DiscoverQuirks and Quarks from CBC Radio
Quirks and Quarks from CBC Radio
Claim Ownership

Quirks and Quarks from CBC Radio

Author: CBC Radio

Subscribed: 38,222Played: 479,303


CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks covers the quirks of the expanding universe to the quarks within a single atom... and everything in between.
226 Episodes
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.
To finish out the year, we’ve got another edition of our ever-popular Listener Question Show, where we find the experts to answer your burning science questions.
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.
The high seas are beyond the reach of international law – and beyond the beat of most reporters. But Pulitzer-Prize-winner and former New York Times journalist, Ian Urbina, has sailed into uncharted territories. Urbina sets out on a years-long quest to investigate murder at sea, modern slave labour, environmental crimes and quixotic adventurers. Part travelog, part true-crime thriller, this 7-part series takes listeners to places where the laws of the land no longer exist. The Outlaw Ocean is brought to you by CBC Podcasts and the LA Times and produced by The Outlaw Ocean Project. More episodes are available at
Brain cells play Pong; DNA shows the Black Death had a huge impact on our evolution; This penguin lays two eggs so it can throw one away; Black hole’s digestive delays; In time for a Halloween tipple? A new book about the science of spirits;
Did life on Mars exterminate itself?; Hand raised-wolves are as attached to their human caregivers as dogs; Oldest African dinosaur discovery sheds light on dinosaur origins; 100,000 years ago humans in Africa were distilling powerful glue; Neanderthal genome earns a Nobel prize; Ray Kurzweil on downloading the mind.
Nobel Prize for quantum entanglement; The mystery of the missing bear toes; Painting a picture of the Chicxulub tsunami; Ancient DNA and the roots of Anglo-Saxon England; The “Support our Science” movement pushes to boost funding for young scientists.
The DART mission – Has NASA shown it can save us from disaster?; What has the ‘Trump of the Tropics’ done to the lungs of the planet?; Birds in North America benefited from COVID lockdowns. In the UK, not so much; Megalodon was truly a monster; Indigenous Astronomy – reconciliation and the sky.
Comments (7)

Ian Murdoch

the hornet audio clip actually frightened me there.. not the best day to wear headphones!

Jul 5th

Monica Lange

Another interesting program.. Thank you.

Jun 22nd

Mmm Taylor

I'm in Canada. I'm 42. have had a scope done on each knee. Told I will need knee replacement in my future but am too young to have it now, which I understand. Recently referred to as the beginning stage of arthritis. If there is a way for it to be regenerated I'll do it. Right now taking Synvisc 1 injection. Made my appointment for the 2nd one. I dont think people look at this as having mobility issues but this is my life.

Nov 3rd


excellent science podcast. I have listened for many years on the CBC Radio Vancouver and now the podcast. lots of new blow your mind science and tech news with smart guests.

Jul 11th


I like the information that you can get from this podcast. but their hosts sound so mechanical and not off the cuff and that he's written it all down before the interview, It really kind of ruins any atmosphere that it would have. And the guest hosts just sound silly. Great information, Some of the most boring hosting ever.

Mar 27th


Great podcast, but the choice of transition music is terrible!

Feb 27th

Martin Z

i really don't appreciate this nonsense of moving channels to a new place thats exactly the same thing only now i dont know what ive listened to and what i havent

Jan 30th
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store