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.

Kategorie: Nauka i Medycyna

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Old canned salmon provides a record of parasite infection

To study marine ecosystems from the past, scientists picked through canned salmon dating back more than four decades to measure levels of parasites in the fish. Natalie Mastick, a postdoctoral researcher in marine ecology at Yale University, said she found the parasite load in two species of salmon increased in their samples between 1979 - 2021. She says this suggests their ecosystems provided more of the hosts the parasites needed, including marine mammals, which could reflect an increasingly healthy ecosystem. Their study is in the journal Ecology and Evolution. 

Mars has more influence on Earth than non-astrologers might have thought

Mars is, on average, about 225 million km from Earth, which would suggest that it has little impact on our planet. Which is true, but as they say a little goes a long way. In a recent study in Nature Communications, researchers studying the history of deep ocean currents found a surprising 2.4-million-year cycle where giant whirlpools form on the ocean floor, linked to cycles in the interactions of Mars and Earth orbiting the Sun. The team, including geophysicist Dietmar Müller from the University of Sydney, say this may act as a backup system to mix the oceans as the Earth warms.

Medieval English silver pennies travelled a long way

Starting in the middle of the 7th century, economic development in medieval England was spurred by the increasing use of handy silver coins that greased the wheels of trade. To date, 7000 of these silver coins have been found that date to the period between the years 660 and 750 AD, but the source of the silver has been mysterious. Using modern technology, researchers from the University of Cambridge, including historian Rory Naismith,  have traced the silver right across the continent to its Byzantine source. In their study in the journal Antiquity, the researchers suggest the silver was brought to Europe a hundred years earlier in the form of silver objects, which were melted down and struck as coins in order to put more money into circulation.

Bonobos are not as nice as their reputation suggests

Bonobos are the lesser-known cousin of chimpanzees, and have a reputation for being the more peaceful ape. But a new study published in Current Biology reveals a dark side of bonobos. Anthropologist Maud Mouginot observed the behaviour of bonobos and chimpanzees in their dense tropical forest habitats in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. She was shocked to find out that male bonobos were twice as likely to be aggressive toward other males than chimpanzees. She said this suggests that we need to have a more nuanced view of aggression within and across primate species, including humans. 

COVID infections are causing brain inflammation, drops in IQ, and years of brain aging

For many people COVID was more than a respiratory disease. We’re learning now just what kind of impact an infection can have on the brain. It can affect cognition – leading to the famous brain fog – and even shrink and prematurely age the brain. One of the researchers studying these effects is Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, he has found COVID patients suffering from brain fog, confusion, tingling, mini strokes, and even seizure disorders.

Listener Question – The eclipse and the moon’s temperature.

A listener posting as Jeff on X writes: “How hot did the side of the moon that faced the sun get during the eclipse?”  We get the answer from Nikhil Arora, an astrophysicist from Queen’s University in Kingston.

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