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Tuesday, 10 Nov 2015 (Only #Science)

I've just found this "little colloquium", hosted with decorum by the excellent Magnus Magnusson, from 1988.

Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan and Arthur C Clarke in the same room (figuratively speaking - I think Sagan is in a remote studio) discussing God, the Universe and Everything. As you do.

Only one of these luminaries is still alive as I write this. It is perhaps surprising that the last man standing (or rather sitting, slumped in his wheelchair, as it happens) is Stephen Hawking. The others have, I'm sad to say, moved on.

So perhaps it's all the more of a find. Thank you, YouTube. Thank you, Internet.

And not a fucking cat in sight.

Monday, 2 Nov 2015 (Only #Science)

I grew up with Carl Sagan's programme "Cosmos" on the TV. I was enthralled by it.

I am re-watching the final episode of the series and I am struck by how relevant it is today. Sagan was a scientist but he was also not shy in expressing what you might call political or social views. He was certainly a gifted commentator and communicator.

Perhaps in my youth I did not fully get everything he talked about but I suspect that the intense curiosity and ardour for scientific progress and truth that he expressed rubbed off on me and remains with me now. The show justifies watching even these many years later.

As it happens YouTube currently hosts this episode of his show - the link follows below - and I strongly recommend it.

Who speaks for Earth?

Sunday, 9 Nov 2014 (Only #Science)

Apparently it's Carl Sagan's birthday. He would have been 80 years old today.

Sagan was a prodigious producer of scientific papers but was also a novelist and communicator of science to the general public. He is possibly best remembered for television programme Cosmos, which I grew up on. Cosmos was, as the name suggests, about astronomy - but lots else too, including observations about anthropology and technology.

Here is a link to a Wikipedia page about Carl Sagan. It's worth looking up this significant contributor to our civilisation.

I'd wish him a happy birthday, but he's gone. So I'll say instead: So long Carl, and thanks for all the science.

Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 (Only #Science)

From Carl Sagan's Cosmos - The Lives of the Stars

Some five billion years from now there will be a last perfect day on Earth. Then the sun will slowly change and the Earth will die.

There is only so much hydrogen fuel in the sun. When it's almost all converted to helium the solar interior will continue its original collapse. Higher temperatures in its core will make the outside of the sun expand and the Earth will become slowly warmer.

Eventually life will be extinguished, the oceans will evaporate and boil and our atmosphere will gush away to space. The sun will become a bloated red giant star filling the sky enveloping and devouring the planets Mercury and Venus. And probably the Earth as well.

Fast forward to 27m52s for this part of the show, or just play and enjoy the whole thing.

Monday, 7 Jul 2014 (Only #Science)

Colonising Space - a new telos... Beacon