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Major Electronics Firms Support Ending Use of "Conflict Minerals"

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the americans-just-want-their-fancy-phones dept.

Handhelds 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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198 comments

first (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30183684)

woot

Hardly surprising (4, Insightful)

jcrb (187104) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183692)

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:Hardly surprising (2, Insightful)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183744)

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 into metal to make industry come back even if we could still machine products.
          Well I'm glad we could do the "right" thing. I just wanna see all the liberals come together, hold hands and sing "Kum Bah Yah" afterwards.

Re:Hardly surprising (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183772)

>>>Well I'm glad we could do the "right" thing. I just wanna see all the liberals come together, hold hands and sing "Kum Bah Yah" afterwards.

I suspect the more radical liberals (aka Green Party) actually would like to see americans lose jobs, then stop having families due to lack of money, and gradually depopulate. In their view fewer humans == good for the environment. Radicals.

Re:Hardly surprising (1, Insightful)

espiesp (1251084) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184356)

Except the numbers seem to indicate that families that earn more money tend to have LESS children.

When you're poor there isn't much to do but sit around the house having sex apparently.

Re:Hardly surprising (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184438)

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 threat to China or even the US industrially is a pipe dream in the short term. In the long term, it would be *great*, and I for one would be up for a chorus of "Kum Bay Yah" if that ever happened. In the long term, that means richer customers for *our* goods and services.

Personally, I don't think there is any magic wand we can wave and make everything wonderful. We had this debate for decades over South Africa, and eventually it was the strain of going over this stuff over and over and over that finally made the regime crack. It's still not paradise in South Africa, but at least what mess there is is the *people's* mess.

It's instructive to compare the success of economic sanctions in effecting regime change in South Africa (where it worked) and Cuba (where it failed). The Cuban sanctions were much harsher. It makes ironic sense, when you remember that economic behavior is driven by marginal costs and benefits.

Re:Hardly surprising (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184608)

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 good thing now.

Re:Hardly surprising (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184536)

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 [lenntech.com] - 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 [lenntech.com] - There are several minerals of tungsten, the most important are scheelite and wolframite. The main mining area is China, which today accounts for more than two-thirds of the world's supply. Other places with active tungsten mines are Russia, Austria, Bolivia, Peru and Portugal.

So your rant about Africa taking over the manufacturing world looks a bit stupid.

Re:Hardly surprising (1, Informative)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184750)

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 world affairs is just some financial bait n switch smokescreen for the dual porpoises of buying liberal votes and/ or some other nefarious gain.
          Not sure I would trust doing business with anyone but Portugal out of that rogues gallery tho.
            Either way adding more trash legislation is like adding yet another orifice for us to be reamed with later by left or right interests.
        Now whose rant looks stupid?

Re:Hardly surprising (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184922)

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.

Re:Hardly surprising (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30185036)

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 funny naked.

Re:Hardly surprising (4, Informative)

joaommp (685612) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183748)

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 (4, Informative)

Phil-14 (1277) | more than 4 years ago | (#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_.

Re:Hardly surprising (3, Insightful)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184106)

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.

No Surprise and years to late ! (5, Interesting)

Rotorua (1006439) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 !!! ----

Cultured diamonds (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183874)

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 [wikipedia.org] through a BARS press or through chemical vapor deposition. Tungsten and the like still have to be mined.

Re:No Surprise and years to late ! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30183934)

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.

You would have to name everybody (2)

okoskimi (878708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183786)

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 articles: "Cell phone manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, Apple and Nokia have long had official policies against the use of conflict minerals in their products."

Re:You would have to name everybody (4, Insightful)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184320)

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.

Re:Hardly surprising (1, Troll)

Antistotle (1027192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184804)

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?

You mean like people who chase the lowest price, no matter WHERE the product was made? How much of what you buy is made in places like China? How many of you use illegal drugs--which goes into the pocket of vicious and violent people. How much of the money you spend on gas goes to support terrorist activity and chattel slavery?

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

Careful with those stones pal, you may hit yourself.

Re:Hardly surprising (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30185520)

How many of you use illegal drugs--which goes into the pocket of vicious and violent people.

How many below-average-IQ-having cops associate pot with Al Qaeda because of ridiculous statements like this?

Just like diamonds and oil (3, Insightful)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183716)

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.

Re:Just like diamonds and oil (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183780)

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

Re:Just like diamonds and oil (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183846)

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.

Re:Just like diamonds and oil (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183902)

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? I thought they were banned from doing that.

Re:Just like diamonds and oil (1)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184374)

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.

Re:Just like diamonds and oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30185490)

Women love to be covered in, and flaunt, remains of blood, suffering, of sacrifice - of abasement and submission. As pageantries of veneration.

It's something the Godess in each of them, I suppose.

And t-shirts and jeans and shoes (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183864)

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.
 

Re:Just like diamonds and oil (1)

palmerj3 (900866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184488)

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.

Probably not the best time to mention that I have a dead baby carcass bag full of tungsten

Don't threaten the iPODs of the fanboy AGW crowd! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30183718)

The same folks who bow down to the AGW religion so they can save the planet from humanity are going to be really upset!

This will do nothing to end the "conflict". (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183724)

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:This will do nothing to end the "conflict". (2, Informative)

Lokinin (1683408) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183774)

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:This will do nothing to end the "conflict". (2, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183822)

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 for said minerals while doing jack and squat about the violence. remember these folks have been fighting for decades now. We can't change that anymore than we can get the Shia and the Sunni to "just play nice". Wish we could, but we can't, sorry.

Re:This will do nothing to end the "conflict". (1, Informative)

andrew554 (1649757) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183784)

The fighting is about politics, not minerals.

And what is politics about if not the distribution of power and wealth? (Remember that the minerals are making the warlords richer and funding the mayhem.)

And it won’t solve the problem completely, but it will put pressure on to start towards a solution. And this is a good thing. Especially when the alternative is to turn a blind eye and pretend nothing is happening.

An imperfect solution is better than nothing.

Just like conflict diamonds? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

*sigh*

Re:Just like conflict diamonds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30185540)

As someone who worked extremely close with said companies - you sir are an asshat. Canadian diamonds are laser etched and tracked from mine to end use unless industrial in use which aren't worth the hassle. I can assure you the CCRA wasn't and isn't letting large quantities of diamonds flow INTO Canada. Get some facts and stop spreading FUD.

Re:Just like conflict diamonds? (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30185634)

I can assure you the CCRA wasn't and isn't letting large quantities of diamonds flow INTO Canada. Get some facts and stop spreading FUD.

Thank you, Mister A. Nonymous Coward. I'm sure that we can all rest easy now that you've made some unsubstantiated claims to refute those other unsubstantiated claims! P.S. DeBeers has a long and well-known history of doing much more nefarious things than diamond smuggling. You're going to have to offer some better evidence that they can't be doing it if you want us to believe you. Since no such evidence can be manufactured, because it is trivial to do such a thing with their resources, you might as well just STFU and go away.

Doubt it will make much difference (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30183734)

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

Irony (4, Insightful)

shareme (897587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183738)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30183836)

Of course no Chinese miners will be involved. China will buy the materials from Congo, probably directly shipping it from Congo to the USA.

Re:Irony (1)

Phil-14 (1277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184082)

China already produces more Tungsten than the rest of the world put together.

If anything, this could help create one of those situations where China still has access but noone else can use the stuff to make finished goods, the way China has threateneed to do re: cornering the rare earth market after they've driven everyone else out of business.

(Or did Slashdot cover that?)

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30185132)

http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/09/08/2119201/China-Considering-Cuts-In-Rare-Earth-Metal-Exports

Just let me know... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183740)

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

Re:Just let me know... (1, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183892)

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

Re:Just let me know... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183960)

Non-violent rape happens when your partner consents.

If the partner consents, it's not rape.

Re:Just let me know... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184074)

Non-violent rape happens when your partner consents.

If the partner consents, it's not rape.

What about statutory rape, like the 18yrold with 17yrold cases?

And assisted suicide may as well be called "statutory murder", given the justification for outlawing it.

Re:Just let me know... (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184248)

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 (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183746)

While not an especially great book, I got something of a picture of Eastern Congo from reading Tim Butcher's Blood River [amazon.com] 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:Hell on Earth (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183818)

>>>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 and bring "peace through superior firepower".

Yeah this work like the Drug War (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183752)

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.

thats because you haven't tried very hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184044)

i think if you spent more time reading books and less time on playing space marine, you might understand things a little better.

how 'bout RTFA? (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184740)

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

Quoth the corporate spinsters [itic.org] :

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 [house.gov] :

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).

Re:Yeah this work like the Drug War (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184962)

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 expensive minerals to sell them raw suits the bill just fine. This isn't at all like the blanket embargo on Cuba, which hoped to bring down the whole economy so people would revolt (har har), but a more selective approach - people are in no way benefiting from mineral extraction, since the money ends up with the arms dealers, the minerals go to our gadgets, and the warlords get the guns.

Flintstones! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30183754)

I look forward to my next computer made completely out of local-quarried granite and powered by a small rodent in a wheel.

Who cares about the Congo? (1, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183758)

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.

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183800)

A conservative on Slashdot...there's a first time for everything, I suppose.

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183838)

Hello! (waves hand). There are lots of conservatives, libertarians, and other small-government-loving people on Slashdot.

"small government is beautiful"

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30183998)

"small corporation is beautiful"

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (1)

EQ (28372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184354)

More than you may think. Used to be a lot of techno-libertarians around before these little baby statists swarmed in.

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30183930)

You must be new here. Pretty much any story on slashdot with a political angle on it will have a large thread that turns into a libertarian vs liberal argument. There don't seem to be too many standard conservatives (those who talk about small government while at the same time making it bigger in order to fight wars and stop people taking drugs) on here though.

Me? I'm on the libertarian side.

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184574)

There don't seem to be too many standard conservatives (those who talk about small government while at the same time making it bigger in order to fight wars and stop people taking drugs)

There were 9 years ago, but we learned from our mistakes.

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (2, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184602)

Those aren't true conservatives. They're neocons. There's a difference. :-)

A true conservative talks about a smaller government and means it.

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183870)

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

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

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (1)

MattGWU (86623) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183990)

And radical conservatives want their followers to have as many children as possible (Ex: The Quiverfull movement) to be a Christian army for Jesus with the stated goal of taking over the country politically in a couple generations. This is somehow better? ....Incidentally though, I'm with you on 'if we don't get the metals, China will.' That doesn't do us any good at all.

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184152)

Well every political side has its own activists. Let's face it, conservatives and liberals have their fair share of alinsky radicals in both sides.

Re:Who cares about the Congo? (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184360)

O.K. I'm not convulsed with laughter, so I can type now.
First the phrase "radical conservatives" painted a picture of the opposite of rogues like the Green Party, Zero Pop control, and the freaks who put animal , plant and bug interests ahead of our own. I see a vision of radical rightists in a boat herding dolphins to tuna nets singing "onward christian soldiers". I see consecrated orgies in church basement rec centers," Bobby go help Widdow Jones and your cousin concieve, they been preparin' the luncheon and missed out"....Dammit I'm gigglin again. I doubt the quiverfull movement to be any more dangerous than Mormons. However it is probably pretty irritating to Atheists, who in turn are just as irritating as anyone mentioned in this post.
        Don't worry about any christian armies marchin' down your street anytime soon. I don't worry about ATWA getting anywhere in life ( http://www.atwa.be/one.html [www.atwa.be] ) or scientology recovering any respect or ground in this eon. You really gotta be or at least be able to sustain some kinda righteousness to gain ground anywhere.
        I kinda like to meet cultists and freaks of all kinds.Call it a hobby. It is a good exercise in understanding backgrounds and motives of the waaaay out among us and they do get less threatening when you actually reach out and touch them.
I will say one thing, the intensely Christian among us have delicious potluck dinners and will feed you till you pop after entertaining you with an extremely visual performance behind the pulpit. Can't say I'd like to eat with Vegan Democrats for Nader. However if you hear about any church sponsored breeding parties, I'd be glad to bring a quiverfull of my seed, hell I'll even sing hymns.
Sumpin' to think about.

         

Fungible Resources (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Fungible Resources (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183932)

No.

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.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW5qKYfqALE [youtube.com]

Re:Fungible Resources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184680)

Can't you compare the impurities, or even the isotopic composition of the tungsten itself? These should vary from one region to another.

col-tan (2, Informative)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184078)

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 be needed for electric cars, wind generators, new more efficient generators for steam generators, etc, etc, etc.

Basically, we have China squeezing the west on one side, and dems squeezing on the other. Worse, I bet that EU will do the same. And does this help those in the middle? I seriously doubt it.

They might as well rename it (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183912)

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?

If you want to fix the Congo... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183918)

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.

Re:If you want to fix the Congo... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184016)

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.

Re:If you want to fix the Congo... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184144)

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.

Yeah, thank god for the republicans (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184466)

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.

Nothing will change (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30183924)

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 (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184004)

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.

Corporate Socialism! (1)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184068)

Big Business loves government regulation, because they get to control it and raise the barrier-to-entry for smaller / future competition.

Megacorps and demagogue politicians aside, regulation hurts everyone else, especially the so-called "sweatshop victims" who must now resort to even worse means of survival (if any).

Tin (1)

OldCrasher (254629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30184162)

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?

Niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184184)

Just remember that Troll and Truth begin with the same sound.

No matter what materials you use, as long as niggers are involved, which has been scientificlly proven that niggers have higher rates of violence than real people. Just make areas with valueable materials nigger free zones, we could call it jim crow zones, or even something dutch sounding like apartheid and keep niggers in the jungles where they can only attack each other with bananas and sticks.

Remember, niggers like killing niggers, look at all the genocides in africa, which is higher than nazism and communism combinedl

So buy big diamonds and get your Core i7 32 nm processors made out of the best minerals, and say fuck the niggers.

Verizon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184296)

Verizon make electronics now?

Hate to be a grammar nazi.. (4, Informative)

log0n (18224) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.
OR
I'm going to try to end the international trade of tungsten.

But my computer requires blood sacrifices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30184980)

Now I'll have to put a drop of human blood on every motherboard. There is a major corporate wide upgrade planned for next year. I don't have enough blood to spare for so many systems. I think I might have to kill a drifter.

Come on, man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30185092)

People come together to mine these minerals. They have jobs (is this not a good thing?). Said people then murder and/or rape other said people.who are also mining. Why do we blame the companies who use these minerals? Using this type kind of logic, should I, a Packer fan, no longer eat wild rice from Minnesota now that Brett Farve is a Viking?

I'm just saying....

how about conflict petroleum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30185176)

I refuse to fill up at any gas station unless I can check their paper trail without petroleum from Iraq or the middle east.

tantalum caps (1)

badhack (557341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30185316)

I wonder what we will use in place of tantalum caps. Electrolytics don't have the lifespan and most other materials don't have a high enough CV.

Next up (1)

Jiro (131519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30185340)

The "Conflict Petroleum Trade Act". Prohibits us from buying oil from countries with repeated human rights violations. Saudi Arabia should really like this one. It'll never happen, of course.

Mine the Stars (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30185374)

Get it from asteroids, already!

Support needed development of the space tech and capability. Nobody gets killed but some very few willing volunteers. And a lot of fellow nerds get to move out of TMB (mom's basements) and into spacious mining capsules for those relaxing and edifying 2 or 3 year streches. As an added bonus, there will probably be no noticeable change in their physical condition before and after that time in space. ;p

Plus, its 'Totally' eco-friendly - unless you nudge something where it shouldn't, of course. ;)

And, while they're at it, they could fetch enough nickel / lithium / whatever to expedite a sustainable electrical civilization.

und so wieder...

Rape? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30185576)

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.

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