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.

A fundamental design failure appears to be the cause of the fuel leak that caused the launch postponement of India’s first home-made geosynchronous powered rocket in August.

The complete failure of the fuel tank appears to be the cause of the massive leak that caused the launch postponement of India’s first home-made geosynchronous powered rocket in August.

Mr. Radhakrishnan [head of India’s space agency] said while the expert committee had attributed the fuel leak to stress corrosion cracking of the tank filled with propellants, exactly why this happened was “a research problem” that remains to be investigated. The next GSLV mission will switch to a better aluminium alloy material for its propellant tanks.

Up to now the reports have been somewhat vague about the cause of what was clearly an extensive leak. This story tells us that the tank essentially failed. As they filled it with propellants, cracks apparently showed up everywhere, with fuel spewing out in all directions. As far as I can remember, I don’t think there has ever been a rocket tank failure quite this spectacular.

This suggests there were fundamental design flaws in the tank or very serious quality control problems in its manufacture. With the next launch attempt scheduled for December 15, I hope India has identified the source of this incredibly basic problem and taken action to prevent it from happening again.

Update: Reader Patrick Ritchie found this older article which suggests the failed tank was an old tank of a design that was “prone for delayed cracks”. The error here then was in using this substandard old equipment rather than a newer tank.


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.

Your support is even more essential to me because I keep this site free from advertisements and do not participate in corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Patreon or Paypal don'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
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *