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My February birthday fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black it now over. I sincerely and with deep gratitude thank all those who donated. Without your support I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. For those who did not contribute during the campaign, please consider adding your vote of support to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


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Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii remains in limbo

Despite the successful power grab by protesters that stopped construction and took management of the telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii away from the University of Hawaii and gave it to a newly created board made up of “observatory representatives, Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners, local business and education officials, and experts in land management,” construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii remains in limbo.

But there is another actor in this drama: the National Science Foundation (NSF). TMT has accrued substantial financial backing from its university backers and the governments of China, Japan, India, and Canada, but it is still far from fully funded and has asked NSF to fill the gap. TMT’s request has come in partnership with the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), another U.S.-led effort to build a massive new telescope. GMT’s site is already being prepared in Chile but it is also in financial straits.

Together, the two projects are seeking $3 billion from NSF in exchange for the wider U.S. astronomical community gaining access to a large slice of both scopes’ observing time. That proposal was judged by U.S. astronomers as their top priority for ground-based astronomy in the community’s decadal survey published in November 2021. NSF is now assessing whether this is a good investment for U.S. taxpayers.

Considering that Congress now believes that money grows on trees, and there is no reason not to fund anything anyone wants no matter how much debt it produces, I expect that the NSF will eventually fund both telescopes. There is however the slim possibility that the NSF will look at the new and very complex managerial make-up now running things in Hawaii and decide it is impractical and guaranteed to produce problems. The goals of the different members of this board are so contradictory that any construction on Mauna Kea will likely have to be renegotiated over and over again, causing further delays.

Of course, endless funding and delays could be considered a feature, not a bug, by our present corrupt federal government. In that case the NSF will celebrate these delays.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


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.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • John

    That’s rich, in the same breath they say you are not building this telescope now give us $3 billion. They may not be the same entity but they are the same people. I guess maybe GMT will get something, the political ideology must be better in Chile.

    Telescopes aren’t needed anyway. They already have the science, haven’t you heard?

  • James Street

    “Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners”

    So the Thirty Meter Telescope is in “heap big trouble” (to use a little Indian lingo).
    – Hat tip to Rush Limbaugh

  • Cluebat


  • pzatchok

    Drop the whole telescope idea and just turn it into a visitor center(a grass shack with some fliers). for indigenous education. And let Hawaii find it after construction.

    Switch all the rest of the funding to someplace that wants it.

  • wayne


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