Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


Meet 7 groundbreaking Black scientists from the past

From the first treatment for leprosy to the foundation of the global positioning system, Black scientists have long been involved in major scientific developments, despite being pushed to the margins, refused jobs, and denied credit for their discoveries. 

Feb 20: Magnetic pole reversals, viruses hunt bacteria, solar powered microflyers and more …

Trans people and sexual health, the music of endangered birds and why elliptical orbits?

It's critical to detect life on Mars before humans set foot on the red planet

Bob McDonald's blog: how we can avoid accidental microbiological 'wars of the worlds'

When the magnetic poles flip out, Earth seems to suffer

Magnetic pole reversal indicated in 42,000 year old tree rings may have triggered global environmental change

Bacteria-hunting viruses can track down antibiotic-resistant bugs where they hide

Bacteriophages could potentially help us mitigate the rising threat of antibiotic resistance.

Levitating solar-powered micro flyers may fly high where planes and rockets can't

At that height, there isn’t even enough air pressure for balloons to float

HIV testing study of trans people in the U.K. reveals health-care gaps

Researchers have found HIV testing rates skyrocket in transgender people, an at-risk group, when they are supplied with self-testing kits — but that promising sign also points to a bigger problem in the health-care system.

Music inspired by endangered bird calls brings focus on conservation and creativity

Science and philosophy of conservation informed Toronto composer Keith Stratton's piece

If the sun is round, why are the planets in elliptical orbits?

This burning question of the week concerns why planets have elliptical orbits around the sun given its round shape.

Feb 13: Driving a rover on Mars, a stinky romantic gift, coral that can handle bleaching and more…

Easy choices aren’t stress free, monkeys ‘self-domesticate’ and unhealthy water holes

Getting to Mars is a shooting gallery where all targets are moving

Bob McDonald's blog: Given the precision that's required, it's no wonder roughly half of Mars missions fail.

Meet the Canadian engineer who will help guide NASA's new rover on Mars

Raymond Francis, originally from Sudbury, Ont., plays a key role in operating the new Perseverance rover — including shooting its laser.

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

Scientists can tell how some corals survive climate-related coral bleaching events

The researchers discovered a biomarker they hope can help them identify heat-resistant coral for restoration efforts

Quick decisions might not be easy ones as 'choice overload' leads to stress

We're increasingly bombarded by more and more options. Scientists call this choice overload, and new research suggests those who seem able to make quick decisions may actually be more stressed out beneath the surface.

Monkeys are 'naturally selecting' themselves for domestic cooperation and tranquility

Researchers found the marmosets' social development is tied to their white facial fur as part of their self-domestication process

Why don't animals get sick from filthy, shrinking water holes in Africa?

This week's question of the week concerns elephants, crocodiles and other wild animals that congregate around shrinking watering holes during the dry season. Why don't they get sick from drinking from what seems like a bacteria-infested pond?

Feb 6: COVID treatments: what have we learned? Breakups change language, algae blooms on Greenland and more….

Bats’ impressive flight, amateur astronomers find brown dwarfs and fish in space?

Scientists develop transparent wood that is stronger and lighter than glass

Bob McDonald's blog: A simple backyard procedure results in see-through wood with enormous potential as a building material.

Treating COVID-19 one year in: what have we learned?

From throwing 'the kitchen sink at them' to scientific analysis — separating hype from hope in treating COVID-19

Me, myself and I: Little words may signal a big breakup is coming — long before you know it

New research suggests that long before a relationship comes crashing down, our word use shifts in subtle ways that may signal the end is near and we may not even know it.

What's feeding the algae growing on — and helping to melt — Greenland's ice?

Mineral dust linked to Greenland ice melt could be into driving multiple feedback loops that are accelerating ice loss.

Faster, higher, stronger — bats reach Olympian heights and record speeds

European bats ride updrafts to get to 1600 metres in altitude, and fly at 135 km/h

Amateur astronomers use the 'mark one eyeball' to find brown dwarf stars

Astronomers call on thousands of citizens scientists to help map 'failed stars' in the Sun’s backyard

If fish don't experience gravity, can astronauts learn from them to stay in shape?

Fish don't work against gravity, they work against the resistance of water. Could this be a model for astronaut workouts in space?