Leave it to Monty Python (and more specifically Eric Idle) to so succinctly sum up humanity’s tiny place in the known universe. Their 1983 film “The Meaning of Life” contains a number of sureal, hilarious, disgusting and troubling sketches on the ephemeral nature of our existence — and they cap it all off with this wonderful musical number:
That is of course “The Galaxy Song,” a great bit of space music in its use of cosmic data to belittle humanity’s place in the cosmos — but how does it hold up today? Consider “A study of the Galaxy Song” by Eric Idle Paul Kohlmiller, which goes through the lyrics line-by-line and gives a 2003/2007 take on the accuracy.
But of course after a few decades of science, there’s room for improvement. So in 2012, Idle teamed up with Brian Cox to update the lyrics with some additional mind-blowing science — all to promote BBC2′s second season of “Wonders of Life.” It’s pretty great, though I could do without Cox rambling on in it like the world’s most stoned physicist. Let’s have a listen:
About the author: Robert Lamb is a senior writer and podcaster at HowStuffWorks, where he co-hosts Stuff to Blow Your Mind with Julie Douglas. He has a love for monsters, an aversion to slugs and a hankering for electronic music.