Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald

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Oct. 20, 2018 - 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 thanks to climate change

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

Tiny sexually transmitted worms help dung beetle offspring grow faster and bigger

A meat eater chooses a side of seagrass — this shark's an omnivore

Long thought to be exclusive meat-eaters, the bonnethead shark is an omnivore

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

Leaving no stone unturned as scientists establish a baseline for further studies

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

Why don't we sneeze when we're asleep

The body shuts down many muscular systems during sleep

Oct.13, 2018: The Great Canadian Ganja Experiment

Quirks & Quarks explores the science of cannabis now that our entire country is legalizing it for recreational use.
Bob McDonald's blog

Canada's cannabis experiment: Scientists are excited about legalization

The end of prohibition opens the door to research to understand this fascinating plant

Cannabis and the brain: the knowns and the big unknowns

There's still a lot we don't know about the effects of cannabis on regular users because research was so difficult during prohibition

What's in a pot plant? Exploring the genes of your favourite ganja

Forget indica versus sativa — the genetics doesn’t support the distinction

Cultivating cannabis: 5 tips on how to grow your own a bit better at home

Canada’s first PhD in cannabis horticulture gives growing tips for better bud.

Cannabis in a van: American researchers get creative to study high potency products

High potency marijuana products result in a quicker buzz, but come with unknown health risks

Addiction and cannabis: it's real and this is what you need to know about it

A user's propensity to becoming addicted varies according to their genetics, age, and personal history

Oct. 6, 2018 - Canada's newest Nobel laureate, reading surgeons' minds, sniffing out shark water and more…

A moon in an alien solar system and women and autism underdiagnosis
Bob McDonald's blog

Are we on the verge of a new race to the moon?

This time it's not competing nations, but public vs. private space exploration

Donna Strickland, Canada's latest Nobel winner, is a 'laser jock' who loves the lab

Donna Strickland, a laser researcher from the University of Waterloo, is a 2018 laureate, and only the third woman to win the Physics prize.

Researchers are reading doctors' brains to see how good they are at surgery

New research suggests neuroimaging might offer a better way to assess surgeon competence

CSI on the beach: How scientists are using DNA to 'smell' for sharks around beaches

Researchers have found they can detect the presence of sharks around busy beaches by sampling the water for "environmental DNA" in a process that they hope can help inform beachgoers when it's safe to go back into the water.

Watching a moon rise — in a solar system 8000 light years away

There is compelling evidence for the first moon outside our solar system

Hundreds of thousands of women with autism may be going undiagnosed because it's a 'male disorder'

Vast numbers of girls and women with autism aren't being helped with their problem due to diagnostic gender bias, according to a leading UK autism researcher.

Sep. 29, 2018 - Narcolepsy shows the importance of sleep, bird voiceboxes, neutron star nuclear pasta and more

Manta rays and filtering water, a UV sensing wristband and the colour of bird poop
Bob McDonald's blog

Preserving dark skies from light pollution so we can still wonder at the stars

A new dark sky preserve in Ontario joins dozens worldwide where people can see the light of the universe as it shines on Earth

What this man with narcolepsy can teach us about getting better sleep

Henry Nicholls has studied his disorder, and says understanding sleep will help you get better rest

Bird song is unique as well as beautiful — no other animal makes noise this way

According to a new study, the organ that birds use to make vocal sounds is unique in the animal kingdom, raising questions about how it might have evolved.