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The Best Neil deGrasse Tyson Intro Ever!

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One week ago today at Apostacon in Omaha, Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke to a skeptic/atheist convention, a rarity for him, because, as he said that night, skeptics don’t need him to be a science communicator. His talk was typical Tyson, expansive, varying in subject, entertaining and engaging. The audience was held in rapt attention, there was even one point where the host attempted to move on to the Q&A portion of the evening, only to be shouted off the stage, oh yeah, that host was me. Not only did I have the extreme pleasure of introducing Dr. Tyson, I was also able to perform while he looked on, it is an experience from which I have yet to come down. The video and text are below:


Thank you to Amy Dawn Parker for recording and sharing that amazing night. I have something to assure myself that it wasn’t a dream.

 

 

Weird Science

I am an amazing amalgamation of milliseconds,
a compilation of coincidences,
a collection of infinitely small spans of time
that separate me from the possibility of my blood line.
I have managed to out swim and out maneuver
500 million of my brothers and sisters to be here today,
continuing a chain of happenstance
that began moments after the big bang
brought the universe into being.
Matter and energy cannot be
created or destroyed, so the same
molecules that make up me
in this instance have been in existence
for over 13 billion years.
We are heavenly,
but there is no godly hand
evident in the creation of man,
I can instead trace evidence
of my being into the cosmos,
the same elements that make
me unique have been sourced
to create the universe,
I mean, forget Jesus, stars died,
galaxies gave their lives to form my fingertips;
how could I not find wonder in waking up,
be more amazed at each day I open my eyes,
each day I’m granted more time
on this little blue marble
floating through the vast emptiness of space?
I am in awe of life,
to quote Carl Sagan,
“I find it elevating and exhilarating
to discover that we live in a universe,
which permits the evolution of molecular machines
as intricate and subtle as we.”
I am left breathless by the understanding
that my continuance is an example
of the improbable versus the impossible,
and despite what some might think
this gives my life more meaning,
makes each day more precious,
lends weight and reality
to the precious actuality
of each person I allow into my life,
because I see that they
are an amazing amalgamation of milliseconds,
a compilation of coincidences,
a collection of infinitely small spans of time
that separates them from the possibility of their blood line,
so I lend assistance where I am able,
offer compassion when I can,
and a hug when life’s weight
proves to great for them to stand,
because these memories will be
the markers of my legacy,
allowing me to exist for eternity…
or at least a few years
past my mental exit from this planet,
a few years past
my physical exit from this planet,
a few years past that moment when my atoms
are reconnected with the cosmos.
I live my life relaxed and happy
because I know that I could be gone tomorrow,
and like Stephen Hawking said
“When your expectations are reduced to zero,
you really appreciate everything you have.”

Victor Harris © 2010

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5 Comments

  1. “Lol. The regular, authorized NDT intro you’ll hear from everyone. :)”

    I only say this because I want to offer some feedback to you so you can improve your performance. Did they spring it on you at the absolute last minute? I find it hard to believe that everyone reads it so amateurishly. You were staring dead on at the pamphlet and talking to it instead of the audience . Stammering and stuttering over pronunciation and pausing at line breaks instead of sentences. It seemed that you hadn’t even spent 5 minutes practicing.

    I was so put off of your intro I wasn’t even listening to your poem. Now that I have, I liked your poem. I thought it was on topic and expressed a love for science. It was a great.spoken word performance. Contrasting that with the intro seems to showed disrespect to NDT and to your audience. As you finished, everyone was rising to applaud NDT to the podium. When you started your poem it seemed like you were just seizing an opportunity to read to a captive audience. That you just wanted to word dump a scripted intro out of the way so you could get to the poem to show off to everyone.

    If someone just handed you the intro before you walked on stage then I completely understand how unprepared you were. Maybe next time put the poem first and then the required intro and it will feel more on point instead of, “Hey, look at me!”

    I don’t know you but I do live in Omaha. I’m sorry if this is harsh but I wanted to take the time to give you some feedback.

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