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.

The view from the cockpit

An evening pause: This short video shows us what it is like for the pilot and co-pilot as they prepare for departure from Frankfurt, Germany, on a cargo flight to Africa and beyond. Note that even though the crew is German and the airport is German, all communications with the control tower are in English. Note also that their altitude is recorded in feet, not meters. The American big lead in the commercial airline industry in the first half of the 20th century allowed it to set the standards, including the use of feet and English in these matters.

Hat tip Tom Biggar.


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  • David Eastman

    Reminds of an old joke. Apparently the Munich air traffic controllers are notorious for being very sharp and short of patience. After having to repeat instructions to a British Airways concorde a second time, the air traffic controller snaps “Haven’t you flown to Munich before?” To which the british pilot responds “Several times, old chap. This is the first time I’ve landed here though.”

  • Andi

    Small suggested edit : “there elevation”
    Suggest “their altitude”

  • Andi

    Oh, and they also measure speed in knots

  • wayne

    Good stuff!

    RAF Raid on Munich

  • Andi: Oh yes, I forgot about that. Adds weight to what I wrote.

  • sippin_bourbon

    I am not sure that was always true.

    I seem to remember many early US aircraft that used MPH on the airspeed indicators.
    We switched to the NM (and kts) later.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Also, I think English was the default language for air traffic control after WW2.
    Language proficiency for pilots was not mandated by ICAO until 2008.

    Regarding my prev post, it looks like the US officially adopted the NM in 1954, however, it was already in heavy use in the industry.

    It also just makes sense for long distance travel, being that a NM is based on a minute of arc of latitude.
    I found it helped when I was learning basic navigation.

  • Andi

    From Wikipedia:

    “Prior to 1969, airworthiness standards for civil aircraft in the United States Federal Aviation Regulations specified that distances were to be in statute miles, and speeds in miles per hour. In 1969, these standards were progressively amended to specify that distances were to be in nautical miles, and speeds in knots.”

    Didn’t realize that the changeover was that recent

  • Steve Richter

    sure looks like a lot of functions can be automated. That is, if safety is the top concern. All the checklist items were based on confirming readings and indicators the plane is giving to the pilots. Just point a camera outside the window and send that signal to operators in Bangalore. That would be used to make sure the plane was taxiing and flying itself correctly.

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