Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


Sep 19: Woodpeckers fight violent wars, understanding hibernating squid and more

Viking DNA and the scientific and moral complexity of COVID vaccines

66 Million years of climate history give present day perspective

Bob McDonald's blog: We're in the midst of an unprecedented rate of climate change

In lethally violent 'woodpecker wars' some birds fight, and some just come for the show

Coalitions of acorn woodpeckers battle for the opportunity to breed

Unlocking the secrets of jumbo squid hibernation might improve human medicine

Jumbo squid switch off almost half of their overall metabolism when they hibernate on a daily basis

Short, dark and southern — many Vikings aren't who you thought they were

DNA evidence suggests it is time to rethink our picture of these fierce warriors of the Middle Ages

Fast, effective and ethically distributed — what we need from a COVID vaccine

With vaccine makers promising a COVID vaccine in record time, how do we know the results will be safe — and fair?

Sep 12: Summer Science Special — Fishing with the boys, COVID garbage and more

Recognizing Black birders and cougar kills

A summer of seeing and tasting climate change

Bob McDonald's blog: Bob's summer adventures included witnessing the results of global warming

A Fisheries biologist copes with the shutdown by drafting his kids as research assistants

Their cottage lake was a research site and the three young boys caught fish and collected data

A stranded plastic pollution researcher maps COVID litter in her backyard

When her plan to research plastic pollution on an island in Alaska was canceled due to the global pandemic, one researcher turned her attention to COVID litter on the streets of Toronto.

Studying sparrows and launching a movement in support of Black scientists

How one ornithologist spent her summer doing double duty studying coastal marsh sparrows and organizing a social media movement in support of Black birders.

Dangerous, difficult and disgusting — Tracking cougar kills gives insights into the big cats

Researching cougar predation in southern BC could help us understand how increasing human activity is influencing the big cats' behaviour. And there were kittens.

Sept 5, 2020 - Best of Quirks & Quarks: Listener question show

We answer your questions, like: do wildfires near Chernobyl release radiation? Do birds fly south for the summer in the southern hemisphere? How much does an airplane grows and shrink as it flies?

Aug 29 2020: Best of Quirks & Quarks — AI & robotics

A robot made from living cells, AI on music and a robot stand up comedian.

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

AI is reviewing scientists' old work and discovering things they missed

Scientists hope this AI system that turns words into math can help speed up the discovery process

Scientists create a robot made entirely of living cells

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

Machines on music — AI helps figure out how music tickles your brain and your body

Researchers studied how musical features affected the brain, body and emotional response

A stand-up robot understands that timing is the secret to comedy

A joke telling robot just finished 32 shows where it got a lot of laughs, but also a lot of data that can help scientists better understand human-robot interactions

August 22, 2020 - Digging up the past summer show

Ancient paint from lake goo, evolving animal worms to fish fingers, fossilized parenting, most dangerous place on Earth and archeology from space

Ancient Indigenous people made durable rock paint from lake goo

The paint for the vivid red petroglyphs at Babine Lake, B.C., has an unusual source

Fish fingers and bilateral symmetry — new fossils shed light on critical stages of evolution

Recent discoveries give clues about two critical stages in the evolution of modern complex animals

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

Scientists describe the most dangerous place in the history of planet Earth

A hundred million years ago, this site in what is now the Sahara had huge carnivorous dinosaurs, enormous crocodiles, and fish that could have eaten a human in a single bite.

Archeology from space — discovering history from a few hundred kilometres up

Researchers used to getting their hands dirty digging in the dirt, are finding ancient sites using satellite technology