Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


August 11, 2018 - Climate change attribution for extreme weather, cockpit air quality, and more

Also, predicting adult voices from baby cries, island bird brains bigger than mainland birds, and lobster pain

'Climate change is here' - but is it to blame for the extreme weather this summer?

Wildfires, record heat, droughts - scientists are parsing through the extreme weather events to determine what exactly is caused by climate change.

Why the airline industry might want to lower cockpit CO2 levels

Pilots are much more likely to pass flight manoeuvers when carbon dioxide concentrations are low.

A baby's cries can predict the sound of their adult voice

Children with finger lengths signalling they were exposed to higher levels of testosterone in the womb showed lower voice pitches in infancy as well as adulthood.

Island birds would likely beat their mainland relatives in a battle of wits

Birds often evolve larger brains once they reach islands, scientists confirm

Do lobsters feel pain when we boil them alive?

The Swiss government passed a law stating people can no longer boil a lobster alive. Here's the science behind how the crustaceans may feel pain.

Why does eating beets make my urine pink?

Red or bright pink urine after eating beets may occur in people with low stomach acid, according to renal dietician Tanya Choy. But rest assured, it's harmless.

August 4, 2018 - Parker Solar Probe, watching a brain rewire itself, gut microbes thwart weight loss, and more

Also, wolf spider’s diet could help cool the Arctic, searching for star dust, and firefly glow

Sun probe set to embark on perilous journey into the 'heart of the fire'

Humanity's first mission to touch the sun thrills NASA scientists anticipating revelations on why the giant orb gets so hot.

Scientists get a rare glimpse of the brain reorganizing itself after a lobectomy

Doctors removed a baseball-sized chunk of a boy's brain. Then his brain reprogrammed itself to make up for it.

Darn gut bacteria might be thwarting your weight loss efforts

The patients who didn't lose weight had bacteria that was more efficient in extracting energy from food.

Arctic spiders spinning new food web as climate warms — and that's a good thing

Facing warmer temperatures, wolf spiders are changing up what’s for dinner, and in doing so, lessening the effects of climate change in their ecosystem.

Your rooftop could be sprinkled with cosmic star dust

A jazz musician moonlighting as an amateur scientist discovered cosmic dust falls all around us.

Do fireflies glow just at night or do they glow during the day too?

Fireflies mostly only glow at night because that's when the males are trying to get the attention of female fireflies, according to entomologist Dr. Sandy Smith.

July 28, 2018 - 'Shark Week' is bad for sharks, Milky Way music, climate change and fish smell and more

Also, flying a drone with your body, rats and coral reefs, hunting bison with fire, and sunscreen and freshwater lakes.

Scientists want a 'fin-ale' to Shark Week shows that hurt sharks

Shark week programming is filled with fear-mongering and misinformation, and the public opinion it generates ends up hurting the animals it’s supposed to be celebrating.

An astronomer turns the motions of our Milky Way galaxy into sweet music

Decades of radio-telescope observations are converted into a three minute jazz tune.

As greenhouse gases gradually acidify oceans, fish may lose their sense of smell

Higher carbon dioxide concentrations in the ocean inhibit a fish's ability to smell prey, predators and each other.

Piloting a drone with 'body english' beats joysticks hands down

For most, the method is easier and faster to learn than joystick control

Oh rats! Seabird-eating rodents are hurting coral reefs near tropical islands

Rats are decimating bird populations on tropical islands, but coral reefs need bird guano to be healthy.

Indigenous people hunted bison using fire - and clever manipulation of the landscape

They managed, controlled and harvested large herds of bison, centuries before the first Europeans appeared on the scene.

Does sunscreen damage freshwater lake ecosystems?

Sunscreen not only damages coral reefs but fresh water lakes too, according to environmental scientist Dr. Linda Campbell.

July 21, 2018 -Bread came before agriculture, driving drowsiness, and more…

Science of ‘Ant-Man,’ geese race north, dolphins avoid the bends, Jupiter’s new moons and a question of symmetry

A bread recipe from 14,000 years ago: wild oats, barley, wheat and roots

Scientists discover bread crumbs made by people who were baking bread 4,000 years before farming began.

Your car might be trying to kill you by lulling you with sleep-inducing vibrations

Just 15 minutes after drivers get behind the wheel in a vibrating simulator, their alertness plunged.