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.

Protests continue at Mauna Kea

Even as the number of protesters dropped (due to the demand that alcohol-drinking and pot-smoking cease), the protests against construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) continue, aided by emotional support given by Hawaii’s lieutenant governor during a visit to the protest site.

Last week, law enforcement officials saw some protesters — who call themselves “protectors” — drinking beer and they could also smell marijuana, Dennison said. Other protesters said they would patrol the area and ask the beer drinkers and marijuana smokers to leave, Dennison said.

Law enforcement officers no longer report beer drinking or the odor of marijuana, he said.

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green visited Mauna Kea this morning to offer his ear, advice and services as a doctor to people on the mountain blocking construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Green, who is from Hawaii island, also said Gov. David Ige should meet with the kupuna, or Hawaiian elders, serving as decision-makers in the group, and he apologized for some of the things said earlier that have offended demonstrators. “I am here to listen,” he told a group kupuna under a canopy during a misty morning. “And I want to say I’m sorry for some of the things that have been said in the past days and weeks.” [emphasis mine]

I have been saying for two years that Governor David Ige and his Democratic Party government in Hawaii will do nothing to stop the protests. They want to play it both ways. They mouth support for the telescope in an effort to satisfy the majority of the population (which wants it built), while doing everything they can to make sure the protests succeed in stopping construction.

This is exactly what is happening now. As long as the Democratic Party controls the government in Hawaii, TMT will never be built there.

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

I cannot thank 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!

Though the find-raising campaign is officially over, and I am no longer plastering the main page with requests for help, if you like what you have read you can still contribute, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


  • brightdark

    Not only will TMT not be built but I bet there will be an effort to remove the current telescopes or make them pay huge protection fees.

  • wayne

    If I recall correctly, one or more current telescopes are already slated for shuddering.

    pivoting to an appropriate clip—

    Star Trek Original
    We Ain’t Playin’ For Peanuts

  • commodude

    Reminds me of the opposition to the Cape Winds project, which eventually died under the constant protests. Different project, same opposition.

  • Col Beausabre

    1) Aren’t these the same people who say conservatives are ignorant of and opposed to science?

    2) The real opposition to Cape Winds came from the rich, liberal, self-proclaimed “elite” whose pristine views of the ocean were going to be ruined. They latched on to “religion” as an excuse to oppose it. Wind farms are fine for the common head, but the oh so refined upper crust must be treated differently. They want “clean” energy to power their grotesquely energy devouring mansions, but let it ruin someone else’s neighborhood.

    “Year round and summer residents expressed concerns over the location of the project: some claim that the project will ruin scenic views from people’s private property as well as views from public property such as beaches, as the turbines will be only 4.8 miles from the shore[56] and therefore decrease property values, ruining popular areas for yachting, and cause other environmental problems. The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has argued that Nantucket Sound is known worldwide for its wildlife and natural beauty.[57]

    Phillip Scudder, owner of the Hy-Line ferry service on Cape Cod, originally opposed the project because he wondered how to navigate around the turbines when going to Martha’s Vineyard, but changed its opposition to support due to the economic opportunity to provide “eco-tours.”[58]

    Walter Cronkite drew attention when he came out against the wind farm; he later changed his opinion.[59] Other opponents have included the late Senator Ted Kennedy,[60] former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Gov. Mitt Romney, and businessman Bill Koch,[61] who has donated $1.5 million to the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.

    Proponents suggest that some of this opposition is motivated in part by ownership of real-estate on Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard or the mainland and that it raises issues of environmental justice. Robert Kennedy, Jr., whose family’s Kennedy Compound is within sight of the proposed wind farm, wrote an essay for the New York Times stating his support for wind power in general, but opposing this project.[62] This doesn’t represent the view of most Massachusetts citizens: in a 2005 survey, 81% of adults supported the project, 61% of Cape Cod residents supported it, and only 14% of adults oppose it.[63]

    A 2007 book by Robert Whitcomb, Vice President and Editorial Page Editor of the Providence Journal, and Wendy Williams argues that the fight over Cape Wind involves a powerful, privileged minority imposing their will on the majority.[66] “

  • commodude

    COL, when asked about the religious objection to Cape Winds, one of the local stations interviewed one of the tribal chiefs. He was asked what exactly the sacred ground was, and the chief waved towards the ocean, said “out there”, and then said it was against their religion to show the white man where the sacred ground was exactly.

    You can’t fight what you can’t define. The religious argument was stoked by the money fed to it by the moneyed elite who were running out of logical objections to the project.

    It makes me wonder who stands to benefit from rejecting the development on Mauna Kea.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *