The letter Carl Sagan wrote to Chuck Berry for Berry's 60th birthday

The letter Carl Sagan wrote to Chuck Berry for Berry's 60th birthday

I can't imagine what the person in charge was thinking...

NASA: "So, we want to put your record on a spacecraft and send it outside our galaxy. The purpose is that someone might one day listen to it."

EMI: "How are we going to collect royalties from aliens? If they can't pay, they can't listen."

NASA: "No one will hear this for at least the next 100 years, we want to immortalize the song"

EMI: "Nah fuck off dude, damn space pirates always trying to take our revenue."

Sagan wanted to put on The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun", but douche bags at EMI Records wouldn't release the rights.

Carl Sagan - god damn we were lucky to have that man on this planet.

And RIP Chuck. Many of us were conceived to your music. :-)

This isn't as far from reality as it should be. When lobbying to get legislation drafted, lawyers representing firms with big copyright portfolios often try to extend jurisdiction and every other limit as far as they can.

This is the basis for a fun parody in the book Year Zero, in which aliens who have been illegally sharing music from our broadcasts for decades realize that according to our laws they now owe more wealth than the combined worth of the entire galaxy. Since their cultures are built on respecting the laws of native societies in regards to their own creations, many aliens decide it would be better to simply destroy the earth than to have the entire galactic economy grind to a halt to pay off record companies.

Well... I mean all music is pretty much skewed to our psychoacoustics as a species. The way the ears pick up frequencies.

I think it would be arrogant for us to assume another life form has a similar system. Here Comes the Sun might be something as jarring as the AOL dialup noise is to us

So this is how I found out Chuck Berry died today :(

That's incredibly kind.

And now I can't stop picturing Sagan getting baked and selecting what music he was going to select.

According to our laws, destroying the Earth is a bit worse than media piracy.

It's only murder when you kill members of your own species. Killing other species is okay. Humans do it all the time. Aliens can therefore claim the moral right to kill humans.

As of now, every musical artist on the record has passed away.

I mean... at first I was thinking "this is mad disrespectful to be watching only a day after the man dies" and then I skipped a few minutes fo when he farts in her mouth and Journey starts playing and I just fuckin lost it

from wiki: The inclusion of Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" was controversial, with some claiming that rock music was "adolescent", to which Sagan replied, "There are a lot of adolescents on the planet."

Also, if they take the lyrics literally, it sounds like the Sol Empire is coming to get them, and not to resist.

My understanding is that marijuana is fairly commonly used (albeit sparingly) among astrophysics, theoretical physicists and other high-intellectual fields.

It's not. Sagan's drug use was atypical and was one more thing many of his contemporaries disliked about him. Hang out with a bunch of theoretical physicists some time, you'll see they have time for literally nothing else.

It really isn't. For recreation, we mostly just argue about Star Wars.

In practice, the old saying about "1% inspiration, 99% perspiration" remains true in astrophysics. Creativity is the easy part - for any problem we have, we have been able to come up with an abundance of potential solutions. The hard part is discerning which solution is correct, and that requires methodical hard work - programming simulations, analysing telescope data etc.

Nothing against Chuck Berry, Johnny B Good is an amazing song.... but Here Comes the Sun would have been much better. I imagine Johnny B Good could be a bit jarring for someone not accustom to the style. Here Comes the Sun is light and mellow, happy, and talks about the Sun, which is cool. Of course Chuck Berry talks about evergreens, earth, and wood.


Well, yeah, kind of.

Often those things are sacrificed for research... Theoretical physicists aren't really known for having strong interpersonal relationships.

The aliens might not like it, but their kids are gonna love it.

According to what precedent?

And to think he stole Johnny B. Goode from Marty McFly...

What a cool guy.

100 years? Try more like 40,000, and even then it would be extremely unlikely

Who know... The aliens might be a super intelligent form of a fruit or vegetable. Your actions may have doomed us all!

Murder is illegal pretty much everywhere on the planet. Most places have laws against destruction of property too.

My understanding is that marijuana is fairly commonly used (albeit sparingly) among astrophysics, theoretical physicists and other high-intellectual fields.

It helps make intellectual leaps and who doesn't like to be stoned?

I bet Stephen Hawking is a blast when baked.

I feel like it will probably never leave the galaxy, for what it's worth. Not for tens of thousands of years, during which time it's much more likely to collide with something, or be picked up by aliens.... or future humans, in five or ten thousand years.

Holy shit that's going on my 'to read' list because of that summary alone. Thanks!

What a legend.

Getting baked and watching cosmos in my early 20s inspired me to go back to school to grasp exactly what the hell he was telling me.

What a man, what a mind and what a voice.

The dude's a legend.

This is the argument for veganism that is compelling to me.

It's the only way I can show the aliens that I've lived in a way that demonstrates that I wouldn't kill, eat or enslave me if I was them.

add a few orders of magnitude to those numbers. Voyager really is unlikely to ever leave the galaxy. it wont be within 2 lightyears of any star for the next 100,000 years. and likely will never be picked up, even if someone went looking for it by the time its possible it will be so lost as to nearly be impossible to find.

It's only 90 minutes of music. There inevitably are endless languages and cultures that aren't represented. It's a reasonably broad selection IMO.

Seems like a pretty strange thing to get so pissed off about.

Edit: plus it was like 40 years ago.

*a prostitute's mouth

I feel like the rights dont matter outside of the galaxy.

What? I have personal experience of working in a department full of theoretical physicists...

Why didn't NASA just do it anyway, why even ask?.. Could EMI actually sue them for sending it to space without the rights? I can't imagine any judge taking that seriously. E:words

In the grim darkness of the future there is only Chuck Berry.

Fuck. But...his music will survive at least until the heat death of the Universe if I have anything to say about it.

He is referring to copy right laws that end after 100 years.

Let's never forget Ann!

How would EMI ever find out?

Really thats so fucked. I hope someone just did it anyway lol

There was Bach on it.

Your statement sounds ridiculous. It seems to assume that theoretical physicists don't have time to be parents, members of the community, or anything at all.

No... I'm currently doing my Master's in Physics.

I mean only the US, Japanese, and Mexican entries (the US has a few) had authors who were born in the 20th century. The overwhelming majority of that is traditional folk music and what we commonly call Classical music, the artists have been dead for centuries.

Hell, Chuck Berry was the 2nd youngest by birth on the whole record and he just died at age 90, it's not like they sent up a "best of the 60s" album with a bunch of rock stars who died young.

You've got it all wrong. It won't be long until it comes back looking for the creator.

Jarring? I could listen to that shit all day!

Carl Sagan will forever be one of my favorite human beings.

Kinda like how that other guy generalized a whole people based on nothing but the conjecture he pulled out of his ass? Nah it's okay when the argument is for pro drug use.

I wonder how Chuck's cousin Marvin is holding up

you're madlad

V'ger has this song on repeat.

I'm in the UK, where teaching is not really looked down on as much as it is in the US. The hierarchy of professor > lecturer > postdoc > student is also much less pronounced.

Also, yes, I agree - this is an overgeneralisation, but at the same time it certainly rings true for a lot of people I know.

That's depressing.


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