This is clearly a play to devalue the image of man made diamonds. "May not be forever" my ass, it's the exact same thing. Their goal is probably to try to quickly drive the price of man made diamonds down to the price of Moissanite, and create a artificial distinction between natural and man made dimaonds. All of this so the price of man made diamonds doesn't bring down the price of the natural stones with it.
Modern high-quality synthetic materials, whether in gemstones or other uses, have so much to offer in fashion innovation. Indeed, diamond jewelers claim that silicon carbide (SiC) has "excess fire" as it has greater dispersion than diamond. SiC has a greater index of refraction, which improves the properties of total-internal-reflection as well! (Edit: It is also birefringent, which does require care when choosing a cut, size, and setting)
Cubic zirconia, too, can be stunning. Order a handful of 10-15mm stones and see for yourself. Or, for a little more money, synthetic rubies and sapphires can transform how you think about nature (they're the same crystal, except for differing defects). The real beauty of many stones is in the cut, not the base material. Diamond absolutely has its place, but it is but one in a spectrum of really cool offerings.
It is the rarity of materials that give them cachet, but the physical properties that make them beautiful. Platinum is a boring metal, visually, difficult to distinguish by eye from steels, aluminum, and titanium. The bloom of the commonest flower is far prettier, but we barely notice because they seem so commonplace and ephemeral.
Every one of these materials was born in the heart of a star or in the heat of an astrophysical cataclysm, each just as natural as the next.
Disclaimer/Caution: I've lost (so far) large fractions of small amounts of money betting long on SiC as a business venture.
If you can create the exact same rough/uncut synthetic diamond, and therefore can deterministically reproduce the same cut on each diamond, then the decision of how to cut that diamond becomes intellectual property and is potentially copywritable.
If de Beers really can't hold back the synthetic market, they'll find a way to take it over, and legally-enforced monopolies sure isn't a bad strategy.
The most important commercial cut (the brilliant) was described in Marcel Tolowsky's 1919 book Diamond Design, so would not be copyrightable without some tremendous legal gymnastics. De Beers could dream up some "improvement" to the brilliant cut and trademark it, but there really isn't much room for improvement. The cut that Tolowsky described is very, very close to the mathematical ideal for brilliance and fire. Most of the later optimisations in diamond modelling are in the public domain.
Admittedly their marketing scheme is under a little more pressure with the various articles about their "interesting" past and price fixing schemes, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to their decades of propaganda.
They will find some way, openly or through any back channel they can find or manufacture, to control as much as they can. Plus or minus further monitoring and exposes.
I'm with you so far.
A more realistic option is use nanoscale etching to get unique colors. Much like those blue butterfly wings that don't use pigment.
If de Beers wants to patent and copyright some bizarre foamy cut of a diamond that does some exotic thing, that's fine, but it's not going to be "a diamond ring" as most people think of them.
> Indeed, diamond jewelers claim that silicon carbide (SiC) has "excess fire" as it has greater dispersion than diamond. SiC has a greater index of refraction, which improves the properties of total-internal-reflection as well!
As an investor you probably know this, but for the benefit of everyone else, Moissanite is a marketing term for (crystalline) silicon carbide.
Similarly to how sapphire is a special term for crystalline aluminum oxide, but the word "sapphire" has a bit more tradition behind it.
Clear crystalline aluminum oxide you’d generally just call corundum (or aluminum oxide if you’re not feeling fancy), but that doesn’t market as well when you’re making watch faces and camera lenses out of it, so I guess we’re calling that sapphire now too.
TLDR: Gemstone naming seems a bit super arbitrary and marketing driven (not that I’m an expert on the subject)
Many famous historical "rubies" are not corundum but spinel; they were called rubies because "ruby" was the term for any red gemstone.
"Moissanite" is purely marketing, though.
> The Black Prince's Ruby is a large, irregular cabochon red spinel weighing 170 carats (34 g)
> It wasn't until 1783 that spinels were differentiated from rubies.
For some people, geologists in particular, there is a romance to the formation of a natural diamond due to heat and pressure within the earth. That's great too!
 Look at your high-efficiency LED lights to find some SiC in your house. Thanks, Cree and others!
De Beers relies on the fact that ordinary people don't understand diamonds aren't very valuable. After all, the diamonds they see sold by De Beers are expensive, so...?
De Beers plucks a $50 diamond from the mines, charges $5000 for it in jewellery and says that's symbollic of True Love, or whatever nonsense people believe.
But the people making diamond cutting saws do not care about True Love, so they are already buying whatever is cheapest, and they won't pay more than $10 for $10 of diamonds. To them that $50 diamond is worth... $50.
De Beers new plan is to make $50 synthetic diamonds, brand them, get across to consumers how these aren't "real" diamonds (hurting synthetic producers), that they're more "I wanna get into your knickers" than "True Love" and charge say $500 for them to emphasise that they're worse than its $5000 mined diamonds.
That makes no difference to the diamond cutting saw people, they still just want diamonds for their purely mechanical properties, and they'll continue to pay $10 for $10 of little diamonds.
De Beers hopes that this drives the synthetic diamond competition out of their market, and allows it to go back to charging $5000 for a $50 diamond in jewellery. The industrial market operates on a rational basis, there's no profit for De Beers there, it's all about the silly people paying $5000 to signal "True Love".
About flammability... Technically it is flammable. If you heat it enough, it will react with oxygen. Steel will melt way before that point, I would be it would burn before that point too.
Considering this, I don't think this is going to bring about the Diamond Age unfortunately.
Diamonds, despite being very hard, are also very brittle. They'll likely crack much more easily than Gorilla Glass (another hard material that is hard to scratch).
Platinum has very low reactivity so it doesn't rust, corrode, whatever easy, unlike the others. That's why it's considered valuable, because it looks almost the same after a lot of time.
Neither of those metals becomes structurally weaker in any meaningful way over time due to oxygen exposure.
All of this is to say that as a "Symbol of lasting love" every-shiny platinum jewelry seems to make some sense.
A clear anodization finish leads to "bright aluminum" - the natural shine is absolutely preserved. Natural oxidization on the other hand does dull the metal.
Yes, all forms of aluminum look different than steel. Gold and platinum do have the advantage of being homogenously non-oxidizing. But I think anodized aluminum is a great alternative with many advantageous properties for jewelry (low cost, wide variety of beautiful colors, high strength/weight ratio, low density, non-allergenic). I'm not sure why it's used so infrequently - perhaps because of the connection with aluminum cans and thus the image of "cheap"/"disposable"?
So what? But they do melt. And you can't eat Titanium or Aluminum. We would starve to dead soon without Pt/Rh
Srsly no one cares if a stone is real or not.
Personally, I just didn't even bother buying an engagement ring (or wedding ring for that matter) because it's a "tradition" that means literally absolutely nothing to me. My husband doesn't care that I don't want jewelry and he prefers to not wear a wedding ring too. So I guess we are happy being "less stupid."
Even if its a "charitable gift" on the seller's part, it saves one family from the suffering of buying a diamond.
> it's a "tradition" that means literally absolutely nothing to me.
Please preach to all the impressionable young women you know.
The idea someone would worry replacing expensive trinkets with cheaper but similar looking trinkets might damage your marriage is extremely foreign to me! I can say that much at least!
Plus I don't know many impressionable young women these days because I'm approaching 40 and the majority of my friends are already married or no longer impressionable. :)
The synthesis process for the giant corundum boules used to make lenses and windows and such is pretty cool, too.
> "Synthetic diamonds, which can be produced in about 500 hours, share the same physical, chemical and optical characteristics as natural stones. But they are not nearly as valuable."
This "article" is an advertisement. This bullshit statement seals it. Value is demand driven. The only way for DeBeers to force mined diamonds to sell for more than grown diamonds is with relentless marketing to make people think there is a meaningful difference. And there is. Mined diamonds have historically resulted in a lot of human misery to bring the stones to market, whereas grown diamonds use some electricity and can come from any industrial park.
I understand the value of an heirloom that symbolizes one's progenitor's marriage. Presumably, that is how the ring tradition originated, and why the durability of diamond is a significant selling point for that use case. But I don't think rings are well-suited to this purpose now and would rather leave some other trinket behind, well aware that the true legacy of the progenitors lives on through the posterity.
I remember an article years ago that went into detail about De Beers' manipulation of the market, and how change from "larger is better" to "clearer is better" happened just as a large mine outside of De Beers control opened that had quite a few large diamonds coming from it on a regular basis. That same article made some assertions about the secondary market being somewhat manipulated, IIRC, but this was close to a decade ago, so sourcing it might be hard, and I'm also unsure how accurate it was at this point. I think it was about how modern incarnation of idea of giving rings for marriage was also largely manipulated by De Beers.
This issue is squarely in the women feminists' court, and (for the most part) they haven't taken up the cause to stop supporting this evil system that hurts both men and women.
I've looked and I can't find any.
I don't know if they actually do this but I imagine if you sell your ring to a jeweler they can send it off for the band to be melted down the stone to be polished and re-set so the resulting ring is resold as "new."
Besides, I personally feel that "lab grown diamonds" have more weak (marketing) points than "natural, made by stars, millennial diamonds". Could be wrong though.
So... the two items are identical in every possible way that matters except in the way that lines De Beers pockets?
It almost feels like De Beers sponsored this article in a desperate campaign to make dirty mined diamonds more valuable.
Is there any other product where resale is "voluntarily" limited like that?
People just didn't go for the colorless cola fad that year.
Why did "Tab Clear" "kill" Crystal Pepsi, but not Sprite or 7-Up?
The person who tried to copy Crystal Pepsi failed, and made up an excuse to cover his failure.
Doesn't stick = Intentional devaluation
Sticks = Brilliant capitalization of the market.
Tab back then was far more popular than today. It was at today's level of Dr. Pepper.
If you want a natural stone that is "forever", look into the nature shop, they have tons of beautiful solid stones. If you want a shiny, pure gem stone, lab-grown is going to give the best quality.
Natural diamonds are hopefully becoming a commodity for wealthy and misguided hipsters. It is a good thing that the bloodstained business is failing.
Hmm, both natural and man-made stones have price/quality trade-offs. I am no expert in the field, but I think both kinds are post-sorted into quality grades based on what flaws are found. And I guess labs can also tune their growth parameters for different trade-offs.
So yes, for a given price and size, the artificial stone will have better quality -- but that is just another way of saying they are cheaper.
What may fool your intuition is that the process is not about refining, it is about growing a crystal. IIRC, the vaporize carbon in a very controlled atmosphere and let it grow.
Natural processes are much more messy and are made in the presence of a lot of other chemicals that need to be artificially introduced in the crystal growing atmosphere for it to be integrated.
Some processes have actually started introducing "fake" occlusions just to make them impossible to distinguish from the natural variety.
(I believe I've only seen them in hotels)
First time I saw them I thought it was some kind of dystopian joke.
In this case the market needs the average consumer to buy into that status symbol, and enough of them are price conscious that a cheaper alternative that almost nobody can tell is cheaper is quite a draw.
Just like lab grown meat is gaining traction, I think synthetic companies have the ability to push the social angle. "Identical in composition to the diamonds mined by slaves and used to finance terrorism." Just need an English major to turn that into a catchy slogan! :)
That's why my favorite stones are corundum and nephrite.
The strategy is called Kamikaze marketing... and can result in fantastic stories like this, but it is almost never successful. Unfortunately I think DeBeers might have the ability to pull it off.
At that point, natural and man-made will reach a price parity... Far below the current cost of natural diamonds. Because there will be no way of knowing where your diamond comes from.
They have enough money, resources and incentives to try to destroy man-made diamonds for at least a few more decades.
You can get synthetic diamonds on Alibaba now. Some of which really are diamond.
Unlike mines you can't really establish a monopoly in vapor deposit ovens, so in the long run competition should drive down costs. It makes sense that De Beers would want to fast-forward that process, particularly since the price of natural diamonds is kindof arbitrary anyway.
To be fair, diamonds have value because of rarity and marketing. Not sure how many normal people can tell the difference between a diamond and a cubic zirconia, so it isn't just how it looks.
...is also a lie. The man made diamonds will last just as long (or longer, as they're generally more perfect) than mined diamonds.
Hedging sounds like a more sensible explanation.
Case in point. Despite overwhelming evidence there are people today who still debate climate change.
People disbelieve facts that would cost them to believe. If I believe in climate change, I have to make expensive life changes (sell the SUV, buy a Tesla, etc). Therefore I will not believe in it.
This belief is 100% honest, BTW. This is key to understand!
For diamonds, the incentives are reversed. If I believe that artificial diamonds are as good as the natural kind, I can get a wedding ring much cheaper. So I will probably believe that!
If I have already bought natural diamonds, I might believe something else. But it doesn't matter much, since I'm not buying more diamonds.
In part this is true, but none of those are necessary, but what is neceaary for most deniers if they
flip is “abandon my political tribe, whose leaders have defined the belief in climate change as outside the bounds of the tribe.”
That's really very nearly the only factor that matters.
That's not really pragmatic optimism, it's intense pessimism about human capability to adapt society deliberately in the face of a changing knowledge of economic payoff matrices without mass destruction mixed with bizarre faith that human society will adapt to changing payoff matrices without mass dedtruction.
There's no difference in the behavior that supports than denialism, the only real difference is that denialism is, for all its lack of grounding in reality, at least more self-consistent.
No, we obviously can't, it's already causing serious harm. We can mitigate the rate at which it proceeds so that it's within the range that, with concurrent reasonably acheivable adaptation, doesn't cause global, cataclysmic harm.
Moreover, if we don't act to mitigate it, it will eventually—and in not too long—reach a tipping point where that is no longer the case.
The fact that your opinion doesn't align with the usual axis doesn't make it less extremist, it just makes it extreme in an unusual direction.
Bolshevism is required to force humans across the globe.
I think "have to" is a bit strong. I absolutely believe in climate change. But I have no intention of selling (or stop driving) my 2004 Chevrolet Suburban.
Whatever the message, say it loud and often, and it becomes accepted as true. Call it spin, call it PR, call it marketing, it works.
If I found an “influencer” who was right on product recommendations 95% of the time it would be a relief and I’d be so happy to get all that research time back.
I think the bar for right enough varies among different people. And for some people it applies to everything from politics to science. These people are also likely to believe the topics too complex to follow in detail. If they choose a good person to follow they may be more right than if they researched themselves.
What you attribute to laziness could perhaps be seen in a different light: economizing time plus intimidation/fear.
If it's an old house, there is going to be a bit more "stuff" in the wallpaper and furniture. Airborne cooking grease in the kitchen, and as disgusting as it sounds, human sweat and grease in the soft furniture.
A well-used armchair with a decade or two under its belt is going to go up in flames disturbingly fast when it catches on fire.
Depending on oxygen availability, you're right that smoke will do most of the initial damage, but as soon as the windows blow out, things heat up dramatically.
Like anything powerful, an intelligent person calls for caution.
A lot of people are worrying about GMO in food because we don't have enough data about them. We are changing things that could have important biological, health and ecological impacts, but the companies producing them are not willing to test them extensively for safety during 20 years before selling them.
We don't know what are the long term effects of cross breeding the GMO species with non GMO ones. We don't know the long term effects of the fauna. We don't known the long term (on decades) effects of ingesting any of them.
What we know is that if you give mouses the GMO food in isolation for a short time, they don't develop apparent problems. That's not a lot to go on, especially since very simple products, like processed meat, revealed themself as being carcinogenous on the long run (http://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/).
That's not science to me. That's business as usual.
I don't trust business. History taught me that for profit entities don't make the right decisions on this. After all, we knew asbestos was dangerous in 1920, but had to wait 1980 to act on it. After all, we fed cows with meat while knowing it's an herbivore, leading to spongiform encephalopathy. After all, we used the least safe nuclear technology we knew about because it was more suited for our military ambitions.
On a technology as complex as GMO, with a lot of interactions in different systems, it can take a lot of time to realize something is wrong. If it happens, it will take even more time before we act. The companies creating GMO will then, as usual, protect them-self to the extreme, and eventually just pay some money to get out of trouble, money they already earned by selling the GMO anyway.
So yes, whether it's GMO in food, nano-particles or anything that is very potent, I think it's fair to say "hey, slow down, we are not doing our homework here" when the other side is just trying to sell it to everybody.
It's a matter of agenda.
Why would "traditional" crops going through random mutations be any safer than GMO crops going through highly controlled, highly tested mutations?
It isn't a mysterious process - it's science. It allows us to create products like Golden Rice to alleviate malnutrition and increase crop yields. It's probably the only thing which has helped curtail world hunger in any meaningful capacity.
Time and scale. We just had more time to check it out.
> highly tested mutations
Highly tested for being economically sound. That's all.
> It isn't a mysterious process - it's science
Nobody said it was mysterious. Read the comment again. We are not against progress. Quoting Rabelais, "science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul". The testing process needs to be improved.
> It's probably the only thing which has helped curtail world hunger in any meaningful capacity.
We already produce more food than we need. We throw a lot of it and we are fat while others are hungry. Hunger, not more than war, has never been a technological problem. It's a human problem.
And GMO sellers have no interest in solving human problems, they target economical problems.
Again, it's a matter of agenda.
Random mutations don't follow a pattern. They're random. You can't look at the past history and say "Yep look fine to me".
>Highly tested for being economically sound. That's all.
Complete nonsense. GMOs are studied extensively for their nutrition, allergens, toxicity, and virtually every other metric under the sun.
This testing is a requirement of the FDA. "Economics" has nothing to do with it, and you're just throwing out Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to try and discredit it.
>The testing process needs to be improved.
Where has it failed? There has not been a single allergen introduced in any GMO approved for human consumption. The same can not be said for non-GMOs.
>We already produce more food than we need.
So it's a solved problem and no new technology is needed, right?
People are still dying. GMOs are the only method that have allowed us to keep up with the problem at all.
>And GMO sellers have no interest in solving human problems
Food shortages and malnourishment aren't "human problems"? GMOs like Golden Rice have been engineered specifically to solve this human problem. GMOs allow farmers to produce the same yields in less farmland, reducing the environmental impact of agriculturalization.
>Again, it's a matter of agenda.
Consider your own agenda. Are you arguing from a position of scientific evidence, or one based on a distrust of corporation?
It is the pace of change and the scope of change that makes GMO crops more dangerous than those we have modified over 1000s of years of selective breeding.
And BTW, even in natural selection, there can be instances where a naturally occurring mutation causes a change in a species which has drastic and rapid implications for the environment in which it reproduces and spreads. For example the evolution of oxygen-creating organisms created a toxic environment which killed 99% of life that existed in the oxygen-free environment before those organisms came into existence.
That kind of unqualified/unjustified claim is misinformation designed to generate an emotional reaction, not rational analysis.
Nature often produces very dangerous on it's own. It doesn't always take that long. For example, Tifton 85, a hybrid of bermudagrass created using traditional cross pollination methods, has the unfortunate property of producing cyanide in some soils.
Testing is important regardless of the techniques used to create a new species. Focusing on species created using modern techniques improperly ignores the numerous older methods that are just as dangerous (and often harder to predict).
Non-GMO breeding methods can also mutate rapidly. One example is mutation breeding, where a plant is exposed to high levels of radiation to encourage rapid mutation. This does not require any labelling.
As for genes from other species, this is known as horizontal gene transfer and it actually does happen in nature. It's even occurred in humans.
It's worth bearing in mind that there is no such thing as a "fish gene", or "strawberry gene". They're just genes. All forms of life have considerable overlap between them.
You are with modern non-GMO, mutagen-accelerated breeding methods.
On one hand we have a complex adaptative ecological system we lived in for millions of years and adapted to it. We leverage it as a context to make plants change in a way we tested for a lot of time as well. All that happen in the boundaries of this tested system, but only benefit from the self-balancing mechanism of said system.
Then, the result itself, by nature, is slow enough that we can assess the effects.
On the other hand, we have a very new barely tested tool we use to make a big change on a very small and limited characteristics of an organism. We have little feedback on it, we don't have the context of a huge ecosystem to drive it. We just think, that, according to a few variables we know, it should be ok. Also the result are very fast and we can't see the effects yet.
It's like the difference between loosing weight with quick diets and one with a balance diet. The first one can have very accurate variables it works on, and kwow scientifically the causes and effects of what will make you loose weight.
However, it's almost always better to loose weight on a longer, but more global balance diet. The system of your body adapts to a lot of things, and is not an island without a context. It's not just a program with a few variables. It has a LOT of variables, evolves, and is influenced by what's going on outside.
The way you see thing is a very reductionist thinking. It means because we understand small parts of a system, we understand it all. And since we understand it all, we are safe from mistakes.
The thing is, I know many friends who can tell you exactly what are the social interactions happening on a diner table, and yet can't do anything about it. The reductionist mindset make for great rocket scientists, but terrible gardeners.
> Are you as worried about new strains of rice?
There is no such things as a free lunch. Selective breeding coupled with intensive farming have caused a diminishing of biodiversity and rendered a lot of our crops vulnerable to predators and parasites. In return, we use more pesticides, which has been shown to have harmful consequences on our health, but also on the ecosystem, e.g: killing a massive about of useful bugs.
The thing is, I don't really trust for profit entities to make the right decision when it's about the future of the human specie. It's not their agenda. It's not about being bad or good, it's just the nature of thing: when something is not your priority, you don't do it.
> But perhaps it’s because I’ve not been exposed to the anti-GMO propaganda
I'm not American.
It's actually a big problem currently for a lot of food.
We do have more cancer, diabetes, obesity and such disease than ever. Those are all problems that are at the very minimum influenced by food. But it took a few decades to manifest.
We may also have many others we do know we have yet, or that we don't know are linked to food.
Occam's Razor, though, says that there are far less likely to have problems with a raw cucumber that we have been eating for 1000 of years than with a Ben n Jerry ice cream we just recently invented, and optimized for people pleasure and the cheapest batch production.
And I really, really love BnJ.
Hasn't all the growing already been done? Is it to avoid bringing in bugs with the harvest?
production 333 000 000 tons
glyphosate use 69 000 000 lb
production 58 000 000 tons
glyphosate use 17 000 000 lb
Thats news to me.
But you probably mean "alternatives" for producing dirt cheap. Then yes, there are much worse substances around. Doesn't make it good, though.
"Organic" is a marketing term, not a descriptor of the production process.
I generally agree with this, but with the caveat that tomatoes are an exception as I understand it.
It's nothing to do with being GMO or pesticides used, but rather the fact that conventionally grown tomatoes are generally harvested significantly pre-ripening, and then gassed with ethylene to promote them turning red.
My understanding -- and if I'm wrong about this someone please do chime in -- is that ethylene gassing isn't acceptable for tomatoes that are labeled organic (but is for some "organic" fruits like bananas). It's possible it's all placebo, but tomatoes are the one fruit/vegetable I tend toward actually using organic as result.
So things are different in the US then? Or also for europe? sources please.
They aren't representative of the bulk of organic food production. Overall, organic food production is, like non-organic food production, dominated by large, industrial agriculture concerns that do use pesticides.
Organic food is, itself, generally food which is treated with various chemicals to kill living things. The choice of chemicals involved, and the choice of actual food crop, is limited by concerns that are chosen on bases which are not well adapted to either maximizing safety of the food or minimizing environmental impact of the food growing process.
> Basic substances allowed in organic agriculture comply with two criteria: i) they are of vegetable or animal origin ii) they are considered to be "foodstuff"
It's also discarding the real suffering of all the people that were affected by the 3 major nuclear accidents. I have a friend of mine who his medicated for life because of Chernobyl.
Black and white are rarely the winning colors.
The ocean already has about 4.5 billion tons of naturally-occurring uranium in it, as well as many other radioactive substances. Fukushima wouldn't have made a significant difference in that figure if they'd ground up the entire reactor to a powder and dumped every single bit of it in the ocean. You could perhaps produce localized contamination by doing that, but not on the scale of the oceans as a whole.
For that matter, the Soviet Union used to dump their scrap submarine reactors straight into the ocean. They did that with a bunch of them.
Intensity and locality are important factors. You can eat a spoonfull of sugar everyday for a year and be ok, but eating 365 in one day is going to be a different story.
Because ocean are very complex an interactive system, and local intense event can then have a domino effect on the rest.
Now as I said, we don't know the effects yet. I'm not pretending I know if it's bad either. That's the meaning of "we don't know".
But given we have only one planet and we kinda sitting on it, it seems very silly to me to state "nah, we'll be fine" and discard risks. That's how teenagers react.
Nuclear is a term burdened with ambiguity - most people mean nuclear fission, some people mean nuclear fusion. As far as filters for scientific understanding, it's probably better than 'GMO is bad'.
Unfortunately, a huge issue is that it's almost impossible to be in the control group anymore. Or if it is, it demands huge efforts and is very hard to check the success of it.
I understand the scientists defending the GMO. But quite often, they assume people in charge are making decisions the same way they do. However, the people in charge often make decisions according to economical factors, science being just a tool toward that goal.
So if you don't trust Monsanto for most things, you will especially not trust it to tell you the truth about the safety of its products nor about the completeness of their tests to ensure said safety.
It's adamant about the safety of its GMO lines and (in the case of Roundup Ready) the pesticide products that are complementary to them.
It's, OTOH, also a big producer of non-GMO seed and actively markets products to the organic food industry.
When it can't do that, it sues farmers that harvest, plan and grow the seed it wants to protect.
This includes Monsanto's crops contaminating other crops like in the Vernon Hugh Bowman case.
It also promoted (at least in France) round up as biodegradable but we eventually found out it didn't, and went to contaminate the drinking water.
Which is a problem, given that glyphosate based products are currently in the process of being banned in Europe.
The answer from Monsanto to that has been ghostwriting reports and pretend they didn't come from them.
I really doubt your statement.
The primary issue with Monsanto specifically would then be that they actively try to prevent farmers from using non-hybrid seeds.
Also, one would be surprised how well grains grow without pesticides, if the land is properly cared for. There was a time before pesticides were as widely available, and they did not have the time to weed the whole field by hand ;)
Farmers aren't stupid. Monsanto has no way to prevent them from using non-hybrid seeds. Farmers will plant whichever seeds they expect to deliver the highest ROI.
Grain production before pesticides was far lower. Back then famines were common rather than something that only happened during wartime. Don't ask us to return to the dark ages.
People believe GMO is bad because they believe that large corporations would do anything for a buck regardless of long term consequences.
Alien abduction, anti-vaxers, 9/11 inside job and other conspiracy theories are just ways for people to express their distrust of government.
Global warming deniers don't trust the liberal media.
The pattern is: I don't trust X. What is the worst thing I could believe about X.
At one point in time I thought GMO was a necessary evil, in order to feed the world better. Simplot used to pride their GMO potato that has much better yields then anyone else on the planet. But climate changes proves no breed is best for all time. In the mean time, a few European companies ; failing to combat the GMO production yield and had comparatively worse climate to grown potatoes, manage to outrun any US companies potato yield with machine learning. This is of course an over simplify version of it, but the story proves we don't need GMO to feed the world.
Not actually being familiar with the science in a particular domain and not understanding as science are very different things.
As for De Beers, throwing marketing dollars at misinformation pretty much has been their business model since the 1930s. Diamonds are a girl's best friend ...
Yes, by people who are trained scientists and researchers. We don't need more poorly informed, mathematically weak, statistically challenged, dilletantes yelling into the mix.
Read this article: https://www.thestar.com/business/2018/05/29/de-beers-to-sell...
Read the last paragraph:
The move also comes at a sensitive time for De Beers and its relationship with Botswana, the source of three-quarters of its diamonds. The two have a sales agreement that gives De Beers the right to market and sell the diamonds from Botswana. The deal, which gives De Beers its power over global prices, will soon be up for negotiation and Botswana is likely to push for more concessions.
So this is not about man-made diamonds; it's a negotiating tactic! They'll use this move to pressure Botswana to accept weaker conditions and less money.
De Beers has spent the last 100+ years controlling the diamond industry's economics in it's entirety, from mining (via such contracts) to retail. They even invented the diamond engagement ring tradition, as we know it today. De Beers are most active on the wholesale side, where they control supply (and when they can, demand) to maintain stable, high "prices."
...That's why they are/control a cartel. I have no doubt that de beers does not intend to enter this market so that they can compete in an "efficient" level playing field. That's not what they do. They want to exert control over one or both of these markets, in some way. That is always the de beers business plan.
Anyway... I always get a little worried when people apply the basics of supply-demand logic everywhere. Classical economics describes markets of a certain type: many buyers and sellers, reasonable transparency & information flow, not too much collusion, reasonably low transaction costs, mild psychology/cultural effects..... This is some fraction of the economy but not all.
Supply-demand is not the main thing determining outcomes (prices & volume) in a lot of big markets: labour, financial services, banking, oil, ISPs... diamonds. Supply and demand effect those markets, but not in a way that can be described by 2 intersecting curves.
If you can replicate cooked food perfectly, will people still claim that "real" food, grown, slaughtered, and cooked, is "better" or tastes "more authentic", despite no technical difference?
Synthetic diamonds could, in fact, be in every way "better" (though hilariously, De Beers suggests a synthetic diamond "may not be forever"), but I won't be surprised if authentic diamonds remain the "real ones" long term. (After all, as we know, diamonds actually have no real value, it's all marketing.)
I highly recommend this story to anyone who's even slightly curious.
Value comes in the appreciation of the art. So diamonds that have been created over billions of years probably has more appreciation than ones created in 500 hours, even if they are exactly the same at the molecular level.
This is really getting at a core contradiction in how we analyze value. On the one hand, you have something's monetary value. This is the exchange value - the value you can get, denominated in a currency, via a sale. On the other hand, something you need has value because it fulfills a role when you use it. This is use value.
We don't consider use value at all when talking about the value of a good and consider the exchange value to be paramount. But this makes no sense. When you're starving, a loaf of bread is quite literally worth your entire world. When you have plenty of food, one more loaf of bread is worth almost nothing at all. When you need to get around, one car is extremely useful. Hundreds of cars together are essentially worthless, except perhaps to rent to others (literally rent-seeking).
If you can recreate something down to its molecular level, and produce arbitrarily many copies, then it's only value can be its use value. And use value is difficult to quantify as it's tied to the subjective experience of need.
> If you can replicate cooked food perfectly, will people still claim that "real" food, grown, slaughtered, and cooked, is "better" or tastes "more authentic", despite no technical difference?
I suspect that some amount of this comes from our attempts to justify the price we pay. It costs more, and so it must be worth more. We invent reasons in our minds to justify the dissonance. Though, if you experience something better, there isn't really any argument that can satisfactorily say that you don't, since experience is subjective, anyway.
The raw materials themselves, I think. After all, you have to supply the basic building blocks to replicate objects. That's why there is the feed in The Diamond Age, bringing the raw materials, plus vacuum and power.
Until you can artificially create heavy elements, their rarity will determine their value.
>"If you can replicate cooked food perfectly, will people still claim that "real" food, grown, slaughtered, and cooked, is "better" or tastes "more authentic", despite no technical difference?"
Yes, absolutely. At least certain segments will, witness how people fawn over "artisanal craft" this-and-that. More effort goes into the production, so there is more of an emotional connection. The mass produced item could be superior to the hand crafted item, but the latter will feel more "real" to a lot of people. Even more so if they craft it themselves.
It's just how we're wired, I think.
In the True Synthetic Era, the only input needed is energy, which can be cheaply collected from natural sources until they are exhausted.
If you could create diamonds at will in a lab the price of it's price is bound to go down significantly, it's not just a matter of supply and demand.
Exactly why a model will never replicate reality.
Well, you're quite exaggerating here. Diamonds actually have some very useful physical properties, in particular regarding their hardness, thermal conductivity and optical properties.
>> Diamonds actually have some very useful physical properties.
Physical properties shared and almost always improved upon by their synthetic counterparts. Someone using diamonds exclusively for their optical properties or hardness would probably prefer a synthetic diamond due to the lack of impurities.
The ideals of a moneyless society by virtue of just being in the freaking future in TOS and then later because of replicators in TNG and beyond had to be adapted for the multicultural bazaar on Deep Space Nine by introducing Gold Pressed Latinum. Something that replicators couldn't reproduce. I think that is an interesting thought experiment. The only currencies on a federation ship are friendship and duty, but once you add in a mix of cultures and the complexities that develop because of their clashing goals and desires, you need a scarce item to keep accounts. We've done it over and over throughout our human society. My favorite is the Rai Stones from the island of Yap, where they can't even be moved for the most part. The transfer of ownership is purely a social construct.
Diamonds are interesting and I think unparalleled in their arc as a store of value because of how technology is eroding and changing that. Not just the ability to produce them, but information technology swaying trends relating to their status and ethical usage. You can't tell a blood diamond from anything else once it's mixed with others. Some people see diamond jewelry to be akin to wearing fur. Some other people still find the suffering that came from their extraction to be part of the value. Not going to debate the morality of that issue, but I've heard it expressed more than once. Suffering will always be more bespoke even if the item can be identically reproduced. Some might prefer to soften "suffering" to "effort", but I'm unaware of an ethical diamond mining operation. Like lab grown meat, a strong case can me made that once we can make the thing in the lab at scale it is absolutely unethical to extract it from the earth at scale for vanity. No excuses.
In some ways suffering as a store of value is sort of like the social construct of a rai that floats with the idea of the item. Maybe we can build a crypto supply chain technology to verify chain of custody on natural diamonds so you can correctly track the bodies on it and their value in relation to your net worth. I'm only sort of being glib here, making it an accurate record would undoubtedly make them less romantic prizes.
Surely the tools and equipment to create synthetic diamonds will continue to drop in it's price to own and operate. It will be interesting to see how De Beers handles the first online custom gem shop where you can set your specs via your browser and have your gem grown to order, cut, and drop shipped for the price of a latte.
I mean, I think I covered all of that pretty well but yeah, to stay it's not a store of value at all just because it's a bad investment is inaccurate.
If you would like to have an argument about something that really doesn't matter I would prefer if it was Star Trek related and not "Diamonds as an Investment" related.
Submitted for your approval.
How does warp drive compensate for the temporal complications of faster than light travel? Earth and the Enterprise all seem to keep the same clock. I'm not convinced they could do that effectively even with the proposed energy output of trilithium. It just doesn't add up. Warp isn't creating a wormhole to punch through subspace, which could account for it (maybe?). Faster than light as a warp bubble stretches space forward and around the ship slinging it to it's destination. After a fun trip to Risa, you would get home and your kids would be elderly. I'm no astrophysicist, but my armchair quarterback understanding says that's the case.
Would travelers aboard a starship essentially become gods compared to their planetary counterparts because of temporal perception? They wouldn't age (from the perspective of the planetary occupants) but they would have accumulated massive experience and useful insight while the planetary toil away in the moisture farms. Checking in from time to time, maybe getting 3 visits in the lifetime of their loved ones. Sorry, mixing universes. I think my point still stands.
What sort of societal constructs would even grow around something like that? How long before the interstellar separate completely as a different race? My bet is not very long, but I think they would still come back to the planetary frequently as it would be an invaluable information resource for their new Galaxy Class civilization.
To keep this debate on the rails, we should probably avoid abuse of concepts involving tachyons. Reverse or otherwise.
Buy the MSRP $7k Tiffany ring for $1k on the secondary market and it will probably grow in value over time. Antique Tiffany has always been pretty sought after.
Right now there's currently a (publicly) huge 'security' margin on the time complexity of hash preimage attacks that allows the mining lottery of generating zero-prefixed hash collisions to proceed orderly for Bitcoin as an example. And while you might be tempted to say that because of the relative stability of BTC as a store of value for the past ~8 years is indicative of just how bulletproof that security really is, you might also realize that a market capitalization of only several billion USD is a drop in the ocean of _positive_ human monetary incentives to exploit, nevermind the alignment of negative incentives that work against anyone actually trying to make use of cryptographic breakthroughs in today's society whether as direct profit within the system as it exists today, revolution, or some other grand long-game.
In the P versus NP debate, our universe _could_ potentially be 'Algorithmica' although I know the majority of research mindshare is heavily assumptive of that being a trivially small possibility.
But there's also research lines on other forms of computational resource asymmmetry that we still assume exists but haven't really come up with proof for yet. For example, besides just deterministic versus nondeterministic polytime and the unproven assumption of one-way functions existing, there's also the open question of NC versus P, which roughly translates to the supposed asymmetry of parallel speedups versus sequential processing -- yet another potential source of scarcity if the current incarnation of crypto puzzles doesn't pan out. Computational space is another potentially unproven source of scarcity: PSPACE versus P.
Even really mundanely there potentially exists inversion 'crypto' puzzles of linear versus quadratic time, while not giving the exponentially wide safety margin every everyone expects for practically, could afford enough clearance to transfer and establish value at least between some highly centralized/colluding resource base against some very poor fraudster if that's the only threat model.
Humanities fascination with ascribing, denominating, and transferring 'value' between each other will be the most enduring and profound research avenues while our species last. And while to me that seems vapid to think that figuring out 'what exactly is money?' is the greatest question in the universe, maybe it really is.
Your points are reasonably related though.
Vanilla is actually vanilla - it's a complex substance. Artificial vanilla is just one component of vanilla - vanillin.
Not quite 100% identical, but yeah.
But you're probably right that DS9 made a bigger deal of it, especially with Sisko's dad and his restaurant featuring more than once, as well as various luxury products fetching high prices, when you might otherwise assume such high prices would quickly ensure they'd get replicated.
I believe there's a good hint when you combine some stuff from across TNG/DS9/VOY: Replicator patterns are relatively low-resolution for storage.
They only go to the molecular level, not the subatomic/quantum level , and even then occasionally have issues . And even if you had a high-quality pattern stored, the replicators themselves are built around that low quality, hence why the genitronic replicator was needed for Worf's spine .
Transporters are built on the same technology, but work at the much higher resolution necessary to break down/rebuild a person. However, the amount of memory needed for that is insane , hence the specially-designed pattern buffers, which under normal circumstances degrade very quickly .
Yup, found the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBWpVjzJXIs&feature=youtu.be...
I saw that in the new Lost in Space series, where the 3D printer refused to print a firearm in an emergency, and thought to myself, "ohhhh no you di'n't!" In my mind, I was already patching out the DRM function, or adding stray non-functional voxels to fool its pattern-matching.
That was one of the things I disliked most about TNG, where humanity intentionally crippled itself by installing nannybots everywhere. DS9 brought some of the dirty reality back, with Ferengi-run gambling and holo-prostitution and cops that were actually people. Or goo pretending to be a person, anyway.
In the case of hackintoshes, it's Apple... Prada shoes, the seal of Mario Prada... etc.