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.

Hackers demonstrate they can remotely take over moving vehicle

Does this make you feel safer? In a demonstration of the vulnerability of modern cars that are linked to the internet, two hackers took over the operation of an unmodified moving Jeep Cherokee.

A pair of Missouri-based hackers have put on an extraordinary demonstration by logging into a Jeep Cherokee remotely, while it was being driven by a Wired reporter Andy Greenberg, and systematically taking over the car’s functionality. First, they hit him with cold air through the air-con system, then they blasted Kanye West through the stereo at full volume, rendering the volume knob completely useless. They flashed up a picture of themselves on the car’s console and set the windscreen wipers going full blast, squirting cleaning fluid onto the windscreen and making it difficult to see.

But these were just warmups to the main event – next, they took over the engine and shut it off completely, leaving the driver powerless and coasting on the freeway as traffic flashed past around him. Then, once he was off the highway, they showed how they could completely disable the brakes, and take over the steering of the car – only at slow speeds and in reverse, but they’re working on unlocking new abilities every day.

This suggests to me that linking any car directly to the internet is probably a very bad idea.

Readers! My Quick November Fund-Raiser for Behind the Black is now over

I cannot thank enough the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.

Thank you again!

Though the find-raising campaign is officially over, and I am no longer plastering the main page with requests for help, if you like what you have read you can still contribute, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. 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.

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  • David M. Cook

    I’ve got two vehicles, a 1973 Chevy C-10 pickup (no computers, it should survive an EMP attack) and a 1991 Escort GT (computers, but no airbags or any other explosive devices in the passenger compartment, and no Internet connectivity).

    As a space enthusiast I balk at putting explosives on human-carrying vehicles, but that’s just me, and as a former truck driver I insist on remaining in full control of my machine.

  • “This suggests to me that linking any car directly to the internet is probably a very bad idea.”

    But a good one for Progressives. Now you’re dependent on government.

    Been looking to buy a pre-1975 vehicle, even a beater, for EMP protection, and they’re easy to work on and modify. We used to worry about massive nuclear death; now our tech is our Achilles’s heel.

  • Gealon

    Well there goes any hope I’d have of buying a Tesla, that and they don’t make a truck which is what I really need. I’m sure though since this is now a problem and Elon isn’t a dope, that the cars would be upgraded with an autistic mode which cuts off the radio transceiver.

  • David M. Cook

    Heh, ” they’re easy to work on…”

    ’73 Chevy V8: Alternator R&R took me about 2 hours, at night, in my driveway, while making dinner.
    Water pump, 2 days of easy working (a weekend).

    ’91 GT DOHC: Alternator R&R took me 4 days in the garage, working hard most of the time.
    Water pump, 4 weeks in the garage, not counting the collection of the pieces!

  • PeterF

    “NS5 Robot: [Jumps on car and tries to steer car out of control] You are experiencing a car accident.
    Detective Del Spooner: The hell I am.” – I, Robot

    People always comment on the condition of my ’57 Chevy. Ask me if I’m ever going to restore it. Truth is, I kind of like it just the way it is. I just tell them its “My Jalopy”. Unlike most classic car owners, I never have anyone ask me if I want to sell it. It was literally a “basket case” when I bought it. Parts in the back seat, parts in the trunk, parts in the garage, parts NEXT to the garage. I’ve driven it across the country several times now, towing a trailer. It is vulnerable to an EMP because I upgraded to HEI ignition after I got tired of constantly having to adjust the Mallory dual-point distributor I installed when I reassembled the car, but I can swap that out in twenty minutes.

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