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Immortal since Jan 12, 2008
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    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...
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    To aid in the gestation of a new project, I've been watching a whole lot of Carl Sagan programs.

    Namely, the 13-part epic of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which remains, to me, the most comprehensive survey of the Universe and our place within it ever presented to the lay public. Sagan's devastating empathy, his respect of the viewer's intelligence, as well as his often outrageously optimistic sense of human community, have never been replicated in television. He shifts deftly from dallies in human history to well-diagrammed explanations of evolution, stressing the clarity and self-evidence of science and framing its longstanding opposition — organized religion, unenlightened government policy, etc — as natural and understandable human foibles that we must overcome together.

    Modern science programs are usually hosted either by flashy, serious-voiced British actors or anonymous narrators; Sagan, however, takes it all on himself. He never conceals the fact that he's a total nerd, a courduroy-jacketed cosmologist from Brooklyn who gets stoked about watching live Voyager feeds from the JPL labs in Pasadena. Rather, he embraces it, presents himself as a helpful authority, someone genuinely invested in the well-being of the human race, happily taking on the enormous responsibility of educating us.

    For an example of the moral themes put forth by Sagan (as well as his close collaborators, Ann Druyan and Steven Soter), witness this, an excerpt from his 1994 book, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. I found this while errantly clicking on Google Video (incidentally, Google Moon?!), and came pretty close to losing it.

    Sat, Jan 12, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: Carl Sagan, Cosmos
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