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.

Winner of Blue Origin auction for suborbital flight will not fly on July 20th

Capitalism in space: Blue Origin today announced that the $28 million winner of the auction to buy a seat on the first commercial flight of its suborbital spacecraft New Shepard on July 20th will not be on board, and will instead be replaced by an 18-year-old.

Blue Origin announced Thursday that instead of a $28 million auction winner launching with founder Jeff Bezos on Tuesday, Dutch runner-up Oliver Daemen will be on board. The company said he’ll be the first paying customer, but did not disclose the price of his ticket. …According to Blue Origin, Daemen took a year off after graduating from high school last year to obtain his private pilot’s license. He’ll attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands in September. His father is Joes Daemen, founder and CEO of Somerset Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Oisterwijk, Netherlands. Both father and son are already in the U.S. preparing for the launch, according to a company representative.

…Blue Origin said the yet-to-be-identified winner of the charity auction is stepping aside because of a scheduling conflict and will catch a future flight. Daemen was going to be on the second launch for paying customers.

The company has yet to open ticket sales or disclose its prices to the public. That’s expected following Bezos’ flight.

There are some puzzles here. Did Daemen bid during the auction? Was his bid second? If not, why has he been pushed to the head of the line, even before Blue Origin has opened ticket sales or announced its prices?

Moreover, much of this does seem to be hype and pr, rather than real achievement. More important would be an announcement saying that the BE-4 engine is finally ready, making possible orbital flights on New Glenn and ULA’s Vulcan rocket.

Nonetheless, it is nice that Bezos is taking this teenager into space, as is his decision to also give a seat to 82-year-old Wally Funk, one of the women who applied to fly during the Mercury program in the 1960s but was rejected.


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  • Joe

    What on Earth? Too busy to go? After spending $28mil? I think I would cancel just about everything else to be on that flight. Although, if they have that kind of money to toss around, I know a small satellite company that can use some investment.

  • Chris Lopes


    Yeah, it’s as if Neil Armstrong missed the launch of Apollo 11 because he had a haircut appointment. There has to be more to this than they are willing to say. No one misses a spaceflight due to “scheduling conflicts.”

  • john hare

    He(or she) missed being first, which may not matter all that much to some. And he will fly later on. A philanthropist may even be considering that the charities will benefit both from the second highest and the highest bid totaling perhaps 80-90% more to charity than taking the flight. Also in a world of wheeler dealers, a postponed can be a missed opportunity worth far more than $28M.

  • Edward

    Unless this changes, too, it looks like this Blue Origin flight is going to take both the youngest and oldest people to fly to space.

  • Mike Borgelt

    Didn’t one of Boeing’s Starliner test pilots resign because of scheduling conflicts with “family business”?

  • MDN

    The “winner” was probably found to be a conservative and disinvited from flying. That would explain why they never announced their name and concocted this BS story to change the manifest. And since someone bidding that kind of coin is smart, they probably got PAID $28M to keep quiet.

    MHO anyway.

  • Edward observed: “Unless this changes, too, it looks like this Blue Origin flight is going to take both the youngest and oldest people to fly to space.”

    The point, I think, and as far as PR stunts go, this isn’t a bad one. Assuming success.

  • Questioner

    Men, no need to be too jealous or sad that you are not there. Here is a video that shows what you experience as a passenger in the capsule. Even for me as a space enthusiast, the whole trip wouldn’t be worth more than $ 5,000.

  • Col Beausabre

    He’s finally figured out that the “auction” is a plot by the IRS to get him to go to where they can arrest him. Cops do it all the time

    “With promises of $500 gift coupons, plasma televisions and video game systems, dozens of fugitives accused of a host of crimes were duped into going to a West Side warehouse, where instead they were arrested on outstanding warrants.

    As the fugitives pulled into the warehouse parking lot in the 2200 block of South Kenneth Avenue, they saw boxes being loaded into cars and were welcomed by staffers, signs and balloons from “C.W. Marketing.” A “Mr. Ward” led the way, and presented the fugitives with a survey offering them a choice of one of three prizes.

    What the fugitives soon learned was that the “C.W.” in C.W. Marketing stood for the Central Warrants Unit of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and “Mr. Ward” was sheriff’s office investigator Neal Gaynor. The sting, dubbed “Operation C.W. Marketing,” resulted in 102 arrests involving felony, misdemeanor and civil court cases, authorities said.”

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