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. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Judge strikes down as illegal Obama fracking regulations

The law is such an inconvenient thing: With strong language a federal judge has bluntly struck down the Obama administrations attempt to regulate the fracking industry.

Judge Scott Skavdahl of the District Court of Wyoming already had put a hold on the regulations last year, and in a decision released late Tuesday, he ruled that Congress did not give Interior the power to regulate hydraulic fracturing, indeed it had expressly withheld that power with some narrow exceptions. “Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing,” Judge Skavdahl wrote in deciding a lawsuit brought by industry groups and a number of Western states. The “effort to do so through the Fracking Rule is in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law.”

The judge dismissed particularly the claim by the Interior Department and its Bureau of Land Management that it had inherent broad regulatory authority to pursue the public good on federal and Indian lands, the only place the regulations would have applied. “Congress‘ inability or unwillingness to pass a law desired by the executive branch does not default authority to the executive branch to act independently, regardless of whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environment or the citizens of the United States,” wrote Judge Skavdahl, whom Mr. Obama appointed to the bench in 2011. [emphasis mine]

That a judge whom Obama appointed, who thus is almost certainly a Democrat, was willing to put aside his partisan loyalties to rule so forcefully against the Obama administration gives me great hope. In recent years Democratic judges have almost ceased ruling based on law and have instead been guided almost exclusively by their political leanings. This judge’s ruling here suggests that there remain some principled judges, even on the left.

Posted from fascist Los Angeles, a place where they make you pay $19 for a five minute two mile taxi ride.

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