Quirks and Quarks

Quirks and Quarks


CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks covers the quirks of the expanding universe to the quarks within a single atom... and everything in between.

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Atlantic ocean circulation edging closer to potentially catastrophic climate tipping point

The stability of much of the world’s climate depends on ocean currents in the Atlantic that bring warm water from the tropics north and send cool water south. New research in the journal Science Advances confirms what scientists have long feared: that we are on course to this tipping point that could cut off this important circulation pattern, with severe consequences. René van Westen from Utrecht University, said if we reach this critical threshold, it could plunge Europe into a deep freeze, disrupt rains in India, South America and Africa, and lead to even more sea level rise along the eastern North American coast — all within 100 years.


Humpback whales look for quiet corners to broadcast their breeding songs

Scientists wanted to know why the thousands of humpback whales in Hawaii for breeding season move closer to shore to sing their choruses at night. Anke Kuegler, a marine biologist at Syracuse University, tracked whales to get a better understanding of their daily movement patterns. She found that during the day, they take their songs offshore, likely to ensure potential mates or other male competitors can hear their songs in the crowded underwater environment. Their research was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.


A tiny marsupial sacrifices everything — including sleep and life itself — for love

The Antechinus, a small mouse-like marsupial that is native to Australia, has a short, frenzied, three week-long annual breeding season, after which the males drop dead. A new study, led by Erika Zaid at La Trobe University, shows the males will sacrifice a significant amount of sleep to ensure they don’t miss out on their one shot at reproductive success. The researchers don't believe the sleep loss leads to their demise—in fact, they show very little signs of exhaustion despite losing out on so many zzz’s.


How to encourage climate action without bumming people out

In a global study involving almost 60,000 participants in 63 countries, behavioural psychologists compared 11 different ways of talking about climate change to see which one encouraged the most action. Madalina Vlasceanu and her team at New York University found that, unsurprisingly, the results varied widely depending on demographics. Some of the more successful interventions tested include writing a letter to future generations, showing examples of past effective collective action, and emphasizing scientific consensus on the causes of climate change.


Saturn’s ‘death star’ moon could have the water of life

Liquid water has been found in what astronomers say is the solar system’s most unlikely place 

Saturn’s moon Mimas is a small body with an irregular orbit, best known for its resemblance to the Death Star in the Star Wars movies. A new study in the journal Nature, led by astronomer Valery Lainey, suggests it has a liquid layer of water beneath its frozen surface, which may mean life-sustaining water is far more common in the solar system than we thought. 


Moths aren’t drawn to the flame - they’re just really confused by them

A new study suggests that insects flit around artificial light at night because they are confused, not because of a fatal attraction. Sam Fabian and Yash Sondhi used motion capture and high speed imagery to understand insects’ flight patterns, and found that they always turned their backs to the light, which leaves them trapped in a spiral around the source. This suggests the insects are mistaking the lights for the sky, which normally helps tell them which way is up.

Vorherige Folgen

  • 602 - A post valentine’s look at humpback mating songs and a marsupial that’s sleepless for sex 
    Fri, 16 Feb 2024
  • 601 - Scientists explore which came first, the chicken or the egg, and more… 
    Fri, 09 Feb 2024
  • 600 - An ancient tree’s crowning glory and more… 
    Fri, 02 Feb 2024
  • 599 - The aftermath of a record-smashing volcano: Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai two years later, and more... 
    Fri, 26 Jan 2024
  • 598 - Can diet and exercise be replaced by pills and more… 
    Fri, 19 Jan 2024
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