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Posts Tagged "Cosmos"

@ScientificAmerican

Getting Ready for Scientific American Tweet-Up at the American Museum of Natural History

We’re counting down the days here until the Scientific American tweet-up at the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday, January 18, starting at 6 p.m. Full details are on my earlier blog post. We’ll enjoy talks, a tour of the “Beyond Planet Earth” exhibition–and some conversations over cocktails. Attendance is free for followers of [...]

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But Seriously...

Cosmos: The Second Coming

Cosmos Trailer Neil deGrasse Tyson

I’ve been waiting a long time for this. Fresh from its debut at San Diego Comic-Con, the first official trailer for the reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: In August of 2008, I attended the third annual SciFoo conference at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA.  That’s a whole other subject, which I’ve touched on here [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Complex Life Owes Its Existence To Parasites?

mitochondria.001

Is complex life rare in the cosmos? The idea that it could be rests on the observation that the existence of life like us – with large, energy hungry, complicated cells – may be contingent on a number of very specific and unlikely factors in the history of the Earth. Added together they suggest that [...]

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Life, Unbounded

C-SPAN’s ‘After Words’ Discusses Our Cosmic Status

(A. Fitzsimmons/ESO)

Ever feel that broadcast TV fails to tackle the big issues? I don’t mean the state of the economy, healthcare, the future of clean energy, or what B-list celebrities had for breakfast – I mean the Really Big Issues. Like whether or not we’re alone in the universe, whether life is somehow special, and whether [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Biggest Cosmological Problem Is…

The whole sky (again in Galactic coordinates) seen by Planck (ESA)

…living in a place that makes doing cosmology hard. Let’s backtrack a little. Unless you’ve been living under a particularly thick and insulating rock you’ll know that in recent months the world of experimental cosmology (what would have previously been called observational cosmology, or just plain old astronomy) has been on tenterhooks waiting to see [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Great Alien Debate (Part 1)

Sheep.001 crop

This post is one in a series covering, and expanding on, topics in the book The Copernicus Complex (Scientific American/FSG).           The conversation usually goes like this: Do you think we’re alone in the universe? Answer A) : No, absolutely not. It’s a huge universe, we’re not at the center or [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Copernicus Complex: A Primer

Nikolaus_Kopernikus

In a month’s time, the end result of two-and-a-half years of research, thinking, writing, re-writing, re-re-writing, editing, mulling, puzzling, coffee-drinking, beer-swilling, swearing, and tweaking will hit the shelves in the form of my new book The Copernicus Complex. In the coming weeks I’ll be writing some special pieces here at Life, Unbounded, exploring some of [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Photons Of Your Life

Starry Night Over The Rhone (V. van Gogh, public domain)

An unusual question raises an intriguing idea. At a party a few nights ago a friend approached me with a dilemma. A relative of theirs had died, and the spouse was trying to understand if it was at all possible that there was still ‘something’ of their partner in existence; a tangible part of their [...]

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Life, Unbounded

This Is What We Don’t Know About The Universe

dont panic.001

In recent days I’ve had some interesting conversations. There’s a giddiness going around, related to an outpouring of science love – the kind you get from President Obama introducing TV science shows, the kind that has wonderful visuals, but is, well, a wee bit simplistic (a sin that none of us could ever, ever be [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Monk Of A Million Telescopes

John Dobson in 2002 (AlanJWylie at en.wikipedia)

“IF THERE WERE A MILLION PEOPLE WITH TELESCOPES WILLING TO LET A FEW THOUSAND OTHER PEOPLE LOOK THROUGH THEM, IT IS POSSIBLE THAT EVERYONE WHO WALKS THIS EARTH, WITH EYES TO SEE, MIGHT SEE THE UNIVERSE” John Dobson, (September 14th, 1915 – January 15th, 2014) John Dobson’s life reads like a movie script. He was [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Cosmic Solitude, Exoplanets, and Books

Credit: NASA

Earlier this week I had the very great pleasure of catching up with Lee Billings, the author of Five Billion Years of Solitude, a beautifully written and provocative new book about the quest to find other Earths, other life in the universe. If you haven’t read it, you should. The Strand Bookstore in New York [...]

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Life, Unbounded

A Galactic Flyby Can Be Deadly, But Beautiful

326 million light years away a galactic encounter destroys a galaxy but creates something lovely (NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage team, STScI/AURA, Wide Field Camera 3, visible light + near infrared image

Galaxies across the observable universe are engaged in ultra-slow motion interactions with each other, close encounters, flybys, and sometimes collisions. The outcome may be different in every case. Sometimes the presence of a neighboring galaxy’s gravitational pull as it passes by can disturb, or harass, the processes of star and planet formation. In other cases [...]

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Observations

Can Cosmos Get People Talking about Science Again?

11x17_Cosmos.indd

So much has changed in space since Carl Sagan’s Cosmos TV series first aired in 1980. We discovered dark energy (but still have no clue what it is). We launched the space shuttle and built a football field-sized space station in orbit. We’ve found about 1,000 exoplanets orbiting other stars. What hasn’t changed, the producers [...]

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PsiVid

Neil Shubin’s “Your Inner Fish” Comes to TV

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 1.02.33 PM

Nothing makes me happier than reading a really good science book. After that, I am fairly pleased when some of my favorites are adapted for TV to reach those less likely to pick up one of those gems. Some recent examples of book adaptations include: Cosmos by Carl Sagan (rebooted by Neil Degrasse Tyson), The [...]

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PsiVid

Will Enjoying ‘Cosmos’ Depend On If You Liked Science In School?

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 7.00.17 PM

Tonight’s TV line-up has science enthusiasts quite excited. Of course I’m talking about Cosmos as presented by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, produced by Seth MacFarlane (of Family Guy fame) and written by Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan’s widow and co-creator of the original series. There has been a lot of talk about whether this program will get [...]

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Symbiartic

‘Cosmos’ and ‘Your Inner Fish’ Pack the 1-2 Punch

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Two weeks from today, on April 9th, PBS will air the first of a three-part series adapted from Neil Shubin’s popular book, Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year-History of the Human Body. If you’ve ever wondered why we’re built the way we are – with five fingers on each hand, testes that hang [...]

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Symbiartic

Putting the Illustrations Before the Text

13-043FEATURE

We’re wrapping up the daily sciart posts today. We hope you’ve enjoyed them! Stay tuned tomorrow for a round-up of the month’s artists and images. Typically, illustrators are called in towards the end of a project. The text is largely written, and the author and/or art director have developed a clear idea of the illustration/s [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt of the Day: The Painting that Inspired Sagan’s COSMOS

Starseeds-Lomberg-mini

“Young stars burst forth from a nebula, like seeds spreading through the galaxy. Just as seeds grow flowers that make more seeds, nebulae form stars that eventually form new nebulae. Cosmic cycles of life and death are apparent at all scales. This painting was the inspiration for the dandelion motif that runs through the TV [...]

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