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.

SpaceX now valued at $100 billion, the world’s 2nd most valuable private company

Capitalism in space: Because of the high price that some of its investors were able to get selling their private shares of SpaceX, the company’s valuation was reassessed upward from $74 to $100 billion and making it the second most valuable private company in the world.

The stock sale did not raise money for SpaceX as it was a secondary sale by these investors to get a profitable return on their initial investment. Regardless, the stock price they were able to get increased the company’s value.

The high price also illustrates objectively what investors think of SpaceX’s value. No matter what the critics may say, when the time comes to lay the money on the table, those willing to do it are convinced SpaceX is going to be successful in cashing in on its various space projects.


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  • mpthompson

    …making it the second most valuable private company in the world.

    That’s quite an achievement for SpaceX. Congratulations. I expect the number one slot to be taken once StarLink kicks into gear.

  • Ray Van Dune

    As space becomes established as a business platform for the world’s wealthiest companies, a solution to the problem of orbital debris must be found. Operators (and potential operators) of immense constellations of satellites seem to thinking in denial: “Once all of my sats are in orbit, we’re really going to have to solve this, starting by restricting any new constellations!” How convenient, and foolish.

    I think it’s possible that a sufficiently large event could release enough debris to cause an orbital debris’s catastrophe already, and such an event could be within the capacity of most nations with access to orbital-class rockets. Once such a debris cascade had occurred, it could take many years and tillions of dollars to allow space travel and commerce to resume, and cause enormous damage to the commercial and social health of our civilization.

  • I’m cautious about market valuations as determinative of actual worth of an enterprise – as a survivor of the tech-bubble burst at the turn of the century. Investors can be manic, then fickle, and turn on a dime.

    That being said, SpaceX has a much, much better business model than the hype-driven variations on the Underpants Gnome Model that were implemented by companies who rose, then quickly fell, in the tech bubble.

    SpaceX is all but guaranteed to succeed because they have realistic (and bold) expectations, leading to providing real hardware/services that can deliver real value to their customers … especially as government space moves from the developer to the customer role.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Dammit, no edit capability… sort of like after a debris cascade!

  • Tom Billings

    “Dammit, no edit capability… sort of like after a debris cascade!”

    Actually, worse. There are several systems being put under test in the next 2 years for getting a debris generator out of orbit.

    There is little to allow editing without some substantial risk of spam being inserted into the system. SpaceNews, which has some interesting articles about systems to prevent Kessler Syndrome Cascades over the last several months, and lots of good editable comments, has almost no resistance against spam being inserted into their comment sections. Sigh.

  • Trent Castanaveras

    SpaceX’s Starlink uses many strategies to combat the debris problem.

    There are many more, from design to orbital deployment altitudes. No need to declare “the sky is falling!” just yet. :)

  • mpthompson

    The best time to get rid of space debris is while the satellite is still intact. It’s probably best to put international agreements in place that satellites must have a mechanism by which they can be reliably de-orbited after their service life is over. As far as I know, such agreements are not yet in place. Also, a fund should be set up to fund removing satellites that are now defunct — probably funded by the countries that have launched such satellites so far. I realize international agreements are a panacea, but it really is something that would be for the good of everyone.

  • Ray Van Dune

    I did not intend to imply that SpaceX is a bad actor… it’s the guys trying to catch up that worry me more, since they have a motivation to cut corners. And people like the NorKs. So no, the sky isn’t falling, but nobody thought the World Trade Center would fall either.

    We have a huge system containing a titanic amount of stored kinetic and potential energy, and I believe it is not being well-managed today, given the accidental and malicious threats that already exist.

  • Max

    The actual risk of colliding satellites is extremely low, like the risk of an airplane running into a boat or a submarine. (these are large craft, as compared to satellites or cube sats on a much larger sphere of dimension)
    Low earth orbit decays soon enough, about the time the satellites become obsolete.
    The bigger threat is a “large astroid” of loose material colliding with another… Causing the earth to be hit like a shotgun blast. We did not know how much trouble we “could be” in until the recent sample return mission made it clear without any reservations.

  • MDN

    The SpaceX valuation is fully justified imho as they have already achieved a near monopoly stranglehold on the commercial launch market with Falcon 9, and are demonstrably far ahead of everyone else with Raptor / Super Heavy / Starship well into development. So everyone else is chasing a train that is already well out of the station and still accelerating.

    And don’t forget about those Trillion Dollar asteroids in the news just a few weeks back. Yeah, Musk has vocally prioritized Mars, but he is first and foremost a businessman and fully recognizes that he will need a substantial cash flow to realize his grand colonization vision. So if you’re taking bets on who will come up with a rational and realistic business plan to exploit these asteroid resources sooner rather than later, my money is on Elon.

  • Jeff Wright

    Ray, that “large event” you were looking at might be a Starship refueling disaster.

    I like SLS because I don’t trust depots. To me, we should have fewer large sats…and any depots hypergolic…no boil-off.

  • john hare

    “””Jeff Wright
    October 10, 2021 at 3:48 pm
    Ray, that “large event” you were looking at might be a Starship refueling disaster.

    I like SLS because I don’t trust depots. To me, we should have fewer large sats…and any depots hypergolic…no boil-off.””””

    And cars should be huge so they can take everybody to work at once. Also they should be fueled up at the factory before the tank is welded shut because the depots/gas stations can’t be trusted.

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