“The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us – there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”
Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!
I have a rule when I am on vacation: no news writing. I do not write any news while on holidays because I use my time off to recharge. It is a rule which has, for the last two weeks, been beyond frustrating.
More scandals in the Catholic church (and to mention the hilariously moronic push by the Vatican to forgive sins if believers would just follow the pope’s Twitter page), the prime ministers official enemies list, and news that that pox upon humanity known as Glee is doing a two our special on the Beatles — Listen, you vile pestilence upon music, keep your hands off the Fab Four! You’ve already butchered KISS and AC/DC, leave the boys from Liverpool alone for frak’s sake!
But even as I fought the temptation to rant about these things and more, I was bombarded by news that Kate Whatsherface — the rich woman who married the British prince — is having her baby. It’s apparently a boy. Coverage of the birth of yet another privileged member of the impotent monarchy has become so nauseatingly wall-to-wall and given such a sense of importance that I’m expecting three Persians to show up at Buckingham Palace bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
I cannot muster up even a little enthusiasm for the arrival of this child, who will one day occupy tabloid headlines and inherit a throne that is to Canadian politics what the appendix is to human anatomy.
And besides, there is way more exiting news than the spawn of a prince. Cosmos is back baby!
In 1980 the original Cosmos: a Personal Voyage was a 13 part TV series hosted by the late, great Carl Sagan. It was about history, discovery, science, astronomy and our place in an unthinkably vast universe. It was brilliant and for many people, myself included, an the perfect introduction the power and glory of science and reason and beautifully bizarre mysteries of the universe we inhabit. The series and its companion book left a deep imprint on my psyche. From the moment I saw the first episode as a kid, I was hooked.
Since Cosmos aired, there has been talk of a sequel. But the show was not a quick knock off. It was an expansive series, using (at the time) state of the art special effects to add verve to Sagan’s commentary and lessons. It was as entertaining as it was educational and inspiring. Alas, Sagan passed away before any sequel could be made.
But the man many regard as Sagan’s successor as the public educator of science par excellence, Neil deGrasse Tyson is hosting the sequel titled “Cosmos: a space-time odyssey”. It is also 13 parts and will air next year. The trailer looks incredible. Tyson, who is basically what you get when you cross Carl Sagan with Lando Calrissian, is the prefect man for the job of filling Sagan’s shoes.
Interestingly, it is being aired on Fox in the United States, not exactly a television network known for broadcasting programing with intelligence. What this means, I think, is that the kind of wonder about the universe and science Sagan created in 1980 will reach the eyes and ears of those who normally might not watch a show about science.
Be prepared to feel gloriously small in a beautifully vast universe. No royal baby will ever be able to create that kind of wonder and light the fire of curiosity like Cosmos can: