new photo blog

i started this blog in 2006, and it's shifted along with my interests through the years. it's been witness to a lot of learning for me...

still, i feel that i need a home for my photography -- so from now on, i'll be posting my pictures on the journal on my reworked website. if you like my photos, you might decide to follow me there!

my first post is here -- check it out!

as for this blog, i'm not sure what will happen. i don't think i'm willing to let it go, and certainly i'll keep it as an archive, but i need some time to figure it out.

for those of you that pop in from time to time, thanks for the visits and encouragement.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

a pale blue valentine

a pale blue valentine
like it? click it!

part 1:

carl sagan championed it but not everyone wanted to risk it. the sun might have burned the sensitive instruments on voyager 1. to get into a better position, it was delayed for five years. but finally, voyager's camera turned from its position ahead, back to take a picture of us.

one of the most important pictures humanity has taken: the pale blue dot, shot twenty years ago today, on february 14, 1990.

a valentine, from us, to us.

where are we? look at it carefully:

click pic to source on NASA
see it? a few pale blue pixels... over there -- to the right?
there we are!

'suspended in a sunbeam.'
well, not quite... that is an accident on voyager's optics.

'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.

the earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. in our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

the earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. there is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. visit, yes. settle, not yet. like it or not, for the moment the earth is where we make our stand.

it has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. 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.'
- the eloquence of carl sagan

part 2:

in november of last year, i linked to an interview of ann druyan on radiolab.

on friday, NPR published not one -- but two -- articles on the pale blue dot, voyager and a cosmic love story -- the one in how ann druyan and carl sagan fell in love while they were working on 'the ultimate mix tape', the sounds of earth to be carried by the voyagers on a golden record.

both articles contain an excerpt of the interview... with a transcript.

here's an excerpt of the excerpt:

'so i called carl, who was traveling. and we had been alone many times during the making of the record, and as friends for three years. and we'd had these wonderful, soaring conversations, but we had been both been completely just professional about everything and as friends. and he wasnt there. left a message. hour later, the phone rings, pick up the phone, and i hear this wonderful voice. and he said, i get back to my hotel room and i find this message, and it says annie called. and i say to myself - why didnt you leave me this message 10 years ago.

and my heart completely skipped a beat. i can still remember it so perfectly. and i said, for keeps? and he said you mean get married? and i said yes. and we had never kissed. wed never, you know, had any kind of personal discussions before. we both hung up the phone and i just screamed out loud. i remember it so well, because there was this great eureka moment. and then the phone rang and i was thinking oh, you know, i - and the phone rang, and it was carl, and he's like, just want to make sure that really happened. were getting married, right?'
- annie druyan

what a story.

this wasn't fate... and i don't believe in soulmates. both ideas devalue an extaordinary experience.

no... this was two highly perceptive people who found themselves by chance at the same point in space and time, who recognized extraordinary qualities in each other, had the courage to express their thoughts and the strength to hold onto their love.

more images of us:
earthrise earthset


  1. Thanks again for the reminders, the stories, and, especially, the link to the Out Campaign. I got the scarlet letter!

  2. Thanks again for the reminders, the stories, and, especially, the link to the Out Campaign. I got the scarlet letter!