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. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Virginia now double-counting Wuhan flu cases

Sure, let’s believe those stats! The Virginia state government this week announced that will count as a new case of the Wuhan flu for every positive test done on a patient, even if that patient had been counted previously from an earlier test.

They claim the goal is merely to get a better count of the number of tests they’ve done, but what this new policy will do is significantly increase, falsely, the total number of coronavirus cases in Virginia, which in turn will serve the corrupt and fascist goals of the governor.

That policy may serve to sharply drive up case numbers, which may in turn significantly delay the re-opening of the state. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has stated that the state will begin its first phase of re-opening only when state officials have logged 14 straight days of declining case numbers and hospitalizations.

The governor last week did allow elective surgeries in the state to resume, though the state’s stay-at-home order, which is set to last until June 10, is still in place.

Virginia has been hit relatively lightly by the coronavirus pandemic compared to many other states. According to Worldometers, it ranks 21st in the country for deaths per one million residents, and 20th for cases. [emphasis mine]

Northam needs some justification for extending his power-grab for as long as possible. Fudging the numbers is certainly one way to get him that justification, even if there really is no justification for the power-grab, under almost any circumstances.


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

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 not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. 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

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • Max

    PA removes more than 200 deaths from official coronavirus count as questions mount about reporting process, data accuracy.

    I have cherry picked some quotes for you.

    “Some have said the department’s numbers did not match what coroners were seeing.”
    ““There’s a discrepancy in the numbers,” and “I’m not saying there’s something going on…. I’m not a conspiracy theory guy. But accuracy is important. It’s a matter of public safety, Kiessling said.”
    “We will now be reporting probable deaths related to COVID-19 in addition to confirmed deaths,” she said.”

    (Note; there is known deaths and unknown. “probable death” has just been added to the system allowing hospitals to bypass the coroner to verify cause of death)

    “Despite coroners’ claims that they are well equipped to manage probable cases and legally obligated to be notified of suspected COVID-19 deaths, the Health Department hasn’t budged, insisting the majority of deaths caused by the virus do not need to be reported to a coroner.” “This is why I’m so upset,” Kiessling said. “Our job is to investigate.… We do this every day.”

    Meanwhile, the evidence is mounting that the ventilators are doing more harm than good.
    The truth is out, Medicare will pay three times as much money for a ventilator being used then for a normal death. It is the difference between 13,000 and nearly $40,000 for the hospital. The doctors say the “accountants” are running the show.

  • Tom Biggar

    The VA state Dept of Health site changed a few days ago and now lists both total # tested and number of ‘Unique People Tested’.

    I have been tracking the numbers in a spreadsheet for a few weeks. When the change happened I had to use the Total number to stay consistent with past entries. (IE, on the day of the change, the number of unique tests was lower than the number of tests reported the day before, when only one number was shown.) The change appears to be that they are now reporting the lower number (unique individuals) in addition to the gross total of tests.

    The VA Hospital and Health Care Assn. site [ ] has useful info on beds in use and ventilators. As of 5/4/2020:
    Number in hospital confirmed (985) or pending (478) results – 1463
    Number confirmed released from hospital – 2547
    Ventilators available 2938
    Ventilators in use – 593
    Ventilators in use covid19 patients – 192
    % ventilators in use – 20
    beds available – 5017

  • Rose

    The Virginia state government this week announced that will count as a new case of the Wuhan flu for every positive test done on a patient, even if that patient had been counted previously from an earlier test.

    No, that is not what they announced.
    They announced a change to their people-tested metric — a desirable change which will better document the testing they are doing, and quite possibly support earlier reopening, since sufficient testing is part of the White House proposed gating criteria.

    Until recently, the VDH covid-19 dashboard reported “Number of People Tested”, defined as the number of unique individuals tested. So a health care worker who was regularly tested — perhaps tested daily due to their interactions with the most vulnerable patients — would get counted only once. They have kept that figure, now reported as “Unique People Tested”.

    They now also report “Total People Tested”, which is defined as counting each person tested for as many different days they have received a test. (They still exclude subsequent tests given to someone on the same day.) This gives the public a better indication of the state’s testing effort, helping build support for an earlier reopening.

    The announcement makes no mention of how this affects “Total Cases”, currently defined as “Includes both people with a positive test (Confirmed), and symptomatic with a known exposure to COVID-19 (Probable).” Confirmed and Probable number are also reported separately on that same dashboard.

    When a spokesman was asked by email about repeated positive tests, he is reported to have replied that repeat positive cases “are counted as separate cases only if the tests occur on different days. If [a Virginia resident] tested Monday and Tuesday and both are positive, that’s two positives.” Both of those tests certainly should be counted in “Total People Tested”, but counting them as two separate Confirmed cases would be quite bogus.

    Since we don’t have the context of the full email exchange, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to learn that the spokesman worded his reply very poorly and was speaking of “cases of testing” and not the Confirmed Cases statistic. But I also wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that this change did effect the Confirmed Case count. If so, and if they don’t quickly correct it, then they will deserve to be continually called out on it until they make the fix.

    I don’t know how often and when in the course of treatment a patient is given subsequent antigen tests, so I don’t know how significantly this would increase the case count. Looking at the historical figures, there is no obvious sign of a change in the daily increase in Total Cases from before 1 May to after — there is no obvious artifact as often appears in plots when definitional changes are made. Whereas on May 2, the first time Unique People Tested and Total People Tested were reported, they differed by 11,106 and that difference is increasing at about 600 per day — so it appears to have been applied retroactively. (Which for this measure, is a good thing.) Had this change affected Total Cases and had it been applied retroactively, I would have expected an artifact on May 2, but that daily increase in cases was less than the previous couple days.

  • Rose

    Sorry Tom, I appear to have duplicated much of what your said. Somehow I didn’t see your post.

  • TheCaptain

    We MAY know what the ‘excess’ death rate of the cooties-19 virus is, but not until the yearly tallies are made and we can compare the numbers to last years CDC numbers.

    HOWEVER, John Hinderaker has pointed out in his articles at Powerline that the CDC has removed the first 20 weeks of data for the 2019, so you can’t compare the first 20 weeks of 2020 with the first 20 weeks of 2019. It is an interesting comparison. What that would show is the ACTUAL excess deaths.

    Rumors abound that coroners and others in charge of death certificates are being pressured to use covid-19 as the ’cause’ of death, regardless of the actual cause in the doc’s opinion. Don’t know about that, although I have been told by one medico that it is so. Anecdote is not data, but it is info.

    Here is the link to Hinderaker’s 2nd article (which links to the first) if anyone cares:

    I can be convinced that there are very high numbers of deaths from covid-19, but with all the hand waving and political shenanigans…. and money (hospitals get rewarded for having more covid-19 patients – hell, they NEED to have patients. Our local hospitals are empty!), I don’t believe anything that the CDC vomits out, the WHO? Seriously? That is a worm-eaten organization if ever there was one. Chinese apologists.

  • Edward

    TheCaptain wrote: “We MAY know what the ‘excess’ death rate of the cooties-19 virus is, but not until the yearly tallies are made and we can compare the numbers to last years CDC numbers.

    Interestingly, “excess deaths” have been used in the past to guess at flu numbers, based upon a number of assumptions. This year, however, it seems everyone is eager to assign all “excess deaths” to the scary Wuhan flu rather than admit that it should be distributed across all flus.

    I also like how the experts want to keep us locked down until a vaccine is developed, as though that is the be-all, end-all, cure-all and no one will ever die of COVID-19 ever again. These experts should know that even in regular years there are tens of thousands of flu deaths in America alone even though we distribute vaccines every year. Lockdown for the goal of ending the disease — and apparently for slowing it — has proved to be futile in the U.S. and several other countries.

  • Rick

    VA Governor had hinted that non essential businesses could open up May 8, then moved it until May 15, claiming DC and NC would not open up May 8 as planned.
    Well NC is starting Phase 1 on May 8 as planned.

  • mike shupp

    MAX: ” It is the difference between 13,000 and nearly $40,000 for the hospital.”

    You’re not really clued in to the hospital business, are you? The going rate for Medicare clients for ICU and semi-private room use — much cheaper than what people with private insurance pay — at a typical big city hospital is on the order of ten thousand dollars per day. A lot of people on ventilators are there for about a month, so we’re talking 250-350,000 dollars even before charges for machinery are tacked on.

    If you want to tell me American hospitals are corrupt, I’m not going to argue much, but the notion that using ventilators, all by itself, is proof of their greed is a bit silly.

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 *