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Christmasn Readings 2013

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Hour 25

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Hour 25


Brad Meltzer

Listen to this show

On Thursday - July 10th, 2014 - Hour 25 will come to you with an interview with Brad Meltzer, author of The Fifth Assassin.

Brad Meltzer has a well deserved reputation as an author of thoroughly researched thrillers with complicated plots. His newest book carries on with that tradition as he weaves a tale with conspiracies, assassins and secret societies going back hundreds of years.

But this is not a straightforward thriller where the 'good guys' and 'bad guys' are obvious and you know who to root for. In this book you're never really sure who the good guys are. This book challenges you to consider and reconsider many of your ideas about the nature of power and its abuse along with the relationship between the man who is President and the Office of the Presidency. The complexity of the book and the resulting mental minefield makes for a great read. I think you'll enjoy it. I did.

It was our pleasure to have the chance to sit down with Brad and talk to him about his newest book and to hear some of the stories that come from his experience writing it. As you might imagine when one researches a book about how to assassinate the President you never know who is going to be listening in on your phone calls. And if that book involves long running conspiracies then your interactions with your fans can be very 'interesting'.

Given the things that Brad told us during the interview he had as much fun writing this book as we had reading it. Enjoy.

Brad Meltzer Fifth Assassin cover

Listen to this show


Click here to listen to the entire show. {54:24}

  • Click here for the show's intro music. {0:41}
  • Click here for the show's opening. {1:42}
  • Click here for our news from the other side of the sky. {15:01}
  • Click here for a few words about Grace Hopper. {4:38}
  • Click here for our interview with Brad Meltzer. {30:36}
  • Click here for the show's closing. {1:46}

  • Click here for links to all of our previous Shows that you can listen to on the Hour 25 Website.

If you enjoyed this show and would like to know when other interviews are uploaded to the Hour 25 Website, then send an email to me at wwjames@earthlink.net and I will add your name to the free Hour 25 Newsletter mailing list. That way you'll get a brief notice in your email every time a new show gets uploaded to the web.

A note for our listeners who are Mac users - I have just discovered what appears to be an incompatibility between our audio feed, which uses standard internet audio formats and protocols, whilst listening to the show via Safari running under OSX Mavericks. I will be investigating this issue and will have an answer for you shortly.

Until then, it is noted that I have not encountered any such problems with listening to the show under OSX Mavericks when using the latest version of the Firefox browser.

If you want to download the free Firefox browser you can find it here.

Links to Web Sites for Tonight's Show

Brad Meltzer

  • You can learn more about Brad Meltzer and his books by visiting his website.

  • Brad has some very moving words concerning unsung heroes and school libraries as well some totally on-target words concerning the relationship between heroism and loss. They are both well worth reading if you're in need of some inspiration.

  • Brad's work has brought him into personal contact with past Presidents and here he shares a very personal bit of information from George H.W. Bush.

  • If you missed Brad Meltzer's Decoded on the History Channel then you can go here to learn more about the show and watch whole episodes.

  • Here's an interview with Brad talking about his History Channel show.

    Grace Hopper

    the first computer bug

    Grace Hopper is one of the creators of our cybernetic world. She worked on the earliest computers and developed several computer languages, including COBOL, and was the first person to 'debug' a program when she discovered a dead moth inside the circuits of an early computer. After removing it she declared that they had 'debugged the computer' and the usage is with us to this day. {The page from her logbook with the offending moth taped to the page is shown above.}

    In order to help other people visualize a nanosecond, i.e. a billionth of a second, she took to handing out pieces of wire that were 11.8 inches long, i.e. the distance that electricity could travel in one nanosecond. She suggested that programmers keep such a wire close at hand so they could see what they were throwing away every time they got sloppy with their coding.

  • This biography of Grace Hopper is a good place to start learning about her life and amazing personality. Be sure to read the interview there, given in 1986, where she said her goal was to get rid of mainframes and replace them with networked microcomputers. I think she would be pleased to see all the things we're doing today with our global network of computers and with the supercomputers that so many of us carry around in our pockets.

  • Here's a very good article about her from a website filled with interesting information about programming. {If you're going to read one article about her this is the one to read.}

  • Additional information about her can be found in this remembrance from Yale - where she earned her PhD, in the Wikipedia and in this short article . Additional insight into her life can be found in her quotes.

  • Here's Grace Hopper being interviewed by David Letterman when she was 80.

  • This site has a video of an inspiring talk given by Grace Hopper.

  • Here's an interview with Grace Hopper done by 60 Minutes back in 1983. This video includes her description of what a nanosecond is and showing you just how far electricity can travel in that amount of time. That bit of film has been republished on YouTube and appears all over the web but most of the copies you'll see are copies of copies of copies and have poor video quality. The video quality of this 60 Minutes piece is much better than most anything you might see on YouTube.

  • This site republishes one of those low video-quality YouTube snippets but adds some observations about nanoseconds in the era of GHz processors that you might find interesting.

  • Grace Hopper died on January first 1992 at the age of 85. This article from the LA Times looks back on her life.

  • December 9, 2013 would have been Grace Hopper's 107th birthday. Goggle celebrated this by creating a Google Doodle just for her.

    The ISEE Recovery Project

    ISEE-3 in space

  • Information about the ISEE-3 Reboot efforts can be found at the Project's website. Additional information can be found at the NASA Watch ISEE-3 Reboot article archive

  • Some background about the ISEE-3 mission and Bob Farquhar - the legendary mission designer who planned the ISEE-3 mission as well as its mission to a comet - can be found in this article.

  • More information can be found in articles here, here or here.

  • Information about the data returned by the ISEE-3 mission can be found at the National Space Science Data Center web page for the mission.

  • A collection of pictures of the ISEE-3 spacecraft can be found here.

  • Many of the people who are working to reboot the ISEE-3 spacecraft also worked - or are currently working - on the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Program (LOIRP). You can find out more about this exciting project by visiting their website.

    An Update for the Status of the ISEE Reboot Efforts

      After recording tonight's show some more information was released about the status of the ISEE-3 reboot activities so we'll pass that information along here.

    As indicated in tonight's news the first part of the Trajectory Correction Maneuver went well but the second and following parts failed. The cause of this problem is unclear but it looks like the spacecraft may have run out of the nitrogen that is used to pressurize the propulsion system and force the propellant out of the tanks. It is not clear what has caused this problem but the good folks working on this project are examining the data and trying to figure out what happened and looking for ways to solve the problem.

    If the problem can be solved then they may be able to perform a revised maneuver and continue the mission as planned. If not, then the spacecraft will swing by the Earth and drift back into interplanetary space rather than parking at an Earth-Sun Lagrange Point. If that happens they plan to continue getting data from the spacecraft for as long as they can maintain an adequate communications link.

    Although several news agencies have said that this means that the mission has failed I'll note that the people actually doing the work have not raised the white flag but are working the problem. We will watch with crossed fingers and hope for the best but no matter what the ultimate fate of the spacecraft will be this has been an amazing effort. This shows just how much dedicated people can do on a shoestring budget. Everyone connected with this project, from the engineers trying to reboot the spacecraft to the folks who took part in the crowd sourced funding of this project, deserve a heartfelt round of applause.


    Chang'e 3 and the Jade Rabbit

    Chang'E 3 on the moon

    The Chang'e 3 spacecraft on the Moon. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

    Jade Rabbit on the moon

    Jade Rabbit on the Moon. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

  • Chinese news agencies have been providing a lot of coverage - in English - for the mission of Chang'e-3 and Jade Rabbit. Here are extensive collections of reports from China Central Television and Xinhua News Agency. Both of these have a great deal of information and show China's justifiable pride in this accomplishment.

  • Additional information about these missions can be found at the Spaceflight101 website where they have a very good overview of the mission and an on-going update on its status.

  • Another great on-going source of information about China's space program is the Go Taikonauts website.

  • Those of you with an iPhone or iPad will find that the Go Taikonauts app - basically an electronic magazine - is a great way to learn more about China's space program. Each issue has interesting fact filled articles about China's space activities with many color pictures. The back issues contain several lengthy stories about Chang'e-3 and Jade Rabbit as well as stories about China's piloted space program. And best of all it is free. Highly recommended!

    Useful Space Related Links

    Space news - Asteroids
  • More information about the first asteroid to be discovered in 2014 can be found in this article from Space Daily, this article from Sky and Telescope, this report from the Minor Planet Center, or this report from NASA's Near Earth Object Program.
  • The homepage for JPL's Near Earth Object Program contains a great deal of news and other information about asteroids and includes an interactive orbit display program that can show the orbit of any known asteroid.
  • The Minor Planet Center is a clearinghouse for information about asteroid orbits and keeps track of newly discovered asteroids as well as objects that have been tracked for decades or even centuries. Their blog is an on-going source of news for all things relating to asteroids.

    Space News - Dawn - A Mission to the Asteroids
  • Updates and additional information about the mission of the Dawn spacecraft can be found at the project's Home Page at JPL or at this NASA Web Site.
  • Additional information about asteroids can be found at the NASA Near Earth Asteroid (NEO) Web Site.
  • Dawn is a part of the Discovery Program of deep space missions. Information about Dawn and other missions can be found at the Discovery Program Web Site.

    Space News - Mars
  • Much information about the Phoenix mission to Mars can be found at this JPL Web Site or at this Web Site from the University of Arizona or this NASA Web Site. Additional information about various past NASA missions can be found here.
  • For more information about the Mars Exploration Rovers be sure to check out the MER Web Site at JPL or this Mars Rover site at Cornell University. You can also get information about the MER mission by reading the News Updates posted by Dr. Steve Squyres, the project's Principal Investigator.
  • To learn more about the Mars Express mission you can go to this ESA Mars Express Web Site, this Mars Express Web Page from JPL, this NSSDC Mars Express Web Page, or this Web Page from Mars News.Com.
  • For more information about the Exploration of Mars be sure to go to the JPL Mars Exploration Site, the Center for Mars Exploration at NASA Ames, or the Mars Missions Web Site at the Planetary Society.
  • Information about the data returned by previous Mars missions can be found at this Mars Web Page at the NSSDC.
  • Information about the Phoenix Mission to Mars can be found at this Press Release from the University of Arizona. You can view a 3D picture of the Mars Phoenix spacecraft here.
  • For more Mars news be sure to check out the Mars News.Com Web Site.
  • Percival Lowell did much to shape our ideas about Mars in the early years of the 20th Century. You can learn more about his work by reading this on-line copy of his 1895 book Mars.

    Space News - The Cassini Mission to Saturn
  • Much information about the Cassini mission can be found at the Project's Official Web Site at JPL.
  • JPL is constantly releasing pictures from Cassini. You can find them by going to this JPL Web Page.
  • Additional information about the Cassini mission can be found at this ESA Web Site.
  • The University of Arizona Web Site for the imaging system used to take the Huygens pictures of Titan has much information about how they were obtained and processed as well as a collection of processed and unprocessed images.
  • The Huygens probe carried a microphone and recorded the various sounds that it heard while descending to the surface of Titan. You can listen to those sounds at this Web Page sponsored by the Planetary Society.

    For On-Going Updates on Space News
  • Links relating to the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia can be found here.
  • The Reusable Launch & Space Vehicle News Web Site Web Page that is part of the Hobby Space Web Site is a really good place to watch for news about, well... Reusable Launch Vehicles and related subjects. I check it out just about every day and often find news there that doesn't show up anywhere else. Give it a look. {And while you're there be sure to check out some of the site's other pages. Wow! Is there a lot of information there.}
  • The Space Today Web Site is a great place to find space news from all over the 'net.
  • The Spaceflight Now Web Site carries real time information about current space missions and presents a lot of space and astronomy news. This is the place I go to when I want up to the minute information about current space missions. Do I need to say more?
  • The NASA Watch Web Site is another great place for getting information about current space missions. Check there also for news about other 'goings on' within NASA. Highly recommended.

    ISS News
  • The Florida Today Web Site has a very interesting report about the causes of the ISS budget problems and their impact on the space program. It makes very interesting reading.
  • Click here to view the press kits for various ISS missions.
  • Check out the NASA International Space Station Web Page or the Boeing Web Page to learn more about this project.
  • A great source of news about Russian space activities, including their work on the ISS, can be found at the Russian Space Web.
  • Do you wonder where the Space Station is right now? You can use your browser to view real time maps showing the location of the ISS by going to this link at the NASA Space Link Web Site or here at the Johnson Spacecraft Center. Please note that your browser must support Java to make use of this satellite tracking software.
  • You can find out when the ISS - or many other spacecraft - can be seen from your location by going to this NASA Web Page. Please note; your browser must support Java for this application to work.

    Space Related Organizations
    If you are interested in learning more about current space activities there are many local and national organizations you might want to know about. Joining these organizations and taking part in their activities is a good way to stay abreast of things going on in space as well as a way to show your support for those activities. Listed below are some of those organizations.
  • The Organization for the Advancement of Space Industrialization and Settlement has long been place for persons living in the Los Angeles area to gather and discuss the promise of space. Be sure to check out their Web Site for information about their meetings and other activities.
  • The Orange County Space Society is another Los Angeles area organization that provides a focal point for persons who are interested in space developments to get together and share their ideas. They have created a number of displays explaining the history and importance of space exploration that have appeared at various public events. Be sure to check their Web Site for information about their meetings and other events.
  • The National Space Society has a long history of being an advocate for a vigorous space program and provides much information to its members through their magazine and Web Site.
  • The Space Frontier Foundation is a strong advocate for a non-governmental space program and serves as a focal point for much activity in that arena. Their annual conference in Los Angeles during the Fall is a great way to find out what is happening in the non-government space arena.
  • The Space Access Society is focused on reducing the cost of going into space by promoting non-governmental launch vehicle programs. Their annual conference in the spring is a major source of information on non-traditional launch vehicle activities.
  • The Planetary Society is focused on the exploration of the Solar System and has a wealth of information for its members and others.

  • Click here for information about the audio files used for Hour 25 and for information about configuring your browser and downloading audio players.

    Please note Web Pages from external sites will open in a separate browser window and that Hour 25 Productions are not responsible for the content of any external Web Sites.

  • Next Week

    Join us in a couple of weeks when we will again bring you an interview with a guest from the worlds of science and science fiction.

    If you'd like me to let you know exactly when our next show is available, then send me an email { wwjames@earthlink.net } and I'll add you to the Hour 25 Newsletter Mailing List. That way you'll get an email notice telling you when the next show has been uploaded and who the guest is. Most shows are uploaded over the weekend but sometimes we drop in a special edition of Hour 25 during the middle of the week. Being on the Hour 25 Newsletter mailing list will let you know when those specials are available as soon as they are uploaded. {Privacy notice: The Hour 25 Newsletter mailing list is kept in strict confidence and will not be used for any other purpose nor will it be given, sold or in any way provided to any other person or group for any other purpose.}

    Later Weeks

    Join us in the coming months when our guests will include author Brad Meltzer and many other authors and scientists from the worlds of science, science fiction, mystery, horror and suspense.

    Previous Shows

    Go to our Previous Shows Page to find out about previous guests on the show and to listen to some of our past shows.

    Audio Index

    Go to our Audio Index for a listing of the various shows, interviews and readings available on the Hour 25 Web Page. The exact locations of the shows will constantly be changing as this Web Site evolves, but the Audio Index page will always be your shortcut to finding what you want to hear.

    Note to Web Masters : If you wish to link your site to an Hour 25 interview you should do so using the Hour 25 home page as that page will be able to direct people to the specific information they are looking for.

    The Calendar

    Check out the links below to discover things currently happening in and around Southern California that would be of interest to folks who have an interest in science fiction and science.
  • This Month's Calendar
  • Last Month's Calendar
  • On-Going Calendar Events
  • Authors on Tour
  • Conventions
  • Bookstores, Hobby Shops and more
  • Literacy Education
  • If you have something you want to call to the attention of the Group Mind, send an email to Warren James {Be sure to put 'Hour 25 Calendar' in the subject line of your message to make sure it doesn't get lost.}

    Science Fiction Matters

    Check out the pages below for more information about matters having to do with science fiction.

  • Click here to read what Suzanne had to say concerning children's and young adult books about fantasy and magic.

  • Click here for information about the various awards in the science fiction field.

  • Hour 25 - Background

    Burt Suzanne Warren

    Burt Handelsman
    Crack Engineer

    Suzanne Gibson
    Our Producer

    Warren W. James
    Your Host


      Mike Hodel   Terry Hodel  

    Mike Hodel
    The First Host of "Hour 25" {Picture Copyright © Burt Handelsman}


    Terry Hodel
    Our Late Executive Producer {Picture Copyright © Joel Farr}

    Click here to view a page with some of our thoughts about Terry.


  • Warren's Niftoidal Web Sites - Release 8

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  • Long time listener Eric Foss has an Hour 25 archive page.

  • Science Fiction
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  • Science Fiction Modeling
  • Other Fun Stuff

  • Hour 25 Newsletter

    Hour 25 is uploaded to the 'net every weekend - but special editions of the show can appear any time. The fastest way to learn when new shows are available is to be a subscriber to the free Hour 25 Newsletter.

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    Concerning the privacy of your email address and the Hour 25 Newsletter... Being on the Hour 25 mailing list will get you the Hour 25 Newsletter and nothing else. I will not use the Hour 25 mailing list for any other purposes. Being on this mailing list won't cause you to get unsolicited mailings for 'work at home opportunities' or other SPAM. The mailing list for Hour 25 will never be provided to anyone else for any purpose. Period. Personal privacy on the 'net is very important to me, so I'll defend your privacy in every way possible.

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