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Thread: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

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    Default The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    I reccomend opening the spoil tag before going on.

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    I'm serious, open that spoil tag.




    Until about three weeks ago, astronomy was just an awe inspiring idea for me, and Carl Sagan's cornell university speech was just a quote for my background. It wasnt until I started taking astronomy that I could actually look at this quote for what it is. It is more of an eye opener than Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. I dont know what I am really trying to get at, but Sagan is very powerful figure in my eyes, and his idea on the world is something that seems to be willingly unknown to everyone else.

    Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you,
    By the livin' Gawd that made you,
    You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
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    It is our military's traditional response to quell provocative actions with a merciless thunderbolt.

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    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    Awesome Veho. Carl took a lot of crap for his generalizations about astronomy and physics, but his results offset the negatives of any such generalizations. He had a way with words that fired the imagination, that made us see the universe and our planet for the wonder that they are. His passion was infectious. In his series Cosmos, he got us excited about scientific discoveries hundreds of years ago. He showed us how amazing life is. He even showed us the beauty of mathematics - who would have thought?

    I had the pleasure to hear him speak when he came to Penn State around 1980. He was a great speaker in person too.

    Thanks for sharing this.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    I find this mash-up/video strangely moving:

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

  4. #4

    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    Very nice video Lemur.

    Carl Sagan has, I think, given me something to pursue in my college career. Instead of a focus on computer engineering, which was more of a hobby anyways, I really think I might have a future in astronomy.

    Im currently watching his series Cosmos on youtube. It is fascinating beyond anything I have ever seen before. Im focusing more on it than my 9 page essay that is due in T- 14 hours.
    Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you,
    By the livin' Gawd that made you,
    You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
    Quote Originally Posted by North Korea
    It is our military's traditional response to quell provocative actions with a merciless thunderbolt.

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    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    Symphony of Science, enjoy (related to the video Lemur posted).
    #Hillary4prism

    BD:TW

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    Senior Member Senior Member gaelic cowboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    surf the channel has all the Cosmos shows hosted great show love to get it on DVD
    They slew him with poison afaid to meet him with the steel
    a gallant son of eireann was Owen Roe o'Neill.

    Internet is a bad place for info Gaelic Cowboy

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    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Veho Nex View Post
    Carl Sagan has, I think, given me something to pursue in my college career. Instead of a focus on computer engineering, which was more of a hobby anyways, I really think I might have a future in astronomy.
    That would be great Veho. I got my Bachelor of Science degree in Astronomy. Alas, to do anything with it you must at least go to the Masters level - preferably Ph.D. I found I didn't quite have the knack for the high level physics required and I discovered computers right at the dawn of the Golden Age of Computer (1980). Looks like you are on the opposite track.

    Cosmos was great. Over several years I had collected all but one of the 13 episodes on VHS when the supply dried up. I'd love to have them on DVD now.
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    My knowledge of astronomy is so limited, my fascination for it so great.


    I really need to get some grasp of it.
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    Enlightened Despot Member Vladimir's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis VI the Fat View Post
    My knowledge of astronomy is so limited, my fascination for it so great.


    I really need to get some grasp of it.
    A good place to start:

    http://www.daviddarling.info/index.html


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    Probably Drunk Member Reverend Joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    I actually find something about attitudes like Sagan's to be very abrasive. Sure, I can understand their point that we're insignificant compared to the rest of the universe, but I can't get over the feeling of "so what?" I mean, we're not galaxy-striding colossi. We can't compare ourselves to the entire rest of the universe, whether it's to self-aggrandize or foster a feeling of humility and understanding, because everything that we are becomes moot. Trying to put some "grand perspective" on things that makes everyone seem absolutely insignificant isn't going to do anyone any good because it removes the very concept of good and bad. For example, when Sagan mentions war and suffering -- "think of the endless cruelties visited by one corner of this pixel on the scarcely-distinguishable inhabitants on some other corner." Well, my question is, by your perspective, who gives a damn? Sagan seems to assume that removing all concept of relative meaning to our lives will humble us and make us want to work together, but if none of what we do really matters any in the long-term perspective of the cosmos, why not spill "endless rivers of blood?" People may call you evil, but hell, in the long run, you're just a momentary master of a fraction of a dot; you're not evil, you're too insignificant to be evil. You're no more evil than one colony of ants taking over another, or a group of microbes eating another. Why should anybody be bothered by what you do on your corner of a tiny, insignificant dot in space?

    It's a dangerously amoral position.

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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Joe View Post
    It's a dangerously amoral position.
    Or to put it more amusingly:

    The Universe, as has been observed before, is an unsettlingly big place, a fact which for the sake of a quiet life most people tend to ignore.

    Many would happily move to somewhere rather smaller of their own devising, and this is what most beings in fact do.

    For instance, in one corner of the Eastern Galactic Arm lies the large forest planet Oglaroon, the entire "intelligent" population of which lives permanently in one fairly small and crowded nut tree. In which tree they are born, live, fall in love, carve tiny speculative articles in the bark on the meaning of life, the futility of death and the importance of birth control, fight a few extremely minor wars, and eventually die strapped to the underside of some of the less accessible outer branches.

    In fact the only Oglaroonians who ever leave their tree are those who are hurled out of it for the heinous crime of wondering whether any of the other trees might be capable of supporting life at all, or indeed whether the other trees are anything other than illusions brought on by eating too many Oglanuts.

    Exotic though this behaviour may seem, there is no life form in the Galaxy which is not in some way guilty of the same thing, which is why the Total Perspective Vortex is as horrific as it is.

    For when you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny little marker, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says "You are here."
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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    The Abominable Senior Member Hexxagon Champion Monk's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
    Or to put it more amusingly:

    The Universe, as has been observed before, is an unsettlingly big place, a fact which for the sake of a quiet life most people tend to ignore.

    Many would happily move to somewhere rather smaller of their own devising, and this is what most beings in fact do.

    For instance, in one corner of the Eastern Galactic Arm lies the large forest planet Oglaroon, the entire "intelligent" population of which lives permanently in one fairly small and crowded nut tree. In which tree they are born, live, fall in love, carve tiny speculative articles in the bark on the meaning of life, the futility of death and the importance of birth control, fight a few extremely minor wars, and eventually die strapped to the underside of some of the less accessible outer branches.

    In fact the only Oglaroonians who ever leave their tree are those who are hurled out of it for the heinous crime of wondering whether any of the other trees might be capable of supporting life at all, or indeed whether the other trees are anything other than illusions brought on by eating too many Oglanuts.

    Exotic though this behaviour may seem, there is no life form in the Galaxy which is not in some way guilty of the same thing, which is why the Total Perspective Vortex is as horrific as it is.

    For when you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny little marker, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says "You are here."
    The high watermark of the second book exists in the preface just before Zaphod goes into the machine, explaining why anyone would build such a device in the first place.

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    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    I wish I had a spaceship like the one from Startrek. Though it is unfortunately not possible in my life-time. I would love to wonder and explore and enjoy life.

    The problem is with astronomy though, the science of it is really boring. It might sound really cool at first, then you go into a class, then you get a lecture of the physics of a photon, for two hours, while looking at a boring powerpoint. In comparison to a subject like History, where you have vivid imagination out of the facts.

    Sort of like, the enjoyment of History is knowing the facts, and the enjoyment of astronomy is a overview.
    Last edited by Beskar; 06-25-2010 at 04:38.
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beskar View Post
    I wish I had a spaceship like the one from Startrek. Though it is unfortunately not possible in my life-time. I would love to wonder and explore and enjoy life.

    The problem is with astronomy though, the science of it is really boring. It might sound really cool at first, then you go into a class, then you get a lecture of the physics of a photon, for two hours, while looking at a boring powerpoint. In comparison to a subject like History, where you have vivid imagination out of the facts.

    Sort of like, the enjoyment of History is knowing the facts, and the enjoyment of astronomy is a overview.
    This is a bit of my problem.

    Whenever I make an effort of understanding astronomy, all of my methods fail quite soon. For example, one can not try to understand the scale of the universe by any human measure.

    The methods one does need, I do not understand. It is as is I have to learn a completely new language before being able to read a book.

    What astronomy does reach me, I read more out of almost entertainment than out of any semblance of critical understanding. Wormholes, black holes, 7 or 31 dimensions? Cool! It tickles my mind, gives me all sorts of grandiose thoughts. However, if I was told there are 254 dimensions of time connected like a prairie dog tunnel system, all going at different speeds but 97% really being some dark invisible time - then I would believe that too.

    I have no critical understanding of it.



    I have resigned myself to being reliant on popular astronomy - Hawking, Sagan etc. But even that little, I wonder what it is I'm actually getting a grasp of: maybe only popularised 'metaphors', employed to convey mathematical or otherwise arcane concepts to the layman. By its very nature, astronomy deals in what the human does not have a reference card for.

    Perhaps astronomy will remain limited to sheer entertainment and semi-philosophy for me. Not without worth though: still a subject of endless wonder and inspiration for me.
    Anything unrelated to elephants is irrelephant
    Texan by birth, woodpecker by the grace of God
    I would be the voice of your conscience if you had one - Brenus
    Bt why woulf we uy lsn'y Staraft - Fragony
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis VI the Fat View Post
    Perhaps astronomy will remain limited to sheer entertainment and semi-philosophy for me. Not without worth though: still a subject of endless wonder and inspiration for me.
    As a teach screamed at me once, "You're not a scientist! You're a science spectator!"
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

  16. #16

    Default Re: The pale blue dot. My tribute to Carl Sagan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregoshi View Post
    That would be great Veho. I got my Bachelor of Science degree in Astronomy. Alas, to do anything with it you must at least go to the Masters level - preferably Ph.D. I found I didn't quite have the knack for the high level physics required and I discovered computers right at the dawn of the Golden Age of Computer (1980). Looks like you are on the opposite track.

    Cosmos was great. Over several years I had collected all but one of the 13 episodes on VHS when the supply dried up. I'd love to have them on DVD now.
    The only thing I feel that could keep me from succeeding in Astronomy is writing. Despite what my teachers have told me, I am not that strong of a writer. All my best papers would take me weeks of serious work. Like recently, I spent somewhere between 12-16 hours writing 6 paragraphs. I think as long as I didnt have to write massive essays I would be able to do it fine.

    As to the DVD's, not to advertise a specific website but they seem cheap here.
    Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you,
    By the livin' Gawd that made you,
    You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
    Quote Originally Posted by North Korea
    It is our military's traditional response to quell provocative actions with a merciless thunderbolt.

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