Simon Griffee · Design · Photography · Writing · Illustration

What: carl sagan

The Poison Arrows Out of Harm’s Way

Carl Sagan in the The Demon-Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark, page 291: Among the !Kung San hunter-gatherers of the Kalahari Desert, when two men, perhaps testosterone-inflamed, would begin to argue, the women would reach for their poison arrows and put the weapons out of harm’s way. Today our poison arrows can destroy the global civilization and just possibly annihilate our species. The price of moral ambiguity is now too high.


Climate Change Communication

“Earthrise” in original orientation taken by Bill Anders on 24 December 1968. A young person working in a United Nations organization recently told me it is not certain that human activities are changing the climate on Earth. This is worrying. I decided to go through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report and came across the WGII AR5 Volume-wide Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Here are two of the answers (the numbers are references to chapters in the report which contain the sources for the answer):



Carl Sagan holding the Pioneer plaque. If you know who the photographer is please let me know. The successor to Carl Sagan’s classic work of education about the cosmos — the universe seen as a well-ordered whole — begins tonight1. Here’s a trailer2. The original is as relevant today as it was thirty years ago and if you are at all interested in the greatest of questions and grandest of mysteries please watch the series and read the book as they complement each other perfectly.


Earth Among the Stars

Earth Among The Stars in HTML and CSS.

HTML, CSS, Monospaced Font

I was reading Carl Sagan and Olaf Stapledon and decided to make a simple HTML and CSS experiment. See also: A typography template.

Space War, Computers and Education

Computer games are probably the reason I work with computers. It is said that Ken Thompson salvaged a PDP-1 and created a new operating system, now called UNIX, so that he could play SpaceWar. — I remember one of the first computer games I ever played was a version of the same on a 386 PC-XT at my friend Arthur’s1 house in São Paulo, Brazil. I can’t find the exact version, but I remember the spaceships were shaped like crescent moons.



Carl Sagan (Wikipedia entry on the eminent proponent of the scientific method.), on the view of Earth from 3.7 billion miles away as a pale blue dot (NASA: Image of Earth taken by Voyager 1 as it left the Solar System.):

“Look again at 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. …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.”

—“You Are Here”, Pale Blue Dot (Wikipedia: Pale Blue Dot.), pp. 8–9.