The Watering Hole, Monday, June 9th, 2014: Thank you, Carl Sagan

Illustration by Kate Gabrielle

Illustration by Kate Gabrielle


“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
carl sagan_cosmos25_02

And thank you, Neil deGrasse Tyson, for bringing Carl Sagan’s Cosmos back to life.

from Cosmos Season 1 Finale

from Cosmos Season 1 Finale


74 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, June 9th, 2014: Thank you, Carl Sagan

  1. Thanks for the Sagan wisdom, Jane. Great stuff to wake up to!

    Sagan’s words remind me of a favorite verse from Wm. Wordsworth’s “Lines Written in Early Spring” which, given it was written over 200 years ago indeed suggests that the Human Dilemma is nothing new.

    To her fair works did Nature link
    The human soul that through me ran;
    And much it grieved my heart to think
    What man has made of man.

    • Dr. deGrasse Tyson
      • Columbia University (MPhil, PhD)
      • University of Texas at Austin (MA)
      • Harvard University (BA)
      The Bronx High School of Science
      Influences Isaac Newton, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Albert Einstein

      McInnes the as*hole: “A frequent Fox News guest who has contributed to a white nationalist website…”

    • My former father-in-law would have fit in perfectly on that show. He’d say the most horrible things, and, when he got the response he was hoping for, he’d say, “Can’t you take a joke!!??”


  2. Las Vegas Shooters Allegedly Spent Time At Bundy Ranch, Embraced White Supremacy

    A married couple who reportedly bragged about their ties to white supremacists killed two police officers, another person, and ultimately themselves in Las Vegas on Sunday. According to neighbors, the duo — who’s names have not been publicly released — “had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they’d spent time at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal government agents.”

    The incident comes just days after the Department of Justice announced that it was relaunching a law enforcement group to investigate domestic terrorism. The so-called “Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee” was formed after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, but was disbanded in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.

    Janet Napolitano should have relaunched a Domestic Terrorism Task Force in 2009. These radicals might have been in jail already, instead of planning attacks on police and citizens.

    • I’ll give white supremecists a single nod by acknowledging the FACT that a great many “white” (caucasian) folks are, indeed and ever more obviously, Supremely STUPID.

    • Gotta wonder if these anti-gummint lunatics were shown in the photos of the ‘snipers’ up on the overpass a few weeks ago…?
      Also wondering if Craven Cliven will apologize to the families of the slain law enforcement officers for aiding and abetting their murderers….crickets….

  3. Michael Tomasky knocks down the meaningless notion that “we don’t negotiate with terrorists”:

    ‘Every president since has said we don’t negotiate with terrorists. And every president has. And I would say prudently and reasonably so. When terrorists can give you information, for a certain price or because you have a shared enemy, take it. George W. Bush paid a ransom of $300,000 to a radical Islamist group in the Philippines that was holding two American missionaries, a married couple, captive. To get them to safety? I say, fine. Alas, however, the man was killed, even after we paid the money. So an American president ended up financing terrorist operations and overseeing a failed military mission. Imagine what Lindsey Graham would be saying today if Barack Obama had done that over the weekend.’

    • Just seeing a picture of the smarmy Bushidiot makes me nauseous. Eight years, two failed wars, an economy in a shamble that we are yet to recover from.
      FU Incurious George.

  4. The fact that we are passengers on a tiny speck of rock hurtling through space freaks out the insecure, insignificant reichwingers. That’s why they cling to their guns and religion. Fear that they aren’t the center of the effing universe.

    • To my conservative friends tempted to find outrageous things liberals have said in order to argue that both sides are equally to blame, I’d respond this way: Find me all the examples of people who shot up a church after reading books by Rachel Maddow and Paul Krugman, and then you’ll have a case.

      I’d have a hard time being incited to violence since I don’t own a gun, and have never shot a gun. I have a couple of softball bats…but I’d have to get pretty close to somebody to whack them. They could probably outrun me.

      I wonder if you carried a bat into a Chili’s, if they would be OK with that.

    • The hate spreaders own the poor deluded couple that committed the shooting in Nevada. Their facebook pages are filled with “coming to take my guns”, Benghazi, overthrow the tyrant in the White House crap. Young, stupid, deluded, and incited to react to a non-existent emergency.

    • I think that is one disingenuous headline:

      “This is everyday USA behind me,” Scott said on Sunday as he was standing front of the crime scene. “Something snapped, something went terribly wrong. And we’ll never know the answer to why.”

      Sounds like he was referring to the surroundings and family.

    • Move along, nothing to see, just another regular day in Amurka where guns are as plentiful as jelly beans…

  5. As FDR once put it, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Truer than ever now, this day, some 80 yrs down the road. Conservatives (by any description) thrive on fear. It’s the ONLY thing that motivates them, and their fear of everything pretty much defines, for the rest of us, the word ‘scourge.’ Just now, in fact — today, this day — their vocalization of the FEAR of what those five bearded Taliban dudes are going to do to Amurka now that they’re no longer in Gitmo seems about all the MHM (i.e., the Mass Hysteria Media) is interested in “discussing” (and I use the word loosely). Fear. Fear of everything. Why?

    Here’s the thing: I’ve been here the better part of 72 years now, and unfortunately, all I can do is laugh my ass off when I hear them spout their FEAR that those five guys are going to kill each and all of us, all because Obama let them go. Stupid is as stupid does. Makes me think that maybe those whose task it is to motivate others solely by causing FEAR amongst the myriad dumbass population may well have a much differen motive in mind. Must be money in it, or maybe more power. Something stupid like that. Ya think?

    • You want trolls?

      Hang out at a while. You’ll find plenty of them. It’s a spinoff site from Democratic Underground. I serve on a jury about every eight to ten refreshes of the main page. Juries decide whether posts or comments are civil or uncivil, etc. It’s been a real battleground over the Las Vegas shooters.

      You will get a little dirty. Comes with the territory.

      • I don’t particularly want trolls, but when I stumble across one, I tend to expect a certain level of competence. I never thought I’d miss Daryll — now that was a quality troll. 😆

        • Hallelujia! His CIS degree from Oral Roberts Christian college was a hoot…

        • I never thought I’d miss Daryll — now that was a quality troll.

          Had to re-read that a few times! He was quite humorous at times – especially when writing about his ‘Tiffany’ and daughter, (don’t recall the name).

        • I know what you mean. The trolls at TP are useless, you can’t have a discussion at all. I’ve already blocked about 10 or 12 of them just ’cause I’m tired of seeing their same old arguments again and again. What’s fun is that, although I can’t see their comments anymore, I can guess what they’ve said from other people’s responses.

          • I rarely read there, but they had a new one today who was such a perfect example of a completely clueless teapartier that she had to be a parody. I don’t want to believe that anyone is that stupid.

    • Wasn’t there a car named Meteor? A Mercury maybe? If so, drop ol’ Jeff a line and point out how little he knows about the consequences to dinosaurs of cars and pollution, etc.

      • Then again, the pushbutton shifters on the 50 something Chryslers could have had the dinosaurs laughing themselves to death.

    • An apropos comment I saw regarding Miller’s idiocy:

      David Bailey
      Once upon a time, this nation landed a man on the moon and safely returned him to earth. Now this – and from the very state where Cape Canaveral is located! What an unbelievable decline for us as a nation.

  6. Speaking of trolls… Raw Story is generally pretty well moderated but the influx of gun nuts has apparently overwhelmed the system or they are leaving some of the crap up for use by law enforcement. Of course; it seems like just about every story about the latest shooting on just about every site has attracted the real cream of the gun nut crop. I suppose a lot of that is because these freaks told the whole world exactly what their agenda was and the cowards can’t simply pass it off as a “no true Scotsman” fallacy; though that doesn’t keep them from trying. Heck! I expect that the rightwhiners like inSeannity will devote countless air time to proving they were actually secret “libruls”. This one thread alone could keep several law enforcement agencies busy tracking down potential right-wing terrorists and demonstrates that they should begin a dragnet that begins with the media freaks who incite violence among their loyal worshipers.

  7. Via Salon:

    Washington Post columnist George Will doesn’t believe the statistic that one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. Instead he believes that liberals, feminists and other nefarious forces have conspired to turn being a rape survivor into a “coveted status that confers privileges.”

    Well, shit. How are we ladies going to feel special now?

    • When did it become ok to blame women for rape and to diminish the crime as only ‘seeking status’…?

      • January 9, 2009

        Before then, they knew they better keep their vile mouths shut, or they’d be slapped down HARD.

    • Why does Georgie Will hate his mother and sisters? Did they dress him up in doll clothes when he was a baby?

  8. LV shooters left behind a “manifesto.”

    The media will go totally head-spinning nuts over it in 3…2…1…

    • But hey, his daughter gets a judgeship, and he gets to rake in some cash under the table as a kommish…What’s not to like, except the part about democracy in action…?

      • Just when you think this country can’t get more corrupt…

        I know, I know, I should stop kidding myself. *grump*

    • The saddest part is that this will hurt the effort to expand Medicaid and this so-called man’s district is pretty much Appalachia, where they line up for health care for days when the medical missionaries come through. You’ve no doubt seen pictures of these events. He sold his people for 30 pieces of tobacco silver.

  9. The heat finally got to me, along with the inordinate amount of time of upkeep, the difficulty of finding a comfortable pillow position and the weird feeling on my bareback, I cut my hair.
    I did it myself with a clipper, just buzz cut it all off!

    I never noticed how big my ears appear with no hair!

      • A picture isn’t necessary, just envision a large cantaloupe with ears, a handsome cantaloupe! 😉

        • Hmmm, I’m certain it would be a handsome cantaloupe, but not sure a picture isn’t necessary. 😀

          • I’ll tell you what, when my sister returns from visiting her grandchildren I’ll have her take the picture and I’ll send it along with a before picture she took of me before she left town!

            I’m heading to bed now because I’m helping Pete to load his truck a 4 AM tomorrow.

            Are there any openings for a soap-maker’s apprentice in your neck of the woods? 🙂

  10. I ran into Sabyen91 over at the Raw Story ‘Alex Jones’ thread. I can’t remember the last time I saw him(?) It’s always nice to run into another old-timer.

    I ended up logging in at RS under my old Disqus (spit!) account, and it wouldn’t let me change “JaneElizabethTheresaSechny” to my usual handle, so I’m stuck with it for now.

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