In celebration of the new Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Joel Achenbach wrote a feature for Smithsonian about Carl Sagan's enduring impact on the popularization of science. Achenbach visited the recently-available Sagan archive at the Library of Congress and highlighted some great bits, including details of Sagan and astronomer Frank Drake's 1974 visit with bOING bOING patron saint Timothy Leary while Tim was incarcerated. Sagan had enjoyed Tim's excellent and sadly hard-to-find book Terra II, his philosophical manual for space migration.
On April Fools’ Day, 1974, Sagan and the astronomer Frank Drake visited Leary at the state mental hospital in Vacaville, California, where Leary had been locked up on drug possession charges.Why Carl Sagan is Truly Irreplaceable
Drake, a frequent Sagan collaborator, was a pioneer in the search for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations and was also known for the Drake Equation, which estimates the abundance of communicative aliens. Leary was a Harvard professor-turned-counterculture-guru who had become a proselytizer for the spiritual and mental benefits of hallucinogens. Lately, inspired by Sagan’s Cosmic Connection, he’d become obsessed with the idea of building a space ark to carry 300 carefully chosen people to another planet orbiting a distant star.
In this curiously emblematic meeting—which has been incompletely described in Sagan biographies but is now plain to see in the archives—Leary asked which star he should aim for. Sagan and Drake broke him the bad news: We don’t have the technology. All the stars are too far away. But true believers are not easily deterred. In a subsequent letter to Sagan, Leary reiterated his desire to “imprint the galactic point-of-view on the larval nervous system,” and said we just need fusion propulsion, longevity drugs and “exo-psychological and neuropolitical inspiration.”
“I am not impressed by your conclusions in these areas,” Leary wrote. “I sense a block in your neural-circuity[sic].”
For the full text of the Sagan/Leary letters and analysis, check out Lisa Rein and Michael Horowitz's post at the Timothy Leary Archives: "Inner Space and Outer Space: Carl Sagan’s Letters to Timothy Leary (1974)"
If you're at SXSW in Austin, Texas today, do come by the Hilton Level 6 Salon F room at 330pm today (Monday March 10, 2014) for a panel on #BCSM (Breast Cancer Social Media), which I'll be moderating. The video here explains a little of the story behind #BCSM, but the short version is that it's a wonderful online community for people like me who have breast cancer, founded and maintained by women with breast cancer and a health care provider who treats people like us.
Panelists: Alicia Staley, Jody Schoger, and Deanna Attai, the women who created #BCSM.
On Independence Day 2011, the first-ever #BCSM tweetchat for those affected by breast cancer took place. Less than two years later, the group had attracted thousands of participants, spawned a website and a YouTube channel and earned an extensive feature in USA Today. Not bad for a group of tech novices in a space hardly wanting for pink-ribboned advocates.More info about the panel.
#BCSM isn't a prototypical breast cancer organization. It's not your usual support group. And it's not the kind of online community that makes headlines at Mashable.
Instead, the group has been, since its founding, focused on attracting a diverse and inclusive group who shared not only cancer, but a set of shared values -- particularly a commitment to evidence -- that created a sense of authority even as it built community.
Those are lessons that can and should be adopted by those looking to connect with similarly isolated communities, and the founders of #BCSM look forward to sharing what they have learned.
Are the boys of One Direction in a competition to see who can cover their bodies with tattoos first??!
Louis was seen smiling ear-to-ear after getting inked up yet again at Shamrock Social Club in El Lay on Saturday.
Ahhh! That needle must hurt so good! LOLz!
The British babe didn't get just one, but at least three new permanent doodles, including an arrow on his left forearm and a noughts and crosses board to match his right arm.
We suppose everyone has their addictions — at least Louis' doesn't compromise his health!
[Image via AKM-GSI/Pacific Coast News.]
Lena Dunham's tweets almost never fail to make us L-O-L — almost.
Usually, the Girls creator brushes off haterz of her ever-nekkid body with HIGHlarious jokes, but her comeback got a bit too controversial yesterday when a fan tweeted, "you don't always have to get naked!"
"Please tell that to my uncle, mister. He's been making me!"
Thankfully, gurly quickly retracted the questionable statement with:
"I just made and deleted a not so great molestation joke. Sorry guys. I am really sleepy,"
Unfortunately, when you have more than 1 million devoted followers, being sleepy isn't a very good excuse.
At least the snappy tweet-and-delete reaction shows that she recognizes the comment was SO unnecessary!
We forgive you, Lena. Let's just try to avoid any jokes about abuse ever again, shall we??
And they are:
1. John Harris is the artist who does the cover for my Old Man’s War books (and the individual episodes of The Human Division), and he does such a great job of it that I co-dedicated the compiled edition The Human Division to him in appreciation. He has an upcoming art book coming out, for which I wrote an introduction. Tor.com has the details here, as well as samples of the fantastic art Harris has in the book. And I have to say, I love the cover.
(If you just want to go preorder the book — which I have seen in a preproduction version and which is just plain gorgeous — here’s the link.)
2. Writer Mikey Neumann and artist Kris Straub were on the latest JoCo cruise with me (and, to be clear, many many others) and decided that as long as they were there they would do an interview video series with some of the folks on the boat with them. And thus began “On a Bed with Kris and Mikey,” in which the two, as advertised, interview someone while all of them are on a bed. This week, that person is me.
Interview topics include my chest hair, how many languages I am translated in and who between me and Pat Rothfuss would win in a fight. It’s fairly amusing, although I will note that in watching it I have observed that the “propped up on a bed” position reveals my middle-agedness at its squishiest. I will henceforth refuse further interviews in that position, unless/until I get really ripped.
(Last week’s interview, in case you’re curious: The fabulous Molly Lewis.)
Stanford bioengineer Manu Prakash devised a pretty amazing paper microscope that uses cheap tiny spherical lenses. The "Foldoscope" costs around 50 cents.
“I wanted to make the best possible disease-detection instrument that we could almost distribute for free,” Prakash says. “What came out of this project is what we call use-and-throw microscopy.”
The musical duo were in the middle of taking a silly selfie on the streets of Manhattan on Sunday afternoon when they were caught by the pesky paps!
At least they were able to catch this priceless moment between Tay and Lorde!
We wonder if the two went shopping after their spontaneous photo shoot!
There are some pretty good boutiques in the great city of NYC that are fit for these two Royals!
[Image via Ramey Pix.]
Be still our beating hearts! This is powerful AND sexy!
We'll be watching this on repeat for the foreseeable future.
We reported earlier how Mark described what it would be like to have sex with the Hulk, but we'd love to hear about Matt's experience playing tonsil hockey with the not-so-jolly green giant.
Mark and Matt play opposite each other as two lovers and advocates for promoting awareness of the HIV-AIDS crisis in NYC during the early 80s, and we're pretty moved by the performances in this teasing teaser alone!
Ch-ch-check out the emotional trailer (above)!!!