44 thoughts on “The Internet Has Just Justified Its Existence

  1. Very cool. Thanks for the notice.

    You know, I believe some crafty producer needs to make a mini-series out of The Rough Guide to the Universe. Cosmos is more than 30 years old, after all. I also believe I can think of a host. He knows his stuff cold AND he can wander barefoot through the CGI firmament singing “The Galaxy Song” as the show’s theme. He has that kind of talent.

  2. And to think I actually spent money getting the DVD collection as a present for my husband last Christmas. If I had only known, I could’ve saved the money. At least I didn’t pay full price.

  3. I loved Comos as a kid. I can remember sitting through all 13 episodes fascinated by Sagan’s easy-on-the-ears narration and his ability to make the Cosmos interesting and fun. I can also remember watching several episodes in my junior high science class. These days some right fanatic would force the school to stop showing something like Cosmos because it doesn’t also teach intelligent design. Hell, you can’t even find great programming like this on PBS anymore. Hopefully, a new generation of tech-savvy kids will finally see these great episodes.

  4. #7 – not sure where you live but I am not aware that they force the teaching of id, must be just a editorial?

    Having said that, try the ‘Universe’ series, some very good stuff in that series.

  5. It’s amazing to me how well Cosmos holds up. Sagan’s cheerleading for rationality and science remains as powerful as ever.

  6. Agree about The Universe. It’s on its third season on The History Channel, for those who haven’t noticed it out there, with DVDs available for seasons 1 & 2.

  7. Thanks for the heads-up! I am one of those first-time viewers =)
    For anyone who’s interested, Hulu also recently began showing season one of Stargate SG-1.

  8. That’s really fantastic. After my mom, I give Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov the credit for inspiring in me a love of reading and learning, science in general and science fiction in particular. Their love for science, rationality and the natural universe was warm and amazingly human. Both of them shared an optimism about the human race and our technological future that was hard not to share anytime you heard them speak. The world is a worse off without both of them.

  9. I remember Cosmos being among the first things that I made an effort to catch every episode of. It became a pivot point in my life, around which everything revolved for several years.
    I’m wondering how old I should let me kids get before putting them in front of it.

  10. For those not in the US you can try a US based proxy server.

    Google will show you the path.

    Ethelred

  11. I actually already own it. It is the coolest thing in my DVD collection.

    I REALLY want to blow the 130 bucks for the out of print comprehensive soundtrack. But I’m a destitute grad student. *sigh*

    The one that is available is ok. But I really want the whole shabang package.

  12. Only watchable from within the US.

    *Cries softly into coffee*

    I signed up for the mail-notification if they ever get the necessary permissions for my region. Hopefully that’ll happen. Maybe in my lifetime, even ;)

  13. Sagan was one of the greatest authors ever to come and sign at the store I used to work for. He drew many hundreds, and an astonishing number of them told him, “You changed my life.”

    He was also terrific in person. I left a book about fractals (one of Peitgen’s, I think) out on the table in the office where he and Ann Druyan waited a little while before the signing, and sure enough, he flipped through it! Über-geek all the way through…

  14. Awesome!

    Cosmos helped crystalize my love of science, the history of science, and the universe around us at an early age.

  15. We got it from the library not too long ago and shared it with my eleven-year-old. He was even more interested in all parts of it than I remember being.

    We also got some of the Electric Company to show him a year or two ago, and those also went over well.

    Next? James Burke’s Connections series.

  16. I was a teenager when Cosmos first aired on PBS. I would lean an audio cassette recorder up against the TV speaker to record the audio. I then listened to the tapes over and over again in bed at night. I wonder if Sagan ever really understood the spark he lit in people.

  17. My wife was looking at our TV listings Sunday afternoon, couldn’t find anything she wanted to see, surfed over to Hulu, and we ended up watching the first 2 episodes of Cosmos. Good stuff.

  18. While I do not think Sagan himself was responsible for much of the science he presented what he did was to be able to present it in a way that the regular chum could understand, do it with drama and flair and lastly for the ladies (and I guess a few lads) look good doing it.

  19. Growing up watching Cosmos and Nova and the like was incredible. My mom and I used to watch these shows as often as possible, and later I found out that part of it was that she always wanted to be a scientist – archaeology, in particular – but in college was told that since she was female should either teach or be a nurse. Although she never regretted a career in teaching, it’s still a bit sad to think that she came from a generation where women were actively discouraged from science.

    It’s been wonderful watching the Cosmos DVDs with my kids (2 daughters, 1 son). Even though we didn’t get through all of it, it is amazing fun having long conversations with a 8 year old about evolution, the “cosmic calendar”, and all of the other great science Carl Sagan touches on.

    Awesome that Hulu has the series now. I think I might need to dig out my copy and actually finish it with the kids sometime. It really is the high point of popular science education.

  20. Squeeeeeeee!!

    *deep breaths*

    Ok, ok, I’m better now.

    OK, so my father worked at KCET, the PBS station in L.A. where a lot of Cosmos was produced. He designed some of the effects for the clouds of Venus, Saturn and Titan, and built many of the sets. I have memories of going in to work with him as a small child, meeting Segan very briefly, and standing on a scissor lift helping to mount the screen for the “sapceship” set.

    Oddly, I also remember the scrambled eggs they served in the commisary…

  21. I can never forget that haunting score! One of my favorites all time. It just added amazement to the wonders that Sagan was evangelizing.

  22. I would love to watch this, but I am on the wrong side of the 49th parallel firewall, and proxy servers lead to too much ….buffering….buffering….buffering… slowdown.

  23. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never seen Cosmos, which is many levels of wrong (I work for JPL, for freaks’ sake!).

    I know what I’m going to be sneaking during my work days. And this time I could even say it was work related!

    (Unlike Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog…)

  24. Cosmos is truly an experience that will stay with one forever, even if it is just by the plangent tones of its theme.

  25. I loved those as a kid. It could be amusing to watch again after 30 years to see what’s changed since then. (All the exoplanet stuff, for instance.)

  26. Thanks for the heads up.

    I can’t believe the level of sophistication in the posts so far. No cracks about the “B” word. Must be too obvious.

  27. “Cosmos” hit the airwaves when I was in high school. Other girls were squeeing about Prince and Billy Idol, I was googly eyed over Carl Sagan.

    Smart is sexy!

  28. I was quite the Carl Sagan fanatic. I remember being enthralled as a boy during the series’ initial run, then loving it all over again in my twenties when my wife and I discovered the VHS tapes of COSMOS at the local library. Like Johnny, I even went so far as to hook the VCR up to my tape deck and make “audio books” out of the entire series, for me to listen to at work on the portable. Eventually my wife got me the DVD set as a gift, when at last the series was released on DVD.

    She also got me the Keay Davidson bio book on Sagan, which killed my hero worship of the man.

    In the end, Carl was pretty flawed, and probably an average to above-average scientist, whose ultimate — and sustaining — gift, was his ability to popularize and communicate complex scientific subjects to the general public. Certainly I feel like Sagan has made a huge impact on my life, via COSMOS and other works like Pale Blue Dot.

    I took down my Carl Sagan hero worship web page after reading Davidson’s bio, and it was a little while still before I could watch COSMOS again with a detached eye.

    I think I can overlook Sagan’s personal flaws simply for the fact that, when it came to his television and books, he was top drawer. Nobody else really came close, as a motivational popularizer. Sagan has literally influenced millions of lives around the globe. He had a gift.

    Excellent, that hulu is putting COSMOS up for new generations to see. I would think that Ann Druyan is pleased, yes?

  29. I’m not the biggest science guy around (philosophy is more my thing) but The Demon-Haunted World is a great book. I think Sagan (and Asimov and Vonnegut) would be amused at what Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens are up to at the moment.

  30. Heh.. we even got to watch some of Cosmos in one of my first year Astronomy courses at uni :) was awesome.

    I have it in book format. Which i assume the tv series was based on…?

  31. Whatever time I spend worrying about America’s role in the world, I spend some non-negligible fraction of that time worrying about humanity’s role in the universe. Thanks, mostly, to reading and watching Cosmos at the age of ten.

    Also, for what its worth, the first image I ever had of the Corsu homeworld when mentioned in OMW was of that planet with the fixed ring around it from Episode 12: Encyclopaedia Galactica.

  32. What a great show – and the man was perfect for the job. Too bad they watered down his ending in the filming of his novel Contact, but fortunately Cosmos will remain his most enduring work.

    The score is by Vangelis in case anyone is looking for it and a more perfect piece of music for cruising the cosmos doesn’t exist (I don’t think).

    I’ll be adding this link later on today:

    ALSO, there are several downloadable programs/websites you can go to if you are overseas. And I know at least a couple of episodes are also up on YouTube if you care to search.

  33. 36: “Excellent, that hulu is putting COSMOS up for new generations to see. I would think that Ann Druyan is pleased, yes?”

    I would think so. My impression from meeting them at the signing, and the interview I did with them about Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, is that she’s the one who made him famous.

  34. I think it’s true: behind every great man, there is a woman…

    ….lighting a fire under his ass!

    Steve @ #40: I credit COSMOS with turning me on to Vangelis. I eventually went on to buy virtually every major (and minor) album Vangelis ever produced. The man was definitely ahead of his time. It’s a shame his production has dropped off since the nineties. I think “Oceanic” and “Voices” were very good.

  35. Anon K-A:

    Is Eric Idle really that good at astronomy?

    Can Sir Patrick Moore sing and play the xylophone at the same time?

    Oh.

    You mean Scalzi?

    He’ll do.

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