Friday, May 02, 2008

The chips will go down

For want of a nail the kingdom was lost. In our civilisation, the nails are the computer chips used in every electronic device, every level of infrastructure and throughout communications, transportation, manufacturing, and so on.

Computer chips are so fragile that most fail or degrade within four years. Chip fabrication plants cost more than $10 billion because the water, chemicals and silicon to make them require such purity that particles 500 times smaller than a human hair can cause defects. Microchips require metals that are depleting faster than fossil fuels, have the longest supply chain of any product, and are vulnerable to single points of failure - which brings us back to Africa and 98% of the strategic minerals on which we depend.....,