‘Three Amigos’ Vow to Get Half Their Electricity From Clean Power by 2025
President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Mexican President Nieto are expected to announce a joint plan to generate half the three nations' electricity from clean power by 2025 at tomorrow's North American Leaders Summit. The plan encompasses not only renewables, but also nuclear power and carbon capture and storage operations.
President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Mexican President Nieto are expected to announce a joint plan to generate half the three nations' electricity from clean power by 2025 at tomorrow's North American Leaders Summit.
Including these sources, 37 percent of the countries' electricity came from clean energy last year. Mexico is also expected to join the U.S. and Canada's target of cutting methane emissions 40 to 45 percent by 2025.
White House senior adviser Brian Deese said the energy target is "an aggressive goal" for the U.S. but "achievable." Deese also said that the cooperation on climate and energy policy between the three countries "is stronger than it has been in decades … In all three countries, there is a significant move toward a clean energy economy."
Sierra Club's executive director Michael Brune agrees. "This agreement means the United States will more than double the amount of clean, renewable energy we get from sources like wind and solar within the next decade. Plus, this new commitment moves us towards achieving this goal five years earlier than under existing agreements.
"This is another demonstration of the international and North American unity behind a consensus for strong global climate action. Now more than ever, it's time we retire dirty and dangerous sources of energy like coal, oil, gas and nuclear, crack down on existing sources ofmethane pollution here at home, and commit toward growing a clean energy economy that creates jobs and protects our communities."
Lou Leonard, senior vice president of climate and energy for the World Wildlife Fund, sees the coming announcement as "a clear signal that cooperation, not isolation, remains atop of the global climate agenda."
"As the largest energy consumer, the United States must lead the way to this collective continent-wide goal by exceeding it at home through truly clean renewable energy and higher energy efficiency, Leonard said. "There's a big gap between what leaders pledged in Paris and the emissions cuts needed to fend off the most dire impacts of climate change. The United States needs to continue to drive international cooperation to accelerate emissions reductions and help developing countries leapfrog dirtier pathways. Today's announcements help move us closer to closing that gap."
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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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