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Major Electronics Firms Support Ending Use of "Conflict Minerals" 198

tburton writes "The US House of Representatives yesterday released the Conflict Minerals Trade Act (HR 4128) to try and end the international trade of tungsten, tantalum and col-tan, the mining of which is accused of fueling violent rape and murder in eastern Congo. Since the very same minerals power the most popular consumer electronics from HP, Verizon, Nokia, RIM and Intel, the Information Technology Industry Council has quickly signed a statement of support. Advocacy groups are hopeful these commitments prove to be meaningful as consumers begin to question the end result of the supply chains powering their favorite gadget."
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Major Electronics Firms Support Ending Use of "Conflict Minerals"

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  • Hardly surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcrb ( 187104 ) <jcrb&yahoo,com> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:18AM (#30183692) Homepage

    Is this of any surprise that the companies don't really care where their materials come from as long as they are getting what they want at a price they want?

    Public exposure and "naming names" is the only way to have an effect on this behavior, both so people know the effect of buying a product from certain companies as well as making the companies fearful of the bad PR that will come from using such materials

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by flyneye ( 84093 )

      Gotta watch having one sided exposure. That seems to be the case in most "lets do good" campaigns. So lessee, we quit trading tungsten internationally, we have a shortage, machine tools can no longer make machines and industry crumbles here. In Africa however, since they have all the tungsten, have an industrial boom, environment and working conditions be damned. Now Africa is even worse for the people, do gooders here shot themselves and everyone else in the foot and there isn't enough tantalum to alloy in

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        It's not that simple. We *aren't* going to stop using tungsten. What's going to happen is the demand curve is going to shift.

        Economics is about marginal behavior. Regimes that don't treat their country as a piggy bank will get a better price for their tungsten. It will reduce the incentive to effect what amounts to a LBO of a country so that the mineral wealth can be liquidated.

        Anyhow, Africa having an industrial boom? Are you serious? That would be great, but I'm not holding my breath. Africa being a

        • by flyneye ( 84093 )

          Yeah, I heard Portugal produces W (tungsten) too.
          Still, once you get a legislation happenin', it just turns into a module for more legislation on down the road. Could be right, could be left , either way once they put the head in, do you think thats the end? Best grease up, 'cause theres a thick veiney hairy shaft behind that head.
          You're right, nothing we can do. Doing nothing is the best in these situations. Convince politicians buying liberal votes with feelgood laws isn't a g

      • by smoker2 ( 750216 )
        You don't know what tantalum is do you ? And you definitely don't know much about tungsten. What makes you think your comment is of any use at all ?

        Tantalum [] - Tantalum finds use in four areas: high-temperature applications, such as aircraft engines; electrical devices, such as capacitors; surgical implants and handling corrosive chemicals. It is rarely used as an alloying agent because it tends to make metals brittle.
        Tungsten [] - There are several minerals of tungsten, the most important are scheelite and
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by flyneye ( 84093 )

          Lol, I think that when you put a Niton scanner on a bit of aircraft grade Titanium as I did only last week ,be it 6-4 ,10-2-3,5-5-5-3 and others you will find tantalum is indeed alloyed there and in other metals including various steels. Probably has something to do with engineering them for machining, welding or the hot part of jet engines where 6-4 is found in abundance and is welded and does get hot.
          True I've only found out Africa brings us around 1% of W (tungsten) but still our interference in

          • by joaommp ( 685612 )

            Please rephrase/explain this better.

          • by joaommp ( 685612 )

            Not sure I would trust doing business with anyone but Portugal out of that rogues gallery tho.

            I meant this.

          • by joaommp ( 685612 )

            Because, if I understood it right, you're saying Portugal belongs to the list of the "developing" countries? "that rogues gallery"?

            Do you really know anything about Portugal? Coz, either you didn't explain yourself very well, or I really didn't understand you at all.

      • not to mention Congo's entry into the space age, with the Troposphere V rocket launch []

        • OMG ROFLMAO I love how the technicians used their fingers to shove loose wires under the nose cone. Was anyone killed?

          • At the end of the report, the reporter said they had yet to receive news of the rat they put on board as the first Congolese "being" sent to space

      • As opposed to conservatives that bomb the crap out of oil producing nations, destabilize the middle east by refusing to stand up the the Israelis while overthrowing the country that was keeping Iran in check. At least on the liberal side of things there's some genuine effort going on to minimize the amount of the materials being used, which is far more than can be said for the group that's holding up drastic cuts on oil and other resource waste.
        • by flyneye ( 84093 )

          No not as opposed to conservative blah blah blah.
          I find that trash legislation opens a door by both liberals and conservative to come in and rape us later on. This door was installed by liberals so when they sing, they need to be naked cause it'll be funnier.
          The whole thing is just a buncha crap sponsored by our overlords for no ones benefit but theirs. In this case it was the liberal armies marchin' to the beat. Next time it'll be conservatives, who I guarantee look just as fun

      • Is there even a Tungsten mine in Africa? []

        According to the US government most of it comes from China.

        I can't be bothered checking the other minerals but I doubt they are any different.

    • Re:Hardly surprising (Score:5, Informative)

      by joaommp ( 685612 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:31AM (#30183748) Homepage Journal

      Well, they could care. I don't know about the other minerals, but at least tungesten can be mined from Portugal, where... well, let's say things don't work as they do in Congo.

      • Re:Hardly surprising (Score:5, Informative)

        by Phil-14 ( 1277 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:32AM (#30184060)

        Not only that; there are a lot of unexploited Tungsten sources in the United States; one supposes they could stop nickel-and-diming to death extraction industries here and we could probably produce them a lot more cheaply than the Congo; doing business in a war zone is expensive.

        I also just checked Wikipedia, and I think this subject is sufficiently non-controversial/political that they will give accurate information; it looks like China produces several times the amount of Tungsten as the rest of the world _combined_.

      • by flyneye ( 84093 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:38AM (#30184106) Homepage

        Still, this is just the beginning of legislation (a.k.a. just putting the head in). Did you ever know of legislation that wasn't eventually built on? It's a flip of the coin, perhaps the right will add to it later, perhaps the left. Then more piled on that. What will it be like years from now? Will this screw up industries and jobs with left legislation? Will this ruin the environment or enslave us with right legislation?
                  The Congo needs to take care of the Congo. Revolt, flee, or make peace with itself. Kinda like wild animals other peoples countries need left alone to sink or swim, evolve or die. Bad things happen everywhere, we are only selective about rendering aid when it suits our financial interests. We can't do it all for everyone else or we will spread ourselves too thin and be resented for it.
              I'm glad to hear about Portugal, but what of the world to come?
                The World is bad in places just like its deep or high in places, dangerous in places. That's just the way it is. The illusion that you can do something about it to relieve your conscience is only a tool used to manipulate you for someone elses aspirations, good or evil, we end up used, reamed suckers.

        • by joaommp ( 685612 )

          It's not just doing something to relieve conscience. The problem is that while there is a way to profit, there will be people fighting for it, especially in extremely underdeveloped places and where human life has a value way low.

          I know people are self centered everywhere. I know people are jealous and envious and power hungry and greedy and selfish everywhere.

          But in most cases, what currently makes the difference between "developing" and "developed" countries is the way people apply those... "qualities". O

    • by Rotorua ( 1006439 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:34AM (#30183766)
      This is so DATED.... I work for a component manufacturer and NOBODY I repeat NOBODY has used anything from Congo for YEARS..... All the big boys demand that we prove the source of our Col-tan and provide a certified route to source Again this is the same as the Blood diamonds ... years to late !!! ----
      • Again this is the same as the Blood diamonds ... years to late !!! ----

        But because diamond is a crystal of one of the most common elements on earth, at least there's an alternate source for diamond: fabrication [] through a BARS press or through chemical vapor deposition. Tungsten and the like still have to be mined.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        According to Wikipedia: "the Democratic Republic of the Congo produces a little less than 1% of the world's tantalum (in 2006)".
        Which makes this trade act look like a cover-up of where the other 99% is coming from.

    • If you read the articles (yes, I know... this is Slashdot) you will realize it is not a problem with companies, but with computers and cell phones in general requiring the conflict materials. For some reason, the summary included a few random names and left out others, e.g. Apple most certainly belongs in the list as it produces both computers and cell phones.

      What you can do, is name the companies who do try to behave responsibly and control where their raw materials come from. Quoting one of the referenced

      • by TheGavster ( 774657 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:09AM (#30184320) Homepage

        Rather than blaming a technology for requiring a particular mineral, or an industry for producing such products, does it not make more sense to blame the people killing and repressing populations over the minerals for any bloodshed? I'm sure that the assholes running their little war bands in the Congo will find something else to murder and repress over, just as tribal kingdoms in the region have for much of history.

    • Now, what do we do about the violent murder caused by certain first-world entities over oil?

    • Both the elements Tungsten and Tantulum are off extreme stategic importances to the electronics industry. Tungsten for good old fashioned incandestant light bulbs. Tantulum for electrolytic capacitors. There isn't a room or modern consumer item that doesn't use one all the other, so banning either item, would have drastic effects on modern life. Off course, there are some modern replacements for either element for instance LED bulbs and carbon based, supercapacitors.


      Electronics Industrys [] Feed @ Feed []

  • by tedgyz ( 515156 ) * on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:23AM (#30183716) Homepage

    I'm sure it be just like other conflict industries. We will care about it just long enough until our next purchase. The unwashed masses would buy products made of dead baby carcasses.

    • The masses don't care, which is why Congress passes laws to *force* us to comply with their escalated morality. You can't buy conflict diamonds/minerals if they're not in the local Walmart

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:51AM (#30183846) Homepage

        But you can. DeBeers diamonds are sold everywhere. I have yet to see anyone stop the DeBeers Diamond company from selling their dead baby diamonds.

        Plus consumers do not care, hey we have been trained by the same evil company that you dont love her if you dont have 2 months salary on her finger.

        Personally, I believe that only a complete Idiot would do such a thing, but I see a lot of people that follow that like lemmings.

        • In college I had that discussion with some coeds, "What do you need a diamond for? Wouldn't you rather your husband give you something useful like a car, or a house?" They just kept saying nonsense about how a diamond symbolizes love, and I countered that a cubic zirconia ring could serve as the same symbol, and same appearance, for a LOT less money. They didn't want to hear that. They want that princess fairy tale, even if it means going $50,000 in debt.

          BTW I didn't know DeBeers sells conflict diamonds

          • It is just a beautiful product of nature. As most of the luxury items (jewels, roadsters, SLI video cards), you do not need them by definition. Fortunately, most diamonds do not cost the same as a house.
            • As most of the luxury items (jewels, roadsters, SLI video cards), you do not need them by definition.

              Unlike jewels, roadsters and SLI video cards actually have useful purposes: one will transport you to work or the grocery store or wherever else you need to drive, in a quick and safe manner (due to its superior handling qualities, assuming you don't abuse the power and drive recklessly), and the other will show graphics on your computer at a much higher performance than low-end graphics chipsets. Jewels ha

            • Cubic zirconia looks just as beautiful as diamond, IMHO.

          • That's why, when you're dating and looking for your future wife, you need to find out if she's into that idiocy or not. There's plenty of smarter women out there who don't buy into the DeBeers marketing BS, and would rather either have no gems at all on their wedding ring, or some other type of gemstone which actually has value due to scarcity, unlike diamonds which only have value because DeBeers assigns them value (diamonds are extremely common in the Earth's crust, and have little real value) thanks to

    • I don't see the problem. Humans have been preying on other humans since the first family split in two. You can get on as high a horse as you like, but all you're doing is adding hypocrisy and sanctimony to your list of character flaws.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:28AM (#30183724) Homepage

    The fighting is about politics, not minerals. This will just make everyone in the region poorer. The minerals will continue to come out albeit at a reduced rate while yet another layer of criminal politicians seize the opportunity to enrich themselves by falsifying the documents necessary to get the stuff on the legal market.

    This is just more feelgood crap from the assholes in Washington.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Lokinin ( 1683408 )
      The money do not go to the people, it goes to the military forces. This will control or at least decrease the violence that is supported by the money they get, since the income goes to the guerillas to support the maintenance of their weapons which will kill even more innocent people. This is a good thing. What is sick is that this decision was not made much earlier.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

        Won't work since this is ultimately "I'm better than you and/or my God is better than yours! Jihad!" kind of deal, and deep built in hatred like that don't go away just from lack of weapons. Remember this is the same place where machete murders are quite common, and you don't get cheaper weapons that a machete.

        Ultimately you can't "force" anyone to get along, love his neighbor, or anything decent like that. They have to want to stop the violence themselves. All this will do is help boost the black market

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by khallow ( 566160 )

        This will control or at least decrease the violence that is supported by the money they get, since the income goes to the guerillas to support the maintenance of their weapons which will kill even more innocent people.

        Why? What I'm hearing (in the discussion here) is that any such minerals are already being laundered to hide the source. My bet is that there will be zero impact in Congo. No reduction in rape and murder or military conflict. Instead, the only impact will be bureaucratic overhead for anyone doing business in the States. I oppose such frivolous regulation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:29AM (#30183728)

    This will work just as well as all of those useless "conflict diamond" resolutions that have accomplished nothing more than forcing DeBeers to launder its African blood diamonds through its "mines" in Canada.

    The big miners will "discover" mines in some "friendly" country and just launder the stuff through them, just like they have done with diamonds.


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by qdaku ( 729578 )

      You make it sound like all the diamond mines in Canada are a sham. What is with the quotations? I find that to be a very odd stance as I've worked in one of those aforementioned "mines" and it's not a bunch of people blowing rainbows out of their ass waiting for the next plane full of conflict diamonds to land on the ice road.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The US might care about "Conflict Minerals" but considering most electroincs are all "Made in China", it's hardly going to stop.

  • Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shareme ( 897587 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:30AM (#30183738) Homepage
    How ironic that we than ask China to supply the same minerals who has similar Human rights abuses.. US House of Representatives ..palm to face..
    • Re:Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:57PM (#30186034)

      You've got to be kidding. China is no paragon of human rights, but they certainly don't abuse them to the extent seen in war-torn African countries, where rape and murder are common. The only thing that China does that sucks is that they practice censorship, keeping strong control over the media. They're also quick to use the death penalty, but that's not really that bad; they're not executing innocent fishermen, they're executing convicted criminals. Yes, Tianenmen was bad, but that was a long time ago. They haven't had any incidents like that in quite a while (and with today's technology, including iPods with video recording, it would be much harder to keep such a thing covered up). China's government is all about building up the country for the benefit of the people, and keeping strong control over social order. Their methods are harsh, but their intent is basically positive. They believe their methods are necessary in their culture to achieve the goals they've set. Trying to turn someplace like Iraq, for instance, into an advanced country would require similar methods, as democracy would never work there. To compare China to African warlords who are all in favor of genocide is just insulting.

      • China will trade with anyone, no matter how evil. China is the largest investor in nations like Sudan and Burma and block most attempts to censure them in the UN and other international organizations.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh ( 216268 )

          Yes, that sucks, but that's not the same as committing gross human rights violations themselves.

          By that logic, the US should be condemned too, as it trades freely with China, as do the Western European countries.

          The US traded with Nazi Germany for some time; IBM is famous for this. The US is also happily propping up an obviously corrupt government in Afghanistan right now.

  • ...when you find some NONviolent rape and murder, m'kay?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Non-violent rape happens when your partner consents.
      Non-violent murder happens in assisted suicide.

    • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

      Which definition of "violent" are you using? It seems to me that raping someone who's in a coma or killing a sleeping person by anaesthetic overdose could probably qualify as non-violent.

  • Hell on Earth (Score:4, Informative)

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:31AM (#30183746) Homepage
    While not an especially great book, I got something of a picture of Eastern Congo from reading Tim Butcher's Blood River [] earlier this year. Though strangely little talked about, the entire region seems truly hell on earth, beyond any of the war zone or famished village you see on television. What I found interesting was that the materials from this region are transported in the backs of trucks to South Africa and only then processes, and the people mining these substances and transporting the excavated material get paid almost nothing for what is in later stages a treasure (and are frequently robbed on the way with it.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      >>>the entire region seems truly hell on earth, beyond any of the war zone or famished village you see on television

      In Soviet Russia... ...nah that's not going to work. In Roman Empire..... the rowdy warring natives are subdued through force, and then the mines and minerals are claimed for the People and Senate of Rome. Eventually the warzone becomes a tamed province filled with beautiful villas. See Britannia circa 50 A.D.

      Let's see - South Africa is close to Congo. Maybe they could annex it an

  • Another excuse to jack up the prices and make everyone feel all fuzzy and warm!

    • yup, that is what it all boils down to = kill two birds with one stone --with-higher-prices-and-warm-fuzzies
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:31AM (#30183752) Journal

    We all know that banning the use of marijuana, cocaine, and other naturally-occurring drugs helped de-escalate violence.

    /end sarcasm

    The banning of these conflict minerals simply means that you'll leave former miners without jobs, and then they'll starve, as happened when we embargoed Iraq in the 90s, and Cuba over the last several decades. I honestly don't think there's ANY workable solution to the Congo problem.

    • I honestly don't think there's ANY workable solution to the Congo problem.

      "Exterminate all the brutes!" - Kurtz

    • It's not at all about banning coltan, tungsten or tin.

      Quoth the corporate spinsters []:

      The EICC and GeSI launched an effort in early 2009 to enhance transparency in the minerals supply chain and to better determine how these minerals flow from mines to final manufacturing. This workgroup has engaged companies from all levels of the tantalum mining and processing industry to drive toward a solution that promotes the responsible sourcing of tantalum.

      Quoth the congress guy []:

      It commissions a map that will overlay areas of conflict with areas rich in mineral resources in the DRC, so refiners will know which mines are likely to fund conflict. The bill also requires importers of potential conflict goods to certify whether or not their imports contain conflict minerals and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will report to Congress and the public which companies are importing goods containing conflict minerals.

      That said, it looks a lot like what they did about blood diamonds, including the same possibilities for laundering (as some AC noted above).

    • by arielCo ( 995647 )

      I honestly don't think there's ANY workable solution to the Congo problem.

      Hmm... there's a huge poor populace and a few warlords with guns, and they bid: "join us for the benefits, or languish with your folks and maybe get shot to terrorize the rest". Young fellows with no other hopes for their future easily fall for this offer, and become part of the cycle of oppression and impoverishment.

      At any rate, this would be economically unsustainable (AK's and RPGs are expensive) unless the militias/armies are funded by some highly productive, low-investment activity, and digging out exp

      • Okay. So instead you'll create wealthy warlords that are selling the blood minerals on the black market. Problem. Not. Solved.

        • by arielCo ( 995647 )
          Correct, sadly :(. That's more or less what I was thinking about when I wrote an earlier comment:

          That said, it looks a lot like what they did about blood diamonds, including the same possibilities for laundering (as some AC noted above).

          That's what we get from half-baked regulation, even when the direction's right. Now they'd need to clamp down on said black market, starting with hypocritic companies who do half-hearted or bogus checks on their suppliers. This is where we have a better chance than with drugs - at some point, the players are few and very visible.

          Ideally these people should turn against these thugs who give them *nothing* in retu

      • No why not supply the poor populace with their own guns, so they can rise up against the warlords? AKs aren't expensive to us, and could be cheaply mass-produced for very little. I say drop some pallets full of guns and ammo into these places, along with a few advisors to train and advise them, and then these poor, oppressed people will be able to take care of themselves.

        • by arielCo ( 995647 )
          I hope that was a sarcastic reference to Afghanistan [].
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Grishnakh ( 216268 )

            No, actually it wasn't. As I said before, I propose arming and training the poor people, the fishers, farmers, villagers, etc., not more warlords.

            The problem with US involvement in anything like this is that, instead of trying to help out the regular people who really need it, they look for whatever violent assholes happen to oppose the violent assholes currently in power. We think that by allying ourselves with a different group of tyrants, that we can get them into power (which actually does work many t

  • Well, once again the Democrats shoot the American economy in the foot.

    We may not buy the stuff, but the Chinese will, or some other country, so there will be another set of expertise that we will lose, and they will gain.

    To save a region, they destroyed their own country.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:56AM (#30183870) Homepage

      We may not buy the stuff, but the Chinese will,

      which means we will through a third party.... China!

  • Fungible Resources (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:40AM (#30183794)

    Hmmm, does anyone in Congress know what a fungible resource is?

    Basically, there's no way to know if the tungsten in your product (or even in your supply chain) came from the Eastern Congo, or pretty much anywhere else.

    If the price for "tungsten" goes up appreciably, then Eastern Congo "tungsten" will just show up indirectly from other sources.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)


      Congress are the same people who said in 2005, "You're not going to see a housing collapse - that you see when people talk about a bubble." They think they know everything, but in reality they know little about the real world. (Please note I'm not picking on any person or group - they are ALL this clueless.) []

    • There is a way to know explicitly where the minerals came from. The unfortunate part is, it's very expensive and revealing the fact that you know where the minerals came from is only more likely to cause you trouble, rather than solving a problem.

      Scientists figured out years ago that different parts of the earth have different concentrations of radioisotopes and impurities. Those are more than enough to geolocate the source of any number of mineral supplies. It's virtually the same way scientists can kno
  • col-tan (Score:3, Informative)

    by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:03AM (#30183900)

    Had to look that one up...

    It's an abbreviation ("coltan", actually) for columbite-tantalite, the primary ore from which niobium (formerly columbium) and tantalum are refined.

    The summary should have stuck to elements rather than mixing elements and ores. I'm sure most of have head or niobium and tantalum, but "col-tan" ???

    • I have (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WindBourne ( 631190 )
      and I am not a geologist. These are rare earth minerals. The hard thing is that if you do some research about China and Rare earth, you will find that they posses the larges known ores of them. And just this fall, they banned most of them them, and then put limits on others (those that had mines outside of China rich with them). Why you ask? To limit their use to manufacturing in China ONLY. And where are these used at? High-end electrons (of which ALL electronics are heading), the high-end motors that will
  • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:07AM (#30183912) Homepage Journal

    To the "Turn over to the Chinese all the minerals in Africa" act. They'll take them, and they do not care one bit about which local regime is in charge today. They go out of their way all the time to state they have no desire to interfere in local politics, they just want the business/raw materials.

    Oh, by the way, how about they ban petroleum products, fuels and plastics? Or do they want to claim petroleum doesn't come in huge part from regimes where human rights are routinely abused, where murders rapes torture and so on are common?

  • The answer is to have more money, not less. If you wanted to ensure that there were humanitarian practices in the use of these materials, the west should tax these materials on import, and the money to actually help the families that live there through the construction of infrastructure.

    • Only if it involves helping these ppl create their own businesses. For far far too long, we simply give goods, foods, support as an act of charity. What these ppl need are businesses to help them thrive. It would also provide incentives for these soldier to put down their guns.
      • by tjstork ( 137384 )

        Agreed, 100%.. part of their education should be in conservative values about ownership and civic responsibility. It is very likely that you need to teach people to be conservatives to get them to be able to build things, but then, if you so choose, give them liberal spices after the fact.

        • WHy without such wonderful ppl like reagan and W, America would not be the wonderful nation that it is. Heck, those two brought all business to Europe, Canada, Australi, China, etc. Prior to that, those places were just ran by tribal warfare. ANd they removed the debt that the dems had brought to America. Even more so, the stopped those Dem and liberal invasions and occupations of other nations, even the small ones. Yes, we really need to push such wonderful ideas like those from reagan and W.
        • Being somewhat serious now, I do wish that the pubs would go back to what they were before reagan. There WAS concerned about debt, protected the little guy, while not interfering. I mean it was the republicans that gave us EPA.

          Personally, I have been a Libertarian for decades, but I see issues all the time. In particular, under a Libertarian dominated system, we would continue to allow China to do what they are doing, even though it is killing the west (though to be fair, under Libertarian, we could sue t
  • Except the smaller electronics firms will be able to get much cheaper 'conflict minerals'. Its good news for all really, smaller companies will be able to make cheaper stuff while the large ones get to tell everyone how ethical they are being.
  • China will simply be the ones to go in there and own it. ANd they will pay far less if EU and America pull out. So now, it will be even harsher, at least for a time, because there is less money in the region.
  • They want to ban tin. Tin goes in solder. Solder holds chips to circuit boards. Circuit boards have via's lined in tin to allow for complex circuit design. Ban tin and you make most of our tech industry dead overnight. Now I know there are people that want to return our world to the caves, and this may be a good step in that direction. But do all /. readers really want themselves to be reduced to sending their comments in on Slates?

    • Where does it say they want to ban tin? Tin is an extremely common metal, mined from many places. According to this [], most tin now is imported from China, Indonesia, and Peru. Also, a lot comes from recycling.

      It would be basically impossible to sustain modern society without tin, especially because of its use in solder. One thing that'd help, though, would be to switch back to leaded solder, which uses much less tin than the new lead-free varieties.

      • In one of the referred articles on the Congo, it mentions that cassiterite is one of the ores that is being faught over. Cassiterite is the primary source of tin. Congo is one of the primary sources of cassiterite.

  • by log0n ( 18224 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:05PM (#30184876)

    Seriously people, learn your grammatically-correct English!

    "... to try and end ..." should be "... to try to end ...". Try is the verb, 'try to' is the proper way of using said verb in a sentence. Otherwise, you're combining the two on the same subject.

    I'm going to try international trade of tungsten and end the international trade of tungsten.
    I'm going to try to end the international trade of tungsten.

  • I'm sure I'm just a clueless American, ignorant of world affairs, so maybe someone better informed can tell me...

    But how does this have anything at all to do with rape? The words "rape", "sex", "fuck", "sodomize", etc, don't appear at all in TFA. It seems to be about violence, not rape.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI