Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


June 22 — Is your Wi-Fi watching you? Dog's manipulative eyebrows, Darwin's finches in danger and more…

An AI learns numbers, genetics of smell, bonobo wing-mums, sponge scientists and electric car questions
Bob McDonald's blog

The other 'first man' who was supposed to go to the moon

Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov was supposed to beat the Americans to the moon

Your Wi-Fi router could be used to watch you breathe and monitor your heartbeat

Radar-like technology can see through walls to track movement

We've bred dogs to have expressive eyebrows that manipulate our emotions

Dogs have muscles that control their eyebrows that don't exist in wolves

A face-eating parasite is devastating Darwin's famous Galapagos finches

Fly larvae feed on the finch's beak, creating deformities that change their song

AI is now learning to do things it hasn't been taught

Deep learning AI network develops a sense of numbers by mimicking how humans process visual information

Do your genes smell bad? DNA shows what our noses know

Small differences in receptor genes may explain differences in our 'smellscapes'

Bonobo mothers act as wing-mums for their sons

Mothers help sons get access to females and scare off rival males

A research assistant named Spongebob? Sea sponges collect data for science

Sponges turn out to be natural filters for capturing environmental DNA samples from the ocean

Do electric cars take more CO2 to build than they save?

EVs take a lot of CO2 to manufacture but should save more over a lifetime of use

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'