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Posts Tagged ‘Carl Sagan’

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
    —     Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 I’ll Keep Trying To Anyway
She Knows
2020 Respond
Still Trying To Adjust
2019 The Limits Of My Knowledge
2018 Even Tiny Progress
2017 Real Conservatism
2016 The Business Of Life
2015 Alone Again, Naturally
2014 Agreed
2013 Smile From Your Heart!
2012 Like You
2011 Got Days?
2010 K9 Humor – Has Anyone Seen My Setter?  (Must read!!)
A Longer Blog Than You Want To Read (Probably)
2009 Back and Forth and Round Again…

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If you take a look at science in its everyday function, of course you find that scientists run the gamut of human emotions and personalities and character and so on.  But there’s one thing that is really striking to the outsider, and that is the gauntlet of criticism that is considered acceptable or even desirable.  The poor graduate student at his or her Ph.D. oral exam is subjected to a withering crossfire of questions that sometimes seem hostile or contemptuous;  this from the professors who have the candidate’s future in their grasp.  The students naturally are nervous;  who wouldn’t be?  True, they’ve prepared for it for years.  But they understand that at that critical moment they really have to be able to answer questions.  So in preparing to defend their theses, they must anticipate questions;  they have to think, “Where in my thesis is there a weakness that someone else might find — because I sure better find it before they do, because if they find it and I’m not prepared, I’m in deep trouble.”
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 No Profit Without Risk
And One For Me
2020 He’s Forgotten About Drugs And Rock ‘N Roll
2019 I Still Walk Daily
A Windy Monday
2018 No Religious Test, Yes Religious Ban
2017 Looking At #DumbDonald
2016 No Great Thing
2015 Happy Memory
Of Two Minds
2014 Sums
2013 Memories & Binging
Admiration Due
2012 Choices Matter
2011 Acceptance Is The Key
2010 Just A Permanent Crease…
Bodily Functions

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Humans — who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain.  A sharp distinction between humans and ‘animals’ is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret.  It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer.  The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious.  They are just too much like us.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 The Truth Shall Keep Us Free
Let Your Hair Down
2020 But What About Tomorrow’s Blog Post?
2019 Don’t Forget Obstruction Of Justice
An Honest, Unvarnished Assessment
2018 #45 And The Republicans Are Pretending (So Far)
2017 Made
2016 Halves
Accepted Fraud
2015 Even The Little Ones
2014 Who’s On First?
2013 No Equal Measure
2012 A Single Host
2011 No Exemptions
2010 Memories Of KSA – Inside The Fire

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We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads.  But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Broaden The Circle
The Phone Keeps Ringing
2020 Stay Gentle
2019 Immoral #45
2018 From My Soapbox
2017 The Single Most Effective Thing For Health
2016 A Trumpet Solo
2015 Potential Is A Heavy Burden
2014 Fear Not, Weep Not
2013 Half Way There
2012 Sacrificed Any Lately?
2011 The Value Of One’s Character
2010 Intervals
On Being Human
Non-predictive Emergence
Events
Bodily Functions
Standing Thoughts
Sent Home Is Better Than Fixed

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When there isn’t enough food, the body has to make a decision on how to invest the limited foodstuff available to it.  Survival comes first, growth comes second.  And in this kind of nutritional triage, the body seems obliged to rank learning, last.  It sort of it’s better to be stupid and alive, than smart and dead.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Life Finds A Way
In The Palm Of My Hand
2020 I’m Not Worried
2019 Forgiving The Chasm
2018 A Sure Sign Of Age
Before The Fall – Cheat
2017 Distant Goal
2016 More Lives
2015 Go Shopping More
2014 Say What?
2013 Accepting Beauty
2012 Transitional Choice To Ride The Wave
2011 Freedom Isn’t Always Perfect
Just That Simple

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Consider again that dot.  That’s here.  That’s home.  That’s us.  On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.  The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar”, every “supreme leader”, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.  Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.  Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.  Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.  In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life.  There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.  Visit, yes.  Settle, not yet.  Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.  There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.  To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 The Imposition Of Position
Rainin’ Fire In The Sky
2020 Stand Up!
Crowd Sourced Scouting Report
2019 Only One Direction
2018 Respect Is Long Gone
2017 Dream Of Dreamers
2016 Dear Automakers
2015 And Some Not So Brave Too
2014 In My Lifetime…
2013 Democracy
2012 Borrowed Expectations
2011 Not Necessarily True

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Even these stars, which seem so numerous, are as sand, as dust – or less than dust – in the enormity of the space in which there is nothing.
    —    Carl Sagan
No other planet in the solar system is a suitable home for human beings;  it’s this world or nothing.  That’s a very powerful perception.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 We Need Professional Journalists AND The First Amendment
It Was Rainin’ Hard
2020 Neither Alone, Nor Lonely
Giving
2019 That’s Why It’s Called Faith
2018 So We Agree, #45 Is Dumb – Too
2017 The Morality Of Spying
2016 He Doesn’t Remind Me Of Me
The First Rule
2015 Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow
The Man Without Fear
2014 I Blame Robocop
2013 Future Trustees
2012 Praise Not The Day…
2011 Educated Living

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The brain is like a muscle.  When it is in use we feel very good.  Understanding is joyous.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Fortes Fortuna Juvat*
Layin’ In Bed
2020 For Sale
2019 Letting Go
2018 Trying To Give More
2017 The Reproductive Value Of A Presidential Election
2016 For Me It’s Been Faith
2015 Where Many Paths And Errands Meet
2014 Rimmed Out
2013 Likeness
2012 Sums It Up Quite Well, Actually
2011 Momentary Abandonment

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Who are we?  We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Put ‘Er There
Are You Goin’ On Again?
2020 And In The Back
2019 Sunlight Stream
2018 Wars Without Taxes
2017 Multiplication And Division
2016 I Went To The Woods…
2015 I’ve Got To Run
2014 Which Is It?
2013 Making You Stronger
2012 Sick Of Being Sick
Greater Than Power
2011 Clear, Specific And Measurable
2010 The Runner’s High
Into The Dark…

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Science is … a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility.  If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs for the next charlatan, political or religious, who comes ambling along.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 I’d Argue Wealth, Then Income
Knock Him Off His Feet
2020 Steppin’…
2019 Every Vote Counts
2018 Or A President
2017 Pleasures
2016 Why Not?
2015 Je Suis Charlie
2014 To The Nines
2013 Higher And Truer
2012 Life’s Last Question
2011 A Single Heartbeat
A Little Male Humor – WHY MEN SHOULDN’T RETIRE

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Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs — in time, in space, and in potential — the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors.  We gaze across billions of light-years of space to view the Universe shortly after the Big Bang, and plumb the fine structure of matter.  We peer down into the core of our planet, and the blazing interior of our star.  We read the genetic language in which is written the diverse skills and propensities of every being on Earth.  We uncover hidden chapters in the record of our origins, and with some anguish better understand our nature and prospects.  We invent and refine agriculture, without which almost all of us would starve to death.  We create medicines and vaccines that save the lives of billions.  We communicate at the speed of light, and whip around the Earth in an hour and a half.  We have sent dozens of ships to more than seventy worlds, and four spacecraft to the stars.  We are right to rejoice in our accomplishments, to be proud that our species has been able to see so far, and to judge our merit in part by the very science that has so deflated our pretensions.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 A Weary Rehearsal?
Are You Poking Me Again?
2019 At Least Mostly On Purpose
2018 Only One You In All Time
2017 Have You Hugged A Tree Lately?
2016 Unconquerable Imagination
2015 Just Plain Wrong
2014 Finding Beliefs
2013 Pretty Confident
2012 Effective Ranges
2011 Three Wisdoms
2010 I’m Just Askin’…
Space & Time

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It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery.  But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works — that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red?  It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 And Fields Of Green
Success Has Been So Easy
2020 Build It To Last
Thumpin’ Bass
2019 30 Day Health / Weight Update (Oct 2019)
When Reason Comes
2018 One Of The Great Ones
2017 Mirror In The Oval Office
True Courage
2016 What’s Your Excuse?
2015 Some Meaningful Resemblance
2014 Bloom
Orange October (VII) – The Giants Win The Pennant!!
2013 Walking The Walk
2012 Legacy Of Star Trek (TOS)
2011 Tolerating The Intolerant
Passionate Germs
2010 Giants Win Game 1 In Philly (4 to 3)!!

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Here we face a critical branch point in history, what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants.
We are star stuff, which has taken its destiny into its own hands.  The loom of time and space works the most astonishing transformations of matter.  Our own planet is only a tiny part of the vast cosmic tapestry, a starry fabric of worlds yet untold.  Those worlds in space are as countless as all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth.  Each of those worlds is as real as ours.  In every one of them there’s a succession of incidents, events, occurrences, which influence its future.  Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time, and our small planet at this moment — here we face a critical branch point in history.  What we do with our world, right now will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants.  It is well within our power to destroy our civilization and perhaps our species as well.  If we capitulate a superstition or greed or stupidity, we can plunge our world into a darkness deeper than the time between the collapse of classical civilization and the Italian Renaissance.  But we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth, to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet, to enhance enormously our understanding of the universe and to carry us to the stars.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Well Within Our Power
Hammer Time
2020 3 November Is Coming!
Bee Gees’ing
2019 Senate Republicans: Impeachment – Because It Is Right!
Dave’s Not Here, Man!
Mixing Business And Pleasure
2018 Intensity Doesn’t Make It Correct
HF2: 1940’s Grapes
2017 Proof Sits In The Oval Office
2016 Tragic Determinism
2015 Maybe It Should Be Clearer
2014 Make It Your Strength
2013 Four Score
2012 The Ruler
2011 Forever
2010 Just Cuz
How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
It’s Alive!! (3rd Pair Shoe Review)

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In the long run, the aggressive civilizations destroy themselves, almost always.  It’s their nature.  They can’t help it.
    —    Carl Sagan
[Does anybody else remember when being a conservative Republican meant supporting the troops, law and order and an efficient, cost effective government?  Now, Republicans criticize the commander of the Joint Chiefs, support insurrection in the Capitol Building and are threatening to ruin the “good faith and credit” of the United States by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.  Let’s recall, the current budget (which Congress agreed to) was signed by a Republican President.  These are debts the Republicans ALREADY committed to owing when they passed last year’s budget.    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2020 Michigan Countdown
Risk Free
2019 Speak Up / Call Out
2018 Does Smiling Count?
2017 Giving Much
2016 Sounds Like Class
2015 Inert Ideas
2014 Worth Anything?
2013 Bruises Before Bed (Or Why You Didn’t Answer)
Revealed Riches
2012 Extra Gears
2011 Say What?
2010 Hello Frogs…

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Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group.  Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations.  We have broadened the circle of those we love.  We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together — surely a humanizing and character building experience.  If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth.  Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant.  They will fear the loss of power.  We will hear much about treason and disloyalty.  Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones.  But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Stay Gentle
2019 Immoral #45
2018 From My Soapbox
2017 The Single Most Effective Thing For Health
2016 A Trumpet Solo
2015 Potential Is A Heavy Burden
2014 Fear Not, Weep Not
2013 Half Way There
2012 Sacrificed Any Lately?
2011 The Value Of One’s Character
2010 Intervals
On Being Human
Non-predictive Emergence
Events
Bodily Functions
Standing Thoughts
Sent Home Is Better Than Fixed

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