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Late one night in the summer of 1977, a large radio telescope outside Delaware, Ohio intercepted a radio signal that seemed for a brief time like it might change the course of human history. The telescope was searching the sky on behalf of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and the signal, though it lasted only seventy-two seconds, fit the profile of a message beamed from another world. Despite its potential import, several days went by before Jerry Ehman, a project scientist for SETI, noticed the data.
He was flipping through the computer printouts generated by the telescope when he noticed a string of letters within a long sequence of low numbers — ones, twos, threes and fours. The low numbers represent background noise, the low hum of an ordinary signal. As the telescope swept across the sky, it momentarily landed on something quite extraordinary, causing the signal to surge and the computer to shift from numbers to letters and then keep climbing all the way up to “U,” which represented a signal thirty times higher than the background noise level.
Tag Archives | Radio
Mankind has been broadcasting radio waves into deep space for about a hundred years now — since the days of Marconi. That, of course, means there is an ever-expanding bubble announcing Humanity’s presence to anyone listening in the Milky Way. This bubble is astronomically large (literally), and currently spans approximately 200 light years across. But how big is this, really, compared to the size of the Galaxy in which we live (which is, itself, just one of countless billions of galaxies in the observable universe)?
In an attempt to reduce the amount of ‘free publicity’ given to social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, the French have banned any mention of specific sites in their TV and radio broadcasts. One of the reasons for this ban is to allow a fair platform for smaller networking companies in the future. BBC News reports:
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French TV and radio presenters have been banned from mentioning social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter on air.
The country’s broadcasting watchdog has ruled that doing so would break guidelines on advertising.
Stations can still talk about services without naming them, it said.
The French government is seen by many internet watchers as overly keen to regulate in relation to new media and the web.
In a ruling, published online, the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA), said: “Referring viewers or listeners to the page of the social network without mentioning it has the character of information.
New York Republican Peter King has made national headlines in 2011 with his congressional hearings on the (dis)loyalties of Muslim-Americans. However, that is not the only trouble he has been stirring up. The media largely missed his recent introduction of House Resolution 607, which would auction off for commercial use the frequency bands used by amateur radio operators (for the purpose of funding the use of other frequency bands by the police in emergencies). The American Radio Relay League fumes:
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On February 10, 2011, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced H.R. 607, the “Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011,” which has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee (which handles telecommunications legislation).
The Bill provides for the allocation of the so-called “D-Block” of spectrum in the 700 MHz range for Public Safety use. HR 607 uniquely, provides for the reallocation of other spectrum for auction to commercial users, in order to offset the loss of revenue that would occur as the result of the allocation of the D-Block to Public Safety instead of commercial auction.
Alex Jones is getting a lot of mainstream attention today because of recent remarks made by Charlies Sheen on Jones’ radio show that caused Sheen’s popular sitcom Two and a Half Men to close production for the year. If you’re wondering who Alex Jones is (unlikely for Disinfo readers), here is a mainstream media assessment in the Hollywood Reporter:
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Context is important, and Sheen made his controversial remarks on Alex Jones’ syndicated radio show. Those who have listened to Jones know that he is no ordinary talk radio host. Long before Glenn Beck made headlines (and millions) mining conspiratorial territory on his radio show, Jones was exploring the wilder side of political talk radio for a devoted following online.
Jones is not mainstream (he has under 25,000 Twitter followers), yet he has influence and is sometimes linked to by more influential media figures such as Matt Drudge.
As his fans know, Jones is different than just about anyone in his field.
A leftover nugget of good news from before the holiday: Congress passed legislation allowing for the creation of hundreds or thousands of new independent, community-based, non-commercial radio stations on American airwaves. Here’s to the “outdated” medium of AM/FM radio becoming a surprise bulwark against the trend of corporate media consolidation. Pitchfork writes:
Yesterday, on the same day that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed, another significant bill was passed by both the House and Senate: the Local Community Radio Act.
This is a major victory for those aspiring to become community broadcasters, and an extremely exciting development for community-driven radio nationwide. Pitchfork very much looks forward to reporting on and supporting these new stations as they appear.
As the Huffington Post reports, this legislation allows for the creation of new non-commercial stations on American airwaves– a number that could reach to the hundreds or even thousands. In a press release, the Future of Music Coalition said, “The addition of more Low Power FM (LPFM) stations will increase local civic engagement, diversify the airwaves, support local music and culture, assist during emergencies, expand religious expression, and provide a platform for the voices of underrepresented communities to be heard.”
Finally, Congress passes the Local Community Radio Act, which has been sitting on the shelves for 10 years. The public finally gets some of its airwaves back. Reports Reclaim The Media:
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With the clock ticking toward the end of this year’s Congress, the Senate on Saturday passed a new law which will enable community groups, churches and schools across the country to establish new non-commercial, low-power FM radio stations in their cities and towns.
The Local Community Radio Act, which will allow the FCC to issue possibly thousands of new noncommercial LPFM radio licenses, earned broad, bipartisan support after some ten years of organizing by grassroots media democracy advocates from coast to coast. Backers of the bill included a stupefying range of civil rights groups, religious organizations, musicians, unions and garage-bound radio dreamers around the country.
The FCC initially created the Low power FM service radio in 2002, as a way to counter the dramatic consolidation of radio ownership which followed the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and the resulting drop in diverse programming and local voices.