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To: skinowski who wrote (486842)5/12/2012 5:05:18 PM
From: Nadine Carroll
   of 562316
 
My wife many years ago used to be teacher in the NYC system. She quit, went back to school and became a CPA. She had fun practicing for many years, but from a financial POV her whole new career was a mistake. She was getting paid well as a teacher, and for the past many years she would be receiving a very nice pension. Not to mention that we would not be spending tons of money over the years, paying for our own healthcare insurance.

Indeed. She should have become a CPA after she put in her 20 years and retired.

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From: FUBHO5/12/2012 5:19:37 PM
1 Recommendation   of 562316
 
Rare-earth mining rises again in United States

A company called Molycorp is reopening a mine in California.

by Danielle Venton, wired.com - May 12 2012, 1:25pm CDT

arstechnica.com




Enlarge / The Molycorp mine at Mountain Pass
Jim Merithew/Wired
With waste water eliminated, a sludge of unwanted residues will be left behind and gradually piled in this 90-acre pit at the base of Clark Mountain.

The fight over the minerals that run the electronic world entered a new phase in March when the United States, the European Union, and Japan collectively filed a case against China, accusing the rare-earth powerhouse of violating world trade rules to manipulate mineral prices.

At the heart of argument are 17 little-known elements with whimsical names like europium and praseodymium, that are found in everything from mobile phones and computers to smart bombs and large wind turbines. Traces of the metals can be found around the world, but rarely in high enough concentrations for mining to be convenient or profitable.

China now controls 95 percent of total rare-earth supply. A figurative sneeze on its export policy is all that’s needed to shake global markets, and in 2010 China began restricting rare-earth exports. International prices spiked, reaching near-dizzying levels last summer before crashing in the fall. In the wake of the World Trade Organization case, they’ve perked up again.

Foreign companies buying rare earths from China must now pay more than twice the rate paid by companies inside China. The tiered pricing encourages companies to move factories and jobs to China, where they can be sure of supply and lower prices. Beyond the extra economic boost for China, this has made it easier for Chinese companies to steal foreign intellectual property. Businessmen and politicians worry that China’s dominance over these 17 elements is a strategic vulnerability, discouraging innovation and threatening national defense.



A bread-roll-sized chunk of neodymium sells for about $300
That may soon change. Encouraged by rising prices and political support, new mines are starting up around the world, most notably in Malaysiaand in California, where a company called Molycorp has reopened what until the 1980s was the world’s flagship rare-earth mine.

"In five years there will be rare earths produced all over the world and China will lose its edge," said mining analyst John Kaiser, editor of Kaiser Research Online. "Molycorp is part of that equation. They’re putting back into production what was once the largest rare-earth mine in the world. And this is a good thing because it takes away power concentrated in China."


Located in Mountain Pass, California, about an hour west of Las Vegas, the mine sits atop mineral deposits discovered in the late 1940s by geologists looking for commercial-grade uranium. They found some of the world’s richest reserves of bastnasite, a mineral containing higher-than-usual concentrations of rare-earth elements like cerium, lanthanum and yttrium.

Rare-earth mining began at Mountain Pass in the early 1950s, and by the mid-1980s the mine supplied 60 percent of global demand and 100 percent of U.S. needs. But as Chinese production increased, operations at Mountain Pass dwindled.

Environmental problems also played a role. Salty, radioactive water kept leaking from waste evaporation ponds, leading to the mine’s closure in 2002. Mining for rare earths is classically a very environmentally destructive process, and China’s market domination is due in part to disregard for health, safety and environmental controls. The country has recently started cleaning up its messiest mines, adding to export controls in pushing rare-earth prices up.

"They were cheap," Kaiser said, "because China was willing to subsidize the price by producing things with lower environmental and health and safety controls—all the things that we over here don’t allow."

Six years after the Mountain Pass closure, a group of private investors purchased the mine from Chevron. Molycorp is now giving the mine a $781 million overhaul, and claims it can be both profitable and environmentally responsible, operating without sucking the area dry of water, requiring massive electrical draws or leaving behind a toxic trail.

While those promises will be difficult to fulfill, one promising sign is Molycorp’s response to pressure from the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that initially opposed renovation. Molycorp addressed their major concern: Rather than transporting waste water offsite through a potentially leaky pipeline, the company will recycle hydrochloric acid and water used in mining, eliminating the need for waste ponds and saving on chemical costs.


While the new technique’s details are proprietary, few doubt Molycorp’s method will genuinely be cleaner than the older extraction method.
"The mining regulations in California are probably the strictest in the world," said Navid Mojtabai of the New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology. "If they’ve got the permits to operate then they’re already much cleaner than the Chinese."

As China deals with its own environmental concerns and legal complaints at the World Trade Organization, Molycorp has its own lawsuit to contend with. In February an investor filed a class-action lawsuit against Molycorp, claiming the company overstated demand for its products and its production capabilities.

While none of the lawyers contacted in connection with the case would comment, several analysts dismissed it. According to rare-earth industry analyst Judith Chegwidden, director of the Roskill Consulting Group, the market volatility of 2011 left rare-earth buyers wary, temporarily reducing demand in a way that’s frustrating to investors but not evidence of Molycorp malfeasance.

Meanwhile, Molycorp is ramping up production at Mountain Pass, and looks set to produce 40,000 tons annually by the end of 2013. As the mine begins cranking out neodymium, lanthanum and other materials by the ton, the strategic vulnerability that’s caused so much concern should be eased.

On May 10 Molycorp announced larger-than-expected profits for the year’s first business quarter. All of the the material Molycorp expects to produce in 2012 has already been spoken for, said Molycorp CEO Mark Smith. "Our customers need our product," he said. "We’re selling everything that we’re producing before it’s even out of the ground."


With waste water eliminated, a sludge of unwanted residues will be left behind and gradually piled in this 90-acre pit at the base of Clark Mountain.

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To: FUBHO who wrote (486852)5/12/2012 5:23:35 PM
From: FUBHO
1 Recommendation   of 562316
 
U.S. to Share Cautionary Tale of Trade Secret Theft With Chinese Official

By JONATHAN WEISMAN


February 14, 2012

nytimes.com

WASHINGTON — China’s next leader, Xi Jinping, may never have heard of American Superconductor Corporation before he arrived here Monday, but by the end of his visit United States officials hope to make the small Massachusetts wind-energy company an object lesson in the impact of Chinese trade secret theft on American business.

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Massachusetts Democrat, plans to raise personally with Mr. Xi the case of a company that saw 70 percent of its business evaporate last year after a Chinese partner enticed one of its employees to steal the crown jewel of its technology.

“It’s a very clear and, in our judgment, egregious, palpable demonstration of the practice that we are deeply concerned about,” Mr. Kerry said, “but it’s not the only one. There are so many things: cyberattacks, access-to-market issues, espionage, theft. These are major points of discussion between us and China.”

Both President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. warned Mr. Xi on Tuesday that they had been hearing more and more from United States businesses about intellectual property and trade secret theft, but they did not specifically mention American Superconductor. However, background material on the company’s experience was included in briefing papers distributed before the arrival in Washington of Mr. Xi’s delegation, and a top administration official said the Chinese were aware of United States frustration over the case.

With anger toward Chinese trade and industrial practices emerging as a major theme for the 2012 campaign season, American Superconductor’s story seems ripe for the moment.

The facts are difficult to dispute, given the volume of evidence. Last March, China’s Sinovel, the world’s second largest wind turbine manufacturer, abruptly refused shipments of American Superconductor’s wind turbine electrical systems and control software. The blow was devastating; Sinovel provided more than 70 percent of the firm’s revenues.

The value of undelivered components on existing contracts exceeded $700 million, Daniel Patrick McGahn, the company’s president and chief executive, told investors. Its share price plunged by more than 80 percent in six months.

Last summer, evidence emerged that Sinovel had promised $1.5 million to Dejan Karabasevic, a Serbian employee of American Superconductor in Austria.

Company officials say they found hundreds of e-mails and messages between senior Sinovel staff members and Mr. Karabasevic detailing the property to be stolen from the company, offering the money, and showing the actual transfer of the software. They even found signed contracts for the transaction.

Mr. Karabasevic was arrested, confessed to the crime, was convicted and is now serving time in an Austrian prison.

American Superconductor filed multiple lawsuits against Sinovel, seeking more than $1.2 billion in damages, cease and desist orders and copyright remedies.

In October, Sinovel countersued, saying it stopped accepting components because of quality problems and asking an arbitration commission to award it about $58 million for a breach of contract. The company is also demanding that American Superconductor pay its lawyers’ fees, expenses and the cost of the arbitration.

This month, a court in Hainan, China, dismissed the smallest of the suits and said it should be heard by an arbitration commission in Beijing. The first arbitration hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24.

Company officials would not discuss their push for attention in Washington, but in a conference call with analysts in November, Mr. McGahn was open about his view of the case.

“While we acknowledge that this is a commercial matter, many have pointed to this case as an important litmus test for future energy cooperation between China and the West,” he said, according to a transcript of the call.


Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation who has been leading a roundtable on such cases for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, called the case particularly egregious. But, he added, “This is not a one-shot deal that affects one company in Massachusetts. It is unbelievably endemic.”

A lengthy paper by the foundation, due out in two weeks, will detail what Mr. Atkinson says has been the systematic pilfering of United States technology. “The Chinese have U.S. companies over a barrel because of the pressure for short-term earnings. They’ve got renminbi dancing in their eyes,” Mr. Atkinson said, referring to China’s currency. “But nine years later the Chinese are eating your lunch.”

The United States-China Business Council, which encourages economic cooperation, is more sanguine. Its survey of companies doing business in China found that only 18 percent said they had been asked to transfer technology as a condition for a business transaction. Three percent said they were able to scale back the request but did hand over some of their technology. About 2 percent said they met the request so they could stay in business in China.

But stories like American Superconductor’s are rampant. Japanese and European companies like Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Siemens AG say they are competing against their once-junior Chinese partners and their own technology for the global high-speed rail business. Automobile writers have waxed indignantly about a new Chinese pickup truck that looks uncannily like the Ford F-150.

Such concerns are meshing with Mr. Obama’s stern new push to make China play by the rules of international commerce. “I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules,” the president said during his State of the Union address in January, announcing the creation of what he has called a Trade Enforcement Union “that will be charged with investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China.”

Mr. Atkinson is not convinced that the administration will hold to that pledge. “They’ve got to stop pretending that this engagement that they’re in right now with China is yielding results,” he said. “For every mole they whack, three more pop up. They need to vocally call out China on these egregious practices and say enough is enough.”

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To: Nadine Carroll who wrote (486851)5/12/2012 5:28:35 PM
From: skinowski
   of 562316
 
Indeed. She should have become a CPA after she put in her 20 years and retired


You are right, of course, Nadine. It's a pity I didn't know you some 35 years ago.... :)

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To: skinowski who wrote (486854)5/12/2012 5:53:45 PM
From: goldworldnet
1 Recommendation   of 562316
 
You and your wife have had good lives. The road not taken many years ago may not have been the best one. :)

* * *

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To: FUBHO who wrote (486824)5/12/2012 5:54:45 PM
From: MJ
   of 562316
 
Is there any connection between Obama and him before the 2007-08 election?

I ask that because Obama has his Socialist connections Was the current French president one of
them?

I am assuming that a Socialist in France is the same as a Socialist in America.

Sometimes names of parties do not match from country to county.

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To: MJ who wrote (486856)5/12/2012 6:03:02 PM
From: FUBHO
   of 562316
 
They both have belief in socialism, but I doubt they have any direct connection. Somebody would have dug that up if it were the case.

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To: FUBHO who wrote (486857)5/12/2012 6:34:55 PM
From: MJ
   of 562316
 

Just thought I would ask-------my mind is always questioning.

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To: gtober who wrote (486810)5/12/2012 7:00:56 PM
From: Maurice Winn
5 Recommendations   of 562316
 
Big Oil isn't solving the "fuel economy problem" in Europe. Big Oil can only tinker around the fringes of fuel economy, which comes nearly entirely from vehicle design, which in Europe is forced by heavy taxation on vehicle fuel. Making a really great diesel fuel does not add much to fuel economy, especially when the fuel economy is measured in cents per kilometre rather than kilometres per litre.

As Lindy pointed out, tiny vehicles need less fuel than dirty great SUVs which are so popular in the USA. "Compact" cars are about twice the size of what Europeans would call "compact". The Fiat Bambina would fit in the boot, aka trunk, of "compact" cars in the USA. [That is an exaggeration - I don't really think they would fit in the boot].

BP Oil [and other Big Oils] spent a lot of effort [aka money] trying to come up with hot-stuff fuels in my day, including all sorts of alternative fuels including sheep fat mixed with methanol. Simply plonking some heavy ends into the fuel does make it cheaper and get more kilometres per litre, though not necessarily kilometres per kilogram. But there is no magic in thermodynamics and fuels have been scrutinized for efficiency improvement for a century.

There is no problem to solve: < In essence, big oil is solving the fuel economy problem for us. > The cost of fuel and vehicles is simply another technological limitation which some people find economic to do something about. There is no need for governments or "the public" to treat fuel economy as a public issue.

The economics of toasters, inductive cooking, walking, bicycles, buses, airliners, are similar problems to "the fuel economy problem" in cars. But we don't need government departments and public hand-wringing about those "problems". People just buy things that most suit them and that's all that's needed. Other people see what people buy and have a go at inventing something better if they think there's a dollar in it.

Governments got on the light-bulb bandwagon to save us from CO2. The hot air generated from discussing light bulbs exceeds the value of the savings in electricity and creates more global warming than the CO2 saved.

It seems I wasn't "projecting" or disambiguating in schizoid supra-affective paranoid association. You in fact think that "Big Oil solves the fuel economy problem" for us. Thanks for the free psychoanalysis [but I think the value of your psychoanalysis is not quite as valuable as your understanding of Big Oil].

It's not just "green nuts" who get wound up about oil. It's a popular delusion with many people wanting the government to do something about $4 a gallon oil and the evil-doing speculators who are forcing everyone to pay money for the American birthright. Look at the ignorant drooling mania [including here in Lindy's stream] about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Everyone gets to show how upset they are as a badge of honour. Barack's sidekick said they had their boot on the neck of BP and Barack did not express concern about such an expression. You had better watch your own necks. When politicians start putting their boots on necks, remember the old expression, "First Obama came for Tony Hayward and Big Oil, but those bastards deserved it. Then they came for ..."

Mqurice

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To: goldworldnet who wrote (486855)5/12/2012 7:17:22 PM
From: skinowski
1 Recommendation   of 562316
 
Thanks, Josh. Yes, we're still doing OK and grateful for it. I don't think we impressed you as people with an overwhelming volume of regrets.... :)

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