Category Archives: Science

Last Night’s Cosmos

I find myself writing a lot about the new Cosmos series. I had to miss it a week ago, but last night it was once again great.

I think it is mostly written by Carl Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan, and delivered masterfully by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Last night’s episode explored the interrelationship between the earth science and life sciences — how have and do geological processes of the planet (as well as things like the gravitational tug from other planets) effect the development of life on earth, and then how does life effect the planet.

Once again, Cosmos took the opportunity to clearly explain how we are fucking up the climate through our burning of fossil fuels, drawing parallels to the great extinction events of the past. I hope people are watching this show, and I hope at least a few people are actually paying attention and maybe deciding that Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are not the people from whom to seek scientific information.

Beautiful, powerful, moving television. So unusual!

New Cosmos Series and Risks to Civilization

When I first watched Cosmos during its original broadcast, I was a teenager. The most likely thing to destroy civilization was nuclear war. It always seemed like a possibility, and most of us were pretty afraid of it. In fact, everyone who wasn’t insane was afraid of nuclear war.

Of course, we still have the danger of nuclear war. It is still there, but I suppose with the end of the cold war tensions seem a bit less.

Today of course we are concerned with Climate Change/Global Warning. At least the non-stupid people are. In the new Cosmos series Dr. Tyson has already addressed the threat that Climate Change poses to us. He did this on a major TV network, during prime time, to millions of people. That is pretty damned cool. And it takes courage and balls.

You see, no one “disagreed” with the existence of the threat of nuclear war. We knew there were, in fact, lots of nuclear bombs, and that war could start due to actual conflict of even just a mistake.

However, today we have a lot of people who simply refuse to acknowledge the science behind Climate Change. It’s combination of plain old stupidity, willful ignorance, and a campaign of misinformation coming from those profiting from the current energy model. I guess I should also add that a lot of people simply don’t care. They can’t “see” it, so they don’t care.

Conservative politicians and talk show hosts have managed to turn this scientific issue into a political issue — really almost a religious issue. Incredibly, they have convinced significant portions of the population that scientists have concocted this notion of climate change in order to advance their own careers, or some other such bullshit, when in fact the misinformation campaign is largely being funded by people who are actively getting rich off the current situation.

Truly, we are a country containing a vast amount of stupidity and ignorance.

I hope the broadcast of the new Cosmos series will have some positive effect on the current climate of anti-science and pro-superstition in the United States. I am skeptical, but hopeful. There will always be some poor dumbasses who think the world is only 7000 years old, but I think there are a lot of people who are reachable.