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.


The International Astronomical Union has issued a press release condemning the commercial efforts of private companies to issue names for exoplanets.

Turf war! The International Astronomical Union has issued a press release condemning the commercial efforts of private companies to issue names for exoplanets.

Recently, an organisation has invited the public to purchase both nomination proposals for exoplanets, and rights to vote for the suggested names. In return, the purchaser receives a certificate commemorating the validity and credibility of the nomination. Such certificates are misleading, as these campaigns have no bearing on the official naming process — they will not lead to an officially-recognised exoplanet name, despite the price paid or the number of votes accrued.
… [snip]
To make this possible, the IAU acts as a single arbiter of the naming process, and is advised and supported by astronomers within different fields. As an international scientific organisation, it dissociates itself entirely from the commercial practice of selling names of planets, stars or or even “real estate” on other planets or moons. These practices will not be recognised by the IAU and their alternative naming schemes cannot be adopted.

Well la-dee-da, how dare anyone else name anything ever in space!

The truth is, the IAU was originally given this function by astronomers to coordinate the naming of obscure astronomical objects, not to provide the official names for every object and feature that will ever be discovered in space. And though the IAU does tend to favor the choices of discoverers, it has in the past also ignored their wishes. (See for example my book Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, where the IAU rejected the names chosen by the Apollo 8 astronauts, even though those astronauts were the first to actually go and see these features.)

In the end, the names of important features in space will be chosen by those who live there.

Readers!
 

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One comment

  • I can see a situation similar to the life sciences, where professionals identify life forms by their binomial names, but most everyone else calls them by their common names. And, like the life sciences, the discoverer should get naming rights. The IAU is setting itself up for irrelevancy.

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