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.

Gravitational wave detectors see two different black holes as they swallowed a neutron star

Astronomers using three different gravitational wave detectors have seen the gravity ripples caused when two different black holes swallowed a nearby neutron star.

The two gravitational-wave events, dubbed GW200105 and GW200115, rippled through detectors only 10 days apart, on January 5, 2020, and January 15, 2020, respectively.

Each merger involved a fairly small black hole (less than 10 Suns in heft) paired with an object between 1½ and 2 solar masses — right in the expected range for neutron stars. Observers caught no glow from the collisions, but given that both crashes happened roughly 900 million light-years away, spotting a flash was improbable, even if one happened — and it likely didn’t: The black holes are large enough that they would have gobbled the neutron stars whole instead of ripping them into bite-size pieces.

Note the time between the detection, in early 2020, and its announcement now, in mid-2021. The data is very complex and filled with a lot of noise, requiring many months of analysis to determine if a detection was made. For example, in a third case one detector was thought to have seen another such merger but scientists remain unsure. It might simply be noise in the system. I point this out to emphasize that thought they are much more confident in these new detections, there remains some uncertainty.


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  • born01930

    Does a gravity wave ripple travel at the speed of light? Since it is essentially massless and really not moving anything could it not, like quantum entanglement, cause instant indication no matter the distance?

  • Jay

    Yes, it is same as the speed as light, that is covered in Einstein’s General Relativity theory.

  • wayne

    –the speed of light. Think fields. (If the Sun disappeared, we wouldn’t feel it for about 8 minutes.)
    (entanglement is slightly different)

  • wayne

    With 3 detectors, what kind of location precision can they get?
    Is there an optical counterpart anyone has been investigating? (too small?)

  • Jay

    A side-note, I recommend the book “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson. It is a long book, and the National Geographic channel based their mini-series about Einstein on it. You learn about his life, his use of visualization, his work on the theory of Special Relativity, and years later on General Relativity. I also learned his famous equation was built on Charles Steinmetz’s equation for the mass of an electron.
    It is a good read.

  • Jay

    The Hanford LIGO site is about 80 miles away from me. I had to look up the second site and that is in Livingston, LA:
    According to their site, the detection difference between the two LIGO sites time-wise is ten milliseconds. KAGRA is the third site in Japan.

  • born01930

    Yes I know entanglement is different, but it seems instantaneous across vast distances and used the comparison as a reference only. I was thinking of gravity similar to a fiber where you could feel a ripple because I have a hard time comprehending it as a wave. But I guess a ripple propagating along a fiber has a max speed. Using the fiber idea as an analogy only, like how you see emf lines of force using iron filings.

  • wayne

    Thanks. (very cool)

    (I’m just a psych major with a great interest, still learning!)
    Totally empathize. It’s difficult to form a visual representation of what we believe is actually happening.
    Quantum Field Theory says ‘everything is a field which has a value in space & time.’ Think magnetic-field and waves-
    ref: “.. ripple propagating along a fiber has a max speed.” Yes, that is true, but–
    Depends on what sort of ‘wave’ we are talking about, a fixed vibrating guitar string for example produces sound-waves, which do require ‘air’ to propagate through and at a max speed.
    On the other hand, photons/ electromagnetic waves, gravity waves and the like, travel at the speed of light and require no medium through which to propagate.

    Ref: entanglement.
    might be enlightening–>
    Quantum Entanglement and The No-Communication Theorem
    “Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance. The “no-communication theorem or no-signaling principle” is a no-go theorem from quantum information theory which states that, during measurement of an entangled quantum state, it is not possible for one observer, by making a measurement of a subsystem of the total state, to communicate information to another observer. The theorem is important because, in quantum mechanics, quantum entanglement is an effect by which certain widely separated events can be correlated in ways that suggest the possibility of instantaneous communication.”

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