Web links related to the Back of the Book program of March 6, 2000

It's Saturday 3/11/2000 06:08:53, and I've gotten this Web page finished at last, I think. I don't even know if the Web site was accessible at all during the RCN outage. I am still having enormous problems with my ISP, which has been taken over by RCN. In fact, the entire RCN network was inaccessible from Sunday morning till Monday morning! The Washington Post even did a piece on it.

I'm still looking for a new ISP and Web host.

The job action by the freelance reporters and stringers for Pacifica Network News is still ongoing. The Pacifica National Board has met lately, as well, and you should see some of the people they've seated on the Board! Look at the Pacifica Theft Menu to find out more.

The Web cast of tonight's program is probably working. The first one below is the most likely one to be working. Unfortunately, this may not be for much longer. WBAI's wacky General Manager, Valerie Van Isler, has not paid Porus dot com the $2,500 she'd promised to upgrade their carriage of WBAI. This feed may cease to exist soon.

Paul Williams of UFO Desk is arranging for this feed. And we thank Porus dot com for this feed.

“Emmanuel Goldstein” of Off The Hook is maintaining this feed.

I have arranged for the Vernal Equinox to occur on the next Back of the Book program.

I read on the air a a piece that had moved over the AP wire about a report that all of the vitamin C we've been gulping down for the past couple of decades may not be doing us that much good, after all! Unfortunately, the AP doesn't seem to have this piece live anymore so I can't link to it. Basically, a Dr. James Dwyer, and colleagues, of the University of Southern California School of Medicine did a study of 573 middle aged people who worked at a utility company in Los Angeles, CA. They measured the thickness of the carotid arteries in these folks' necks at the start of the study and again 18 months later. They found that the people who took vitamin C pills had an increased thickening in the arterial walls. And the more vitamin C they took in pill form the thicker their carotid arteries got! People who took 500 mg of vitamin C a day had a 2½ times greater rate of thickening than those who took no vitamin C supplements at all. For smokers, of course, the rate was even worse, 5 times worse in fact. If this study holds true then I'm really shot. I've been taking pretty good sized doses of vitamin C for about 30 years now, and my current daily dose is 590 mg in pill form.

I'm hoping that this study has merely seen a statistical correlation though. Maybe a lot of the people swallowing vitamin C pills already had a problem and that's why they were taking it. A lot more research needs to be done on this.

So this kid Nick Emmett, a senior at Kentlake High School in Kent, Washington, put up a Web page on his family's AOL account, on his own time outside of school hours. He called it the “Unofficial Kentlake High Home Page.” Predictably for a high school kid it was full of joking around. He had mock obituaries of a couple of his friends on it. He then asked on the site who should be the subject of the next mock obituary. One person posted a picture of the Principal of Kentlake High School, Dick Campbell, and labeled it, “I wanna die, pick me, pick me!”

Now this Emmett kid actually posted the following disclaimer on the Web site, “This website is meant for entertainment purposes only. In no way, shape, or form is it intended to offend anybody. And to the KL (Kentlake) Administration, ...We love you guys!” A local TV station did a news report on the kid's Web site (This must be one extremely dull place!) and they said that there was a “hit list” of people who were to be killed on the site! Talk about dim bulbs in journalism.

Principal Campbell, who I must say takes one hell of a goofy looking photograph, immediately put young Mr. Emmett on a 5 day suspension. The ACLU fought this case and got a federal judge to issue an order blocking any disciplinary actions against the kid. Here's the ACLU press release on it all.

Supposedly this reaction was the result of the Columbine High School hysteria that's been sweeping the country. Now this is becoming one fashionable panic reaction. I think it's providing some adults with an excuse to exercise their serious control fetishes about kids. They want to grind them down and squeeze any individuality, creativity and non-conformity out of them. Talk back and you're slapped down. I'm glad that the federal court has stopped Principal Campbell's punitive action against a kid who did something outside of school hours and off school property. Maybe it will teach Principal Campbell a lesson that he needs to learn, albeit a little late in life.

Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have determined that the Sun revolves around the galactic center once every 226 million years. This means that the sun is moving through the galaxy at 135 miles per second, or about 486,000 miles an hour. Of course the Earth is moving with the sun in this orbit.

There's been a conference held named “Dark Matter 2000”. The focus of the conference was the new discoveries that have been made over the past year regarding “dark matter,” of course. I only touched on it during this program, but I'll be doing more on the information that came out of it on the next one. I did mention that the current theory is that baryonic matter (made up of the familiar protons and neutrons) is not the dominant matter in this universe. This means that MACHOS (MAssive Cold Halo Objects) are out and WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) are in. The universe we thought we knew is no more. These recent discoveries are as revolutionary as the theories and discoveries of Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Joahnnes Kepler and Galileo Gallilei were centuries ago.

Speaking of controversial ideas, a really wild theory about that accelerating expansion of the universe has been offered that relates to other universes and string theory.

As usual, I squeezed some listener mail into the program. I'm still behind on reading it, but I am catching up. Here's one regular listener's take on the John Rocker controversy.

Subject: John Rocker
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 23:21:21 EST
From: Sharon, the Wicked Witch of the East (Side)
To: rpm@glib.com

Big deal. This is how jocks think and talk among themselves. Every so often one of them is dumb enough to talk in front of a reporter. As disgusting as Rocker's comments are, I'm not in favor of forcing him to apologize, as the Braves probably will. Political correctness 1950's style got Paul Robeson “disappeared” from the 1919 All-America football team. Political correctness 1990's style is no better. His words seem more to reflect ignorance than hate; Hank Aaron, of all people, should be able to tell the difference. Anyone with a radio can hear worse things any day from Robert Gigante, alias “Bob Grant,” and other well-paid defenders of Aryan values. Comparisons with Marge Schott are just not valid. Unlike the former Reds owner and Nazi memorabilia collector, Rocker is not in a position of power. When a man signs a contract to play baseball, he doesn't sign away his Constitutional right to be a jerk. You can't justify barring him from baseball, which welcomes drunks, drug abusers, wife beaters, flashers, statutory rapists, gun law violators and tax cheats, as long as they have skills that somebody (usually George Steinbrenner) is willing to pay for. Rocker has spoken. Come April, the fans in National League cities will have a chance to respond. It should be exciting.

Here's what I don't understand: what was this guy doing on the Number 7 train? Doesn't Ted Turner pay him enough to take cabs? If cab drivers are refusing to pick up rednecks, this is something for the Taxi & Limousine Commision to investigate. Danny Glover stood up; where is Jeff Foxworthy when his people need him?

A healthy and happy new year to you and Pickles of the North.

Sharon, the Wicked Witch of the East (Side)

Another regular listener and letter writer wanted to alert us to a celestial event well in advance.

Subject: planning ahead

Date: Tue, 04 Jan 2000 18:25:31 -0500
From: North American Shirley
To: rpm@glib.com

8/21/17 will be a full solar eclipse visible on both coasts of the US...

wanted to be the first to tell you

And this listener was noting the rather calm passing of the Y2K crisis.

Subject: Ynot2K
Date: Tue, 04 Jan 2000 23:15:46 -0500
From: "Karl"
Organization: Happy Pterodactyl Ranch
To: rpm@glib.com

Well, at least we can still worry about asteroids.

Happy New Year.



Too many reporters "want to save the world, whether the world wants to be saved or not."

- Stuart Garner

There are a lot of issues that we can't talk about on the air at WBAI. But there is an Internet list called “Free Pacifica!” which you can subscribe to, and these issues are discussed there. If you subscribe to it you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

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