Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


Oct.13, 2018: The Great Canadian Ganja Experiment

Quirks & Quarks explores the science of cannabis now that our entire country is legalizing it for recreational use.
Bob McDonald's blog

Canada's cannabis experiment: Scientists are excited about legalization

The end of prohibition opens the door to research to understand this fascinating plant

Cannabis and the brain: the knowns and the big unknowns

There's still a lot we don't know about the effects of cannabis on regular users because research was so difficult during prohibition

What's in a pot plant? Exploring the genes of your favourite ganja

Forget indica versus sativa — the genetics doesn’t support the distinction

Cultivating cannabis: 5 tips on how to grow your own a bit better at home

Canada’s first PhD in cannabis horticulture gives growing tips for better bud.

Cannabis in a van: American researchers get creative to study high potency products

High potency marijuana products result in a quicker buzz, but come with unknown health risks

Addiction and cannabis: it's real and this is what you need to know about it

A user's propensity to becoming addicted varies according to their genetics, age, and personal history

Oct. 6, 2018 - Canada's newest Nobel laureate, reading surgeons' minds, sniffing out shark water and more…

A moon in an alien solar system and women and autism underdiagnosis
Bob McDonald's blog

Are we on the verge of a new race to the moon?

This time it's not competing nations, but public vs. private space exploration

Donna Strickland, Canada's latest Nobel winner, is a 'laser jock' who loves the lab

Donna Strickland, a laser researcher from the University of Waterloo, is a 2018 laureate, and only the third woman to win the Physics prize.

Researchers are reading doctors' brains to see how good they are at surgery

New research suggests neuroimaging might offer a better way to assess surgeon competence

CSI on the beach: How scientists are using DNA to 'smell' for sharks around beaches

Researchers have found they can detect the presence of sharks around busy beaches by sampling the water for "environmental DNA" in a process that they hope can help inform beachgoers when it's safe to go back into the water.

Watching a moon rise — in a solar system 8000 light years away

There is compelling evidence for the first moon outside our solar system

Hundreds of thousands of women with autism may be going undiagnosed because it's a 'male disorder'

Vast numbers of girls and women with autism aren't being helped with their problem due to diagnostic gender bias, according to a leading UK autism researcher.

Sep. 29, 2018 - Narcolepsy shows the importance of sleep, bird voiceboxes, neutron star nuclear pasta and more

Manta rays and filtering water, a UV sensing wristband and the colour of bird poop
Bob McDonald's blog

Preserving dark skies from light pollution so we can still wonder at the stars

A new dark sky preserve in Ontario joins dozens worldwide where people can see the light of the universe as it shines on Earth

What this man with narcolepsy can teach us about getting better sleep

Henry Nicholls has studied his disorder, and says understanding sleep will help you get better rest

Bird song is unique as well as beautiful — no other animal makes noise this way

According to a new study, the organ that birds use to make vocal sounds is unique in the animal kingdom, raising questions about how it might have evolved.

'Nuclear pasta' on a neutron star could support mountains centimetres tall

Researchers have discovered that the crust of a neutron star -- its upper-most layer -- contains the strongest known material in the universe.

Manta ray dining habits could be the secret to filtering pollution from water

The giant rays have an innovative filter feeding technique different from any of our technologies

No more sunburns: A simple wristband could help us get just the right amount of sun

The simple device, developed by Australian researcher Vipul Bansal, can tell you when you've been exposed to your daily recommended limit of ultraviolet radiation.

Question: Why is bird poop white?

Birds equivalent of urine is the pasty white glob that ends up on our cars when we park them under trees.

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 waters.