Why we need copper — and why it's harder and harder to get

Tim Heffernan has done some fantastic guest blogging here at BoingBoing. Now, at Pacific Standard, he’s got a story about copper — a natural resource that will affect the future of everything. Just as we’re needing more and more of it, this metal is getting harder to reach. READ THE REST

I’m taking bets on how many years it will be before garbage dumps become the most economically practical ore on the planet… and how many years after that it’ll be before we’re mining them not just for minerals and metals but for plastics.

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(Life sustains itself by taking advantage of resource concentrations and dispersing them… entropy writ large used to temporarily hold entropy at bay locally.)

I suspect that the vampire squid, with its ravenous hunger for hemocyanins to sustain its unnatural life, may also be a factor in the ongoing shortage of copper…

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This is why you are starting to see copper coins and bullion making the rounds. Sort of a poor man’s gold/silver investing. The last gun show I went to had a man with a table selling solid copper coins and 1 pound copper bars.

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That’s why I started “Growing my own Copper!” Details free! Just send the rest of your money and I’ll show you how!

I wonder how high the price of copper would have to go before my cheap-ass phone company starts replacing copper wire with fibre just so they can sell the copper. They certainly aren’t going to do it to benefit customers.

The Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia just came on line and shipped the first batch of copper a week or so ago. It is the second largest copper deposit ever found. Currently most of it will be going to China, but I’m sure the mine’s majority owner, Rio Tinto, would be happy to sell to others. So I think any calculations/speculations about copper need to take this new mine into account.

And…as a matter of fact, the link to this article just showed up on my FB feed: http://www.mad-mongolia.com/news/mongolia-news/huge-mongolia-copper-mine-begins-shipments-rio-tinto-14682/

Don’t worry, it’s entirely possible to throttle a fiber connection down to the speed of DSL on 60’s copper right at the edge of the DSLAM’s range, and that’s a service we’ll be proud to provide, since our customers expect nothing less of us!

(More realistically, a number of telcos, in areas where they aren’t interested in buildout, are just handing off the ISP side entirely to the local cable monopoly(since they already have the coax, and DSL generally can’t catch DOCSIS without actual infrastructure upgrades) and upselling people on cellphones as hard as possible. New York has been wrangling with Verizon about their plan to do that in a number of hurricane-hit areas lately)

I had this song playing in my head while reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfGtjQ8Gdr8

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