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Announcing the second annual Carl Sagan memorial blog-a-thon

Later this month, on December 20, 2007, we will reach the eleventh anniversary of Carl Sagan's passing — and the first anniversary of the wildly successful first-ever Carl Sagan Memorial Blog-a-Thon. Far exceeding my wildest expectations, this became a truly worldwide celebration, with more than 250 posts in 11 languages. And for those who like nice round anniversary numbers, this year also saw quite a number of significant Sagan-related ones: the tenth anniversary of the release of the film Contact and the Planet Walk in Ithaca, NY; and the thirtieth anniversary of the launch of the two Voyager spacecraft. I am launching a new blog-a-thon exactly a year after the first one; for full details, see the main announcement post on my personal blog. See you on the 20th!

Arthur C. Clarke 90th birthday blog

Earlier this week, I received an email from a Sri Lankan Sagan fan, Thilina Heenatigala, who had among other things organized a special screening of Cosmos for undergraduates at a local college last year. He is a friend of revered science fiction writer (and science popularizer/futurist, and inventor, and humanist) Arthur C. Clarke — known as the author of 2001 (book and movie), Childhood's End, Rendezvous with Rama, "The Sentinel", "The Nine Billion Names of God", "The Star" and many others — and the General Secretary of the Clarke-cofounded Sri Lanka Astronomical Association. (In "Science Fiction — A Personal View" in Broca's Brain, Sagan paid tribute to Clarke, recommending "The Nine Billion Names of God" as an introduction to certain ideas from Eastern religious philosophy, noting Clarke's hard science background and saying that Clarke was "providing cogent and brilliant summaries in nonfictional form of many aspects of science and society.")

Since Clarke will be turning 90 this month, Heenatigala was inspired by my Sagan blog-a-thon to create a blog to celebrate Clarke's 90th birthday. December 16th is the special date! He is sending an open invitation to all Clarke fans to post birthday wishes as blog comments.