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I am now in the final week of my July fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black, celebrating its 14th anniversary. Thank you all, from the people who have donated small amounts to those who have given large sums. I cannot truly express how much your support means to me.

 

The support of my readers through the years has given me the freedom and ability to analyze objectively the ongoing renaissance in space, as well as the cultural changes -- for good or ill -- that are happening across America. Four years ago, just before the 2020 election I wrote that Joe Biden's mental health was suspect. Only in the past two weeks has the mainstream media decided to recognize that basic fact.

 

Fourteen years ago I wrote that SLS and Orion were a bad ideas, a waste of money, would be years behind schedule, and better replaced by commercial private enterprise. Even today NASA and Congress refuses to recognize this reality.

 

In 2020 when the world panicked over COVID I wrote that the panic was unnecessary, that the virus was apparently simply a variation of the flu, that masks were not simply pointless but if worn incorrectly were a health threat, that the lockdowns were a disaster and did nothing to stop the spread of COVID. Only in the past year have some of our so-called experts in the health field have begun to recognize these facts.

 

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Bones of the biggest ever whale species possibly found?

A big whale?

The uncertainty of science: Paleontologists have discovered a portion of the skeleton of what they claim might be the biggest and heaviest animal ever found, a whale that potentially grew to be as much as twice as big as a blue whale, the largest living species previously known.

A newly described fossilized whale named Perucetus colossus, dating to roughly 38 million years ago, might have been heavier than a blue whale, even if it was not as long. Blue whales, which are endangered, weigh about 100 to 150 tonnes, although some might be as heavy as 200 tonnes. Perucetus colossus was between 85 and 340 tonnes, according to the scientists who found and described the remains: 13 vertebrae, 4 ribs and a bit of pelvis. Their best-guess estimate is that the whale was around 180 tonnes. This mind-boggling mass is the result of its bones, which were big and dense — an evolutionary adaptation that helped it to dive.

The graphic to the right shows the discovered bones in red, with the rest of the theorized skeleton indicated in grey. Only in the article’s next-to-last paragraph does Nature recognize this very very very large uncertainty:

The team chose to create a visual reconstruction of what the whale might have looked like, basing the head on skulls of related basilosaurid species, but they caution that some of the details are speculative. It could have been skinnier. But it also could have been quite a bit longer or fatter, [co-author Eli] Amson says.

In other words, they presently have no idea what the species actually looked like, or how big it actually was. It very well could have been much shorter and thinner than proposed. It appears therefore they chose to highlight the largest possible size to garner the biggest press coverage — which of course they are getting.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 

The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
 

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

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