recently updated some of that.

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 meeting of the WBAI LSB will be held on Tuesday August 2, 2022, but it will be in executive session. The next regular LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday August 10, at 7:00 PM on ZOOM, even though ZOOM compromises privacy and security. This meeting will be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 38 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. At times it was a bit comical. There was a big dispute about a letter that some said held secret information, although the information had been on the Internet, including on the LSB's own public mailing list, for a while. Some people didn't want it read, others did. The LSB voted that it was indeed in order to have the letter read, but the time had run out and we had to go to Public Comment so the LSB members coudn't read the letter aloud at the meeting. In the end various listeners read the letter aloud as part of Public Comment.

Before the July 13, 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, so we have the following schedule:

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?

The Next Generation Space Telescope
The New Explorer In Space

The Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) is operational! It's creating good images, including a deep field image that's supposed to be looking further back in time than any other image to date. On this program we talked about how far back it's possible to look (not all the way to the Big Bang). The astronomers running the NGST are looking for life, as well as other phenomena. The NGST has looked out on the universe in near-infrared and mid-infrared frequencies.

One of the tasks for the NGST is to look for evidence of extra-terrestrial life. I had heard that the NGST had found evidence of water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. We know what the atmosphere of a planet with life as we know it on it looks like; we have the Earth as a prime example. If the NGST can find oxygen, methane and water vapor in the right amounts in an exoplanet's atmosphere there will be a good chance that there's life on that planet.

The NGST's huge mirrors have already taken some micrometeoroid damage. With a set of mirrors that big I suppose that such damage is inevitable. Over time I suppose that such hits will degrade the NGST's imaging ability and eventually cause the $10,000,000,000 space telescope to no loner be useful. Until that time, however, we'll have a whole lot of great images coming out of this big set of golden mirrors.

Model of the Voyager spacecraft
A Veteran of Deep Space Exploration

We talked about one of the oldest of the operational spacecraft on this program. That would be Voyagers 1 and 2. Voyager 2 was the first of the two space probes to be launched. That was on August 20, 1977. Voyager 1 followed on September 5, 1977. Both probes were designed to spend four years in space primarily to explore the gas giant planets Jupiter and Saturn. They did that job admirably, showing views of both gas giants that no one had ever seen before. They also explored the satellites of the two gas giants in the Solar System. The voyagers discovered that Europa had a thick cover of water ice over what may well be a salt water ocean that's deeper than any ocean on Earth.

After completing its prime mission of exploring the gas giant planets and vicinity Voyager 1 was put on a course to be flung out of the Solar System on November 12, 1980. Voyager 2 continued on in the Solar System flying by the ice giant planets Uranus and Neptune. On August 29, 1989, Voyager 2 was put on a course that resulted in its being flung out of the Solar System by the planet Neptune. Thus both spacecraft started out on what became their interstellar missions.

Each Voyager is powered by threeradioisotope thermoelectric generators. These power generator have n o moving parts and generate power from the decay of Plutonium 238. They can't use solar panels for power because they're so far from the Sun.

The Voyagers are moving at about 11 miles per second relative to the Sun. They are the fastest human-made objects ever. Still, it's a huge universe and they will only reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud for another 300 years or so. Robust as the Voyagers are they will both have run completely out of power by then.

In fact NASA is shutting down some of their functions in order to preserve what power they have left for their explorations of the universe beyond the heliopause. Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause and entered interstellar space on August 25, 2012, and Voyager 2 crossed the heliopause and entered interstellar space on November 5, 2018.

One of the old-time scientists who's been associated with the Voyager spacecraft for all these yeas is Stamatios Krimigis who designed the Voyagers' Low-Energy Charged Particle detector system and is now emeritus head of the Space Department at Johns Hopkins APL. He said that he thinks that the Voyager missions have lasted so long is because almost everything was hardwired. Today's engineers don't know how to do this, and he said that Voyager is the last of its kind. The probes were launched in the '70s, and so with then NASA policy they had to use proven technology that had been around for at least 10 years. This explains why they each had memory of only 63 KB. I can't even come up with anything today that I could compare it to without resorting to large multiples of the amount of memory.

The quotes and a lot of the other information in this piece is based on the article Voyagers to the Stars by Tim Folger in the July 2022, issue of Scientific American.

badge_of_the_united_states_secret_service (81K)
Were They In On It?

We talked about the January 6, Committee hearings. We're hearing that a Washington D.C. cop who gave his own account to the congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack has reportedly confirmed former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's June 28 testimony that Trump got into a physical altercation with Secret Service agents on January 6, as he tried to force them to drive him to the Capitol to lead his supporters in that violent insurrection. Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone did not contradict her either.

Remember when right after Ms. Hutchinson's testimony we heard that people high up in the Secret Service said that they were prepared to deny her account under oath? No one from the Secret Service has stepped up to do that yet. And the head of the Secret Service is retiring or has retired. And now we're hearing that the Secret Service accidentally deleted text messages from January 5th and 6th, after a Department of Homeland Security watchdog asked it to preserve all records.

The Secret Service claims it unintentionally deleted the messages as part of a routine device replacement exercise. Doing that after being asked to preserve those records is just a bit suspicious. What was on those phones might well have told what happened in that limo on January 6. It might also relate to Pence's concern about being driven away from the Capitol against his will on January 6, while he was in the basement parking garage hiding from the Trump supporters who were chanting hang Mike Pence, and setting up a gallows on the Capitol steps. Maybe the Secret Service was going to drive him away so that the ritual counting of the Electoral College ballots could not continue. I wonder if some elements of the Secret Service were a part of the plot to keep Trump on as President after he'd lost the 2020, election?

SARS-CoV-2 virus
Another Wave

According to the Johns-Hopkins Web site COVID-19 cases in the whole world reached 561,030,816 on Friday, and global deaths reached 6,367,272. In America the number of cases as of Friday was 89,394,580 and the death toll in America was 1,023,666, so 3,137 people have died of COVID-19 in America since our last program one week ago. That's significantly higher than the previous weekly average. The pandemic is not over, even though a lot of people are behaving as if it were. In fact a lot of people are just not bothering to get vaccinated or wear masks. Some attribute this to what's being called pandemic burnout. Well, humans are just not disciplined creatures. Hospital admissions and deaths from COVID-19 have been higher in recent weeks so we're not just dealing with a heat wave, we're dealing with another wave of that virus. Earlier this week the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that the highly transmissible BA.5 sub-variant now makes up about 65% of COVID-19 cases. And BA.5 and BA.4 make up about 80% of the cases. A variant called BA.2.75 is responsible for a much smaller number but that could change. Currently about 40,000 Americans are now hospitalized with COVID-19. Mayor Adams said of COVID-19, We're not out of the woods - it's still here. The test positivity rate in the five boroughs was above 15% on Tuesday, according to city figures. I think that that should put the kibosh on that idea that was going around that Mayor Adams was going to tell those people who got fired from their city jobs for not getting vaccinated last year that they could get them back.

In New York City, more than 60% of adults have not received a booster shot, including about 40% of the population over the age of 65, according to city data. The White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said, For people who are 50 years of age or older, my message is simple, if you have not gotten a vaccine shot in the year 2022 - if you have not gotten one this year - please go get another vaccine shot. It could save your life. And here's a statistic I found interesting, fully vaccinated Americans over 50 who have received one booster shot are at four times the risk of dying of COVID as twice-boosted members of that age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I'm glad we've gotten our booster shots.

By the time this program airs on Saturday morning all of those figures we quoted will be higher of course. This was all mostly preventable.

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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