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Why Italians Still “Like” Facebook Even As Enthusiasm Cools Worldwide

Interest in Mark Zuckerberg’s once red-hot Facebook is starting to cool off. In the United States, Canada and the UK, millions actually closed their accounts last year. For some reason, though, Italians are still wild about the website.

Italian comedian and director Roberto Begnini has 1.6 million Facebook fans
Italian comedian and director Roberto Begnini has 1.6 million Facebook fans
Gianluca Nicoletti

Last week, Bill Gates let it slip in an interview with the Daily Mail that the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, may be engaged to long-term girlfriend Priscilla Chan. The comment was enough to excite a new round of gossip about the world's youngest billionaire. But while chit chat about Zuckerberg's life, his girlfriend and even his dog, Beast, are at an all time high, the young entrepreneur's popular creation, Facebook, seems to be slowing down.

Over the past year, Facebook has lost about 6 million users in the United States. The social network's U.S. users still number approximately 150 million, but 1.6 million people in Canada and 100,000 people in the UK, in Norway and in Russia closed their accounts. Still, the site increased in overall number of global users 1.7%, thanks to growth in developing countries – and to Italy.

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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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