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LA STAMPA

From The Golan Heights, Where Syria's War Is Creeping Up On Israel

While Syrian rebels and Assad's soldiers fight each other near the border, Israelis accustomed to rhetoric but relative tranquility are getting ready to defend themselves for real.

UN vehicles between Israel and Syria...
UN vehicles between Israel and Syria...
Francesca Paci

KIDMAT ZVI - During the 23 years he spent in Kidmat Zvi, in the middle of the mango and apple orchards of the Golan Heights, Michael Raikan never looked toward the Syrian border with apprehension, no matter how close it might be.

Now, not a day goes by without him wondering whether it would be better to pack up his family, and move someplace else. “The echo of the shots is so strong that we no longer can tell the difference between our military's training exercises, and the clashes between Assad’s army and rebels," Raikan says. "We are expecting the worse."

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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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