Nebraska rare earth mineral discovery to challenge China’s monopoly

A discovery in Nebraska of rare earth minerals appears set to challenge China’s monopoly.

To me these were the key quotes from this article:

The U.S. used to produce rare earths through the Mountain Pass Mine in California, but it was shut down in 2002, primarily because of environmental concerns, including the spillage of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water carrying radioactive waste into a nearby lake.

and

Although studies have shown the U.S. has 13 million metric tons of rare-earth minerals, National Mining Association spokeswoman Carol Raulston said it does not mine any of it – partly as a result of the difficulty of obtaining permits. “One of the key problems that investors tell us about is that the permitting regime in this country is so complicated and time-consuming that it has hurt investments here in the United States,” Ms. Raulston said.

Questions raised about the safety of China’s new bridge

Questions have been raised about the safety of China’s new bridge.

[China Central Television] said that workers were tightening bolts that could easily have been loosened by hand on the bridge, which has seen nearly 18,000 cars cross it every day since it was officially opened on June 30, on the eve of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.

Why does this remind me of the two shuttle accidents, where managers ignored engineering issues in order to satisfy political concerns?

Global warming scientists blame coal use increase in China for recent cooling

Global warming scientists have come up with an explanation for the cooling seen in the past decade: The increase of coal burning in China.

In other words, fossil fuels can cause global warming and global cooling!

Or to put it another way, climate scientists really have no clear understanding yet of the climate, and are merely guessing when they try to predict what’s happening.

Chinese Journalists Barred From Shuttle Launch

Chinese journalists were barred from all official press areas during the Endeavour launch.

A NASA spokesperson says the agency was simply following instructions in last month’s 2011 spending bill that averted a government-wide shutdown. The legislation prohibits NASA from using any resources to host visits by a Chinese official to any NASA facility as well as for collaborations with any Chinese government entity. The Chinese journalists work for Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, and thus are considered government employees.

The story behind China’s planned space station begins to emerge

The story behind China’s planned space station begins to emerge.

China first said it would build a space station in 1992. But the need for a manned outpost “has been continually contested by Chinese space professionals who, like their counterparts in the United States, question the scientific utility and expense of human space flight”, says Gregory Kulacki, China project manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “That battle is effectively over now, however, and the funds for the space station seem to have been allocated, which is why more concrete details are finally beginning to emerge.”

Though I am always skeptical of comments from the Union of Concerned Scientists, in this case Kulacki makes sense. He also illustrates a further example of what I wrote in 2005, “After more than 40 years of debate, the argument is over and the supporters of manned spaceflight have won.”

China finds SpaceX’s launch prices challenging

Competition! China finds SpaceX’s launch prices low — and a challenge to meet.

Declining to speak for attribution, the Chinese officials say they find the published prices on the SpaceX website very low for the services offered, and concede they could not match them with the Long March series of launch vehicles even if it were possible for them to launch satellites with U.S. components in them.

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