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#1
Old 07-20-2010, 08:30 PM
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Wow. Cosmos by Carl Sagan was really great

I've been watching this series on Hulu the last few nights and am really amazed I never before saw it.

Episode 4 has an update from Sagan, doing a very good job of tying in the original story about the condition of Venus and our current state of wrecking earth via overuse of fossil fuels.

It got me, someone a lover of all things internal combustion engine, wondering when the breaking point will be.

I love speed. I LOVE speed! I love the sound of an engine and the feel of clutch and gears as I attempt to attain that speed, but I'm starting to wonder why I feel like I have that conceived 'right' to do so.

It is a fact that we could, today, tonight, require cars to get 50 mpg and that standard would be met. Yet we don't, because people feel it's their right to... what? ?

Again, I love speed and own a motorcycle with more displacement than really needed (but the power and speed is simply incredible), as well as a dirt bike that pisses through gas.

Why is that my right? Is it my right? My car gets 30.6 mpg on average, but why don't I drive something getting 50+? Because I like speed. But why do I (and people like me feel it's a right?)

Sorry, kinda long, but Cosmos is really great viewing and does a great job putting things in perspective.
#2
Old 07-20-2010, 08:48 PM
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Keep your ears tuned for the way he exaggerates some of his intial "p" and "b" sounds. He has said that the iconic caricature of him pronouncing the word "billions" as "Billions" was due to his stressing that it was not "millions." I don't buy it, because he does the same thing with other "p" and "b" words. And in one where he is talking about the Rosetta Stone, he pronounces "inscribed" as "inscribe duh." I think it's "The Persistence of Memory," that he does say the word "billions" quite a few times.

I was a little let down when I rewatched it after almost 30 years. Not that I had any criticism of it, just that when it first premiered, it was so groundbreaking. In the age of cable, there are entire channels devoted to that type of content, if not 100% of the time. ETA: Also, it seemed that he was talking to the audience on a much lower level than your average science documentary program today. Maybe we weren't so enlightened back then.

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 07-20-2010 at 08:50 PM.
#3
Old 07-20-2010, 09:01 PM
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I seem to recall really liking the music on that show. And I do believe its a myth that he has ever said "billions AND billions" (let us know on that one when you are done). It might fall a little flat these days, but for the time it was pretty ground breaking and awe inspiring in my opinion.
#4
Old 07-20-2010, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
And in one where he is talking about the Rosetta Stone, he pronounces "inscribed" as "inscribe duh." I think it's "The Persistence of Memory," that he does say the word "billions" quite a few times.
I've heard David Letterman use an exaggerated version of that when poking fun at his own Midwestern accent. (Exaggerating the enunciation of final consonants probably reflects the features of this accent which led to it becoming the American broadcasting default.)

Carl Sagan was from Brooklyn, not the Midwest; but I can't help wonder if this pronunciation quirk was the result of him being coached with regard to pronunciation for the show. "You need to enunciate the 'D' a little better, like this: Inscribe-duh...".
#5
Old 07-20-2010, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by billfish678 View Post
I seem to recall really liking the music on that show. And I do believe its a myth that he has ever said "billions AND billions" (let us know on that one when you are done). It might fall a little flat these days, but for the time it was pretty ground breaking and awe inspiring in my opinion.
I bought the soundtrack, and I played the hell out of it. I copied it to a cassette tape so I could listen to it in the car. (Yes, in addition to Punk and New Wave, I also listened to the Cosmos soundtrack.) The Vangelis is really dated nowadays, but I really liked it at the time. There was a Middle-Eastern sounding track (female vocalist) that I still like.

I have Cosmos on DVD.
#6
Old 07-20-2010, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
I was a little let down when I rewatched it after almost 30 years. Not that I had any criticism of it, just that when it first premiered, it was so groundbreaking. In the age of cable, there are entire channels devoted to that type of content, if not 100% of the time. ETA: Also, it seemed that he was talking to the audience on a much lower level than your average science documentary program today. Maybe we weren't so enlightened back then.
What channels and "average" programs are you thinking of?
#7
Old 07-21-2010, 12:34 AM
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I watched it recently on DVD at it is still literally awesome. I remember being four years old and wanting to watch cartoons while my older brother wanted to watch Cosmos. It must have been mind blowing for him to see as a teenager in the 80's.

It is a work of beauty. Carl Sagan exudes a feeling of gentle humanity and he weaves everything together with a deft touch. Galaxies, stars, life, human emotions...

The only things that have dated are some of the special effects (but they look fashionably retro to me) and the pacing - it is noticeably slower than modern documentaries. At least it is not empty and flashy, though. The DVD I watched had subtitles that would pop-up and explain when the science was out of date. I think I will go watch an episode now.
#8
Old 07-21-2010, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
I've heard David Letterman use an exaggerated version of that when poking fun at his own Midwestern accent. (Exaggerating the enunciation of final consonants probably reflects the features of this accent which led to it becoming the American broadcasting default.)

Carl Sagan was from Brooklyn, not the Midwest; but I can't help wonder if this pronunciation quirk was the result of him being coached with regard to pronunciation for the show. "You need to enunciate the 'D' a little better, like this: Inscribe-duh...".
ETA: I was going to launch this thread, with its Billions of electrons over to Cafe Society, but got called away. I'll do it now.
#9
Old 07-21-2010, 12:36 AM
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If you like the show, be sure to check out the book, or some of his other books.

And make sure to take a break from the show once in a while, or you could end up looking like this: http://youtube.com/watch?v=BlpyGhABXRA
#10
Old 07-21-2010, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by spark240 View Post
What channels
Discovery and Nat Geo, for starters
Quote:
and "average" programs are you thinking of?
Eh. . . ""Naked Science" and "The Universe" for starters.

Again, "Cosmos" was a landmark and boldly went where no other series (at least in the US) had gone before. It was head and shoulders above anything else being offered, but it was a product of its time. I personally don't think it holds up to the documentaries of recent years, but YMMV, of course.
#11
Old 07-21-2010, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
The Vangelis is really dated nowadays, but I really liked it at the time.
I actually still enjoy Vangelis' Cosmos music.

On iTunes, they sell "Heaven and Hell" from Vangelis and one commenter gives you instructions on how to edit it to only play the section featured on "Cosmos." Everytime it plays I envision flying through the universe...

Hey, it's cheaper than drugs.
#12
Old 07-21-2010, 07:47 AM
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Timothy Ferris was a good science show guy, too.
#13
Old 07-21-2010, 08:15 AM
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That "evolution animation drawing" was used in the movie "The Miracle Mile." Maybe that's some existing stock footage from somewhere, but I had assumed it was done for "Cosmos."
#14
Old 07-21-2010, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by billfish678 View Post
I do believe its a myth that he has ever said "billions AND billions" (let us know on that one when you are done).
That's correct--nowhere in Cosmos does Sagan ever say "billions and billions."
#15
Old 07-21-2010, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
That's correct--nowhere in Cosmos does Sagan ever say "billions and billions."
Are you sure? I watched episode 3 Monday night and could swear he said it, though I forget the context.

As to his speaking style, I figured he was just baked out of his mind during filming.
#16
Old 07-21-2010, 08:26 AM
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I watched the whole series last year, and I don't recall him literally saying "Billions and Billions," but as I posted above:
Quote:
I think it's "The Persistence of Memory," that he does say the word "billions" quite a few times.
And a couple of times in short succession, something like "There are billions of atoms in a cell, and billions of cells in your body.
#17
Old 07-21-2010, 08:38 AM
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Is there a Cosmos episode where he runs around unrolling rolls of toilet paper? Or am I remembering some other show? I always thought they should have had Mr Whipple as a cameo way in the background on that one.
#18
Old 07-21-2010, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billfish678 View Post
Is there a Cosmos episode where he runs around unrolling rolls of toilet paper? Or am I remembering some other show? I always thought they should have had Mr Whipple as a cameo way in the background on that one.
That's him in "The Lives of Stars" (I believe), in which he's explaining very large numbers by writing out a googol on a roll of toilet paper, and then something about how a googolplex would fill the entire universe with paper.

Last edited by Interconnected Series of Tubes; 07-21-2010 at 02:15 PM.
#19
Old 07-21-2010, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
Keep your ears tuned for the way he exaggerates some of his intial "p" and "b" sounds.
Right, it's not just 'p' or 'b' words either. It's his whole famous style of talking. He doesn't say 'stars' he says 'starzuh'. Sounds just like Agent Smith. (Yes, of course Agent Smith sounds like him, not the other way around). And, like you said, 'inscribeduh' instead of 'inscribed'. Love it.

I don't recall him saying 'billions and billions' and I also have heard that he never said it but that he later did write it as an inside joke in one of his books.

He does (did) say 'Billions' an awful lot though. In Cosmos, and just all the time.

Last edited by Nzinga, Seated; 07-21-2010 at 05:47 PM.
#20
Old 07-21-2010, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by billfish678 View Post
I seem to recall really liking the music on that show. And I do believe its a myth that he has ever said "billions AND billions" (let us know on that one when you are done). It might fall a little flat these days, but for the time it was pretty ground breaking and awe inspiring in my opinion.
A CD of the music is available on Amazon.

You may have to settle for used.
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#21
Old 07-21-2010, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Nzinga, Seated View Post
Right, it's not just 'p' or 'b' words either. It's his whole famous style of talking. He doesn't say 'stars' he says 'starzuh'. Sounds just like Agent Smith. (Yes, of course Agent Smith sounds like him, not the other way around). And, like you said, 'inscribeduh' instead of 'inscribed'. Love it.
Well, he's only yooman.

#22
Old 07-22-2010, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
Discovery and Nat Geo, for startersEh. . . "

"Naked Science" and "The Universe" for starters.
Okay, I'll look for them. I get the channels, but if I ever saw those programs they didn't make an impression.
#23
Old 08-11-2010, 08:50 PM
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re: 'Billions and Billions'

I'll tell you who does say it: Steve Ihnat in "The Outer Limits" ep "The Inheritors." For people of my generation, he is probably most remembered as Garth from the "Star Trek" ep "Whom Gods Destroy."
#24
Old 08-11-2010, 09:16 PM
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I'm always looking for an excuse to post this, which has been floating around on the nets for awhile but remains one of my favorite videos. I think it does a great job of capturing the gentleness, pragmatism and awe that Sagan approached the universe with; they're what made him such a great teacher.
#25
Old 08-11-2010, 10:06 PM
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Just remember to take a break once in a while while you're watching Cosmos, or you may end up like this: http://youtube.com/watch?v=BlpyGhABXRA
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