« Carl Sagan Memorial Blog-a-thon 2007 | Main | Idlewild »



That cold call wouldn't happen to have been from "Cammy", would it?

If so, that's actually a recording. There's an operator pressing buttons to play back certain messages in response to what the person on the phone asks or says, but it's not really a conversation at all.

And at the end, they pitch their product - bowdlerized versions of movies that have "offensive" content.

Of course, if it wasn't "Cammy", you can ignore all that.

Nick Sagan

Thank you! You know, that conversation was stilted enough to make me wonder if I was talking to a machine, and after googling the Dove Foundation, I think that's who it was. Ha! I was punked by a recording.

I was enjoying the chance to make a case against sanitizing movies--it's a shame I wasted all that on a machine. Hopefully, the operator heard, but given the circumstances I doubt I was able to make much impact on him/her.

In a way, it's a relief. Here I'd been thinking I was speaking with a soulless human when it turns out she's just a soulless recording. That's better... I think.


Clearly this program would never pass the Turing Test.

Audrey Harper

Thanks for the post -

It seems as though lately, men like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett and Christopher Hitchens have carried on the torch of skeptical thinking and reason. I think your dad really helped bring these ideas to the forefront during his career, and now the "Four Horsemen" (as they are sometimes referred) are now taking it to a new level, with strength in numbers. What's your opinion on this new atheist movement? I truly admire what they are doing, and I wish that more people would adopt similar positions of unbelief (vs disbelief, which many people have more difficulty accepting.)

Would you ever consider speaking at the annual Atheist Alliance International Conference? I'm sure they'd love to have you. Last year they had a tremendous line-up, including Matthew Chapman, which I thought was pretty cool. I know you call yourself an agnostic, probably because of the unfalsifiable nature of God, but I think a lot of atheists would say "I do not think God exists, due to the lack of evidence" vs "God absolutely does not exist." I don't believe this distinction is being made as it should be, but I know this is the position held by the four horsemen. Any way, this is my attempt to persuade you to attend next year. :)

J Alan Erwine

Thanks for sharing this. I always enjoy reading your blogs about your father. I had the opportunity to meet him once when I was 16, and it's a day that I still remember with fondness.

Thanks again.

Audrey Harper

happy holidays. :)

Audrey Harper

Happy holidays :)

Mr. Mystery

Your dad was a rarity among even scientists. Even scientists and researchers, as Carl pointed out, can have their own human biases and agendas, and so the science suffers. And the ramifications expand outward. Look at the tomfoolery surrounding Monsanto and Cornell. Money and career-building are issues to be sure. Carl never got mixed up in anything like that.

BTW, your dad rocked, and I like Beavis & Butthead too. I wish we could have tried to convert him together. I'll be spending Xmas day, celebrating our lard and savior, by watching the new AVP movie. Because you know, there's nothing to say that ET has to be a friendly vegetarian. Ethical reciprocity and technological development need not go hand in hand. We can get into orbit, but we still eat cows and have nukes, right? So I can live with movies about badass aliens as long as we also have ones like "Starman". On that note, I got a call from an ex today, whose mom was the one inflamed by the scene in the movie where Starman brought a deer (who had been killed by hunters) back to life. "Only Jesus could do that!" Yeah, whatever.

Speaking of deer what's with the little deer left up in Ann's study in the old Sphynx building?

Note to Audrey, how did you meet Carl when you were 16? He died when you were 12. Busted! Unless your myspace info is bogus and you're not 23. Busted!


Dear Nick,

I have been reading your blog regularly but this is the next time I'm commenting on it. Reading your blog has been a ritual for me and I want to thank you for all the happiness you've given to me.

At this time, I want to take the opportunity to give you my heartfelt wishes for Christmas and wish you a great New Year ahead.

May all your dreams come true :-)

My Positivity Blog

Audrey Harper

Mr. Mystery -

You are referring to a comment made by J Alan... nice job with the creepy stalking of my page though.. but wasted efforts, I'm afraid.

I am indeed 23, and unfortunately was never able to meet him.



Most fathers are a hero in the eyes of their son(s).

I lost my father around the same time that you lost yours, Nick. I always think of them both in December of every year.

I hope you don't mind me saying so, but your Dad was a hero to me as well. I met him once (my father was also there) and it is a memory that I will forever cherish - with two of my heroes.

Thank you for sharing your Dad ..... & your memories with us all.

I miss them both ... but what they both taught me .... lives on & I will pass that on to my own children.

Your Dad, to me,... is like my "father" in the COSMOS. He opened my eyes and I have never looked at the "world" in quite the same way again.

How do you thank somebody properly for that? I really cannot, except for saying "Thanks" and passing it on to others / putting those lessons into action.

All my best, Nick.


I had the experience of traveling to Australia for three weeks in the summer. I didn't get to call my family much, and the student group I was in moved a lot. All that seemed permanent was the stars above and the things I carried with me in my backpack. I am pleased to say that one of your father's books was among them. I must have read it three times straight through.
When you're on the other side of the world from home, It's nice to read the words of someone whose mind soared much farther.


my roommate and i received the same movie/family values phone call (or similar - scary to think there are more than one group of that sort out there) this past summer. i was getting frustrated with the call so i passed it to her and she tried to have a conversation about the definition of family and family values. the person on the other end hung up on her.

i live in canada, and currently our parliament is looking at something called "Bill C10" which would "deny tax credits to Cdn films & tv deemed offensive or not in the public interest," (from a story in planet S - our local left wing paper) it is in my opinion, a distinctly un-canadian thing to do. it is also a sneaky way to censor, because by denying tax credits supposedly "offensive" projects cannot get banks to back them which means they probably don't get made.

anyway, thought you might find that interesting. cheers.

Some dude

Just wanted to let you know I have been watching the Cosmos marathon on Sci Fi channel, I remember watching them when they first came out, still as great as I remembered.
Your father was a brilliant man, and apparently very patient with you regarding the purple L incident.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad

August 2011

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      

Idlewild Trilogy

  • i d l e w i l d

    "Sagan has a ferocious imagination."
    -- Stephen Baxter

  • e d e n b o r n

    "One of the best post-apocalyptic novels you will ever read."
    -- SFX Magazine

  • e v e r f r e e

    "Sagan's mind-blowing post-apocalyptic trilogy comes to a satisfying, terrifying conclusion."
    -- Kirkus Reviews


  • Aristeia Rising

    "An intense and intelligent story partnered with art that makes your eyes drool."
    -- Ain't It Cool News

  • Hubris

    "Lord, this is epic. If you thought the first volume of the Shrapnel series was intense, brutal, and dark, just wait until you get your hands on its follow up."
    -- Comics Bulletin


  • Future Proof

    "A delightful 'expedition in search of the future,' providing clear explanations of today's cutting-edge technologies to find where science fiction has become reality."
    -- Publishers Weekly

Star Trek

  • Voyager: Season 5

    "Year five of Star Trek: Voyager is the greatest achievement in its seven year run. This is Voyager in its prime, and in its absolute top form."
    -- DVD Answers

  • TNG: Season 7

    "One of Next Generation's best seasons ever... The series was at the top of its game, consistently turning out episodic sci-fi hours that felt fresh and captured the imagination."
    -- SciFi.com

Computer Games

  • Zork Nemesis

    "The story is dark and gripping. Numerous subplots and twists are heightened by a surprise climactic revelation. Character developments are complex. The portrayals of the dark side of mankind in these characters are chilling."
    -- The Adventure Collective




Carl Sagan

  • Visit the Carl Sagan Portal

  • Visit the Celebrating Sagan site

  • Visit the Planetary Society