The OKC Bombers (Yes, Plural)

The Murrah Building after the bombing. Was all this damage done by a homemade truck bomb, parked on the street yards away?

by Kevin Alfred Strom

ON THE one hand, we have the conspiracy theorists who say that Timothy McVeigh was a patsy. On the other hand, we have hours of tapes in which McVeigh admits he committed the act.

But these are not mutually exclusive propositions. One does not preclude the other.

McVeigh may have been followed, encouraged, guided, and then taken advantage of — with extra explosives as “insurance,” as the efficacy of a truck bomb some considerable distance from the building was naturally doubted by the experts involved.

I was listening to the radio in the minutes and hours immediately after the event, and there were definitely reports of additional bombs inside the building — which stands to reason, considering the massive damage.

It was also extremely suspicious that McVeigh, shortly before the attack, placed a number of apparently pointless telephone calls.

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Whatever Happened to Financial Privacy?

by Kevin Alfred Strom

THE DICTATES of the Washington regime have, with the wildly misnamed “Patriot Act,” finally taken away all of our financial privacy, which is a fundamental part of our personal privacy.

Two acquaintances of mine recently purchased automobiles for cash — no credit requested — and the interrogation they were subjected to by the dealers (necessitated by the “Patriot Act”) show how we have been cowed into surrendering the last vestiges of our freedom and privacy. One wrote:

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The Folly of ‘Income Redistribution’

by Kevin Alfred Strom

I’VE BEEN hearing a lot in the news these days about “income redistribution.” About how “income inequality” is a problem that needs to be fixed by (forcibly) taking wealth from some and “giving” it to others. Now I’m all for ending the ability of the bankers and Wall Street to create money out of thin air (as they do every day with fractional reserve banking). And I am all for ending the ability of multinational corporations to steal from us using their usual techniques of fraud, manipulation, and so-called “free trade.” But taking from my neighbors to “equalize” incomes? No.

To all the would-be “income redistributors” I say this: No one is stopping you from giving 90 per cent. (or 100 per cent.) of your money away. You can give it to me if you like; I’ve got a Paypal link on my site.

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Google Groups: How Not to Run an Archive

by Kevin Alfred Strom

IT’S BEING acknowledged everywhere — now by Wired magazine and the SEO Theory newsletter. Google Groups is totally broken.

It began well. Google acquired the Deja News archive of Usenet postings from 1995 forward, and then added 1981-1994 material from Marc Spencer’s archive. If somebody said it in a newsgroup, you could find it by searching Google Groups. You could search by author, by keywords, by newsgroup, by date range, or by exact phrase. It was as it should be.

But then Google decided to kluge its own “discussion groups” onto Usenet, and began emphasizing “new communities” or some such cliché at the expense of Usenet archiving, which has been all but abandoned. Some entire newsgroups have been ditched without explanation. And searching by author or exact phrase? Forget it. If you get any results at all, they’ll be woefully incomplete.

Google Groups is in violation of its own terms of service, which state in part “The Service contains the entire archive of Usenet discussion groups dating back to 1981.” To Google: Fix, please. Or remain evil.

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Birdsong Radio

by Kevin Alfred Strom

YEARS AGO I joked that the next niche radio format to be attempted would be continuous bird calls. I never imagined that it could actually happen, but it has, and the results are quite pleasant.

Apparently one of the Digital Audio Broadcast channels in Great Britain (yes, they have real over-the-air digital radio in the UK, not the dysfunctional “HD Radio” that the media moguls forced on this country) started broadcasting ambient bird calls and other natural forest sounds about a year ago, and it developed quite a following. (I have no idea if the station’s creator, Quentin Howard, ever heard of my decades-old suggestion or not.)

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Gandhi Article Generates Interest

Gandhi by Harold Arthur McNeill; click for the full-size version.

by Kevin Alfred Strom

MY RECENT ARTICLE on Mahatma Gandhi has created some interest, and has been reprinted not only by the Historical Review Press in Britain, but also by John de Nugent and by Ironlight, a site whose motto is ‘illumination in the dark age.’ Ironlight also apparently commissioned an illustration especially for the article by the talented artist (and writer) Harold Arthur McNeill, which you can see here.

I also received a few letters disagreeing with my proposition that Gandhi was consistent in his belief in self-determination, and that therefore “equality” under multiracialism could not have been his ideal. One of the more intelligently-written dissenting letters was from a Mr. Allen, who wrote:

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How Much Do You Know About World Affairs?

Next?A Simple Quiz

by Mark Graffis

EDITOR’S NOTE: Being able to score an “A” on this simple quiz should be a requirement before one is permitted to vote in any national election. — Kevin Alfred Strom.

1. In which of these countries are Christians permitted to pray or wear religious symbols in the schools?

A. France

B. United States

C. China

D. Iran

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HD Radio: Doomed from the Start

Here we see the HD Radio sidebands on either side of an analogue FM signal, as shown on a spectrum analyzer.
Here we see HD Radio sidebands on either side of an analogue FM broadcast signal, as shown on a spectrum analyzer.

by Kevin Alfred Strom

WITH 2010 APPROACHING, CNET just released its “The Decade’s 30 Biggest Tech Flops” anti-awards, and “HD Radio” was among the “winners.”

HD Radio was not only doomed from the start, it was such a serious blunder that it may well lead to the death of thousands of radio stations and the permanent stunting of the industry itself.

There is nothing wrong with the concept of digital radio.

Using modern firmware-upgradeable codecs, orthogonal FDM transmission, and a network of community transmitters in a dedicated digital band, great things could have been done:

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The Pine

Pine canyonby Däanlea and Kevin Alfred Strom

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

THIS POEM is really two poems by two authors.

The first part was sent to me by an aspiring new poet named Däanlea, whose work really deserves to be published in print one day.

The second part is my response.

This piece begins in a personal vein, and ends with an extension of the personal into the infinite.

We conscious and unconscious beings are all on a journey together. I hope this poem helps the reader capture some sense of that.

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New and Rare Images of Edgar and Virginia Poe

Virginia and Edgar Poe (Poe Museum, Richmond)
The Learned portrait of Virginia Poe, left; on the right the Traylor Miniature, showing a very young Edgar Poe.

by Kevin Alfred Strom

THIS YEAR marks the 200th birthday of the great poet and thinker Edgar Allan Poe. Today, October 7th, is the day of his mysterious death 160 years ago in Baltimore. And last month marked the 174th anniversary of his marriage to his beloved Virginia.

Not too long after Poe’s birthday in January of this year, someone very dear to me gave me a surprise present: two gift boxes from the Poe Museum in Richmond, one decorated with a reproduction of the famous Learned portrait of Virginia Poe (pictured, left) and the other (on the right) having on its lid an image of a very young-looking and clean-shaven Edgar Allan Poe — an image I had never seen before. The portrait is oval and in a thin oval gilt frame. Inside the lid of the second box is written “Edgar Allan Poe – Robert Lee Traylor.”

I have been a reader and student of Poe since the age of 11, but this portrait was one I had never seen. The only references I could find to “Robert Lee Traylor” and a Poe portrait were as the owner of a very different Poe picture, a daguerreotype.

And exhaustive searches of the ‘Net, comprising thousands of articles and representations of Poe, didn’t come up with this portrait or any reference to it. It seemed quite a mystery to me.

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