Canadian Minister Heads to DC to Lobby for Keystone XL As Steyer Launches $1M 'Bad Deal for America' Ads
By Andy Rowell
The relentless Canadian lobbying for the Keystone XL pipeline continues today when the Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver heads to Washington to push for the pipeline.
During the trip, he will meet U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz for their first face-to-face get together. Oliver is expected to tell Moniz that somehow approving Keystone XL will enhance environmental stewardship.
Oliver’s visit comes soon after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent a letter to President Barack Obama, promising to work with America to reduce carbon emissions in the oil industry. This letter was covered by David in a blog last week.
But the Canadians are not having it all their own way. The leading anti-Keystone critic, billionaire and former hedge-fund manager, Tom Steyer has launched a $1-million anti-Keystone XL advertising campaign across the U.S., "Bringing Down TransCanada’s House of Cards: The Keystone Chronicles."
The adverts reiterated a point repeatedly made by Oil Change International that Keystone XL is essentially an export pipeline and the crude will be sold to countries like China. The first advert, featured Steyer being interviewed in Texas, saying much of the oil would be exported.
“Foreign countries will get more access to more oil to make more products to sell back to us, undercutting our economy,” Steyer said: “Here’s the truth: Keystone oil will travel through America not to America.” The adverts claim Keystone XL is a “bad deal for America.”
The advertisements come as the New Yorker runs a long detailed article on the Keystone XL and Steyer’s increasingly influential part in the debate, including detailing how the billionaire has been directly and indirectly lobbying Obama for months.
Keystone XL “would completely change the rate at which the oil comes out of the ground,” Steyer says. “It would enable a much faster development [of the tar sands], three times as fast. This is the size of Florida ... This is going to go on for decades. It’s not like we’re enabling a Shell station to be open after midnight.”
“In every generation, there’s an overwhelming issue that people may not recognize at the time, but that becomes the issue that is the measure of what you did,” Steyer tells the magazine.
Climate change, he says “is the issue we’ll get measured by as a country and a generation. If we blow this, it will be because we were very focused on the short term, on our pocketbooks, and we had no broader sense of what we were trying to do and what we were trying to pass on.”
Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.
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.
"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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In 'Road Map for a More Sustainable Future,' NY Regulator Tells Banks to Consider Climate Risks in Planning
By Brett Wilkins
Regulators in New York state announced Thursday that banks and other financial services companies are expected to plan and prepare for risks posed by the climate crisis.
There are many different CBD oil brands in today's market. But, figuring out which brand is the best and which brand has the strongest oil might feel challenging and confusing. Our simple guide to the strongest CBD oils will point you in the right direction.
A NASA spacecraft has successfully collected a sample from the Bennu asteroid more than 200 million miles away from Earth. The samples were safely stored and will be preserved for scientists to study after the spacecraft drops them over the Utah desert in 2023, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Exxon Mobil will lay off an estimated 14,000 workers, about 15% of its global workforce, including 1,900 workers in the U.S., the company announced Thursday.
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