Conflict Minerals: Blood in Your Gadget
Rare earth minerals crucial to the operation of laptops, cellphones and iPods are mined from conflict areas like the Congo where profits from resource extraction fund civil wars.
Tin, tantalum and tungsten—oh my! "These 'Three T's' and gold are essential to the technology industry—but are also notorious among human rights groups. For years, warlords in eastern Congo have mined and sold the minerals to finance brutal conflicts and sexual violence. 'Rebel militias are making hundreds of millions of dollars off these materials—materials that go mainly into electronics,' says Sasha Lezhnev of The Enough Project, a branch of the Center for American Progress that works to end genocide."
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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