Conscious Choice cover

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.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and 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.

Some speculations from scientists about Pluto data

Using the images and data so far received from New Horizons, planetary scientists outline some of their tentative conclusions as well as speculate about what it means.

[Alan Stern, New Horizons’ principal investigator] says Pluto’s surface appears to be much less heavily cratered than its large moon, Charon—which implies that the surface has been paved over in some way. That smoothing process could come from internal heat that keeps rock and ice soft, or by the frosts that snow down and blanket the surface in fresh ice. “Either [Pluto’s] internal engine continues to run, and there are active processes that are taking place,” Stern says, “or those atmospheric processes are themselves covering up the geology, and covering up the craters.”

Jonathan Lunine, a planetary scientist at Cornell University, not on the New Horizons team, favors the latter explanation. His initial impression is that Pluto is far more cratered than Triton, the moon of Neptune that is about the same size as Pluto and is thought to be a captured Kuiper belt object. Triton has a famous “cantaloupe” terrain, thought to have formed as heat, driven by Saturn’s tidal pull, allowed molten blobs of ice to rise and overturn. Parts of Pluto’s rugged surface seem to be far more carved and cratered, Lunine says. “It’s telling me that [Pluto’s] crust was not heated and modified to the extent that it was on Triton.”

Above all, however, I like Lunine’s comment at the end of the article:

Lunine says the emerging diversity on Pluto—of both active atmospheric and geological processes—makes him disagree with the decision of International Astronomical Union to call Pluto a dwarf. “This really is a planet,” he says. He notes that electrons have a double definition as a particle and a wave. “Why can’t we call Pluto a planet and a Kuiper belt object?” he asks. “I think we have to think of it as both.”


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

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.

Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


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


If Patreon or Paypal don'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

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • “Triton has a famous “cantaloupe” terrain, thought to have formed as heat, driven by Saturn’s tidal pull”
    I think they mean Neptune not Saturn here. We have seen this activities in the Saturn System but most what we really know about Triton comes from Voyager 2….

  • Jacob Schaaf

    Saturn’s moon is “Titan” Neptune’s moon is “Triton” the two sound similar but are different moons. I also think he means Neptune here.

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 *