Happy Sagan Day

In respect of the birthday of one of the best advocates of science, atheism and skepticism (like those three aren’t inexorably bound) I have ever heard, the centre for Inquiry, Florida Atheists and Secular Huminanists, the James Randi Educational Foundation and a bunch of other folk are promoting Carl Sagan Day.

You’ll probably come across a few references in the bloggosphere, news stories etc. The weapon and I will put up the telescope if the weather holds and revel in the majesty of the night sky,

The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.

Then perhaps for desert an apple pie since as Carl Sagan said once

In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. 

and of course watch some of the myriad footage that exists and remember how passionately and eloquently he spoke disproving that canard that the best scientist must be cold and emotionless. One of our favorite pieces at the moment is from Pale Blue Dot, his follow up to the awe inspiring series COSMOS


I realise at 9 mins its too long for most, but it is one of the most cogent arguments why I can’t believe in any religion. I know in video I have embedded you see only half the screen but listen to the words.

The conclusion which begins at 7:52 minutes Sagan raises us all to the sublime. It gives the_weapon and I chills everytime we hear it.

What did you do on Sagan Day?



  1. Work, work work…its off to work I go…I know boring but they pay me for it 😉

  2. Happy Sagan Day, Barnesm! Nobody can rock a turtleneck quite like Carl. I think I'll create a solar system model out of Rice Krispie Treats to celebrate the day. Thanks for the alert!

  3. I remember ‘Cosmos’. An outstanding work. That was one of the first things I watched when we got cable out in Podunk in 1980.

    Religion is fine for teaching morals, values, and to an extent, history-but no one should be using most holy books to teach science.

    It doesn’t mean that everything in, say, the Bible, is worthless or untrue. The writers of the time were very astute on understanding the human condition. But as for science…other than the dietary and isolation restrictions put down in the Old Testament, which in many ways made sense given their technological level, I don’t think the average person needs to look there for hard science fact.

    • YD

      well said

  4. I sat in my cubicle, day dreaming about the stars. 😉

  5. I guess I missed it. A great piece there, I quite enjoyed it. Have you been checking out “The Walking Dead”? It’s been picked up for a second season.

    • The good thing is like all great astronomical events it will come around again.

      The Walking Dead has yet to be picked up by a network in Australia. When it was first offered by AMC it was quite cheap but given its gangbusters success in the US the price has gone up.

      Which worries me since it means it may be bought by one of the big ones which don’t have the best track record when it comes to screening these shows.

      • I have ways and means, and the ability to share. I’ll be in touch.

  6. Nitrous, but they don't pay you what you are worth, but then who could afford that?Intelliwenchintelligent and crafty as everHeidi So very Oscar Wilde of you

  7. By all accounts ‘The Walking Dead’ is quite good.

    Personally (and I hate to have to inform you of this), I’m sick to death of the zombie genre. The bookstores are all full of the same zombie book by different authors-massive infection, dead rise, shambling zeds can only be dispatched by head trauma.

    Maybe it’s time for someone to do something different. I’d settle for zombies that have a craving for, say, Allsorts or 7up instead of human flesh. Or zeds that can be destroyed by having them calculate the value of pi. I dunno. But a thousand authors can’t write the same story all the time.

    Or turn it around. In a world of zombies, they get infected by life. Something different.

    • No doubt there is a lot of Zombie stuff around, which is great for me. There are attempts to provide some variations such as the recent pride prejudice and zombies. Though AMC Walking Dead is an example of a good story well told.

  8. Used to love his Cosmos show when I was a kid.

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