Talk:1246: Pale Blue Dot

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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To call this a "simple call for funding for space exploration" completely misses the point of the Ba'al theology with which it is intertwined.

I think it completely misses all the points of the comic. --Kronf (talk) 11:44, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
This comic makes philosophical claims that cannot be falsified. Randall can't be serious about the soul eater. That's so dark. Theology? Sort of. But quite undeveloped. More like mythology. Does make one wonder: Why is there really something rather than nothing? tbc (talk) 12:05, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Took at shot at adding something on this. (Long-time reader, first-time editor. Will create account at some point.) -- 14:58, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
(I wrote the following this morning, before anyone else had made any Talk/Discussion points, but then rushed out without saving it properly. Probably now not relevent, but here you are anyway...)
"This is a simple call for funding of space exploration."??? I'd say that (whatever Randall, and I, think about the importance of funding space research) it's more an affectionate parody of the "Consider this pale blue dot..." speech, which it subverts by suggesting that arguably the most intellectually interesting image of the planet is indistinguishable from a manufacturing error in a LCD array (presumably in a computer projector) or from the kind of photo you get when you don't take the lens-cap off of a digital camera. Or so my take on it, is... 18:05, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I did a deeper explain later, but Ba'an connects to this sentence. So that has to be explained, too. But in general you are correct.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:19, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm sure Randall is talking about Stargate and the character Ba'al (Stargate). This even does make more sense on the last sentence at the title text. While we have two theories on this the comic is incomplete.--Dgbrt (talk) 17:05, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

I disagree. I don't believe Ba'al from Stargate was ever called "Ba'al the Annihilator" or "Ba'al, the Eater of Souls". I think Randall's just making up it up. 17:25, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I also disagree, though the description as stands is currently incorrect. "Ba'al" is not a specific deity in the Northwest Semitic pantheon, certainly not one "associated with demonic or otherwise evil forces", it's a title that had been used for several different deities. However the name is often included in Jewish and Christian demonology where it probably got its "evil" connotation. 18:30, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I absolutely disagree to you. Randall calls the US Congress for a higher budget, just to enhance our level on space technology. This really does not map to historical religions. And: Ba'an at Stargate is also a Lord. My two NASA budget cents.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:19, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
My disagreement with your suggestion didn't owe anything to the objections I raised about the historicity of the term "Ba'al". I don't think that his reference was to any specific deity in any particular pantheon, fictional or otherwise. The whole point of the alt-text is an ironic context for the motivation for space exploration; Sagan especially was an advocate of space exploration for the sake of knowledge and human progress, so the quasi-religious/mystical and nihilistic mantra here is in stark contrast to that (expected) rationale for exploration, and I think it's fitting given the initial premise: the insignificance of Earth against the cosmos. I really don't see the clause "to join with Ba'al" having anything to do with 'leading humans to the same technology level Ba'al' since it assumes Ba'al is a technological entity which only stems from the Stargate interpretation. 20:23, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
^ +1. About Stargate, I can't claim to know what happens in season 9 and 10, but I've seen every episode in 1-8 and I've never seen him referred to as "Ba'al the Annihilator" or "Ba'al, Eater of Souls". I grant that the Ba'al from Stargate is a System Lord, and a pretty badass one, but how does that help you prove your point? If Randall was trying to allude to Stargate, I think it would be much more obvious, like "Lord Ba'al" or something. The name "Ba'al" has been present in mythology long before Stargate used it. 01:21, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
"Annihilator" and "Eater of Souls" is an invention by Randall, it also does not really match to your mystics. Further more the last sentence of the title text is not about a god, it's about technology we do not have right now. OK, the very last sentence is: Thank you. My 1337 NASA budget cents.--Dgbrt (talk) 16:40, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
It sounds like you are admitting that the only grounds for attributing the reference to Stargate is your interpretation of the penultimate sentence, which as I said before [your interpretation] only makes sense if you believe the reference is to Stargate. I don't find that very convincing. 21:42, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

On a completely different track, as is often the case, the main text can work in a contemporary way, as well as with knowledge of the historical reference: In this case, the publication by NASA of shots of Earth from Saturn and Mercury, in a conscious homage to the original "blue spot" picture. Eg [1] --FractalgeekUK