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.

Navy temporarily relieves commander from ocean collision

The Navy has temporarily relieved the injured commander of the U.S.ship involved in a major ocean collision with a cargo ship in mid-June.

The investigation is on-going, and they say this action is because he is injured, not because of any decision based on the investigation. I personally do not expect this commander to ever get a command again.

For those that want to read a detailed discussion on Behind the Black of this incident, see this thread.

Readers! My Quick November Fund-Raiser for Behind the Black is now over

I cannot thank enough the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.

Thank you again!

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  • Cotour

    Comment made by an Admiral in an interview on the subject: “I expect the executive officer and his subordinates will be fired.”

    And so it begins.

    Human error or what appears to be in-attendance late at night ON A WAR SHIP (?), crazy to me. But thats humans.

    Q: What would HAL 2000 have done?

  • Garry

    As I wrote elsewhere, this case is very puzzling, and I don’t know who is to blame (I suspect there was a cascade of bad decisions, with many people to blame). I’ll be interested to read the findings that come out.

    However, as soon as I read the news, I had no doubt that the captain would be relieved and his career effectively ended, regardless of who was at fault.

    Part of this is due to the culture of the captain always being responsible, but part is because the Navy, more than any other service, always finds a scapegoat. I always thought it fitting that the Navy mascot is indeed a goat.

    One of the most high-profile examples of this was the captain of the USS Indianapolis, which delivered the atomic bomb and was then sunk by a Japanese submarine. Several SOS messages were sent out, but one captain thought it was a ruse, another had ordered that he not be disturbed, and a third was drunk. As a result, he rescue ships came after 5 days, with the men facing shark attacks and insanity. Captain Quint from Jaws was a fictional survivor of this incident.

    In the end the Captain was court martialed, unfairly found guilty, and after discharge he suffered mental health problems (which were not helped by constantly receiving letters and phone calls from angry relatives of sailors who had died) to the point where he eventually offed himself.

    None of this means the captain wasn’t a root cause of the disaster, but I think his relief doesn’t tell us anything about his culpability.

  • SteveC

    In the peace time navy, being off duty, asleep in bed when your ship gets dinged is no defense.

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