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.

Spanish judge invalids agreement to build TMT in Canary Islands

The consortium attempting to build the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), blocked by protesters in Hawaii, has now had its back-up location in the Canary Islands blocked by a Spanish judge, who last month invalidated the agreement between the consortium and local authorities.

[A]n administrative court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the Spanish archipelago, ruled last month that the 2017 concession by local authorities of public land for the tentative project was invalid. The ruling was dated on July 29, but only became public this week after local media reported about the decision.

In the ruling obtained by The Associated Press, Judge Roi López Encinas wrote that the telescope land allocation was subject to an agreement between the Canary Astrophysics Institute, or IAC, and the telescope’s promoter, the TMT International Observatory (TIO) consortium. But the judge ruled that the agreement was not valid because TIO had not expressed an intention to build on the La Palma site instead of at the Hawaii site.

In other words, it appears the agreement was ruled invalid because the TMT builders had not made a firm commitment about building at the Canary Islands.

At this moment it truly looks like TMT is dead. It has no alternative site, and its political support in Hawaii is nil. While the Democratic Party politicians that rule that state have mouthed support for it, almost all their actions since the protests began has been to help the protesters and stymie construction.

What I think will soon begin happening is that the partners in TMT will begin to back out, switching their support to the other large ground-based telescopes being planned, the Giant Magellan Telescope and the European-Extremely Large Telescope. Since these are both being built in Chile, the loss of TMT means that there will be no large ground-based telescope coverage of the northern sky.

The real solution? Stop building ground-based telescopes. Put them in space, where such political issues won’t exist, and the view will be unimpeded by either the atmosphere or the tens of thousands of new satellites expected to launch in the coming years.


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.

Your support is even more essential to me because I keep this site free from advertisements and do not participate in corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. 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


  • Jay

    With all the legal fees and delays at both sites, they probably could have built and launched an orbiting telescope.

    Somewhat on topic:
    So I did not know this about the TMT deal at Mauna Kea, but three of the thirteen observatories must be removed before TMT is operational, by order of the governor according to an article in Nature.
    Also the University of Hawaii’s lease to that land will run out in 2033.

  • Jay: The removal of the three telescopes on Mauna Kea was well covered here on BtB, but I think that was before you became a regular.

    This fact emphasizes once again how useful a resource this website can be. You want to know everything about a certain space-related subject, do a search here first. You will get a very focused and thorough overview.

    I do it all the time, since I certainly cannot remember everything I post.

  • Andi

    Small edit in title and first paragraph: “invalidated”

  • Andi: Thank you as always. If I made it a competition to see who could note my typo errors first, I think you’d win every time.

  • Jay

    I shall search BtB before I post. Probably make that the second commandment of the commenter rules.

  • Andi

    I used to be an editor/proofreader in a previous life, so I guess these things jump out at me. Hope you don’t find them too annoying – at least it means I’m reading your articles! :)

  • David Telford

    What is so magical about the TMT that it draws such official or organized hostility? Someone on the board that is, well, should be canceled? Someone didn’t genuflect to the right people at some critical gathering? The wrong someone stands to make a good living as a manufacturing contributor should this go forward? I mean, who’s pulling these strings. How else to explain it?

  • David Eastman

    David Telford: there’s nothing about this project in particular. A trivial search of headlines will show project after project, whether it’s a pipeline, power plant, telescope, factory, arena, etc, running into the blender of “sacred ground” or “wetlands” or “migratory birds” or “disparate impact on ethnicity A, B, or C”. There is ALWAYS someone willing to complain that something shouldn’t be built in that spot for some reason, and there is an ever growing backlog of precedent for any regulator or judge to fall back on to give in to the protestors. Unless the project backers are proactive enough to identify some major grievance group ahead of time and appropriately pay them off so that they will run point, a project is likely to fail. Here in Portland, there is a highway expansion that has stalled time after time, but this time they’ve attached the AA community with a bit of “we’ll rebuild the AA community that was displaced decades ago when I-5 first came through here.” And now the usual suspects don’t want to step into the fray and be accused of racism. Odds that the replacement community is anything other than overpriced apartments…

  • Robert Pratt

    Eastman, you have well summed it up.

  • James Street

    From the linked article:
    “Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, or TMT, on Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea, has been stalled by opponents who say the project will desecrate land held sacred to some Native Hawaiians.”

    I belonged to a church once that a cell phone company set up their cell tower on the church roof. Didn’t desecrate the place. Plus it brought in a thousand bucks a month rent from the cell phone company to the church.

    Again from the linked article:
    “The island’s local elected government chief, Mariano Zapata, said it was ‘sad’ that advocacy groups ‘are so occupied by administrative matters instead of environmental issues.’
    ‘I wish we were all in the same boat with the intent of creating jobs in the La Palma island so it can keep being an international reference on scientific research,’ Zapata said. His government estimated last year that the telescope would generate 500 permanent jobs and at least 400 million euros ($470 million) in investment.”

    Nailed it, Chief Zapata! It’s not about the environment or what the people want. It’s about implementing the Democrats godless commie plans. Protesting is a full time job for leftist groups like environmentalists, social justice, racial equality and the rest of them. Our tax dollars trickle down and fund them to work against us.

  • Edward

    David Eastman wrote: “Unless the project backers are proactive enough to identify some major grievance group ahead of time and appropriately pay them off so that they will run point, a project is likely to fail.

    This is what corruption looks like. Payoffs to people in order to make progress. Since it is a good idea, the corruptocrats expect to make good. This is how Obama became so rich, too. And the Clintons. And many, many more. Under their rule, America has become very corrupt, and Biden is no different.

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 *