Keeping up with other change around us
Here are a few random articles on the massive change around us:
- Another idea for private space exploration
- Private funding of litigation
- Manufactured diamonds
10/29 – Blasting News – Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos revives the idea of free flying O’Neill space colonies – Here is another old-news-but-new-to-me idea for space exploration: a free-floating space station positioned at a Lagrange point, which are five spots where the gravity of the moon and earth cancel out.
Those positions, particularly what is called L5, would be a viable place for a large space station, which could be a waypoint to the moon and back, or the starting point for deep space exploration, or heavy manufacturing.
This idea is being advanced by Jeff Bezos.
As Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit is so fond of saying:
(If you weren’t aware, his book An Army of Davids was foundational to my learning there are tremendously open frontiers waiting for anyone to explore who wants to explore.)
8/5 – Wall Street Journal – Litigation Funding Moves Into Mainstream – With vague promises of providing double-digit returns on your ‘investment’, the world of litigation funding is becoming more commonplace. Businesses are opening up to provide non-filthy rich people opportunities to buy a part of some other person’s commercial litigation.
If the litigant wins, the investor gets paid a bunch of money.
Private funding to allow the clogging of the court system and enrich attorneys. Call me old-fashioned or whatever other word you wish, this is not a part of the bright change I’m hoping for in the future.
11/7 – Wall Street Journal – De Beers Tries to Counter a Growing Threat: Man-Made Diamonds – The technology to manufacture artificial diamonds is getting so good that you have to work at telling the difference between a new stone and one that is millions of years old.
A few interesting tidbits for me are the cost spread between a man-made diamond and mined diamond is only 20% to 30%. A diamond seed is placed in a chamber with carbon and then heated with pressure 50,000 times atmospheric. That severe pressure is applied for a few months. The carbon breaks off and adheres to the seed.
Total worldwide capacity for synthetic stones is somewhere between 250,000 carats and 350,000. That pales in comparison to mined production of 135,000,000 rough carats a year.
Possibility in five years is that synthetic stones could capture 10% of the total market. That would require an expansion in capacity of something in the range of a factor of 45 times increase.
An entertaining quibble in the comments raises the question why the word ‘synthetic’ is used to describe these new stones. They are created with the same material and the same process as stones mined from below the surface of the earth. Great point!