Mother ants shrinking brains, boreal forest tree shifts, finding a new blue, airborne plastic pollution, and a new book looks at ‘Life’s Edge’
These ants shrink their brains for motherhood — but can also grow them back; Intense boreal forest fires may change tree species, and lead to more carbon uptake; ‘Where’s the blue food?’ Scientists find source for natural blue food dye in red cabbage; Tons of microplastic is being thrown into the atmosphere from roads, oceans and fields; Contemplating what it means to be alive in the new book ‘Life’s Edge’.
Coyotes doing well in the city, asteroid impact created rainforests, the minimal organism, elephant seals fear of the light and why warmer springs could mean earlier falls
How “wily” coyotes have managed to find success in the city like no other predator; The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs might have created the rainforests; Scientists create the simplest cell with only the bare essentials for it to live and reproduce; Elephant seals buoyantly navigate ‘lightscape of fear’ in long sea migrations; Climate change might make autumn leaves appear — and disappear — earlier.
Gorilla troops raise orphans, Canadian laser cools antimatter, concussion spit test, octopus sleep and dreams, forensic science in real life and blood of many colours
Giant silverback gorillas show a gentler side in looking after orphans; ‘Cool’ new Canadian-built laser will help scientists probe antimatter mysteries; Game-changing saliva test could rapidly diagnose concussions for athletes; Octopuses sleep in technicolour. Do they dream, too?; A new book looks at forensic science beyond what we see on TV; Do all creatures on Earth have red blood?
COVID pandemic origins, nature sounds good, why humans have such big brains, making the study of the universe more accessible and a question of cat fur
COVID ‘fuse’ may have been lit weeks or months before the Wuhan market ‘bomb’; Nature's sounds improve well-being — reducing stress and even pain; Researchers use 'mini-brains' to find out why ours grow so large; A theoretical cosmologist explores the right to wonder upon the night sky; How do you explain the changing hair colour pattern of a tabby cat?
When Greenland was green, bear back-scratching, Mars voyage emotional toll, fin whale seismic sensing, what made COVID-19 vaccines possible and gas fume shadows
Ice cores drilled for missile silo research reveals when Greenland was last green; Grizzly Tinder: Bears rubbing up against trees may be their dating calling card; Microgravity on a trip to Mars might leave astronauts emotionally impaired; Listening in on fin whale calls to do seismic sensing of the ocean floor; COVID vaccines were made in record time. Meet a scientist who made that possible; Why do gasoline fumes cast a shadow on a cold, sunny day?
10 years since Japan’s tsunami, ants do social distancing, otters save kelp forests, ancient and agile hippo-sized reptile and autism and human innovation
Earthquake science takes great strides in the 10 years since massive quake hit Japan; Ant-i-social distancing: Ants know how isolation prevents the spread of infection; Sea otters have been saving Pacific kelp forests from rapacious sea urchins; As big as a hippo, but speedy like a cheetah: meet the intimidating Anteosaurus; Is autism the legacy of humans evolving the ability to innovate?
COVID & climate complexity, memory athletics, life on Earth is lucky, frogs do noise cancellation, speaking to the dreaming and hot air rising
COVID gave climate scientists a natural experiment. Here’s what they learned; Flexing memory muscles like the pros can build long term memories; Do you feel lucky? Chance likely played a major role in life persisting on Earth; Frogs have noise cancelling lungs so females can hear males over the swampy din; Dispatches from the dreamworld: establishing two-way communication with lucid dreamers; If hot air rises, why is it cold at the top of mountains?
This week’s special edition of CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks looks at the history and future of Black people in science. We delve into the history of biased and false “race science” that for hundreds of years was used to justify slavery, exploitation and exclusion. This has left a terrible legacy in systemic racism that in the past and present has, on one hand, led to misunderstanding and mistreatment of Black people by the scientific and medical community, and on the other has created obstacles for talented Black researchers that prevented them from fully participating in the scientific process. We also talk to Black researchers about how they’re working to increase recognition for the contributions of Black scientists, and use that profile to build more opportunities and representation across all disciplines of science. Along the way we identify and honour historical Black scientists who overcame the obstacles to make significant but often unrecognized contributions to science.
Magnetic pole reversals, viruses hunt bacteria, solar powered microflyers, trans people and sexual health, the music of endangered birds and why elliptical orbits?
When the magnetic poles flip out, Earth seems to suffer; Bacteria-hunting viruses can track down antibiotic resistant bugs where they hide; Levitating solar-powered micro flyers may fly high where planes and rockets can't; HIV testing study of trans people in the UK reveals health care gaps; Music inspired by endangered bird calls brings focus on conservation and creativity; If the sun is round, why are the planets in elliptical orbits?
Driving a rover on Mars, a stinky romantic gift, coral that can handle bleaching, easy choices aren’t stress free, monkeys ‘self-domesticate’ and unhealthy water holes
Meet the Canadian engineer who will help guide NASA’s new rover on Mars; Butterfly males leave a stinky parting gift with mates that deters further suitors; Biologists can tell how some corals survive climate-related coral bleaching events; Quick decisions might not be easy ones as ‘choice overload’ leads to stress; Monkeys are 'naturally selecting' themselves for domestic cooperation and tranquility; Why don’t animals get sick from filthy, drying-up water holes in Africa?