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Since You Asked: All your base alkali are belong to us

I used to listen to a talk show late at night and early in the morning on (KMED) 1440-AM called "Coast to Coast AM" with a host named Art Bell.

I hadn't tuned in for some years until driving home the other night from a trip north and found "Coast to Coast AM" on a Eugene-area station (KPNW) 1120-AM, but it was not the same format or the same host.

I just want to find out what happened to Art Bell as I found his show very entertaining. Can you find out what happened to him or if he has another talk show?

— Jerry W., Medford

Art Bell — the late-night AM talk show personality who pushed pseudoscience, UFOs and endless conspiracy theories — was spirited away by big-headed aliens with throbbing cranial blood vessels to the planet Meekrob, where we understand Mr. Bell is much happier.

Seriously, according to our inside sources at KMED, Bell is in semi-retirement and was replaced by George Noory. Bell's show was syndicated nationally by Talk Radio Network in Central Point for several years before the rights were sold to Premier Radio Networks.

According to KMED Program Director Bill Meyer, Bell reduced his workload to weekends several years ago and more recently cutback to about a dozen nights a year.

"It's still the same spooky, ghostly, paranormal and government conspiracy alternative news," Meyer says. "The bigfoot story and that whole thing."

Bell's episodes originate out of Nevada, while Noory's shows are done in Los Angeles.

Finally, a note on crude oil, Twinkies and global warming

We were alerted to our woeful lack of expertise in chemical science in Thursday's Since You Asked.

One reader pointed out that sodium in water creates sodium hydroxide, which we knew, but reminded us that this is in fact an alkaline solution known commonly as lye or caustic soda, and not an acid.

Another reader pointed out that our conversion of a barrel of oil into the equivalent in Twinkies neglected to take into account that food calories are kilocalories (calories are rarely used in measuring energy outside of the kitchen ... joules are favored).

Therefore the calorie energy in one barrel of oil would convert to about 9,524 Twinkies.

However, we cannot agree with the latter reader that our mistake in Twinkie conversion is evidence of a media conspiracy to subvert the truth on global warming, Y2K and the ozone layer. — SYA Ed.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.