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Sep 18: The election and post-COVID science, toilet-training cattle and more...

Prehistoric leather making tools and how galactic spiral arms feed black holes
Analysis

Is space tourism about more than just billionaires and their toys?

Bob McDonald's blog: SpaceX's all civilian orbital flight paid for by a wealthy patron could prefigure a future of space travel for the rest of us

Canadian science suffered from COVID. After the election, how do we bring it back better?

Research was disrupted and interrupted. Students suffered. Priorities have changed. What should be next for Canadian science?

Potty-trained cows can help solve pee pollution problem, study finds

Nitrogen in cow urine can pollute surface and groundwater and create a potent greenhouse gas, so teaching them to use a "toilet" could be an environmental win.

Fashion backward — Archaeologists find 120,000 year old tools for making clothes

Researchers describe the discovery of a treasure trove of tools that they believe were used to process leather and furs, and it just might be the oldest archaeological evidence of what our ancestors were wearing 120,000 years ago.

How does a black hole eat? With its spiral arms

A new supercomputer simulation shows how a galaxy’s spiral arms help to funnel gas into its central supermassive black hole by slowing it down and enabling it to fall inside.

Sept. 11: Here's what some Canadian researchers did during their summer of science

Whether it was canoeing on acid lakes, being bumped by belugas, or rescuing equipment from grizzlies, scientists across Canada were busy this summer.
Analysis

How I became a temporary 'environmental refugee' this summer

Bob McDonald's blog: Human-induced climate change will lead to many more displaced individuals in the years to come
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Visiting 'acid lakes' in Ontario to investigate how they're recovering from acid rain

A half a century ago, acid rain killed these lakes outside of Sudbury, Ontario, but limits on air pollution are enabling a slow recovery.
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Researchers take advantage of 'whale-palooza' gathering to study human-beluga interactions

The vast summer gathering of 60,000 whales has given rise to a whale watching industry, and researchers are observing to see if the human presence is affecting the whales’ natural behaviour
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Pesky bears complicate an investigation of a fast-moving glacier in northern BC

The Tweedsmuir glacier’s activity has enormous influence on the landscape, but an attempt to study it was interrupted when bears destroyed monitoring equipment.
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Researchers create aquariums inside wilderness lakes to safely study microplastic impacts

At the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario researchers did controlled experiments to see how microplastics affected fish, invertebrates and aquatic plants.

Sept 4 - Best of Quirks: The listener question show

How much of a lake is fish pee? What's corn silk actually for? What happens if you break wind in a space suit? And much more....

Aug 28 - Best of Quirks: Understanding the Universe

Exploring how the universe will end, mining for microbes, searching for STEVE, and a love letter to the cosmos.

Five ways the universe might die — including one that could happen at any time

From The Big Crunch to Vacuum Decay, a new book explores the ways the universe might end, at least, according to astrophysics.

Microbes may be our miners on asteroids, moons and other planets

Microbes could be put to use in future human space settlements extracting metals and rare elements from rocks, according to a researcher who designed the world's first mining experiment in space. 

Citizen scientists help reveal new features of the mysterious aurora-like phenomenon called STEVE

Canadian aurora watchers were the first to spot the phenomenon and later provided critical images to researchers studying the aurora-like steaks in the night sky.

A theoretical cosmologist explores the right to wonder upon the night sky

In her new book, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein writes her love letter to the universe and asks readers to confront the ways that some people have been denied the opportunity to gaze upon the cosmos in wonder.

Aug 21 - Best of Quirks: A Bug's Life

Zombie cockroaches, ants shrinking their brains for motherhood, male mantises get their revenge, heavy duty ironclad beetles, and more.

The diabolical ironclad beetle's super-tough shell can even resist being run over by a car

Researchers used advanced imaging to look at the microstructure of the beetle's exoskeleton to understand how it works.

Forget fake vampires and ghouls; here's a real life zombie story from nature

The emerald jewel wasp turns the American cockroach into a zombie so it can be manipulated into providing a living meal for its larvae

Scientists find male praying mantises taking a stand against cannibal females

Male springbok mantises violently wrestle and sometimes injure females they fight to mate — and survive.

Butterfly males leave a stinky parting gift with mates that deters further suitors

The strong-smelling chemical compound saves the female from unwanted harassment and guarantees his paternity

Ant-i-social distancing: Ants know isolation prevents the spread of infection

Ants do it, so do vampire bats. We're not the only ones who 'socially distance' when sick

These ants shrink their brains for motherhood — but can also grow them back

Indian jumping ants are rare in that the workers can reproduce. But there's a catch: they have to give up 25 per cent of their brain to do it.

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