Carl Sagan was my hero

Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of Carl Sagan’s death.

Joel Schlossberg has proposed a Blog-a-thon to celebrate Carl Sagan’s life and beliefs.

The Blog-a-thon has the approval of Nick Sagan, Carl’s son. Not that that is why I’m participating tomorrow.

I just think that Carl Sagan was one of my earliest real-life heroes.

Funny how most of my heroes are scientists, thinkers, philosophers, dreamers, and authors. Yes, they are almost always all of those in the same person. Do you find that surprising? The stereotype of scientists is that they’re socially-awkward, inept at communication except on the most technical level, and shallow, materialistic people.

And yet I find the amazing awestruck writings of my heroes to be deeply moving and heartfelt. All the more so because the things of which they write are grounded in things we can actually observe, measure, and predict.

It does not destroy the beauty of the rainbow to know how it comes about.

Plus, if these guys are so socially inept, why do they marry hot wives? Richard Dawkin’s wife, Lalla Ward, actress? Carl Sagan’s wife, Ann Druyan? Rowr. Chicks dig the big brains, baby.

Tracy, when I mentioned the Blog-a-Thon to her, said that she had no idea who Carl Sagan was.

Join me tomorrow as I turn my meager skills towards explaining that for her, and anyone else who wants to know.

PS: Ix-nay on the “Billions and billions” comments. C’mon. He never said that.

I never said it. Honest. Oh, I said there are maybe 100 billion galaxies and 10 billion trillion stars. It’s hard to talk about the Cosmos without using big numbers. I said ‘billion’ many times on the Cosmos television series, which was seen by a great many people. But I never said ‘billions and billions.’ For one thing, it’s imprecise. How many billions are ‘billions and billions’? A few billion? Twenty billion? A hundred billion? ‘Billions and billions’ is pretty vague… For a while, out of childish pique, I wouldn’t utter the phrase, even when asked to. But I’ve gotten over that. So, for the record, here it goes: ‘Billions and billions.'”