Home | Quirks & Quarks with Bob McDonald | CBC Radio
Jan 10: Cat contraception, termite air conditioning, octopuses re-engineer their proteins and more…
Coral viral infection and bizarre brain behaviour
Analysis | Bob's blog
Octopuses could help us conceptualize a different form of extraterrestrial intelligence
It's unlikely that aliens, should they exist, will have a single brain and walk on two legs like they do in the movies, writes Bob McDonald.
New cat contraception method using gene therapy could help manage feral populations
Controlling feral cat populations is controversial and often involves capturing, surgically sterilizing and releasing the animals, which is complex and expensive. U.S. scientists have developed a new method for cat contraception that involves a single injection of a gene that prevents cat eggs from maturing.
How 'bizarre' behaviours made this scientist appreciate what the brain can do
Brain injuries that cause major changes in cognition, personality and abilities have given us significant insight into how the brain functions. Neuroscientist Marc Dingman has collected some of these stories in a new book, Bizarre: The most peculiar cases of human behavior and what they tell us about how the brain works.
Jun 3: Digital spinal prosthetic, ground squirrel hibernation, medium-sized black hole and more…
Roundworm serotonin map and plastic pollution causes "plasticosis"
Plastic pollution is so bad for animals it now has a disease name — 'plasticosis'
Flesh-footed shearwater seabirds ingest plastic that leads to scarring of their internal organs, kidney and liver disease, all of which results in them starving and becoming more vulnerable to pathogens.
Analysis | Bob's blog
Self-driving cars know the rules of the road — but not rules of humanity
When it comes to reading cues from human drivers, autonomous vehicles have a ways to go.
May 27: Inducing hibernation with ultrasound, how your diet and your soap attracts mosquitoes and more…
Small predators take the wrong refuge and a Ugandan vet walks with mountain gorillas.
ANALYSIS | BOB'S BLOG
A new robot bee flies like its natural counterpart, but it can't land on the ceiling
A robotic insect with four wings is the first to be able to control itself in all three axes of movement like a bee. But landing on the ceiling like a fly is still beyond its reach.
Bug off! Your scent signature could be key to keeping mosquitoes away
Two studies examined which scents attract mosquitoes in different settings. Results suggest that each person's individual scent signature — which may vary with diet, skin microbiome, lifestyle, and cosmetic products they use — determines how attractive they are to the bloodsucking bugs.
A Ugandan vet's amazing story of her work to save mountain gorillas
Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka describes her work in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, home to nearly half the world's surviving mountain gorillas, in her new book 'Walking With Gorillas.'
May 20: Antarctic dinosaur migration, permafrost and pollution, tracking shark births and more…
Moana's tools, the Pangenome, and Zoonomia mammalian genome projects.
You can help scientists discover new asteroids that might threaten Earth
Bob McDonald's blog: Astronomers are asking for the public's help to scan through thousands of images of the night sky to search for undiscovered asteroids — some of which have the potential to collide with Earth.
May 13: Sharks that hold their breath, 2,000-year-old condor nest, why deer don't get Lyme disease and more…
Redrawing the motor homunculus and new vaccine technologies for the next pandemic.
NASA engineers hope to send a robot snake to explore Saturn's icy moon Enceladus
Bob McDonald's blog: Nature-inspired robots could help us get around and into extreme icy terrains to explore subsurface moon oceans.
This shark can hold its breath to stay warm in the deep, study finds
The scalloped hammerhead shark is most comfortable in warm water, but hunts by diving deep into the cold depths to hunt squid and other prey. A new study from the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology has found that the sharks stay warm by closing their gills in their dives to prevent heat loss.
May 6: Who wore a prehistoric pendant, AI mind reader, the evolution of blinking and more…
Eastern wolves, seeing air pollution from space, air pollution and cancer and where does moon dust come from.
Future fate of the Earth seen as planet is engulfed by its parent star
Bob McDonald's blog: Humanity gets its first glimpse of what happens when an aging star overwhelms a close orbiting planet, just as our sun is expected to eventually do with Mercury, Venus and Earth.
Woman's DNA discovered in 20,000 year old deer-tooth pendant
Scientists think the amulet absorbed DNA from contact with the skin of the person who wore it. That DNA tells them it was a woman related to people who lived across northern Eurasia.
Apr 29: Apples for a warmer world, Rosalind Franklin and DNA, birds' belly canteen and more…
Moustronaut microbiome and Brian Cox on black holes.
U.K. science star Brian Cox's new book explores how we might live in a black hole
'We have a picture where the interior of the black hole becomes — in some sense — the same place as the exterior.'
Black holes are messy eaters, two studies show
Bob McDonald's blog: Black holes are known to suck in anything that comes near them in spacetime, but two new studies refine our understanding of these phenomena.
Apr 22: Life on the garbage patch, lumpy dark matter formed the universe, underwater volcanoes and more...
Tadpole’s flexible forms, climate change and Antarctic life, and life with more oxygen
Big projects are waiting for Starship to straighten up and fly right
Bob McDonald's blog: Space projects from both public and private industries are looking to take advantage of the world's biggest reusable rocket, once SpaceX's Starship is ready to take off again.
Apr 15: AI scientist develops theories, bear hibernation and immobility risks, Canadian astronaut to the moon
Medieval monks moon science, a new view on the womb and the Earth with no moon.