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Old May 19 2014, 06:43 AM   #901
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

gturner wrote: View Post
I didn't take the idea that we're going to become a new species as very optimistic. That generally takes some heavy culling or selective breeding. I think we'd better stay with the genes we've got.
It beats extinction and it's happening all the time.
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Old May 19 2014, 06:58 AM   #902
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Big Jake, from the side view, she was definitely sub-Saharan African. I assume Seth McFarlane or somebody told the cartoonist to make an ethnic looking character, and they just threw a dart at a wall, not realizing that Iraqis look less ethnic than most Mexicans, and could easily be mistaken for Albanians or Italians, if not Brits like Elizabeth Hurley.

Timewalker, evolution of a massive interconnected species would require winnowing the gene pool. It's an interplay of both winners (who reproduce) and losers (who don't). Do you care to nominate some losers so we can make sure they quit breeding? Have any favored traits to select for? Any favorite races?

Back in the 1930's a similar view to NGT's was common, holding that humans would evolve to lose all but one finger because the future was pushing big fat buttons on giant machines. Unasked was what would be killing off all the ten-fingered people.

The gene pools shifts if a successful group out-reproduces less successful groups (Idiocracy?), often by having the less successful groups starve or die young. Are there any plans I don't know about to cause below average people to die from car crashes or easily cured infections or not hook up? If we travel to Mars, are we going to try and kill off the 90 percent of settlers whose genes just aren't cutting it, or are we going to engineer ways for all humans to stay alive and fertile after arrival?

What Tyson and you are suggesting sounds like Lysenkoism, whereby the act of simply placing us in a new environment somehow changes our genes without the nasty bit about selecting the few who will make it to the next generation and culling the rest. Given that we live in a capitalist democracy where the people to cull buy things to keep themselves healthy and alive, and vote, I don't see a long-term prospect of getting them to volunteer to exit the gene pool.
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Old May 19 2014, 07:21 AM   #903
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

gturner wrote: View Post
Big Jake, from the side view, she was definitely sub-Saharan African.
Huh?

Please tell me we're not discussing the size of her arse. Please.

EDIT: No, SRSLY. PLEASE.
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Old May 19 2014, 08:08 AM   #904
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

J. Allen wrote: View Post
Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
J. Allen wrote: View Post
There won't be any more seasons. There are 3 (I think) more episodes, and then that's it.
Where on earth are you coming up with that?
Cosmos is a 13 episode mini-series, just like the original Sagan work. Still, you don't have to take my word for it:


Well, hopefully it won't take another 34 years to get a 3rd miniseries...

I wonder who will be the host for a Cosmos 3? Maybe some kid at home watching this right now...
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Old May 19 2014, 08:12 AM   #905
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

BigJake wrote: View Post
J. Allen wrote: View Post
Ancient Mariner wrote: View Post
Fantastic episode this week. It really felt very reminiscent of the original - honest about the challenges we face, but hopeful and optimistic about our future.
I loved this week's optimistic ending. I do hope we reach such a future, because right now, we're kind of surrounded by idiots who have control of almost everything.
Finally watched my first episode of Cosmos tonight, I'm profoundly impressed. I loved every minute of it, I learned something new, loved Neil deGrasse Tyson and the episode's tone and ultimate optimism was absolutely great.
...
Isn't he wonderful?

bryce wrote: View Post
J. Allen wrote: View Post
Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
Where on earth are you coming up with that?
Cosmos is a 13 episode mini-series, just like the original Sagan work. Still, you don't have to take my word for it:


Well, hopefully it won't take another 34 years to get a 3rd miniseries...

I wonder who will be the host for a Cosmos 3? Maybe some kid at home watching this right now...
That's exactly what I'm hoping will happen (and yeah, sooner than 3 decades, please!).
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Old May 19 2014, 08:15 AM   #906
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Unfortunately, or, for better or worse....this version isn't on PBS like versions 1 was, so we get commercials...and thus less content.

I would love to find out that there's an hour-long episode extended version out there waiting for DVD...but I doubt there is.

(I also miss the music of the original...I still have the soundtrack - on vinyl.)

And I miss some of the WOW! stuff like when Sagan explained Flatland...or the idea that our universe could be just an atom in a much bigger...something...(well, I suppose the multiverse idea gets into that kinda...)
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Old May 19 2014, 08:36 AM   #907
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

gturner wrote: View Post
Big Jake, from the side view, she was definitely sub-Saharan African. I assume Seth McFarlane or somebody told the cartoonist to make an ethnic looking character, and they just threw a dart at a wall, not realizing that Iraqis look less ethnic than most Mexicans, and could easily be mistaken for Albanians or Italians, if not Brits like Elizabeth Hurley.

Timewalker, evolution of a massive interconnected species would require winnowing the gene pool. It's an interplay of both winners (who reproduce) and losers (who don't). Do you care to nominate some losers so we can make sure they quit breeding? Have any favored traits to select for? Any favorite races?

Back in the 1930's a similar view to NGT's was common, holding that humans would evolve to lose all but one finger because the future was pushing big fat buttons on giant machines. Unasked was what would be killing off all the ten-fingered people.

The gene pools shifts if a successful group out-reproduces less successful groups (Idiocracy?), often by having the less successful groups starve or die young. Are there any plans I don't know about to cause below average people to die from car crashes or easily cured infections or not hook up? If we travel to Mars, are we going to try and kill off the 90 percent of settlers whose genes just aren't cutting it, or are we going to engineer ways for all humans to stay alive and fertile after arrival?

What Tyson and you are suggesting sounds like Lysenkoism, whereby the act of simply placing us in a new environment somehow changes our genes without the nasty bit about selecting the few who will make it to the next generation and culling the rest. Given that we live in a capitalist democracy where the people to cull buy things to keep themselves healthy and alive, and vote, I don't see a long-term prospect of getting them to volunteer to exit the gene pool.

I once asked an very smart anthropologist friend (who had worked for years with the Leakey's) if she thought that we would spectate as we (*if* we) spread out into space...and
she said that she didn't thinks so, because in space (and ocean) travel, we take our environments with us. (So far in little tin cans. BUt then there is terraforming.)

But what neither of us had considered is not only will we try to terraform planets to fit us - which is a process than can take centuries, even (more likely) millennia - but we may find it easier and meet things halfway and also planetform *people* to fit new environments. A process which, with genetic engineering may take just a generation or two - or with advanced nanotech, maybe in a single organisms life. Maybe in months o days or hours or minutes.

Also who's to say that a colony of humans who live full-time in, say, microgravity wouldn't adapt...there's LOTS of pressure there to winnow out the weak, and not only select gene lines who's phenotype's wouldn't lose bone so easy...but who, say, have feet that are more like hands...
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Old May 19 2014, 08:36 AM   #908
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

bryce wrote: View Post
Unfortunately, or, for better or worse....this version isn't on PBS like versions 1 was, so we get commercials...and thus less content.

I would love to find out that there's an hour-long episode extended version out there waiting for DVD...but I doubt there is.

(I also miss the music of the original...I still have the soundtrack - on vinyl.)

And I miss some of the WOW! stuff like when Sagan explained Flatland...or the idea that our universe could be just an atom in a much bigger...something...(well, I suppose the multiverse idea gets into that kinda...)
It was specially made to air on FOX, so there's nothing missing. If you watch it on National Geographic, though, you get 3 extra minutes of behind the scenes stuff, since NatGeo has fewer commercials than FOX.
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Old May 19 2014, 08:57 AM   #909
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

gturner wrote: View Post
Timewalker, evolution of a massive interconnected species would require winnowing the gene pool. It's an interplay of both winners (who reproduce) and losers (who don't). Do you care to nominate some losers so we can make sure they quit breeding? Have any favored traits to select for? Any favorite races?

Back in the 1930's a similar view to NGT's was common, holding that humans would evolve to lose all but one finger because the future was pushing big fat buttons on giant machines. Unasked was what would be killing off all the ten-fingered people.

The gene pools shifts if a successful group out-reproduces less successful groups (Idiocracy?), often by having the less successful groups starve or die young. Are there any plans I don't know about to cause below average people to die from car crashes or easily cured infections or not hook up? If we travel to Mars, are we going to try and kill off the 90 percent of settlers whose genes just aren't cutting it, or are we going to engineer ways for all humans to stay alive and fertile after arrival?

What Tyson and you are suggesting sounds like Lysenkoism, whereby the act of simply placing us in a new environment somehow changes our genes without the nasty bit about selecting the few who will make it to the next generation and culling the rest. Given that we live in a capitalist democracy where the people to cull buy things to keep themselves healthy and alive, and vote, I don't see a long-term prospect of getting them to volunteer to exit the gene pool.


Oh, please. You are NOT going to suggest I'm looking at this from a racist pov, are you? One of the important moments in how my worldview developed was when my physical anthropology instructor in college told us that there is only ONE race - the HUMAN race. We are all one species.

You evidently have no idea what it takes for someone to "volunteer to exit the gene pool." I made that decision 30 years ago, when I found out what kind of genetic legacy was being passed along to the females on my mother's side of the family. For the past 4 generations that I know of, nearly every woman has had cancer, and not all survived. Of the women currently alive, only my youngest aunt and I have so far been spared. I made the decision many years ago that I was not going to subject any further generations to the worry and grief that we've had to live with. It won't do much in the long run to help the human species, but at least it won't do further harm.

Since I'm an only child, it also means that my father's side of the family stops with me. That does sadden me, since that side of my family has been traced back over a thousand years and the North American branch has come to a halt because I decided not to have children.


As for being changed physically when we move to a very different environment, I can easily see humans adapting to different kinds of gravity, or no gravity at all. Or maybe humans will turn out to not flourish in weightlessness; that's something only time can tell us. I'm not saying anything will happen quickly. I take the long view regarding such issues, and keep in mind that we can kick and scream all we want to about ideology and economics and other petty human concerns, but nature will have the last say. And as I've said before - nature simply doesn't care who survives, or if anyone does at all.

bryce wrote: View Post
Unfortunately, or, for better or worse....this version isn't on PBS like versions 1 was, so we get commercials...and thus less content.

I would love to find out that there's an hour-long episode extended version out there waiting for DVD...but I doubt there is.

(I also miss the music of the original...I still have the soundtrack - on vinyl.)

And I miss some of the WOW! stuff like when Sagan explained Flatland...or the idea that our universe could be just an atom in a much bigger...something...(well, I suppose the multiverse idea gets into that kinda...)
I miss the wonderful international music, and it would have been cool if they'd done an homage to the "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the Universe" quote.
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Old May 19 2014, 11:03 AM   #910
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

gturner doesn't seem to understand that natural selection occurs regardless of whether WE try to influence it or not. It's not some sinister eugenics program. It's a natural process that is occurring right now. You may not like the idea, but nature ultimately doesn't care what we think.
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Old May 19 2014, 02:26 PM   #911
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

gturner wrote: View Post
Big Jake, from the side view, she was definitely sub-Saharan African. I assume Seth McFarlane or somebody told the cartoonist to make an ethnic looking character, and they just threw a dart at a wall, not realizing that Iraqis look less ethnic than most Mexicans, and could easily be mistaken for Albanians or Italians, if not Brits like Elizabeth Hurley.
Everybody's is ethnic, even Elizabeth Hurley.
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Old May 19 2014, 02:51 PM   #912
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

BigJake wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote:
For one thing, she's not the earliest person whose name we know
Not what the episode said.
Okay, I wasn't sure about that.


For another thing, she was animated to appear sub-Saharan African
No she wasn't. She was animated to appear dark-complexioned, which is not the same thing.
I'm very well aware of that, thank you. I'm not talking about her complexion, I'm talking about the shape of her features, especially in profile. She looked a lot like Gina Torres, for instance. There's more to ethnic variation than skin tone, and she was drawn to look more sub-Saharan African than Middle Eastern/Semitic.

Of course, it's certainly possible that there would've been enough cultural migration and intermingling that someone from outside the region could've moved there and had children, that maybe Sargon took a wife from another part of the world -- but that level of mobility that early in history seems unlikely. And more to the point, her design here didn't resemble the one known image we have of Enheduanna. Usually the cartoon images on this show are pretty exact renderings based on existing photos or paintings of the real people, but the cartoon Enheduanna looked a lot younger, thinner, and prettier than the one in the carving.
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Old May 19 2014, 02:59 PM   #913
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Christopher wrote: View Post
While I like it that the show is broadening its coverage of history to include prominent women and non-Westerners, there are apparently some inaccuracies in its portrayal of Enheduanna. For one thing, she's not the earliest person whose name we know, since we know the names of her parents (King Sargon and Queen Tashlultum), and of Sargon's father, and other earlier people. She's just the earliest poet (or author) we know by name, and one of the earliest women we know by name. For another thing, she was animated to appear sub-Saharan African, but the Akkadians were a Semitic people, not unlike the present-day inhabitants of Mesopotamia. Apparently she looked kinda like this: http://www.transoxiana.org/0108/Imag...nna-detail.jpg
The point wasn't that she was the earliest person whose name we know. The episode didn't say that at all. It said she's the first person whose writing we can put to a name. We know of other, earlier stories, but those stories originated in oral histories and their original authors are unknown. She's the first whose thoughts were put down into a permanent form that we can attribute to her, personally.

No argument on the portrayal of her appearance, though. As far as I'm aware, ancient Sumerian complexions would've been somewhere in the tan/white area, not the darker brown shown. I'll take that as laziness in research rather than some deliberate agenda, though it is a bit disappointing.

And I liked the acknowledgment that the Sumerians told the flood myth a thousand years before the Old Testament version told it differently. That should give the Biblical literalists one more thing to scream and holler about.
Although NDT's narration wasn't so in-your-face, the animation very clearly evoked the Noah story. I'm not sure that was really necessary except as a "fuck you" to religious literalists. The show should strive to be better than that. I don't much care for it when it veers into anti-religious polemic. I didn't mind the first few times but when it's a fixture of virtually every episode I find it tiresome and ax-grindy.
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Old May 19 2014, 03:12 PM   #914
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Although NDT's narration wasn't so in-your-face, the animation very clearly evoked the Noah story. I'm not sure that was really necessary except as a "fuck you" to religious literalists. The show should strive to be better than that. I don't much care for it when it veers into anti-religious polemic. I didn't mind the first few times but when it's a fixture of virtually every episode I find it tiresome and ax-grindy.
I think it's important to be clear that being opposed to religious literalism is not, in any way, the same thing as being opposed to religion. On the contrary, the kind of literalism that creationists embrace is a gross misunderstanding of religion, because they assume that religious writings have no meaning beyond the surface text and the literal, physical description, which is profoundly missing the entire point of religion.
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Old May 19 2014, 03:28 PM   #915
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Christopher wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Although NDT's narration wasn't so in-your-face, the animation very clearly evoked the Noah story. I'm not sure that was really necessary except as a "fuck you" to religious literalists. The show should strive to be better than that. I don't much care for it when it veers into anti-religious polemic. I didn't mind the first few times but when it's a fixture of virtually every episode I find it tiresome and ax-grindy.
I think it's important to be clear that being opposed to religious literalism is not, in any way, the same thing as being opposed to religion. On the contrary, the kind of literalism that creationists embrace is a gross misunderstanding of religion, because they assume that religious writings have no meaning beyond the surface text and the literal, physical description, which is profoundly missing the entire point of religion.
Agreed 1000%. The show isn't anti-religion. The show is anti-ignorance. There's a difference. I'm an atheist, but I don't view religious people as ignorant. Nor, in my estimation, does Cosmos.
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