Last modified on 17 April 2014, at 11:12

November 9

Quotes of the day from previous years:

2004
"The time has come", the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing wax —
Of cabbages — and Kings —
And why the Sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings."

~ Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass ~
2005
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. ~ Carl Sagan (born 9 November 1934)
2006
Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term, but it is suicidal for nations in the long term. One of the criteria for national leadership should therefore be a talent for understanding, encouraging, and making constructive use of vigorous criticism. ~ Carl Sagan
2007
To love another is something
like prayer and it can't be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.
~
~ Anne Sexton ~
2008
Every one of us is precious in the cosmic perspective. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another. ~ Carl Sagan
2009
History is full of people who out of fear, or ignorance, or lust for power have destroyed knowledge of immeasurable value which truly belongs to us all. We must not let it happen again. ~ Carl Sagan
2010
I had an experience... I can't prove it, I can't even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever... A vision of the universe that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how ... rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves, that we are notthat none of usare alone! ... I wish I could share that. I wish, that everyone, if only for one moment, could feel that awe, and humility, and hope. But ... that continues to be my wish. ~ "Ellie Arroway" in Contact based on the novel by Carl Sagan
2011
Since, in the long run, every planetary society will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring — not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive. ~ Carl Sagan
2012
The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.
~ Carl Sagan ~
2013
In the fabric of space and in the nature of matter, as in a great work of art, there is, written small, the artist's signature.
~ Carl Sagan ~
2014 
Rank or add further suggestions…

Ranking system:

4 : Excellent - should definitely be used.
3 : Very Good - strong desire to see it used.
2 : Good - some desire to see it used.
1 : Acceptable - but with no particular desire to see it used.
0 : Not acceptable - not appropriate for use as a quote of the day.


SuggestionsEdit

A woman who writes feels too much,
those trances and portents!
As if cycles and children and islands
weren't enough; as if mourners and gossips
and vegetables were never enough.
She thinks she can warm the stars.
A writer is essentially a spy.
Dear love, I am that girl.
~ Anne Sexton (born November 9, 1928)

  • 3 InvisibleSun 10:34, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 12:39, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 05:55, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.
~ Anne Sexton

  • 4 InvisibleSun 10:34, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 12:39, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 05:55, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.
~ Anne Sexton

  • 3 InvisibleSun 10:34, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 12:39, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 05:55, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

I love you the way the oboe plays.
I love you the way skinny dipping makes my body feel.
I love you the way a ripe artichoke tastes.
Yet I fear you,
as one in the desert fears the sun.
~ Anne Sexton

  • 3 InvisibleSun 10:34, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 12:39, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • 2 Zarbon 05:55, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands. The loom of time and space works the most astonishing transformations of matter. ~ Carl Sagan

  • 3 Kalki 12:39, 8 November 2007 (UTC) with a very strong lean toward 4.
  • 3 InvisibleSun 17:45, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 05:55, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.
Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge. ~ Carl Sagan

  • 3 Kalki 12:39, 8 November 2007 (UTC) but would now prefer to extend this to :
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, "This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?" Instead they say, "No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way." A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.
Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge. ~ Carl Sagan

I believe it is an act of delusion to look for (or more so), discover a so-called "educated" preacher/evangelist. Thus, no evangelist/preacher can be better than the other. But I agree, they can be worse. ~ Nadeem F. Paracha

  • 3 Zarbon 17:33, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 18:21, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Either I'm just too paranoid or this is just my way of now playing the sardonic court jester instead of the "angry young man" who once actually believed in the logic and persuasive power of cohesive literary narratives as a means to bring about change. ~ Nadeem F. Paracha

  • 3 Zarbon 17:33, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 18:21, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

I'd rather fight for a tree than die for a God. ~ Nadeem F. Paracha

  • 3 Zarbon 17:33, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 18:21, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm suspicious of any mode of transportation that requires a running start. ~ Alan Kotok

  • 2 Zarbon 17:33, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 18:21, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 InvisibleSun 23:38, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm opposed to any sport that reduces the coefficient of friction between me and the ground. ~ Alan Kotok

  • 2 Zarbon 17:33, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 18:21, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 InvisibleSun 23:38, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

There's the moon trying to look romantic
Moon's too old that's her trouble
Aren't we all? ~ Roger McGough

  • 3 Zarbon 17:33, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 18:21, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
  • 3 InvisibleSun 23:38, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

The general at the radar screen
he should have got the sack
But that wouldn't bring
Three thousand million, seven hundred, and sixty-eight people back,
Would it? ~ Roger McGough

  • 3 Zarbon 17:33, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 18:21, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 23:38, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

The general at the radar screen
Rubbed his hands with glee,
And grinning pressed the button
And started world war three. ~ Roger McGough

  • 3 Zarbon 17:33, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 18:21, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 InvisibleSun 23:38, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Democracy may be alright for certain people in the world, but I don't think the type of democracy Fiji needs is the type Australia and New Zealand enjoy. ~ Jona Senilagakali

  • 3 Zarbon 18:03, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 18:21, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 InvisibleSun 23:38, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment. Arguments from authority are unacceptable. ~ Carl Sagan


If we can't think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us. In every country, we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. In the demon-haunted world that we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness. ~ Carl Sagan


It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works — that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it. ~ Carl Sagan


Our loyalties are to the species and the planet, we speak for Earth.
Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos ancient and vast from which we spring. ~ Carl Sagan


What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic. ~ Carl Sagan


Those worlds in space are as countless as all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth. Each of those worlds is as real as ours and every one of them is a succession of incidents, events, occurrences which influence its future. Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time. And our small planet at this moment, here we face a critical branch point in history, what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants, it is well within our power to destroy our civilization and perhaps our species as well. If we capitulate to superstition or greed or stupidity we could plunge our world into a time of darkness deeper than the time between the collapse of classical civilisation and the Italian Renaissance. But we are also capable of using our compassion and our intelligence, our technology and our wealth to make an abundant and meaningful life for every inhabitant of this planet. ~ Carl Sagan


The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars. ~ Carl Sagan


There are many hypotheses in science that are wrong. That's perfectly all right; it's the aperture to finding out what's right. Science is a self-correcting process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny. ~ Carl Sagan


We on Earth have just awakened to the great oceans of space and time from which we have emerged. We are the legacy of 15 billion years of cosmic evolution. We have a choice: We can enhance life and come to know the universe that made us, or we can squander our 15 billion-year heritage in meaningless self-destruction. What happens in the first second of the next cosmic year depends on what we do, here and now, with our intelligence and our knowledge of the cosmos. ~ Carl Sagan


We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads. But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact. The cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths; of exquisite interrelationships; of the awesome machinery of nature. ~ Carl Sagan


For the first time, we have the power to decide the fate of our planet and ourselves. This is a time of great danger, but our species is young, and curious, and brave. It shows much promise. ~ Carl Sagan


The major religions on the Earth contradict each other left and right. You can't all be correct. And what if all of you are wrong? It's a possibility, you know. You must care about the truth, right? Well, the way to winnow through all the differing contentions is to be skeptical. I'm not any more skeptical about your religious beliefs than I am about every new scientific idea I hear about. But in my line of work, they're called hypotheses, not inspiration and not revelation. ~ Carl Sagan


You wanna hear something really nutty? I heard of a couple guys who wanna build something called an airplane, you know you get people to go in, and fly around like birds, it's ridiculous, right? And what about breaking the sound barrier, or rockets to the moon? Atomic energy, or a mission to Mars? Science fiction, right? Look, all I'm asking is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture. To take a chance on something that just might end up being the most profoundly impactful moment for humanity, for the history… of history. ~ Carl Sagan


Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group. Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations. We have broadened the circle of those we love. We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together — surely a humanizing and character building experience. If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth. Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant. They will fear the loss of power. We will hear much about treason and disloyalty. Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones. But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing. ~ Carl Sagan


The choice is with us still, but the civilization now in jeopardy is all humanity. As the ancient myth makers knew, we are children equally of the earth and the sky. In our tenure of this planet we've accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage — propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders — all of which puts our survival in some doubt. But we've also acquired compassion for others, love for our children and desire to learn from history and experience, and a great soaring passionate intelligence — the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity. Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth. But up there in the immensity of the Cosmos, an inescapable perspective awaits us. There are not yet any obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours always rush implacably, headlong, toward self-destruction. National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars. Travel is broadening. ~ Carl Sagan


Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insights and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all of our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. Public libraries depend on voluntary contributions. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries. ~ Carl Sagan


Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. ~ Carl Sagan


The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries. ~ Carl Sagan


The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true. We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth — never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities. Cleverly designed experiments are the key. ~ Carl Sagan


Humans — who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals — have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and 'animals' is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them — without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us. ~ Carl Sagan


It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas … If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you … On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones. ~ Carl Sagan


The vast distances that separate the stars are providential. Beings and worlds are quarantined from one another. The quarantine is lifted only for those with sufficient self-knowledge and judgement to have safely traveled from star to star. ~ Carl Sagan


We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands. The loom of time and space works the most astonishing transformations of matter. ~ Carl Sagan