Quirks and Quarks from CBC Radio
Quirks and Quarks from CBC Radio
About Quirks and Quarks from CBC Radio
CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks covers the quirks of the expanding universe to the quarks within a single atom... and everything in between.
5,000 years ago riding left traces on the legs and butts of the earliest horsepeople; Whales use ‘vocal fry’ to echolocate at depth; Fossils suggest that if equatorial oceans get too warm, plankton may desert; Scientists have mapped the most complex animal brain yet - and it's the size of a grain of salt; A new book explores the unique biology and uncertain fate of Australia’s iconic koala.
Owls zero in on their prey under snow by eavesdropping on the sounds they make; Elephant behaviour helps to maintain healthy, carbon-rich forests; Feisty songbirds swarm their predators – but only when the time's right; The ‘sensory moustache’ that helps bats find sweet snacks; Cockatoos have a handy tool belt to fish for cashews; Seals may not tap their toes, but seals also appreciate a good musical rhythm; Listener Question: Why can’t waste plastic be dumped into volcanoes?
Male giraffes drink and savour female giraffe urine to see if she’s ready to mate; What scientists do when a volcano upsets their climate change record; Europe’s first farmers suffered more violence than their hunter-gatherer ancestors; Recycled wastewater can be cleaner than conventional sources; Don’t worry about zombie fungus. Do worry about other fungal pathogens.
Gorilla-sized penguins once roamed New Zealand; The first dedicated mission to Uranus will investigate why it’s tipped-over; Archaeologists decipher mummification secrets in embalming workshop; Engineered egg whites are the key element in a new water filter material; A new book explores 19 perspectives on the problem of consciousness.
The science behind the ‘love hormone’ may have a big problem; Could moon dust solve our global warming problem?; Canadian researchers develop a smartphone app for making memories; Orca sons are costing their mom’s a chance at more offspring; Crossing the land bridge — and back again. The travels of North America’s first settlers.
For a century dolphins and fishers have been cooperating, and the benefits are now clear Arctic foxes are tremendous travellers Elephant graveyard shows Neanderthals were more cooperative than we thought Asteroid sample shows just what we need to deflect a surprise killer impactor A new book looks at the experiments that gave us the modern picture of matter
Humans intuitively understand ape gestural communication; Wolves on an Alaskan island ate all the deer, so now are preying on sea otters; A unique mummy is digitally unwrapped to reveal historical treasures; 52 million years ago Canada’s Arctic was home to pre-primates; Black in Science: have recent years of activism made a difference?; Quirks & Quarks listener question.
An ancient sea creature sported a massive fork on its head — what for?; Echidnas blow snot bubbles to keep cool under the Australian sun; The Mars Perseverance rover is caching samples for return to Earth; Farming fish lose their fertilizer to invasive rats; How to fight an infodemic with cognitive vaccines.
ExxonMobil knew — and they knew really, really well; Dolphins yell to be heard over human noise, but the message doesn’t get across; Where’s the Kaboom? NASA’s new quiet supersonic plane is getting ready for lift off; Is climate change driving an “insectageddon”?; Canada on the moon: A Canadian-made rover will pave the way for the next astronauts.
A real viral video shows a microscopic virus attempting to infect a cell; A new study suggests scientific innovation has been stagnating; Studying the sex lives of constipated scorpions; We thought the Oort cloud threw snowballs at us — but it’s throwing rocks too; A biologist explains animal behaviour by tossing out the old nature/nurture debate; Quirks & Quarks listener question.
Figuring out what reindeer can hear to understand the impact from industrial sounds; Scientists discover massive river flowing under the Antarctic Ice; A shocking solution to accidental killing of sharks in fisheries; Clawing back: How cougars and grizzlies are reintroducing themselves in Manitoba,
A Canadian astronaut explains the toll space travel takes on the human body; A neuroscientist asks: Do we long for a divine creator or do we just want our mommies?; A medical historian looks at the historical echoes of the past in the pandemic of the present.
Ankylosaurs go clubbing. Armoured dinosaurs with tail weapons fought each other Ankylosaurs were squat, armoured living tanks with long tails tipped by a wicket bony club. And new research suggests that they used that weapon not just to defend against predators like T.rex, but to smash against each other in contests that might have been about mates, food or territory. Victoria Arbour, of the Royal BC Museum, led the work, which was published in Biology Letters Fiddlesticks! Researchers find swearing sounds are shared across languages By comparing curses across many languages a team of researchers thinks they’ve found common ground in bad language. Universally, it seems, curse words avoid the sounds associated with the letters L, R, W and Y. Shiri Lev-Ari, who studies languages at Royal Holloway, University of London, found you can tell a swear word when you hear one from how it sounds, even if you don’t have a ‘frakking’ clue what it means. Her research was published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. DNA from two million years ago provides a picture of a unique ancient ecosystem DNA recovered from the soil in northern Greenland, which today is an arctic desert, paints a picture of a 2-million-year-old ecosystem unlike any other on Earth, rich with plant and animal life. Professor Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary geneticist from the University of Cambridge and his colleagues, collected the samples from northern Greenland back in 2006. It took years for them to figure out extract the ancient DNA from the minerals in the soil and for new methods to sequence and identify tiny bits of very badly damaged genetic material to be developed. This groundbreaking finding, was published in the journal Nature. It IS all about the bass – researchers break down what in the music moves us Researchers have found that adding inaudible bass tones to music during a concert increases how much people dance. Neuroscientist Daniel Cameron used McMaster University’s LiveLab, which is part concert hall, part laboratory, to throw a concert with the band Orphx. During the show the researchers randomly added super low frequencies throughout. When those frequencies were on, concert-goers wearing motion capture headbands would dance 12 per cent more than when the frequencies were absent. The research was published in the journal Current Biology. Is it too late for Nuclear fusion? Nuclear fusion has been touted as a potential solution to all of our energy needs for decades, but progress towards controlled, energy producing fusion power has been painfully slow. In the meantime renewable energy, particularly solar, also promises to meet our needs, and has made tremendous technical and commercial progress and growth. Freelance broadcaster Moira Donovan looks at some recent developments in fusion and solar, and tries to answer the question, is it too late for fusion power?
Bats growl like death metal singers to communicate with each other; James Webb Space Telescope sees into the atmosphere of a distant gas giant; Lab coats don’t fit and aren’t functional. This researcher wants to make them fabulous; Ants produce ‘milk’ during metamorphosis to feed the colony; Pinpointing the Anthropocene. Where is the signature of the age of humans?
Researchers spy on turtles to see how they survive winter under the ice; Myco-computing – scientists substitute fungus for circuit boards in electronics; Airplane passengers are getting extra doses of radiation — and now we know its source; Basic black looks good on wolves exposed to disease; A record-setting hailstorm in Alberta was a bonanza for scientific hail chasers; Listener question: With glaciers and ice caps melting, where’s the water going?
Octopuses throw stuff at each other. Why not with all those arms?; Mayan ruins are heavily contaminated with mercury; Climate change driving shrimp to snap; A black hole in our galactic neighborhood; The tall tale of the discovery of the T-Rex; How are loons able to see into murky water?
Proliferation of rockets raises fears that the sky is falling; Compostable plastics may not be compostable, and likely aren’t being composted; Many more animals make vocal sounds than we thought – which means its very ancient; Tracking illegal fishing by watching when ships go into stealth mode; Next week there will be 8 billion of us, and that’s already too many.
Chimps and gorillas will seek out and socialize with each other in shared territory; Skipping the “fall back” and sticking with daylight saving would reduce vehicle/deer collisions; A crater in Africa was caused by an asteroid twice the size of the one that killed the dinosaurs; A nocturnal primate from Madacascar is the world-champion nose-picker; Canada’s most prestigious science award goes to research on habitat fragmentation
On October 24, 1992 a new voice took the helm at CBC's already venerable science program. And three decades and some 7000 interviews later, Bob McDonald is ready to look back - while still looking forward. We celebrated Bob's 30th anniversary with a show recorded in front of a live audience at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, where Bob began his career as a science communicator half a century ago. The event was hosted by Tapestry's Mary Hynes, as Bob was a guest on Quirks for the first time. We looked back at Bob's career, and some of the big stories in science he covered over the years, with appearances by special guests including retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, Nobel prize winner Art McDonald, and a whole family of friends and former guests on the program. It was a great evening of reminiscences and storytelling, with one eye on the past, but, as always with Quirks & Quarks, another on the future. ** This podcast contains bonus material not included in the radio broadcast.
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