Today I got my first glimpse of Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey and I felt something akin to awe. The trailer is a thing a beauty. Take a look…
For those not familiar with the original Cosmos, it is a masterwork of science-based programming that set a standard that few television shows even try to achieve today. In it, scientist Carl Sagan and fellow creators Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter lay out a 13 episode story arc that sweeps from the big bang to the end of the universe. Along the way some of the most amazing aspects of the sciences are presented in a very engaging format. Sagan has a reputation for being among the greatest communicators of science ever, and Cosmos is the centerpiece of what he had to communicate.
Cosmos, however, is no dramatized science textbook. It ties the unfolding of science to the story of humanity. And as Anne Druyan says in the the introduction created for the DVD set, Cosmos conveys a “soaring spiritual high that comes from grasping science’s central revelation – our oneness with the cosmos.”
The ideas that this series presents are some of the deepest, most profound themes that a television show or any medium of communication could portray. It deals with the formation of our world, and the evolution of life culminating with the rise of mankind. It tracks the developments of science from the ancient past to a future that is waiting for us among the stars. It provides the most credible consideration possible of the question of whether or not there is life on other planets and what that life might be like. And it deals with the very real mortality of our race and the dangers that stand between us and our future as a space-faring people.
Cosmos is a treasure trove for writers of science fiction, or any writer dealing with the most important issues of our day. Any creative could stand to have their palette enhanced by this array of powerful ideas.
And now, thirty-three years later, Neil deGrasse Tyson is set to lead the follow-up series. From the trailer it seems clear that we are in store for another awe-inspiring journey, and this time it looks to be super-charged with special effects to rival anything we have seen in theaters lately. The ship of my imagination is fueled and ready to go.
There are times that I feel like I am getting no where with my writing at home and need a change of pace. When this happens I love to write in public spaces. In an ideal world I would spend 2 hours writing in a coffee shop every day. Yes, coffee is good. But that is not why I go (I switched to decaf a while ago anyway). I go for stimulation of a different sort. I love the experience of getting into the zone while writing and experiencing flow. Time seems to stand still. And then after I have done some really good work, I snap out of it and find that I really haven’t been aware of what is going on around me. For some reason this seems to only happen when I write in a public space. I think that this happens because our attentional capacity is at times GREATER than it needs to be for creative work. And if the creative work does not FILL UP our attentional capacity, then our brain fills it up with whatever non-sense it can. BUT if there is an optimal amount of background noise, it leaves just enough attention left over to write.
This effect, is what the people at Coffitivity had in mind. This website provides you with all the benefit of a coffee shop in your pocket. Just open it up, and you will hear all the hushed non-descript conversation you want, complete with the occasional clanking plate. Best of all there is no risk of the person sitting at the next table taking a phone call and speaking so loud that you cannot tune them out. Also there are no crying babies and you don’t have to stalk the outlet or bring your laptop with you to the bathroom.
I am going to be using this a lot. Try it here.