In Wales

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.


The view from the Village of Rhosneigr

This will be a short post, as we are about to leave on our second day’s adventures.

To the right is the plane that finally got us out of the U.S. to London, where we had to transfer again to get to Dublin. Twas nice to fly on a 747, rapidly disappearing from the fleets of American airline companies. British Airways however appears to still be flying a lot of them. A super smooth flight on this magnificent plane.

Transferring planes in Heathrow was horrible, as it seems all international travel is becoming. Even though we were never leaving the terminal they still forced us to go through customs.

The second picture shows the view from the coastal village of Rhosneigr at the end of the day. We had met up with our group and had just completed a 4 mile hike along the beach. It seems there are a lot of bird watchers among us. It also seems in a way like we were back at Cannon Beach, without any crowds at all.

Time to go! More later.


Every July, to celebrate the anniversary of the start of Behind the Black in 2010, I hold a month-long fund-raising campaign to make it possible for me to continue my work here for another year.

This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.

This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.

Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, 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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  • Lee s


    “Even though we were never leaving the terminal they still forced us to go through customs.”
    You should try being an Englishman flying from Sweden via Chicago to Pittsburgh!

    I think you are going to enjoy your trip… As a child growing up in the industrial wasteland that is the Midlands of England, my best childhood memories are of regular trips to my grandparents summer retreat in Wales… And on many visits since…
    You are in one of the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom and I hope you have a wonderful time!

    ( Pro tip…. If you have a pint, I recommend “Brains SA”… A VERY good beer if kept well… But treat with caution… It’s nick name is ” Brains Skull Attack” ;-)

  • MJMJ

    I don’t there are any US-based/owned passenger airlines that still fly 747s.

  • Edward

    Even though we were never leaving the terminal they still forced us to go through customs.

    You may have left the international security corridor and entered the domestic one. Did they require you to go through customs again in Dublin?

  • wayne

    Lee S:

    Interesting stuff!
    Does everyone from the “industrial wasteland,” have a “summer retreat in Wales?” (HA, just goofin’ ya.)
    –here in Michigan, (Midwest USA,) quite a few folks have “a cabin Up North,” which could be anything from an actual log-cabin up to a full blown 2nd home. (Minnesota is similar.)

  • Edward asked if we had to go through customs again in Dublin. Of course. We were traveling between two different nations, from London, capital of the United Kingdom, to Dublin, capital of the Ireland.

    You also wrote, “You may have left the international security corridor and entered the domestic one.” Well, common sense says you restrict all international flights to one terminal, so that no one on these flights has to exit the international security zone, until they decide they need to leave the airport or have to board a local domestic flight, in another terminal. That would be when you go through customs.

    This is how every other international airport I’ve ever traveled in operates. If Heathrow was set up this way, things would have been simple. We were coming in on a flight coming from a foreign country, and flying out immediately on a flight to another foreign country. Going through customs should have been entirely unnecessary.

  • Lee S

    It was acctualy what you guys would call a small trailer… It would sleep 6 at a push…

    Parked in the grounds of this country hall..

    The country house and grounds were much more run down 40 years ago and offered much fun and adventure.. ( and I had my first kiss from the managers daughter!) Happy times Indeed! :-)

  • wayne

    Lee S:
    Good stuff!
    “the manager’s daughter…,” oh, to be young again!

    pivoting for the obligatory clip-

    Fawlty Towers:
    “Satisfied Customers”
    [After a bad night with an American guest, Basil learns the truth about his hotel….]

  • Lee S

    @ Wayne….
    Bloody Yanks…. “Over paid, over sexed, and over here!” (As the saying went back in the LATER years of WW2…) ;-)

    ( No offence intended… Just banter!) :-)

  • wayne

    Lee S-
    that’s ok…we saved the World twice in one century.

    totally off-thread

    Gerry Anderson’s UFO (1970) –
    Opening Titles

    futuristic world of… 1980.

  • Edward

    Lee S wrote: “Bloody Yanks…. ‘Over paid, over sexed, and over here!’

    Over paid? The value of our work justifies our pay. Although, come to think of it, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton were being paid way too much for speeches that were bogus or meaningless.

    The French are way more oversexed than we Americans, which does not help my point much, because that is oversexed indeed. Bill Clinton also greatly raises the average for we Americans, too.

    As for being over there, we spend most of our time over here, not over there. Although Al, Bill, and Hillary certainly made quite an impression while they were over there — not in a good way — so I guess the saying still applies after all these years.


    Other people’s children. What can you do about them?

  • Lee S

    @ Wayne and Edward…
    I’m a bit late in responding…. But thanks for the giggles!! :-D

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