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EARTHLINGS ON THEIR OWN ON TINY SPECK, SAGAN SAYS

Carl Sagan says once you venture beyond Earth, the universe is a lonely place.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in a great engulfing darkness. We're on our own. We have to help ourselves," Sagan said in his keynote address to a Pacific Rim transportation technology conference in Seattle on Wednesday.It was his first public appearance since receiving a bone marrow transplant this year to help recover from mye-lo-dys-pla-sia, a rare precancerous disease of the spinal cord.

Sagan told delegates from 35 countries that children need to be equipped with a "baloney detection kit" so they will not believe everything the government and adults tell them.