iPods vs global warming

I don’t have it in for iPods, or Apple, or Samsung, honest, but something about this news item really brought me up short. Samsung are investing $33Bn in new factories to build memory chips.

According to these articles (1)(2)(3), those chips are soon to arrive in an iPod near you. Apple, it is said, has pre-bought 40% of Samsung’s entire memory chip production for the iPod. iPods are great little gadgets; thus far I have no problem.

Where it all starts to unravel for me is reading the sorry history of the next nuclear fusion research reactor, the ITER. Nuclear fusion, remember, is our best chance of solving global warming because it is the only option that doesn’t require some vested interest to make a sacrifice it finds unacceptable. So it’s rather important that we get on and develop working reactors as soon as possible.

Instead, various alliances of governments have wasted two whole years haggling over where to site the next development reactor. Note the singular. The fate of the planet hangs by a thread and we decide to make just one attempt to rescue it – and that two years late. Why? Because at €10Bn ($12Bn) it is deemed too expensive to build more than one.

So, here’s the reality. For approximately the same price, we could have three competing fusion projects, each spurring the word’s greatest scientists and engineers to solve our greatest problem in the shortest possible time, or we can secure the iPod supply for the next decade.

iPods are cool, sure, but wouldn’t you prefer a cool planet?

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