Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald

Latest

July 4, 2020 - Science in the North summer show

Sounds of the Arctic Ocean, whale exfoliation, drying northern peatlands, farming in Nunavut, SmartICE supports northern life and more

Walrus knocking, seals trilling: These are the sounds of the Arctic

Researchers captured 33,000 animal calls over four years of recording.

Whales may migrate to warm water for a full body exfoliation

The mystery of why whales undertake long and arduous migration may come down to skin care

Vast boreal peatlands may dry up and burn in a warming climate

Understanding the effect of rising temperatures and drier air on peatlands such as the massive Hudson Bay basin is critical to future climate models.

Wheat and potatoes in Nunavut? Climate change could bring agriculture to the North

A new study finds that most of Canada's north will be suitable for farmland as the climate warms. But researchers caution this could be disastrous for the area and its people if not done sustainably.

SmartICE: Supporting Inuit knowledge of the landscape with technology

Technology for sensing ice thickness helps with judgements about whether hunting or travel is safe

As water covers most of the Earth, why isn't it completely shrouded in clouds?

Most water in the atmosphere is in the form of invisible vapour, not clouds, which only appear when cooling causes vapour to condense into water or ice.

Jun 27: The Quirks & Quarks listener question show

We answer your questions, like: do wildfires near Chernobyl release radiation? Do birds fly south for the summer in the southern hemisphere? How much does an airplane grows and shrink as it flies?

Missions to Mars, meteors and astronauts: A summer of space science

Bob McDonald's blog: We may not be travelling much this summer, but there's lots going on above us

Jun 20: A cosmic iceberg visitation, female genetic superiority and more…

A megadrought in the southwest and science fights Lyme disease invading Quebec.
Analysis

There may be 36 other intelligent civilizations in the galaxy, but odds of communicating with them are small

Bob McDonald's blog: Researchers calculate the nearest is probably 17,000 light years away

'Oumuamua could be a relic from giant clouds where stars are born

The mysterious interstellar visitor could be 'a new type of astrophysical object'

Female genetic superiority: when it comes to survival, two X chromosomes beat an X and a Y

In his new book ‘Better Half’, Dr. Sharon Moalem explains the survival advantage that allows women to better overcome biological challenges throughout their lives than men.

Megadrought: will the southwest part of North America be parched for decades?

Climate change could push the area into the worst megadrought in a 1,200 years

As climate warms and tick populations grow, Quebec turns to science to combat rising rates of Lyme disease

Warmer weather conditions allow disease-carrying ticks to reproduce faster while gradually migrating north by hitching rides on their hosts — mice, birds, deer and other animals, including humans. As a result, Lyme disease has become a far more pressing public health issue in parts of Quebec than it has ever been before.

A snake with a toxic surprise, the secrets of ambergris, and adapting coral to climate change

Web extras for Quirks on-line listeners

Jun 13: What if we hadn't locked down? The return of race science and more...

A dinosaur’s last meal and maybe we can go to Mars, but should we?
Analysis

Science strike for Black Lives Matter

Bob McDonald's blog: shutting down research for a day to focus on how to eliminate anti-Black racism

What if we hadn't locked down? Studies show we saved many millions of lives

Scientists think mandating mask wearing could help us avoid another costly lockdown in the future

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

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

A dinosaur's last meal of fresh ferns fossilized in incredible detail

Dinosaur died on a full stomach, before being trapped in mud for 100 million years
Pathway to Mars

Is it ethical to go to the red planet?

We consider possible harm to Mars, whether it's ethical to ask astronauts to go on such a dangerous trip, and the potential moral hazards around terraforming and 'colonizing' another planet.

Jun 6: Detecting COVID in sewage, SpaceX's Crew Dragon, pet dogs fail at rescue and more …

AI sources fossil poop, and the insect apocalypse
Analysis

A beacon of hope on World Oceans Day

Bob McDonald's blog: Social media movements focusing on conservation success stories may help restore motivation in the face of often negative news

The key to early detection of COVID-19 outbreaks might be in sewage

'We may actually start seeing genetic signals of the virus up to a week prior to its manifestation within the community.'

now