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 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

Today’s blacklisted American: Father whose 16-year-old healthy son died right after getting COVID vaccine banned from social media

The new dark age of silencing: A father has been banned by GoFundMe and Twitter when he tried to raise money to make the public aware that the COVID vaccine carried its own risks, and might even have killed his healthy 16-year-old son, who died from an enlarged heart only days after getting the shot.

GoFundMe banned Ernest Ramirez for sharing “prohibited conduct” on the crowdfunding platform. His so-called unacceptable behavior was fundraising for his late son, Ernesto Jr., who died from the Pfizer vaccine on April 25.

The father used the page to explain how his only 16 year-old son was in good health, and regularly played baseball since he was 7 years-old. Advertising claimed the vaccine is safe for adolescents, and convinced him to book-in Ernesto Jr. for the jab on April 19. Five days later the teenager died from a dilated heart. “My son received the vaccine and he died a few days later, and the only explanation that was given to me was an enlarged heart,” Ramirez said according to Life Site News. “I love the hell out of my country but I do not trust my government anymore.”

Many people started donating to the grieving Texan. However, the father became outraged to learn GoFundMe had shut down the page and returned all proceeds back to donors. [emphasis mine]

The point is not that the various vaccines might be dangerous (that is not yet proved, though the evidence is beginning to strongly suggest they carry risks especially for young men). The point is that this poor man was blacklisted merely because he was saying things GoFundMe and Twitter did not like. Who gave them the final say on what we discuss about these vaccines? Where was it written that only their opinions are allowed?

If anything, the more discussion on this subject, the better. If the anecdotal evidence that suggests there are risks gets seen by enough people, the outcry might force some real research that will tell us for certain if those risks are real or not. Silencing the discussion only causes more distrust (as illustrated by the highlighted words above), and might even permit the use of unsafe drugs for longer than necessary.

Yet, silencing now is our leftist elitist class’s standard operating procedure, to the point of not allowing a grieving father to raise some important questions about the medicine that might have killed his son.

Our bankrupt “betters” cannot allow such questions. They are not interested in open debate. They only want everyone to kow-tow to their dictatorial demands, and will do whatever is necessary to silence dissent.

I say, do not shut up. Do not comply. Make them sweat. Make them scream. The left’s inability to debate rationally and with intelligence only leaves them open for defeat, if only people are willing to challenge them. And now is the time to challenge them. Later will be too late.

Watching the first all-private commercial manned orbital spaceflight

Liberty and freedom enlightening the world
Liberty and freedom enlightening not only the world,
but the entire solar system.

Bumped: I will be out on a cave trip for most of today, September 15, 2021, so I’ve moved this post to the top of the page, as it clearly will be the most important space news today. I should be back before launch, but if not, enjoy!

Original post:
————————
Capitalism in space: Let’s begin by underlining one fundamental fact about the Inspiration4 manned Dragon orbital space mission, targeted for a September 15th launch tomorrow evening, that makes it different from every other orbital space mission ever flown since Yuri Gagarin completed the first manned mission in 1961:

The government has nothing to do with it.

The launch facilities, the rocket, the capsule, the drone ship where the rocket’s first stage will land, and the entire recovery operation in the ocean are all controlled and owned by SpaceX. The passengers are private citizens, one of whom purchased the flight directly from SpaceX.

It is was organized by 38-year-old billionaire and entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, who is also a highly-capable jet warbird aircraft pilot. When he found out from SpaceX he could be the first to fly an all-commercial mission in Crew Dragon, he fronted $100 million to $200 million required and partnered with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in a campaign to give away two of the missions seats and raise $200 Million for children’s cancer research.

Every person you will see in mission control, at the launchpad, and on the recovery ships are also private citizens, working for a private company that just happens to be in the business of flying rockets, spaceships, and humans into space. None are government employees, and I would suspect that most don’t want to be.

Not only is this mission privately run, its goals are completely different. While all past space launches were flown for purposes decided by the government, this mission’s goals have been determined by the free participants themselves. SpaceX is making money on the flight, Isaacman and his passengers are getting the chance to fulfill their long-held personal dream of going into space, and Isaacman is also using this flight to raise money for cancer research, a personal passion of his.

The flight itself will be unusual. It will be the first manned mission in more than a decade, since the last shuttle repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, to not go to an orbiting space station. Instead, the capsule will spend three days free-flying in orbit around the Earth. To enhance the flight for the passengers, SpaceX removed the docking port on Resilience (the capsule) and replaced it with a viewing port with large windows.

The orbit itself will in a sense push the envelope, as SpaceX plans to loft the capsule to an altitude of about 370 miles, considerably higher than ISS’s orbit of about 260 miles and about 35 miles higher than the mission to Hubble. In fact, the Inspiration4 crew will be the farthest from the Earth’s surface than any human in decades, possibly going back as far as the Apollo era.

For watching this flight I have embedded SpaceX’s live stream below, which you can also find here. You will also be able to find that stream at SpaceX’s YouTube page, where the company is also airing preflight videos.

This mission illustrates the fundamentals that built the United States of America. Give humans freedom, don’t try to tell them what to do, and they will do astonishing and magnificent things, on their own.
» Read more

Readers!
 

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Leaving Earth cover

There are now only 6 copies left of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. After I sell one more, I will be raising the price substantially. Thus, if you want to get an autographed copy of this rare collector's item for only $100, plus $5 shipping, now is the time to buy. Once I sell one more book and only have five copies left, the price goes up to $150 (plus shipping for the next two.

 

To get your copy while the getting is good, please send a $105 check (which includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to
 

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

 

Leaving Earth is also available as an inexpensive ebook!

 

Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel, can be purchased as an ebook everywhere for only $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

 

If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big oppressive tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Winner of the 2003 Eugene M. Emme Award of the American Astronautical Society.

"Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened." -- Arthur C. Clarke

Russia launches another set of OneWeb satellites

Using its Soyuz-2 rocket Russia today successfully launched another 34 OneWeb satellites, launching from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

At the time of publication about half the satellites have successfully deployed. The rest should be released within the next hour or so.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

31 China
22 SpaceX
15 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

With this launch Russia has now matched its total launches from last year, with three months still to go and a number of launches in ’21 on its manifest. For Russia’s launch industry, 2021 looks like it will be a good year.

The U.S. continues to lead China 33 to 31 in the national rankings.

The layered history of Mars as revealed in Valles Marineris

Layered cliff in Valles Marineris
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced, shows just one tiny cliff face in the gigantic canyon on Mars dubbed Valles Marineris. The photo was taken on June 13, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

Like many other similar cliff faces that MRO has photographed and that I have previously highlighted, there are many many layers visible here. In fact, it appears that almost every cliff in this part of Valles Marineris is many layered, suggesting that like the Grand Canyon on Earth, the canyon as it was carved exposed in great detail the long geological history of Mars.

In this part of Mars, each layer probably represents the placementof a new layer of volcanic material, pouring out from the giant volcanoes in the Tharsis Bulge to the west. In addition, overlain on this volcanic record are probably deposits lain down by the atmosphere as Mars underwent its many climate cycles due to the regular shifts in its orbit and rotational tilt.
» Read more

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. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Today’s blacklisted American: Professor who uncovered academic incompetence has been forced to resign from Portland State University

Liberty and freedom banned
No liberty at Portland State University. Photo credit: William Zhang

The new dark age of silencing: Peter Boghossian, one of three professors who revealed the incompetence and bad scholarship that now permeates academic culture by writing and getting published a fake paper in 2017 that claimed the penis was merely a “social construct,” has finally been forced to resign from his position at Portland State University in Oregon because of the never-ending harassment and slanders that he has been subjected to by both faculty and staff there.

“Administrators and faculty were so angered by the papers that they published an anonymous piece in the student paper and Portland State filed formal charges against me,” Boghossian wrote in his statement. ”Their accusation? ‘Research misconduct’ based on the absurd premise that the journal editors who accepted our intentionally deranged articles were ‘human subjects.’ I was found guilty of not receiving approval to experiment on human subjects.”

The school subsequently barred Boghossian from conducting research.

But according to Boghossian, he suffered far more abuse on campus than merely being sanctioned for his prank. “I’d find flyers around campus of me with a Pinocchio nose. I was spit on and threatened by passersby while walking to class,” he wrote. “I was informed by students that my colleagues were telling them to avoid my classes. And, of course, I was subjected to more investigation.”

…He also noted he was once the subject of a baseless investigation that tarred him as someone who commits violence against women. “My accuser, a white male, made a slew of baseless accusations against me, which university confidentiality rules unfortunately prohibit me from discussing further,” Boghossian wrote. “What I can share is that students of mine who were interviewed during the process told me the Title IX investigator asked them if they knew anything about me beating my wife and children. This horrifying accusation soon became a widespread rumor.”

Boghossian apparently had had enough. However, he is not running away, but instead leaving to form a new organization to specifically fight the close-minded and oppressive culture that now dominates most universities like Portland State.
» Read more

Make concrete on Mars using human blood?

What could possibly go wrong? Scientists at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom have developed a new formulation that can use material known to exist on Mars, combined with the addition of astronaut blood, to produce useful concrete.

Working with simulated lunar and Martian soils, the team experimented with using human blood and waste products as binding material, and turned up some interesting results.

The work showed that a common protein in the blood called serum albumin could be used as a binder to produce a concrete-like material with compressive strength comparable to ordinary concrete. In investigating the mechanisms at play, the team found the blood proteins “curdle” to form “beta sheets” that extend outward to hold the material together.

Even more interestingly, the team found that urea, a waste product found in urine, sweat and tears, could be incorporated to increase this compressive strength by more than 300 percent. That is to say, the key to cosmic concrete stronger than what we have here on Earth might be found in our blood, sweat and tears (and urine).

This work was inspired by ancient building techniques, which often used pig blood in concrete for similar reasons.

Though a lot of this makes sense, especially the utilization of waste products like urine, the idea that future colonies will tap the blood of their citizens for construction purposes raises so many moral questions I can’t list them all here.

For example, let me throw out one possibility should no one think about this too much on Mars. Why not use this need for blood as a method of criminal punishment? Do something the ruling powers think is wrong and we will suck your blood from you to build the colony!

The moral consequences of our actions require long careful thought. Unfortunately, long careful thought simply no longer exists among today’s intellectual and political classes. Instead, they make almost all their decisions off the cuff, based on what “feels” right to them. You merely have to watch the many interviews of Dr. Anthony Fauci in the past year to see what I mean. Nothing he says about masks or mandates is really based on new research or data. He merely throws out an opinion that feels right, at the moment. Thus, he contradicts himself repeatedly, and most of his advice has been worse than useless, resulting in so many unexpected negative consequences they almost cannot be counted.

Try to imagine the horrors that could take place in a colony on Mars, where resources are in short supply, should construction require the use of human blood and the leadership there approaches its problems with the same cavalier attitude toward moral consequences? I can, and it chills my own blood to the core (no pun intended).

Utilizing a commercial lunar probe to reach geosynchronous orbit around the Earth

Capitalism in space: The commercial startup SpaceFlight Inc has purchased payload space on Intuitive Machines’ second lunar landing mission to the Moon late in ’22 in order to test its Sherpa Escape space tug’s ability to use that flight path to place a satellite into geosynchronous orbit around the Earth.

The tug will also carry the payload of another company, GeoJump, which will test in-space fueling technology developed by another company, Orbit Fab.

Sounds complicated, eh? It isn’t when you think about it. When NASA gave up ownership and design of its lunar landers and instead began buying such products from the private sector, it freed up that private sector to sell its spare payload capacity to anyone who wanted it. On this particular flight Intuitive Machines sold that spare capacity to SpaceFlight, which in turn provided GeoJump and Orbit Fab the space tug for getting their experimental payloads to geosynchronous orbit.

This is a win-win for everyone. Not only are two companies (Intuitive Machines and Spaceflight) making money by selling their capabilities to others, two other companies (GeoJump and Orbit Fab) are now able to test their own space innovations at a much lower cost, and much more quickly than had they depended on a government launch from NASA.

SpaceX successfully launches another 51 Starlink satellites

Capitalism in space: SpaceX tonight successfully used its Falcon 9 rocket to launch another 51 Starlink satellites into orbit.

At publication, the deployment of the satellites is still about 25 minutes away. [Update: deployment successful.] SpaceX now has about 1,500 working Starlink satellites in orbit.

The Falcon 9’s first stage successfully landed on its drone ship, the tenth flight of this stage, tying the record for the most reuses. Both fairings were also reused. This was also the first Starlink launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base. SpaceX intends to do monthly Starlink launches from Vandenberg for the rest of the year.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

31 China
22 SpaceX
14 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

The U.S. now leads China 33 to 31 in the national rankings.

SpaceX will also launch in two days the first ever entirely private orbital mission to space, whereby it has been hired to carry four private astronauts for three days on the highest orbit since the 2009 last shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

That flight will inaugurate a schedule of almost monthly private manned commercial missions to orbit, extending into next year and possibly forever. The present schedule:

  • September 15, 2021: SpaceX’s Dragon capsule flies four private citizens on a three day orbital flight
  • October 2021: The Russians will fly two passengers to ISS for 10 days to shoot a movie
  • December 2021: The Russians will fly billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant to ISS for 12 days
  • cDecember 2021: Space Adventures, using a Dragon capsule, will fly four in orbit for five days
  • January 2022: Axiom, using a Dragon capsule, will fly four tourists to ISS
  • 2022-2024: Three more Axiom tourist flights on Dragon to ISS
  • 2024: Axiom begins launching its own modules to ISS, starting construction of its own private space station
  • c2024: SpaceX’s Starship takes Yusaku Maezawa and several others on a journey around the Moon.

An example why scientists think there were catastrophic floods on Mars

Broken mesas on Mars
Click for full image.

Today’s cool image provides a nice illustration why scientists have long assumed that in the distance past there had been catastrophic floods of liquid water on Mars. The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on July 6, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows an east-west gully cutting between mesas to the north and south.

Because the highest mesas seem to be aligned, this suggests they were once part of the same formation, and something came along to carve that gap and gully between them.

What made the break? The overview map below as usual provides some context, which also provides a possible explanation.
» Read more

Today’s blacklisted American: Man demoted, essentially fired, for simply requesting religious exemption from COVID vaccination

They’re coming for you next: The superintendent of the Cartwright school district in Arizona, Dr. Lee-Ann Aguilar-Lawlor, immediately demoted William Bishop from his job as director for buildings and operations to that of a substitute teacher, essentially firing him from regular employment, because he had simply requested religious exemption from getting the COVID vaccination.

When he made his request the school district never even responded to it. Instead, they demoted him.

Bishop is being represented by First Liberty, the same legal firm defending the two Alaska Airline flight attendants fired for daring to ask questions. From their letter to Aguilar-Lawlor:

Cartwright’s actions are particularly indefensible because: (1) it already granted at least one nonreligious exemption from the mandate; (2) its demotion of Mr. Bishop will bring him into far more contact with students and other staff, thus contradicting the district’s presumed rationale for refusing to grant his accommodation request; (3) it chose not to impose its mandate on teachers, those most in contact with students and staff; (4) 21 percent of district employees remain unvaccinated; and (5) Mr. Bishop has natural immunity and his doctor advises against receiving the vaccine.

In other words, Bishop’s demotion was arbitrary and capricious, a clear case of blacklisting by Aguilar-Lawlor. She was punishing Bishop because he wasn’t meekly bowing to her will.

What really should happen is that Aguilar-Lawlor should be fired, because she has now demonstrated a bias and incompetence that makes her unqualified for her job. She clearly is bigoted against the religious, and is willing to take petty but very harmful action to hurt such people.

Rick, stating the truth in Casablanca
Still asleep, and tragically, they refuse to wake up.

This unfortunately is almost certainly not what will happen. People like Aguilar-Lawlor are now in power, and they will do everything possible to maintain that position, including smashing their fist into the face of anyone who questions them.

Worst of all, they will get the enthusiastic support of too many people, all of whom are willing to treat others as scum because they live in fear of a virus with a survival rate exceeding 99%, even if you aren’t vaccinated against it! And their power will be further enhanced by the millions who have decided this isn’t their problem, and will simply look the other way. “Someone else will help that poor woman being raped.”

DC swamp moving to cancel Trump effort to cut red tape at FAA?

The inspector general of the Department of Transportation has instigated an investigation into the FAA’s recent effort, inaugurated during the Trump administration, to reduce the air space shuttered during launch operations in order to allow more launches with less interference with commercial air traffic.

“Over the past 5 years, FAA has gone from licensing about one commercial space launch per month to now licensing more than one launch every week,” Matthew Hampton, the assistant inspector general for aviation audits, said Wednesday in a memo announcing the probe.

The audit was requested by the ranking members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Subcommittee on Aviation, Hampton said in the memo. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted words are important. The “ranking members” in the House are Republicans. It appears members of the party supposedly in favor of free enterprise have decided to panic after the relatively minor flight deviation due to high winds that occurred during the Virgin Galactic suborbital flight in July, and are now working to shut down the FAA’s effort to launch more rockets while keeping commercial aviation functioning.

The recent decision to begin shrinking the restricted air space around launches results from the increasing sophistication of rockets. Though new rockets — such as the recent launch failures of Astra’s Rocket-3 and Firefly’s Alpha — do fail and require self-destruction during launch, the launch and flight termination technology today works quite well in better controlling the rocket. When something went wrong during both of these recent launches, the rockets compensated so that they were able to continue to fly to a much higher altitude, where the range officer could more safely destroy them. In the past, failing rockets such as these would have gone out of control, threatening a larger area both in the air and on the ground.

Thus, there now is less need to restrict as much space, unless you have the fantasy that you must rig things so that nothing can ever go wrong.

This fantasy has fueled the entire Wuhan flu panic. It rules the minds of many Washington bureaucrats and politicians, from both parties, who repeatedly declare that “If we can save one life, we must!” Meanwhile this vain effort fails in its main task, since things still go wrong, and the overwrought effort to overly protect people ends up doing more harm than good by squelching all achievement.

It now appears there are Republicans on both the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its Subcommittee on Aviation who believe in this fantasy. No wonder the Democrats always win in legislative battles. They have many hidden Republican allies.

Another technical problem identified in Virgin Galactic spaceship

Capitalism in space: Virgin Galactic announced late Friday, when few would notice it, that a new technical problem has been identified with its Virgin Galactic spaceship.

In a statement issued late Sept. 10, Virgin Galactic said a third-party supplier, which it did not identify, notified the company of a potential manufacturing defect in a flight control actuation system component. Virgin said it is conducting inspections with the vendor to determine if the suspect component needs to be repaired or replaced.

Because of the inspections, Virgin Galactic said the earliest it would perform the next SpaceShipTwo mission, called Unity 23, is the middle of October. The company had previously stated the mission would take place in late September or early October.

This issue is completely independent from the flight path anomaly that occurred during the July suborbital flight that has caused the FAA to ground Virgin Galactic.

Data from Opportunity suggests surface dew periodically appears even in the dry equatorial regions

Using data from the rover Opportunity, scientists now think that the renewal of Martian salt crusts on rock surfaces on the rim of Endeavour Crater could possibly by caused by the appearance of rare thin wetting events, and that such events could have even occurred very recently and be on-going..

The scientists looked at the rate of erosion and renewal of the salt crusts, and found them to be in a steady state. The erosion is slow, taking from 200,000 to 2,000,000 years to remove 1 to 2 millimeters. However, periodically a thin film of water or wetting occurs, not unlike dew on Earth, which quickly acts to renew the crust. As David Mittlefehldt of the Astromaterials Research Office at the Johnson Space Center and the lead author of the paper explained to me,

Taken together, the data leaves open the possibility the salt mobilization has occurred within the last few thousand years. It could be ongoing in the sense that over a period of thousands? or hundreds? of years it might happen again.

In other words, the evidence suggests that every few hundred or thousand years the surface of these rocks gets wet, which results in the placement of a new thin layer of salt crusts.

Mittlefehldt also emphasized to me that these wetting events are rare, and “there is also the case that such an event may never come again because of changing conditions.”

The situation is essentially like on Earth, where in some places hydrologists measure the size of floods by how rare they are. A 1,000 year flood is big, but it happens very rarely. At Endeavour Crater these wetting events are comparably rare, but they do not involve big floods, but a mere moistening of the ground.

The location of Endeavour Crater is about 2 degrees south latitude, so it sits in the dry equatorial regions where no surface or near surface ice has so far been found. However, the cyclic nature of Mars’ orbit and obliquity could have changed this in the past, and could change this again in the future. At this time we simply don’t have enough information to know.

Door-to-door canvas of voters in Arizona finds extensive evidence of vote tampering

A door-to-door canvas of voters in Maricopa County in Arizona, conducted by an organization independent of the audit being done by the state legislature, found extensive evidence of vote tampering in the count of mail-in ballots..

An estimated 173,104 “missing or lost” votes were reported by canvassers who went door-to-door verifying registration and voting information for thousands of residents.

According to the report: “These are American citizens living in Maricopa County who cast a vote, primarily by mail, in the election and yet there is no record of their vote with the county and it was not counted in the reported vote totals for the election. Additionally an estimated 96,389 mail-in votes were cast under the names of registered voters who were either unknown to the residents of the registration address or who were verified as having moved away prior to October 2020.”

A large percentage of in person voters also had “mail-in” ballots counted in the election, the canvas found.

The canvas visited about 12,000 voters in Maricopa county, so the estimates above are extrapolations of the data actually obtained. You can read the actual report here [pdf] .

In going door-to-door, however, the canvas appears to have compared what was actually recorded by the board of elections with what the voters themselves now claim. While it is possible that when asked months later how they voted voters could misremember whether they voted by mail, in person, or even at all, it is unlikely that so many would get it wrong. The numbers thus strongly suggest that something fishy was going on in the county election board in tabulating these mail-in ballots, either because of incompetence or downright dishonesty.

That the county’s board of elections has stonewalled all investigations adds considerable weight to this conclusion.

The report’s main conclusion however is the most important. We should ban mail-in voting, as it puts one’s vote in the hands of additional third parties, at the post office and at the election boad, any one of whom can take actions to negate or change your vote.

Vote in person. Throw away that mail-in ballot. Stop making it easy for crooks to cheat.

On the edge of Mars’ glacier country

Color dry mesas on Mars
Click for full image.

Today’s cool image sits right on the southern edge of Mars’ northern glacier country, at 29 degrees north latitude. The picture to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken of this location on June 4, 2021 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It shows what appears to be the exposed and scraped bedrock and mesas on the floor of an unnamed 60-mile-wide crater.

That scraped bedrock is quite beautiful, reminiscent of the bare carved mesas and bedrock one sees throughout the southwest of the United States. To hike from that central valley to the top of the bright mesa would be a fine experience, especially because of the suggested change in colors in the color strip.

The overview map below gives more context.
» Read more

Sunspot update: Activity declines in August to just above prediction

On September 1st NOAA released its update of its monthly sunspot cycle graph, showing the Sun’s sunspot activity for the past month. That graph is below, annotated to show the previous solar cycle predictions and thus provide context.

In August sunspot activity dropped from July so that it was only slightly above the prediction of NOAA’s panel of solar scientists, as indicated by the red curve. The blank streak at the very end of July ended on August 2nd (a streak of seven days and the longest in years), but was followed during the month by an additional five blank days.

» Read more

Today’s blacklisted American: Two flight attendants fired by Alaska Airlines for asking questions

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: not applicable to Alaska Airlines
The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Apparently Alaska Airlines thinks
it doesn’t apply to them.

Lacey Smith, a former flight attendant for Alaska Airlines, found herself fired from her job when she did exactly what Alaska Airlines had requested, joining the company’s online discussion group debating its decision to publicly support a leftist bill in Congress that religious people have concerns about.

What horrible thing did Lacey Smith do in that discussion group? She simply asked a question.

Alaska Airlines issued a statement on the employees’ message board declaring support for the “Equality” Act—the deceptively named legislation that’s currently stalling in the Senate. As First Liberty [the legal firm defending Lacey] has explained, this bill poses a serious threat to religious freedom if it becomes law.

As a Christian, Lacey has concerns about the ramifications of the “Equality” Act—as do millions of Americans.

So, when Alaska Airlines invited employees to comment and ask questions about the company’s support for the “Equality” Act, Lacey took the opportunity to respond on the company message board.

She asked, “As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?”

This was all she did, ask this one simple question, doing exactly what the company requested. The result? According to the video at the link,
» Read more

Facebook and Ray-Ban selling sunglasses able to take pictures also

Your privacy belongs to us! Facebook and Ray-Ban have teamed up to create sunglasses that the wearer can use to discreetly to take pictures of their surroundings.

The Ray-Ban Stories eyewear features two 5-MP front-facing cameras for 2,592 x 1,944-pixel photos or 1,184 x 1,184-pixel videos at 30 frames per second.

A capture button is pushed to snap photo memories of what you see on your stroll through the city on a hot and sunny day, or record 30-second video clips to post online to such platforms as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok via a new Facebook View app for iOS and Android. The app also allows content to be edited or enhanced before upload, and saved to the phone’s memory, though the smart glasses do have enough built-in storage for more than 500 photos or 30 video clips. Or users can opt to for hands-free operation via Facebook Assistant voice commands.

The article describes several features that supposedly address the questions of privacy, such as led lights that glow when a picture is taken, but in the end these glasses are essentially a voyeur’s dream.

Without question such products have their legitimate uses, such as by undercover journalists or criminal investigators. To market them to the general public however means that both Facebook and Ray-Ban are willing to ignore concerns of right and wrong and the likelihood that their product will be badly misused for entire immoral reasons. All they care about is profit.

Or maybe the two companies are really developing this product to sell a more secretive version to their allies in the government. One does wonder.

Radio outbursts near center of Milky Way baffle astronomers

Astronomers have discovered a repeating radio outbursts near center of Milky Way that does not match any previously known phenomenon.

According to a new paper accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal and posted on the preprint server arXiv, the energy source is extremely finicky, appearing bright in the radio spectrum for weeks at a time and then completely vanishing within a day. This behavior doesn’t quite fit the profile of any known type of celestial body, the researchers wrote in their study, and thus may represent “a new class of objects being discovered through radio imaging.”

The radio source — known as ASKAP J173608.2−321635 — was detected with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope, situated in the remote Australian outback. In an ASKAP survey taken between April 2019 and August 2020, the strange signal appeared 13 times, never lasting in the sky for more than a few weeks, the researchers wrote. This radio source is highly variable, appearing and disappearing with no predictable schedule, and doesn’t seem to appear in any other radio telescope data prior to the ASKAP survey.

The object is even more unique in that it apparently has not been emitting any energy in any other wavelengths, including optical, infrared, or X-rays, something that such repeating outbursts usually do. So far about four such objects have been seen near the galactic center, though this new object’s behavior is not quite the same as the other three.

This is not a signal from alien life. Its energy and nature clearly makes it some form of astronomical object, though what that object is remains unknown. That such objects have so far only been detected near the center of the galaxy, where the environment is especially strange because of the presence of the supermassive black hole dubbed Sagittarius A* (pronounced A-star), suggests we really do not understand the astronomical possibilities in such regions.

Questions raised about Branson’s most recent Virgin Galactic stock sale

It appears that both Virgin Galactic and Richard Branson might have violated SEC regulations when they sold more than $800 million in stock this summer without notifying buyers of the FAA investigation into the anomaly on Branson’s July 11th suborbital flight that has now grounded all SpaceShipTwo flights.

On July 12, Virgin Galactic announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it was selling $500 million worth of common stock. The filing did not mention that during its edge-of-space flight the day before, its aircraft deviated from its air-traffic-control clearance, a mishap that would ultimately trigger a Federal Aviation Administration investigation and lead to the indefinite grounding of its space-tourism operation.

The FAA began investigating on July 23, a spokesperson told Insider. On August 11, the agency grounded Virgin Galactic’s rocket plane.

In an August 13 SEC filing, Richard Branson, the English billionaire who founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, said that in the previous three days, he had sold roughly 10.5 million personal shares, a stake worth about $300 million.

Let’s review the timeline.

July 11: The flight occurs, with high winds forcing it outside its planned flight path.
July 12: Virgin Galactic sells $500 million in stock, without mentioning the anomaly.
July 16: By this date the company was required to inform the FAA of any anomalies during the flight.
July 23: The FAA initiates its investigation..
August 11: The FAA grounds Virgin Galactic.
August 13: SEC filing reveals Branson had sold $300 million in stock without mentioning the anomaly.
September 1: New Yorker article reveals investigation of anomaly.

Though no investigation had been started, Virgin Galactic must have known about the flight anomaly when it sold its $500 million in shares on July 12, right after the flight.. By August, when Branson sold his $300 million in shares, that investigation was on-going. Yet he also failed to mention the anomaly.

As I have said before, Branson has all the markings of a conman. He has very carefully been selling stock, reducing his share in the company in the past two years from 51% to 18%, with each stock sale carefully timed to take advantage of some event that pumped up the stock’s price.

All in all, the pattern by Branson suggests he really does not have much faith in Virgin Galactic’s future.

Rocket Lab negatively impacted by New Zealand’s Wuhan panic lockdowns

Capitalism in space? Rocket Lab reported this week that not only has its income been slashed because of New Zealand’s draconian lockdowns in fear of COVID-19, the company has had to cut its planned launches for the fourth quarter of 2021 by more than half.

“Operations have experienced disruptions due to some of the most restrictive COVID-19 measures globally, including current stay-at-home orders which prevent launch operations from taking place,” said Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, of New Zealand’s current restrictions. “Indications are that the current lockdown restrictions may ease by the end of September with the delta cases dropping in New Zealand, but this, of course, is subject to change.”

Those restrictions have delayed plans by Rocket Lab to perform three dedicated Electron launches of BlackSky satellites that had been scheduled to begin in late August. It could also affect the launch of NASA’s CAPSTONE lunar cubesat, which had been scheduled for no earlier than late October on another Electron from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.

Adam Spice, chief financial officer, said that the company has five Electron launches manifested for the fourth quarter of the year, but is assuming only two launches in its financial projections. While those five launches would produce more than $40 million in revenue, the company is forecasting only $17-20 million in revenue for the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the company has not been able to launch from its new launchpad at Wallops Island in Virginia because NASA — after almost two years! — has apparently still not approved the company’s flight termination system, used to destroy a rocket that has gone out of control. NASA’s refusal to approve this system is very puzzling and very suspicious, especially because Rocket Lab has launched 21 times with it from New Zealand, and even used it several times to successfully destroy failing rockets.

Smoke and fire alarms in Russian ISS module Zvezda

In the middle of the night prior to a successful spacewalk by two Russian astronauts to begin the outfitting of the new Nauka module on ISS, fire alarms sounded in the Zvezda module, and both astronauts smelled smoke.

The incident, which the Russian space agency Roscosmos said happened at 1:55 a.m. GMT (9:55 p.m. EDT Wednesday) ahead of a scheduled spacewalk, is the latest in a string of problems to spur safety concerns over conditions on the Russian segment. “A smoke detector was triggered in the Zvezda service module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station during automatic battery charging, and an alarm went off,” Roscosmos said in a statement.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet said “the smell of burning plastic or electronic equipment” wafted to the US segment of the station, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a NASA broadcast.

The Russian crew turned on a filter and, after the air was cleaned up, the astronauts went back to sleep, Roscosmos said.

It appears that because all the systems on the Russia portion of ISS continued to function normally, the Russians did no investigation. Or if they did, they have not revealed what they found. Nor has NASA provided any information.

In their history the Russians have experienced a number of fires on their various space stations. Some burned out without consequence (as it appears this recent one did). Others required aggressive action to bring them under control, as occurred on Mir several times. This history has apparently made the Russians somewhat nonchalant about such things.

That the issue was in Zvezda, however, which has a serious structural stress fracture problem in its hull, should be cause for a greater concern. Is this burn event related to the stress fractures? If I was an astronaut on board ISS I would surely want to know.

Launches by China and Russia

Both Russia and China successfully completed launches yesterday. Russia launched a military reconnaissance satellite using its Soyuz-2 rocket. China in turn launched a communications satellite using its Long March 3B rocket.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

31 China
21 SpaceX
14 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

The U.S. still leads China 32 to 31 in the national rankings.

List of lawyers for fighting mask and vaccine mandates

A new website has been established listing all the law firms available for fighting the Biden administration’s new Nazi vaccine mandates. As stated at the site:

[M]ost people (i.e. the people who just do what they are told by their employer, the government, or the narrative) do not know the law, so they believe that vaccine and mask mandates can be enforced. However, this is not true. This is when you will have to push back and contact an attorney to get advice.

I hope this helps you because now is the time to stand up to this kind of injustice and draconian medical tyranny. [emphasis mine]

The site not only lists a number of national legal organizations for filing lawsuits, it lists law firms, by state, that have said they will take these cases. It also adds this:

If you are Part of a Law Firm that would like to be added to The List, please email us at contact@fightthemandates.info.

As the website states, now is the time to stand up and fight. No more nice guy. Challenge these thugs, led by Democrat Joe Biden, in every way possible. Do not submit. Do not agree. Make them sweat.

I have never worn a mask, and continue to refuse to. Though this has denied me healthcare (no eye surgeon who does cataract surgeries nor will any lung doctor see me), I will not bow to this idiocy. I am now finding that some doctors will back down if I push hard enough.

Make them back down. Make them aware that their mask policies and new vaccine requirements are evil and you will not comply. You might not win, but if you do not fight you will have lost before the battle has even begun.

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