Neil Tyson, still at it: We need to spend more in goverment research, in space, in science, in education

March 7, 2013

Here’s a guy who Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and other “deficit hawks” refuse to debate.  Grover Norquist blanches when you mention his name, and hopes and prays you won’t listen to him:  Neil de Grasse Tyson.

The film was put together from several statements by Tyson, by Evan Schurr.


The intention of this project is to stress the importance of advancing the space frontier and is focused on igniting scientific curiosity in the general public.
Facebook cover: (not sure who made this but thank you!)

*FOR THOSE SAYING THE MUSIC IS TOO LOUD* This is the adjusted one

I give immense credit to The Sagan Series for providing the inspiration for this video.…

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. All copyrighted materials contained herein belong to their respective copyright holders, I do not claim ownership over any of these materials. In no way do I benefit either financially or otherwise from this video.

Arrival of the Birds and Transformation by The Cinematic Orchestra…

When We Left Earth…
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
The Amazing Meeting
“US Mint”…
“New $100 Note”…
Real Time with Bill Maher…
Pale Blue Dot –…
STS-135 Ascent Imagery Highlights…
CSPAN State of the Union Address
The Sagan Series
The Asteroid that Flattened Mars…
University of Buffalo Communications
Mars Curiosity Rover…
Red Aurora Australis…

Thank you to user florentgermain for the French subtitles

Hey, this is a year old.  Why are you sitting on your hands?  Our future, our children’s future, our great-great-grandchildren’s futures, are on the line.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Robert Krulwich at NPR, who pulled this out and started discussing it again.


Manhattanhenge, Part 2

July 13, 2012

I could be persuaded Instagram may have some value:

Manhattanhenge, July 12, 2012 - photo by Henry Sene Yee

Manhattanhenge, July 12, 2012 – photo by Henry Sene Yee

Even a bigger hit the second day in July (it also occurs two days in May).

But can this be accurate?

As the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson put it on the Hayden Planetarium website, “Manhattanhenge may just be a unique urban phenomenon in the world, if not the universe.”

Surely there is a phenomenon almost as cool, somewhere in the American Midwest or Mountain West, perhaps, where the good Presbyterian, Lutheran and Mormon pioneers laid out their cities and entire states with clean Cartesian grids . . . anyone got information to correct Dr. Tyson?

Maybe the question to ask, perhaps from Tyson, is how to calculate when an east-west street in your town might get a “henge” moment.

For example, how about a special sunrise at Delicate Arch, in Arches National Park?  Or at Newgrange, Ireland?

Sunrise at Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, by Alex Savage

Sunrise at Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, by Alex Savage

Solstice sunrise at Newgrange, Ireland - Photograph by Cyril Byrne - courtesy of The Irish Times

December 20, 2009, solstice sunrise at Newgrange, Ireland – Photograph by Cyril Byrne – courtesy of The Irish Times (Astronomy Picture of the Day, NASA)

Tyson figures out how to make astronomy popular: Name it “Manhattanhenge,” watch the millions flock to see it

July 12, 2012

Sunrise over Stonehenge on the summer solstice...

Sunrise over Stonehenge on the summer solstice, June 21, 2005 — the analogy of Manhattan’s skyscrapers to the rocks of Stonehenge is obvious (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. at the November 29, 2005 meeting of the NA...

Dr. Tyson at the November 29, 2005 meeting of the NASA Advisory Council, in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some time ago astronomy phenom Neil de Grasse Tyson mentioned the twice-a-year happenstance of the sun’s setting perfectly in line with New York City’s east-west gridded streets.  On many streets, on most streets, you can watch the sun all the way down to the horizon, between the massive “rocks” of Manhattan skyscrapers, almost like watching the solstices at Stonehenge.

Tyson called it “Manhattan henge.”

July 11, 2012, the crowds turn out to see the phenomenon.  How many years ago was it no one bothered to give it a second glance?

Have you seen it?

In your hometown or city, what dates would the sun set right down the east-west axis of some street, if there are any?

Manhattanhenge 2011 | The Commuter

Manhattanhenge 2011 | The Commuter (Photo credit: MichaelTapp)

Michael Tapp photographs a lot of stuff around Manhattan, and he also provided a link to an NPR Science Friday video in which Tyson explains the phenomenon.  So, go see Tapp’s work (hey, maybe buy some of it); and go see Tyson’s explanation.

Manhattanhenge on 42d Street - Bloomberg Businessweek photo - Xinhua News

The sun shines down 42nd Street in New York City at sunset during “Manhattanhenge,” May 30, 2011. Photographer: Xinhua News Agency/eyevine/Redux

According to Bloomberg/Businessweek:

On May 30 at 8:16 p.m. and again on July 11 at 8:24 p.m., Manhattanhenge reaches its point of perfection as the full setting sun aligns with the city’s grid of East-West streets, according to the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium. The best places to view the fiery canyon of skyscrapers are at 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th Streets. The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building offer especially good views.

Manhattanhenge on 34th Street, by Chaitanya Kapadia / UGC

Manhattanhenge on 34th Street, by Chaitanya Kapadia / UGC – Here’s what Chaitanya Kapadia says about this picture: “I had set up on a nice spot right in the middle of 34th Street, between the double yellow lines with a few photographers wanting to get the Empire State Building in my shot. However, I should have anticipated photographers to just swarm the streets when the sun lined up with the grid. Minutes later, the police drove down the middle of the road, getting everyone out, which only meant stepping to the side until they passed you, and then right back. Took this using three exposures hand-held.”

Manhattanhenge, July 11, 2012, by Andy Dallos

Manhattanhenge, July 11, 2012, by Andy Dallos


UFOs? Obama-ordered news blackouts? No: Brain failures

June 28, 2011

Come on, you can figure out how this applies to those stories about Obama’s secret orders — or more accurately, the lack of those orders.  From Neil deGrasse Tyson and the argument from ignorance, presented at St. Petersburg College, Florida, 2007:

Tip of the old scrub brush to Neil deGrasse Tyson, and his Tweet.

Critics of evolution will damage the economy of Texas and the nation, Tyson says

February 20, 2009

I had work to do, and I missed it.

Neil deGrasse Tyson casts spells over the audience at the University of Texas at Arlington, on February 17, 2009 - UT-Arlington photo

Neil deGrasse Tyson casts spells over the audience at the University of Texas at Arlington, on February 17, 2009 - UT-Arlington photo

America’s living-room astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson came to Texas.  Last Tuesday he spent a day trying to inspire college kids to study physics,  or to stick with physics, and then he spent the evening with 3,000 close friends in an auditorium at the University of Texas-Arlington, talking about how much fun physics is, and how the use of real science and reason could improve our lives.

According to the on-line press release from the University Tyson covered a lot of topics, deftly and smartly:

The greatest scientist of all time was Isaac Newton. “Hands down. Darwin and those other guys pale by comparison. Newton is the reason we have seat belts, because he proved objects in motion stay in motion. If you ask people in cars who are not wearing seat belts if they ever took a college class in physics they say no, every single time.”

About using math illiteracy to distort truth, Tyson said he was called for jury duty and the defendant was charged with possession of 6,000 milligrams of a controlled substance.

“Why would you say that? Six thousand milligrams is 6 grams, about the weight of a dime,” he said. When a newspaper headline proclaims half of the children at a school are below average on a test, he said, no one stops to think that’s what average means.”

On the importance the media places on celebrity news, Tyson showed a newspaper cover with a near full-page cover story on entertainer Michael Jackson and two important news stories teased in small boxes above the fold. Tyson said the country suffers from a “warped sense of what is important.”

Great scientific discoveries have not come about because people are interested in science, Tyson said. Just like the voyage of Columbus, funded by Queen Isabella of Spain, discovery is spurred by wars, cold wars and economic gain, he said. The only other inspiration for counties to spend lots of money is to celebrate royalty or deities, like with the Pyramids or the great cathedrals in Italy.

“We live in a country where people are afraid of the number 13. It’s delusional,” Tyson said, pointing to a book titled, “How to Protect Yourself from Alien Invasion” and the hysteria a few years ago with the Mars Hoax, with lots of science fiction circulating because Mars came closer to Earth than it had in 60,000 years. The widely circulated reports overlooked the fact that Mars was just a few inches closer and that was completely insignificant, Tyson said.

And then, according to the blog Politex, from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (one of America’s legendary newspapers now facing the crises that seems to afflict all our better news organizations) someone asked him about creationism:

During the Q&A, an audience member asked Tyson about conservative members of the state Board of Education who want to teach the “weaknesses” of the theory of evolution in Texas high school classrooms.

“I think they should stay in the Sunday school,” Tyson said. Calling intelligent design theory a “philosophy of ignorance,” he argued that a lack of appreciation for basic scienctific principles will hurt America’s scientific output, which has been the largest economic engine in the country’s history.

“If nonscience works its way into the science classroom, it marks…the beginning of the end of the economic strength this country has known,” Tyson said.

Tyson, who spent time in Washington, D.C. after being appointed to committees by then-President George W. Bush, went on to say that he always knew a Republican judge in Pennsylvania would ultimately side with evolution backers in the high-profile Dover education case in 2005. The judge understood that respecting science is good for the US economy, Tyson said.

“What I learned from my tours of duty in Washington is no Republican wants to die poor,” Tyson said.

He’s right about Republicans ( said the former employee of Orrin Hatch/William Bennett/Lamar Alexander).  I hope it’s true for Texas Republicans, especially those on the Texas State Board of Education.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Ediacaran, on the Fort Worth side of the Metroplex.  Another tip to Physics Today from the American Institute of Physics.

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