The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Spiders Use Electric Fields to ‘Fly’

    That spidey sense is tingling. New research published in Current Biology indicates that spiders largely use electricity to glide through air with their silk — a process known as “ballooning” where they can travel thousands of miles and sometimes reach heights of three miles above Earth. In the lab, spiders were able to ascend when electric fields were present but descended when they were turned off. Although wind plays a role, the new research explains how spiders soar in calm weather. Researchers hope the findings will help them study other ballooning insects.

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