neil degrasse tyson face

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Interviewed By Stephen Colbert

The Hollow-Face Illusion.

Seen here with an Einstein mask, the hollow-face illusion is an example of the biases our brain uses.

This example is the bias of seeing a face normally in a convex manner, which the brain will counter cues of light, shade and depth to be able to picture this face in a convex way.

(BBC Two)

Imagine a life-form whose brainpower is to ours as ours is to a chimpanzee’s. To such a species, our highest mental achievements would be trivial. Their toddlers, instead of learning their ABCs on Sesame Street, would learn multivariable calculus on Boolean Boulevard. Our most complex theorems, our deepest philosophies, the cherished works of our most creative artists, would be projects their schoolkids bring home for Mom and Dad to display on the refrigerator door.
—  Neil deGrasse Tyson, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier
There’s a fascinating frailty of the human mind that psychologists know all about, called “argument from ignorance.” This is how it goes. Remember what the “U” stands for in “UFO”? You see lights flashing in the sky. You’ve never seen anything like this before and don’t understand what it is. You say, “It’s a UFO!” The “U” stands for “unidentified.”
But then you say, “I don’t know what it is; it must be aliens from outer space, visiting from another planet.” The issue here is that if you don’t know what something is, your interpretation of it should stop immediately. You don’t then say it must be X or Y or Z. That’s argument from ignorance. It’s common. I’m not blaming anybody; it may relate to our burning need to manufacture answers because we feel uncomfortable about being steeped in ignorance.
—  Neil deGrasse Tyson, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier
You could also ask who’s in charge. Lots of people think, well, we’re humans; we’re the most intelligent and accomplished species; we’re in charge. Bacteria may have a different outlook: more bacteria live and work in one linear centimeter of your lower colon than all the humans who have ever lived. That’s what’s going on in your digestive tract right now. Are we in charge, or are we simply hosts for bacteria? It all depends on your outlook.
—  Neil deGrasse Tyson, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

“But you can’t be a scientist if you’re uncomfortable with ignorance, because scientists live at the boundary between what is known and unknown in the cosmos. This is very different from the way journalists portray us. So many articles begin, “Scientists now have to go back to the drawing board.” It’s as though we’re sitting in our offices, feet up on our desks—masters of the universe—and suddenly say, “Oops, somebody discovered something!”

No. We’re always at the drawing board. If you’re not at the drawing board, you’re not making discoveries. You’re not a scientist; you’re something else. The public, on the other hand, seems to demand conclusive explanations as they leap without hesitation from statements of abject ignorance to statements of absolute certainty.”

—  Neil deGrasse Tyson, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier
Unlike other animals, humans are quite comfortable sleeping on our backs. This simple fact affords us a view of the boundless night sky as we fall asleep, allowing us to dream about our place in the cosmos and to wonder what lies undiscovered in the worlds beyond. Or perhaps a gene operates within us that demands we learn for ourselves what awaits us on the other side of the valley, over the seas, or across the vacuum of space. Regardless of the cause, the effect is to leave us restless for want of a plan to discover. We know in our minds, but especially in our hearts, the value to our culture of new voyages and the new vistas they provide. Because without them, our culture stalls and our species withers. And we might as well go to sleep facing down.
—  Neil deGrasse Tyson, ‘Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier’

I hope people understand how important it is that Cosmos is coming back. I hope people realize that this is going to help start making science mainstream and relevant and cool and something we should pride ourselves in being literate in again. I hope people internalize how bold and great it is to see Cosmos brought on a major network. I also hope we can all be excited that Neil Degrasse Tyson, a brilliant man, a man of color, is the face and voice of this incredible adventure we all get to take a part of.

Media influences culture. Science and poc representation matters. Cosmos matters.

Don’t miss out on this journey.