Back of the Book — June 10, 2023,

It's Saturday morning, June 10, 2023, 08:29, and I've updated this Web page a little bit. More to come. The original top of this page follows the arrow. We're getting this Web page up very late! It will be updated with a lot more stuff very soon. 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? Well, I do.

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 Local Station Board meeting will be held on Wednesday June 14, 2023, at 7:00 PM on ZOOM, even though ZOOM compromises privacy and security. This meeting will be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 45 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. We found out who had gotten elected to the Management Evaluation Committee. One person who is a recent member of the LSB wants to change things and doesn't seem to care that she's causing chaos. Mostly we got reports at this meeting. Some good news is that Pacifica had applied for membership in the CPB. I gave a Treasurer's Report and the written version is here.

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. Now I can again and there are a whole bunch of archive blurbs up there now.

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?

smokey_skyline (4K)

We had a big smoke mess this past week. The Air Quality Index for June 7, was 484, out of 500. That's a hazardous level. The Fox Weather Channel said it had only gotten up to 436. Yeah, only.

I saw The Sun not long after sunrise on Tuesday morning, and it looked rally weird. It was very red, but a strange kind of red. The sky was a funny color too. I took a photograph of it but my crummy camera couldn't capture the colors I saw.

After she'd looked out the window Pickles of the North drew the curtains and figured that might suffice to keep the smoke out of the apartment. Some time later that morning, while she was on the phone I went to take a look out the window, pulled the curtains aside a little bit and got a whiff of what was out there. It was as if someone were barbecuing right on the window sill. After that we battened down all of the hatches.

Pickles is badly affected by that level of air pollution. I felt it a bit too. We only opened the window when it started to rain just before we put the last touches on this radio program on Friday evening. And we've heard weather reports that say that there's another plume coming down from Canada tonight and then again on Sunday. I guess we'll have to close all of the windows again for those events. Not that closing the windows keeps the smoke out that much. We live in an apartment that is rather porous. When a neighbor's cat urinates on their baseboards it comes into our apartment. And we have to smell whatever the hell some people are cooking in many cases because there are so many holes and never-finished pars of the apartment. If a high wind hits he building at a certain angle we get air gushing out of the floor. Still, closing the windows helped.

Maybe this smothering event was a part of the climate crisis. Even the Fox Weather Channel had people on saying that this was related to climate change.

The reason why we got hit so badly was because there was a high pressure zone over the middle of Canada, and a low pressure zone just off the east cast of America. The high formed what's called an omega high. The National Weather Service defines an omega high as, A warm high aloft which has become displaced and is on the polarward side of the jet stream. It frequently occurs in the late winter and early spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The name comes from its resemblance to the Greek letter, Omega, when analyzed on upper air charts. It is an example of a blocking high. The air in a high pressure zone rotates in a clockwise direction, as viewed form above. The air in a low pressure zone rotates in a counterclockwise direction. So these two huge bodies of rotating air funnel whatever air is between them to the south, and that's how the Canadian wildfire smoke got so efficiently delivered to our skies — and our lungs.

People were saying that the sky and the air around them looked apocalyptic, or like a scene from a science fiction movie and it did. Some also said that Manhattan looked like Mars at the height of the hazardous air pollution emergency on Wednesday.

sars-cov-2 with a mask
Still Lurking Around

The CDC Web site isn't giving a lot of up-to-date information about COVID-19 in America, although they're saying that Total Deaths are at 1,131,439 and that there's been a 14.3% down tick in COVID-19 deaths in the past week.

The pandemic is not over. Pickles of the North and I are still keeping our masks on. We've both gotten our bivalent vaccinations, and our bivalent booster shots. When the new boosters are put out in the Autumn I'm sure we'll get those as soon as we can too.

A rogue black hole
How to Depict a Rogue Black Hole?

We've talked about gravitational lensing before. Here's another case where it's being used to explore the universe.

So far 20 black holes have actually been detected in this galaxy and all of them were in binary systems. There have been theories for years that there could be rogue black holes in the universe. A rogues back hole is a black hole that does not have a companion, and does not have a detectable accretion disk.

A team of scientists headed by Kailash Sahu from India has found a rogue black hole through microlensing, which is gravitational lensing caused by something smaller than a galaxy or galaxy cluster. These scientists have thereby proven that such things do exist. At this time the rogue black hole is designated as MOA-11-191/OGLE-11-462. That OGLE part is the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, which is based based in Chile.

The scientists said that they knew it was a black hole because it was massive but there was no light coming from it. They needed more than that to prove that they'd found a rogue black hole though.

The team spent six years watching and analyzing the astrometric signal.

The entire microlensing event lasted 270 days. The narrow peak in the graph lasted 7 days. This narrow part would have occurred when the rogue black hole had passed either directly r almost directly between the background star and our point of view.

That rogue black hole that's been detected is not named yet. It's 5,200 light years distant from us and is in the direction of the center of the galaxy. Scientists have determined that it weighs over seven times the mass of the Sun and it's moving at 28 miles per second.

Scientists think that they have been observing a possibly biased sample with regard to the black holes observed in our galaxy. The black holes discovered in our galaxy average about seven solar masses, but in other galaxies where they've been detected by gravity waves the average black hole is a lot larger, up to almost 100 solar masses.

It is estimated that there may be 100,000,000 rogue black holes in the Milky Way galaxy. They are impossible to spot directly.

We would probably never see one coming.

This part of the program was largely inspired by an article in the March 2023, issue of Astronomy magazine.

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.

You can also send me E-mail.

And now you can even reach me on Twitter Twitter logo

WBAI related links

A WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

Back to the Back of the Book page

Back to my home page.

The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2023, R. Paul Martin.