My annual February birthday month fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black is now over. It was the best February campaign ever, and the second best of all of my month-long fund-raising campaigns.


There were too many people who contributed to thank you all personally. If I did so I would not have time for the next day or so to actually do any further posts, and I suspect my supporters would prefer me posting on space and culture over getting individual thank you notes.


Let this public thank suffice. I say this often, but I must tell you all that you cannot imagine how much your support means to me. I’ve spent my life fighting a culture hostile to my perspective, a hostility that has often served to squelch my success. Your donations have now allowed me to bypass that hostility to reach a large audience.


Even though the February campaign is over, if you still wish to donate or subscribe you still can do so. Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

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India proposes new oppressive space law

India’s government has proposed a new space law that essentially places all control of future space projects under the control of the central government.

The proposed law, which is open for comment for the next month, can be read here [pdf]. I’ve read it, and it astonishes me in its oppressiveness and hostility to private enterprise. This clause, one of many similar clauses, sums this up quite well:

Any form of intellectual property right developed, generated or created onboard a space object in outer space, shall be deemed to be the property of the Central Government.

The law would also require anyone who wants to launch a space project to get a license from the government, and gives the government the power to control that license in all aspects, including the power to cancel it for practically any reason.

If this law passes I expect that India’s burgeoning space industry will suffer significantly, especially because it will make it difficult to attract investment capital. Instead, it will be the central government that will run the business, and in the long run such government businesses always do badly.

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.


  • Dick Eagleson

    This looks like an attempt by the professional bureaucrats of India – sometimes known as the Babu State – to assert their authority over an additional area of national economic life. My grasp of Indian internal politics is insufficient to form any rational opinion as to what the odds of this proposal becoming law might be, but I agree with Mr. Z that India would be shooting itself in the foot with a shotgun if it is so foolish as to enact such a law.

  • LocalFluff

    India the other year introduced a catastrophic currency reform. To eliminate the black market which is what upwards a billion of Indians live off of daily. Their savings were eradicated over night because they save in cash and those paper bills were suddenly declared worthless and could only be transformed to a fraction of their nominal value via criminal gangs well connected with the corrupt authorities. Since there was a sudden shortage of cash, commercial activity collapsed. Not in the big export industry that drives official GDP figures, but in the huge informal small-scale business economy of India.

    The people of India create all of this wealth with their skills, despite of their mad government. I was unfortunate to study statistics at a university (which isn’t fun because it’s hard), and pretty much every text book and paper in the literature list had an unpronounceable Indian name. They certainly know something math genetically. They invented chess! But they are poor at electing political leaders. I think that this whole democracy and government thing is alien to their nature and that they would do much better without it.

  • wayne

    “Gems of Ramanujan and their Lasting Impact on Mathematics”
    International Center for Theoretical Physics
    November 2016

  • ken anthony

    Thomas Sowell in his books on economics uses India as a bad example of over regulation across the board. It’s not just this example.

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