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Antarctica May Hold the Key to Regulating Mining in Space

Our current era may go down in history as the century of space exploration and off-Earth resource exploitation. But there are still considerable policy hurdles to overcome in terms of how we regulate such activities. As we turn our eyes to the skies, we should also look south to Antarctica to gain some insight into… »8/10/15 7:00am8/10/15 7:00am

Researchers Devise a Simple Method For Recycling Rare Earth Magnets

You’ve probably heard a bit about rare Earth elements. They’ve got unpronounceable names like ytterbium and praseodymium, and they’re found in nearly ever piece of tech you own. Despite their value, we’re do a piss poor job recycling them. But chemists are now hoping to change that. »6/21/15 10:08pm6/21/15 10:08pm

An Obscure African Plant Tells Miners Where to Look for Diamonds 

Diamonds you’re familiar with. Pandanus candelabrum, not so much. And until recently, botanists didn’t pay much attention to this rare, palm-like plant from West Africa either. But the discovery that P. candelabrum grows only over rock that may harbor diamonds has vaulted the plant out of obscurity.
»5/06/15 4:30am5/06/15 4:30am

This Russian town is plagued by massive, spontaneous sinkholes

In a story seemingly invented for future landscape architecture thesis projects, we find the city of Berezniki, Russia. "In the West," the New York Times explains, "mines are usually located far from populous areas, to reduce the risks of sinkholes to homes and other buildings. But Berezniki, a city of 154,000 that… »4/13/12 3:05pm4/13/12 3:05pm

A video tour through an abandoned Japanese mining village nobody cleaned up

In the late 1970s, the mining industry dried up at the isolated mountain town of Nichitsu in Japan's Saitama prefecture. Residents began to move away, leaving entire houses filled with possessions to time and the elements. Nichitsu has since become a hotspot for urban exploration. The above video is a tour of the town… »9/04/11 8:00am9/04/11 8:00am