Quirks & Quarkswith Bob McDonald


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.
Bob McDonald's blog

Robotic explorers lasting well past their warranty

If only cars would run as well as NASA's intrepid robotic explorers like Opportunity, Dawn, and the Kepler Space Telescope

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.

Nov.3, 2018: Politics puts the Amazon at risk, the problem with probiotics, biggest bird was blind and more…

Transforming robots, the origins of chocolate and why fish aren’t salty.
Bob McDonald's blog

42 years of science journalism — and one big story

For his entire career Bob McDonald has been reporting on one ever-more-critical story — climate change
Quirks' blog

Eight scientific reasons to ditch daylight time - and two to keep it

Daylight time is bad for us, and science suggests it makes sense to ditch it. Here are the eight reasons to get rid of daylight time - and two to keep it.

The 'Trump of the Tropics' is now in charge of the lungs of the planet. Here's why that's scary

Brazil's new president wants to invigorate the country's economy by relaxing environmental laws. Conservationists and climate change researchers worry this could threaten the world's largest rainforest: the Amazon.

Probiotics probably aren't making you well, and they could make you sicker

A recent study suggests half of those who take probiotics just poop them right out

The biggest bird in history might have been blind as a bat

The giant elephant bird foraged at night in the forests of Madagascar, despite the fact that likely could barely see

A step towards Optimus Prime — transforming robots can reshape themselves

It's called SMORES, which stands for Self-assembling MOdular Robot for Extreme Shapeshifting

Aged chocolate: Archaeologists find evidence of 5000-year-old chocolate drink

Archaeological evidence suggests chocolate originated in the Amazon over 5,000 years ago, much earlier than previously thought.

Why are salt water fish not salty to eat?

Marine fish do not taste salty because get rid of the excess salt they ingest in order to maintain a balance of electrolytes in the body.

Oct 27, 2018 - Neanderthal nursing, Antarctica's singing snows, Fish and hook injuries a

Our purple planet, Evolution goes to town and why two ears don’t hear louder than one
Bob McDonald's blog

Teaching machines to make life and death decisions on the road

Asking humans about what decisions they'd make is the foundation for 'moral machines'

Neanderthals nursed their sick and injured back to health with ancient medicine

Researchers examined over 30 Neanderthals with visible injuries to determine the level of care they would have received

Listen to the Antarctic ice sheet sing a song of melting ice

The low hum of the Ross Ice Shelf could be an invaluable tool to monitor the health of the snow layer and the ice underneath.

Hook injuries could hamper fish's ability to feed

New research by a marine biology student at the University of Alberta suggests that hook injuries could be hampering the ability of "catch and release" fish to feed.

Purple reign: life on Earth might once have been dominated by purple microorganisms

Purple microorganisms may once have dominated life on Earth, and might be found on extrasolar planets too

Evolution is going uptown as plants and animals adapt to city life

The book 'Darwin Comes To Town' chronicles how many plants and animals have evolved innovative ways of surviving in big cities.