Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald

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Nov 16: Watching wildfire with radar, the return of race science and more…

Laundry and microplastic, submarines for your bloodstream and oxygen for airplanes
Bob McDonald's blog

Get some sleep, and get your brain washed

One new study showed a way the brain, during deep sleep, could be cleansing itself of toxic waste. Sadly, our busy lifestyles and addiction to devices is making deep sleep more rare.

New high-powered radar gives scientists a 3D view of wildfires in real time

The radar allows scientists to track activity inside fires to better predict and fight them

The return of race science — the quest to fortify racism with bad biology

A new book offers a timely exploration of the re-emergence of 'scientific' attempts to explain perceived racial differences

Your laundry and plastic pollution — which fabrics shed the most microplastics

Hint: You may not love your polar fleece jacket as much after you read this

Tiny submarines could make a 'fantastic voyage' into our bodies

Microscale vessels, powered by acoustic waves and oscillating bubbles, may one day carry medicine to precise locations inside the human body

How do high-flying airplanes get enough oxygen for their engines

Airplane engines are designed to efficiently extract oxygen out of thin air in order to keep them running at high altitudes

Nov 9: Lionfish are super digesters, Voyager 2 goes interstellar, carbon capture and more …

AI reads scientific literature, fear, trauma and inheritance and animal heart attacks
Bob McDonald's blog

'We sent a spaceship to the stars!'

NASA's Voyager 2 passed into interstellar space 41 years after its launch.

The lionfish is an Olympic athlete of digestion — and that's an ecological disaster

An invasive fish outcompetes rivals by beating them at eating.

After a 42-year journey, Voyager 2 goes interstellar

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has joined its twin Voyager 1 and crossed out of the heliosphere and into interstellar space

'We have to do everything': Why capturing carbon shows real promise

Capturing CO2 to store or make useful products could be a win for the planet and businesses, scientists say in a new review.

AI is reviewing scientists' old work and discovering things they missed

Scientists hope this AI system that turns words into math can help speed up the discovery process

Fear and trauma are useful for animals — can we learn from them how to live without it?

PTSD may be partly rooted in our evolutionary past as animals constantly threatened by predators

Do animals ever have heart attacks or is it just humans?

It is very rare for animals like dogs and cats, to experience heart attacks as we know them, but they do get various heart diseases

Nov 2, 2019: Roadway pollution, fungus promotes pancreatic cancer, the bang in the Big Bang and more…

Infant eels magnetic migration and the pathway to Mars
Bob McDonald's blog

Moon and Mars are tough places to drill

NASA's InSight mole has unexpectedly popped out of its hole

Pollution sniffing investigators find air near roads is high in contaminants

A report found a 'soup' of pollutants from traffic on major Canadian roads.

A common fungus may drive tumour growth in pancreatic cancer

Scientists hope this discovery could better help them monitor and treat this deadly cancer

The universe was full of cold goop, then came the Big Bang

New simulations worked through the period of cosmic 'reheating' that made the universe we know today.

Infant eels use the moon and an internal compass to finish their transocean migration

European eels cross the Atlantic Ocean twice in their lifetime, once after birth, and once to breed
Pathway to Mars

How we'll get to Mars — what's the biggest challenge, money or technology?

A new Quirks series looks at what we'll have to do to put humans on the red planet

Oct 26, 2019: World's loudest bird, a six-fingered lemur, a microbrewery in your gut and more…

Earthworms and the climate underground, a patient researcher and a question of indigestion

Females flinch from the mating call of the world's loudest bird

In a case of sexual selection gone wild, the white bellbird of the Amazon has the loudest bird call ever recorded

A lemur from Madagascar has been hiding a sixth finger on its hand

Naturalists have studied the aye-aye for two centuries — and missed its extra finger