Your Candy Shouldn’t Be the Scariest Thing About Halloween
In just a few days, kids and adults alike will slip into fantastical costumes, adorn their homes with fake spider webs and plump pumpkins and gobble down sugary candy from dawn to dusk. This Halloween, you can avoid stomach-churning tricks in your treats by opting for organic and non-GMO candy.
What's in my candy?
By choosing organic and non-GMO candy, you can prevent exposure to genetically engineered crops and their associated pesticides, for which children are particularly at risk. Here are the ingredients to look out for:
- Sugar (GE sugar beets)
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (GE corn)
- Fructose, Dextrose, Glucose (GE corn)
- Canola oil (GE rapeseed)
- Soybean oil (GE soy)
- Cottonseed oil (GE cotton)
- Vegetable oil (GE rapeseed, GE soy, GE cotton)
- Soy Lecithin (GE soy)
- Corn starch (GE corn)
When you see "sugar" on the ingredients list, unless specified, it is usually genetically engineered sugar beets … and may contain residues of the toxic weed killer glyphosate. Glyphosate-sprayed GE beet sugar can be avoided by opting for products made with 100 percent cane sugar, evaporated cane juice or organic sugar. Choose ethically sourced and organic sugar options whenever possible.
What are some alternatives?
When you make your Halloween grocery run, outsmart brands producing GMO-ridden treats by looking for products with certified organic and non-GMO labels. Watch out for Halloween candy and chocolates produced by Hershey's, Mars and Nestle, which are likely to contain GMO ingredients. Instead try treats from Newman's Own, Jelly Belly, Chocolove, YummyEarth Organic Lollipops, Endangered Species Chocolate Bug Bites or Amy's Organic Candy Bites, which all avoid GMOs in their products. Making your own candy, chocolates or snacks for your Halloween party is another fun, easy way to avoid frightening hidden ingredients. Check out our Halloween Organic and non-GMO candy guide for more tips on what to get for your neighborhood trick-or-treaters.
What else can you do?
Sign our petition to make sure all GMOs are labeled on the package, and be sure to have a spooktacular Halloween!
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.
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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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