From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on the mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Each word, each category, the overall rhythm—all of it is just right. I’ve read that passage (or listened to Sagan read it) countless times; it’s hard to imagine it any other way.
DETROIT — It was late Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend when Fernando Palazuelo reached the head of the line at the tax collection window of the treasurer’s office in Wayne County, Mich.
He had traveled 3,700 miles from Lima, Peru, to make a simple request. “I am interested in buying the Packard plant,” he said. “And I want to speak to the man in charge.”
A few minutes later, he was ushered in to see Raymond Wojtowicz, the 84-year-old county treasurer responsible for tens of thousands of foreclosed properties in the bankrupt city of Detroit.