Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


Sep 26: Tailings pond detoxification, baboon friendship and longevity, ancient DNA in dirt and more ...

Tickling rats for science and five ways the universe might die

Preventing the loss of Arctic ice by spraying it with glass

Bob McDonald's blog: engineers want to make Arctic ice more reflective by coating it with glass. But it's a temporary solution that could, at best, just buy us more time.

Oil sands tailings ponds are toxic. Canadian-made nanotech could help fix that

Tiny floating solar-powered beads can break apart the worst of the tailings pond toxins

Male baboons make friends with females for just one reason: a longer life

The benefits of companionship and what that could mean for stress and health can provide as much as two years of extra life

Less than a teaspoon of dirt contains DNA that could hold the history of an entire landscape

Study finds many surprises, such as the fact that woolly mammoths survived 1,000 years longer than previously thought.

Tickling rats to improve animal — and scientists' — welfare

Researchers are listening in on rat giggles, and that’s a good thing for all kinds of science.

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.

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