Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


Dec 14: Saving the ozone helped climate change, extra-solar comet, great auk extinction and more…

Rockets for Mars, concussions and brain hemispheres and a question of cloud cover
Bob McDonald's blog

Bob's top 9 space and climate science stories of 2019

Lots of great science happened in 2019 — this is a list of stories that caught my attention

When we saved the ozone layer, we saved ourselves from even worse climate change

CFCs didn't just eat the ozone layer, they were also powerful greenhouse gases, and by eliminating them, we've avoided significant climate warming.

An interstellar visitor could be lighting up for astronomers in time for the holidays

Comet Borisov is the second known celestial object to visit our solar system from deep space

Penguin-like Great Auk extinction has human signature all over it

The last Great Auk died in the mid-19th century, and new research shows they weren't in natural decline, so their extinction was entirely a result of human over-exploitation.
Pathway to Mars

NASA, SpaceX or a former astronaut: Who will build the rocket that takes us to Mars?

It’s easy to dream of putting humans on Mars — but designing the spacecraft to actually get there will be no easy feat. We look at the types of rockets being built to get us to the Red Planet in Part 2 of our Pathway to Mars series.

Concussions can damage the connection that helps your left brain talk to the right

A concussion disrupts the flow of information through the brain's corpus callosum which connects the left and right hemisphere.

As water covers most of the Earth, why isn't it completely shrouded in clouds?

Most water in the atmosphere is in the form of invisible vapour, not clouds, which only appear when cooling causes vapour to condense into water or ice.

Dec 7: Inflammation and the brain, NASA visits the sun, climate shrinks birds and more…

Ancient paint from lake goo, smelling without olfactory bulbs and tweeting birds
Bob McDonald's blog

Climate models have been right all along, new study says

A study of past climate models found they were accurate compared to what we've observed.

Our brains could be collateral damage in our body's fight against infection

Inflammation is a double-edged sword in how it fights infections yet can turn on us

NASA's mission to touch the sun reveals 'rogue waves' and flipping magnetic fields

First results from the mission might help explain how the sun's atmosphere reaches such extreme temperatures

Songbirds are shrinking and climate change may be to blame

Smaller size might make it harder for songbirds to migrate each year

Ancient Indigenous people made durable rock paint from lake goo

The paint for the vivid red petroglyphs at Babine Lake, B.C., has an unusual source

Scientists surprised to discover women lacking olfactory bulbs can smell just fine

The olfactory bulb in the brain was thought to be an essential part of our sense of smell

Do different species of birds understand each other's tweets?

Birds of different species do no understand each other's territorial or mating songs, but they do seem to recognize the alarm calls of different species

Nov 30: Tipping into climate catastrophe, blue whale heartbeat, thinking twice on fake news and more…

A swift-swimming tunabot and the life of an ‘under-wolf’
Bob McDonald's blog

Astronomers anxious about plans to launch thousands of new satellites

New constellations of communications satellites could obscure the stars

Climate scientists warn we're on the precipice of disastrous 'tipping points'

Slow temperature changes could 'tip over' into catastrophic, fast and irreversible transformations

Thar she beats! The challenge of measuring a blue whale's pulse

A researcher channels his inner Ahab to attach a heart monitor to the world's largest animal

Think twice about posting once — breaking the fake news cycle

People share fake news less when they're prompted to think about its accuracy

Imitating a swift-swimming fish helps researchers build a speedy 'tunabot'

The tunabot can swim four body lengths per second, making it one of the fastest bio-inspired underwater robots.

The triumphant life of an 'under-wolf' in Yellowstone

Wolf researcher Rick McIntyre's book tell the story of one of the first reintroduced wolves in Yellowstone park

Nov 23: Psychedelics and 'waking-dreams,' adding feeling to virtual reality, the greatest ape and more…

AI learns how music affects us, foreign accent syndrome and the latitude of venomous animals.
Bob McDonald's blog

Yet another claim that someone's seen life on Mars

It's easy to be fooled by fuzzy images of rocks with interesting shapes and tricks of sunlight and shadow.