Why you (and everybody else) should watch COSMOS April 21, 2014Posted by AaruC in Uncategorized.
Tags: cosmos, creationism, theology
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On a Monday morning, in Indian summers, everyone and their mothers are furiously readying their internet bandwidth for one thing: A brand new Game of Thrones episode, and I am usually one of them. This summer has been a little different. Every Monday morning while everyone is discussing the new episode, I quietly stay away from spoilers and instead managing a different episode while preparing my breakfast and before I reach the office, I make sure to watch the new COSMOS episode, Game of Thrones can wait till evening.
A little background then. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is the re-imagining of the 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, a science documentary by Carl Sagan. The TV series takes us through the history of science, which serves to bridge the gap between academic community and general public knowledge about everything. Every episode takes us through the history of understanding in various subjects from our ancestors to what we know so far. The host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who happens to be the student of Carl Sagan takes us through this journey in almost Morgan Freeman-esque way. So why so much hoopla over this? Didn’t we study all this in school any way? Yes we did, but not like this. At least, not me. We all know what Fraunhofer Diffraction is, but when you see it through eyes of Fraunhofer and the things that it eventually leads to gives you goosebumps. You have heard of neutrinos, but you don’t know the joy of scientific predictions when pieces of jigsaw puzzles fall into place until you have seen Cosmos. All of this served to you with a beautiful visual artistry. And it helps that when narrating Tyson’s joy of opening the treasure to the world is so infectious, you want to reach out to your computer and give him a hug.
There is a slightly relevant social aspect to the series as well. In United States, Science v Creationism is a huge political debate. Creationists would have you believe that all this wouldn’t exist without god’s grace and years of evolution is just hocus-pocus and God did not take millions of years to create this world. I consider myself a scientific believer, if there is such a term. I am not so much an organized religion believer, but I do believe in God. But I would never believe anything that contradicts with the solid scientific proofs even if God came down to earth himself/herself and told me otherwise. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get back. One of the aspects of religions is “Intelligent Design”. The argument goes like this, complex beings like humans, with all their complex anatomy and decision making brain can’t just be a coincidence. If evolution is just a random chance, how did some organisms came to be so complex and so forth. At first glance, it seems like a valid argument, sure. That’s where Cosmos comes in. Cosmos devoted a big chunk of an episode to explain how the human eye which is so complex came to be how it is right now. I don’t want to get into a theological debate here, but you get my point. Every religion has its own genesis story, Cosmos tries to address just one aspect of it, mostly Judeo-Christian. And as you’d expect, there is a backlash (and then some). Who are we to judge if people want to stay ignorant eh?
That’s not the legacy of Cosmos. Not to me. For me, it’s a once in a generation art that will take humanity to the next generation. Here’s a little hattip to the twitter conversation that made me want to write this post.
@daddy_san I'm downloading high res because that's what I want my child to see down the years
— N (@coderzombie) April 19, 2014
Tags: blasphemy, drink, smirnoff, twitter, vodka
So last Saturday morning, well almost afternoon, I wake up with a little heavy head. Headache in the morning? That’s weird. As I am walking towards the bathroom, it suddenly struck me and I rush to my laptop and opened my twitter stream and as I keep scrolling, I am, as they call it, #facepalm. Let’s start from the beginning.
After the usual boredom that prevails on a Friday evening where you are determined to leave early, but your “deadlines” prevent you from leaving early, I reached home after the freaking Pune traffic and by the time I reach home, the last thing one needs on a Friday night is the cough. I was coughing like an old man dying from TB. At that point of time, my dear roommate decides to play a doctor. She suggests, I have a peg of vodka and I’ll be good as new. Now, I am not the type to drink, even socially. Not about being an “adarsh bharatiya naari” or any moral dilemma. I have just made that lifestyle choice for myself. After pushing her away couple of times, my cough is getting worse and I succumb to her “concerns”. “That’s my girl” comes the answer and she offers me a glass filled with what looks like a water.
“What’s this?”, I ask.
“Is it not supposed to be drunk with water or something?”
“That’s for fun. This is medicine.”
How can you argue with that? So I gulped down whatever 50-60 ml in one shot. Other than the burning sensation in the throat, everything seems fine. And by the time 15-20 minutes pass, I am already thinking to myself, what’s the big deal with drink, I don’t even feel anything. Feeling good for myself and by that time even throat is feeling a lot better. That’s when the fun begins. I am so happy for being sober and get back to twitter. Then I do this
AaruC : Thodi si jo pi li hai. Chori to nahi ki hai. Hick.
Cool, nothing wrong with a little in-joke, right? Right. Unfortunately, I was just starting
AaruC : You know, I’ll provide a letter of reference to @prempanicker whenever he needs one. Looks like a good chap.
Huh? WTF? Where did that come from? And believe it or not, when I was typing this there was nothing wrong about it. And I was just getting warmed up. My creativity knew no bound since then. Here are the samles
AaruC : Friday night. Where is the party? Clearly i’m not drunk.
Now, here is the thing : One shot is the worst thing you can have, because clearly it has affected you, but not enough and you think that you are thinking everything through, other than just feeling positive about the world in general. And also the cough is returning and my dear roommate offers me another peg and this time I take it without asking a single thing, though the quantity looked more than the last time, but one gulp. That’s all it took. Time to strike again.
AaruC : one more shot and that’s it. please don’t follow it with “that’s what she said”
And while in the glory, I decide to watch FRIENDS…
AaruC : while i am still “drunk”, will revive the old glory (that’s what people do right?) Watching FRIENDS. FRIENDS foooreeevvvvaaa
AaruC : S09E08 – one of the best episodes. ever.
AaruC : Am i getting old? Are there no FRIENDS fan left? :-(
AaruC : Somebody i loved all those years ago is also saat samandar paar. :-(
And after long when I am unable to sleep, I decided to take a hot shower, and I strike back with
AaruC : Research : to determine the rate of closing cold water tap in order to maintain constant temperature in shower. anybody working on it?
And subsequently even argued with people on the same. And it doesn’t end here. No sir, it does not. This is what the rest of the world saw and my roommate had a lot more to say about the previous evening. According to her, for couple of hours while I was on the laptop, all I did was shout and laugh out loudly. Clearly, that couldn’t be me. I had couple of drinks, that’s all. It’s then when she smiles, goes back to her room and comes out with a camera and starts to play a video clip. My afternoon couldn’t be any worse. It has the potential of going viral within no time. It has taken, life threats, an expensive dinner and a few other unmentioned things to keep that video off the internet, for now. Still the existence of the video on the face of the earth is threatening and believe you me, I am trying EVERYTHING to delete it.
I am never drinking again.