Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


'The sky is not the limit': How the Apollo 11 mission inspired generations of scientists

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Quirks & Quarks spoke to Canadian astronauts and a variety of scientists from all disciplines about the moon landing’s legacy and how it inspired them to push the boundaries of human knowledge and achievement.

Bitcoin's energy costs, beatboxers invent new sounds, wind farms change lizards and more

Chucking salmon for science, piranha barking, smells and mapping, and heat and humidity.

Bitcoin mining uses more energy than mining for real gold

Worldwide mining for Bitcoin is consuming as much energy as the country of Denmark

Beatboxers have invented whole new ways of making sounds, scientists say

In an MRI study of five beatboxers, researchers found unprecedented patterns of movement

Wind farms in India are driving a population boom of skinny, fearless lizards

Wind farms provide a cleaner energy alternative to burning fossil fuels, but new research has found that they might also make an unexpected impact on surrounding wildlife.

For 20 years, scientists have been chucking fish into the forest. Here's why

For 20 years, scientists have been tossing hundreds of thousands of dead fish into the woods to understand how salmon carcasses feed the forest

Barking piranhas and screeching catfish are the sounds of the Amazon River

In the Amazon river, a scientist is eavesdropping on Piranha calls to figure out better ways to keep tabs on the ferocious fish.

Sniffing your way around: Our brains are built to navigate by scent

Researchers have found that those who can smell well, navigate well too

Why does humidity make us feel hotter in the summer and colder in winter?

Dr. Deepak Chandon from the University of Toronto has the answer.

July 6, 2019: Climate change & beer shortages, omnivore shark, dung beetle's babysitting STI, and more

Biological explorers in the B.C. backcountry, why nothing goes dark when you blink, and the reason you don’t sneeze when asleep.

Beer shortages could be a result of climate change thanks to barley crop failures

A bottle of beer in Canada could cost twice as much in the future, according to climate change professor Dabo Guan.

A meat eater chooses a side of seagrass: This shark is an omnivore

Long thought to be exclusive meat-eaters, it turns out the bonnethead shark is an omnivore.

A dung beetle's genital worms will help care for its offspring

Nematodes, or tiny worms, that ride along on the genitals of dung beetles help raise the beetle's offspring by boosting the good microbes in the beetle's dung-ball nursery nests.

Rain, spiders and bears are all part of discovering Canada's backcountry biology

To study life on our planet, you have to know what's out there. That means going to remote places and searching for plants and animals to discover what's living there and how those things live together. 

Why you don't go momentarily blind when you blink

When we blink, the brain remembers what we're looking at and fills in the gap, researchers found.

Why don't we sneeze when we're asleep?

This week's Quirks question comes from Robbie Currie of Collingwood, Ont., who asks: "Why don't we sneeze while we're asleep?"

With more species at risk than resources to save them, conservationists face hard choices

Many species are dying out, and there aren’t enough resources to save them all. How do we start a conversation about what to save, and how much we're willing to pay for it?

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