Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


June 15 — Should we have humans in space? A Quirks & Quarks public debate

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, cosmologist Renée Hložek, planetary scientist Marianne Mader and space flight historian Amy Shira Teitel weigh in on whether we should leave space to the robots.
Bob McDonald's blog

Humans vs robots in space: We need both

To explore space, we need robots to do the early reconnaissance and primary science

WATCH: Quirks & Quarks public debate

Replay of the Quirks & Quarks special live taping

June 8, 2019 — A diet of microplastic, Canada's northern limits, elephants smell numbers and more…

Depression genetics, magnetic therapy for concussion and aurorae on other planets
Bob McDonald's blog

A child's question about climate change

Young people's voices make a difference because the future is theirs

We're consuming a lot of plastic and have no idea of the risks

Plastic is in seafood, salt, sugar, beer, drinking water and the air we breathe

Canada is using science to lay claim to the North Pole

Central to the claim is where a country's extended continental shelf ends, which can only be proved by detailed sub-sea geological work

The elephant's mathematical trunk can smell numbers

Asian elephants can distinguish small differences in quantities of food using smell alone

Depressing conclusion as new study reverses 25 years of research

Genes previously suspected as causing depression turn out to have little impact

Concussion symptoms reversed in mice using magnetic therapy

Magnetic stimulation has shown promise with brain disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD in the past, and now scientists have show it can reverse concussion symptoms in mice.

Do aurorae occur on other planets and moons?

Aurorae do not occur on our moon, but they do occur on other planets like Mars and the gas giants.

June 1 — The benefits of video games, composting corpses, brewing ancient beer and more…

Right whales in the wrong place and supernovas and bipedalism
Bob McDonald's blog

New computer model explains faltering jet stream

New model incorporates ozone layer to explain weakening of the jet stream

Video games aren't corrupting young minds — they may be building them

New science suggests that video games are rarely addictive, and they can help with social and intellectual development — and possibly even mental health.

Don't bury or cremate — soon you may compost your corpse

'This soil can then be used to grow new life. Eventually you could be a lemon tree'

Drink like an Egyptian: 5000-year-old yeast is resurrected to brew ancient beer

Researchers brewed five kinds of beer, and report the Philistine brew was best

Right whales were in the wrong place because of the wrong climate

Warming water in their traditional habitat led to a collapse in their favourite prey

Did our ancestors evolve to walk upright because of exploding stars?

Cosmic rays from supernovae might have destroyed forests and forced us up onto two legs

May 25 — Sharks on a bird diet, fossils of fungus, 'lifelike' machines and more…

Giant beaver extinction, the beauty of calculus and oil spill dispersants
Bob McDonald's Blog

Neuroethicists warn of extraordinary claims from 'neurowearables'

The claims of manufacturers are often ahead of the neuroscience

Flying food for fish? Tiger sharks are somehow eating songbirds

Migrating birds who fall into the ocean become fast food for baby tiger sharks

Fungus fossils show the complexity of life a billion years ago

Tiny fossils of fungal spores lived in an ecosystem dominated by bacteria

Scientists create robot-like biomaterial with key traits of life

The DNA-based material can metabolise, self-assemble, and potentially even evolve

Ancient beavers as big as bears died out because of their woodless diet

As the landscape dried up 10,000 years ago this dam-less beaver couldn't create it's own home

No, really, calculus can be beautiful and this mathematician will tell you why

Steven Strogatz wants you to share his enthusiasm for calculus, 'the language of the universe'