Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


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

Too much information: a new book explores the paradox of the information age

Legal scholar and behavioural economist Cass Sunstein explores the glut of information in our modern age, and how sometimes more information can make our decision making worse.

Is a planet full of exhaling humans contributing to global warming?

Human respiration doesn't contribute to global warming, but other human activity does.

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