Happy Birthday Carl Sagan!
November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. —Carl Sagan
A 20-minute animation of the consumerist society, narrated by Anne Leonard, to view online or download. Includes footnoted script, credits, blog, and resources.
Get the whole story…
Annie managed to fit a whole lot of information in 20 minutes but there’s still so much more! You can read the whole story by picking up a copy at your local bookstore or by pre-ordering online and clicking one of the linked images below. We also encourage you to donate a copy of the book to your local library so that those who can’t purchase the book themselves can still access all the great information in it!
The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project is an international collaboration of academic researchers, supported by some of the world’s best high-technology companies, which aims to completely reassess the function and significance of the Antikythera Mechanism.
More than a hundred years ago an extraordinary mechanism was found by sponge divers at the bottom of the sea near the island of Antikythera. It astonished the whole international community of experts on the ancient world. Was it an astrolabe? Was it an Orrery or an astronomical clock? Or something else?
For decades, scientific investigation failed to yield much light and relied more on imagination than the facts. However research over the last half century has begun to reveal its secrets. It dates from around the end of the 2nd century B.C. and is the most sophisticated mechanism known from the ancient world. Nothing as complex is known for the next thousand years. The Antikythera Mechanism is now understood to be dedicated to astronomical phenomena and operates as a complex mechanical "computer" which tracks the cycles of the Solar System.
Previous researchers have used the latest technologies available to them -such as x-ray analysis- to try to begin to unravel its complex mysteries. Now a new initiative is building on this previous work, using the very latest techniques available today. The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project is an international collaboration of academic researchers, supported by some of the world’s best high-technology companies, which aims to completely reassess the function and significance of the Antikythera Mechanism.
The project is under the aegis of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and was initially supported by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust, UK. More details bout subsequent funding are here. The project has received strong backing from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, which is custodian of this unique artifact. Two of the Museum’s senior staff, Head of Chemistry, Eleni Magou, and Archaeologist-museologist, Mary Zafeiropoulou, have co-ordinated the Museum’s side of the project and are actively involved with the research.
Does time really fly faster as we get older? Anecdotally it sure seems so, and it appears that some researchers are claiming that that perception is indeed valid. At least internally – for while time itself is invariant, it appears that our perception of time is affected by psychological changes of the brain as we age, and those changes appear to effect the way we feel about time itself.
What a pity we can’t all have time-lapse movies made of our lives like this one from Christoph Rehange chronicling just one year of his life. The stories and experiences they would show would simply be amazing and unique. This video came to mind as I was listening to an NPR story on this very subject of time perception.
What these videos don’t show, of course, are the psychological changes, and one of the most universal changes as humans age: the perception of time.
Where is the happiest place on earth? If you answered Disneyland, you could be forgiven (slightly), so perhaps the question should be phrased, “Where is the happiest country on earth?”
The answer may surprise you; Denmark.
Denmark tops the list of happy nations, according to the latest World Values Survey via this NSF report. In prosperous nations, factors that correlate with happiness include political freedom and social tolerance. Not surprisingly, impoverished nations with repressive regimes rank at the bottom of the list — Zimbabwe comes in last of the 97 countries examined in the survey.
The United States ranks ahead of more than 80 countries, but below 15 others in happiness levels, according to the survey data.
“Some of you will probably be more or less troubled by that parody of medieval theology which finds its dogma in the doctrine of homeopathy, its miracle of transubstantiation in the mystery of its dilutions, its church in the people who have mistaken their century, and its priests in those who have mistaken their calling.”
[Oliver Wendell Holmes, Medical Essays. The Young Practitioner, [A Valedictory Address delivered to the Graduating Class of the Bellevue Hospital College, March 2, 1871.] ”