Is the TSA backing down?

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.

Is the TSA backing down?


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.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

One comment

  • Kelly Starks

    TSA has manily been about pr rather then security. This is causing bad PR – so they will drop it.

    If this isn’t enough of a firestorm. Given those TSA scanner “sort of nude images” have in the past been downloaded by operators and distributed on the web (in one case reportedly in hours). How long before Sara Palin, Ann Coulter (or any shy hot actress – Or Fox new host) has their “nude” images on the web?

    Those law suits and scandals could raise TSA’s bad press to nightmare levels.

    The question with the TSA apparently nude scanners, or full body frisk, vs. safety assumes incorrectly either make a difference.

    Since TSA took over airport security after 9-11, in tests they were much less able to detect hidden weapons then their commercial predecessors. But no one tried smuggling weapons on the plane, because they know pilots now swear they’ll crash the planes themselves rather than give controls to hijackers. Better kill hundreds of passengers, then have the plane used to kill thousands in skyscrapers.

    We now search shoes and underwear and everywhere else to stop last year’s bombers – but terrorists are now fielding “internally carried” bombs that would take a body cavity search to find, or as we saw a few days ago – shipping bombs via UPS.

    Do what the Israelis and British do or did against terrorist. You look for the terrorist not the bomb. Were so nervous about not looking un-PC the TSA administrator says she’ll consider the requested exemption against scanning or searching Muslim women in traditional garb. Better a few dead passengers then a charge of profiling?.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *