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Germany

Low-Budget Justice: Germany Opts For Electronic Ankle Monitors To Cut Jail Costs

In order to reduce costs, German judges can now replace jail sentences with electronic monitoring: an ankle bracelet for those who otherwise would be locked up. Five of the 16 German states have signed up, with others to follow.

A prison in Frankfurt
A prison in Frankfurt

Worldcrunch NEWSBITES

Ever more cash-strapped German states are busy keeping local criminals from serving prison sentences. The local justice officials are signing up for a centrally-run electronic ankle bracelet program as a way to save the cost of keeping them in jail.

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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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