Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

More bad budget reporting

Once again a journalist as well as a science journal are spinning budget numbers to hide the fact that the present Congress is not imposing draconian cuts to science. If anything, they are not cutting enough, considering the dire state of the federal deficit.

First there is the headline, from Science: Senate Panel Cuts NSF Budget by $162 Million. Then there is the article’s text, by Jeffrey Mervis, which not only reaffirms the cuts described in the headline but adds that “the equivalent House of Representatives panel approved a bill that would hold NSF’s budget steady next year at $6.86 billion.” Mervis then underlines how terrible he thinks these budget numbers are by quoting Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland): “We’ve gone beyond frugality and are into austerity.”

This reporting is shameful. Not only is Mikulski full of crap, Mervis’s description of the budget numbers is misleading if not downright wrong. Here are the final budget numbers for the NSF since 2007, in billions of dollars (sources: Science, the American Geological Institute, and The Scientist):

2007: $5.92
2008: $6.13
2009: $6.49
2010: $6.87 plus a $2.4 bonus in stimulus funds.
2011: $6.81

For 2012, Obama requested $7.77 billion for NSF as part of his February 2011 budget request, a request that was rejected unanimously by Congress. The House then proposed giving NSF $6.86 billion, which is an increase over the 2011 numbers, not a decrease as Mervis states. And the Senate proposal that Mervis describes? It offers NSF $6.65 billion, which though a cut, would still leave NSF’s budget higher than its 2009 budget, only two years ago. This is hardly going “beyond frugality and . . . into austerity,” as Mikulski whines. For a journalist to accept this junk from a politician and then parrot it in his writing seems quite pitiful.

The real question here is whether a small cut to NSF’s budget to below 2010 numbers but above 2009 numbers is reasonable. And I say, of course it is. In fact, I think it is far too reasonable, considering the debt. The National Science Foundation could easily manage on a budget based on 2007 numbers, especially considering the struggling state of the economy. They merely have to do a bit of belt tightening, as we all are, and find a way to do more with less.


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One comment

  • I’ll credit this to Michael Medved, but I don’t think its original to him. “If your can’t make small cuts to things like PBS, and art, how can you expect to make big cuts to things like the Departments of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation etc.” There is so much fat that does so little let because it exists, we seem unwilling to cut it.

    Someone has to start somewhere, “our leaders” fight for 3 months to cut 7 billion from next years budget then with no plan to pay for it the President want to add almost 65 times that to next years budget on a poorly thought out whim, something is wrong.

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