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.

Why an impossible space engine has not been discovered

Link here. The author does a great job of explaining in clear detail why the recent reports of a new electromagnetic drive (EMDrive) are very premature.

Essentially, a close look at the data reveals that the tiny thrust they detected is probably a flaw in their experiment, not thrust produced by the engine itself.


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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.

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  • pzatchok

    All it does is produce heat, barely enough to boil water. By “cold fusion”.

    Not even enough to reliably run a good turbine for electricity.

    It costs a huge amount to install and can only be maintained, serviced and refueled by qualified service technicians.

    I am pretty sure natural gas can do more for far longer cheaper.

  • Nick P


    “All it does is produce heat, barely enough to boil water”

    1MW is barely enough to heat water?

  • pzatchok

    Read the technical link on the home page.
    It actually NEEDS 200 kw of electricity to operate.
    If its producing electricity why does it need an electrical input?

    If you read the links on their homepage it only gets to about 225F. or100c. at sea level pressure.

    It is not a high pressure steam system so you are pretty much limited to a low pressure steam engine to run a generator. Or hire a team of guys to maintain a high pressure steam system.

    You could use a direct heat to electricity system like a TEG generation system. But then any other heating unit would be better.

    It only produces heat through a chemical reaction.Its not magic.

    How are you going to use that energy and how efficient is the conversion?

    And its a closed loop heating unit. Like a nuclear reactor, it can not let the hot water it produces mix with or come in physical contact with the actual energy conversion or exchange system.

    If you use it to heat a house you have to use a water to air heat exchanger or a water to water system.

    Plus every two years it must be fully cleaned out flushed and reloaded with nickle reactant.

  • Cotour

    200KW in, 1MW out.

    If you put $200 thousand dollars in the bank and when you looked at your bank statement it read $1 million dollars would you think that was a good thing or a bad thing?

    Rossi’s Ecat technology claims to have identified a phenomenon between the nickle and hydrogen and what ever else is in the mix and the amount of electrical energy put into the device and the increased amount in heat energy that is emitted from the device. In other words a net increase in energy.

    In other words there appears to be something there there. I believe it certainly deserves to be looked at seriously based on the evidence available. No? Read the papers.

    phenomenon: noun phe·nom·e·non \fi-ˈnä-mə-ˌnän, -nən\
    : something (such as an interesting fact or event) that can be observed and studied and that typically is unusual or difficult to understand or explain fully.

  • Cotour

    “If its producing electricity why does it need an electrical input?”

    Its not producing electricity, there seems to be a phenomenon involved that increases the heat output related to the initial electrical energy input which initiates the reaction / phenomenon. The “extra” heat is translated into steam and the steam drives an electrical generator.

    Again, there seems to be a net increase in HEAT, not electricity.

  • Edward

    Cotour wrote: “200KW in, 1MW out.”

    It is 200 KW *and* some unknown amount of hydrogen that go in.

    I have not yet heard of a cold fusion reaction in which “Nickel and Hydrogen merge to produce Copper,” as stated on the ECat page.

    I also have not been hearing about any cold fusion processes successful enough to be a salable product, which would likely be more newsworthy the the original Fleischmann–Pons claim. I think we should wait for independent confirmation before spending good money on an ECat plant.

  • Cotour

    I think we can probably agree based on the information presented by what looks like objective and qualified scientists who have examined it that there is something there, there rather than nothing. Would you agree?

    And if there is something rather than nothing, what ever it is and how ever it operates, even if we do not fully and precisely understand how it operates then that would represent the establishment of a new energy paradigm. Would you agree?

    Q: If this is what looks like a reasonable although counter intuitive area of science to investigate why are none of the Global Warming enthusiasts like our president talking about it? Is he unaware of these kinds of developments? How much money is he demanding Congress to allocate?

    Like I said, it looks like something rather than nothing to me. Think of the forces that might be against the emergence of such technology, including a president.

  • pzatchok

    The electrical input is to run the control systems and the water pumps.

    There is NO evidence that any ‘extra’ energy in any form comes out of the system.

    Count the electricity going in vs the heat coming out.
    Then add in the nickle hydrogen chemical reaction.
    And don’t forget all the energy needed to make the hydrogen and nickle.

    By all the laws of known energy conservation and conversion there is no way you get extra energy out.

    It takes no energy to make natural gas though.

  • Cotour

    “It takes no energy to make natural gas”

    I will let you reconsider that for a moment. If you are siting the production cost of refining the nickle and separating the hydrogen, then your statement needs adjustment.

    You can see NO application for this Ecat technology at all? Zero? If it is demonstrated to be viable.

  • Cotour

    “The electrical input is to run the control systems and the water pumps.”

    That is just a false or misconstrued statement, the reaction is initiated by the application of an electrical current, the monitoring of the system and the driving of any water pumps are similar in function of any system that does any similar activity. The one has nothing to do with the other for our purposes.

  • David M. Cook

    If this thing works as advertised, I should be able to create a business plan for using one (or more) to make & sell electricity. Lets see if they contact me with a price so I can start calculations.

    Put up or shut up, that’s how the business world works.

  • David M. Cook

    That was fast. Here’s the info I need to send to get my quote:

    Dear David Cook,

    Thank you for visiting and registering your interest in Andrea Rossi’s ECAT 1 MW plant. is now qualifying potential customers on behalf of Andrea Rossi and Leonardo Corporation. Due to the overwhelming number of inquiries, we need to authenticate all customer related information to obtain a better understanding of the outstanding demand – this will enable us to provide you with a quote for the ECAT 1 MW plant.

    We kindly ask you to provide us with the following information:

    1. Company name:

    2. VAT-number/Organization number:

    3. Country of company incorporation:

    4. Delivery address of ECAT 1 MW plant:

    5. Industry sector:

    6. Company turnover:

    7. Contact person:

    8. Email address:

    9. Telephone number:

    10. Primary use of ECAT 1 MW plant:

    11. Number of ECAT 1 MW units requested:

    12. Please provide any comments or additional information here:

    The estimated delivery time for the ECAT 1 MW plant is currently four months.

    Yours sincerely,

    Peter La Terra
    Sales Director,

    If I wanted to but a D-10 Caterpillar, I should only need to show them the money. This doesn’t look very good.

  • pzatchok

    Both your links say that the LENR process does not work yet.

    It is only a theory as of yet.

  • pzatchok

    If it worked to produce extra electricity every power company in the world would be trying to buy the patent.

    The same would be true if it could be scaled up to produce enough heat to run a generator.

    The power companies would at least buy up the tech to keep others from using it.

    Like they said about those100mpg carburetors for the last 60 years. Which only pretty much ended when they switched to fuel injection on everything.

    It doesn’t even look like any are just investing some throwaway dream money in the idea.

  • Cotour

    I understand your skepticism, here a Nobel scientist, in a very poorly produced video, hashes both sides out, but as he points out, the scientific evidence very strongly indicates that there is a net increase in energy however you measure it. Although not fully understood how that happens and it establishes a new way of thinking about such things.

    It does not matter if it is fully understood or understood at all how it happens if indeed it is happening. Think of the powerful forces that would be stacked against such a paradigm shifting technology. Another point, 5 and 6 years is one hell of a long time for such a “scam” to continued especially when scientists are freely able to test and measure the input and the output.

    Lets just agree to keep an eye on this and try to keep an open mind about why it may not be a top priority in government and industry taking into consideration the very large and financially strong existing energy producing systems in place.

    Black holes did not exist before they existed.

  • Edward


    It is probably best to remain skeptical, for now. Just because a process is not well understood does not mean that it actually works. Uri Geller’s process was not well understood, but he kept up his act for several years, so citing 5 or 6 years as proof that a scam is not present does not hold water. As The Amazing Randi was able to demonstrate, scientists and engineers can be easily fooled by magicians — they were unable to explain phenomena that he was easily able to show was magician’s illusions. A very smart person may not have the experience to explain the deception (so just enjoy the magic show, knowing that, like the movies, it is just illusion).

    Until this Nickel-Hydrogen fusion can be explained, it is safer to think of it as being as unlikely as the original Fleischmann–Pons claim. And until the EMDrive can be explained, it is also safer to think of it as illusory.

  • Nick P


    Uri Geller’s “act” was never disproven.

    “Until this Nickel-Hydrogen fusion can be explained, it is safer to think of it as being as unlikely as the original Fleischmann–Pons claim. And until the EMDrive can be explained, it is also safer to think of it as illusory”

    At what point must we accept something in the absence of a clear scientific explanation, simply because it works?

  • Cotour

    I hear you and your position is reasonable, but the fact that a Nobel scientist among many others have been allowed to physically test it live using their own equipment and techniques seems to say something to me.

    To your point:



    I could not tell you how either of these guys does what they do, but they do it. We will wait it out and maybe have a more informed conversation about it some day soon?

  • Cotour

    If something is measurable and there seems to be something going on rather than nothing going on then it would not be a theory it would be something going on that is not able to be scientifically explained.

    The need for scientific explanation of something does not preclude it from existing, does it?

  • Cotour

    Clarification: I do not know that this particular Nobel scientist Brian Josephson has examined the system himself but it seems he has reviewed the gathered evidence.

  • Edward


    “Uri Geller’s “act” was never disproven.”

    Randi showed how it was done. Which, for me, spoils the act.

    “At what point must we accept something in the absence of a clear scientific explanation, simply because it works?”

    There is no point at which we must accept something, in the absence of a clear scientific explanation, even if it works.

    However, if we use it without explanation and it stops working as expected, we don’t know how to fix it, or if you *did* fix it — and the fix worked — you don’t know why the fix worked.

    Gravity was used for millennia without understanding that it was a phenomenon, much less how or why it worked. Viaducts relied upon water always flowing downhill, and clocks depended upon pendulums. For two of those millennia, the closest we came to understanding gravity was the knowledge that heavier objects fell faster than lighter ones.

    However, what would man have done the first time he went into space and discovered that his pendulum clock no longer keeps time? Poor Yuri Gagarin would not have known when to hit the retrorocket button so that he came down on land rather than at sea, where he would have drowned.

    Further, if you know how and why it works, you can build upon that knowledge to make even more useful inventions.

    Meanwhile, I think it is best to remain skeptical of that which you do not understand.

  • Nick P


    “Randi showed how it was done”

    He showed how it could be done. That doesn’t mean he showed how Geller did it. Only another way to produce a similar effect. A nuclear bomb produces heat, so does a forest fire. Does that prove a nuclear bomb is nothing more than a forest fire? Where is the evidence that Geller used Randi’s method?

    “There is no point at which we must accept something, in the absence of a clear scientific explanation, even if it works”

    Did you really mean to say this? Apparently 1,000 years ago you wouldn’t have accepted the Sun’s heat because you had no scientific explanation. I would have been basking in the Sun while you were denying it’s existence.

  • David M. Cook

    BUY, if I wanted to BUY a D10 Cat! Butting one would just hurt.

  • Edward


    As I said, it is illusion, so enjoy the show. People can be fooled by illusionists, otherwise there would be no point.

    Scientists and engineers are also fooled because they do not think in the same ways that illusionists do.

    Set a magician to catch a magician. To figure out a magician’s secrets, do not send a scientist or an engineer. He’ll never figure it out. Send Penn and Teller, or Randi.

  • pzatchok

    “All we really need is that one bit of irrefutable, reproducible proof that we have a system that works,”


    “NASA researchers are working on producing the reactions by vibrating lattices of nickel saturated with hydrogen ions at high frequencies. Right now, those vibrations require more initial energy than the reactions produce, the same problem that has stymied efforts to produce fusion reactors.”

    Just because something is happening does not mean something is happening efficiently or profitably.

  • Edward

    Nick wrote, “Did you really mean to say this?”

    Yes. If the sun were to stop producing heat, I would not have known how to fix it. Back then, I, too, would have thought that it worked as a large fire, burning some fuel and some oxygen (or some earth and some air, depending). All I would have known is that the sun produced heat while I was alive and that there were no stories that told of a time when the sun suddenly started to produce heat, leaving the impression that it always had, it always will, and that the universe is static (except for those pesky planets and their unworkable epicycles).

    I would have used the sun’s heat at my own risk. We all still do, because there is a possibility that global warming/cooling/climate distress/ice ages/interglacial periods/whatever depend upon solar activity. We don’t understand the processes that affect our climate, but we know that our climate has been changing for billions of years. Plus, we still don’t know how to fix any changed climates on Earth or which climate is the “correct” climate.

    We know the sun a little better, these days, but we still could not fix it if it were to “go out.”

    I will concede, Nick, that you believe that Uri Geller has supernatural powers. However, I will continue to believe that he is an illusionist.

  • Cotour


    Can human beings cause things to happen using “super natural powers” ? The answer is a surprising and resounding Yes!

    What might be the limits to such powers?

  • Nick P


    “I will concede, Nick, that you believe that Uri Geller has supernatural powers. However, I will continue to believe that he is an illusionist”

    I have no idea if Uri Geller as supernatural powers or not. You are putting words in my mount that I never said. I was simply pointing out the fallacy of your reasoning. Reproducing his effect does not prove that Uri Geller used the same method to produce that same effect. When you can catch him using Randi’s method then you will have proven your point. I’m sorry that you can’t see that but so be it.

  • Edward


    You are the one who said, “Uri Geller’s “act” was never disproven.” Since you argued about it after I pointed out that Randi showed that he need not have supernatural powers to do his act, what other non-fallacious reasoning and conclusion were you expecting?

    Do I have your permission to continue believing that he is an illusionist, or is that likewise a conclusion based upon fallacious reasoning?

    I certainly would not want to be accused of a non sequitur.

  • Nick,

    You might want to do a search on youtube for the words “Geller” and “Carson”. You will come upon some pretty damning evidence that Geller is a total fraud.

    By the way, he isn’t a fraud for doing magic. Magicians are not frauds because they don’t claim powers they don’t have. They simply use clever tricks to fool us. Frauds like Geller use the same tricks, but then claim to have powers they really don’t have.

  • Nick P


    “Do I have your permission to continue believing that he is an illusionist, or is that likewise a conclusion based upon fallacious reasoning?”

    You don’t need my permission. You can accept whatever “evidence” you choose.

    I’ve only pointed out that no one ever caught him using Randi’s technique. To me, that means we don’t really know how he did it. We can only guess. If guessing is good enough for you the who am I to spoil things for you?

  • Edward


    I guess you are right. ;-)

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