Tag Archives: Sixth Extinction

The Quadra Project: Welcome to 2024

Unless you’re brave enough to consider the reality of our global environmental situation, don’t read this. Confronting it is not a matter of being pessimistic or optimistic, but of being realistic—of assessing what we’re doing on our planet, what we want to avoid, what we want to accomplish, and what we can do both collectively and individually to have a more promising future. In one more year we will have reached a quarter of the way to 2100, and we are well on our way to creating conditions that we will either applaud or bemoan.

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The Quadra Project: Sounds of the Earth

On August 20, 1977, Voyager 2 was launched from NASA’s facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida. And exactly 15 days later, on September 5, 1977, Voyager 1 was launched from the same facility. The timing was crucial because astronomical calculations had placed Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in a lineal alignment that would only occur once every 176 years. With this alignment, each planet could accelerate the two spacecrafts to their next destination, reducing the travel time from 30 years to 12 years.

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The Quadra Project: Environmental Guilt

More and more sobering news on the environmental condition of our planet keeps coming from scientists, from the United Nations’ COP meetings, and from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We are not doing enough to avert catastrophe, and we are not doing what must be done fast enough. Indeed, we never did enough fast enough, a conclusion that comes with the burden of guilt. And now we may be reaching the point where we will never be able to do enough fast enough.

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The Quadra Project: The Descent of Man

The 1973 television series, The Ascent of Man, by the British mathematician and science historian, Jacob Bronowski, is approaching its 50th anniversary. Its intelligent commentary on the evolution of science in human civilization is still relevant today. However, events in the last few years have imbued Bronowski’s erudite praise of our scientific accomplishments with an unsettling irony.

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The Quadra Project: Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the human brain to adapt to new kinds of learning, a subject studied by David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Stanford University. In an interview with Clare Wilson in New Scientist magazine (15 May 2021), he makes the passing comment that, “Mother Nature is taking a sort of gamble with humans, in that she drops our brains into the world half-baked and lets experience take over and shape them. Our babies have much less well-developed brains than other animals do at birth. All in all, this has been a successful strategy. We’ve taken over every corner of the planet, invented the internet—even gotten off the planet to the moon.”

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