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Stay tuned...
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Published Sunday, July 21, 2013 @ 2:04 PM EDT
Jul 21 2013


(YouTube video: ComiCon trailer for "COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey," a 13-part docu-series debuting in 2014 on FOX.)

The original 13-part Cosmos: A Personal Voyage first aired in 1980 on the Public Broadcasting System, and was hosted by Carl Sagan. The show has been considered highly significant since its broadcast; Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times described it as "a watershed moment for science-themed television programming". The show has been watched by at least 400 million people across 60 different countries.

Following Sagan's death in 1996, his widow Ann Druyan, the co-creator of the original Cosmos series along with Steven Soter, a producer from the series, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, sought to create a new version of the series, aimed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and not just to those interested in the sciences. They had struggled for years with reluctant television networks that failed to see the broad appeal of the show.

Seth MacFarlane had met Druyan through Tyson at the 2008 kickoff event for the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a new LA office of the National Academy of Sciences, designed to connect Hollywood writers and directors with scientists. A year later, at a 2009 lunch in NYC with Tyson, MacFarlane learned of their interest to recreate Cosmos. He was influenced by Cosmos as a child, believing that Cosmos served to "[bridge] the gap between the academic community and the general public". MacFarlane had considered that the reduction of effort for space travel in recent decades to be part of "our culture of lethargy". MacFarlane, who has several animated shows on the Fox Network, was able to bring Druyan to meet the heads of Fox programming, Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly, and helped to get the greenlighting of the show. MacFarlane admits that he is "the least essential person in this equation" and the effort is a departure from work he's done before, but considers this to be "very comfortable territory for [himself] personally". He and Druyan have become close friends, and Druyan stated that she believed that Sagan and MacFarlane would have been "kindred spirits" with their respective "protean talents".

(Full Wikipedia article)


Categories: Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan, Cosmos, Fox TV, National Geographic, Neil deGrasse Tyson, PBS, Science, Seth McFarlane, Steven Soter, TV, Video, YouTube


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Quotes of the day
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Published Friday, November 09, 2012 @ 7:10 AM EST
Nov 09 2012

Quotes of the day: Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934 - December 20, 1996)
 
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He advocated scientifically skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra- Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Sagan is known for his popular science books and for the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he narrated and co-wrote. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. Sagan wrote the novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. (Click for full article.)

A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.

Every thinking person fears nuclear war and every technological nation plans for it. Everyone knows it's madness, and every country has an excuse.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.

History is full of people who out of fear or ignorance or the lust for power have destroyed treasures of immeasurable value which truly belong to all of us. We must not let it happen again.

Human beings have a demonstrated talent for self-deception when their emotions are stirred.

Humans are very good at dreaming, although you’d never know it from your television.

I also wish that the Pledge of Allegiance were directed at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as it is when the President takes his oath of office, rather than to the flag and the nation.

If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.

If we like them, they're freedom fighters... If we don't like them, they're terrorists. In the unlikely case we can't make up our minds, they're temporarily only guerrillas.

If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.

It is all a matter of time scale. An event that would be unthinkable in a hundred years may be inevitable in a hundred million.

It is better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however reassuring.

Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used.

Nobody listens to mathematicians.

Other things being equal, it is better to be smart than to be stupid.

The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.

The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor of science.

The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.

We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence; it's based on a deep seated need to believe.

You have to know the past to understand the present.


Categories: Carl Sagan, Quotes of the day


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Quote of the day
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Published Wednesday, October 31, 2012 @ 9:49 AM EDT
Oct 31 2012

I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time- when the Unites States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
-Carl Sagan


Categories: Carl Sagan, Quotes of the day


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A Universe Not Made For Us
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Published Sunday, August 12, 2012 @ 6:40 AM EDT
Aug 12 2012

Observations for a Sunday morning...

We are the custodians of life's meaning. We long for a parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.
-Carl Sagan

(YouTube video: A Universe Not Made For Us: Carl Sagan on religion and geocentrism.)


Categories: Carl Sagan, Religion, Science


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