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Carl Sagan's Cosmos Series...

Discussion in 'The Breakroom' started by Lord Bear, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    Stunning. Awe inspiring. For the first time I was lost in the wonderment of it all! :bow::yoga::clap::thinking::thumbsup::snowflake: Such reasoning! His reasoning was simple. Anyone could follow it. And yet...Oh So Profound! That was when it first came out and I caught a couple episodes on PBS. I think I was in high school. Carl Sagan was my absolute best science teacher ever! 47 now. Got the DVD set some years ago. Try as hard as I can to get the younger folk to share the insights (HUGE STUPENDOUS COLOSSAL INSIGHTS!). For this seminal series, I rate Carl Sagan (read his books too) among my heroes. The other one is Gandhi.
    Anybody else see it?
     
  2. swlman

    swlman Empty Pockets

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    Mr. Bear, I could not let this post go by without commenting. I remember watching it on PBS when it first premiered. Then, as soon as it became available I used it while teaching a section on Science and Ethics as part of my Senior Physic's class when I was still teaching. The feelings of awe are still there when I see it again. His manner, voice and sense of astonishment as he covered the many topics in the series are still new no matter how many times I see it. The audience for a program of this type continues to dwindle but as long as there is one student willing to view the show I will continue to show it. Great Taste
     
  3. Mister Scribble

    Mister Scribble Loaded Pockets

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    Yes, I saw Sagan's series. But for me, the best series of that kind was The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski.

    I read a few of Bronowski's books, also. The man was humanistic and brilliant. And cultured. I think he had a broader
    perspective than Sagan.

    Sagan's contribution was that he was a good popularizer, but he also was rather closed minded on some things,
    like UFOs, that science should pay more attention to. He just stuck to the standard scientific line about them.
    Toward the end of his life he was a bit more open and flexible.

    It was a shame that Sagan died so young. He was evolving and could have contributed so much more to
    our understanding of the Universe.

    Who is doing the work of Sagan these days? I nominate Dr. Michio Kaku, the string-theory physicist.
    His radio program, Explorations, can be heard over the Progressive Radio Network (prn.org I think) and other
    places. Brilliant but open to new things.

    If you haven't seen The Ascent of Man try to get some DVDs. You will thoroughly enjoy it.
     
  4. Flight-ER-Doc

    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets

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    His entire position on 'nuclear winter' was wrong, as well....
     
  5. Mister Scribble

    Mister Scribble Loaded Pockets

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    I had forgotten about Nuclear Winter. We have such short attention spans and memories these days.
    Nuclear Winter did scare nations into doing some disarmament. I believe in a strong defense but you
    don't need to be able to kill everyone 12 times over, IMHO. A waste of money.

    We haven't heard much about Nuclear Winter lately. Was the entire theory wrong?

    I think the whole concept of a "winnable" nuclear war is dangerous, but that's just my opinion.

    P.S. I like your new avatar--from "Terry & the Pirates? Steve Canyon?"
     
  6. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    I agree with Mr Scribble. Gotta be Steve Canyon.
     
  7. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    And by the way I believe nuclear winter has been taken over by it's "other side of the heat index" challenger...Global Warming!
     
  8. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    It's especially wonderful when a young'un GETS it! A young friend of mine who is in college came over after insisting all week on hanging out. He demanded we watch the 1st 2hr episode of Carl Sagan's Cosmos and that I NOT PAUSE THE DVD TO INTERJECT one of my profoundly brilliant observations cleverly designed to stimulate the interest of my short attention span inflicted victims! He just wanted to watch it all the way through. He arrived on noon last Sunday with a belated birthday present for me. A large coffee table book entitled "Cosmos"...A Field Guide. It was filled with many of the most famous Hubble pics along with awesome pictures of what's "Really Going On Out There Where All The Action Really Is"! Plus a short history of time. So I shup my mouf and I'm sure you all can guess the results. I told him I wouldn't say a word and handed him the remote control. He kept pausing to expound on HIS profoundly brilliant observations. Smart guy. :winkwink:
     
  9. Flight-ER-Doc

    Flight-ER-Doc Loaded Pockets

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    Steve Canyon - I used to be a fighter pilot in the USAF.

    And yes, the entire theory was shown to be faulty: the amount of soot injected into the atmosphere after the first gulf war, or the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines, was far in excess of what the TTAPS study (Sagan was the 'S') forecast...no nuclear winter. Of course Sagan was still alive for those, and didn't admit the error.
     
  10. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    By the way my young friend's major is a double. Pure mathematics and statistics. (A running joke between us two is that I believe the reason Einstein's theory breaks down when things get really small is just a blind spot. Since you can't resolve wave and particle, [light, the cosmic speed limit], how y'gonna predict where in time and space an electron will be? [Matter. And really does it matter?] Since you can't really predict anything when there is no way to truly "observe and measure" that measure of quanta, of course the calculations make no sense. He usually devastates my arguments by first starting with beer. He knows my weaknesses. Toldja he's smart.)
     
  11. EdD270

    EdD270 Empty Pockets

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    I enjoyed watching the series on PBS when they first came out. Sagan is a great teacher and able to stimulate interest in all groups of people on one level or another. I bought the set of videos and still enjoy watching them.
    I also realize that much of what he included in his "Cosmos" series was then-prevelant theory and has now been changed as honest science learns new things.
     
  12. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    Any highlights of "Ascent of Man" to share?
    String theory. Trying to get beyond Einstein's equations and figure a way around, why they break down, under certain circumstances. Morphed recently into membrane or "brane" theory or something like that. Michio Kaku is great! He now has his own show on Science cable channel.
     
  13. Mister Scribble

    Mister Scribble Loaded Pockets

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    It's been a very long time since I saw the series, or read his books, but I came away impressed with the
    _humanity_ of the man, as well as the enormous scope and breadth of his knowledge. Bronowski was a
    mathematician, but he was extremely well read in philosophy, philosophy of science, history of science,
    and a variety of other things. The series was simply engrossing on an intellectual level. But he also
    had a deep appreciation of art, poetry, and the humanities. Bronowski was truly a Renaissance Man.





    Michio Kaku was a student of Edward Teller, I believe. But unlike Teller, Dr. Kaku had ethical qualms about the atomic bomb. There's another side to Dr. Kaku, also. For years he broadcast over NYC alternative radio station WBAI, a Progressive-Left outlet which sadly deteriorated into an ideological dictatorship of the corrupt. But during the heyday of 'BAI, I heard Dr. Kaku at a political rally...and he can be an enormously rousing political speaker.
     
  14. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    [/QUOTE]
    Ever see "Connections" by James Burke? Interviews with Joseph Campbell on "Mythology"?
    I will definitely check out "Ascent of Man".
     
  15. Mister Scribble

    Mister Scribble Loaded Pockets

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    Ever see "Connections" by James Burke? Interviews with Joseph Campbell on "Mythology"?
    I will definitely check out "Ascent of Man".[/QUOTE]

    No, but it sounds familiar. I have seen Joseph Campbell's interviews with Bill Moyers.
    Michael Moorcock's Elric series and other books were in part based on Campbell's
    ideas, I think.

    One of Campbell's famous pieces of wisdom was: "Follow your Bliss." Wise but
    not so easy to do.

    I loved history & philosophy of science and wanted to study it on the graduate level.
    Those plans didn't work out, though. It's tough to find similar graduate programs these
    days. Universities want departments that make money for them, not generate wisdom
    and understanding.
     
  16. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    No, but it sounds familiar. I have seen Joseph Campbell's interviews with Bill Moyers.
    Michael Moorcock's Elric series and other books were in part based on Campbell's
    ideas, I think.

    One of Campbell's famous pieces of wisdom was: "Follow your Bliss." Wise but
    not so easy to do.

    I loved history & philosophy of science and wanted to study it on the graduate level.
    Those plans didn't work out, though. It's tough to find similar graduate programs these
    days. Universities want departments that make money for them, not generate wisdom
    and understanding.[/QUOTE]
    Hadn't known that about Moorcock. Wikipedia says 1st episode of "Ascent of Man" is "Evolution of man from proto-ape to 400,000 years ago". I had thought humanity as we are now went back 50,000 to double or quadruple that max!
     
  17. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    Note the titles.
    1) Lower Than Angels. Evolution of Man from proto apes to 400000 years ago!
    2)The Harvest of the Seasons. Early human migration, agriculture and the first settlements, war. (Hoo boy!)
    3) The Grain in the Stone. Tools, the development of architecture and sculpture.
    4) The Hidden Structure. Fire, metals and alchemy.
    5) Music of the Spheres. The language of numbers.
    6) The Starry Messenger. Galileo's Universe.
    7) The Majestic Clockwork. Explores Kepler's and Newton's Laws.
    8) The Drive for Power. The Industrial Revolution.
    9) The Ladder of Creation. Darwin and Wallace's ideas on the Origin of Species.
    10) World Within World. The Periodic Table.
    11) Knowledge or Certainty. Physics and the clash of absolute knowledge, the oppressive state, and it's misgivings realizing
    result of it's terrible outcome.
    12) Generation Upon Generation. Life, genetics, and the cloning of identical forms.
    13) The Long Childhood. Bronowski's treatise on the commitment of Man.
     
  18. Mister Scribble

    Mister Scribble Loaded Pockets

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    Hadn't known that about Moorcock. Wikipedia says 1st episode of "Ascent of Man" is "Evolution of man from proto-ape to 400,000 years ago". I had thought humanity as we are now went back 50,000 to double or quadruple that max![/QUOTE]

    I think modern Cro-Magnon man was, what, 40,000 or 100,000 years ago? I don't know if the Neanderthals had emerged 400,000 years ago.

    Just think: millions of years of Evolution and our crowning achievements have been the Atomic Bomb and the Cheeseburger! <just joking>

    I think Campbell's most influential book was Hero With A Thousand Faces or something like that; Moorcock's heroes being reborn again and
    again reflected that. Recently picked up a new edition of the first Elric book, thought it was newly discovered stories but it looks like just
    the old ones with an embelishment. I have all the Elric books and they are fabulous.

    Did you get into Otherland yet? Takes some time to get involved but you will love the series. It will take you time to read it!
     
  19. Mister Scribble

    Mister Scribble Loaded Pockets

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    Very poetic, right? Perhaps it was that Bronowski's Ascent of Man was co-produced by the BBC; it just had
    that special air of poetry and culture that I didn't quite get from Sagan. Not that Sagan was uncultured or
    illiterate, but his religion was Science. I'd say Bronowski's religion was Humanism.

    Another aside: Bronowski was a Polish Jew who arrived in England when he was very young. He taught
    himself English, culture, science. English wasn't even his first language, but he could express subtle and
    beautiful concepts in English nevertheless. He spoke with a British accent. As for his own personal religious
    beliefs, I think he was an atheist but I am not sure.
     
  20. Lord Bear

    Lord Bear Loaded Pockets

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    Mr Scribble said...Just think: millions of years of Evolution and our crowning achievements have been the Atomic Bomb and the Cheeseburger! <just joking>
    [/QUOTE]
    I think our crowning achievement was dentistry! Never mind the heads of states, teeth are more important! <I'm not joking>