Quirks and Quarks

Quirks and Quarks by CBC

CBC

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

Categories: Science & Medicine

Listen to the last episode:

We now know what happened to a supernova discovered by a Canadian 37 years ago (0:58)

A mystery about the ultimate fate of an exploding star has been solved. Canadian astronomer Ian Shelton discovered the new bright light in the sky back in February 1987, and recognized it as the first supernova to be visible to the naked eye in 400 years. In a new study in the journal Science, astrophysicist Claes Fransson from Stockholm University, confirmed that the remaining cinder collapsed into a super-dense neutron star.


A vibrating pill makes pigs feel full (10:30)

There’s a lot of interest in weight loss drugs right now, but a new technology could one day be able to help control appetite without pharmaceuticals. Researchers at MIT have developed a mechanical pill that, when ingested, vibrates in the gut, stimulating the nerves that signal fullness much like drinking a full glass of water before a meal. The research was led by Shriya Srinivasan, a former MIT graduate student who is now an assistant professor of bioengineering at Harvard University. She says that while it hasn’t been tested in humans, pigs ate 40% less food after ingesting the pill. The research was published in the journal Science Advances.


Wildebeest push Zebras out in front in the annual Serengeti migration (18:22)

Nearly two million animals — zebras, wildebeest and gazelles — migrate through Africa’s Serengeti plain every year. It was thought the Zebras led the migration. But a new large-scale study has shown that the reason the Zebras go first is that they’re being pushed ahead by the more numerous Wildebeest who eat everything in sight. Michael Anderson from Wake Forest University in North Carolina shares the new findings in this migration pattern.


Temperature and pollution are conspiring to mess up sea turtle sex ratios (26:55)

Biologists have known that higher temperatures cause endangered green sea turtle hatchlings to develop as females more often. Now a team has discovered that pollution can exacerbate this, causing sex ratios to skew even more. Arthur Barraza of the Australian Rivers Institute in the School of Environment and Science at Griffith University in Australia said this could add to the turtles’ difficulties if too few males are available for reproduction. The research was published in Frontiers in Marine Science.


How Icelanders suffer and benefit from their volcanically active home (36:14)

Scientists studying the recent volcanic activity near the town of Grindavik now have a much better understanding of what’s behind the recurring eruptions. Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, said they’ve seen pressure building up and moving underground repeatedly before erupting at the surface. Their study was published in the journal Science. 


Over in the northeast region of the country, in Kafla, scientists and engineers are busy preparing to tunnel into a relatively shallow magma chamber. Hjalti Páll Ingólfsson, the director of GEORG, described their plan to dig into the magma chamber that was discovered by accident for scientific research. However they are also interested in whether it can be exploited as a potential energy source ten times more powerful than current geothermal energy sources. 

Previous episodes

  • 603 - Icelanders reap the costs and benefits of living on a volcanic island and more… 
    Fri, 23 Feb 2024
  • 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
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