Unsafe anthrax shipments more extensive than first revealed

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.

Government marches on! The Defense Department has now admitted that the improper shipment of live anthrax samples was far more widespread than they originally told us.

“As of now, 24 laboratories in 11 states and two foreign countries are believed to have received suspect samples. We continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who is leading the ongoing investigation pursuit to its statutory authorities. The Department will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to the public,” Defense Department said in a statement.

The Defense Department had previously reported labs in nine states and Osan Air Force Base in South Korea were impacted.

Words fail me.


Every July, to celebrate the anniversary of the start of Behind the Black in 2010, I hold a month-long fund-raising campaign to make it possible for me to continue my work here for another year.

This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.

This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.

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  • PeterF

    I just wanted to point out that after listening to the breathless news readers (who carefully avoid any references to any deficiencies in the administration). that this is not on par with accidentally sending live ebola virus around the world. Its not like they shipped weaponized anthrax endospores.
    In fact, the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. is quite common. As are the saprogenic microorganisms (Clostridium perfringens or Bacillus fusiformis, for example) that are associated with certain forms of gangrene or the bacterium Clostridium tetani, that causes tetanus. All of these infectious agents are found in soil. (A cut from a rusty nail requires a tetanus shot not because it is rusty but because it was on the ground.)
    Anthrax is common enough that all veterinarians in the United States are required to have up-to-date vaccinations against it and anyone that works around grazing animals would be well advised to protect themselves.
    There is a reason why the border patrol asks if you have been to a farm or a ranch if you have been to Mexico. The highest concentration of anthrax in the world is just south of the border in Juarez.
    The most common method of transmission of anthrax is through eating the meat of an infected animal. If you travel to Mexico, its a good idea to make sure the meat in your burrito is cooked “well-done”.

  • Phill O

    True, Anthrax is prevalent around the world and shows up when there is a cool and wet summer.

    Do we know that the anthrax in question was not weaponized grade?

    Phill O.

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