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Carl Sagan vs. Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Battle For The Cosmos

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The universe has wonders that extend far beyond our wildest dreams. It is hard to conceptualize the actual size of the universe, let alone all of the stars, planets, and galaxies that exist within this massive space. There are two spectacular astronomers in particular who attempt to explain the extraordinary wonders of the cosmos in a way that is engaging for all. These astonishing scientific communicators have used television to pique our interest and expand our knowledge of the astronomical universe, about which most people know so little.

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Cosmos is the platform that both Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson choose as their medium for educating others about the scientific wonders of space, otherwise known as astronomy. In 1980 Carl Sagan hosted a 13-episode series on PBS called Cosmos: A Personal Journey, while in 2014 Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted the the followup series – Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey – from National Geographic and Fox. Both hosts make a sincere effort to spread scientific knowledge, specifically about astronomy, to the younger generation of our planet.

--> Our latest podcast episode: Were humans created by extraterrestrials? Joe sits down with Bruce Fenton, multidisciplinary researcher and author to explore the fascinating evidence behind this question. Click here to listen!

They both also follow the same storytelling approach throughout their respective television series’. They use teaching aids which cater to children, such as the “ship of imagination” and the “cosmic calendar,” to make their message accessible and help simplify the universe. In doing so, they allow children to use their imagination to understand the significance of each part of the universe and of the extremely small part we play within it.

Despite sharing an ultimate purpose, there are of course differences between the programs. Their teachings have the same sound science as their basis, but the presentation styles of Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson are at different ends of the spectrum. What are some of the noticeable differences between the old Cosmos and the new one?

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Carl Sagan

 

Most of the differences are merely aesthetic. For instance, one key distinction between the programs is that the newer Cosmos features animations that were created by a team supervised by Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy. MacFarlane is, incidentally, also a producer of the new Cosmos. There are other tonal differences, however, that can be attributed to their individual hosting styles. Sagan starts the journey of discovery in space and then moves inwards, coming back to us on earth, implying a personalized voyage that directly interpolates the viewer. Neil deGrasse Tyson does the exact opposite, making us feel small compared to the rest of the universe. The use of the cosmic calendar shows how truly insignificant we are, but Sagan is able to soften that blow through his delivery methods — particularly with his slow, deliberate speech pattern that feels almost like poetry. He pulls you in with a soft, hypnotic voice. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a bit more abrupt with his delivery. He does not give off the impression that he is speaking directly to you; rather, it feels more like attending a college lecture.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson’s delivery is more impersonal, making space travel and astronomy seem like a cold journey through a dark and quiet universe. The “ship of imagination” is depicted as a literal spacecraft that leaves little to the imagination. Carl Sagan believed that a trip through the universe needed to be framed as a very personal experience. He often took a metaphorical approach to delivering scientific information, which we can see in his version of the “ship of imagination.”

Neil Degrasse Tyson

Neil Degrasse Tyson

And for all the aesthetic differences between the two men and their approach to hosting the program, there are many ways that the two men themselves are refreshingly similar. Sagan was never entirely transparent about what his spiritual beliefs were, and never engaged in debate about theology in the way that Tyson has. Nevertheless, it’s safe to infer that the two men were on similar pages with respect to their skepticism. Tyson courts controversy in a way that Sagan never did, even suggesting that scientific literacy should inform political opinions. As Tyson said in an interview with Parade, there are contentious political issues which could be more easily “settled or informed if we [as a culture] became more scientifically literate.” This is the very sort of stance that could easily draw the ire of some creationism advocates.

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Both men are also notable for their environmental advocacy. Sagan wrote about the potential harm of climate change as early as 1980, and Tyson has consistently advocated for the use of alternative energy sources. In this 1990 lecture, as well as in his work Pale Blue Dot, Sagan spoke of the Earth’s fragility and our role as stewards of its care. Tyson, speaking on the topic two decades later, has called out public figures who have openly denied the reality of climate change. Both men realized that the fate of the environment would not be determined by any one individual, but by large groups of individuals, dead set on voting out recalcitrant politicians.

Both scientific communicators excel in different aspects of their delivery. Neither is “better” or “worse,” it all comes down to which you prefer. Do the poetic words of Carl Sagan excite your imagination, or do the brash scientific teachings of Neil deGrasse Tyson tickle your fancy? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter – as long as you’re listening and paying attention to what they’d like to teach you, both of these men can make a profoundly positive impact on your life.

 

About the author:

beth kelly

Beth Kelly is a freelance blogger and writer based in Chicago, IL. With a lifelong passion for both science and literature, she holds a degree in Communications and Media from DePaul University. In her free time she loves training for triathlons and shooting film photography.

Follow her on Twitter @ bkelly_88

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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These Anti-Solar Panels Don’t Require Daylight To Generate Power

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new approach to solar panels attempts to generate energy during the night, when there is no sunlight to turn into energy. This new invention could make solar a more efficient and reliable option for energy generation.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we being made aware of all energy technologies that truly exist out there? Are our ideas of what energy technologies we could create and bring to market limited on the belief that they must fit inside our existing economic structures?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Energy is one of the most important elements to any functioning society, and since our modern era of living uses so much power, the industry is always looking to evolve towards newer and more efficient solutions. Furthermore, given the environmental damage that often comes with many of our modern energy generation practices, people have been thinking outside the box to come up with ideas that are harmonious with mother nature.

Solar panel technology has been around for decades, but there are a few main issues with it. First off, you often need sunlight for it to produce enough on demand and stored energy for daily life. There are many areas in the world where that can be an issue in certain seasons. Secondly, during the night energy can’t be gathered so you’re always dealing with a limited time period where you can generate power for the moment or future use. This prompted inventors to imagine a new “anti-solar panel” that is designed to work both during the day and at night.

Typical solar panels work by gathering visible light from the sun and converting it to usable electricity. This energy can be used as it’s created, or it can be stored into battery cells to be used at a later time. That is to say, it might be a sunny day, you and your family are at work so little power is needed at home. When you return home and you need power,  batteries hooked up to your solar panel had been storing the energy collected from the sun during the day, so it’s ready for you to use once you need it even if the sun isn’t out.

No sun for a couple days while your family is at home for the weekend? Well, you can start to see the issues with solar, you might run out of power if you aren’t connected to a standard city power grid as backup.

But now a team at UC Davis is hoping to develop a new strategy relying on having panels that can also generate electricity at night from heat emitted by a device in the infrared spectrum that is used to generate power.

Jeremy Munday, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and who leads the research team:

“In order to produce electrical power after the sun has set, we consider an alternative photovoltaic concept that uses the earth as a heat source and the night sky as a heat sink, resulting in a “nighttime photovoltaic cell” that employs thermoradiative photovoltaics and concepts from the advancing field of radiative cooling.”

They also explain in another report:

We were thinking, what if we took one of these (thermoradiative) devices and put it in a warm area and pointed it at the sky? A regular solar cell generates power by absorbing sunlight, which causes a voltage to appear across the device and for current to flow, (but) in these new devices, light is instead emitted and the current and voltage go in the opposite direction, but you still generate power. You have to use different materials, but the physics is the same.”

It’s not yet known how much power this technology might produce, but at this time the UC Davis team estimates perhaps as much as 50W during the night. This is about one quarter of the amount a typical solar panel might produce during the day. While this isn’t a huge amount, one could argue it’s worth it.

But what happens if we think outside the box a little further?

Breakthrough Energy

At Collective Evolution we have been exploring new energy technologies for many years, and have had a few close relationships with several investors who have truly been thinking outside the box. This has provided us with an inside look at what technologies are out there beyond what most people commonly speak about in the realm of renewables.

I’m talking about technologies that would deeply disrupt our current energy economy and that could provide energy to anyone, at anytime and in a completely clean manner.

Many believe these types of “breakthrough” technologies are nothing more than unicorns – they aren’t real. They believe them to be elaborate hoaxes that only show up online and in YouTube videos. And this is fair to say. There have been may hoaxes, including inventors who didn’t quite have what they had claimed, however, some of these technologies are real and work exactly as claimed.

“I started to examine the breakthrough solutions, and much to my surprise, these concepts have been proven in hundreds of laboratories throughout the world, and yet they have not really seen the light of day. If the new energy technologies were to be set free worldwide, the change be profound, it would affect everybody, it would be applicable everywhere. These technologies are absolutely the most important thing that’s happened in the history of the world.”  – Dr Brian O’Leary, Former NASA Astronaut and Princeton Physics Professor

In our research we came across a device local to us here in Toronto and had the opportunity to see it functioning first hand. We were there alongside a group of third party investors and engineers who were eager to see the technology in action and understand how it functions. Unfortunately for this piece, the NDA we had signed stops me from saying too much more about the specifics, however you can decide whether or not you believe my word that, yes, this technology was very real, worked to produce multiple kilowatts of power, and had the potential to change the way you view energy generation entirely.

We have also explored technologies our friends and colleagues have vetted as well. One of our latest ones from a man in Zimbabwe who invented a power generation system that charges itself via radio frequencies around the device. A truly remarkable idea, one you have to see to believe.

Another friend and colleague of ours, Susan Manewich, has been working to bring these technologies to market for years. Her and her team have travelled around the world vetting various technologies and working with inventors to find viable ways of making their technologies available for mass use. In her travels she has seen that only a small percentage of claims and devices are real and viable, perhaps only 5%. As low at that sounds, it still shows us that there are in fact devices that would completely revolutionize the way we produce and use energy today and yet these devices are not known about and in many cases hidden purposefully from the public.

We talk about this with Susan in great detail during an interview with we did with her as she shares her insight and experience having worked in the ‘new energy’ industry for many years. Dive into this important conversation on CETV here.

The Takeaway

Imagine what a society would look like if we had ‘freed’ up the secrecy behind the existence of these breakthrough energy technologies. Do you see humanity thriving? Do you see energy being free of charge for people? If not, do you feel humanity’s existing worldview i.e. competition, separation, etc, might be a barrier to these technologies being used to liberate the way we live?

Finally, if it is humanity’s worldview and belief that we must all compete with one another that gets in the way, does it suggest we might need to go about re-examining our worldview’s in order to live in a more peaceful and harmonious society? It appears as though the solutions are already all here, but the way we think of ourselves and one another deeply holds back a thriving world.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Consciousness

Scientists Think They Have Found A Portal To The 5th Dimension

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CE Staff Writer 4 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study claims to have found an explanation for dark matter, but relies on the discovery of a particle which leads to another dimension.

  • Reflect On:

    How do discoveries shift our understanding of reality and perhaps, who we are? Can a journey down the rabbit hole of non-material science cause understanding of the nature of human consciousness that can shift how we live our lives?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

I know, it sounds like science fiction a little bit, but our world is a hell of a lot more mysterious and fascinating than much of our mainstream news and information lets on. A quick tour down the lane of post-material science returns many fascinating discoveries about superhuman abilities, extrasensory perception, remote viewing, non local consciousness and more. In short, we are extraordinary, and I believe science has shown this, even though mainstream culture lags behind in opening up to these ideas.

In a new study in The European Physical Journal C scientists are proposing the there exists a particle that can act as a portal to a fifth dimension. What exactly is the 5th dimension? Good question. Let’s start with what we know now about dimensions. To scientists there has been four known dimensions in our universe. Three that make up space (up and down, left and right, back and forth) this gives you “3D,” and a fourth dimension of time.

To understand the 5th dimension, we have to begin looking into dark matter, which is what scientists believe make up most of the mass in our universe. Dark matter happens to be something we don’t know too much about as well. We technically can’t see it, and so scientists measure what effects its mass has on other observable matter. In the most recent study the authors – Adrian Carmona, Javier Castellano Ruiz, Matthias Neubert – said their original intention was to “explain the possible origin of fermion (particle) masses in theories with a warped extra dimension”. They sketched out a new scalar associated with the fermion, which they claim is similar to the Higgs field and Higgs boson particle.

“We found that the new scalar field had an interesting, non-trivial behaviour along the extra dimension,” the researchers told VICE. “If this heavy particle exists, it would necessarily connect the visible matter that we know and that we have studied in detail with the constituents of dark matter, assuming the dark matter is composed out of fundamental fermions, which live in the extra dimension.”

In simpler terms, this new study suggests that the particle in question may be able to provide a greater explanation for dark matter, the more we know about dark matter, the more we can understand the finer workings of our unseen universe.

The authors described the particle as “a possible new messenger to the dark sector”.

The hard working is just beginning however. Scientists have to now isolate this particle. The Higgs boson particle mentioned above was spotted by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. However it is not powerful enough to find this new particle and thus a new device would have to be created.

What intrigued me about this story was one of the statements physicists made about a new study they wrote exploring the potential of a 5th dimension:

“This new particle could play an important role in the cosmological history of the universe, and might produce gravitational waves that can be searched for with future gravitational-wave detectors.”

It’s always been my fascination to explore the deeper perennial questions that make up our current collective paradigms. As we understand more about the nature of the reality, the cosmos, and our relationship to it, we in essence are developing a greater understand of who we are.

My research over the years has taught me that many of the mainstream assumptions we make about ourselves and our world are likely false. Things like “consciousness originates in the brain” or “our consciousness cannot affect things non-locally” or “that the universe is random, and human consciousness cannot impact it.” From the many studies I’ve read exploring these subjects, the basic assumptions of modern materialist science simply don’t hold water when considering hundreds of studies telling a different story.

When you consider the paradigm shift that comes in realizing that our human consciousness may in fact have the ability to affect things non locally, something seen through hundreds of ‘intention experiments’ rigorously studied around the world, one has to think “what is the true nature of our reality and who we are? Are we a lot more extraordinary than we have been led to believe? Do our thoughts, intentions, and emotions have a greater impact on our lives than we realize? How might these changes in understanding who we are shift the way we live our lives?

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading

Consciousness

Study: Humans Can Communicate From Brain To Brain (Telepathy)

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CE Staff Writer 5 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study out of the University of Washington sheds interesting light on the human capability to communicate between brain and brain without words. Also known as telepathy.

  • Reflect On:

    If emerging science begins to change our knowledge of who we truly are, might this new understanding of what it means to be human change the way we live our lives?

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Fascinating research out of the University of Washington successfully replicates a direct brain-to-brain connection between multiple pairs of people in a scientific study, following-up on the teams initial demonstration.

The study involved six people who were engaged with each other in pairs from different areas of campus. Researchers sent signals from one person’s brain over the internet to another person in an attempt to control the other’s hand motions with thought.

Study Method

In order to properly conduct the study researchers needed to separate the subjects and close off certain perceptions of the study method. Each sender of thought was placed in front of a computer game where he or she had to defend a city by firing a cannon and intercepting rockets launched by a pirate ship. But, the senders were not able to interact with the game physically. The only way they could properly defend their city was through thought. When a rocket was coming or when they wanted to fire a cannon, they had to think about doing that intentionally.

Across campus, each receiver sat in a dark room with headphones on and no ability to see the computer game. Their right hand was positioned overtop the touchpad that would fire the cannon when tapped. If brain-to-brain connection was successful between the two pairs, the send would effectively be able to get the receiver to tap the touchpad and fire the cannon.

From a technology standpoint, researchers used two types of noninvasive instruments that can connect with human brains in real-time. One participant was hooked up to a electroencephalography machine that reads brain activity and sends electrical pulses via the web to the receiver. The receiver is wearing a swim cap with a transcranial magnetic stimulation coil placed near the area of the brain that controls hand movements.

This setup effectively allows one person to send a command that would in theory move the hand of another person simply through thought.

“The new study brings our brain-to-brain interfacing paradigm from an initial demonstration to something that is closer to a deliverable technology,” said co-author Andrea Stocco, a research assistant professor of psychology and a researcher at UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. “Now we have replicated our methods and know that they can work reliably with walk-in participants.”

direct-brain-to-brain-commuication

UW students Darby Losey, left, and Jose Ceballos are positioned in two different buildings on campus as they would be during a brain-to-brain interface demonstration. The sender, left, thinks about firing a cannon at various points throughout a computer game. That signal is sent over the Web directly to the brain of the receiver, right, whose hand hits a touchpad to fire the cannon.Credit Mary Levin.

The Results

It was found that accuracy varied depending on each pairing. The accuracy range was from 25 to 83 percent. Misses were mostly found to be caused by the sender failing to accurately execute the thought to send the “fire” command. The researchers also were able to quantify the exact amount of information that was transferred between the two brains.

Interestingly the degree of accuracy being low in subjects who couldn’t properly extend intention to the receiver also indicates that it isn’y simply just thoughts that affect our reality but actually the intention. Therefore during study of the phenomenon accuracy in whether or not subjects are truly intending vs just thinking is crucial.

For me personally, this brings interesting insight to my theory that thoughts don’t create reality, but that there needs to be a power behind that thought. A strong intention, emotion, feeling, etc. Further to that, it takes deep practice and a level of mastery to truly train yourself to impact physical reality with thought and intention.

This isn’t the first time brain-to-brain communication has been demonstrated scientifically. Another research team from the company Starlab in Barcelona, Spain, recently published a study with very similar results to the one above. Direct communication between two human brains was demonstrated but this one only featured two subjects.

Also, a study was done that demonstrated telepathy between humans during dreams.

The research team from the University of Washington has been granted a new $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation so they can take their work to the next level. This clearly illustrates the validity and impressive potential implications of their work.

“Imagine someone who’s a brilliant scientist but not a brilliant teacher. Complex knowledge is hard to explain – we’re limited by language,” said co-author Chantel Prat, a faculty member at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences and a UW assistant professor of psychology.

Keeping An Open Mind

It feels like we are living in a time where new discoveries are truly making us question what it means to e human. Who are we? What are our capabilities? If the story of who we truly are changes, would that change how we choose to create our society and life?

Thankfully there are many brilliant people out there not only doing this work to bring forth cutting edge science. Of course this new science does come with opposition and controversy as paradigms are challenged by these ideas. It’s my feeling that there is little value in simply calling this work “pseudoscience” as it often is called, as it only seeks to cast off this work without truly looking into it and remembering to stay curious and playful.

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” – Nikola Tesla

Source

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0111332

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading
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