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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
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On the Space Show tonight

Just thought I’d post a heads up to my readers that I am appearing tonight on The Space Show with David Livingston, beginning at 7 pm (Pacific). Should be a lot of fun, talking about Boeing and Starliner. Please consider calling in with your own thoughts and questions.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


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.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Don Nester

    Bob I hear you on Pratt from time to time and you are absolutely fascinating! I hope to buy some of your merchandise soon!
    Don Nester

  • Don Nester: Thank you for the kind words. Tonight on The Space Show should be equally fascinating, I think.

  • Lee S

    I’m sorry I missed you yet again Bob… You really need to move to a more convenient time zone! I just can’t do 4am Swedish time…. Especially as Swedes celebrate Christmas on the 23rd of December… I have no idea why, but at least it gives me a break to prepare the English Christmas dinner the kids and myself will be eating tomorrow!
    I will be chucking a few dollars into the tip jar… I appreciate the hard work you do here… And as a secular atheist to a secular Jew, I wish you (and the rest of the regular suspects!) a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous new year!
    ( Now I’m going to put some Christmas music on, and return to peeling potatoes… Even pinko commie Englishmen enjoy the festive season!) Much love to you all!

  • Questioner


    Why does an atheist like you celebrate Christmas at all? Did you forget what it is about? It should be completely meaningless for you as an atheist! Or are you something of a secular Christian who simulates Christian tradition and behavior? But for what purpose?

  • Lee S

    Questioner…. Another perfect example of getting jumped on whenever I open my mouth…
    I enjoy Christmas because I have 2 kids and they love it (even if mainly for the presents ) , I like and respect tradition ( over religion), I also like the songs, and like an excuse to go over the top with food on Christmas day.
    It’s worth remembering that Christmas was a Pagen ritual way before Christianity.. linked to the winter solstice, ( 2 days ago… Thank goodness… The light starts returning. )
    So Questioner, I think I have several good reasons for celebrating Yule… It’s also nice to have a time of year where at least for a short while we can turn our back on our differences, and just chill and relax.
    I wish you a very merry Christmas also.

  • wayne

    Dr. Space should have the show archived for download relatively soon, given the Holiday and all.

    I’m fairly secular myself, but I think you might enjoy this—

    Dr. Jordan Peterson / Akira the Don
    “I Act as if God Exists”
    Meaningwave August 2019


  • Lee s

    Thank you Wayne…. I enjoyed the tune, and very much the message…. What we write here, elsewhere on the internet’s, on paper, and in people’s memories are our legacy.
    ( It reminds me very much of of some tunes with Carl Sagan’s words being set to music.)
    Secular, religious or elsewhere… It’s not hard to be a moral and decent human being… And as I’ve said above…. Especially this time of year… And hopefully for the rest of it… It’s nice to treat our fellow men and women with the kindness we would like ourselves..
    Have a great Yuletide ..( I would say have a great Christmas… But I don’t want to be accused of double values ;-) )

  • wayne

    We say “Merry Christmas” here on the south-west Michigan shoreline. (incidentally– with a large population of people whose descendants came from the Netherlands, but we don’t really talk about Black Pete [Zwarte Piet] and Sinterklaas a whole lot anymore.)
    –I spent a career in mental health, and although I know what you mean about “It’s not hard to be a moral and decent human being,” I would quibble and say, yeah, it is hard to be a moral and decent human being,” for a whole lot of people. There in lies the problem, there’s always some expletive-deleted in the bunch who just has to make it worse for the rest of us. (partially why we sometimes can’t have nice things.)

    Akira the Don has a large catalog but not sure if he has any Carl Sagan.

    “Stand Up Straight, With Your Shoulders Back”
    Rule # 1 from ’12 Rules for Life’
    Jordan Peterson / Akira the Don

  • Jay

    Good show last night. That was a good discussion about the Starliner. That was an interesting rumor about the TDRSS satellites that Dr. Livingston brought up. I thought there were ten TDRSS satellites and NASA uses three of them? A rumor is still a rumor.

    I wanted to chime in on Boeing leaving Washington State, but that one gentleman who worked there covered much of it. I live here in the east side (dry side) of the state and remember all the political fighting between Boeing and past Governors Locke and Gregoire over the move in 2001. I also remember the state was going to give a special tax deal to Boeing if they built the 787 in Washington, but a lot of it was made in South Carolina.

    A side note- I remember Boeing having a website to see the test flights of the 787 over Eastern Washington. You could look up and watch the contrails when they were making their circles.

  • Lee s

    I discovered the guy I was looking for…. If you YouTube “symphony of science” you will find a lot of good music in a similar vein… My favourite is
    It doesn’t matter which segment of humanity you want to take a snapshot of, there will always be (to quote my late grandfather) a few “wrong uns”
    I worked in, and ran bars for almost 20 years, and it taught me that whatever the color, creed, religion or hair length, there are good and bad amongst every group you care to classify as a group.. ( I can guess that being a bar-keep is not a million miles away from working in the mental health service )
    Regardless, I have faith in the humanity of the vast majority of humans…. Most of us are born and raised to be kind, understanding and helpful towards our fellow man or woman… There will always be idiots and outliers, but on the whole, I think we do ok as a species.
    Here in Sweden we don’t have black Peter… But there are many traditions pre-dating the regular religious traditions.. the Jule goat, and Jule elves being just a couple, and it is much more normal to say “good Yule” than anything to do with Christmas

  • Lee S

    As an aside… Even tho it’s improved dramatically, you need to get Dr. Livingston to make his website more mobile friendly… It breaks when viewed in in regular (small side up ) mode in mobile view…
    BHTB works pretty well, not so much “”…. I know he’s a dinosaur when it comes to tech… Which is in itself kinda ironic and amusing… But there must be someone out there that would help him tweak his entertaining, and acctually very important website to be more mobile friendly.. ( and just started listening to last night’s broadcast..)

  • wayne

    Last nights show is now up for streaming or download–

    ah, bartender!
    Make no mistake my friend, people are animals at heart. We’re primates with self-awareness. (On the upside, we’re social animals, not loners like Tigers or Sharks) There’s a fine line between civilization and the state of nature.

    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    “The Siege of AR-558”

  • Lee S

    A related aside…. I have a friend who’s 13 year old son went diving today ( they have gone to warmer climates for Christmas. And who could blame them!)
    Her son was diving when a pod of dolphins came to say hello .. I asked her if it was dangerous to be around a load of animals bigger than her son…. Apparently not! ( I’m expecting a load of incoming information she is wrong…), But they had a wonderful time, playing and interacting with these beautiful animals, looking into their eyes and seeing the intelligence…. I’m just deeply jealous…
    Is it better or worse to be primates? We are the only species to be a threat to dolphins… How much better would their lives be if humans had never come down from the trees?
    But life is what it is… And even if you disagree with the climate consensus, we still have a duty of care to the planet…. use less plastic, try and live a less wasteful life, encourage sustainable energy sources, and look after the fresh water… That’s my new years resolutions… ( Along with stopping smoking! … Lol )

  • Lee S

    I’m still waiting for an answer from questioner if it’s ok with him if I celebrate Christmas… I think I answered his questions honestly and openly… And he has not even the decency for a response…
    ( I understand I’m a kinda prickly guy… Hanging around here gives one an autimatic defensive position, when one is left leaning..)
    Apparently he doesn’t wish me a merry Christmas, but that’s fine, because he will never get to eat my atheist turkey cooked with bacon and garlic…. And I still wish him a merry Christmas, as I do the rest of you ?

  • Lee S

    I’m sure I’ve posted this somewhere here before…. But it’s a song I love… Way too atheist to be an evening pause. But it brings me to tears every time I hear it…. Godless barstool that I am… I miss my parents.. they seem very far away right now… I would so like to be drinking white wine in the sun with them…. To all of you who have your loved ones near .. tell them you love them one extra time this Yule… Just in case …

  • wayne

    -I thought whales & sea lions ate dolphins. (?)
    -the artist in that video, reminds me of Michael J. Pollard. [May 30, 1939 – Nov 20, 2019]

    Here you go….
    “These hierarchies that I have been talking about, those things are older than trees”
    Dr. Jordan Peterson
    2017 Biblical Series III clip

  • wayne

    Just for fun….

    Jordan B Peterson/ Theo Von / Akira
    “Drinking Song” ? (so to speak)
    August 2018

  • Lee S

    @wayne…. That last clip made me laugh… Especially after consuming my own body weight in port wine and beer in the last 48 hours!!!
    Alcohol… It’s a hell ova drug!!! And along with nicotine, the most addictive… I’ve had no experience with the opioids you guys over there are having a huge problem with right now…. But I’ve smoked a huge amount of weed in my youth, and taken most of the party drugs, I had fun, then put them to bed when I had kids. I still drink and smoke cigarettes tho….
    Regarding dolphins, I believe they can be attacked by sharks…. But they can also be found hanging out with them peacefully… Kind of a mirror on people… And I could find no references to any aggressive whale/dolphin interaction.
    I hope everyone has had a great Christmas… I’m not sure how it works over in the US…but I gotta work tomorrow, then it’s preparing for the new year…. I got my kids and the lads girlfriend, so a whole new round of cooking, cleaning and fireworks… And wouldn’t have it any other way!!
    I’ve said it before, and I will say it again…. Happy festive season folks… Enjoy and be happy and safe!

  • wayne

    last one….

    Jordan B. Peterson

    “The archetypal symbology behind the restaurant Burger King”
    {…a King that provides burger’s…}
    [Parody Alert]

  • Jojohn pazminohn Pazmino

  • In your part in the John Bachelor Show earlier this week you mentioned a new launching company. It, name forgotten, plans to orbit payloads with a super-speed centrifuge. This idea at first sounded innovative, breaking from the normal use of rockets. The idea actually was proposd in the late 19th century, there no feasinlerockets so large for orbiting satellites. It is the method described in the American sci-fi story ‘Brick Moon’. Briefly the plan ead a giant flywheel sriven by flowing qater from (IIRR) the Penobscot River in Maine. The story includes shots to orbit of provisionsto the initial space base — made of furnace-grade bricks to withstand air friction on the way to orbit. Comms was by following the space bae with powrful telescopes and the crew onboard used hand signals. This story was overshadowed by Jules Verne of the same era and is almost unknoen by current space fans.. In my org’s website, under jumpword ‘Adudio-video files’ are downloadable sessons of our NYSkies Astronomy Seminar. While none relate to space trabel, they cover many fields of home astronomy.

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