Tag Archives: Carl Sagan

Future Shock

Future ShockThe other day I saw in a New York Times article that Alvin Toffler had died last month. The article wasn’t really an obituary so much as about Future Shock, the book Toffler wrote back in 1970. If you’re around my age, you may remember him and the book; both were a bit of a big deal.

I hadn’t thought about that book since back then, but as the Times writer points out, “it seems clear that his diagnosis has largely panned out, with local and global crises arising daily from our collective inability to deal with ever-faster change.” Truer words! Even in 1970, the technological pace was starting to affect people in bad ways, and it certainly hasn’t gotten any better since.

The article really struck a chord! I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately — and have written a few posts — about the growing disconnect between people and their grasp of the technological modern world.

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Plutonic Star Tar!

There comes a time when words fail, and all you can do is stare in amazement. The Friday press conference from the New Horizons team had that effect on many of us. (I’m not the only one who wept with sheer joy.)

Pluto haze

From behind the planet, the Sun illuminates Pluto’s 100 mi layer of haze.

They say pictures are worth thousands of words, so I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking (click on any image to go to the source)…

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Here Today; Pi Tomorrow

pi pastry

It’s pi day! Be irrational!

Earlier this week I mentioned that “this coming Saturday is a doubly special date (especially this year).” One of the things that makes it special is that it is pi day — 3/14 (at least for those who put the month before the day). What makes it extra-special this year is that it’s 3/14/15— a pi day that comes around only once per century. (Super-duper extra-special pi day, which happens only once in a given calendar, happened way back on 3/14/1529.)

I’ve written before about the magical pi, and I’m not going to get into it, as such, today. I’m more of a tau-ist, anyway; pi is only half as interesting. (Unfortunately, extra-special tau day isn’t until 6/28/31, and the super-duper extra-special day isn’t until 6/28/3185!)

What I do want to talk about is a fascinating property of pi.

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Dear SciAm

Dear SciAmThis is a post I’ve had sitting on the shelf for when I wanted an easy one. I don’t know about other bloggers, but it takes hours for me to crank out a post. Some can take most of a day. (There are some where I spent days making graphics, and an upcoming one has work that took weeks! (You saw a glimpse in a recent post!))

The situation this concerns is long past. This is no rant, just a piece on a life change that surprised me a little, made me sad a little, and which doubly reflected the end of an era.

I could write this any time, but today I got another plea from Scientific American magazine. Again they beg me to come back. Again I won’t.

This, then, is an open letter to SciAm, a dear old friend with whom I’ve parted ways.

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