Pharyngula

Sagan wrote pure poetry

Some people seem to react to the autotuned stuff with a kind of automatic detestation. So how about this? The unaltered words of Carl Sagan wrapped in a musical accompaniment.

Comments

  1. #1 metalmikebot
    January 7, 2010

    Carl Sagan and electric guitars? Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?

  2. #2 Conscious Machine
    January 7, 2010

    Wow. Just… wow.

  3. #3 John Morales
    January 7, 2010

    Damn!

    I was a fan, but I didn’t know the half of it.

  4. #4 Linda K
    January 7, 2010

    I really like the autotuned stuff. It’s interesting and inspirational. But then, I think you’re right: it’s because the scientists chosen to be in those videos are poets. Love it.

  5. #5 WilliamJansen
    January 7, 2010

    My reaction to autotuning is just visceral. This is pretty sweet though.

    Anyway; I’ve been reading you for a few weeks now (I know; newbie), and just wanted to say that you are awesome.

  6. #6 hje
    January 7, 2010

    I had the opportunity (privilege) to hear Carl Sagan speak at the U of Arizona, a couple years before his death–he was such an effective communicator.

    When I was in junior high, I wrote him to request information about Mariner 9′s mission to Mars–for a report. He graciously wrote back and sent me photos taken by the spacecraft. I mean, he’s a professor at Cornell with lots of responsibilities, and he takes the time to communicate with some dopey little science geek.

    I think of his small act of kindness every time I pick up my well-worn copy of Cosmic Connection.

    After watching Cosmos, my fundamentalist father would rant about how stupid Sagan must be, since Sagan did not believe in God. All I could do is sigh (arguing with dad was/is a waste of time).

    Even though I ended up becoming a cell biologist (instead of the planetary scientist I orignally wanted to become), his words and writing have had a lasting influence on my life as a scientist.

    Carl Sagan is missed.

  7. #7 negentropyeater
    January 7, 2010

    This is a bit better, but not my cup of tea.

    The best I’ve seen so far, is HOME, the movie by Yann Arthus-Bertrand with the music by Armand Amar.

    Absolutely stunning pictures of the earth combined with inspiring music and poetic pro science message.

    For those who haven’t seen it, it’s available for free on youtube in HD in many languages.

  8. #8 negentropyeater
    January 7, 2010
  9. #9 The Tim Channel
    January 7, 2010

    Video proof of the homo bashing idiot and holocaust-inciting Scott Lively:

    http://thetimchannel.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/face-of-religious-bigotry/

    Enjoy.

  10. #10 The Tim Channel
    January 7, 2010

    Start making the popcorn:

    Televised Prop 8 Trial
    Judge Vaughn Walker orders video coverage, the first ever for a federal trial in California, despite objections by sponsors of the ban on gay marriage.

    http://www.youtube.com/usdccand

    Enjoy.

  11. #11 John Morales
    January 7, 2010

    The Tim Channel, meritorious as your links may be, could you please post them on the open thread rather than a specific-topic thread?

    Pretty please?

  12. #12 vanharris
    January 7, 2010

    That was too bad, i was enjoying it, then, a minute & a half in, there was some really bad audio interference that sounded goddam awful.

    What’s the matter with people? Why were Sagan’s words deliberately obscured by feckin’ noise?

    Apparently, on the UK’s BBC1 radio, the news programs are treated in a similar manner. MORONS!

  13. #13 boygenius
    January 7, 2010

    I agree with John Morales@11. Isn’t blog-whoring a dungeon offense? Once in a great while would be acceptable, but every feckin’ post?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Tim Channel serves up some good shit, but if I wanted that particular shit, I would direct my browser to the Tim Channel rather than to Pharyngula.

  14. #14 bad Jim
    January 7, 2010

    Um, so the name of our planet is Blaupunkt? Or to advert to a rather obscure and obsolete American brand, Blue Dot was a particular memorable issue of LSD. It is also a rather tasty tune by Leo Kottke.

  15. #15 boygenius
    January 7, 2010

    Um, bad Jim…

    You have a bad Link. I luvs me some tasty Leo, so please fix it.

    /I don’t blame the LSD, broken links happen all the time! :)

  16. #16 fighthunger
    January 7, 2010

    I guess every scientist is poet in some way. The one video on this that I liked more was from Oscar’s rather than Grammy :-):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pfwY2TNehw

    And while we are here admiring our home, lets not forget how little action on our part will create big difference at this home.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12zHEN4nsgI

  17. #17 The Tim Channel
    January 7, 2010

    Blog whoring is a little strong IMHO, but I’ll try a little harder not to offend the delicate sensibilities of the group. It’s true that I could have posted those links under the NJ poll vote and they would have been better ‘targeted’.

    On the other hand, I don’t post non-meritorious crap and I do make every effort to avoid just posting ‘blind’ links with NO descriptions or relevance to this blog’s general direction of topics.

    You’ll spend more time in ONE DAY scrolling through inane and pointless creationist claptrap than you will whistling by my one or two quite excellent posts per day here.

    Enjoy.

  18. #18 kiki
    January 7, 2010

    Hmmm. Liked the Sagan, obviously, but about halfway through, the video looked like it could have been called ‘A History of the Human Race and all the AWESOME RAWKIN’ COOL EXPLOSIONS AND STUFF that it has Created’.

  19. #19 Steven Mading
    January 7, 2010

    This message from Paler Blue Dot’s audio book is some of Sagan’s most inspirational work. So much so that this one passage has become synonymous with Pale Blue Dot even though it’s just one small part of the entire book by that name.

    That being said, there are far better versions of this that are set the music by Vangelis, the music that was used in the Cosmos show. One problem I have with this particular variant is that the guitar is louder than Carl’s voice, and that’s not the way it should be.

  20. #20 Steven Mading
    January 7, 2010

    Oops. Typo. I meant PALE blue dot not PALER blue dot. (the ‘r’ is next to the ‘e’ on a QWERTY keyboard. I must have ended up hitting both keys at once and since “paler” is also an English word it didn’t get highlighter as a misspelling so I didn’t notice.

  21. #21 Nebula99
    January 7, 2010

    This is really good; my only problem with it is that some of the audio is set a lot louder than Sagan’s voice, so I have to keep fiddling with the volume if I want to hear everything and not have my ears blasted out. Still, the message is awesome.

    Steven–don’t worry. Everybody makes typos once in a while, and now that I’ve said that there are probably three in this post alone.

  22. #22 toomanytribbles
    January 7, 2010

    aaaaaggghh!
    thank you!

  23. #23 Lifer
    January 7, 2010

    I’m right in the middle of reading “The Demon-Haunted World” for the first time. Thanks for this, PZed. It’s nowhere near the Symphony of Science songs though!

  24. #24 plien
    January 7, 2010

    Of course pale blue dot is poetry.
    And putting it to music is a good idea.

    I’m in favour of punk/metal/whatever if it’s loud, only NOT with pale blue dot. I find this drowns out Sagan’s voice too much.

    Here is my favourite version with music by Sigur Ros

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNOM7WOGGUw

  25. #25 hznfrst
    January 7, 2010

    This raucous “music” does not go well at all with Carl Sagan, especially when it overwhelms his voice!

    You will find it it hard to improve on the soundtrack to Cosmos: inspiring music that stayed in the background where it belonged – and which shut up when it needed to.

    Nova went through a period of producing shows with ridiculously intrusive soundtracks until enough people complained, including me. I think it was another example of someone fresh out of film school who thought s/he was being “creative.”

  26. #26 hznfrst
    January 7, 2010

    Plien, that link is much more like it – thank you!

  27. #27 RamblinDude
    January 7, 2010

    That is the most freakin’ awesome video you have ever posted

  28. #28 Shamar
    January 7, 2010

    I don’t understand…what’s people’s problem with the autotune stuff?? I mean, this is good too, but wtf? I say that if they are too dense to appreciate the autotune stuff, then they don’t desreve to hear any of it!

  29. #29 eddie
    January 7, 2010

    Beautiful. Three (at least) different kindsa beautiful.

  30. #30 KOPD42
    January 7, 2010

    I echo the first comment. A Sagan rock anthem? Who would have thought.

    My wife and I have been discussing baby names and I wanted to use Carl as a middle name for a boy. She wouldn’t let me. For some reason she just doesn’t like the name. Fortunately she’s okay with Isaac.

  31. #31 Guy
    January 7, 2010

    What made Sagan a great was that he was focused on delivering a positive message about science. He did occasionally point out the ridiculousness of superstitious beliefs but it was not is primary goal. This way he could engage the audience without being threatening to people that were indoctrinated into faith prior to learning about science.

  32. #32 echoegami
    January 7, 2010

    My husband and I discovered the first autotuned video, “A More Glorious Dawn” when it first came out and became instantly obsessed with it. We sang it to each other and foisted it upon everyone we thought might possibly appreciate it. It rekindled a forgotten appreciation for Sagan in both of us and a sadness that he died much too soon. Sagan was indeed a poet and an inspirational man.

  33. #33 Hot-Z
    January 7, 2010

    I hope many have checked out Symphony of Science..they add new videos every so often goo stuff
    http://www.symphonyofscience.com/

  34. #34 eddie
    January 7, 2010

    Shamar said @28;

    I don’t understand…what’s people’s problem with the autotune stuff??

    Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

  35. #35 Tom Coward
    January 7, 2010

    Darn you to heck PZ. I’m supposed to be working, but here I sit weeping onto my keyboard!

    Thanks! Keep up the good work!

  36. #36 Marilyn
    January 7, 2010

    Arggghh…Lets have Pharyngulitis with a Gregorian chants background??

  37. #37 High Silence
    January 7, 2010

    Hi, I’m the writer of the music for this piece, and I arranged all the Sagan audio and the video as well. Thanks to PZ for posting this, and thanks to everyone that has checked it out. I appreciate the fans of more aggressive music that liked this, and I appreciate all of you who watched the video at all. Mixing Sagan’s voice with the music was a challenge as I am not a professional sound engineer, so it will not be a perfect audio experience.

    Also, I like the autotune stuff so-so, but I created this song a while ago, and I think it provides a good alternative for those who prefer slightly heavier music. It’s not meant to out-do the autotune pieces.

  38. #38 tsg
    January 7, 2010

    It may just be my shitty speakers, but I can’t hear Sagan over the guitars.

  39. #39 macleodcartoons
    January 7, 2010

    Love it. Loved the Attenborough one too.

  40. #40 nejishiki
    January 7, 2010

    Better than that Auto-trash.
    Still waiting for a Ray Comfort video accompanied by the song “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!”

  41. #41 SaintStephen
    January 7, 2010

    Oh come off it, people.

    What, are y’all blind or somethin’? I saw The Holy Trinity right here:

    Such arrogance from Sagan and the New Atheists, in the face of incontrovertible evidence like this, is not going to win y’all very many points with the wafer-eaters.

  42. #42 Leofwine
    January 7, 2010

    I agree with those who think the choice of music in this one was a bad choice. Sagan should be accompanied by inspirational melodies not punk, rock, or hip hop.

  43. #43 RamblinDude
    January 7, 2010

    High Silence,

    Nice job, I really like it. I got choked up. The music is great. It?s derivative of Metallica, but it?s original and fits perfectly and isn?t just another heavy metal clone piece. Thumbs way up.

    It does demand a good sound system on one?s computer to appreciate it.

  44. #44 Sili
    January 7, 2010

    Yeah, no. I prefer the autotune. I love The Pale Blue Dot but that just hurts my ears and annoys me.

  45. #45 Bone Oboe
    January 7, 2010

    Lifer @ # 23 said:

    I’m right in the middle of reading “The Demon-Haunted World” for the first time.

    I just started that one as well. Been kicking myself for not getting it sooner.
    My Happy monkey likes it, makes his coat sniny.

    With apologies to William S. Burroughs.

  46. #46 MetzO'Magic
    January 7, 2010

    OMG, Sagan has been reincarnated as Agent Smith! The irony of it all.

    …but I liked it, me being a rocker from way back who played electric guitar for over 30 years.

    Holy shit, I almost poe’d myself there. I went to look up ‘agent smith’ to make sure I had the correct Matrix reference, and the Google type-ahead suggested:

    agent smith carl sagan

    So I followed one of the links and found this very amusing video:

    YouTube: The Matrix Vs. Carl Sagan

    In retrospect, I don’t think the makers of the video PZed posted even needed the autotune ;-)

  47. #47 daijiyobu
    January 7, 2010

    Is it me or does Carl Sagan autotuned sound like Jim Henson?

    His Ernie from Sesame Street voice particularly.

    -r.c.

  48. #48 Shamar
    January 7, 2010

    leofwine said:

    I agree with those who think the choice of music in this one was a bad choice. Sagan should be accompanied by inspirational melodies not punk, rock, or hip hop.

    It WAS an inspirational melody!!! And if you are too closed minded and locked in your own little world to appreciate the creativity, art, and beauty in other kinds of music than I feel sorry for you….

  49. #49 chuckgoecke
    January 7, 2010

    For those that missed it, the video in this link is stunning, so good it brought tears to my eyes. Warning, its a full length feature-90minutes. Definitely on topic, and definitely worth re-mentioning!
    #7 & #8
    Posted by: negentropyeater Author Profile Page | January 7, 2010 3:35 AM

    This is a bit better, but not my cup of tea.

    The best I’ve seen so far, is HOME, the movie by Yann Arthus-Bertrand with the music by Armand Amar.

    Absolutely stunning pictures of the earth combined with inspiring music and poetic pro science message.

    For those who haven’t seen it, it’s available for free on youtube in HD in many languages.
    #8

    http://www.youtube.com/user/homeproject?blend=1&ob=4#p/u/4/jqxENMKaeCU

  50. #50 kaessa.com
    January 7, 2010

    I enjoyed that, but the mixing could have been a lot better. It was hard to hear his voice over the music.

  51. #51 boygenius
    January 7, 2010

    The Tim Channel,

    Sorry, I was a little harsher than I intended. I was in a bad mood last night and I took it out on you. I apologize. Your posts always have merit, and one can always choose to click-thru to your link, or not.

    Peace?

  52. #52 Ian McLaughlin
    January 7, 2010

    hje, #6: “When I was in junior high, I wrote him to request information about Mariner 9′s mission to Mars–for a report. He graciously wrote back and sent me photos taken by the spacecraft. I mean, he’s a professor at Cornell with lots of responsibilities, and he takes the time to communicate with some dopey little science geek.”

    OK, this made me tear up more than I have in quite awhile. I miss Carl.

    But then I tried to log-in to post this comment and the emotion quickly changed to rage.

  53. #53 Andyo
    January 8, 2010

    I like better the version with movie clips. If you’ve seen the movies, it makes it even better.

  54. #54 Andyo
    January 8, 2010

    Actually, having seen a couple of the other versions this one is pretty bad! Badly mixed and the music doesn’t even sound very good. And I think some of the speech is cut out?

    Check the other one I was talking about. There’s another one with identical audio made with newsreel footage, equally powerful.

    But the best way, go buy Pale Blue Dot and read it from the source. They’re among the best couple of paragraphs I’ve ever read in any book.

  55. #55 Pastor Farm
    January 8, 2010

    I discovered Sagan far too late, but I’ve love deverything I’ve read of his and never tire of Cosmos.

    No matter what setting I hear or read Pale Blue Dot, it always ends in tears. It is true beauty.

  56. #56 politas
    January 8, 2010

    Ugh. Electric guitars way too loud and overbearing! Couldn’t stand watching it all.

  57. #57 Realist
    January 8, 2010

    I don’t know who would get deterred by an autotuned Carl Sagan but then prefer him to that kind of rock music :/

    Either way, neither diminish the content of what he is actually saying which truly is poetic.

  58. #58 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawl2DnRjxg-9dTMThCfAKz5yvww1YFk2lo8
    January 8, 2010

    The juxtaposition in that clip is really quite disturbing. It just illustrates that we, as a species, may not reach maturity enough to save ourselves before we go extinct.

    It also kind of hits me like Metallica’s S&M did; with the same concurrent feelings of “wow that’s cool” and “oh dear, we’re in trouble” at the same time.

  59. #59 Andrew T
    January 9, 2010

    That Sagan quote is one of my favorite of all times. It’s a poignant reminder of how utterly insignificant our petty conflicts are in the cosmic scheme of things.

    Great video, but they really, REALLY needed to either tone down the music or up the volume on Sagan’s voice. I could barely make out much of what he was saying, and if I wasn’t already familiar with those words I would’ve missed a lot of what was said.

  60. #60 reindeerflotilla
    January 10, 2010

    @negentropyeater:

    That ‘HOME’ film is OK in parts… it’s high quality production. But it would be much better if it was more impartial, rational, complete and accurate science education with less of the unashamedly biased hippy anti-capitalism ideology which is given a priority over the best possible science communication in the film.