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severalog

A bloody resistor

J. Harry Caufield

This Intel announcement is interesting - in short, they're trying to phase out use of raw materials (in this case, rare metals like tantalum) sourced from conflict regions in Africa. This is certainly one of the human rights bottlenecks for the information age. It's really difficult to enjoy cheap, bleeding-edge consumer technology without getting a child, a soldier, or a child soldier involved at some stage of the process.

I'm generally skeptical of corporate announcements but I genuinely hope this Intel thing isn't just the human rights equivalent of greenwashing.  It would be insulting to see the consumer electronics market fragmented into "cheap n' bloody" vs. "conflict-free" products like what happened with diamonds. The problem with diamonds is that they're still valuable no matter who is buying or selling them. Perhaps the inherent brief period between release and obsolescence can enable consumer electronics to avoid that issue, at least.