We're Running Out of These Elements — Here's How

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  • Published: 07 November 2019
  • Phones, TVs, solar panels, and electric car batteries are all made of some rare and unusual elements. As our modern world creates more and more of these technologies, will things go from "rare" to "nonexistent" and what will we do then?

    Hosted by: Michael Aranda

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    Sources:
    http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/13/aluminium
    http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/27/cobalt
    http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/33/arsenic
    http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/49/indium

    https://www.oulu.fi/energy/node/46134
    https://prd-wret.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets/palladium/production/s3fs-public/atoms/files/mcs-2019-indiu.pdf
    https://www.bgs.ac.uk/mineralsUK/statistics/riskList.html
    https://gizmodo.com/most-commercial-graphene-is-just-expensive-pencil-lead-1829625572
    https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2002/fs087-02/fs087-02.pdf
    https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/earthelements.html
    https://www.offgridweb.com/preparation/understanding-ferrocerium-what-it-is-how-it-works/
    https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2014/3078/pdf/fs2014-3078.pdf
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13563-018-0160-0
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/monazite
    https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2002/fs087-02/fs087-02.pdf
    https://io9.gizmodo.com/how-chinas-rare-earth-weapon-went-from-boom-to-bust-1653638596
    https://mineralseducationcoalition.org/minerals-database/arsenic/
    https://www.pnas.org/content/112/14/4257.full#ref-5
    https://www.cobaltinstitute.org/lithium-ion-batteries.html
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cssc.201802556
    https://prd-wret.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets/palladium/production/s3fs-public/atoms/files/mcs-2019-galli.pdf
    https://phys.org/news/2019-05-china-threat-deprive-rare-earths.html
    https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rsta.2011.0563
    https://www.resourcepanel.org/file/381/download?token=he_rldvr
    https://prd-wret.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets/palladium/production/s3fs-public/atoms/files/mcs-2019-arsen.pdf
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S089268750900106X
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cssc.201802556
    https://www.copper.org/publications/newsletters/innovations/2004/05/producing_copper_natures_way_bioleaching.html
    https://www.jchps.com/specialissues/Special%20issue3/33%20jchps%20si3%20addn%20kavitha%20147-149.pdf
    ------
    Images:
    https://www.videoblocks.com/video/repairing-and-changing-of-a-screen-on-a-iphone-mobile-phone-rlfmaf56vjw7npysh
    https://www.istockphoto.com/vector/periodic-table-of-elements-gm1142193660-306312056
    https://www.videoblocks.com/video/flying-over-rows-of-solar-panels-r193mwuhxjnwc60uj
    https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/open-pit-zink-mine-gm153767196-14910788
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    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gold_bearing_vein_Toi_Kinzan.jpg
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Comments • 1 698

  • Love One Another
    Love One Another  1 hours back

    We are getting elements from parallel realities now. Hop on the education train . If you know of alchemy you know antimony is the most valuable substance there is.

    • Daryl S
      Daryl S  2 hours back

      Declass everything. That includes Tesla patents still not public. Energy is in the air around us. It’s been suppressed. New technology will reduce demand for rare metals. Organic tech meld will change the future. Quantum energy is another...

      • Richard Robertson
        Richard Robertson  23 hours back

        You appear so intelligent at first and most of your information that overlaps my education and training adds to your credibility, then you come out with a suggestion to stop "climate change" and I think, well, the guy may be well read but he fails to make logical occlusions. I stopped watching. Please get past your desire for wealth redistribution . . . that's the ultimate goal of the "climate change" crowd.

        • Anibal Fermaint Gonzalez

          I'm surprised you didn't talk about copper and at least a little bit about glass towards the end.

          • Anibal Fermaint Gonzalez

            The only rare earth metal processing facility in America was closed because it was hard. China keeps doing it. Now we just throw away most batteries in the landfill and only recycle the rechargeable ones.

            • hustler3of4culture3
              hustler3of4culture3  2 days back

              What about extracting from recycled and old phones?

              • João de Carvalho
                João de Carvalho  2 days back

                Asteroid and Moon mining is still decades away, but we will do that. If pollution is inevitable, better to do it on the Moon than here.

                • WormholeJim
                  WormholeJim  2 days back

                  There's a lot of info in this that doesn't show in the debate. The rare earth elements, for instance, and hw there are people concerned about China "sitting on most of the wold's availabe deposits" when it in reality is because China is the only producer that is willing be subjected to the environmental consequenses. Thanks for uploading this, it helps put nuance and more facets to the ongoing, rather toxic and two-dimensional debate running circles around the human impact on the planet.

                  • Roy McLean
                    Roy McLean  3 days back

                    Climate change will reduce both the sourcing of these rare elements, but the demand as well... the burning question is whether we’ve reached a tech plateau. Lost Atlantis will be joined by Lost Apple...

                    • Scarleto
                      Scarleto  3 days back

                      Lowkey surprised we haven't figured out how to synthesize these elements, or that the focus on doing as such hasn't yet shifted from mining them naturally, but maybe that's just me reading too much scifi?

                      • Jaydaks rules
                        Jaydaks rules  3 days back

                        WHAT! lighter spark isnt from magnesium :( whole life has been a lie

                        • sinisterLMN
                          sinisterLMN  3 days back

                          Sounds like a job for (tears open shirt jacket and tie): “Asteroid Farming Man!”

                          • MegaGouch
                            MegaGouch  3 days back

                            So western countries claim they have stop mining some of these dangerous elements, therefor saving the planet.
                            Instead they just import them from countries who don't protect the environment or workers, and that is somehow ok?

                            • Andre Fouche
                              Andre Fouche  3 days back

                              Remember the climate will always change no matter what we do.

                              • Jebediah Clang
                                Jebediah Clang  4 days back

                                Nomophones b!tches. Get used to it.
                                Hahaha

                                • Eugene InLaw
                                  Eugene InLaw  4 days back

                                  Get to asteroid mining already!

                                  • SPOOKS
                                    SPOOKS  4 days back

                                    thorium cam hardly be considered radioactive, and both thorium and urainium are incredibly good at making energy.

                                    • Cj's Bullshittery
                                      Cj's Bullshittery  4 days back

                                      I really like this guy idk why

                                      • Abby Leonard
                                        Abby Leonard  5 days back

                                        Basically stop using electronics or your killing the planet and causing global warmins

                                        • Karl Tsang
                                          Karl Tsang  5 days back

                                          Guess it's time to turn to the alchemists again.....

                                          • SuperAnime4444
                                            SuperAnime4444  5 days back

                                            This is why I drop electronics at Best Buy's bins instead of throwing them into the garbage.

                                            • psychotikpaisano
                                              psychotikpaisano  6 days back

                                              Hmm. Titanium will spark if struck against another piece of itself

                                              • Al Rats
                                                Al Rats  6 days back

                                                It's criminal that we have constructed a society where the end of life of products are not considered in the design of the product.

                                                • Matthew Weisenburger
                                                  Matthew Weisenburger  6 days back

                                                  Just another reason to travel to other planets

                                                  • Tonechild
                                                    Tonechild  6 days back

                                                    All of the elements are just made up of electrons and neutrons, so, just grab those and put them together, then you get whatever elements you need. Probably just need a lot of energy, which you can get from nuclear fusion, which by the way probably makes elements too.

                                                    • El Asesino
                                                      El Asesino  7 days back

                                                      recycle much

                                                      • spijkerpoes
                                                        spijkerpoes  7 days back

                                                        Why no word on planned obsolescence?
                                                        I'd have no trouble inheriting my parent's laptop if it functioned alright
                                                        Like a voyager space probe

                                                        • ᖇᗩ乙0229
                                                          ᖇᗩ乙0229  7 days back

                                                          Me, an intellectual: _We still have SUN_

                                                          • TRR47
                                                            TRR47  7 days back

                                                            5:28 *shots fired

                                                            • Brynna Wenz
                                                              Brynna Wenz  7 days back

                                                              God I recognize this guy from some old YouTube channel but I can’t place it..

                                                              • Unotch
                                                                Unotch  1 weeks back

                                                                Seems like a good time to invade the Congo!

                                                                • Chris Pierce
                                                                  Chris Pierce  1 weeks back

                                                                  Thanks scishow for depressing me before work..

                                                                  • STEPHAN FEIBISH
                                                                    STEPHAN FEIBISH  1 weeks back

                                                                    I have shares in many if not most of the companies that mine the elements mentioned. Most are money losing propositions that probably will go bankrupt. Losing money for their original shareholders. Picked up for a song and perhaps profitable for some private equity investors.

                                                                    • Steve Mclean
                                                                      Steve Mclean  1 weeks back

                                                                      When we run out of helium., that is when we all die.

                                                                      • Lorenzo Robles
                                                                        Lorenzo Robles  1 weeks back

                                                                        @7:27 he claims recycling the metals will help stop climate change...you can't stop the climate, brother.

                                                                        • Darmok
                                                                          Darmok  1 weeks back

                                                                          Two words: *asteroid mining*

                                                                          • The One Minds
                                                                            The One Minds  1 weeks back

                                                                            Alchemy is the solution to all the problems listed here

                                                                            • Frukwon 420
                                                                              Frukwon 420  1 weeks back

                                                                              tech companies should pay consumers to recycle their tech

                                                                              • Lakshmi T
                                                                                Lakshmi T  1 weeks back

                                                                                Why are lanthanide series marked two periods up the group?

                                                                                • DEATHWISH -CHRIS
                                                                                  DEATHWISH -CHRIS  1 weeks back

                                                                                  Totally unrelated but the host looks so much like Chino Moreno singer from the Deftones!

                                                                                  Great video, thanks!

                                                                                  • Ben Johnson
                                                                                    Ben Johnson  1 weeks back

                                                                                    Global warming is a con, by the way.

                                                                                    • Hans Hoerdemann
                                                                                      Hans Hoerdemann  1 weeks back

                                                                                      What's wrong with his ear lobes?

                                                                                      • Daniel Law
                                                                                        Daniel Law  1 weeks back

                                                                                        I look forward to mining asteroid.

                                                                                        • Harry Helen
                                                                                          Harry Helen  1 weeks back

                                                                                          Damn. This means we can’t make the Death Star. I’m so sad.

                                                                                          • Armando Flores
                                                                                            Armando Flores  1 weeks back

                                                                                            Unlimited universe and we're running out of elements. Smh

                                                                                            • Red Jew
                                                                                              Red Jew  4 days back

                                                                                              The universe is running out because the population is growing and we are using too much resources.

                                                                                          • Rose Gott
                                                                                            Rose Gott  1 weeks back

                                                                                            Thank you, handsome science guy!

                                                                                            • Adam Salazar
                                                                                              Adam Salazar  1 weeks back

                                                                                              Intense.

                                                                                              • Cole Chapman
                                                                                                Cole Chapman  1 weeks back

                                                                                                Obviously the solution is to print out more elements duh.