“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”
Happy Birthday Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
We embarked on our journey to the stars with a question first framed in the childhood of our species and in each generation asked anew with undiminished wonder: What are the stars? Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars. -Cosmos
Those worlds in space are as countless as all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth. Each of those worlds is as real as ours and every one of them is a succession of incidents, events, occurrences which influence its future. Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time. And our small planet at this moment, here we face a critical branch point in history, what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants, it is well within our power to destroy our civilization and perhaps our species as well. If we capitulate to superstition or greed or stupidity we could plunge our world into a time of darkness deeper than the time between the collapse of classical civilization and the Italian Renaissance. But we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. -Journeys in Space and Time, Cosmos
We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. -“Why We Need To Understand Science” in The Skeptical Inquirer Vol. 14, Issue 3, (Spring 1990)
Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact. -Psychology Today, (01 January 1996)
What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic. -The Persistence of Memory, Cosmos
"Red wine does a body good—except for when it’s slowly killing you. For every study that touts the health benefits of red wine, there’s some buzzkill reminding us that booze is bad. The conflicting advice is so confusing it’s dizzying, which can leave you feeling sorta drunk.
For starters, you may have heard about red wine being “heart healthy.” That’s because the flavonoids in red wine are believed to lower “bad” cholesterol and raise “good” cholesterol, which is supposed to prevent blocked arteries. It’s has anticoagulant properties, which reduces blood clotting, but that only works while the wine is in your system, so in order to stave off a heart attack, you’d have to keep tossing ‘em back. But then you’re placed at a risk of the long-term effects of excessive alcohol use, which, ironically, includes cardiovascular problems.
Drinking red wine can extend a person’s life, except for when it makes them die. The natural chemicals found in red wine are believed to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but then again, wine consumption is linked to dementia.
Resveratrol, the magic ingredient responsible for most of the health benefits of red wine (the magical aspects of which have been greatly exaggerated), is thought to slow the aging process. But most people recognize that heavy drinking eventually leaves you looking old and gross.
Speaking of magic and the way you look, red wine actually blocks fat cells from forming. The bummer with that, though, is that booze calories “count more” for moderate drinkers. Also, red wine could negate the health effects of exercise, so it doesn’t seem like a very good weight loss plan. The compounds in red wine can prevent cavities and plaque buildup, but dentists warn that alcohol is super corrosive for your gums. And anybody who’s looked in the mirror after a glass or four has been presented with the horror of wine teeth and chapped wine lips. …
The compound in red wine might help treat some kinds of cancers, and red wine can be helpful in preventing bone cancer and breast cancer. Except that boozing is linked to breast cancer as well as mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon cancer.
So how much is too much? At what point does wine turn from being healthy to unhealthy? Apparently, for women, it’s one 5 oz glass per day. Men get to drink two glasses per day, which is bullshit.
If that depresses you, pour yourself a glass of pinot noir. People who drink a glass of red wine a day are less likely to be depressed. And if nothing else, just know that if you drink a lot of red wine, you’re still less of a drunk than a white wine drinker.”