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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Difference Engine: Nikola's revenge

The Economist
April 1, 2011

ONCE again, worrywarts in Washington are wringing their hands over possible shortages of so-called “critical materials” for America’s high-tech industries. In particular, the Department of Energy frets about certain metals used in manufacturing wind turbines, electric vehicles, solar cells and energy-efficient lighting. The substances in question include a bunch of rare-earth metals plus a handful of other elements which—used a pinch here, a pinch there—enhance the way many industrial materials perform.
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