Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald

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Sept 22, 2018, Hurricane floods move the earth, octopuses on ecstasy, greening the Sahara and more…

Gulf of St. Lawrence gasping for air, an elephant queen, and what happens to flushed opioids
Bob McDonald's blog

Easy does it: the tricky job of landing on an asteroid

A Japanese spacecraft is deploying landers on a tiny asteroid — it's harder than it looks.

We can forecast the hurricanes. Can we figure out how to forecast their floods?

A new technique measures how much the ground is pressed down by flood waterstk

Octopuses on ecstasy: The party drug leads to eight-armed hugs

Octopuses and humans respond very similarly to MDMA, the drug popularly known as ecstasy.

The Sahara's wind and sun could power the world — and turn the desert green

Large scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara desert would lead to more rain and vegetation.

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is running out of oxygen thanks to climate change

Shifting currents is bringing oxygen poor water to the deepest parts of the gulf

Elephant families are very like ours, according to the filmmakers of 'The Elephant Queen'

A new documentary traces the family life of a herd of elephants through environmental crisis

What happens when opioids are released into the environment?

Opioids have been detected in ecosystems at similar concentrations to other pharmaceuticals excreted by humans, like birth control hormones and antibiotics.

Sept. 15, 2018 - Summer Science - Camping under a volcano, plastic in beluga bellies and more

Arctic char and climate change, water filters for African villages and CO2 from forest fires
Bob McDonald's blog

When the Soviets held superiority in space

Bob recounts his visit to some of the sites of the early Soviet space program.

The moment they arrived, the volcano began exploding

An active volcano in Peru provides one Canadian researcher with the experience of a lifetime

Digging deep in a beluga whale's belly looking for plastic pollution

A young researcher investigates whether the Arctic whales are contaminated with microplastic

Will the water be too warm for fish to spawn? Studying climate change and Arctic char

A researcher studying Arctic char in Nunavut attracts a following of hungry bears, wolves and Arctic fox.

Canadian engineering talent helps develop water filters in Africa

A young Canadian researcher is helping to develop a cost effective system in Tanzania

How do CO2 emissions from forest fires compare to those from fossil fuels?

Scientist estimate that the forest fires in British Columbia this summer emitted two to three times as much CO2 as the province emitted from fossil fuel burning

Sept. 8, 2018 - With more species at risk than resources to save them, conservationists face hard choices

Many species are dying out, and there aren’t enough resources to save them all. How do we start a conversation about what to save, and how much we're willing to pay for it?
Bob McDonald's blog

Moving to the west coast made me more of an environmentalist

Years of closeness to the sea, the vistas and the wilderness have been transformative

Sept 1, 2018 - Gene editing in dogs, wildfire prediction, Zika fizzles and more

Extinct cave bears’ DNA legacy, Russians miss a missile, fake news, vaccine and is the Earth gaining weight.

Gene editing fixes muscular dystrophy in dogs — and humans could be next

Researchers used CRISPR gene editing successfully in a large animal to repair DNA mutations

Soot and smoke are the secret to predicting how forest fires might behave

Understanding the elements of fire better will allow controlled burns to be done more safely

The Zika epidemic 'vaccinated' half of Latin America, so it won't happen again

A study in Nicaragua suggests about 50% of the population actually got Zika during the 2015-2016 epidemic

DNA evidence shows huge cave bears mated with brown bears before they went extinct

Modern brown bears still carry DNA from their extinct giant relatives.

One of Russia's missiles is missing — and it could be a secret nuclear disaster

A test flight of what is rumoured to be a nuclear-powered cruise missile ended in a crash in the Barents sea.

This online game could be a 'psychological vaccine' for fake news

How to get the fake news bug out of your system.

Is Earth getting heavier or lighter?

The Earth loses more weight in the form of escaping hydrogen gas every year than it gains by taking in dust and meteors.