RE: possible future shortages of other resources

From: Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Date: Thu Aug 02 2001 - 16:43:26 EDT

  • Next message: Vernon Jenkins: "Wheel of God"



    I think that there is relatively little Sc in the earth's crust and it is
    chemically similar to other elements, which makes separation difficult.
    The Spectrum Labs article I referenced said it was the 50th most abundant
    element on earth but widely scatterd and occurin in minute amounts in over
    800 different minerals. That would make recovery expensive.
    That's probably pretty close. My "Chem Rubber Handbook" gives the crustal
    composition as 5 ppm, in the same ballpark at As, and twice as abundant as
    B, but chemically it is similar to Y and the rare earth elements. There are
    no known (as far as I know) Sc ores and that makes it expensive.
    When I first ran across that tid-bit of information I figured there was just
    enough scandium in the aluminum in those bats to keep the manufacturer from
    getting a law suite filed against them for false advertising. Also, while
    I appreciate the fact that sometimes small additives can make a large
    difference in physical properties, my guess is that the increase in sales
    due to the advertising value of saying a bat has scandium in it is more than
    the increase due to any verifiable improvement in batting performance.
    Perhaps some of the folks on this list have children who play baseball and
    they can tell us a bit more about this.
    Probably just another marketing ploy, "now, NEW, IMPROVED aluminum baseball
    bats, with SCANDIUM!!!"
    I may do a bit of work to help a friend of mine who is the consulting
    geologist on the new waste pit the city is digging but I am not going to go
    to the old ones that have already been covered over and mine through them
    for old computer boards or anything else to recover some trace elements.
    This is what I was referring to as "scattered around" to the point of not
    being recoverable again.
    Yes, but WE are the scatterers because most of us are too lazy to sort the
    stuff we throw out. A year ago, our daughter was traveling through New York
    State. At one stop, she wanted to get rid of some aluminum soft drink cans
    and asked where to put them. "Just toss them in the garbage," was the
    reply. Obviously, the "effort" of having an Al-rich waste stream was too
    great in upstate New York. .
    So little I hadn't even thought to ask. As far as I know all the excess
    rain water and lawn runoff goes into the storm drains. On the north side of
    town these drains empty into creeks that (assuming they don't dry up before
    the water gets there) empty into the Canadian River. On the south side of
    town the runoff goes into somewhere and eventually winds up going down
    through Palo Duro Canyon. I think I will contact the city water dept and
    see what I can learn about this. It is an interesting question and probably
    something I should address in my geology classes.
    That's the place to mention these topics. Students are being bombarded by
    advertising trying to make them spend, spend, spend.
    We are pretty big on people owning stuff around here. It wasn't that long
    ago that survival depended on more than runnning to the grocery store or the
    local well-fare office. It depended on taking care of your cattle, your
    water, your grain, your car or truck, your house, your oil or gas wells etc.
    If you wanted it you had to figure out a way to get it and to keep it
    against the vagaries of nature. People were, and still are, very helpful
    when a neighbor, or just someone they see, is in trouble but it wasn't that
    long ago (30 years?) that I went to a movie, came home late and since I had
    forgotten to take my house keys with me was climbing in through my bedroom
    window and was challenged by a neighor with a shotgun. Crime rate was
    amazing low in those days. But back to the water - it is so dry around here
    that not much water flows on the surface and in the early days the
    irrigation and farm wells were so far apart and used so little water that
    lateral migration wasn't a problem. But of course now that we are trying to
    support a town of close to 175,000 people with maybe 50 water wells and the
    farmers are pumping water through 8-12 inch pipes (I am guessing based on
    what I have seen lying around in the fields - that is something else I can
    check on in the next few days - what size engines are they using, at what
    rates do they lift the water and how much do they use in a year) things are
    a bit different. And even worse than that, I still water my lawn. The
    shear stupidity of using drinkable water to grow grass in the summer time in
    this climate amazes me. But peer pressure and habits being what they are I
    keep a green lawn (though I do have a type of grass that does best in high
    temperatures and a moderately dry climate - unlike most of my neighbors).
    One neighbor has replaces his grass with gravel and cut off the only tree in
    his front yard so that the trunk is inclined down toward the street.
    Attached to that trunk is an old gasoline powered lawnmower and the sign in
    front says "RETIRED!" I assume it refers to both he and the lawn mower.
    Maybe the Amarillo area was not intended to support 175 000 people. My
    guess is that it was not. Now, Amarillo is not the only city that should
    not be where it is. Winnipeg has a population of 600 000 and is located at
    the confluence of two rivers (the Red and the Assiniboine) that tend to
    cause flooding. At one time, there may have been a reason to be along water
    (for transportation) but now 99.9% of the transportation takes place on
    highways and by rail. Yet, Winnipeg is still where it was founded: on a
    flood plain.
    I assume from your reference to southern Ontario that you live there.
    Nope, I live in southern Manitoba.
    A couple of weeks ago the 2001 American Solar Car race (they spell it Rayce
    but I can't bring myself to do that) came through Amarillo and everyone had
    a mandatory 30 minute pit stop. There were several cars from Canada
    including the one from Queen's University of Kingston Ontario and the one
    from the University of Toronto. Queen's came in 4th overall and Toronto
    came in 11th. As for the team from Texas? Well the only highschool in the
    bunch finished ahead of the Aggies from Texas A&M University. My guess is
    too much exotic engineering, not enough common sense or experience on the
    part of the Aggies. As one of the guys from North Dakota State said "Our
    car may be heavy and slow but it is reliable."
    Would have been interesting to see.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Aug 02 2001 - 16:43:26 EDT