From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
In a new paper published yesterday, climate scientists described a newly discovered deep, cold current flowing off Iceland’s coast that appears to make the ocean conveyor belt that warms the northern Atlantic less sensitive to climate change than previously thought.
In other words, another one of Al Gore’s doomsday predictions has proven false.
More significantly, scientists now have no understanding why the ocean conveyor belt shut down during past ice ages, as their most favored theory now appears insufficient.
The conveyor belt exists because the northern Atlantic has a higher salt content than most of the ocean. Put more salt in water and you increase that water’s density, thus causing it to sink to the ocean floor. The dense water then flows south along the ocean floor around Africa and into the Indian Ocean, where it rises and begins its journey back north, bringing with it warm weather to the northern latitudes of North American and Europe.
The consensus theory has been that fresh water from melting Arctic glaciers — caused by man-made global warming — would lower the high salt content of the northern Atlantic Ocean, which in turn would lighten the water, stop it from sinking, and thus cause the conveyor belt to turn off. With the conveyor shut down the flow of warm surface water to the northern hemisphere would cease. Thus, you not only would get a much hotter world, global warming would make Europe much colder and less habitable.
This new data says no, Arctic glaciers don’t produce enough fresh water. The newly discovered current dominates instead, acting to stabilize the conveyor belt.
What complicates this complicated and confusing climate science is that there is evidence in the paleoclimate record that the conveyor belt has shut down repeatedly in the past. Unfortunately, scientists now have really no clear understanding why.
Not that they ever did, based on our limited present knowledge.
Every July, to celebrate the anniversary of the start of Behind the Black in 2010, I hold a month-long fund-raising campaign to make it possible for me to continue my work here for another year.
This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.
This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.
Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:
If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
Cortaro, AZ 85652