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Posts Tagged ‘Carl Sagan’

It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs:  the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas …  If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you …  On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones.
 
    —    Carl Sagan
 
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On This Day In:
2022 You Ought To Be Having Fun
2021 Democrats Talking To Republicans
  Talkin’ To Myself And Feelin’ Old
2020 You Are Not Late (Yet)
2019 Too Difficult To Try
2018 Hold Fast
2017 The Only Real Security
2016 Time Said
2015 If Only Common Sense Were More Common
2014 PTI
2013 What Now, Then?
2012 Big C, Little B
  Duty, Honor, Country
   

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Very few scientists actually plunge into the murky waters of testing or challenging borderline or pseudo-scientific beliefs.  The chance of finding out something really interesting — except about human nature — seems small, and the amount of time required seems large.  I believe that scientists should spend more time in discussing these issues, but the fact that a given contention lacks vigorous scientific opposition in no way implies that scientists think it is reasonable.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Let Yourself Soar In 2022
Where You’re Concerned
2020 The Most Dynamic Link
Looking Forward To 2021
2019 A Proud Assertion
2018 Ask #45 About Anything
2017 Playing Makes Sense
2016 And Fathers, Sons
2015 My Suspect Confidence
2014 Disguised Blessings
2013 Be
2012 The Only Way to Win
2011 Honest Writing

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For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
    —     Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Being Constantly Great
Hopeful Realization
2020 Sapping Joy
Blew Out My Flip-Flop
Really Wheelie
2019 Word Up
2018 But Much Is Worth Learning
2017 Mr. President, About Global Warming
2016 Starting To Stumble
2015 Begin Combat
I Am A Runner
2014 Just Dig ‘N It, Why?
2013 Additions
The Object Of Instruction
2012 Telling Her
2011 On Torture

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The truth may be puzzling.  It may take some work to grapple with.  It may be counterintuitive.  It may contradict deeply held prejudices.  It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true.  But our preferences do not determine what’s true.  We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth — never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities.  Cleverly designed experiments are the key.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Fighting New Guitar Fever
Bad Trades In The Tunnel
2020 Give And Gain
Can We Talk For A Second
Almost Ready To Take A Breath
2019 Transfiguration
2018 2018 Mid-Terms
Praying For A Blue Tsunami Election
2017 Islam Is Not The Enemy
2016 A Checkered Past, A Checkered Future
2015 Preferences
2014 Have You Taken The Pledge?
2013 Nurture Tolerance
2012 Election Day – Please Hear What I’m Not Saying
2011 Mostly Strange, Always Blue
What Is It You Want?
2010 MSNBC, Bring Back Keith !!!
Value..
Worse Still…
Afraid So…
Making It
Don’t Jump Small
Time
Push!!
I’m Still Here… (A Message To Keith Olbermann)
Choose
Not Yet…
Mean Too
Still Building (and Planning)
Hangin’ High
Always…

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Science is much more than a body of knowledge.  It is a way of thinking.  This is central to its success.  Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions.  It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which ones best match the facts.  It urges on us a fine balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything — new ideas and established wisdom.  We need wide appreciation of this kind of thinking.  It works.  It’s an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change.  Our task is not just to train more scientists but also to deepen public understanding of science.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Experience A Simple Whatever
A Thousand Kisses
2020 Talking Politics With Trump Republicans
In Another Lifetime
2019 People Will Come
Change Is Here…
2018 Be My Hero – Vote Tomorrow!
He Was All Of Us…
2017 Black And White
Advice For #DumbDonald
2016 Mirror, Mirror
2015 Speaking With Forked Tongue
2014 The Code
2013 Eventually Formed
2012 Remember To Vote Tomorrow
2011 It Sounds Like Chaos Theory To Me

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If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
    —     Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Are We Talking About Health Insurance / Oil Companies, Facebook Or Faux News?
When MTV Was Young (And Fun)
2020 Resting
A New Day Just Means We Continue The Struggle (With A Smile)
2019 One For Two
Why Trump Insults Pelosi and Schiff
2018 The Worst
2017 #DonTheCon In The Oval Office
2016 Are You Like #AmnestyDon And Sarah Palin?
2015 Begin Today
2014 Look Again (At Life’s Illusions)
2013 None Knows
2012 Yet
2011 No End In Sight
2010 Back At It…

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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:
2022 A Little Perspective
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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