Just read an article in the latest issue of Smithsonian about Carl Sagan. His application was turned down by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences back in 1992. Those against his being selected said his body of work was insufficient compared to other supposedly more eligible astronomers. While he did more than any other scientist, at the time, to promote science and was extremely popular among lay people, was his research in fact lacking and not of the caliber necessary for acceptance by the Academy? 

I was also surprised to learn that he loved marijuana and felt it expanded his thoughts & creativity. A rework of his 'Cosmos' series is to be released in just a few days on Fox. Neal Degrasse Tyson is a big part of this new twist on Cosmos and I look forward to watching it.

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Me too. Recording it on my DVR.

Holy shit Belle! So did Jimi! And Janis, SRV, Santana (those first three albums were killer!), and Elvis could perform really swell hopped up on those pills. 

Good topic though. Do we actually perform better with a buzz or do we just think we do? We associate creativity in artist, who walk into a recording studio lit on narcotics, only when a song like Purple Haze or Black Magic Woman turns out killer. But I sometimes wonder how much better or worse it may have sounded had Jimi recorded or Carlos recorded it stone cold sober. It definitely would not have been the same.

I follow a general principle that drugs detract - they take away a capability one has naturally while sober. Straight people are able to switch their focus several times a second depending upon external stimuli. Under pot that ability is disturbed; but this has an advantage. One's ability to concentrate on one thing is therefore enhanced. Whether it's sex, or munchies, or Jimi, you can give it your FULL attention. 

I LOVED performing with pot. And, judging by audience reaction, I did OK. However on a couple of occasions my concentration was broken and I LOST IT. I forgot where I was and what I was playing. So I don't smoke when I perform any more. (Jamming at a party or among friends is OK though.) Lots of friends smoke whenever they perform, but they are all better than me. Getting distracted isn't a problem for them.

I don't write but I could easily believe that, too, could be enhanced. Also having to restart a paragraph or a stanza doesn't have the same consequences as losing it in a live performance. :-)

I'd sure love to have shared a joint with Sagan.

Sadly the two primary experiences with Mary Jane I had, were 'watching people decide how far Portland Oregon was from Albany Oregon via apriori reasoning', and 'one man at a Mensa party explaining his WII war experience by walking to the top of a mountain and firing his weapon into the sky to declare that God Was Dead'.

Both rather telling at the time, but for the second the brownies were rather good...;p)   

I read that a part of the problem was his willingness to court unusual ideas and speculate. It went against the grain of professionalism for scientists of that era. He was too controversial. I'm sure there was some jealousy and elitism in the mix too.

"part of the problem was his willingness to court unusual ideas and speculate."

Perhaps the assistance of THC made his journey more forthcoming. Whether sober or high I believe there is something beneficial to courting the unusual and drawing speculation. The NAS review panel should never have considered his nontraditional approach as not being meritorious. 

Before the new Cosmos they ran the old Carl Sagan version all day Sunday. 

My impressions were that Sagan's painfully measured and slow style of delivery was patterned after Mr. Rogers, leaving the impression he might have been on heavy-duty painkillers (he was dying of cancer, right?). 

The music was largely very 1980's ambient downtempo. Perfect for playing at bedtime along with a very strong tranquilizer.

I hope no impressionable children watched it who were unable to see the new Cosmos in the evening. Why? it was chock full of misinformation. He said there are 9 planets (not since Pluto was given the boot), and he gave equal weight to absolute entropy and a Big Crunch as possible fates for the universe. Few cosmologists take the Big Crunch seriously anymore.

The show was infused with Cold War paranoia with him constantly speculating that mankind would blow itself to bits. Today, when we worry, it's more about environmental concerns.

Anyway, it was fun to watch it all over again if only to bathe in its datedness.

The first episode of Tyson's updated Cosmos was interesting. I am sure the New Earth creationists had a difficult time digesting the show's sequence where the history of the universe is portrayed in the sense of a calendar year here on Earth. We show up on December 31st towards the end of the day. Tyson's reference to 'observational science' as the foundation of our model for learning about our universe is key. The show's foray into the Middle Ages when the Catholic Church was hostile to the likes of Bruno and Galileo shows that Tyson and the show's producers are not afraid to tell it like it is, or was. 

I thought "observational science" was a term invented by Ken Ham to differentiate it from "historical science". Or was this a parody?

Ken Ham did not invent the term and Mr. Tyson was sincere in his use of the phrase.

Sorry. I got the wrong idea from a cursory reading of a "The Skeptical Zone" post.(titled 

“Historical vs Observational Science - Let’s lay this one to rest, shall we?")

Having now read the post and the replies more thoroughly, my understanding of these semantic assertions is now even less clear.

I watched "Walking Dead" and Dvr'ed "Cosmos". Started watching it in my den, so as not to disturb the Mrs, and;true to form, dozed off and woke up 45 minutes later.

Impressions of the first 35 minutes? Love the CGI updates but miss the slow deliberate cadence of Carl Sagan's voice. I am looking forward to re watching last nights episode and subsequent episodes.

On a similar note, anyone catch 60 Minutes piece on the radio telescopes? High up on a mountain and having to pump O2 into the spaces so the techs and scientist don't start babbling due to oxygen depravation?


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