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Old April 15 2014, 09:29 PM   #496
Robert Maxwell
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Dennis wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
I think we can all at least agree that Cosmos is a cool name for a science show.
Who thought of it, Sagan? Does that affect the coolness factor one way or the other?
I like how he says "cosmos." That's good enough for me.

Anyone who disagrees probably loves Hitler, though.

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
I think we can all at least agree that Cosmos is a cool name for a science show.

Well, I think it all depends on who created the name, because you know, individual humans are important.

I kid. Greek is a cool language and Cosmos is a cool word.
Sure, but what have the Greeks done for us lately?
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Old April 15 2014, 09:31 PM   #497
Gov Kodos
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Sure, completely ignore the Minoans, everyone else does. Besides, all the best Greek stuff was done by the Ionians anyway.
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Old April 15 2014, 09:32 PM   #498
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Dennis wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
I think we can all at least agree that Cosmos is a cool name for a science show.
Who thought of it, Sagan? Does that affect the coolness factor one way or the other?
I like how he says "cosmos." That's good enough for me.

Anyone who disagrees probably loves Hitler, though.

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
I think we can all at least agree that Cosmos is a cool name for a science show.

Well, I think it all depends on who created the name, because you know, individual humans are important.

I kid. Greek is a cool language and Cosmos is a cool word.
Sure, but what have the Greeks done for us lately?
Greek yogurt. Oh and spanakopita.

Anyways, how does everyone who saw the original think of Tyson as a host? Is he better/worse than Sagan?
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Old April 15 2014, 09:32 PM   #499
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Dennis wrote: View Post
gturner wrote: View Post
^ You're skipping an opportunity to poke fun.

Viewer 1: "What's up with this episode? Were they high when they wrote this one?!"
Viewer 2: "Well, funny you should ask. You see, this one was written by the former president of the pot lobby, and..."
Viewer 1: "Oh, I see. So that's why it said we should imagine a little tiny atom, and like that atom is sort of it's own universe, and like that universe contains an atom that contains another universe, and...."
Viewer 2: "Yeah."
Viewer 1: "Groovy."
Viewer 2: "And maybe there's like, I dunno, little factories in there."
** Behind the scenes interview on the Blu-Ray set **

"Well, the Ship of the Imagination was inspired by the delivery van built entirely out of super-compressed bud that Cheech and Chong drove in Up in Smoke."

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Old April 15 2014, 09:38 PM   #500
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Dennis wrote: View Post
You know, if I were looking to assign blame for the show's defects I'd be more interested in who's responsible - but I'm not. Therefore, your customary condescending games of Gotcha! don't move me in this instance.

Do you actually think that whoever put this together is doing as good a job as Sagan did? Do you think this show is furthering the cause of science education particularly well? Why or why not?
You completely misread my intention. I'm not trying to "get" you. It's not about you, or about me. It's about Ann Druyan and Steven Soter. I believe -- I have always believed strongly -- that the creators of any work deserve credit and acknowledgment. I don't like seeing Druyan and Soter overlooked for their contributions to this series just because they're less famous than Braga and MacFarlane. I am not trying to put you or any other poster down -- I am trying to acknowledge them. I am not saying anything about whether they're doing as well in collaboration with Tyson as they did in collaboration with Sagan on the original; I'm just saying that creators deserve recognition for their creations, for better or worse.

Also, I think it's important to keep in mind that this series has two of the same three creators as the original series. That was Sagan, Druyan, and Soter; this is Tyson, Druyan, and Soter. People who don't know that may believe this is unconnected to the original, a mere imitation. Knowing that it has 2/3 of the original creative team working on it makes it clear that it's more of a direct continuation. And that brings a very different understanding of just what this series is and how it relates to its forebear.


Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Sure, but what have the Greeks done for us lately?
Greek yogurt. Oh and spanakopita.
Greek yogurt is too pungent for me, but I love spanakopita.

Anyways, how does everyone who saw the original think of Tyson as a host? Is he better/worse than Sagan?
Sagan was in a class by himself. Tyson doesn't have quite the same accessibility and warmth. But he's a pretty good substitute, and the fact that he's a protege of Sagan's makes him seem like a legitimate inheritor of the mantle.
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Old April 15 2014, 09:42 PM   #501
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Christopher wrote: View Post
I think it's important to keep in mind that this series has two of the same three creators as the original series. That was Sagan, Druyan, and Soter; this is Tyson, Druyan, and Soter. People who don't know that may believe this is unconnected to the original, a mere imitation. Knowing that it has 2/3 of the original creative team working on it makes it clear that it's more of a direct continuation. And that brings a very different understanding of just what this series is and how it relates to its forebear.
They should put this text up on the screen at the beginning of each episode.

They just need to be sure they credit it to you properly.
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Old April 15 2014, 09:44 PM   #502
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Sure, completely ignore the Minoans, everyone else does. Besides, all the best Greek stuff was done by the Ionians anyway.
I believe that in last Sunday's show Tyson credited the Ionians with more or less first articulating the principles of scientific observation.

One episode starts off with the assumption that the majority of the viewers understand what a camera obscura is, how it works and why that matters. That's a mistake unless you're addressing an audience that you assume already knows a great deal about your subject to begin with - and if that's the case, maybe the point of the show is just for us science geeks to congratulate ourselves.
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Old April 15 2014, 10:00 PM   #503
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

To the extent that this series is associated in the public mind with Carl Sagan, it's doing some coasting on his "brand."
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Old April 15 2014, 10:03 PM   #504
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Dennis wrote: View Post
Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Sure, completely ignore the Minoans, everyone else does. Besides, all the best Greek stuff was done by the Ionians anyway.
I believe that in last Sunday's show Tyson credited the Ionians with more or less first articulating the principles of scientific observation.

One episode starts off with the assumption that the majority of the viewers understand what a camera obscura is, how it works and why that matters. That's a mistake unless you're addressing an audience that you assume already knows a great deal about your subject to begin with - and if that's the case, maybe the point of the show is just for us science geeks to congratulate ourselves.
It could've been interesting if the episode had burned a few minutes discussing the controversial Hockney-Falco thesis that Renaissance artists suddenly gained realistic perspectives and accurate depictions by using the camera obscura and convex lenses (polished metal) to project images, which the masters could then trace. They could even go with the phrase "What happens when a condensed matter physicist looks at Renaissance art looking for tell-tale patterns of optical distortion?"
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Old April 15 2014, 10:04 PM   #505
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Dennis wrote: View Post
auntiehill wrote: View Post
Plus, the bit about neutrinos was kinda cool--I would've liked to have heard more about that.
That, in a nutshell, describes where the series tends to fall short.

Tyson has said that his approach to the show is that, in contrast to Sagan's version, "I don't need to teach you textbook science." But if, in fact, one of his current concerns is the proliferation of anti-scientific political and social policies based partly on misunderstanding what science itself is - and that does seem to be somewhat true - then that's exactly what he ought to do.

Devoting screen time to a graphic of someone zooming along on a motorcycle while asserting that Einstein discovered that "as you approach the speed of light, things behave very differently," without giving any clear example of how or why that is, is only really useful for giving some kind of frisson to science junkies; it's not really expanding the appreciation of Einstein's work to those who are less conversant with it. So far, Macfarlane and Tyson and Braga are doing a lot of the former and not much of the latter IMAO.
Dennis wrote: View Post
Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Sure, completely ignore the Minoans, everyone else does. Besides, all the best Greek stuff was done by the Ionians anyway.
I believe that in last Sunday's show Tyson credited the Ionians with more or less first articulating the principles of scientific observation.

One episode starts off with the assumption that the majority of the viewers understand what a camera obscura is, how it works and why that matters. That's a mistake unless you're addressing an audience that you assume already knows a great deal about your subject to begin with - and if that's the case, maybe the point of the show is just for us science geeks to congratulate ourselves.
Between the two shows, I'd say Sagan's kept more to explaining science than Tyson's. The episode about Hook and Newton, I guess, wanted to show how science utilizes evidence and reasoned argument to establish matters of fact and truth rather than accepting assertions that resort to appeals to authority. It was dramatically interesting, but I'd have preferred more focus on Newton's discoveries and their implications. The focus on Halley was great, and I wish more time had been devoted to like material. The historical recreations too often slide to drama, Hook and Newton for instance, than the science being illustrated.
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Old April 15 2014, 10:31 PM   #506
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

gturner wrote: View Post
But if motion and velocity are all relative, why does the twin who stayed home get older, instead of the twin who left? Relative to the wandering twin, it's the stay-at-home who is traveling near light-speed, and since positions and paths are all just relative we shouldn't be able to say which twin ages quickly relative to the other.

So they called that a paradox, and Einstein had to go back and solve it.
Except it's not a symmetrical situation, because one twin has to slow down, reverse course, accelerate, then slow down again in order to get back to the starting point. So that twin is subjected to accelerations that the other twin is not subjected to. That's why the math is different for that twin and why that twin is younger than the other once they come back together.



Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Between the two shows, I'd say Sagan's kept more to explaining science than Tyson's. The episode about Hook and Newton, I guess, wanted to show how science utilizes evidence and reasoned argument to establish matters of fact and truth rather than accepting assertions that resort to appeals to authority. It was dramatically interesting, but I'd have preferred more focus on Newton's discoveries and their implications. The focus on Halley was great, and I wish more time had been devoted to like material. The historical recreations too often slide to drama, Hook and Newton for instance, than the science being illustrated.
The difference is that this show is a product of its time -- a time when there's a powerful anti-intellectual, anti-science faction trying to impose its values on America, a time when school boards are being pressured to teach creationism and the Science Committee of the House of Representatives consists overwhelmingly of creationists and religious nuts. Basically "the demon-haunted world" that Sagan warned about decades ago has gained a lot of ground in the past 34 years, and this new incarnation of Cosmos is a salvo against them and the ways of thinking (or rather, not thinking) that they're trying to spread.

Plus, it's on FOX rather than PBS, so there is a difference in the target audience. Before you can teach the facts of science, you need to teach what science is, how scientific thought works. I grant that the show could do better at that in some ways, but it seems to be more about presenting the basic idea that scientific thought has value, and that leaves less time to go into detail on the specifics of what science has revealed.


Speaking of which, I'm surprised nobody's posted this yet:

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/fa1...tionist-cosmos
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Old April 15 2014, 10:48 PM   #507
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Christopher wrote: View Post
gturner wrote: View Post
But if motion and velocity are all relative, why does the twin who stayed home get older, instead of the twin who left? Relative to the wandering twin, it's the stay-at-home who is traveling near light-speed, and since positions and paths are all just relative we shouldn't be able to say which twin ages quickly relative to the other.

So they called that a paradox, and Einstein had to go back and solve it.
Except it's not a symmetrical situation, because one twin has to slow down, reverse course, accelerate, then slow down again in order to get back to the starting point. So that twin is subjected to accelerations that the other twin is not subjected to. That's why the math is different for that twin and why that twin is younger than the other once they come back together.
Exactly. I bring that up because I almost always see the discussion of time-dilation and the brothers' differential aging referred to as "the twins paradox", but the fact that they age at different rates wasn't the paradox (it's just an odd effect). The paradox was that under pure special relativity, each brother should have the same expectation that his twin was the one that aged a lot, which is impossible - and a paradox.

You gave the solution to the problem, and we should really quit commonly calling that particular time-dilation thought experiment "the twins paradox" unless we're specifically referring to the earlier debate. One twin ages, flyboy brother doesn't - and it's not a paradox anymore.
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Old April 15 2014, 10:54 PM   #508
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Christopher wrote: View Post
Also, I think it's important to keep in mind that this series has two of the same three creators as the original series. That was Sagan, Druyan, and Soter; this is Tyson, Druyan, and Soter. People who don't know that may believe this is unconnected to the original, a mere imitation. Knowing that it has 2/3 of the original creative team working on it makes it clear that it's more of a direct continuation. And that brings a very different understanding of just what this series is and how it relates to its forebear.
On an intellectual level, I know that Druyan and Soter were vitally important to the original Cosmos. I know that Sagan didn't make Cosmos on his own because television is a collaborative medium. I know that he didn't write the book on his own. Intellectually, I know all of these things.

Emotionally, for me, Cosmos is Sagan. It's Sagan in the Ship of the Imagination. It's Sagan walking on beaches. It's Sagan exploring the Library of Alexandria. It's Sagan at Rockefeller Square bemoaning astrology. Cosmos is Sagan. Full stop.

That's not to take away from Druyan and Soter because I know, intellectually, as I said, how important they were to the original series, especially Druyan. (Speaking of which, this article by Sasha Sagan, Sagan and Druyan's daughter, in New York about her father, Seth MacFarlane, and the Sagan library, is well worth reading.) But I think that goes to show that, even for people who know and understand the collaborativeness of television, the singular presence of someone like Sagan makes such an impression that he becomes seen as a singular creator. Especially when the original Cosmos is subtitled "A Personal Journey" -- whose "personal journey" is it, if not Sagan's?
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Old April 15 2014, 11:48 PM   #509
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Allyn, I agree with you that it's not the same without Sagan. It's an attempt by his collaborators and protege to pay tribute to his creation and carry forward its legacy, but it's still at a remove.

But my point is that this isn't something that Seth MacFarlane and Brannon Braga dreamed up on their own. A lot of people are jumping to that conclusion just because those are the two people they've heard of before, and it's an erroneous belief. Those two were just brought in to execute a project that Druyan, Soter, and Tyson had already been working on for years beforehand.
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Old April 16 2014, 12:07 AM   #510
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

I think they're doing a terrific job, considering the environment, which Christopher highlighted earlier, in which they're making this effort.
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