Back of the Book — October 29, 2022

It's Saturday afternoon, October 29, 2022, 17:43, and this Web page is finished. I've put in Pickles of the North's contribution about Halloween, and I've added the segment we did on NASA looking into Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. I've added some images and edited some of the text that was originally up here. I'm less sleep-deprived now, so I can rephrase awkward sentences better, I think. The original top of this page follows the arrow. Here's the Web page for this program. We talked about the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy hitting New York City. Pickles of the North talked about Halloween. We talked about the trio of diseases that are currently putting so many children in hospitals around the country, and we talked about Leon Musk taking over Twitter, and what that might mean for the mid-term elections. We talked about other topics as well.

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 regular LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday November 9, at 7:00 PM on ZOOM, even though ZOOM compromises privacy and security. This meeting will be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 40 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB tried to meet on Wednesday, October 12, 2022. The LSB failed to achieve quorum and so the meeting was cancelled.

Before the October 12, non-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?

twitter logo
Leon Skum Owns It Now

On Twitter we have rocketed up to 127 followers.

Leon Musk has taken over. He's the ultimate Twitter troll now. He says Trump can come back to Twitter, but Trump wants to stay on his stupid, personal site where he makes money. I'm seeing a piece in the The New York Times citing statements from Memetica, a digital investigations company, that a lot of far right-wing accounts have been set up on Twitter in the last few days. Musk describes himself as a free speech absolutist who wants to make Twitter more open to all sorts of speech. Thousands of new accounts are flocking to various right-wing crazies on Twitter, increasing their number of followers by relatively huge amounts.

The Times quotes chief executive of Memetica Ben Decker as saying that the findings were alarming because many of the far-right figures who experienced spikes in followers are really well known purveyors of disinformation, harassment, and hate. Mr. Decker, who also advises The New York Times on security said, The more followers and wider reach these accounts have, the more distribution these ideas have. He noted That is horrifying to consider two weeks before the election. Researchers also found that Twitter accounts for progressive politicians and celebrities were losing followers on Friday. The Times reported that a group of nonprofit organizations have issued a warning that, Elon Musk's plans for Twitter will make it an even more hate-filled cesspool, leading to irreparable real-world harm. Musk's plans will leave the platform more vulnerable to security threats, rampant disinformation and extremism just ahead of the midterm elections. Before we recorded this program Musk said that he would be forming a, content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints, and that, No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes. I think the right-wing is showing that they figure to be able to make hay in Musk's new Twitter. This could be very bad.

Vaccination card of S Bartfast
We Each Have Two of These Now

According to the Johns-Hopkins Web site COVID-19 cases in the whole world reached 629,740,541 on Friday, and global deaths reached 6,587,818. In America the number of cases as of Friday was 97,423,583 and the death toll in America was 1,070,138, so 5,096 people have died of COVID-19 in America since our last program, but that was two weeks ago. The weekly rate was 2,548 which is in fact slightly lower than what the weekly death toll had been for the October 15, program had been. We know that the real figures are higher than that, but this is the information we have. The pandemic is not over. Pickles of the North and I are keeping out masks on.

SARS-CoV-2 virus
Autumnal Threat

We finally managed to get me to the V.A. Hospital the other day. So besides finding out that the pulse in my feet is good now I've gotten my bivalent COVID-19 booster shot. I'm on my second CDC vaccination card now. I also threw out my back trying to get off a gigantic chair in the Podiatry Clinic.

Pickles of the North has been thoroughly inoculated for almost two months now. I'm building toward maximum immunity at this point. I'm not having any bad reactions to the vaccination. I've got some soreness in the injection site, but that's it. Are we going to see a big surge of COVID-19 cases as the weather gets colder and people are indoors more and having holiday get togethers?

Pickles of the North has noted that the city is no longer sending around the buses to immunize people, and for some that's a big problem. She noted that Staten Island and Queens are at the medium danger level for COVID-19. Brooklyn and Manhattan are at the low level. With so many people not wearing masks and behaving as if the pandemic is only a memory what's going to happen this Autumn and Winter?

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.

The Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

So we had expected that we'd be dealing with COVID-19 and the flu this year, but now there are thousands of children in pediatric wards suffering from RSV. Some kids are suffering from more than one of these viruses. Some kids are fighting all three. Wikipedia says, Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), is also called human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) and human orthopneumovirus, is a common, contagious virus that causes infections of the respiratory tract. It is a negative-sense, single-stranded RNA virus. Its name is derived from the large cells known as syncytia that form when infected cells fuse. The rate of infections among kids has made the news, and elderly people are also more vulnerable to it. So older and younger people are the ones who have to worry about RSV, as well as influenza and COVID-19.

Pickles of the North has had what seems like a cold for a longer time than a cold usually lasts. We're concerned that she might have this RSV thing. Her symptoms do not warrant going to a hospital — yet. We're hoping that she gets better soon. So far I haven't gotten it.

Disaster relief trailer in 2012
A Disaster Relief Trailer

Super Storm Sandy hit us 10 years ago. A low pressure zone in the Ohio Valley and another one in northeastern Canada near Greenland ended up steering it right in to the New York Bight. Most TV weather people in the New York City channels poo-pood the European prediction that the big storm would hang a left and charge right into New York City. Mayor Bloomberg also downplayed it, and went off to the Bahamas for the storm. Lonnie Quinn of WCBS-TV gave credence to the model that showed Sandy suddenly moving west at some point. As time went on it finally looked like the oddball European model's prediction was going to come true.

The storm was not that powerful when it got to the New York Bight, but it had been pushing a lot of water into the area. Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, so it affected quite a large area of water. To make things worse there was a Full Moon set to bring in a high tide at just about the time when Superstorm Sandy was going to hit. With all of these factors the storm caused a surge of ocean water that was the most devastating aspect of the event.

WBAI got clobbered by Superstorm Sandy. Everything to do with electricity and telephones was in the basement of 120 Wall St., where WBAI's studios were located in later 2012. The water came up from the East River, surged just under the elevated FDR Drive and witnesses at WBAI saw the traffic light at the ass end of Wall St. actually awash in that surge of water. The station was knocked off the air for a while. We had to do our first pre-recorded Back of the Book program for November 10, 2012. We were doing biweekly programs then, alternating with Uncle Sidney Smith, so we had been on the air a couple of days before the storm hit. Here's the Web page we did for that program. We had to record that program because someone who was involved with the station had lent a studio to WBAI for a couple of weeks after the storm. They didn't want the overnight-radio riff-raff bothering them with live programming at those hours.

The damage from the storm fed into a crisis we had at the time related to the rent at 120 Wall St. Not only was the rent too high, but our lease was set to end about two months after the storm. The people who owned the building were pissed off that we had people on the air saying unkind things about the guy whose real estate empire included the building. WBAI had to leave 120 Wall St. and long trek all over the place to get studios and get space to operate from. WBAI broadcast out of a studio in the basement of CCNY for a couple of years after that, and then we ended up at 388 Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn. WBAI has never really recovered from the events surrounding Superstorm Sandy. We used to have Staff around the station all the time, now we sure don't. It makes a difference.

WBAI certainly had its problems from Superstorm Sandy, but the radio station's troubles from Sandy pale in comparison to those of the 43 people, at least, in New York City who lost their lives to the storm and the thousands of people who lost their homes to it.

UAP image
WTF is This?

NASA has gotten into the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) game. These things used to be called Unidentified Flying Objects, but UFOs got a bad reputation over the decades that stretched from the '40s to the early 21st Century. UAPs not only don't carry the baggage of hoaxes and crazy cults attached to the UFO acronym but in the past decade some very serious imagery has shown up and the United States government is now asking for help identifying the damned things.

NASA has selected 16 individuals to participate in its independent study team on UAPs. NASA says, Over the course of nine months, the independent study team will lay the groundwork for future study on the nature of UAPs for NASA and other organizations. To do this, the team will identify how data gathered by civilian government entities, commercial data, and data from other sources can potentially be analyzed to shed light on UAPs. It will then recommend a roadmap for potential UAP data analysis by the agency going forward.

The study will focus solely on unclassified data. A full report containing the team's findings will be released to the public in mid-2023. NASA'S associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, Thomas Zurbuchen said, Exploring the unknown in space and the atmosphere is at the heart of who we are at NASA. Understanding the data we have surrounding unidentified aerial phenomena is critical to helping us draw scientific conclusions about what is happening in our skies. Data is the language of scientists and makes the unexplainable, explainable.

Assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA's Science Mission Directorate Daniel Evans will be the official in charge. Mr Evans said, NASA has brought together some of the world's leading scientists, data and artificial intelligence practitioners, aerospace safety experts, all with a specific charge, which is to tell us how to apply the full focus of science and data to UAP. The findings will be released to the public in conjunction with NASA's principles of transparency, openness, and scientific integrity.

So this is a big, serious effort. It would be good to find out what the hell these things are that seem to maneuver so quickly and move so fast that the fastest interceptor aircraft in the world can't catch up to them. Are these things real, physical objects or are they some sort of holographic projections, or maybe some secret method of fouling up the sensitive instruments on high-performance jet aircraft? If they're physical objects being tested over American air space by other countries then that's a dangerous situation and we'd better find out more about them because only two other nation states would have the ability to engineer such things and both of those are, at least, competitors of the United States on the world stage. One thing, if this NASA effort just suddenly disappears without any mention of why, or if some weather balloon explanation is given for these observations then we can probably count on these UFOs UAPs being Top Secret aircraft being tested by some agency of the United States of America.

Trick Or Treat!

Pickles of the North here - Happy Halloween! We celebrate the candy and cake aspect of the start of the ancient Celtic New Year, Samhain, October 31, through November 1. We figure we shouldn't light any signal fires on our fire escape, or slaughter any cattle in our living room, but we have been known to dress up in order to blend in with the folks returning from the Otherworld to find comfort and warmth in the cozy homes of the living. At least that's what the mythology says, and we do enjoy a good myth! It also helps R.Paul to cope with the beginning of dreary November and the upcoming switch back to Standard Time. And I love seeing all the kiddos running around in their costumes getting hopped up on Trick or Treats!

I have two younger brothers who were born in October, one of them on the Grand Day itself! Starting at one year old, he always had a big cake and then later a party with cake, ice cream and a bunch of little kids all dressed in home-made and store-bought costumes, stuffing themselves before they all took off to hit the streets. Even my 92 year old mom is looking forward to eating some molasses candy!

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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