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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 11:34 PM
Original message
Playstation 2 component incites African war
Source: Yahoo News

excerpt:

Allegedly, the demand for coltan prompted Rwandan military groups and western mining companies to plunder hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the rare metal, often by forcing prisoners-of-war and even children to work in the country's coltan mines.

"Kids in Congo were being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms," said Ex-British Parliament Member Oona King.

So where's the connection to Sony? According to Toward Freedom, during the 2000 launch of the PS2, the electronics giant was having trouble meeting consumer demand. To pump out more units, Sony required a significant increase in the production of electric capacitors, which are primarily made with tantalum. This helped drive the world price of the powder from $49/pound to a whopping $275/pound, resulting in the frenzied scouring of the Congolese hills known for being ripe with coltan.

Sony has since sworn off using tantalum acquired from the Congo, claiming that current builds of the PS2, PSP and PS3 consoles are sourced from a variety of mines in several different countries.

Read more: http://videogames.yahoo.com/feature/playstation-2-compo...



I had no idea this was going on. Now I won't be able to look at the Playstation name without thinking of children sent to die to get the metal ore for it.
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Sandaasu Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 11:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. Huh?
Capacitors are used in electronic devices of all sorts. Just about anything with even somewhat complex electronics will involve them. Why pick on Sony over this?
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DJ13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 11:38 PM
Response to Original message
2. That story is crap
Tantalum is used in most every single piece of electronics made.

It reads like a hit piece put out by a Sony competitor (who would also be using tantalum I might ad).
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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Now that you mention it, I think you're right. It's a hit piece.
Bet they paid yahoo a lot to get it on there.
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Captain Angry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 11:38 PM
Response to Original message
3. Better not use a computer or cellphone without thinking the same thing.
From Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coltan

Use and demand

Tantalum is used primarily for the production of capacitors, particularly for applications requiring a small compact format and high reliability, ranging widely from hearing aids and pacemakers, to airbags, GPS, ignition systems and anti-lock braking systems in automobiles, through to laptop computers, mobile phones, video game consoles, video cameras and digital cameras.<5> The upsurge in electronic products over the past decade resulted in a peak in late 2000 with inflated high demand and price increases for the mineral which lasted a few months. In 2005 the price was still down at early 2000 levels.<6>
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UndertheOcean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 11:53 PM
Response to Original message
5. Silly , Capacitors are everywhere , even in grandma ! (her hearing aid)
I agree , this is a Sony hit piece
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-25-08 12:02 AM
Response to Original message
6. Capacitors exist everywhere. To blame only Sony for that fact is a bit ludicrous.
This sounds like a hit piece.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-25-08 01:19 AM
Response to Original message
7. The thing about tantalum is...
... it is NOT the only element that capacitors can be made out of. The only reason to use it is that tantalum capacitors are a lot smaller than capacitors made of other materials. In the 1930's and 1940's they were made out of tin foil and waxed paper. They can also be made with a ceramic or glass dielectric. They would just be a bit bigger that way.

Maybe it's time for manufacturers to sacrifice a little bit of size in favor of making responsible choices.

As far as blaming Sony, EVERY piece of electronics these days uses tantalum capacitors. I've been using them for at least 25 years. I buy them at Radio Shack.
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tkmorris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-26-08 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. In addition, they handle high heat eviros very well
The push to make personal electronic devices smaller and smaller resulted in a lot of complex electronics being packed into extremely small spaces. This results in higher heat concentrations, most notably in devices like cellphones and laptops. Tantalum capacitors can handle these environments while other types of caps cannot. Your Blackberry simply isn't possible without it.
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locdog Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-25-08 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
8. Western hit piece
Edited on Sat Jul-26-08 12:03 AM by locdog
Hogwash. Having a resource to export should be a good thing for a country.
If a rare metal in high industrial demand was found in a western country an industry would be formed, people would work, be paid, raise families and product would be shipped.
If Sony Corp and the so called evil western consumer decide not to use African coltan products then I guess we will hear about how Sony, the west, your kids, caused the collapse of an african industry.
So ask yourself, what is the problem here?
If Oona King wants to blame my kid while he is playing on a Sony console that our family paid for then I will sell it back to you Oona, Rwanda, or any of the rest of you cry babies. We will do just fine without it.
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