Did You Know: Carl Sagan Fought Apple

Apple mocked the famous astronomer prompting him to sue not once, but twice

By on June 13th, 2008 20:26 GMT
In 1994, Apple code-named the Power Macintosh 7100 "Carl Sagan" after the astronomer and science popularizer. His name was only used internally, (presumably) as an homage to his work. The code-name might not have caused any problems hadn't Apple also released models codenamed "Cold Fusion" and "Piltdown Man" at the same time, the latter obviously implying that Carl Sagan was a hoaxer.

The astronomer was furious for having been compared to what he considered pseudoscience, and thus sued the Macintosh maker. Apple eventually won the lawsuit. Soon after that, Paul D. Carmichael, Apple's director of patents and trademarks, publicly stated: "Dr. Sagan has made great contributions in many areas of higher learning and in particular has made complex subject matter interesting and understandable to a wide audience. Apple has always had great respect for Dr. Sagan, and it was never Apple's intention to cause Dr. Sagan or his family any embarrassment or concern."

But, even though Apple won the suit, they changed the name to something even more insulting: "BHA." Internally, again, these initials were known to stand for "Butt-Head Astronomer." Sagan carried out an investigation that ultimately led him to the injurious meaning of this dubbing, so he sued again. Apple claimed the right to free speech under the First Amendment and, again, won.

Finally, this prompted Apple to change the name for the 7100 yet once more to "LAW," known internally as meaning "Lawyers Are Wimps." In April 1994, Sagan sued Apple in the U.S. District Court of Los Angeles. Two days after settling with Sagan, Apple pulled the plug on Kaleida Labs, retaining its technologies and several key employees.

"My endorsement is not for sale. For this reason, I was profoundly distressed to see� Apple's announcement of a new Mac bearing my name," Sagan said.

Sagan wrote frequently about religion and the relationship between religion and science, expressing his skepticism about many conventional conceptualizations of God. Sagan once stated that "The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard, who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by 'God,' one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity," he concluded.

(source: Wikipedia)
  
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