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Bernie Sanders Enters 2020 Race, Promises Own Version of Green New Deal

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Bernie Sanders Enters 2020 Race, Promises Own Version of Green New Deal
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in South Carolina on Jan. 21. Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday that he will run for president in 2020, becoming the latest candidate in a crowded Democratic primary field to promise a Green New Deal if elected, The Washington Post reported.


"I'm running for president because we need to make policy decisions based on science, not politics," Sanders wrote in an email to supporters announcing his decision. "We need a president who understands that climate change is real, is an existential threat to our country and the entire planet, and that we can generate massive job creation by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy."

I'm Running For President www.youtube.com

In addition to a Green New Deal, Sanders is also running on a platform of Medicare for All, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, tuition-free college and university, criminal justice reform, paid family leave and gender pay equity and breaking up the largest Wall Street banks, among other proposals, aides to the senator told The Washington Post.

Sanders brought many of these ideas, including more aggressive climate action, to national attention when he ran against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary. However, since his first run, the ideas he championed have gained steam and many other 2020 Democratic candidates have embraced them, The Guardian noted.

His success may therefore hinge on whether or not he is still the best mouthpiece for the ideas he helped popularize, as The New York Times explained:

Victories in the 2018 midterm election by women, minorities and first-time candidates also suggest that many Democrats may prefer fresh energy, something that skeptics believe Mr. Sanders could struggle to deliver. A 77-year-old whose left-wing message has remained largely unchanged in his decades-long career, Mr. Sanders will also need to improve his support from black voters and quell the unease about his campaign's treatment of women that has been disclosed in recent news accounts, and that has prompted two public apologies.

When it comes to the environment specifically, 2020 contenders California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro have voiced support for a Green New Deal.

However, Sanders' proposal will be slightly different from the Green New Deal resolution developed by Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who worked as an organizer for Sanders' 2016 primary campaign. Sanders' full plan should be released in the next few months, The Washington Post reported, explaining the difference between the two:

The upcoming Sanders plan is expected to contain significantly more details on how a Green New Deal would move America's economy to one that zeroes out carbon emissions, according to aides to the Senator, while the Ocasio-Cortez resolution supported by the other 2020 candidates mostly laid out ambitious targets for carbon reduction.

In 2016, Sanders promoted a carbon tax and a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, The Guardian reported at the time.

The re-election campaign for President Donald Trump is already planning to use the popularity of Sanders' democratic socialist platform as a rallying point, The Guardian reported.

"Bernie Sanders has already won the debate in the Democrat primary, because every candidate is embracing his brand of socialism," Trump 2020 campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "But the American people will reject an agenda of sky-high tax rates, government-run health care and coddling dictators like those in Venezuela. Only President Trump will keep America free, prosperous and safe."

Sanders, for his part, roundly criticized Trump in his announcement, calling him the "most dangerous president in modern history." However, Sanders also noted that his campaign was larger than defeating one person.

"Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice," he wrote.

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Just in time for Halloween, scientists at Cornell University have published some frightening research, especially if you're an insect!

The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.

"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."

The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.

They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.

They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.

But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.

"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.

What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.

It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.

To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.

First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.

Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.

University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.

"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."

Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.

Hoy agreed.

"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.

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