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Listen to Sen. Inhofe's Response to His Granddaughter Asking Him: 'Why Is It You Don't Understand Global Warming?'

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Listen to Sen. Inhofe's Response to His Granddaughter Asking Him: 'Why Is It You Don't Understand Global Warming?'

By Farron Cousins

Republican Sen. James Inhofe might be one of the most famous and most outspoken opponents of science in the U.S. and, sadly, that's a reputation that he's proud to have.

When snowstorms descended upon Washington, DC, Sen. Inhofe used a snowball thrown onto the floor of the Senate as incontrovertible proof that global warming was a hoax. After all, if the planet is heating up, how can snow still exist?

As wacky as the snowball incident was, that episode looks tame in comparison to his latest tirade about global warming.

Inhofe, who serves as the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, recently told conservative radio host Eric Metaxas that schools were "brainwashing" children about climate change.

Here is the line that shows Inhofe's extreme views:

"My own granddaughter came home one day and said … 'Popi, why is it you don't understand global warming?' I did some checking, and Eric, the stuff that they teach our kids nowadays, they are brainwash—you have to un-brainwash them when they get out…"

Listen here:

This is an alarming statement from a sitting U.S. senator. The man who is in charge of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee honestly believes that schools are brainwashing children about the dangers of climate change. And if schools are brainwashing children, the logic would dictate that global leaders, scientists and military experts are brainwashing the schools about the real dangers of climate change.

Here are a few hard and fast facts that Sen. Inhofe refuses to accept, possibly because they are frightening and he doesn't have the capacity to comprehend them:

This list could go on forever, but it still wouldn't be enough to convince Inhofe that things are getting increasingly bad.

The only person that has been brainwashed in this scenario is Sen. Jim Inhofe by way of the $105,000 he's gotten from Koch Industries (his single largest campaign contributor throughout his career), which is part of the larger sum of $1.8 million that he's received from the oil and gas industries since 1989, according to OpenSecrets. That money seems to have interfered with Inhofe's rational thinking capabilities, effectively turning him into the lapdog of fossil fuel companies.

Here is the silver lining to this story. While 81-year-old James Inhofe is in his twilight years, his little granddaughter that he mentioned in the story is the future. She will grow up to understand and experience the impacts of climate change and will know that world leaders need to act.

That is where the hope lies right now—in the future—because we've seen too much evidence to show we can't rely on our current crop of elected officials to take climate change seriously.

This article was reposted with permission from our media associate DeSmogBlog.

A net-casting ogre-faced spider. CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics / CC BY-SA 3.0

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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