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June 20, 2024

PI Newsletter #85

  1. The Dirty Truth of Going Green: China’s 2,500 sq.kms of Toxic Land. An Ugly REEality.

On September 7th, 2010, the global high-tech industry imploded when Japanese literally waved – not even whipped – a scolding finger at China for the trawling of a fishing boat in what they claim are their waters. The Chinese responded with the unanticipated horror of cutting off Japan’s then sole supply of rare earth elements or REEs.

That so-called Senkaku Incident involved the Japanese Coast Guard holding the captain of the trawler for more than two weeks, after the vessel he’d been steering through disputed territorial waters of the Senkaku Islands, collided with one of their craft. Granted, the Japanese may have gotten a little too huffy over the incident, but China’s retributive spanking of Japan in its scrawny little resourceless behind set off the international alarm. After all, if China ratcheted up to this level of retaliation with powerful Japan, they could easily do the same to other countries and corporations that had long been sucking at its bounteous REE teat.

Barack Obama even held a press conference addressing the situation. He pondered how, without the nearly 100 percent of REEs China had been supplying to the world, at that time, how billions of us would continue getting every high-tech gadget imaginable and essential to our very survival, each of which required REEs for their manufacture. Overnight, the incident gave rise to rapid funding and development of REE mining operations in Africa and Australia, in particular, in order to ensure an additional steady supply in the face of future such incidents.

Now that the REE dust has settled on the Senkaku Incident, it’s prudent to take a look at its economic, social, and scientific fallout. First of all, a word about the myth the misnomer that ‘REEs’ presents. The only thing rare about the elements found throughout the earth, is the paucity of people willing to let especially their native environments be devastated by processes required to mine and refine them – particularly if the areas in which those elements are found also contain things like say, radioactive thorium.


  1. The Russian Military Will Soon Assign Soldiers Based on Their “Genetic Passports”

The Russian military will be using genetics to assess the most unpredictable of human qualities: how a person will react in combat.

“The project is far-reaching, scientific, fundamental,” Alexander Sergeyev, the chief of Russia’s Academy of Sciences, told Russian news agency TASS back in the summer (English translation here). “Its essence is to find such genetic predispositions among military personnel, which will allow them to be properly oriented according to military specialties.”

“It is a question of understanding at the genetic level who is more prone to, for example, to service in the fleet, who may be more prepared to become a paratrooper or a tankman.”


  1. 30 Years After the Berlin Wall: Germans Flee to a Nation with a Wall – Video


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