Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of makng 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.

Demonstration on October 30 to protest the trial of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

There will be a demonstration on October 30 in support Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, who is facing prison in Austria for publicly quoting the Koran and then criticizing what it says. The video below explains the disgusting nature of the charges against her, and how freedom of speech is under direct attack in Austria. Key quote:

“It seems that some people do not appreciate a non-Muslim quoting verbatim from the Koran. . . . Apparently you have to convert to Islam in order to quote from the Koran and not be accused of hate speech.”

You can offer support to her legal defense fund by going here. This fund is not controlled by her, and will only be used to pay her legal fees.

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Genesis cover

Want to learn the inside story of the Apollo lunar landing, now celebrating its 50th anniversary? 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, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

 
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

Leaving Earth cover

In March I obtained from my former publisher the last 30 copies of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. I quickly sold 10, and with only 20 left in stock I am raising the price. To get your own autographed copy of this rare collector's item please send a $75 check (which includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to
 

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

I will likely raise the price again when only ten books are left, so buy them now at this price while you still can!


  Also available as an inexpensive ebook!
 

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

 


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

First ticket issued for deadly butter

Our government doing the really important work! Health officials in Baltimore have handed out their first ticket to a restaurant for not using the proper cooking recipe, as determined by the government. Key quote:

“They originally had a margarine that was above 3 grams, actually, which is very high compared to the .5 that is allowed. Then when we came back and they had replaced it, they replaced it with one that was 2 grams, so it still was too high,” [Health Department agent Juan] Gutierrez said.

And then there’s this: Fake health inspectors at restaurants on the rise.

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UN treaty language threatens to ban all “climate-related geoengineering”

Treaty language being written at a United Nations conference on biodiversity is so vague it threatens to bar almost all new development. Here is the language, via Science:

8 (w) Ensure, in line and consistent with decision IX/16 C, on ocean
fertilisation and biodiversity and climate change, in the absence of science-based, global, transparent and effective control and regulatory mechanisms for geo-engineering, and in accordance with the precautionary approach and Article 14 of the Convention, that no climate-related geoengineering activities (1) that may affect biodiversity take place, until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities and appropriate consideration of the associated risks for the environment and biodiversity and associated social, economic and cultural impacts, with the exception of small scale scientific research studies that would be conducted in a controlled setting in accordance with Article 3 of the Convention, and only if they are justified by the need to gather specific scientific data and are subject to a thorough prior assessment of the potential impacts on the environment.

(1) Without prejudice to future deliberations on the definition of geo-engineering activities, understanding that any technologies that deliberately reduce solar insolation or increase carbon sequestration from the atmosphere on a large scale that may affect biodiversity (excluding carbon capture and storage from fossil fuels when it captures carbon dioxide before it is released to the atmosphere) should be considered as forms of geoengineering which are relevant to the Convention on Biological Diversity until a more precise definition can be developed. Noting that solar insolation is defined as a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given hour and that carbon sequestration is defined as the process of increasing the carbon contact of a reservoir/pool other than the atmosphere. [emphasis mine]

This language is so broad that, if agreed to by the United States, it could easily put almost any activity that affects the environment, including technology, business, property, recreation, or practically anything at all, under the control of UN regulators.

But wait, there’s more. The goal of this UN conference, to quote their own webpage, is to achieve “a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.” Obviously, this UN group is not merely interested in protecting the biodiversity of life on Earth, but to also redistribute the wealth so as to help poorer nations.

God help us if our government agrees to this.

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Toronto elects conservative mayor by a surprising margin

Is this a hint of what’s to come on Tuesday? Toronto yesterday not only elected a conservative mayor by a very large margin, four incumbent councillors were also defeated soundly. Key quote:

Polls, indicating the race was razor edge close, were proven false in 11 single minutes! . . . [The conservative] Ford won with 383,501 votes—more than the votes of his two main opponents combined.

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New Kepler results!

Scientists released additional Kepler results [pdf] today, this time describing what they are learning about the stars being observed rather than any planets that might be orbiting them. In studying each star’s minute variations of light, the astronomers can track how the star itself is oscillating like a bell ringing. From this they can do a kind of stellar seismology, finding out a great deal about what is going on inside the star. The data has thus:

  • produced the most precise measurements of the size and age of another star beside the Sun. KIC 11026764 has a radius 2.05 times the size of the Sun, and is now believed to be 5.94 billion years old, slightly older than the Sun’s 4.57 billion years. Though larger than the Sun, this star is a G-type star like the Sun. So far, Kepler has observed about 1500 solar-type stars. The astronomers are still analyzing this data, with results to follow.
  • measured the oscillations of a thousand red giant stars, ranging from slightly larger to dozens of times larger than the Sun. The larger the star, the faster the oscillation and the larger the amplitude, which in turn has confirmed the theories about how the nuclear processes in the core of stars evolve over time, shifting from burning hydrogen to helium. Since these red giants are what our Sun will be like when it reaches old age, we are thus learning something about the Sun’s future.
  • and provided the most precise measurements ever of RR Lyrae stars, a class of unusual variable stars that have puzzled astronomers for more than a century. From this data the astronomers hope to find out exactly why these stars fluctuate as they do.
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Spaceport dedication in New Mexico

Mike Shinabery, a fellow science writer who also writes for the New Mexico Museum of Space History, attended the dedication ceremony this past weekend of the new spaceport located about 45 miles north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. He took some pictures and kindly forwarded them to me. Below is a shot of Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo, carrying SpaceShipTwo, as it approached for landing.

WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo

More photos below the fold. » Read more

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Obama takes the money and runs

These politicians are such jerks! A family in Rhode Island put together a fancy “Dinner with Obama” to raise money for Democrats. Obama arrives, collects the money, and then skips out before dinner. And why couldn’t Obama stay? This is what he said, just before everyone else sat down to eat,

“I’ve got to go home to tuck in the girls and walk the dog and scoop the poop,”

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Why this election is important

Mark Steyn explains why next week’s midterm election and what the next Congress does has very special significance. Key quote:

In a two-party system, you have to work with what’s available. In America, one party is openly committed to driving the nation off the cliff, and the other party is full of guys content to go along for the ride as long as we shift down to third gear. That’s no longer enough of a choice. If your candidate isn’t committed to fewer government agencies with fewer employees on lower rates of pay, he’s part of the problem. This is the last chance for the GOP to restore its credentials. If it blows it, all bets are off for 2012.

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Another European on trial for reporting the facts about Islam

Freedom of speech alert! Geert Wilders is not the only European on trial simply for reporting factual information about Islam and the Koran. In Vienna, Austria, feminist and anti-jihad activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff faces prison simply because she conducted “public seminars in which she described Islamic doctrine, quoted from the Koran, and explained to her listeners what she considers the dangers of Islam.” Her trial date is now set for November 23. More information can also be found at Jihad Watch.

The website Gates of Vienna has started a campaign to support Sabaditsch-Wolff, and is asking websites and bloggers worldwide to support her. I am glad to lend my voice to her cause. Any government that wants to put a citizen in jail, merely for expressing an opinion or stating facts, should be condemned as loudly as possble. If you go to the campaign site above, you can read about the history of the case in detail as well as find ways you can lend your own support. Also, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s legal defense fund can be found at http://english.savefreespeech.org/ .

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