POTATO – The World’s First Smart Potato

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.

An evening pause: Reminds me of every single commercial I see on television these days. Only smarter.

Hat tip Mike Nelson.


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.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

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If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
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  • Alex Andrite

    I will wait to order mine.
    As I am still training my Pet Rock.

  • Marc J Atteberry

    Electrical Banana

  • Dick Eagleson

    Personally, I welcome our new Irish and Idahoan Overlords.

  • wayne

    That, is Hilarious!

    Let’s slip some Education in here….

    “Giffen Goods”
    “A Giffen good is a low income, non-luxury product that defies standard economic and consumer demand theory. Demand for Giffen goods rises when the price rises and falls when the price falls. In econometrics, this results in an upward-sloping demand curve, contrary to the fundamental laws of demand which create a downward sloping demand curve.”
    —“Some examples of giffen goods that economists have identified include agricultural staples such as: potatoes, rice, and corn.”
    (On the other hand….) [my Kingdom for a one-handed Economist!]
    “Potatoes during the Irish Great Famine were once considered to be an example of a Giffen good. However, Gerald P. Dwyer and Cotton M. Lindsey challenged this idea in their 1984 article “Robert Giffen and the Irish Potato,” where they showed the contradicting nature of the Giffen “legend” with respect to historical evidence.”
    “The Giffen nature of the Irish potato was also later discredited by Sherwin Rosen of the University of Chicago in his 1999 paper “Potato Paradoxes.” Rosen showed that the phenomenon could be explained by a normal demand model.
    “Charles Read has shown with quantitative evidence that bacon-pigs showed Giffen-style behavior during the Irish Famine, but that potatoes did not.”

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