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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, piano version.]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, from your elementally genial host John Derbyshire, bringing you news and views from the bosky north shore of Long Island.
Back to politics this week, for a couple of segments at least. Then a glance at our favorite globalist magazine, a brief survey of immigration issues, a soupçon of 1960s nostalgia, and a report on latest advances in the sexual revolution. Finally, to see us out, another trip to those bluegrass hills.
On with the motley! [Clip: Vesti la giubba.]
02 — State of the campaign. Two weeks ago we introduced you to John Trandem of Fargo, North Dakota — Donald Trump's 1,237th committed delegate, and so the one who clinched the GOP nomination for Trump, absent a coup d'état at the convention. May Mr Trandem's name live in glory for ever!
Monday evening this week Mrs Clinton arrived at the corresponding point in her campaign, reaching the 2,383-pledged-delegate mark. There's some appropriately Clintonian lawyering about the precise meaning of the word "pledged," as Bernie Sanders has been vigorously pointing out, but basically the lady is home and dry.
I don't have any equivalent of Mr Trandem to bring forward as the person who took Hillary over the top. I can only wish for that person, whoever it is, to be afflicted with boils, and his crops with locusts, and his cattle with the murrain.
Why, by the way, is Bernie Sanders still campaigning? Well, Newt Gingrich thinks he knows, and for the first time in twenty years I find myself agreeing with Newt. Quote from him, in reference to Mrs Clinton's email scandals: "Why should [Bernie] drop out before the FBI drops out? As long as the FBI is in the game, he might as well stay around at least 'til the convention." End quote.
That's kind of cynical; but this is politics we're talking about. We've all seen House of Cards, right? Right.
Bernie-wise, I'm still somewhat conflicted. As previously explained, I have family connections with Bernie, and nurse the tenuous hope of copping a night in the Lincoln Bedroom thereby. Unfortunately that would mean surrendering up the presidency to a guy who takes Venezuela as his policy model. As so often, the conscientious citizen is obliged to choose between private advantage and the good of the nation. [Sigh.]
Not that there's really much prospect. If Mrs Clinton does have to drop out to get fitted for an orange jumpsuit, assuming they can find one to fit her, the Party of the Little Guy will just draft in some congressional lifer — Joe Biden, most likely — and urge the electorate to vote for politics as usual.
Book publishers at any rate are showing some business sense. Just this past week we have learned of two tell-all books about Mrs Clinton, one by a secret service agent who worked in the Clinton White House, the other by one of Bill Clinton's ex-girlfriends, who are way more numerous than secret service agents.
I doubt the number of Hillary-exposing books will stop at two. I doubt even more that the number of anti-Trump books will stay stuck at zero. I can hear publishers' checkbooks flapping all over Manhattan. This is going to be such a fun campaign!
Will all the muckraking make any difference? I doubt it. To the degree it might, I think the advantage is to Hillary. After all these years, what on earth don't we know about the Clintons? Says the girlfriend in her book, quote:
It [that is to say, the Clinton project] was always a codependent, co-conspiratorial grab for money and power and more money and more power.
End quote. Is there anybody this side of the M31 galaxy in Andromeda to whom this comes as news? Sure, Trump's been around a while too, but at a much lower level of celebrity. If there is any dirt to be dug from his background, it will be way more newsworthy than anything further we could now learn about the Clintons, short of that they eat a live human baby for breakfast every morning, with a side order of roast kittens.
From everything we do currently know about the Donald, he's a far more decent and principled person than either of the Clintons; but there'll still be that magnifying effect if any transgressions do show up. And the magnifying effect will itself be magnified some more by the mainstream media, who are going to do all they can between now and November to destroy the GOP candidate.
We've been getting a foretaste of that this week with, one, the violence at Trump rallies, actually carried out by Mexicans and anarchists, but gleefully attributed by the media to Trump supporters, and two, the hysteria over the La Raza judge.
03 — Complaining about Mexican racial supremacy is racist. If you follow national politics, especially with reference to race issues, there are times you really, seriously wonder whether the country may not be in the grip of a mass psychosis, a total separation from objective reality.
This week has been one of those times. Here's this American judge, Gonzalo Curiel. Judge Curiel belongs to the San Diego affiliate of something named the California La Raza Lawyers Association.
Everybody and his hermano is striving to explain to us that the California La Raza Lawyers Association has no connection whatsoever with the National Council of La Raza, which agitates on behalf of illegal immigrants from Mexico.
Sample quote thereto from the Washington Post, quote:
"The only tie that we have is that we serve the Latino community, and they do as well," said Luis Osuna, president of the lawyers association. "But they [he means National Council of La Raza] are a politically driven advocacy group, and we're just a local diversity Bar association that focuses on both diversity and equality in the legal field, but particularly among Latinos."
Uh-huh. A couple of minutes internet browsing will tell you, if you didn't know already, that the phrase "la raza" refers ultimately to a 1925 essay by the radical anti-American Mexican nationalist José Vasconcelos, who argued that the white race — a proxy for the U.S.A. — would be swept away by a superior race, la raza cósmica, formed from the fusion of Europeans, Africans, and indigenous Americans. He is regarded, with how much justification I don't know, not having read any of his books, but he is certainly regarded by large numbers of Mexicans as a fugleman for modern Mexican identity and racial supremacy.
That is the provenance of the term "la raza." It ought to follow at once that no citizen of the U.S.A. with any kind of standing in our public life should touch the phrase "la raza" with a ten-foot pole. That this federal judge, with a handsome salary — $203,100 per annum — paid from general tax revenues, belongs to an association with "la raza" in its name seems to me clear grounds for impeachment.
Well, this judge is presiding over the Trump University case, in which a trade school to which Trump lent his name used high-pressure sales techniques to promote courses on real estate trading and management developed by a third party. Trump's got to be wishing he never did lend his name to the wretched thing; or that, having done so and got sued, he'd paid off the plaintiffs with a nice fat cash settlement before the case became a political issue.
The fact remains that Trump, who got the GOP nomination largely because he, alone among the candidates, called loud and clear for the law to be enforced against Mexican illegals, is to be judged by a guy who belongs to an association whose name glows with the ideology of anti-American Mexican racial supremacy. And by grumbling about this out loud, Trump is being called a racist!
As if that wasn't bad enough, citizens attending a Trump rally in San Jose, California were beaten up by a riotous mob of Mexicans and anarchists while police stood by watching passively.
Why didn't the police protect citizens attending a lawful gathering from a mob of screaming thugs? Because the police chief of San Jose, in California, in the U.S.A., has attended meetings of a local group named La Raza Roundtable. The police chief's name is Eddie Garcia.
So we have a very senior member of the federal judiciary and the head of a big-city police force — San Jose is the tenth-largest city in the U.S.A. — we have these two high-profile public figures bending the knee to organizations promoting the dispossession of the white race by la raza cósmica. And Donald Trump is a racist. Got it?
04 — UBI mel, ibi apes. Last week, and previously on May 13th, I brought to your attention the June 5th referendum in Switzerland on a guaranteed basic income — a bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen, if you want it in German, or "helicopter money," if you like a neat visual image.
Actually I note that commentary in our American media favors the phrase "Universal Basic Income," or UBI for short, so I'll switch to that, on the excellent general principle that one can be a more effective non-conformist in big things if one conforms in small things.
Well, the Swiss voted down UBI in the June 5th referendum, as all the polls said they would. It was a deeply unsurprising result.
It gave globalists the heebie-jeebies none the less. The Economist, which is one of the principal organs of anti-white globalism, ran a leader arguing at length against the UBI in their June 4th issue.
The anonymous editorialists at the magazine walk the reader through several arguments against the UBI.
Then comes argument number four. You may want to sit down for this one, with sharp and dangerous objects well out of reach. You ready? Quote from The Economist:
Lastly, a basic income would make it almost impossible for countries to have open borders. The right to an income would encourage rich-world governments either to shut the doors to immigrants, or to create second-class citizenries without access to state support.
End quote. Now, Radio Derb has not heretofore taken a strong position on the UBI. The concept seems a bit silly, based on my rather rudimentary understanding of economics, and the flavor of it, the odor of it, is dopey-Left, calling to mind what Orwell called "sandal-wearing vegetarians," who probably live in Vermont and wear neck-beards. The men, I mean … although, Vermont? … who knows.
At any rate, I was open to persuasion. No longer! The Economist has settled it for me. If UBI would make it "almost impossible for countries to have open borders," then I'm for it. Where do I sign up?
05 — Mexico buckles. If you do like open borders, then you must love the Obama administration, which has been waving through illegals as fast as it can while it still can.
The Center for Immigration Studies, working from Census Bureau numbers, estimates that for the two years 2014-2015, illegal immigration was running around 550,000 a year, inclusive of both border-jumpers and visa-overstayers. That's nearly a sixty percent increase over the previous two years, 2012-2013, which itself was an increase over 2010-2011.
So over a million people are now settling illegally in our country every couple of years. You might think that this would mean that the eleven million number you've been hearing from the mainstream media for as long as you can remember is badly out of date. You might then pause for a moment to reflect on what Obama-hugging liars the mainstream media are, and how sloppy their journalistic standards have gotten.
Legal immigration is likewise surging. For those last three two-year periods the numbers are, in millions: 1.4, 1.6, and 2.0. Money quote from the CIS report, quote:
The latest Census Bureau data shows that the scale of new immigration is clearly enormous. The numbers raise profound questions about assimilation and the impact of immigration on the nation's education system, infrastructure, and labor market, as well as the size and density of the U.S. population. It is difficult to find a public policy that has a more profound impact across American society than the level of immigration. It is certainly appropriate that immigration should be at the center of the current presidential election.
End quote. We're not talking about Mexicans, either. The biggest sending regions for immigrants overall in 2014-2015 were East and South Asia at 36 percent and Other Latin America — other than Mexico, that is — at 28 percent.
What does "Other Latin America" actually encompass? Well, here's a story from Reuters, June 10th. Headline: 'At the limit,' Mexico buckles under migrant surge to U.S..
Say what? Why is Mexico buckling?
Well, because illegal immigration across our southern border has come to resemble illegal immigration across the Mediterranean and up into northern Europe. There are, in the European case:
and there are
Illegals don't want to settle in a pass-through country. Those countries are only a degree more prosperous and less corrupt than the sinkholes that the illegals are escaping from. There's not much work to be found and only minimal welfare.
For the illegals, a pass-through country is just a stepping-stone to the real prize destination further from the equator. (It's always further from the equator, for reasons explained by Michael Hart in his book Understanding Human History.)
Well, Mexico is transitioning into a pass-through country. Back to that Reuters story.
Illegals from Central America — mainly from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador — cross Mexico to get to the U.S.A. After the big surge from those countries two years ago, when even the Obama people started to worry about rising opposition among the American public, the administration leaned on Mexico to arrest and return Central American illegals.
Mexico duly did so, catching 190,000 last year. This year, though, detentions in Mexico are way down; yet numbers coming across our southern border are way up.
What's going on? The Reuters reports identifies a host of factors. The oil price collapse has hurt Mexican government revenues, so they have less to spend on their enforcement agencies. The people smugglers have thought up new tricks in the arms race against enforcement … and so on.
Then there are push and pull factors. There's been drought in Central America, making for a push factor. On the pull side there is of course the prospect that in November American voters may bring in an administration that gives a damn about defending our borders. There was also a recent U.S. court decision limiting detention times for illegals.
What's to be done? That depends on who gets elected President in November.
If it's Trump, and he's as good as his word, and true to his inauguration oath, we'll have proper enforcement of immigration laws at last. Problem solved.
If it's Hillary there'll be as little law enforcement as she can get away with. If pressed to reduce the flow, she'll do what the European countries are doing: bribe the sending countries with big fat wads of money — our money, of course, yours and mine.
The Europeans have led the way here. They were paying off Gaddafy when he ran Libya, giving him billions of Euros to stop the people smugglers. Now they've revived that policy, offering 50 million dollars to eight East and Central African countries to stem the flow, and haggling with Niger, a pass-through country for West Africans heading to Libya.
Niger wants a billion Euros, but will settle for less. The Europeans would bribe Libya if they could, but no-one's much in charge there since Mrs Clinton and her friends dispatched Gaddafy.
That's what the civilized world has come to: dickering with despots, crooks and bandits, offering them a cut of our national wealth, of the people's money, rather than doing the unthinkable, the thing that may not be done — may not even be spoken of without a frown of disapproval: enforce the people's laws.
06 — Ali nostalgia. The biggest non-political story of the week was the death of heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali on Friday last at age 74.
Ali's death generated an extraordinary amount of commentary. He was a sport celebrity of the colorful variety, and sport occupies a lot of space in the minds of a lot of people — far more space in the aggregate than politics, I'm sure.
Ali's sport, furthermore, was boxing, which is now controversial in itself. That some people should find it entertaining to watch guys punching one another in the head, is regarded by other people as shocking.
And then, Ali the man was controversial. He was a black guy who disliked white people in the generality and favored racial separation. He converted to Islam, or at any rate to the anti-white urban-American gangster cult that calls itself Nation of Islam — I'm not sure of that cult's status in the eyes of orthodox Muslims. And when called for induction into the U.S. armed forces as the Vietnam War accelerated, Ali refused. He was arrested as a draft dodger and stripped of his boxing titles.
Because Ali was openly anti-white, and because the Alt-Right is anti-anti-white, commentary over on this side of the blogosphere has been mostly negative.
I can't really say I join in with the negativity, though I applaud it as a corrective to the Magic Negro eulogizing we've been getting from the mainstream media. Thinking about Ali, I come up with nostalgia, pity, and admiration in proportions roughly three, two, and one. Let me work my way methodically through those three emotions.
First, the nostalgia. I like boxing. I boxed in my schooldays; and I took my son to boxing lessons when he was a young teen. When I was a kid, boxing was just another sport. Sure, it was violent, but so were our other sports. My secondary school featured rugby as a compulsory winter sport; that was violent, too. Collar bones got broken a lot on the rugby pitch, sometimes ribs. A young man in our town took a bad tackle that left him quadriplegic.
I can remember jokes back in the day about professional boxers ending up "punchy," which is to say brain-damaged, but it didn't seem to happen much even in the heavyweight division, where the blows were hardest. We often saw British heavyweights on TV — Henry Cooper, Brian London — and they weren't punchy. Nor was Rocky Marciano, nor Jack Dempsey. I guess there were cases, but it was far from the norm.
All right, maybe one damaged brain is one too many. It was, though — I'm speaking of Ali's heyday — it was, as they say, a different time. People smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, had fist-fights in bars, and drove without seat belts.
On behalf of my kids, I acknowledge that today's world is safer and healthier. At the same time, and without of course wishing a quadriplegic son or a brain-damaged husband on anyone, people of my generation have a nagging feeling that along with all the gains, something got lost along the way. In certain moods, if you look sideways and squint a bit, "safer and healthier" looks like "tame and sissyfied."
So I can't summon up any negativity about boxing as a sport. As a professional enterprise, maybe. Pro boxing was famously crooked as far back as I can remember. In the fifties everyone had read Budd Schulberg's novel The Harder They Fall, and there was a genre of depressing movies about boxing pre-Rocky — I remember Fat City as being particularly good.
Well, there's my boxing nostalgia. Ali was part of it. His moment of greatest glory — his aristeia, Homer would have called it — was in 1965, when he knocked out Sonny Liston in the first round of their second fight. I was a student living in North London at that time. I hung out with a rather louche crowd of coevals, centered on a sort of low-grade salon run by an attractive young woman who played Queen Bee to us all. We guys of course all vied for her intimate affections, but so far as I know only one of us attained the summit, and alas it wasn't me.
That Ali-Liston fight was broadcast late at night in London. We all sat up to watch it at the Queen Bee's apartment. The Beatles' fourth LP was not long out; we were still playing it. You want nostalgia? I got nostalgia.
I remember the howls of amazement when Liston went down in the first round, the party breaking up early, everyone saying how incredible it was. People will tell you that Liston threw the fight. Maybe he did, I don't know; but it was great TV. It left vivid, sharp memories on hundreds of millions of people like me.
So much for nostalgia. The pity and the admiration deserve another segment.
07 — Derb-Ali, Round Two. Perhaps it's odd to feel pity for a guy who was handsome, strong, and confident, and who disliked my race, but I feel a bit sorry for Ali anyway.
For one thing, I have a sneaking sympathy for celebrities, even obnoxious ones. Try to imagine what it's like to be publicly scrutinized like that.
Ali was famous already in his early twenties. Ask youself how well you would stand up to scrutiny if every dumb thing you said and did at age 25 was broadcast round the world, printed up in books and newspapers, and immortalized in Wikipedia. Well, perhaps you'd look great; but I sure wouldn't, and I believe very few of us would.
And then, Ali was dumb. He didn't seem dumb when he first appeared. He had a sort of glib charm that got your attention and made you smile. It was an inch deep, though. After you'd heard him say the same glib thing four or five times, you realised that he was trading from a very small inventory.
Objective testing backed up the impression. Ali failed the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which correlates well with standard IQ tests. He probably had an IQ below 80, which is low down in the second quartile even for American blacks. He easily fell for the Nation of Islam flapdoodle, and seemed not aware how shamelessly they were using him. Probably his managers and handlers likewise took advantage of him.
And even as a cult member, he couldn't stay on script. On a visit to Zaire, Ali was asked what he thought of Africa. "Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat," replied the Champ.
So yes, Ali was dumb. There wasn't much going on between the ears. Call me a snob, but I feel sorry for people like that. No intellectual pleasures; no imaginative inner life; no capacity for abstract thought; that's a sad state to be in — although somewhat alleviated, I suppose, by the fact that the person who's in it doesn't know he's in it.
As to Ali's being anti-white: Why wouldn't he be anti-white? Most American blacks are — even nowadays, when they're a privileged class.
Ali grew up under Jim Crow. When he knocked out Sonny Liston that night in 1965, legalized segregation was still being dismantled. Why wouldn't he dislike whites?
In a multiracial society, even when opportunities have been equalized, the arrow of real hostility naturally points from the race that's less capable and successful to the one that's more so. It doesn't often go the other way. The more capable race regards the less capable one with a mix of pity, contempt, and benign paternalism — not much hatred. That's human nature.
I'm not surprised or bothered about Ali hating whites. What makes me seethe is smart white people that hate whites, like the quislings at Southern Poverty Law Center. I spit on those bastards. But Muhammad Ali, a dumb black working-class kid out of the Jim Crow era? Eh.
So much for the nostalgia and the pity. What about the admiration?
Well, part of that is Ali's honesty about race. Replaying old Ali clips, I appreciate the open frankness he brought to the race topic. It's such a pleasing contrast with the mealy-mouthed hypocrisy normal today.
You might say that Ali's honesty was just a by-product of his being too dumb to learn the feelgood clichés about race that were just beginning to take over public discourse in 1965. You may be right, but I appreciate the honesty anyway.
Our actual inner feelings haven't changed much since 1965, as you can see from revealed preferences — patterns of residential and school segregation, the different movies and TV shows we watch, et cetera. We just talk a better game, that's all.
We flatter ourselves that we're better people now than our grandparents were fifty years ago. In fact we're just better liars. I prefer the forthright Ali style.
And finally, also under the admiration heading, there was Ali's boxing. He was really good. True first-class excellence in a sport is rare enough in this world, you can't help but admire it. I've boxed in a ring; I know how much art there is in it.
Was Ali the Greatest? Nah. He was sometimes sloppy and over-confident, as when Henry Cooper knocked him down in 1963. And of course, he should have retired long before he did. If not the Greatest, though, Ali was still very good indeed, a pleasure to watch. In a world of mediocrity, that's not nothing.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: It's amusing, and sometimes instructive, to look back at what previous generations thought their future — which is to say, our present — would be like.
In the 1950s we all supposed that by the early 21st century we'd have videophones and flying cars, and be taking vacations on the Moon.
Well, the Moon vacations didn't pan out. We'll be taking weekend ski trips to Antarctica before Moon vacations: Antarctica's nearer, way cheaper, and way more hospitable. Videophones we've pretty much got, with Skype and all, though it took longer than anyone expected.
OK, so what about flying cars?
Well, in among all the hype about self-driving automobiles, and with an assist from the successful marketing of small personal drones, it's occurred to a lot of people that autonomous personal planes might actually be simpler to program than the cars. In many respects flying is easier than driving. You're not limited to paved roads, which basically restrict you to one dimension. If you're flying and need to avoid something suddenly, you have two extra dimensions to avoid it in.
One person this has occurred to is Larry Page, co-founder of Google. Page has invested some of his personal fortune in two new companies that aim to bring the flying car to reality at last. Bloomberg says that one of these firms, Zee.Aero, already employs 150 people and is manufacturing prototypes, though Larry Page is keeping it all under wraps as far as possible.
It's neat stuff. Having spent far too many hours crawling at five miles an hour down the Long Island Expressway, I'll certainly welcome the flying car when it arrives. Meantime, could some tech visionary please design a toilet cistern that doesn't run, as both of mine do?
Item: Also on the tech beat: a firm specializing in analyzing internet security issues has put out a report ranking fifty of the world's nations by how exposed they are overall to hackers. Most exposed? Belgium. Most secure? Vietnam.
The strongest correlation they found was with GDP, or so they say. The richer a country is — not per capita, but in sheer quantity of wealth — the more exposed. That's what they say.
All right, but on the tables they produce, the correlation doesn't look very impressive. Vietnam is actually richer than Belgium, according to the CIA World Factbook — GDP 551 billion dollars versus 495 billion last year.
Just above Vietnam as most secure are Singapore, Switzerland, and Germany, all pretty rich last time I looked.
Whatever. It is the case that the U.S.A., at 14th most exposed, is in worse shape than Turkmenistan, at 24th.
The main factor in Turkmenistan's remarkably high level of cybersecurity is undoubtedly the leadership of Turkmenistan's President, our dear friend and business associate Mr Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. President Berdymukhammedov's wise husbandry of his country's resources is a model for national leaders worldwide, and a reproach to our own indolent, self-serving administration.
Long live President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov! Prosperity and success to the noble republic of Turkmenistan! [Turkmen national anthem.]
Item: New frontiers in the ever-advancing sexual revolution: The Canadian Supreme Court has issued a ruling on bestiality. It's not against the law, they've decided, unless actual penetration occurs.
So there's a possible answer to the question: What's next on the list of sexual inclinations to be validated, after we've all been forced to yield to the demands of the transgender crowd, if there are indeed enough of them to qualify as a crowd?
Zoophilia, that's what. Only to third base under this latest Canadian ruling; but as we all surely know by now, the revolution isn't over until the last barricade has fallen.
Notice, please, that no moose were harmed in reporting this item.
Item: I had a segment back there mentioning the June 4th issue of The Economist. If you would kindly turn to page 59 in that issue, third column, sixty percent of the way down, you will see a mention of your winsomely genial Radio Derb host.
This is in a longish article about free speech on college campuses. The writer — anonymous again: The Economist mostly doesn't run bylines — brings up the speaker cancellations at Williams College in Massachusetts. Edited quote:
The trouble now, says Zach Wood, a student at Williams College in Massachusetts, is that many people want to banish views that remain widely held among their compatriots … He runs a campus group that hosts challenging speakers. "Silence does nothing," he reasons. Two of its invitations — to Suzanne Venker, author of "The War on Men," and John Derbyshire, a racist provocateur — have recently been rescinded: Ms Venker was disinvited under pressure from other students, Mr Derbyshire by the college's leadership.
End quote. "A racist provocateur," eh? I'll take it, on the principle that there is no such thing as bad publicity. And The Economist's position on the Williams College cancellations is actually critical — "creeping intolerance," they call them. So thanks for that, I guess.
Still and all: I've published two novels, both with Chinese protagonists, and two books about the history of math, and a couple of million words on every topic under the sun, from opera to metaphysics, from baseball to medieval Chinese verse, from guns to jigsaw puzzles. And all The Economist can come up with as an epithet for me is "racist provocateur"?
Life is so unfair. As the old joke tells us: It only takes one goat … though perhaps that joke no longer works in Canada.
And just as your Mom told you, there's always someone worse off than yourself. Jim Watson's achievements far surpass my petty scribblings. Watson shared a Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA. That Nobel Prize notwithstanding, I bet The Economist considers him to be a racist provocateur, too.
Item: Finally, still glowing from the success of last month's American Renaissance conference in Tennessee, I was pleased to see that among the new names for chemical elements just put forward by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and expected to be approved later this year is element number 117: Tennessine.
This new element is named in honor of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is of course in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, all of whom have been energetically pursuing research into these super-heavy elements.
Tennessine is the second new element to be named after an American state. The first was Californium, element 98, first spotted in 1950, and used nowadays in metal detectors.
You won't be buying knives and forks made of Tennessine any time soon. A hundred and seventeen is the number of protons in the Tennessine atom's nucleus. There are different isotopes having different numbers of neutrons in there with the 117 protons. All the isotopes so far known decay to simpler elements in a fraction of a second. Theory suggests that much heavier isotopes may be stable, but we're some way away from being able to produce those isotopes, even if the theory is correct.
Still, our grandchildren may have paperweights made of Tennessine, assuming they still have any use for paper. You just wouldn't want to drop one on your foot.
09 — Signoff. That ends this week's survey of the passing charivari, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for your patronage, and also of course for your donations and emails. The rule with emails is, as always, that everything non-abusive gets read and carefully pondered — and, if podcast-worthy, shamelessly plagiarized — but constraints on time mean that getting an answer out of us is a bit of a lottery. We do our best, that's all I can offer.
This week's signout music is connected to the news by only the flimsiest of tissues. Reading the obituaries on Muhammed Ali, I was reminded that one of his sobriquets was "the Louisville lip," on the very reasonable grounds that (a) Louisville, Kentucky was his home town and (b) he was lippy.
That caused me to get infected with an ear-worm, one of my favorite old Bluegrass numbers. You generally hear it with banjo accompaniment, but I like Sam Bush's version on what I think is a mandolin.
More from Radio Derb next week. Over to you, Sam.
[Music clip: Sam Bush, "Eight More Miles to Louisville."]