• Carl Sagan is Dead. Long Live Carl Sagan!

    Zane Selvans is an admitted Amatuer Earthling, and is happy to share his thoughts and explorations on what it means to be a member of the adolescent human species. He lives in California, is both a scientist and a cyclist and wrote this exceptional essay that in part discuses two things — 1) how he came to appreciate that the death of Carl Sagan and the corresponding dearth of new works by the deceased scientist ultimately means its up to us to move the conversation forward, and 2) how ‘joyful and persistent understanding’ are, in the words of Nietzsche, our, “highest and most proper metaphysical,” purpose. Enjoy.

    Before I finished Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age in the Salt Lake City airport Monday, I found a book by Carl Sagan in the bookstore.  “The Varieties of Scientific Experience”, based on his Gifford Lectures from 1985 (and published posthumously, in 2006 by Ann Druyan).  I read half of it in the airport, and the other half last night.  It went fast, because I’d heard it all before.  The main piece of new information was that a decade and a half after the fact, Carl Sagan is truly dead to me.  I’ve read most of his books, I’ve seen his television series Cosmos several times.  I love his ideas; they’ve shaped me throughout my life, but I no longer hope to find anything new in them.  So long as there were pieces of his mind that had been recorded, but that I hadn’t yet been exposed to, it was as if he wasn’t quite gone.  He was still, from my point of view, a dynamic entity.

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  • A Theory of the Universe

    Sophie writes: I wrote this in 2008 with my little brother after we had read “An Index of Possibilities,” a large softcover tome which is not related to Carl in any way other than it is a map of life from cosmos to quantum. I found Carl Sagan shortly afterwards, echoing the sentiments of our thoughts.

    To end, I want to suggest that the old adage taken from John Donne’s Mediation XVII, ‘No man is an island’ could be modernised to express the idea that ‘Every man is a planet’, and that every man and woman has his or her own gravitation, orbit, weather system and sun. No man or woman exists as a section apart from the world. All is necessarily connected and responsive, interrelated and communicative. We exchange information to that which surrounds us, and that which we surround. To go further than that, it is not only true that men are planets, but according to me, Sophie Ward, I believe that ‘Every man is a universe’ and that in light of the parallels of man and universe that make up my theory, get ready for it: The multiverse is a man.

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  • Carl Sagan’s Barsoomian blurb

    I recently discovered that the back cover of the 2007 Penguin Classics edition of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs has a prominent blurb by Carl Sagan: “Might it really be possible—in fact and not fancy—to venture with John Carter to the Kingdom of Helium on the planet Mars?” Although the cover does [...]

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  • "Atheist" video by Zachary Kroger

    This five-minute video in “defense of atheists” has been a hit on YouTube since its debut in mid-2006 (with more than 800,000 views and 80,000 comments, and praise from the likes of James Randi, Michael Shermer, and Penn & Teller), but has gotten extra attention from a mention in the article “God and Man on [...]

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  • the 20th.

    I wake up reluctantly today, exhausted. It has been a busy few weeks and today will be no exception. Wednesday December 20th will be a day of deadlines, and developments, and manically checking the email, and posting comments, and dinners and more deadlines. This last week my life has been consumed by Carl Sagan. Falling [...]

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  • T’is the Season!

    The Planetary Society was not only started by Dr. Sagan, but it is also a great resource of information on him and the World’s largest Space-interest group. Also, as it is the holiday season, why not make a donation to SETI in commemoration of Dr. Sagan in a loved one’s name? They are always desperate [...]

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  • The Dot Quote.

    Take a moment and search the Internet for the phrase ‘Pale Blue Dot.’ The vast majority of the returns will feature a grainy image of light beams that highlight a tiny dot. Invariably these images of sunlight and earth will be accompanied by a Sagan quote — perhaps the most quoted statement by Carl Sagan [...]

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  • A Thought

    This coming December 20th marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of Carl Sagan, and upon reflection the importance of the event is less a memorial to the life of the man himself but to the memorial of what he has come to represent, if only to a few. Sagan was a theorist, a scientist—indeed, [...]

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