Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


Oct 24: Ironclad beetle's uncrushable shell, extinction made us upright and warm blooded and more…

‘Forever chemicals’ contaminate all of Canada, and a vet takes on great apes

Keeping buildings cool with colour

Bob McDonald's blog: Paint that can actually cool buildings, and tinted windows that generate solar power could be important innovations in reducing energy used by buildings.

The diabolical ironclad beetle's super-tough shell can even resist being run over by a car

Researchers used advanced imaging to look at the microstructure of the beetle's exoskeleton to understand how it works.

Birds and mammals got an evolutionary edge by getting their legs under them

Evolving warm-bloodedness and an upright posture after a massive extinction event allowed the ancestors of mammals and birds to survive — and thrive, said paleontologist Mike Benton.

How 'forever chemicals' have come to contaminate even the most remote parts of Canada

Toxic PFAS chemicals travel the world by water and air from contaminated locations, but they can concentrate in the north.

How a Canadian vet took on the challenge of saving the world's great apes

Training African vets how to treat injuries to gorilla eyes was the start of a conservation mission

Oct 17: Coronavirus and pain, sampling an asteroid, intersex moles and more …

Wildfires and CO2, Angry Weather and how much oxygen do trees produce?

Canada just signed a new moon pact — is it a good idea?

Bob McDonald's blog: The Artemis Accords outline new rules for exploring and exploiting the moon, but they're for the U.S. and selected allies, not a multilateral UN agreement.

The coronavirus could be messing with your pain perception — and that could help it spread

A Canadian researcher has found that the virus that causes COVID-19 can hijack a pain receptor on our cells, using it to get into the cell, but also blocking its ability to signal pain.

A NASA probe with Canadian content will touch an asteroid next week

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will touch down on the near-Earth asteroid Bennu next week and collect samples that may provide clues to the origin of life on Earth.

Which forest fires spew out the most CO2? It's the soil that matters, not the trees

New study finds that carbon emissions from boreal wildfires are largely coming from fuel available underground.

Female moles are intersex — they have testicle-like tissue that helps them grow big and tough

In a new study, geneticists looked at how female moles evolved intersexual traits in order to dig and fight like the males.

Angry Weather: the science of blaming droughts, hurricanes and wildfires on climate change

'Attribution science' can put a figure on how much climate change is to blame for extreme weather events

Which trees provide the most oxygen over the course of a year, deciduous or evergreen?

Deciduous and evergreen trees can produce similar amounts of oxygen each year, as long as they also have a similar total leaf area.

Oct 10: A Nobel for CRISPR, awakening with a sleeping pill and more…

Sea turtle egg decoys thwart thieves and the toxic threat of forever chemicals

Seeing the 'old Mars' in a close encounter with the Red Planet

Bob McDonald's blog: the view of Mars from Earth hasn't been this good since 2018

CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna reflects on Nobel win, calls for 'responsible use' of gene editing technology

French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier and American biochemist Jennifer Doudna won this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry, marking the first time an all-female team has won any science Nobel.

An 'awakening' moment: sleeping pill restores function to brain-injured patient

A young man with a rare condition called "akinetic mutism" — who could not move or talk — came to life again for a brief time, say researchers. Now doctors see a path to making his recovery permanent.

Decoy sea turtle eggs with GPS crack illegal egg trafficking

Researchers track the illegal trade to save the valuable eggs of endangered turtles

A new class of 'forever chemicals' is an emerging threat to our health and environment

PFAS chemicals are in 98% of Canadians’ blood and could make COVID-19 infections worse

Oct 3: Fat bears and living with grizzlies, singing dogs back from the dead and more....

Wasp ovipositor inspires medical device and the price of too much information

Airbus aims to produce zero emission airliners by 2035

Bob McDonald's blog: the airline manufacturer is betting on hydrogen fuel to reach carbon targets

How Canada's grizzlies are faring during Fat Bear week

Research shows that grizzlies have been adapting to human encroachment on their habitat — but they pay a heavy price.

DNA testing confirms singing dogs aren't extinct in the wild after all

These rare, shy dogs known for their harmonic howls hadn’t been seen in the wild since the 1950’s, but now DNA testing has confirmed their species still thrives.

A wasp's gruesome egg-laying organ inspires a new medical tool

An instrument based on the insect's ovipositor could do biopsies, remove tumours or deliver drugs