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.

Regular readers can support Behind The Black by either making a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal, or $3 to $50 through Patreon, or any amount through Zelle.


The best method to donate or subscribe is by using Zelle through your internet bank account, since it charges no fees to you or I. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). What you donate is what I get.


To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.
 

For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
 


 

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If these electronic payment methods don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 

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

Gallup’s astonishing numbers

I can see November from my house. New numbers from Gallup are “astonishing.” To quote Michael Barone today in the Washington Examiner: “These two numbers, if translated into popular votes in the 435 congressional districts, suggest huge gains for Republicans and a Republican House majority the likes of which we have not seen since the election cycles of 1946 or even 1928.”

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

Murder for the sake of climate idealogy

Bumped. Scroll down to see the update.

This video has been making the rounds on the web. Though I warn you that is somewhat graphic, it is essential that you watch it.

When I first saw this about a week ago, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. It was so vile and offensive I could not believe that it was legitimate. It obviously wants to pay some homage to Monty Python, but even Monty Python never went this far. How could anyone possibly think that killing small children in the name of environmentalism was in any way funny? And how could anyone ever believe that this video would persuade anyone to go along with the 1010 environmental campaign? If anything, the video does an excellent job of discrediting this organization and everyone involved with it.

Thus, despite what some bloggers were saying, I held back commenting, just to make sure the video was real and not a terrible prank meant to sabotage.

There is now no reason to hold back. Late last week, the 1010 organization itself issued an apology, admitting that this video was their handiwork. Before I continue, I think it is worthwhile for you to also read their apology, in all its venal glory. In many ways, it condemns them and their allies far more than the video did:
» Read more

WISE telescope moves into final phase of mission

Having run out hydrogen coolant for its infrared cameras and with only a few more months of usable life, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has shifted its work from deep space astronomy to completing its last sweep of the solar system in a search for asteroids and comets.

Update: At a press conference going on right now at the 42nd meeting of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences, WISE scientists note that the mission extension will continue for one month. If that month is successful, the mission will continue until the end of January 2011 in order to complete its solar system sweep. After this the spacecraft will be put in hibernation, available for future work.

Summary of solar system results so far:

  • 33,576 asteroids discovered of which 120 were Near Earth Asteroids.
  • 19 new comets.

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

It’s okay to kill suffering children says UK journalist

Seems to be a lot of this kind of genocidal thought going around: A columnist for the Independent in Great Britain admitted in an October 4th interview that she considers it a kind act to kill a suffering child. Key quote:

“[I] think that if I were a mother of a suffering child, I would be the first to want I mean a deeply suffering child I would be the first one to put a pillow over its face, as I would with any suffering thing and I think the difference is that my feeling of horror, suffering is many greater than my feeling of getting rid of a couple of cells because suffering can go on for years,” Ironside said.

The wind-blown dunes of Mars

The HiRise Camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has released some wonderful new pictures, showing what are called barchan dunes on Mars.

Barchans are crescent-shaped, with the horns of the crescents pointing downwind. One barchan is visible in the upper part of the image, with the Southeast (lower right) horns longer than the other. This trend, along with the position of the steep face of the dune on the South side, indicates that the predominant winds which formed the dunes came from the North.

There are a lot more great images on the websites above.

Wind-blown dunes

Life in the Chilean mine

A very detailed update on the trapped Chilean miners, now expected to be rescured in early November. Two key quotes:

The miners are sleeping on cots that were sent down in pieces and reassembled, and each can look forward every weekend to eight minutes each of video chat time with his family using compact cameras and a phone that was disassembled to fit through the hole.

And:

Their routine starts with breakfast – hot coffee or tea with milk and a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Then lots of labor: Removing the loose rock that drops through the bore holes as they are being widened into escape tunnels; cleaning up their trash and emptying the toilet; and attending to the capsules known as “palomas” – Spanish for carrier pigeons – that are lowered to them with supplies.

The miners must quickly remove the contents – food, clean clothes, medicine, family letters and other supplies – and send back up material such as dirty clothes, rolled up like sausages to fit. Each trip down takes 12 to 15 minutes, then four minutes for unloading and five minutes to pull them back up. At least three miners are constantly stationed at the bore hole for this work.

The single most powerful political force in the nation

Want to know what the actual future consequences of the Tea Party movement will be? Read this op-ed by Glenn Reynolds. Key quote:

Both political parties are out of touch, and ordinary Americans are very unhappy about it, as they watch the Treasury being looted, the economy sink, and the political, journalistic, and financial ruling-class figures escaping the consequences of their ham-handed and self-serving actions.

Also:

For now, Republicans are (sort of) the beneficiaries. Though Tea Partiers aren’t happy with the GOP, they’re much less happy with the Democrats. In this election cycle, Republicans will benefit. But Tea Partiers are also taking over the GOP from the bottom up, running for precinct chairs and state committee seats.

This makes sense: There are barriers to entry for third parties, and it makes more sense to take over an existing party than to start from scratch, if that’s possible.

But those establishment GOP figures who think that they’ll cruise to victory and a return to the pocket-stuffing business-as-usual that marked the prior GOP majority need to think again. This election cycle is, in a very real sense, a last chance for the Republicans. If they blow it, we’re likely to see third-party challenges in 2012, not only at the Presidential level but in numerous Congressional races as well.

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