Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, 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.

EPA never did ethanol studies required by law

The law is such an inconvenient thing: Despite a legal mandate from Congress to conduct studies on the use of ethanol in vehicles the EPA has admitted that it simply ignored the law and never did any.

The Obama administration has failed to study as legally required the impact of requiring ethanol in gasoline and ensuring that new regulations intended to address one problem do not actually make other problems worse, the Environmental Protection Agency inspector general said Thursday. The conclusion in the new audit confirmed findings of an Associated Press investigation in November 2013. The AP said the administration never conducted studies to determine whether air and water quality benefits from adding corn-based ethanol to gasoline. Such reports to Congress were required every three years under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Instead, they have been pushing to increase the amount of ethanol used in gasoline, even though they have no idea whether this helps or hurts the environment, and have been told by practically every automotive industry expert that increased ethanol will damage car engines.

But then, who cares what the law says? Who cares what other experts say? The EPA is made up of righteous perfect liberal individuals who simply know better. How dare Congress, or anyone for that matter, tell them what to do!


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

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 not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. 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

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • BSJ

    Ethanol is in gasoline to subsidize corn farmers.

  • PeterF

    Empirical anecdotal evidence:
    When I built the engine in my ’57 chevy, I set it up for high altitude fuel efficiency to be my daily driver. If I drove carefully, I could get as much as 24 MPG. (love that overdrive!) Now that I am forced to use gasoline with ethanol in it, My performance has gone into the crapper and no matter what I do I can only get 18 MPG

  • Joe

    Another one of those corn husker kickbacks! The EPA niether cares weather ethanol hurts or helps, they don’t care about intent or outcome, all they care about is amassing and wielding a great amount of power. The EPA is one the most corrupt institutions in our government.

  • Mitch S.

    Al Gore admitted ethanol doesn’t help the environment and he pushed it for political reasons:
    (BTW lets remember that Republicans didn’t fight to roll back the mandates even after Gore’s admission):

  • Chops

    Cars in Brazil can run on 100% ethanol perfectly well. That we can’t in the US is a choice the manufacturers and government have made. With the proper (easy and cheap) materials and software there is simply no damage to an automobile engine by ethanol.

    Why favor oil and the Saudis over American farmers? Do you want those who want to destroy us to get more money?

  • Localfluff

    Bio fuel is the by far most environmentally destructive energy source. Burning down the forests and slaughtering all wild animals. Replacing it with the agrochemical monotonic plantations of our synthetic crops which cannot survive without constant fertilization and pesticides. If human kind suddenly ceased to exist, wheat would also be extinct in just 100 years, geneticists have calculated. It cannot survive the competition against natural grass without our constant mechanical and chemical help. This is not natural, nor environmentally friendly. Farming is the most environmentally destructive of all industries. Thank God that our CO2 emissions from burning dead mineral fossil fuel from the underground helps increase the harvests so efficiently that the farmland acres of the world are decreasing while producing more food to more people!

    And gasoline mixed with ethanol is not storable. It decomposes and will destroy your engine if used after some years in storage.

  • wayne

    “I Want To Be A Crony”

  • Chops-
    “Cars in Brazil can run on 100% ethanol perfectly well. ” yeah, right…
    just so long as you don’t expect power or performance…
    “With the proper (easy and cheap) materials and software there is simply no damage to an automobile engine by ethanol.”
    Mad Max would be overjoyed to know this beyond thunder dome…
    “Why favor oil and the Saudis over American farmers?”
    The US could be energy independent within a year if the current administration wasn’t working to the benefit of certain donors to maintain the status quo…
    (the railroad tankers involved in the MANY recent disasters? They are owned by Warren Buffet. They have been carrying the “tar sands oil” from Canada. We are repeating the history of the early 20th century when pipelines and rail tankers competed for the profitable trade of shipping oil. This time, the (more expensive) railroad is winning. (To the detriment of ALL US citizens) for the benefit of the railroad stock holders and their government creatures.

  • pzatchok


    Even if we doubled the efficiency of solar cells we wouldn’t have enough acreage to provide all the energy the US needs.
    Its the same with ethanol. We do not have enough acreage to supply all the power needs of the US.

    Using Brazil as an example is wrong, just wrong. The nation is starving because they are ordered to produce sugar beets to turn into ethanol instead of growing food.
    They are also destroying the rain forest do to this.
    All so that the government can sell ALL of its oil overseas for a profit. the tax base is so low that this is the only way Brazil can get enough money to even function in a general sense.
    By the way they use most of the oil money to subsidize everything the people cannot afford, like food.

    The increased use of ethanol in the US is already driving the cost of corn based products up. I remember a few years ago the Mexican protests that happened because US corn prices were going up to fast and to high.

    Add in the increased use of petroleum based insecticides and fertilizers.

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 *