Restrain yourself!

Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space cover

After being in print for twenty years, the Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space, covering everything that was learned on every single space mission in the 20th century, has finally gone out of print.

I presently have my last four hardback copies available for sale. The book sold new for about $90. To get your own autographed copy of this now rare collector's item, please send a $120 check (which includes shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

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

"Useful to space buffs and generalists, comprehensive but readable, Bob Zimmerman's Encyclopedia belongs front and center on everyone's bookshelf." -- Mike Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut


"The Chronological Encylopedia of Discoveries in Space is no passionless compendium of information. Robert Zimmerman's fact-filled reports, which cover virtually every spacecraft or probe to have ventured into the heavens, relate the scientific and technical adventure of space exploration enthusiastically and with authority." -- American Scientist

Link here.

After the mass shooting in Las Vegas last night, it’s time to invoke the 72-hour rule for shootings and terrorist attacks. The rule is: offer immediate sympathy and aid for the victims and their families, but shut up about the political implications, and for crying out loud stop trying to score partisan points for at least 72 hours afterward.

This is partly out of consideration for the victims and their families, who deserve not to have their grief exploited. Or, if we’re being realistic, they should at least have a brief respite before their grief is exploited. But the 72-hour rule also exists to protect you, the commenter—whether amateur or professional—from saying something embarrassingly stupid. Or, if we’re being realistic, this should at least provide a brief respite before you go off and embarrass yourself later.

Right now, cable news shows and newspaper websites and social media feeds are full of wild speculations about the shooter, his motives, the weapons he used, and the political reforms that will supposedly prevent something tragic like this from ever happening again (but probably won’t). Most of it will be wrong. Even the stuff that is not just a rumor on the Internet but seems to have a legitimate source will be wrong. Even things announced by the authorities in the early hours of the attack will be wrong. People speculate. People jump to conclusions based on incomplete data. Insiders make up facts and pass along incomplete, poorly understand information because they like attention from reporters. Eyewitnesses misremember events or pass on speculations as if they were truth.

We know all of this, because it happens with every mass shooting, every terror attack, every controversial police shooting. It takes days, weeks, months to filter through all of the noise and sort fact from fiction.

The one advantage normal decent people have when others violate this 72-hour rule is it that their stupid and foolish posts, issued before they have the slightest idea what really happened, reveal for all who they really are and who they really hate. And all too often, that hate isn’t aimed at the murderous killer who gunned down dozens of innocent lives.



  • wayne

    I am on-board, with that thought.

    pivoting slightly
    some historical-perspective & contrast, on these type of situations-

    The Huntley-Brinkley Report
    KTBC UT Tower Shooting Charles Whitman

  • Commodude

    I’ve been in close physical proximity to two of these events.

    All the political posturing in the world did nothing to help the community in the aftermath, and accomplished nothing of tangible value in the long run. (The political pandering, quite the opposite, has caused considerable harm to both the freedom of individuals and the rule of law)

    Prayers for the victims and their loved ones are the best assistance anyone can offer.

  • Mitch S

    Ah but in these days of 24/7 news and talk, 72 hours is an eternity – they’ll be talking about the next story.

    I’m forgiving of those who feel compelled to talk about terrible events such as this. I think it’s part of our basic survival programming to want to know what happened when we see or hear of someone else coming to their demise.
    Of course there is a difference between having speculative conversation among people and having “journalists”, pundits and politicians blather on TV.
    But we know they’re going to do it anyway… (Has “Chuckie” Schumer been on the screen yet? – I’m not looking!)

  • Joe

    Thoughts, prayers and condolences to the people affected by this senseless act of cowardice and violence. Some people just dont learn and put anything they want on their personal social page, only to be fired! Serves them right.

  • Max

    It’s been a very troubling day, deeply disturbed and saddened by events.

    Stupid and foolish posts:
    The list of idiots are not complete without Hillary Clinton.
    “we must strike while the metal is hot”
    “never let a crisis go to waste” attitude of the “resistance”
    they see themselves as freedom fighters while they use fascist like tactics to impose their beliefs and will upon others with no regard for their constitutional or human rights.
    “laws are for those who do not share our calling to a higher purpose and destiny for all mankind”
    ” we know what is good for you, resistance is futile”.
    Their attitude towards normal people is so darn frustrating.

    Meanwhile, conspiracy theories have already begun to flow. With no political or religious convictions, people are looking for any excuse to blame his erratic behavior.
    They have found one little thing in his past. Three years for Lockheed Martin, and seven years more for a different defense contractor.
    He also bought one of fossetts planes from his widow.
    ( you can imagine how this could have turned out had he crashed A freshly fueled plane, with his ammo and explosives aboard, into the crowd?)
    He met his girlfriend at the high rollers table where she worked as a hostess, he gambled a lot and may not have been rich any longer. The casino settled in arbitration an issue we have not heard about yet.
    O.J. Simpson was released from prison a day early and talked to the media near the location of the shooting. (perhaps the media and OJ was the intended target?)
    His home is only a few miles away from where the BLM and the Bundys had their altercation.
    The list is just getting started…

  • Joe

    Max, or anyone else, do you think that if the mainstream media were a true and objective scource of uneditorialized news, that any of these conspiracy theory’s would get any traction at all, how long has the msm been trying to form our thoughts?

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