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.

Scientists have finally discovered the forgotten formula for the concrete the Romans used.

Scientists have finally discovered the forgotten formula for the concrete the Romans used.

The secret to Roman concrete lies in its unique mineral formulation and production technique. As the researchers explain in a press release outlining their findings, “The Romans made concrete by mixing lime and volcanic rock. For underwater structures, lime and volcanic ash were mixed to form mortar, and this mortar and volcanic tuff were packed into wooden forms. The seawater instantly triggered a hot chemical reaction. The lime was hydrated—incorporating water molecules into its structure—and reacted with the ash to cement the whole mixture together.”

The Portland cement formula crucially lacks the lyme and volcanic ash mixture. As a result, it doesn’t bind quite as well when compared with the Roman concrete, researchers found. It is this inferior binding property that explains why structures made of Portland cement tend to weaken and crack after a few decades of use, Jackson says.

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, 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


  • jwing

    We can’t use Roman concrete…what will all those unionized road construction workers do if bridges don’t crumble and roads don’t erode.

    If Rome had unions there would be no Pantheon standing today.

  • D. K. Williams

    Good one, jwing.

  • D. K. Williams


  • jwing

    Thanks D.K.

    Yea, it speaks to the “genius” of the modern collevtivist ideology doesn’t it? NOT!

    I’m certainly not espousing that the humanitarian conditions of the Roman Empire were anything to emulate…they were hideous, but the engineering genius of Rome’s civil engineering is astounding, even by today’s technological standards.

  • Scott

    A monthly “tribute” may be required for use of this formula. I’ll have some of the boys stop by to talk it over whit-cha.

  • jwing

    Yo, Tawk about your concrete shoes.

  • Pzatchok

    Nice one guys. Your right though.

    We have been adding fly ash to concrete to make it harder and denser for many years. The only problem is that is expensive to add to the relatively cheap concrete.
    Part of that problem is that a large portion of fly ash is contaminated with heavy metals, poisons, and those need to be brought down to a safe level before its allowed into the concrete mix.
    And you can bet that the green gargoyles will classify volcanic ash as hazardous waste for the same reasons and not let it be used in construction. Unless something real expensive gets done to it to make it safe.
    Our loving environmentalists through their care for us and our environment will find a way to keep this from being used.
    Even though by adding the poisoned ash to concrete basically sequesters it away from people for about a thousand years or more.
    We only touch the surface of the concrete so we only get the toxins from the surface material. And really how much could that be in the end?

  • 2,000 years later, we begin to understand.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


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.

Leave a Reply

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