The World Mourns the Loss of Arthur C. Clarke
March 18, 2008 6:11 PM
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Clarke continued to take interviews through 2007. On his 90th birthday in December 2007, he bid his friends and family farewall in a recorded video message.
The world loses its largest advocate for science and science fiction today
I was extremely disappointed to hear this morning that Arthur C. Clarke passed away today at the age of 90. How many of us felt something special, or at least incredibly different, the first time we saw
2001: A Space Odessy
, or the first time Endeavour opened the hatch of the cylindrical world of Rama?
It was only so often that a single writer could influence the course of humanity in so many ways. His essays and novels touched on topics that will stay with humanity for generations still. Clarke is recognized with his own orbit distinction -- Clarke Orbit, 36,000 kilometers above Earth -- for his work on geosynchronous communication satellites.
In his time Clarke penned more than 100 short stories, novels, non-fiction exposes and philosophical essays.
It's unfortunate that Clarke's pinnacle prediction, the space elevator detailed in
The Fountains of Paradise
, was not a technical possibility by the time of his death. For my generation, the space elevator will be as much of a certainty as the communications satellite of Clarke's generation.
Clarke's mastery of the unknown, really an exercise of what he thought was the most logical proposition, kept him writing well into his 80s. For his work he was knighted in 2000.
After contracting polio in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, Clarke made it his personal duty to get the local government involved in science and technology. In 2005 he was honored with the Sri Lankabhimanya, the highest civilian award in the country.
A relatively obscure quote from Clarke near the end of his days quickly became my favorite after it was appropriately published in 2001:
"I don't pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about..."
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RE: .. really?
3/24/2008 11:31:55 AM
I wish we could re-inspire humanity's imagination. This is no longer the progressive movements of the fifties and sixties (even seventies with the Voyager program) where people started to look up and beyond our own petty Earth. How far we have fallen to come back to our ridiculous self-centered lifestyles enjoying celebrity drama and stupid singing competitions. I find thought experiments looking for solutions to benefit our children and grandchildren to be MUCH more rewarding and entertaining than American Idol or Entertainment Tonight. But I do suppose that even we sometimes need the occasional break from Discovery and the Science Channel, et cetera. But certainly not five hours per every one minute. Again, I breathe a sigh of sadness and disappointment.
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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