This summer, lose the gadgets and let nature entertain you

While travelling through the mountains of B.C. recently, I was stunned by the sight of young people sitting in the back seat of a family car, watching videos on an overhead screen while some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet passed by outside the window. This summer, try turning off the gadgets and let nature do the entertaining. By Bob McDonald, Quirks and QuarksWhile travelling through the mountains of B.C. recently, I was…

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Canada needs to take a long-term approach to oil and its alternatives

While Canadian politicians lobby other countries to take our oil and gas through pipelines, rail and northern shipping routes, science museums across the country are showcasing a cleaner energy future. By Bob McDonald, Quirks and QuarksWhile Canadian politicians lobby other countries to take our oil and gas through pipelines, rail and northern shipping routes, science museums across the country are showcasing a cleaner energy future.Canada is clearly an oil producing country. With more than $150 billion invested in…

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Let’s go to Mars, but make sure it’s for the right reasons

A new report from the US National Research Council on Spaceflight recommends a more realistic approach to sending humans to  Mars, including the rationale that going there, "ensures the survival of the human species through off-Earth settlement." That is the last reason we should explore other worlds. By Bob McDonald, Quirks and QuarksA new report from the US National Research Council on Spaceflight recommends a more realistic approach to sending humans to  Mars, including the rationale that…

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If we found aliens, how would we talk to them?

NASA has just released a free online book about what to do when we make contact with another intelligent civilization in space. It turns out that just saying hello to an alien is a lot tougher than you might think. By Bob McDonald, Quirks & QuarksNASA has just released a free online book about what to do when we make contact with another intelligent civilization in space. It turns out that just saying hello to…

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Why losing glaciers matters

The Earth is losing its ice faster than scientists have predicted. The loss of the white stuff is changing the colour of the planet, accelerating global warming, and could have serious consequences for low lying cities. By Bob McDonald, Quirks & QuarksThe Earth is losing its ice faster than scientists have predicted. The loss of the white stuff is changing the colour of the planet, accelerating global warming, and could have serious consequences for low…

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Cold War chill returning to space

It appears that Russia is using the space program as a political pawn to retaliate against U.S. sanctions over Russia's military actions in Crimea. This has the potential to threaten the future of the International Space Station (ISS) and temporarily ground U.S. military satellites. By Bob McDonald, Quirks & QuarksIt appears that Russia is using the space program as a political pawn to retaliate against U.S. sanctions over Russia's military actions in Crimea. This has the…

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Looking for life on Mars – with high-tech lawn darts

A non-profit group of scientists is proposing a bunker-busting approach to exploring Mars, by sending missiles to the red planet to penetrate the surface and look for life below. By Bob McDonald, Quirks & QuarksA non-profit group of scientists is proposing a bunker-busting approach to exploring Mars, by sending missiles to the red planet to penetrate the surface and look for life below.The project, called EXOLANCE, would piggyback on an existing Mars mission and use…

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Astronomers Without Borders spread the word about science

A group calling itself Astronomers Without Borders has been delivering small telescopes to school children in Africa to arm them with tools to explore the universe and become engaged in science. It's an idea that could be extended to other scientific instruments for developing countries. By Bob McDonald, Quirks & QuarksA group calling itself Astronomers Without Borders has been delivering small telescopes to school children in Africa to arm them with tools to explore the…

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