Quirks & Quarks Holiday Question Show

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Our always fabulous Holiday Question Show this week includes such mysteries as where a whale sleeps, the birth-rate of stars in the milky way, and how fruit flies smell - without any noses.

 

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Part One

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  • Paul Chabun in White Rock, BC asks:  "Fruit flies have an uncanny ability to immediately appear when there is fresh fruit available. Are they attracted by the smell? If so, what kind of olfactory organs do fruit flies have? I don't see any noses!"  For the answer we consult Dr. Marla Sokolowski, a University Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.

  • Wendy Brown of Toronto asks:  "We've all heard about the shrinking of Arctic Sea ice and the effects this will have on melting permafrost and ocean life.  But are the ice and glaciers on Antarctica melting at the same rate? If it's not melting as rapidly, why isn't it?"  For the answer we've reached Dr. John Yackel, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, at the University of Calgary.

  • Timothy Prime of San Jose asks: "The planet Jupiter is made of gases.  Yet, Jupiter has a powerful magnetic field.  How does it do it without a solid iron core, like the Earth?"  For the answer, we're joined by Dr. Tracy Webb, assistant professor in the Department of Physics at McGill University in Montreal.

  • J.G. May of Surrey, British Columbia asks: "I recently obtained a dissecting microscope. After using it to observe a dead honey bee, I was amazed to see hairs protruding from its eyes. What is the function or purpose of these hairs and do other insects besides honey bees have them?" For the answer, we've buzzed Dr. Amro Zayed, Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at York University in Toronto.

  • Gary Bond of Kitchener, Ontario asks: "When we remember an event that happened 40 years ago, are we just recalling the last time we had that memory, or is it an actual recollection of the original event?"  For the answer, we remembered to call Dr. Gail Eskes, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University in Halifax.


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Part Two

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  • Five-year-old Leo Gunawardena of Toronto asks: "Do whales have to sleep on the surface of the sea in order to breathe."  For the answer we're joined by Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, Head of the Cetacean Research Program at the Vancouver Aquarium.

  • Kaitlyn Donnelly, a nine-year old from Mississauga, Ontario asks: "I'd like to know how many stars are born in the Milky Way Galaxy every year."   For the answer, we've reached out to Dr. Sara Ellison, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Victoria.

  • Hildegard Gerlach of Parson, BC asks: "We know the Snowshoe Hare changes colour twice a year - in Spring and Fall, to blend in with its surroundings.  But I have noticed that, at times, the hare is already white when there is no snow at all on the ground. Or, the hare can be all brown while there is still a lot of snow on the ground.  I wonder if the hare realizes he is the 'wrong' colour?  And will climate change make this problem worse?"  With the answer is Dr. Rudy Boonstra, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Toronto, Scarborough campus.

  • Ben Kinder of Charlottetown, PEI asks:  "What is the space between the electrons and the nucleus of an atom composed of?  Is it a vacuum?"  With the answer, we're joined by Dr. Maria DeRosa, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Carleton University in Ottawa.

  • David Youngson from Bowen Island, British Columbia asks: "Why are there no purely black plants?"  For the answer, we've reached Dr. Anne Worley, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba.


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Theme music bed copyright Raphaël Gluckstein, Creative Commons License by-nc-nd-2.0