Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Farewell to Arthur C. Clarke...

A friend of mine sent me a text message this morning with these sad words:

Arthur C. Clarke died...Another hero gone.


The noted and prolific science fiction writer has passed away today at the age of 90. Clarke is often credited with the idea for the geostationary telecommunications satellite. He was also the host of "Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World", an anthology show that dealt (more or less skeptically) with various unexplained phenomena. That was my introduction to him and will probably always be the thing that I most associate with him.

In addition to his science fiction career, Clarke worked hard throughout his life to raise popular awareness of science and skepticism. He also came up with three "laws" that are often quoted and certainly worth remembering.

1.) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is
possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
2.)The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."
3.) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from
magic."


He has been honored with everything from knighthood to having a species of dinosaur named after him and will be sorely missed. Sadly the popular media is mostly clinging to the non-story of how he will be honored with a secular memorial service.

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