Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


August 18, 2018 - Canada bans neonics, tracking animals from space, and more

Also, elephant zombie gene fights cancer, elephant repellents, feeding the world well and moon tides

Canada bans neonic pesticides implicated in bee declines

Health Canada's proposed ban will also be good for aquatic insects

Tracking animals from space could provide early warning of natural disasters

Scientists will watch animal movements and behaviour using an instrument on the International Space Station

Elephants have a zombie gene that comes back to life to fight cancer

Elephants avoid cancer thanks to a dead - or zombie gene - that comes back to life to help destroy disease-causing cells with damaged DNA

How do you discourage a pesky elephant? Use bee smells as a repellent

The elephant's fear of bees may be useful in developing a repellent to reduce harmful conflict with humans in Africa.

We can't grow enough food to feed the world according to the Food Guide

There is not enough agricultural land for land intensive diets that national dietary recommendations suggest.

Low level air pollution costs the economy billions of dollars in lost productivity

Prof. Joshua Graff Zivin argues policy makers should be thinking of environmental protection as an investment in our economy.

If the moon had oceans, what would its tides be like?

The Earth would raise tides on the moon's imaginary oceans 22 times higher than the moon raises on Earth's oceans.

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.