Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


August 8, 2020 - Space science summer show

The fight to be the first female astronaut, growing lettuce in space, deflecting asteroids, Canadian astronaut Jenni Sidey-Gibbons and more

The tale of the two female pilots who could have been the first women in space

A new book tells the tale of two brilliant women flyers who campaigned for a chance at spaceflight

Salads in space: NASA has learned to grow lettuce on the space station

Lettuce grown on the International Space Station is just as nutritious as the stuff grown on Earth.

NASA is testing a plan to deflect killer asteroids — by crashing into one

The DART spacecraft will slam into an asteroid to give it 'a little nudge'

How fire scientist Jenni Sidey-Gibbons became Canada's youngest astronaut

After graduating from NASA’s astronaut school, Jenni Sidey Gibbons looks ahead to the future of Canada’s role in space exploration.

Do other planets in the solar system have orbital tilt and seasons?

All but Mercury have orbital tilt, and there are some long and extreme seasons on other planets

August 1, 2020 - Wonderful wildlife summer show

Blue whale heartbeat, turbocharged jellyfish, Pablo Escobar's hippos, ravenous lionfish, a triumphant 'under-wolf' and more

Thar she beats! The challenge of measuring a blue whale's pulse

A researcher channels his inner Ahab to attach a heart monitor to the world's largest animal

Wiring jellyfish for speed: What modding a sea creature can tell us about the ocean

Scientists are creating turbocharged jellyfish to swim faster and more efficiently than modern marine robots.

How Pablo Escobar's escaped hippos are helping to restore an ancient ecosystem

Hippos are an example of how so-called invasive species shape their habitats in a similar way to long-extinct megafauna.

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

An invasive fish outcompetes rivals by beating them at eating.

The triumphant life of an 'under-wolf' in Yellowstone

Wolf researcher Rick McIntyre's book tell the story of one of the first reintroduced wolves in Yellowstone park

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

July 25, 2020: Women in Science Special — How science has done women wrong

Why women still aren't equally represented in science, both as researchers, and in science done about women

Glass obstacle course: Why so few women hold top STEM spots

Female scientists are forced to navigate informal and formal barriers - sometimes called the 'glass obstacle course' - to progress in STEM disciplines at every level.

Women's brains ARE built for science. Modern neuroscience explodes an old myth

Persistent arguments that women lack particular abilities valuable for science are based on bad evidence

Women and science suffer when medical research doesn't study females

Medical science has a deadly historical bias problem: until very recently, most studies only included males

July 18, 2020 — The Quirks & Quarks listener question show

Is water at the foot of Niagara Falls warmer than at the top? Are bioplastics better for the environment? Why are dinosaurs so big? And more

July 11, 2020 - Practical science summer show

Laundry and microplastics, brewing espresso, driver memory fail, judging cat pain, learning from your fear and more

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.

Lethal memory fail: Why drivers see, and then forget, motorcyclists

Driving simulation tests suggest that human memory, rather than negligence, may be responsible for "looked but failed to see" collisions, a new study suggests.

Brewing a better espresso with less coffee and more math

A coarser grind of coffee bean improves extraction of coffee resulting in a more consistent espresso.

Me-owch — could resting cat face tell us about kitty's pain?

Canadian scientists developed a "Feline Grimace Scale" to objectively measure acute pain in cats.

Your brain on terror — a writer faces the science behind her fears

For Canadian writer Eva Holland, she was afraid of losing her mother and afraid of heights. After her mother passed away in 2015, she started to examine the role that fear played in her life and decided to see if it was possible to get rid of her fears — for good.

Wouldn't our garbage break down faster if we kept our compost mixed in?

Can compost help break down garbage? Apparently not even the powerful microbes in our compost can help us break down garbage quicker.