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I am now in the final week of my July fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black, celebrating its 14th anniversary. Thank you all, from the people who have donated small amounts to those who have given large sums. I cannot truly express how much your support means to me.


The support of my readers through the years has given me the freedom and ability to analyze objectively the ongoing renaissance in space, as well as the cultural changes -- for good or ill -- that are happening across America. Four years ago, just before the 2020 election I wrote that Joe Biden's mental health was suspect. Only in the past two weeks has the mainstream media decided to recognize that basic fact.


Fourteen years ago I wrote that SLS and Orion were a bad ideas, a waste of money, would be years behind schedule, and better replaced by commercial private enterprise. Even today NASA and Congress refuses to recognize this reality.


In 2020 when the world panicked over COVID I wrote that the panic was unnecessary, that the virus was apparently simply a variation of the flu, that masks were not simply pointless but if worn incorrectly were a health threat, that the lockdowns were a disaster and did nothing to stop the spread of COVID. Only in the past year have some of our so-called experts in the health field have begun to recognize these facts.


Your help allows me to do this kind of intelligent analysis. I take no advertising or sponsors, so my reporting isn't influenced by donations by established space or drug companies. Instead, I rely entirely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, which gives me the freedom to write what I think, unencumbered by outside influences.


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Metal Ball Studios – How deep is the ocean?

An evening pause: The scale of the universe is far larger than we can imagine.

Hat tip Dan Morris.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.


The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • wayne

    Great selection!

    Lake Superior = 1,332 feet

    The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (11-10-75)
    Peter Dingle (2017)

  • John

    That was neat. Surprising that some of the inland seas are so deep. They should have thrown in a great lake.

    I bet there are a ton of ocean worlds out there. I really bet there are a lot of ocean worlds that are capped by ice. Outer solar system I’m looking at you.

    I never heard of the southern ocean. I guess I’m old. Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and one that surrounds a continent at the south pole?

  • John: Yes, the South Ocean is the ocean surrounding Antarctica.

  • Alton

    Previously called the Antarctic Ocean:

    From Wiki Krud:

    This remains the current official policy of the IHO, since a 2000 revision of its definitions including the Southern Ocean as the waters south of the 60th parallel has not yet been adopted. Others regard the seasonally-fluctuating Antarctic Convergence as the natural boundary.

  • Steve Richter

    are there islands, like Hawaii, that would be taller than Everest if the oceans were dry?

  • John

    Wiki says Everest is 29k feet from sea level to summit and Mauna Loa is 30k feet from base (seafloor) to summit. What datum you use for a mucky topographically varied seafloor, beats me.

    Seems like the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans just kinda end at Antartica. But if there’s a southern ocean there, who am I to argue.

    I also would like to propose that we grandfather Pluto in as a non-dwarf planet.

  • Jeff Wright

    The Seikan tunnel is quite deep. Now, there are 36 km tunnels being looked at….SRBs stage at 41 miles….there is a part of me that wonders it you could have a non-flying first stage’s entire life cycle done underground in a tunnel with a gentle slope. Two side by side…with the first stage sliding down passing the first stage passing up….it’s tunnel exiting a tube in a mountain slope…from the Andean trench up the slope.

  • Steve Richter

    regarding islands, all islands are the result of volcanic activity? Once the volcano goes dormant is the volcanic mountain eventually worn away by the surrounding ocean? Question being, are there former islands in the ocean where the island is maybe 100 feet below the surface of the water?

  • Jeff Wright

    Hawaii trails of into smaller islands and seamounts, guyots. Not every island is a volcano. Greenland is an island..where Australia is considered a continent instead.

  • wayne

    Steve Richter-
    Many but not all Islands are the direct result of volcanic activity.
    -apparently– there’s “volcanic islands,” “tectonically formed islands,” “coral islands, “barrier islands,” and “continental islands.”

  • wayne

    It occurs to me— don’t we have “Greg The Geologist” here?

    going broader…. we have islands in the Great Lakes, formed by glacial activity, but no volcanos. (and…. no sharks or salt-water, -> total upside!)

    Creation of the Great Lakes
    How the Earth Was Made (S1, E7)

  • MadRocketSci

    It is somewhat interesting to me that dry land exists on Earth at all. Earth is 6731 km in radius, and only has about 4ish km of water on its surface. If it were 10km, the only land sticking out would be a few mountain ranges like Everest. I wonder if it’s potentially “great filter” material, or if there is some chemical/planetary-formation reason why terrestrial planets of Earth’s mass should be only partially covered in water, instead of deeply or very sparsely so.

    Free hydrogen in a reducing atmosphere would tend to escape and be blown away by the solar wind sqrt(mol-mass ratio) times faster than heavier diatomic and triatomic gasses. Will have to think about it further. Why it would be nice to get a spectrum off one of these habitable-zone extrasolar planets.

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