Neil deGrasse Tyson’s testimony for space exploration (Senate hearing videos and documents)

Astrophysicist superstar Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson (Wikipedia bio), addressed the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Wednesday; only three of the committee’s 25 members were present. Below is a copy of Dr. Tyson’s submitted testimony, slightly modified from his speech at the hearing; anyone care to transcribe the entire hearing? I’ve also embedded other videos and links relevant to the hearing since I haven’t been able to find everything in one place on other websites.

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Tyson at March 7th Senate hearing

Takeaway quote:

At what cost? The spending portfolio of the United States currently allocates fifty times as much money to social programs and education than it does to NASA. The 2008 bank bailout of $750 billion was greater than all the money NASA had received in its half-century history; two years’ U.S. military spending exceeds it as well. Right now, NASA’s annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow.

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Sonnet I by Fernando Pessoa

Whether we write or speak or do but look
We are ever unapparent. What we are
Cannot be transfused into word or book.
Our soul from us is infinitely far.
However much we give our thoughts the will
To be our soul and gesture it abroad,
Our hearts are incommunicable still.
In what we show ourselves we are ignored.
The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged
By any skill of thought or trick of seeming.
Unto our very selves we are abridged
When we would utter to our thought our being.
We are our dreams of ourselves, souls by gleams,
And each to each other dreams of others’ dreams.

35 Sonnets (1918, public domain)

I ran across Fernando Pessoa’s work less than a year ago while browsing the biography section of the library. The Penguin Classic’s cover photo of The Book of Disquiet drew me in, but I wasn’t prepared for the two minds of Pessoa contained within. Arguably Lisbon’s most beloved writer of all time, he invented the term “heteronym” as a way to write as an imaginary character (ultimately creating over 70 of them in his lifetime), each having his own style and voice. But aside from this unique aspect of Pessoa’s writing, the concepts he explores are what strike me most. I typically do not grasp the cadence and meaning of popular poetry; it’s a relief to read someone like Pessoa who uses simple language to describe the thoughts that pour out of him, literally as ink on paper.

A blues primer

A coworker of mine has never heard of B.B. King. This must be remedied. In response, I’ve created “An Evolution of Blues” compilation. It’s not a definitive list and I had to question if certain songs could truly be considered blues tracks (when they’d likely first be catalogued as jazz, rock ballad, folk, country or downtempo, to name a few).

John Mayall
John Mayall by Federico Giammusso

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Blame

This is the first time that I’ve almost completely forgotten to post the Tuesday Zep. It’s 9 am Tuesday and I just realized that I haven’t prepared anything. I’m reminded of the (uncensored) “Blame” piece Jason, Jon, and I composed a few years ago (before Foxx’s “Blame It”). I probably shouldn’t mention it—it would be wise not to post any of this kitsch—but if you want more diary-style insights into my 2007-2009 life,  you can look for links on my History page. Sorry. Next week, I’ll be ON IT!

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Pusherman

The concept for this entry began as a lyrical metaphor relating Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman” to my web publishing philosophy. The latter is boring, though, and a topic that tends to weave its way into all of my posts anyway. Music, on the other hand, tends to be a rabbit that we chase into Wonderland. 1972 “Pusherman” performance on Soul Train (YouTube):


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