Archive for Carl Sagan

The best video ever!

Posted in Books, Movies, Space with tags , , , , on October 5, 2009 by Aaron

My friend at work sent me this video the other day. I found myself stopping it every minute and looking over at him and telling him things like: “You made my day!” and “This is the coolest thing ever!” and “This is so inspiring!” and even found myself singing to him… Check it out!

What strikes me the most right now after watching this video is how amazing Cosmos is. If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it.

Evolution Animation

Posted in Movies, Space with tags , , , on June 27, 2009 by Aaron

Here is an awesome clip from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos television series. In it he breaks down the course of evolution on Earth to show how humans have evolved. It is pretty old but that doesn’t make it any less amazing.

I have wanted to share this since the first time I ever saw it. Enjoy!

The Infant Human Species

Posted in Books, Space with tags , , on June 3, 2009 by Aaron

“We are set irrevocably, I believe, on a path that will take us to the stars – unless in some monstrous capitulation to stupidity and greed, we destroy ourselves first. And out there in the depths of space, it seems very likely that, sooner or later, we will find other intelligent beings. Some of them will be less advanced than we; some, probably most, will be more. Will all the spacefaring beings, I wonder, be creatures whose births are painful? The beings more advanced than we will have capabilities far beyond our understanding. In some very real sense they will appear to us as godlike. There will be a great deal of growing up required of the infant human species. Perhaps our descendants in those remote times will look back on us, on the long and wandering journey the human race will have taken from its dimly remembered origins on the distant planet Earth, and recollect our personal and collective histories, our romance with science and religion, with clarity and understanding and love.”
Carl Sagan, “Broca’s Brain” 1974

Space_Ship_2_Jan_2008

Virgin Galactic

if I only had a couple hundred thousand dollars to spare …

Robots vs. Dinosaurs

Posted in Books, Movies, Random Musings with tags , , on May 28, 2009 by Aaron

Monkeys.

The first time  I saw the film Project X, with Matthew Broderick I fell in love with monkeys. Especially monkeys who know sign language. I don’t think I even began to understood until recently why this idea is so intriguing. Basically I think that if a monkey can learn to “speak”, that means that we, as intelligent beings, aren’t all that exciting. I always wanted to know what two monkeys who can use sign language would say to each other. You could even take it a step further, what would they talk about with their monkey babies?

projectx_fenceObviously if you have read any of Carl Sagan’s books you can tell that I just did as well. If you haven’t, Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence is a fantastic read.

Carl says that monkeys are able to tell the grammatical difference between “Monkey likes banana” and “Banana likes monkey”. Think about that for a minute.

The inherent difference between those two phrases is nil. I am not an English teacher and I was never very good at grammar but this leads me to believe that if they can understand this that means they can comprehend complex language rules. If this example is understood by a prepubescent  (according to Sagan, they euthanize the monkeys once they reach puberty as they become too dangerous to work with) genetic cousin of ours, what is to stop them from gaining a firm grasp on language? And then what is to stop them from taking over the world? That seems to be pretty much how we did it.

Unfortunately most of my current research online about the subject (Dragons of Eden was written in the 1970’s) seems to be very unsure if any language is actually being spoken by the animals. A lot of the criticism seems to think that they aren’t truly speaking language but have been conditioned to be able to use sign language. I still want to know about the babies.