Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and 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.


Mysterious signal detected possibly coming from Proxima Centauri

The uncertainty of science: Breakthough Listen, the project funded to the tune of $100 million by billionaire Yuri Milner with the goal of listening for alien radio signals, in 2019 detected a single radio tone that appeared to be coming from the nearest star, Proxima Centauri.

A team had been using the Parkes radio telescope in Australia to study Proxima Centauri for signs of flares coming from the red dwarf star, in part to understand how such flares might affect Proxima’s planets. The system hosts at least two worlds. The first, dubbed Proxima b upon its discovery in 2016, is about 1.2 times the size of Earth and in an 11-day orbit. Proxima b resides in the star’s “habitable zone,” a hazily defined sector in which liquid water could exist upon a rocky planet’s surface—provided, that is, Proxima Centauri’s intense stellar flares have not sputtered away a world’s atmosphere. Another planet, the roughly seven-Earth-mass Proxima c, was discovered in 2019 in a frigid 5.2-year orbit.

Using Parkes, the astronomers had observed the star for 26 hours as part of their stellar-flare study, but, as is routine within the Breakthrough Listen project, they also flagged the resulting data for a later look to seek out any candidate SETI signals. The task fell to a young intern in Siemion’s SETI program at Berkeley, Shane Smith, who is also a teaching assistant at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Smith began sifting through the data in June of this year, but it was not until late October that he stumbled upon the curious narrowband emission, needle-sharp at 982.002 megahertz, hidden in plain view in the Proxima Centauri observations. From there, things happened fast—with good reason. “It’s the most exciting signal that we’ve found in the Breakthrough Listen project, because we haven’t had a signal jump through this many of our filters before,” says Sofia Sheikh from Penn State University, who helmed the subsequent analysis of the signal for Breakthrough Listen and is the lead author on an upcoming paper detailing that work, which will be published in early 2021. Soon, the team began calling the signal by a more formal name: BLC1, for “Breakthrough Listen Candidate 1.”

The data so far does not suggest this signal was produced by an alien technology. Instead, it likely is a spurious signal from some natural or human source, picked up by accident, as was the SETI “Wow” signal that for years puzzled astronomers until they traced it to a comet.

However, as they do not yet have an explanation, it is a mystery of some importance.

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5 comments

  • Jay

    982 MHz is in the aeronautical radio navigation range of the spectrum. They might of picked up a beacon or plane.

    I would be interested to know how they filter out the man made noise. I know the weak signal processing that Dr.Taylor did at the late Arecibo observatory with pulsars, but I wonder what algorithms SETI uses to sift through the signals.

  • John

    A tone like that can mean only one thing. It’s a warning beacon.

    I wish they would have put the observation details in one spot in the article, but they say or imply observations for 30 minutes at a time for 26 hours total with ‘nodding’ in between. That’s interesting if the signal only showed up when pointed at proxima at widely separate times. Too bad nothing else has seen it, assuming they’ve been looking since 2019.

    They’re probably right, not from intelligence, just humans.

  • LocalFluff

    @Jay
    If it comes from an orbiting satellite, not geosynchronized, it should doppler shift its frequency as it passes by. Only not so much if the telescope’s field of view pointed perpendicularly to its orbit. But even then it should’ve passed through the field of view within a minute or a few. That’s at least as I understand it from orbital periods. And it could’ve been a stationary source on the ground.

  • Mike Murphy

    Bob,

    The connection between the Wow signal and a cometary source is still controversial. The Wow signal appeared in only one of the two sets of horns at the feed of the Big Ear radio telescope, so a source like a comet with its continuous “broadcast” of radio noise should have been recorded when the source drifted through the second set of horns. The sudden cut off of the signal adds to the mystery of the Wow signal, and reduces the chances that it originated from a comet.

    Mike

  • Jay

    LocalFluff,
    You are correct. Also the satellite that you speak of might have had a highly elliptical orbit. The Russians still use them and so do the XM satellites, called “Tundra” orbits. Something to throw out there.
    The thing that get me is the almost dead to rights 982.00 MHz signal. I saw someone post that the frequency is the TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation) Channel 21X here in the U.S.A. I do not know if this channel is also used in Australia.

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