Archive for the 'boek' Category

Pale Blue Dot


Carl Sagan heeft een prachtige stijl van schrijven. Pale Blue Dot was vanaf de eerste zin een genoegen om te lezen. De volgende passage is erg bekend, maar raakt me nog iedere keer dat ik hem lees. Het gaat over bovenstaande foto, genomen door Voyager 1, die vanuit de randen van ons Zonnestelsel achterom kijkt en de Aarde ziet als een enkele lichtblauwe pixel:

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.

— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994


Art forms in nature


Ik kreeg voor mijn promotie wederom een Haeckel-boek. En omdat ik geen genoeg kan krijgen van die mooie plaatjes hier dan nog eentje.




Tijdens zo’n rustig weekend komt het er nog wel eens van verder te gaan aan mijn poging de bijbel helemaal te lezen (toegegeven, de hele saaie stukken sla ik over). Ten tijde van de nieuwe bijbelvertaling heb ik van wat boekenbonnen ooit de versie gekocht met de gravures van van Gustave Doré, Indrukwekkend platen, zoals deze van de dood van Samson.

The Tragic Sense of Life



Kreeg voor mijn verjaardag dit boek over Ernst Haeckel, de Duitse Darwin. En de tekenaar van dit soort geweldige platen.

Darwin’s dangerous idea



Nog flink wat te lezen, maar dit is tot nu toe wel een heel goed boek over Darwin en de evolutietheorie.



Ben Darwins brieven aan het lezen. En wat ik weer vergeten was, maar me ook al opviel in zijn autobiografie, is dat die man zo ongelofelijk zachtmoedig en bescheiden was. Mijns inziens niet iets wat je veel tegenkomt bij wereldberoemde wetenschappers, maar een plezier om te lezen. Want schrijven kon hij ook.



Mijn favoriete aanschaf op een vreemd vliegveld is een makkelijk weg te lezen boek voor tijdens een urenlange vlucht. Deze twee zijn de highlights:

Terry Pratchett - Discworld series

Terry Pratchett - Discworld series

Alexander McCall Smith - The No. 1 ladies detective agency serie

Alexander McCall Smith - The No. 1 ladies detective agency serie

The inflationary universe


Nerd boek, vet. 🙂

What would you do?


Imagine that you were on the threshold of this fairytale, sometime billions of years ago when everything was created. And you were able to choose whether you wanted to be born to a life on this planet at some point. You wouldn’t know when you were going to be born, nor how long you’d live for, but at any event it wouldn’t be more than a few years. All you’d know was that, if you chose to come into the world at some point, you’d also have to leave it again one day and go away from everything. This might cause you a good deal of grief, as lots of people think that life in the great fairytale is so wonderful that the mere thought of it ending can bring tears to their eyes. Things can be so nice here that it’s terribly painful to think that at some point the days will run out.
What would you have chosen, if there had been some higher power that gave you the choice? Perhaps we can imagine some sort of cosmic fairy in this great, strange fairytale. Would you have chosen to live a life on earth at some point, whether short or long, in a hundred thousand or a hundred million years? Or would you have refused to join in the game because you didn’t like the rules?

(Jostein Gaarder – The Orange Girl)

Orange girl