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Before this week, few outside of France knew his face. But no doubt, millions have been busy Google-Image-searching the name "Guillaume Canet." Yup, bel homme. He is also an accomplished actor and director, and happens to be the husband of the already internationally known French actress, Marion Cotillard. And that, as you are disturbingly likely to know, is how Canet has now made it onto our collective radar. For those just tuning in, Cotillard has been the chief collateral damage of the Hollywood mega-divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Having just filmed a movie with Pitt, the famously private Cotillard was forced late last night to publicly deny rumors she was the cause of the "Brangelina" breakup. She wrote it in French and in English — and she put it on Instagram.


Gossip of course dates back to ancient times, and the modern cult of celebrity is very much a 20th-century creation. But the current digital information revolution is upping the stakes, on both truth and decorum: Just look at the U.S. presidential elections. Typically, in the face of the Internet maelstrom, we blame the forces beyond our control, the fame seekers and media personalities, or even the technology itself. But a recent essay by former superblogger Andrew Sullivan suggests we look at ourselves. Here's a snippet of a piece entitled "I Used To Be A Human Being".


"I tried reading books, but that skill now began to elude me. After a couple of pages, my fingers twitched for a keyboard. I tried meditation, but my mind bucked and bridled as I tried to still it," he writes. "But over time in this pervasive virtual world, the online clamor grew louder and louder. Although I spent hours each day, alone and silent, attached to a laptop, it felt as if I were in a constant cacophonous crowd of words and images, sounds and ideas, emotions and tirades — a wind tunnel of deafening, deadening noise. So much of it was irresistible, as I fully understood. So much of the technology was irreversible, as I also knew. But I'd begun to fear that this new way of living was actually becoming a way of not-living." The entire essay is very much worth a read, if you can keep your fingers from twitching toward the next Brangelina link on your screen.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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