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.

First data suggests Comet Borisov resembles solar comets

The first spectrum obtained from Comet Borisov suggests that it is quite similar to comets in our solar system.

The gas detected was cyanogen, made of a carbon atom and a nitrogen atom bonded together. It is a toxic gas if inhaled, but it is relatively common in comets.

The team concluded that the most remarkable thing about the comet is that it appears ordinary in terms of the gas and dust it is emitting. It looks like it was born 4.6 billion years ago with the other comets in our Solar system, yet has come from an – as yet – unidentified star system.

It is still very early, so drawing any firm conclusions at this point is risky.


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  • Col Beausabre

    I hereby invoke the Mediocrity Principle.

  • mike shupp

    I’m wondering just how far from its starting point our sun/solar system has drifted in the last 4. billion years. My thought is, Sol and presumably a few hundred or a few thousand stars must have coalesced in some cloud of dust and gas and debris — a cluster, call it — at some relatively limited space with a fairly uniform composition. Over time, these young stars have probably moved some distance apart, but it’s not implausible that we have near neighbors with similar distributions of elements and isotopes.

  • To Mike Shupp’s point, I do not understand the desire to invest resources investigating difficult to reach interstellar visitors, when they are almost certainly made of the same stuff as our domestic, and much easier to reach, solar bodies.

  • Blair Ivey: You are making a very dangerous assumption, that other solar systems “are almost certainly made of the same stuff” as our own. We do not know that. Moreover, the odds are that things are not the same, as each star forms in its own unique environment that determines its make-up.

    Even more important, understanding better the range and variety of solar systems is critical to determining whether life is common or rare. Life needs certain components which happen to be abundant on Earth. They might not be so elsewhere. We need to find out. Comet Borisov is providing us a first hint.

  • mike shupp

    Amplifying my remarks, we estimate our sun’s age as 4.6 billion years roughly. Many of the stars about us — e Eridani or Sirius or Procyon for instance — are known to be younger, and some — Alpha Centauri comes to mind — appear to be older. I.e., not all our “neighbors” today came from the same place that Sol did. What I’m unclear about is whether some of our neighboring stars and our sun shared the same birth region, and how many of these solar siblings happen to be in our neck of the galactic woods. Must be some, I think, but I’m just handwaving. I recall reading once Sol has moved about 10,000 LY outward in the galaxy from where it was formed, but I don’t remember where I saw that, and I don’t recall if the hypothesis had evidence behind it or was just some astronomer’s handwaving.

    Enquiring minds wish to know!

  • mike shupp: You should dig up my Sky & Telescope article from March 2012. It was the cover story: “Finding the Sun’s lost nursery.” In it I provide the answers to your questions, as far as we presently know.

  • mike shupp

    Will do and thank you!

  • Edward

    Col Beausabre invoked the Mediocrity Principle. We should keep in mind that the stars are like humans. Each of us is unique, just like everyone else.

  • Scott M.

    The detection of cyanogen reminds me of the panic in 1910 when Halley’s Comet came by Earth. Some thought that the cyanogen in the comet’s tail would poison everyone on earth.

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