Pale Blue Dot


In a commencement address delivered May 11, 1996, Carl Sagan spoke about a photograph of Earth as seen from the Voyager spacecraft from 3 billion miles away.

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

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New iPhone

I bought an iPhone in October 2007 and today it is still working, albeit with a cracked screen. When I saw the new iPhone 4 presented I got the itch to get a new phone. I could wait a few weeks and pay $200 USD for the latest iPhone, but I decided to buy the iPhone 3GS now for $150. I held on to my old first generation iPhone for more than two years. I hope I can do the same with my this one.

Echochrome – Optical illusion puzzle game

Typically when you play a puzzle game, you are given an objective and perhaps a few different ways that you can accomplish this task. However, you’re not frequently asked to readjust the reality of the world simply by manipulating the camera to close gaps between platforms. The same could be said about erasing pitfalls by changing a camera angle so a column appears to cover a hole. These optical illusions form the basis behind Sony’s latest PSN title, echochrome, which asks players to constantly tweak, bend and change their perceptions to solve deceptive puzzles. While the choice to use optical illusions is a unique one, the decision to focus upon a simple wireframe presentation adds a surprising amount of depth to this spatial puzzle title. – IGN.com

For PlayStation 3 ($10 US) and PSP