Cosmos TV Series

#Cosmos E3: Know The Ledge

(For all of my Cosmos recaps, please click here)

For the next 12 or so Sundays, join me on Twitter (@ShareefJackson) as I livetweet the show Cosmos.  The most recent episode "When Knowledge Conquered Fear", deals mostly with comets. Ancient civilizations saw comets as messages from God of impending doom. It took scientists like Robert Hooke, Edmond Halley, and Isaac Newton to prove that comets were a part of the solar system whose travel patterns can be predicted with startling accuracy.

Knowledge is power, and also inspires great music. Check out Eric B and Rakim's "Know the Ledge" off of the soundtrack to the movie Juice. After that, check out the Storify of my tweets below!

Check out the tweets below!

#Cosmos E2 - Cooler Than A Polar Bear's Toenails

(For all of my Cosmos recaps, please click here)

The 2nd episode of Cosmos, entitled "Some of the Things that Molecules Do", was awesome! Host Neil deGrasse Tyson took us through a journey of evolution, first looking at the establishment of villages after the first ice age, and how wolves began to rely on eating leftover food from humans.  This eventually led to certain wolves being favored by the humans (yes, including the "cuter" wolves"). This is known as artificial selection, or selective breeding - humans decided which wolves survived and reproduced, and thus all of the breeds of dogs that we know today come directly from our ancestor's hands.

She used to be a very vicious wolf.

She used to be a very vicious wolf.

Next, Neil deGrasse Tyson shrunk his spaceship to the size of a molecule to go inside of a polar bear, to analyze the mutation that caused a polar bear to turn white. (This reminded me of the movie Innerspace , where Dennis Quaid was made small enough to go into Martin Short's body.) The white bears had an advantage to sneak up on prey during the ice age. Eventually, this mutation won out, and polar beats were all white after generations of evolution. And then they ended up on the Lost island. Poor Black bears.

Outkast forever.

Outkast forever.


I'm almost blind, but at least I have eyes. Underwater organisms used to have no eyes - then a mutation led them to become sensitive to light. These organisms were able to detect night and day cycles and more accurately avoid prey and hunt for food. After generations of mutations, the sensitivity became concentrated at points near the front, which become eyes.

Neil deGrasse Tyson covers the five main apocalypses of history, where a significant amount of life on Earth was eliminated. Only one form of life survived them all - the Tardigrades. I need to roll with them. And of course, the cycle of disasters will continue - just a matter of when. I doubt it will be something where John Cusack is driving over fault lines and saving the world, but it will happen.

Check out the live tweeting Storify below!

Last Night a #Cosmos Saved My Life

Last night the series premiere of Cosmos, a miniseries exploring the universe, debuted on Fox. Its a reboot of the original 1980s series which was hosted by astronomer Carl Sagan, and is one of the most widely watched miniseries in history. I saw part of the original series in the mid and late 80s, but I was still young and didn't fully appreciate it.

Last night, a Cosmos saved my life.

After graduating college, my good friend Raymond told me about Sagan's book Cosmos, which was made after the TV series gained in popularity. I immediately recognized the name as the series that I watched so many years before, but I did not know that the book would become one of my favorites of all time. OF ALL TIME.

Sagan has a way of describing complicated topics such as the length of time since the big bang in terms that can be grasped by a variety of folks. His Cosmic Calendar - where the entire history of the universe is placed in a calendar year - remains one of my favorite ways to explain exactly how new humans are to the universe. All of recorded history takes place at the very, very end of the calendar. Puts things into perspective.

I had so much fun watching Cosmos and participating in the discussions that followed on and offline. Be sure to check me out on Twitter (@ShareefJackson) every Sunday at 9pm Eastern as I tweet about Cosmos during the show. A sample of my tweets from the premiere are shown below via Storify.