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Posts Tagged ‘Cosmos’

Unlike the La Pérouse expedition the Conquistadors sought not knowledge but Gold.  They used their superior weapons to loot and murder, in their madness they obliterated a civilization.  In the name of piety, in a mockery of their religion, the Spaniards utterly destroyed a society with an Art, Astronomy and Architecture the equal of anything in Europe.  We revile the Conquistadors for their cruelty and shortsightedness, for choosing death.  We admire La Pérouse and the Tlingit for their courage and wisdom, for choosing life.  The choice is with us still, but the civilization now in jeopardy is all humanity.  As the ancient myth makers knew we’re children equally of the earth and the sky.  In our tenure on this planet we’ve accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage, propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders, all of which puts our survival in some doubt.  But we’ve also acquired compassion for others, love for our children, a desire to learn from history and experience and a great soaring passionate intelligence, the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity.  Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth.   But up there in the Cosmos an inescapable perspective awaits.  National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space.  Fanatical ethnic or religious or national identifications are a little difficult to support when we see our Earth as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and the citadel of the stars.  There are not yet obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours rush inevitably headlong into self-destruction.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 It Is Still About Sharing And Cheering
2019 Sounds Like #LyingDonald
2018 Start Building
2017 Woof! Woof!
2016 Cast Out
2015 Small Pieces
Happy Father’s Day!
2014 Uncertain Work
2013 Unpatriotic And Servile
2012 What Price Freedom?
2011 Particular Importance
Three From Bette…

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There can be an infinite number of polygons, but only five regular solids.  Four of the solids were associated with earth, fire, air and water.  The cube for example represented earth.  These four elements, they thought, make up terrestrial matter.  So the fifth solid they mystically associated with the Cosmos.  Perhaps it was the substance of the heavens.  This fifth solid was called the dodecahedron.  Its faces are pentagons, twelve of them.  Knowledge of the dodecahedron was considered too dangerous for the public.  Ordinary people were to be kept ignorant of the dodecahedron.  In love with whole numbers, the Pythagoreans believed that all things could be derived from them.  Certainly all other numbers.
So a crisis in doctrine occurred when they discovered that the square root of two was irrational.  That is: the square root of two could not be represented as the ratio of two whole numbers, no matter how big they were.  “Irrational” originally meant only that.  That you can’t express a number as a ratio.  But for the Pythagoreans it came to mean something else, something threatening, a hint that their world view might not make sense, the other meaning of “irrational”.
   —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 The Butterflies Are In Trouble
2019 The Deep Center
2018 Oh, Heaven (Too)
2017 Now Pausing Makes Sense
2016 Just Spicy
Only One Part
2015 Positive Acts Of Creation
2014 One Thing Is Clear
2013 Corrections
See Greatness
2012 Gemutlichkeit
2011 Back On The Asphalt

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Since this series’ maiden voyage, the impossible has come to pass:  Mighty walls that maintained insuperable ideological differences have come tumbling down; deadly enemies have embraced and begun to work together.  The imperative to cherish the Earth and protect the global environment that sustains all of us has become widely accepted, and we’ve begun, finally, the process of reducing the obscene number of weapons of mass destruction.  Perhaps we have, after all, decided to choose life.  But we still have light years to go to ensure that choice.  Even after the summits and the ceremonies and the treaties, there are still some 50,000 nuclear weapons in the world — and it would require the detonation of only a tiny fraction of them to produce a nuclear winter, the predicted global climatic catastrophe that would result from the smoke and the dust lifted into the atmosphere by burning cities and petroleum facilities.
The world scientific community has begun to sound the alarm about the grave dangers posed by depleting the protective ozone shield and by greenhouse warming, and again we’re taking some mitigating steps, but again those steps are too small and too slow.  The discovery that such a thing as nuclear winter was really possible evolved out of the studies of Martian dust storms.  The surface of Mars, fried by ultraviolet light, is also a reminder of why it’s important to keep our ozone layer intact.  The runaway greenhouse effect on Venus is a valuable reminder that we must take the increasing greenhouse effect on Earth seriously.
Important lessons about our environment have come from spacecraft missions to the planets.  By exploring other worlds we safeguard this one.  By itself, I think this fact more than justifies the money our species has spent in sending ships to other worlds.  It is our fate to live during one of the most perilous and, at the same time, one of the most hopeful chapters in human history.
Our science and our technology have posed us a profound question.  Will we learn to use these tools with wisdom and foresight before it’s too late?  Will we see our species safely through this difficult passage so that our children and grandchildren will continue the great journey of discovery still deeper into the mysteries of the Cosmos?  That same rocket and nuclear and computer technology that sends our ships past the farthest known planet can also be used to destroy our global civilization.  Exactly the same technology can be used for good and for evil.  It is as if there were a God who said to us, “I set before you two ways:  You can use your technology to destroy yourselves or to carry you to the planets and the stars.  It’s up to you.”
   —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Still Willing
2019 Another Prayer
2018 After Silence
2017 Are You Looking Forward To A Trump Presidency?
2016 Three Errors From Eureka
2015 Limiting Choices
2014 Praise The Lord And Pass The Hypocrisy
That Sound
2013 Still Waiting For Answers
2012 Informal Leadership
2011 A Little More Progress
2010 Bec’s Gone Again…

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In addition, at least in America, science has been treated sort of cavalierly, not only by the public but also by government.  The idea that science is just some luxury that you’ll get around to if you can afford it is regressive to any future a country might dream for itself.  Innovations in science and technology are the engines of the 21st-century economy; if you care about the wealth and health of your nation tomorrow, then you’d better rethink how you allocate taxes to fund science.  The federal budget needs to recognize this.
    —    Neil DeGrasse-Tyson
Quoted by Rachel Edidin in the March 2014 Wired magazine article titled: “Neil DeGrasse Tyson on Why Cosmos Will Be Better Than Ever
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On This Day In:
2013 Weren’t You Supposed To Be Reading?
Absent Friends
Where I Stand
2012 Hangin’ With His P’s
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2011 Six Facets Of Good Leadership

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We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness.  We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose.  Our loyalties are to the species and the planet.  We speak for Earth.  Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
    ―    Carl Sagan
From his TV Show: “Cosmos
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On This Day In:
2013 Inward Urgency
2012 Delayed Reviews
Fulfilling My Duty
2011 Interference

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There are many hypotheses in science that are wrong.  That’s perfectly alright; it’s the aperture to finding out what’s right.  Science is a self-correcting process.  To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny.
    ―     Carl Sagan
From his TV Show: “Cosmos
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On This Day In:
2013 None But He Knows
2012 99% Are Demanding
2011 All In The Family
Take Your Pick

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Cosmos is a Greek word for the order of the universe.  It is, in a way, the opposite of Chaos.  It implies the deep interconnectedness of all things.  It conveys awe for the intricate and subtle way in which the universe is put together.
    ―    Carl Sagan
From his TV Show: “Cosmos
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On This Day In:
2013 Attention To Detail
2012 Aequanimitas!
2011 Consider This

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