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.
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An evening pause: For Memorial Day, on which we not only honor the war dead but we are supposed to refresh our memories about why we fought in the first place. This color footage of occupied Berlin shortly after surrender shows the devastation after World War II. Though it is tragic to see, I will be honest and admit that I feel little sorrow. The Germans brought this upon themselves by plunging the world into two world wars, and in the second used it as an excuse to commit unspeakable genocide. In order to make sure they would never do it again, and would instead become a part of the civilized world, it was necessary to hit them as hard as these images show. Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin all understood this. So did the entire populations of all three allies.
If only we had the courage today to do the same to the petty dictators and Islamic fanatics in the Middle East. They are as brutal, as violent, and as bigoted as the Nazis were, and will soon have atomic weapons at their disposal to use as they wish. To really bring them to heel they need to be given the same harsh lessons we gave the Germans.
I fear however we will not have the courage to do so until after they drop some nuclear bombs on a few cities.
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.
Therefore, I hope you will 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.
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