A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Editor’s Pick: Carl Sagan

Credit: 20th March 1974: Portrait of American astronomer and author Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996); Photo by Santi Visalli Inc./Getty Images

Excerpts from The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1995)

1. "Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance, particularly our ignorance about ourselves."

2. "Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both."

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Editor’s pick: Friedrich Nietzsche

Credit: Image source; made by Islingt0ner

The Three Metamorphoses, from Thus spake Zarathustra, 1883

"OF THREE metamorphoses of the spirit do I tell you: how the spirit becomes a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion, at last, a child. Many heavy things are there for the spirit, the strong reverent spirit that would bear much: for the heavy and the heaviest longs its strength.

What is heavy? so asks the spirit that would bear much, and then kneels down like the camel, and wants to be well laden.

What is the heaviest thing, you heroes ? asks the spirit that would bear much, that I may take it upon me and exult in my strength. Is it not this: To humiliate oneself in order to mortify one's pride? To exhibit one's folly in order to mock at one's wisdom?

Or is it this: To desert our cause when it triumphs? To climb high mountains to tempt the tempter? Or is it this: To feed on the acorns and grass of knowledge, and for the sake of truth to suffer hunger in one's soul?


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Editor’s pick: Richard Feynman

Credit: Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman stands in front of a blackboard strewn with notation in his lab in Los Angeles, Californina. (Photo by Kevin Fleming/Corbis via Getty Images)

Excerpts from Feynman's book - QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (1985)

1. "We cannot predict whether a given photon will arrive at A or B. All we can predict is that out of 100 photons that come down, an average of 4 will be reflected by the front surface. Does this mean that physics, a science of great exactitude, has been reduced to calculating only the probability of an event, and not predicting exactly what will happen? Yes. That's a retreat, but that's the way it is: Nature permits us to calculate only probabilities. Yet science has not collapsed."

2. "With quantum physics, who needs drugs?"

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Editor’s Pick: Stephen Hawking

Credit: Stephen Hawking (born in 1942), British mathematician and scientist, 1989; Gettyimages

A Brief History of Time (1988)

1. "For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened that unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking."

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Editor’s Pick: Sir David Attenborough

Credit: Gettyimages

A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future (2020)

1. "We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.' We had all simultaneously realised that our home was not limitless – there was an edge to our existence."

2. "For life to truly thrive on this planet, there must be immense biodiversity. Only when billions of different individual organisms make the most of every resource and opportunity they encounter, and millions of species lead lives that interlock so that they sustain each other, can the planet run efficiently. The greater the biodiversity, the more secure will be all life on Earth, including ourselves. Yet the way we humans are now living on Earth is sending biodiversity into a decline."

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Editor’s pick: Mikhail Bulgakov

Credit: moscovery.com

Excerpts from The Master and Margarita (1967 )

1. "But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if
evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows
disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the
shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living beings.
Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because
of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You're stupid."

2. "Yes, man is mortal, but that would be only half the trouble. The worst of it is that he's sometimes unexpectedly mortal—there's the trick!"

3. "Is that vodka?" Margarita asked weakly.
The cat jumped up in his seat with indignation.
"I beg pardon, my queen," he rasped, "Would I ever allow myself to offer vodka to a lady? This is pure alcohol!"

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Editor’s pick: Bill Bryson

Credit: Gettyimages

A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003)

"If you imagine the 4,500-billion-odd years of Earth's history compressed into a normal earthly day, then life begins very early, about 4 A.M., with the rise of the first simple, single-celled organisms, but then advances no further for the next sixteen hours. Not until almost 8:30 in the evening, with the day five-sixths over, has Earth anything to show the universe but a restless skin of microbes. Then, finally, the first sea plants appear, followed twenty minutes later by the first jellyfish and the enigmatic Ediacaran fauna first seen by Reginald Sprigg in Australia. At 9:04 P.M. trilobites swim onto the scene, followed more or less immediately by the shapely creatures of the Burgess Shale. Just before 10 P.M., plants begin to pop up on the land. Soon after, with less than two hours left in the day, the first land creatures follow...

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Editor’s Pick: Roland Barthes

Credit: French Philosopher Roland Barthes, Paris, 9th June 1978; Gettyimages

A Lover's Discourse: Fragments

"Am I in love? --yes, since I am waiting. The other one never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn't wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game. Whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover's fatal identity is precisely this: I am the one who waits."

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Editor’s pick: Thomas S. Kuhn

Credit: Gettyimages

Paradigm Shift

If we dive into the chronicles of History of Science, we can easily notice that each Scientific Revolution came after a substantial crisis in the established traditions. Major cultural shifts like the transitions from mythological to philosophical mind, from Judaism to Christianity, from Newtonian to Quantum Physics were always part of bigger social changes that gradually induced a switch in people's worldviews. The inhumane exploitation of laborers instigated the need for the formation of the Human Rights Codex but also new and more efficient technologies and devices. The latter brought about the necessity of improved power sources, which now led us to the fearsome levels of Global Pollution and Warming – the biggest environmental catastrophe since the beginning of Written History. Nowadays, we undergo a global shift in the way we treat and see Nature and other species as part of it. The time has come for a Green Revolution – the new paradigm.

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Editor’s pick: Jacques Lacan

Credit: lithub.com

Excerpt from Transference (1960-61)

"The hand that extends toward the fruit, the rose, or the log that suddenly bursts into flames – its gesture of reaching, drawing close, or stirring up is closely related to the ripening of the fruit, the beauty of the flower, and the blazing of the log. If, in the movement of reaching, drawing, or stirring, the hand goes far enough toward the object that another hand comes out of the fruit, flower, or log and extends toward your hand – and at that moment your hand freezes in the closed plenitude of the fruit, in the open plenitude of the flower, or in the explosion of a log which bursts into flames – then what is produced is love."


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Editor’s pick: Georg Simmel

Credit: Gettyimages

Excerpts from The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies (1906)

"Since one never can absolutely know another, as this would mean knowledge of every particular thought and feeling; since we must rather form a conception of a personal unity out of the fragments of another person in which alone he is accessible to us, the unity so formed necessarily depends upon that portion of the Other which our standpoint toward him permits us to see."

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Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
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