Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


Jan 18: Ancient gum preserves genome, a living robot, wolf puppies play fetch and more…

Rattlesnake skin holds raindrops for drinking, science of imagination and quiet snow
Bob McDonald's blog

Fly me to the moon for an out-of-this-world date

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is running a competition to find a potential life partner to join him on his trip to the moon.

Ancient chewing gum reveals reveals identity of chewer and what she ate

5,700 year-old gum preserved the genome of a dark-haired, blue-eyed woman who'd eaten duck for dinner.

Scientists create a robot made entirely of living cells

Robots made of frog skin and heart cells can crawl, move stuff and heal themselves.

Wolf, fetch! How scientists discovered a 'domesticated' trait in wolves

The simple act of retrieving a ball could be why we domesticated dogs perhaps around 15,000 years ago

Rattlesnakes have skin that's sticky for raindrops so they can sip from their scales

Nano structures on their scales help the snakes capture scarce water in their desert homes

Exploring the science of imagination, so we can build a creative computer

‘Your mind’s greatest power’ gives rise to great works of art and innovation in science and engineering: imagination

Why does a snowfall damp sound so well?

Snow has excellent acoustic damping properties because it is so porous.

Jan 11 — Fires in Australia, cuttlefish watch 3D movies, coal pollution harms crops, and more…

Fossils show ancient parenting, first evidence of cooked vegetables, and why so much poop?
Bob McDonald's blog

New telescope to be named after pioneering female dark matter astronomer

Vera Rubin will be honoured for her work in observing the anomalous motion of stars.

'A billion animals gone' — understanding the effects of Australia's fires on wildlife and people

With forests burning up and toxic smoke filling the air, scientists are looking at the long term effects of these record-setting bushfires.

Pass the popcorn — scientists are playing 3D movies to cuttlefish

Scientists are using an underwater movie theatre and tiny 3D glasses to study how cuttlefish catch their prey.

The cost of coal - pollution takes lives, but also costs food

New study finds that 570 million bushels of grain and 26,000 lives were saved by shutting down coal plants in the U.S.

Cape Breton fossils are the oldest evidence of parental behaviour

A 300 million year old animal was preserved huddled around a juvenile in a den in a hollow tree

Burned roots are the first evidence of humans cooking vegetables and sharing food

170,000 year-old remains from South Africa provide evidence for harvesting and food sharing

Why do we seem to generate so much poop?

The average human poop is mostly generated from water, while very little comes from undigested food waste.

Jan 3, 2020 — The Quirks & Quarks listener question show

Is water at the foot of Niagara Falls warmer than at the top? Are bioplastics better for the environment? Why are dinosaurs so big? And more
Bob McDonald's blog

Time for liftoff — robots and humans scheduled to blast off from Earth in 2020

A fleet of robotic explorers heading to Mars launch this year — perhaps one day humans will follow

Dec 28: Quirks & Quarks year in review

We look at some of the most significant science stories we covered (and one we didn’t) in 2019

Another tragic and destructive year for wildfires — is this the new normal?

We look back at 2019 — the year in fire

Year of reckoning for nutritional science — red meat studies point the way forward

Nutritional recommendations are often based on poor quality studies which prove inconclusive on close scrutiny.

Arctic ice losses were at near record levels — with particular concerns about Greenland melt

The year in ice — 2019 continued a dismal trend of polar ice loss

Measles sabotages the immune system — so it's much more dangerous than we'd realized

Measles infections can wipe our bodies' hard-earned store of antibodies against other illnesses, making us more vulnerable in the future

Dec 21: The Quirks & Quarks holiday book show

Three science books looking at forensic ecology, the many worlds of quantum mechanics and culinary extinction
Bob McDonald's blog

Supersonic passenger planes could become a reality as new tech quiets the sonic boom

NASA engineers are attempting to get around the problem of sonic booms with a newer, more efficient design