Quirks and Quarks from CBC Radio

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

Dinosaurs go clubbing, the sounds of swearing, detecting 2 million year old DNA, dancing really is all about the bass and is it too late for fusion?
09-12-2022
Dinosaurs go clubbing, the sounds of swearing, detecting 2 million year old DNA, dancing really is all about the bass and is it too late for fusion?
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?
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