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.

North Korea upgrading nuclear research facility

Satellite photos indicate that North Korea has been upgrading its nuclear research facility, despite its public claims that it is eliminating its nuclear program following Kim Jong Un’s meeting with Trump earlier this month.

The satellite photos indicate that North Korea is quickly progressing on several adjustments to the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center.

The improvements include a new cooling water pump house, multiple new buildings, completed construction on a cooling water reservoir and an apparently active radiochemical laboratory. It is unclear whether the reactor is still in operation, the report said.

38 North notes that North Korean nuclear officials are expected to proceed with “business as usual” until Kim orders official changes to procedure.

News reports have focused so far on the defusing of North Korea’s anti-American propaganda machine, but that’s just empty words. Upgrading this nuclear facility tells us what they really plan on doing.

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16 comments

  • wodun

    Upgrading this nuclear facility tells us what they really plan on doing.

    No one claimed NK was immediately disarming. This process will take years and yes, NK is tricky and uses diplomacy to delay and provide cover for their activities, so time will tell if the current negotiations bear fruit. It is far too soon to know, even if things look promising.

    My guess is that since negotiations have not yet begun, the facilities mentioned will be part of the bargaining.

  • Cotour

    I heard Gordon Chang the other night and he proposes that 1. Trump should not have allowed the war games to be cancelled because of the readiness and communications between commands was very important, and 2. The North Koreans may have a plan to invade the South and “unify”, possibly with the cooperation of the president of the South (?).

    This is going to be a very interesting, treacherous and dangerous dance. If Trump can not tighten down on the sanctions in a real and material way this may just go on and on and on.

  • BSJ

    Pompeo said 2.5 years. Ya know, back when everybody was chanting Nobel, Nobel.

  • BSJ: Yeah, there were a lot of people on the right who were overstating the results of the North Korean summit. Just as Obama did not deserve a Nobel, neither does Trump, as this point. He has moved things forward, but skepticism is still the watchword of the day.

  • Tom

    The meeting in Singapore was just an early move in the first encounters where our President Trump is CINC. Trump announced the meeting takeaways with the clear caveat that Kim would be closely watched to ensure he follows up on his end of the agreement. We, the U.S., have only a three day weekend and one cancelled exercise invested in the attempt. The onus is now on Kim to either turn the page and join the civil world or stay his previous course and remain a failed, pariah state. The pressures on Kim from China and his current weapons buying clientele must be enormous. To turn away from them and take the other road requires a level of agility (and confidence in ones rule) that I believe he just does not have. Especially over a compressed timeframe. But our President has done what he said; He made the trip, had the visit, cancelled one (1) exercise (which South Korea was in 100% agreement on), announced the agreement framework and came home. The ball is squarely in Pyongyang’s court as are the eyes of the world. High resolution satellite photos and quality analysis of them will keep the focus firmly on Kim. Only the Trump haters will be lashing out, second guessing, and/or undermining the President on this so soon.

  • Tom

    I do have a few concerns/questions about the photo and the reporting. The Hill reported that, “..The improvements include a new cooling water pump house, multiple new buildings, completed construction on a cooling water reservoir and an apparently active radiochemical laboratory.” Well, when was the “before” photograph used to do the comparison taken? Was the work done prior to the Singapore meeting? A picture is worth a thousand words but when the words come from someone who may have an agenda, I suggest we trust but verify; both Kim and The Hill.

  • Tom: I hope you realize that raising questions and keeping an eye on the situation is not the same as being a “Trump hater.” Trump, like all politicians, bears close watching and a healthy dose of skepticism. He isn’t my hero, he is a man who has been given a great deal of power. If we don’t watch him that power could corrupt him.

    So far, I am more satisfied then unsatisfied with what Trump has done. I have been especially impressed with his effort to keep the promises he made on the campaign trail. At the same time, my skepticism will never go away. And I apply that to all politicians, of both parties.

  • commodude

    The war games can be replaced by TEWTS, tactical exercises without troops, and SIMEXes, which are much cheaper but allow the chains of command to practice in an integrated manner. The exercises are part of the posturing dance. Rest assured, if they need to be, they can be recreated in short order.

  • BSJ

    I agree Obama did absolutely nothing worthy of a Nobel prize.

    I was refuting woden’s false statement.

    Trump, and many of his supporters, have a habit of spiking the ball at the 50 yard line. He has backtracked slightly on Korea. And the fact that he hasn’t twittered some inane insult about Un is somewhat surprising.

    By the way, I guess I don’t understand why so many people can’t judge Trump solely on being Trump. Bringing up Obama or Clinton every time anyone says anything remotely negative, smacks of the constant refrain from the left of “George Bush, George Bush” throughout his presidency. It was as tiresome then as it is now.

    Comodude. Fake exercises are useless. In one of our Division level fake exercises, I (an 81Q) was ordered by a Major in the G2, to “change the terrain to match the plan”! This was after the Gulf War, but well before our reinvasion of Iraq. I’d f’n been there! I knew you couldn’t move tanks through that area. But none-the-less…

  • commodude

    BSJ, that’s not the point of TEWTS, it’s to practice staff integration and interoperations. Both the ROK and the US Army know our soldiers know their TTPs, individual drills, crew drills, and METL tasks. What doesn’t happen often enough to ensure smooth joint ops is staffs working together.

    Yes, reality gets bent, ACEs move at spec speed across broken terrain, ad nauseum, but the staffs practice joint operations and logistics planning, which is where staff and other failures happen in real joint ops.

    One could make the exact same point about LTXs, as leaves don’t block real bullets, but they certainly block MILES beams. There is no training reality which can ever come close to combat operations.

  • Phil Berardelli

    I’ll be the contrarian here and say I think this is already a done deal, that the North Koreans are actively dismantling their nuclear and WMD programs, that Kim has renounced all aggression toward the United States, South Korea and the region, that Trump has liberated North Korea from under the thumb of China, and that soon we will learn 1) the Korean War is over, 2) the process of reunification has begun, and 3) the United States and North Korea will become allies.

    Go ahead, call me naive or crazy. I’ve written it here. We’ll see how things work out.

  • Cotour

    Oh, that is very optimistic.

    I think that the fact remains that KJU made a very specific trip to China, North Korea’s patron, just before the meeting might put some cold water on your full blown optimism.

    There will be something other than what was but I am not entirely sure about what that might in the long term be.

    I think that Trump at some point must be able to reinforce sanctions and force in a friendly way compliance at the level that is desired. Without the proper incentives why other than attempting to set a new line in the sand would N. Korea really denucleraize ?

  • Cotour

    Q: In unification, what form of governance prevails?

    How do you put together a much less than modern and developed society and outright God like oppressive dictatorship and brutal regime and a fully modern Democrat and capitalist society? I do not know how you do that without one destroying and overtaking the other. Which will dominate? Who will fold? Who will be absorbed?

    There is only one true way that that happens and that involves warfare and conquest. If it does not happen in a true fashion, then what do you rally have? The Gaza strip, Korean style? With nukes. I think long term you only have an ongoing eternal struggle that leads to that eventual conquest of one over the other.

    The two sides may be able to learn to civilly deal and trade with each other but full unification?

  • wayne

    Jesus Jones
    “Right Here, Right Now”
    November 9, 1989
    https://youtu.be/GYPBt4fZOUI
    3:17

  • wodun

    BSJ
    June 27, 2018 at 7:41 pm
    I agree Obama did absolutely nothing worthy of a Nobel prize.

    I was refuting woden’s false statement.

    Actually looked like you backed up my statement, thanks :)

    One thing I will add is that Trump has been saying, “Kim agreed to…” Then lists off a bunch of stuff. He is putting out what the agreement will accomplish in very plain words. If/When Kim pulls away the football, this allows Trump to frame it as NK betrayal.

  • pzatchok

    As for what society will overtake and dominate the other if they unify.

    Think of human greed and self preservation first as the driving force common among all peoples.
    South Korea will not unify if the north uses its military in any way.
    The North Korean people will see the wealth of the south and want the same thing. And they will gain it by working just like their brother to the south did.
    The south will invest in new business in the north and thus speed their climb up the economic ladder.

    None of this will happen with Kim in power. The only reason the HK people do not do any of this now is that they just do not know. They think America is starving like they are and those lights across the boarder are tricks by the Americans.

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