Connections to the Cosmos

01 October 2008 · 1 comment

Over the past few years, I’ve accumulated a lot of Amazon credit by selling books on my various web sites. The problem is, I accumulate it faster than I can spend it. Sometimes I buy comics. Sometimes Kris buys something for herself. But mostly it just sits there, unused.

Today I decided to splurge a little with my untapped wealth. I picked up (used) DVD copies of two of my favorite television series, series I haven’t seen in more than a decade.

First up, James Burke’s Connections. When I first saw this series in 1993, it blew my mind. Over 10 episodes, Burke traces the history of everyday objects: nylon, plastic, computers. Trust me: it’s much more exciting than it sounds. In fact, I’m a little giddy at the prospect of watching this again.

Here are the first ten minutes of the first episode:

Okay, that’s not fair. Here are parts two, three, four, five. (And you can find the entire series on YouTube, though surely not legally.) See also: James Burke’s Fan Companion.

I haven’t seen the second series since 1983 (or before!). Carl Sagan’s Cosmos has had a profound influence on my life. It’s imbued with a sense of wonder that’s almost child-like, but at the same time reaches the pinnacle of human knowledge. I love it.

Here’s the beginning of the first episode:

And the end of the same:

Most especially, I love the music. I have three copies of the Cosmos soundtrack on CD. There are two different versions — the long version would be great but it has annoying segues between tracks. I also own the soundtrack on vinyl and cassette tape. (This soundtrack is awesome, but it’s out of print. The regular soundtrack goes for $85 on Amazon, and the two-disc set goes for $200. Amazing.)

You can find most (not all) of Cosmos on YouTube, too. (This excerpt is amazing.)

Anyhow —

Today I splurged on 23 hours of the finest intellectual stimulation I could find. I can’t wait for these boxes to arrive on my doorstep.

1 Lauren October 2, 2008 at 09:19

I’m gay for James Burke, “Connections”, and “The Day the Universe Changed” also. I actually have his CD game from about 10 years ago, too.

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