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I am now running my annual July fund-raising campaign to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Behind the Black. For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. These companies practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.


Thus, I must have your direct support to keep this webpage alive. Not only does the money pay the bills, it gives me the freedom to speak honestly about science and culture, instead of being forced to write it as others demand.


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You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

A snakelike Martian ridge

A snakelike Martian ridge
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on November 22, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows what the science team labeled a sinuous ridge. Make sure you also look at the full image. The ridge goes on to the south, but then fades way as an almost perfect ramp, only to have another even more wiggly but thinner north-south ridge begin only a few feet to the west.

Sinuous ridges like this are found in many places on Mars. Almost always their origin is thought the result of a former river channel that became a ridge when the surrounding softer material eroded away.

That explanation however does not seem to work for this ridge. It has too many other inexplicable features. For example, note how the peak of the ridge smoothly transitions from sharp to flat-topped. It has a soft appearance that is strengthened by the gap near the top.

It is almost as if this ridge is a kind of elongated sand dune! And guess what: The overview map below gives that explanation some believability.

Overview map

The white cross marks the location of the ridge, on the edge of the Medusa Fossae Formation, the largest volcanic ash deposit on Mars which is also thought to be the source of much of the red planet’s dust.

Thus, this ridge could very well be volcanic ash, blown into this shape by a variety of local factors (wind, surface features, etc).

Then again, that is a pure uneducated guess. It is also possible that this ridge is a long eroded dike of lava that had in the far past oozed up out of a crack, and has since been shaped by the wind into its curvy shape.

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.

One comment

  • One would think that it would be possible to distinguish fossil rivers from other ridge origins by observing whether the “river” along its length in effect flows uphill in places in ways that real rivers can’t — providing there’s been little or no geological distortion of the former path of the river (if indeed it is an ex-river) to add such uphill stretches.

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