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.

The TSA is going to remove all of the airport backscatter body scanners made by one company.

Is this true? According to this report, the TSA is going to remove all of the airport backscatter body scanners made by one company.

One, I wonder at the reliability of this story, having seen it no where else. Two, I wonder if this involves the removal of all of the naked scanners, or just one company’s. It appears from the report that the TSA will be replacing some of these units, but it is unclear if they will be naked scanners.

Three, if true, this is good news. I sadly remain skeptical.

Update: Confirmation from the Associated Press.

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


  • wodun

    If I understand this correctly, they are just removing the scanners that show an image of everyone’s junk for the screeners to ogle at. Which is great for privacy. But I am not sure if all of the health concerns about using these machines have been addressed.

  • Steve Stein

    I will NOT (and have not) go through one of these scanners. My issue is no one know’s the long term affects of the radiation you are exposed to. In the couple of times I have requested from TSA to not go through I have had no issues what-so-ever. I simply stated to an officer before reaching the scanner that I prefered not to do so. They took me to the side, wanded me, patted me down, re-checked my carry-on. It took me longer to get through security. They were very professional. I had no problems and will do this for the forseeable future. Granted I don’t fly regularly and always arrive early (I like watching the planes!). I will continue to do not go through the damn thing.

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 *