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An old friend will reappear in modern guise in a few weeks. The choice of venue is a little bit controversial in some circles. But Heidi Hammel writing at the Planetary Society makes a fair case for it:
Remember Carl Sagan’s TV show, Cosmos? There is a new version, Cosmos – A Spacetime Odyssey (see its trailer) hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson on Fox. Wait, why Fox, you ask, aren’t they anti-science? The answer is: indeed Fox - because of the people who watch Fox. These are precisely the people we need to reach if we want to rekindle a fire for space science exploration in the heart of America. The premier episode airs on 9 March 2014. Leverage this: offer to be the host at a Cosmos kick-off event at your local library or middle school; invite your non-astronomy buddies over to watch an episode of Cosmos. Let me know some of your other ideas.
Analytically, she's right. And Fox is not the same as Fox News. But it's still annoying for some reason.
  • We're not trying to scare anyone here, this is not an apocalypse, but the sun is not behaving quite like it should at this point in its decade-long cycle:
    "It's completely taken me and many other solar scientists by surprise," says Dr Lucie Green, from University College London's Mullard Space Science Laboratory. The drop off in activity is happening surprisingly quickly, and scientists are now watching closely to see if it will continue to plummet.
  • Speaking of what's coming soon to a big screen near you, it's not exactly science but the History Channel's series Vikings will resume in about a month and I'm hooked on it. There's no magic —no flying dragons—but there is superb period authentic scenery and attire in this fictionalized account of the violent Norse expansion into western Europe, led by the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok, brilliantly played by Travis Fimmel.
  • There is no jelly donut on Mars!
  • This has huge potential and may already be offering relief from genetic forms of blindness:
    This makes treating choroideremia with gene therapy attractive because we know what is going on. It is not an overly complex network– its a deleted gene that is causing the trouble. We can make a virus to deliver a functional copy of that gene. Heck, it is even great the gene is actually deleted instead of just mutated– the ‘new’ functional gene won't be competing with junk REP1 RNA.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by SciTech.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Big Ten Network and Fox Entertainment Network (13+ / 0-)

    I spent last 15 years before retirement at a major Athletics program in the Big Ten.

    I got to visit the Big Ten network offices and studio in Chicago a couple of times to work on the planning and development of service delivery and setup at each participating school.

    It really gagged me that by 2010 Fox Entertainment owned 51% and still does of the Big Ten Network.

    I had to really suppress my abhorrence with Fox News, and keep telling myself to think of this as at least a different division of large entertainment network that also produces stuff like the Simpsons.

    But it still gagged me, I admit. Still does.

    "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” --Yogi Berra

    by HeartlandLiberal on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:05:59 AM PST

  •  LOVE VIKINGS (8+ / 0-)

    The history may be a little tortured though

    •  I (9+ / 0-)

      see it kinda like Rome or The Tudors. It's fictionalized, but those two series provided a great framework for me to understand the facts.

    •  Can't watch it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The history is too tortured.

      The vikking crowd were trash, and the invaders were invaders because of internal pressures, but there was a strange internal dynamic that we're still working out as to why all this would have happened, and climate change is probably part of it. TV shows need heroes and nobles. They need noble fellows with conflicted souls. Eh.

      Also, the Norse in battle tended to favor one-sided conflicts. It would be like the true story of the wild west, where most people shot each other from ambush and there never was a call-out in an empty street a la The Virginian.

      Everyone's innocent of some crime.

      by The Geogre on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:43:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Umm what? (4+ / 0-)

        Any military leader who does not "favor one-sided conflicts" is an idiot. Ever heard of the Powell doctrine?

        •  But waging waar against civilians is not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, The Geogre

          really military leadership, it is mobsterism.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:23:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Makes bad TV (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          My point is that Norse history vs. "The Vikings" makes for too jarring an experience. The Norse incursions into England are pretty well documented, and they're quite interesting. Militarily, we'd say that the invaders (not "the vikings," but the second wave) were excellent shock troops who had poor discipline. Consequently, when they were forced to fight in the field, they lost, but they were great at attacking fixed targets -- towns. Their mobility through the river system gave them a great advantage when it came to, again, rapid attack, but very little ability to move and hold.

          Are you going to televise attacking unarmed monasteries? Are you going to televise the months long massing whereby the primary means of victory is the destruction of native political leadership and putting sufficient bodies on the ground as to make the economy grind to a halt?

          As for the battles between the Norse, they loved ambush, again. It would televise like gang war or murder, with a lot of accident. Given the neo-pagan sweatiness out there among our more fervid brothers and sisters in the USA, I'm wary of any romanticizing the "vikings," who were quick as they could be to become farmers.

          Everyone's innocent of some crime.

          by The Geogre on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:34:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Against a military? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aaraujo, RiveroftheWest

          The vikings were harbor scum.

          The people Norse called "vikings" were young men without land. They went a-vikking (raiding) to gain sufficient gold to purchase land. Their goal was ALWAYS internal to Norse society. They were pirates who were accepted back into society.

          The Norse invaders, on the other hand, invaded for farm land. They were not moving for ideology, for kinship, for glory. They wanted and needed metals and farms. They hadn't sufficient LAND to support a "nobility" system built on warlord fiefdoms owing allegiance through fostership and family and marriage to overlords. They wanted and needed land. They sought conquest of the traditional sort, and they used what we would now call terror tactics -- although, to them, that was simply a consequence of the military technology and an expectation of warfare. They expected their enemies to be organized by war bands the way they were. They expected all farms to be tightly held by military. They expected to take hold by hold. They did not conceive of unarmed men, really.

          If they found farms without lords, there was nothing for it but to kill all those farmers, kill all the people, and take it.

          Put that on television.

          Everyone's innocent of some crime.

          by The Geogre on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:45:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I've got this on my DVR, can't watch with teh DH, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aaraujo, RiveroftheWest

      as I don't want him to stroke out! I DO plan to watch them (1st season), just to see if it's ... what it looks like in the trailers and ads so far.

      yup. just looked at the website from the link above. Looks like settings are good and the background "material culture" stuff is considerably better quality than what you usually see.

      From about 40 years of study, however, the costuming and armor look rather "artistic", "creative" -- h***, it looks a LOT "creative". it's not so much that the thing isn't 100% perfect, it's that it appears to be claiming to be. the thing is, I can take it at face value as "entertainment" and let the wowsers slide; Himself wouldn't be able to.

      just for one very simple example, that string of chain-mail links braided into our shield-maiden-heroine's hairdo? I don't see any rivets on those links, so that is just ASKING for hair ripped out by the roots, in everyday activities, let alone "battle"! (OK, I checked with my walking encyclopedia vikingensis, there are a VERY FEW appearances of the term that translates as "shield maiden", but there's also a possibility that the translation might be "skjald" maiden, aka girl-poet.)

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:36:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not sure I agree with Hammel (6+ / 0-)

    I do agree with you though, analytically, she is right. On the other hand, it makes me uncomfortable because I can see it being broadcast on FOX as providing cover for FOX "News" when they are justifiably accused of being anti science. That was what came to my very cynical mind. I mean, if it's good enough for the Koch's, why can't it be for their toady "news" outlet?

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:15:23 AM PST

  •  The Fox (12+ / 0-)

    broadcast network? That's entirely separate from the Fox propaganda outlet on cable. The people who watch Fox broadcast programming are not the ones who watch Fox News. The audience will be no different than that of ABC, CBS, or NBC.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:17:07 AM PST

  •  Ich bin nicht ein Berliner? (7+ / 0-)

    (And yeah, I know it's probably not grammatically correct, I speak about as much German as JFK did!)

    Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations. - George Orwell

    by Wayward Son on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:17:34 AM PST

  •  where there's a donut, there has to be a cop! (11+ / 0-)

    This is evidence there may be semi-intelligent life on Mars.  Watch it closely and see if it disappears, but make sure the rover's license and registration is up to date.

  •  science instruments (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, whaddaya, RiveroftheWest

    Chapter 12. Typical Science Instruments

    Some Links to Spacecraft Science Instrument Pages

    Each of these linked pages is a complete list of all of the science instruments on a spacecraft, with links to information about each instrument. Among them you'll find direct- and remote-sensing instruments, and active and passive sensing instruments.

    Voyager Science Instruments

    Galileo Science Experiments

    Cassini Science Instruments

    Huygens Science Instruments

    Mars Global Surveyor Science Instruments

    Mars Express Science Instruments

    New Horizons Science Instruments

    Venus Express Science Instruments

    Messenger Science Instruments

    Ulysses Science Instruments

    Mars Exploration Rover (Spirit, Opportunity) Science Instruments

    Mars Pathfinder Science Instruments


    One degree of latitude equals approximately 111 km on the Earth's surface, and by definition exactly 60 nautical miles. Because meridians converge at the poles, the length of a degree of longitude varies from 111 km at the equator to 0 at the poles where longitude becomes a point.

    30,000 people a year die in fatal highway accidents - 40,000 people are killed with guns: It is reported everyday and nothing is done about it legislatively and people don't lose their offices because of it. ~ Wes Clark

    by anyname on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:37:33 AM PST

  •  If there are no donuts, why are we going? (5+ / 0-)

    Now, if you really want to spend huge bucks on spacey stuff, try Van Cleef's planetarium watch. Only a quarter mil! A steal, I tell you!

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:39:52 AM PST

  •  Thanks DarkSyde (4+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:41:03 AM PST

  •  Didn't they fly a probe into the sun? Without (4+ / 0-)

    knowing what it would do?
    (Just kidding.)

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:58:45 AM PST

  •  History Channel has a history series on? (4+ / 0-)

    When did they think of that?
    I figured after "Swamp man" and "Pickers" (actually not bad) they'd have "Nose Pickers".

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:01:26 AM PST

  •  I worry about content on Fox. (8+ / 0-)

    What annoys me is David Koch's name plastered all over the screen sponsoring Nova.

    Koch, the largest funder of climate change denial, claims in his ad that he seeks to further science education of the citizens. As a major funder of climate change denial, is that further or backwards?

    One of the first Nova shows featured Dr. Rick Potts (Koch's pick for the Smithsonian Evolution exhibit) who claims that climate change has ever driven the improvement of human evolution. The implication is that climate change is good for the human race and not the danger to existence that it really represents.

    Science has been starved on purpose. In our town which includes a land grant university, they had a panel including the Monsanto Global Plant director. The focus was on the future of the program. He got up and made one simple statement: Since USDA money had dried up, universities should look to private industry for funding.

    Koch and ALEC are "into" education for their own purposes and I do not trust them.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:01:44 AM PST

    •  Depends how you look at it.. (4+ / 0-)
      The implication is that climate change is good for the human race and not the danger to existence that it really represents.
      What may be good for the human race, long term, is not necessarily good for some humans in existence at any particular point in time.  Could be downright catastrophic for some people, while being beneficial to the race.

      The last ice age was 20,000 years ago, for instance.  (Not caused by man.)  But, it may have been the cause of the land bridge between Asia and the America's.  This was definitely a boon to the expansion of the human race.  Not so good for large mammals of the Americas, however..

      So, like I said.. it depends how you look at it..  long view? short view?  man-centric view?

    •  This week's NOVA on typhoon Haiyan had more... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie, RiveroftheWest

      ...content about global warming than previous episodes on tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy, etc.

      It appears that the David H. Koch Fund for Science doesn't have enough clout to demand that the issue still be presented in terms like, "scientists do not agree on the causes of...".

      But the message from the climate and weather scientists was - as always - equivocating: "We can't say if GW will produce more of these storms, but we do believe that it will make them more intense and destructive."

      It's the scientifically honest way to talk about it - all statistics and probabilities... which means that we cannot rely on scientists to be strong political advocates against human agents of climate change.

      It seemed to me that the program gave a bit to much attention to US military aircraft involved in the rescue operations. Was this just to provide visual relief from the scenes of destruction? Or did the producers try to curry a little favor with NOVA sponsor Boeing?

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:27:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Scientific honesty is important. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike Kahlow

        Had a conversation with an engineer after a showing of Genetic Roulette. (Do not mean to derail here) We were talking about details and I said--You see this as anti-science. He just bloomed--it was exactly how he viewed it. There had been scientists quoted but, because they were talking about it and endorsing a stance--it was not good science to him.

        If only more people understood science more.

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 05:25:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Seth MacFarlane is why it's on Fox (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whaddaya, RiveroftheWest

    His power from his moneymaking and influence at the Fox network is why it's there.

    For those who seek perfection there can be no rest on this side of the grave.

    by Zero Serenity on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:02:34 AM PST

  •  Wait for it... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whaddaya, RiveroftheWest

    Global warming is caused by the sun getting hotter!  No, wait, the sun is getting cooler, so we need to burn more carbon to warm up the planet!

    The implied contradictions in those statements (humans don't affect the climate/we need to affect the climate more) will be subjected to the intentional blindness among denialists.

    And no matter what the sun does, ocean acidification continues to get worse.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:16:54 AM PST

  •  Firefly was Fox I believe. Great show. There (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whaddaya, Ohkwai, RiveroftheWest

    may be hope for this.

    Mix the blood and make new people!

    by Yonkers Boy on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:40:19 AM PST

  •  Fakes News viewers who need to see it most (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whaddaya, RiveroftheWest

    won't watch it.

    they are incurious.  learning is a chore for them.  reminds them of school, which they hate.

    besides, the host is a black guy!

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:44:04 AM PST

  •  If the sunspot cycle shuts down..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    .... and we are in for another Maudner Minimum, then the climate deniers will crow....

        But a century of colder weather might just buy us the time needed to get this right.

    •  "Human Influence on Climate Change is Bigger" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Human Influence on Climate Change is Bigger than the Sun's"

      According to the Skeptical Science overview of this topic, even a full-blown Maunder won't slow down global warming.  Only changes in human behavior can do that.

    •  Essentially no relief from a Maunder minimum (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The difference in surface temperatures, averaged over many cycles, between the solar minimum and the solar maximum is about half a degree C.

      Regional effects may be a bit larger. But we've had a full cycle now of unusually low (if not quite Maunder minimum low) solar activity, and it hasn't saved us from Sandy and Irene and droughts and floods. We've already derived all the cooling benefit we're going to get. And if the Sun kicks into normal again a few years down the road, whoopee! We get an extra decade or so of warming all at once, for free.

    •  Maunder Minimum effect is local (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      -- mostly to Europe according to the article -- because of the jet stream "blocking" effect. Colder winters in Europe, but not the cause of a world-wide cooling period.

  •  Neil deGrasse Tyson is the only person today (3+ / 0-)

    that could follow in Carl Sagan's footsteps. I can't imagine another choice. If NdGT didn't exist, then a modern Cosmos could not be produced.

    Republicans proved in October that they are UNFIT TO GOVERN. Don't let the voter forget it. (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 09:25:03 AM PST

  •  i agree that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, LamontCranston

    having the cosmos program on fox is a good vehicle so those that usually don't believe in science might get informed.
    knowing fox it might have an opposing opinion after the program similar to the oppositions response to the state of the union address.

    save america defeat all republicans and conservatives

  •  Great (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Old Sol will go on vacation - We'll run CO2 up to ridiculous levels because the Greenhouse effect will be "proven" a hoax via pundits full of pseudoscience and then the Sun comes back to normal and there will be hell to pay.

    Because humanity; as a species - Is dumber than a bag of hammers and allergic to reality.

    Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies, We were roaring drunk on petroleum -Kurt Vonnegut

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:49:44 AM PST

  •  what's with the flying saucer? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What's with the Bambi-style cartoons?
    What's with the "eye" nebula at the end of the trailer?
    What's with Jesus rising into the heavens?

    Much as I want to see NdGT's update of Sagan's enlightening and entertaining PBS series (even though it'll be on Murdoch's network), I'm deeply disturbed by the imagery in that trailer. Hopefully, the trailer will be as similar to the actual program as movie trailers are to actual movies.

    I'll always be UID:180, even if Markos tries to pry it away.

    by N in Seattle on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:57:07 PM PST

  •  I love Cosmos... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... as much as I love the Power of Myth with Joe Campbell and Big Bill...

    ...and Carl's wife, Ann, is involved with the new Cosmos... But the original was "A Personal Voyage."  It wasn't about Astronomy... it was about The "Cosmos" and "Our" place in it,  Carl spoke as much about the Age of Enlightenment and Mankind destroying itself before we evolved beyond out "Stupid," as much as he spoke about Stars.

    Tyson is really starting to bug me.  I don't know if he's been financed by Monsanto and Dow, but he's making insipid comments Pro GMO lately.  He compares "Hybreeding" Tomatoes over a100 years, to what Monsanto does.  Natural "Hybreeding" tomatoes does not cross a Starfish's genetic information with a Cabbage.

  •  I have seen so many really intelligent and forward (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    thinking people pass away in my lifetime and academic professor and scholar of astronomy of Cornell Carl Sagan was one of the top 10.  He brought the sciences of physics and astronomy of the whys and how to the average American's living room, coupled with the ability to generate many to learn and question how it all began, and possibilities of where it is all going.  If but a hand full of a few people glean something from this science format and venture, then it is a good thing.

    "It's only the giving, that makes what you are." - Ian Anderson

    by LamontCranston on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:52:42 PM PST

  •  OH! Can't wait for another COSMOS! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, bythesea

    I loved the first series with Sagan, so I hope this is as good. I still have the soundtrack record from the first series.

    Good news!  :)

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 02:03:47 PM PST

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