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.

Eric Berger: FAA regulators should get out of the way

In a essay today for Ars Technica, Eric Berger makes note of the progress that SpaceX is making on its Starship/Superheavy rocket, and points out that the one major obstacle that SpaceX cannot control and that stands in its way is the revised “environmental assessment” the FAA still must approve to permit the rocket to launch from Boca Chica.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle of all will be clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is working with SpaceX to conduct an environmental assessment of launching such a mammoth rocket from these South Texas wetlands. After a “draft” of this assessment is published, there will be an approximately 30-day period for public comments. This will be followed by other steps, including a determination by the FAA on whether SpaceX’s proposed environmental mitigations will be enough or if more work is required.

The stacking of the rocket late last week, and the photos released by Musk of that stacking, Berger sees as Musk’s effort to quietly apply pressure on those bureaucrats to get their work done already. As he writes, “Holding back Starship means holding back this progress, Musk wanted regulators to understand.”

Read the whole essay. In addition to illustrating the poltical games required by SpaceX to get past the stifling rules of our modern government, it very nicely shows how America has changed since the early 20th century. Then, no such regulators stood in the way, and Americans were thus about to build fast and with great skill, reshaping the cities of the world forever.

Though I expect the politics of the moment to favor SpaceX, forcing the FAA to get its work done quickly to allow the rocket to take off as planned, this is only going to happen because of the political clout SpaceX has with the public, and thus with politicians. For small companies no such clout exists, and thus expect U.S. innovation to continue to suffer in the coming years because we have given our govenrment too much power over our lives.


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  • Kyle

    Just be thankful SpaceX isnt building its launch site in my state. They would get tagged team by both the feds and the state. The storm water permit alone would be mind numbing and the shoreline permit, forget about it. Got to protect those salmon.

  • The more we ask government to do FOR us, the more power we grant it to do TO us … “for our own good” … because they Know Better.

    This is precisely why respect for the life and liberty of the individual, MUST be the primary operating principle of our government … to put a stop to going beyond that because they Know Better when they CAN’T and DON’T.

  • Michael

    When B4 takes off it’s going to kick up a whole lot of dust and be really loud. The dust will settle out of the air in about 45 minutes. The noise will die out in a few seconds as the booster will be beating feet for parts unknown. It’ll probably piss of a bunch of birds but they’ll get over it soon enough.

    For later flights there may be a short clang on booster landing.

    Those who wish to continue obsessing about N1 get a room.

    There. Finished the environmental impact statement.

  • Concerned


  • Jeff Wright

    It is is the methane being a super greenhouse, yadda-adda-neener-neener to look for.

  • @Michael: And, done. Written for the intended audience.

  • Edward

    Eric Berger wrote in his article:

    Such rockets are not to be found in PowerPoints or wooden mockups any longer. They are living, breathing machines nearly ready to breathe fire.

    Six years ago next month, this rocket was pretty much just a Power Point presentation. This year it is being fit checked on its launch pad. And all without government funding.

    Does this mean that government is not involved? No. Government has given itself the right to get in the way. An irony is that half a century ago, Lady Bird (President Johnson’s First Lady) had wanted to prevent advertising billboards from littering the view from America’s highways. The result of her attempt was the Environmental Impact Report, which actually justifies the existence of such billboards all over the country. It also justifies stopping progress whenever the government wants it stopped.

    So, Jester Naybor is right: “The more we ask government to do FOR us, the more power we grant it to do TO us … ‘for our own good’ … because they Know Better.” [ellipses in original]

    We the People pay for it ourselves, but this no longer means that the government cannot prevent it from happening. The more we ask government to do for us, the less we are allowed to do for ourselves. Right down to the government putting us in long term lockdown, because government is taking care of us rather than we taking care of ourselves or each other. Government tries to convince us that it is OK to prevent us from working in order to be able to buy our own food, because the government will take care of us by sending us a few dollars to make up for the lost wages. The lost productivity and lost liberty mean lost prosperity. They may (or may not) care for us, but what they do to us is so much worse.

    One really has to ask how this makes America a nation “for the people,” when the government has the power to stop the people. How is this a “government of the people [and] by the people” when we talk about government as a separate entity more powerful and more in control than We the People?

    In 2004, SpaceShipOne showed the world that We the People could put a man in space, something that had before then been possible only by the efforts of large, expensive, epic, national projects, an achievement that very few nations dared attempt. Private funding and non-governmental organizations now can accomplish national achievements. Two decades later, We the People put on the launch pad a rocket that is larger and more powerful than the most powerful governmental rocket. Should we be amazed that so many people are as excited about this rocket as had been excited about Apollo? The purposes are similar, but this one is without government funding or design. Just like much of the science fiction of the 1950s.

    Yet here we are, in the land of the free, home of the brave, worrying that government won’t let us launch the thing.

  • One thing no one has touched on is the possible (and probable) push by Old Aerospace through the FAA to slow down SpaceX. By Old Aerospace I mean Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Northrup Grumman, though not old but acting so Blue Origin, and others. I had a family member that worked at the FAA for a period of time many years ago and later as a private Designated Engineering Representative to the FAA who saw the behind the scenes political machinations at the said Agency. SpaceX is upsetting the Old Aerospace apple cart of their way of doing business — over due, over budget and under performing — so that they can get more money.

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