Monday, August 18, 2003

Nifty Technology Stuff: Wired's piece on the applications and manufacture of man-made diamonds. It's just like you thought when you were a kid: smash some carbon really, really hard. Since few things are more common than carbon, it's only natural that we would someday exploit technology to force the element's most valuable crystal to form. But the consequences, economic and social, are extensive. Your computer may run faster on nature's most durable crystal. And the flaw in your engagement stone may make it all the more coveted, as machines crank out flawless diamonds on demand. This goes back to our capitalism, globalism, progress discussion from last week. I won't shed big tears for DeBeers, nor for generations of African dictatorship propped up by diamonds' value. And I'll happily welcome the industrial benefits that will create jobs, efficiency, and continued advances in technology that will do more for the economy than 200 years of traditional diamond digging, cutting, and marketing -- an industry that is, of course, in panic. (Via A&LD.)

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