Better approach: Put a box of saltines where the Oreo's are supposed to be. Hold a bag of potatoes while standing on the weight sensor. Take stuff off the shelf, walk around the store and then put it back.
Bad data is worse than no data.
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You make a valid point. In reviewing what I wrote I made a very broad statement that appears to reinforce anti-Israeli conspiracy theories. I actually regard the incident as a brilliant geopolitical manuever by the leaders of the young state of Israel. It's been many years since I studied the history of the cartel and my recollection of details isn't great. Without books on hand I'll do my best to recall what took place.
In the early days of modern Israel, many people had expertise in working with diamonds, and they'd built a cottage jewelry industry. Israel wanted to leverage their skills into industrial polishing. DeBeers wanted to maintain control over those functions and obstructed Israel's entry into the industry. So Israel built up a large cachet of diamonds and threatened to dump them on the market. In order to prevent devaluation, DeBeers conceded and assisted Israel in building their industry.
Absent specific details I probably should have omitted the story altogether. At the very least I should have noted DeBeers' role in WW2. What's certain is that during WW2 the US wanted to transfer diamonds to North America to supply their industry. DeBeers refused. Meanwhile, diamonds continued to flow into Nazi Germany, supplying their war industry. Some historians suggest that DeBeers actively cooperated with the Nazi's. Others claim that the Nazi's smuggled them out through third parties.
This isn't about naturally rare minerals, it's about the one mineral that's rare by design. This is the latest in a long history of disinformation campaigns intended to keep DeBeers' control of the diamond. In fact, diamonds are so common in nature that there are beaches in Africa where they wash up on shore. You could pick them up like seashells if it weren't for the armed guards ready and willing to shoot anyone who tries. If DeBeers ever lost control of the market the value of diamonds would plumet.
When General Electric developed the first artificial diamond DeBeers bought the company. When Israel threatened to dump their cache on the market, DeBeers practically bought the country. They spent billions buying artificial diamonds from the Soviets, just to keep them off the market. In the US, when DeBeers was investigated for antitrust violations they put every employee in their country on a plane and sent them back to Europe. In one night. The next day there was a new person in every US job, and not one of those people could testify about how DeBeers operates. If you ever want to have your life turned upside down, try buying and selling used diamonds. See just how long it takes for DeBeers to shut you down.
DeBeers modus operandi is to back whoever controls a country, as long as they are willing to do business. If not, DeBeers will back a coup. So, if you want to control an African country, step 1 is to gain control over the diamonds. If you want to get rich, step 1 is to take over a country. THAT is why there's so much violence in Africa. The regime that labels "conflict" minerals is just one of the tools DeBeers uses to maintain control. The "conflict" countries are places where more than one group operates. Whatever group is on the outside will smuggle diamonds out, undermining price controls.
The history of the DeBeers cartel is the most fascinating and disturbing story that's rarely told. If you haven't read it I strongly recommend a trip to the local library. Don't wait for Hollywood to tell the story. They're too busy writing a sequel to "Blood Diamonds". On contract of course. The sad truth is that EVERY diamond is a blood diamond.
It's a mistake to point the finger at the United Nations. As the original editorial noted, Haiti does not have a system to deliver clean water. Any time you have 90 percent of a population drinking from the sewer it's only a matter of time before you have an outbreak. Past efforts to build a modern clean-water delivery system have been thwarted by civil war, endemic corruption and general ineptitude
Haiti doesn't need another failed aid project. What Haiti needs is a bureaucracy to construct and manage their own infrastructure. Haiti also needs to build a judicial infrastructure that's capable of rooting out corruption.
Tomatoes were introduced to Europe when the Spanish brought them back from Mexico, so it's hard to know how many hundreds or thousands of years they've been cultivated. Pre-industrial revolution tomatoes could be grown with minimal cultivation and were much tastier than modern supermarket varieties. Until recently new varieties were developed through sexual reproduction and took many years. Sexual reproduction corrects for deficiencies that would make a plant vulnerable to disease. If you're developing a new variety for tougher skin or larger size the plant has to _also_ survive year to year.
DNA technology allows scientists to take a shortcut that has already had consequences. About five years ago a new disease called Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus was introduced here in North Carolina, as well as other states. The first year the entire crop of tomatoes rotted on the vine. Within a few years scientist at the University of NC introduced TSWV resistant varieties. These new varieties still get the disease but they survive it. I now pay ~$5 per plant rather than paying ~$5 for a flat. So what did the scientists do to develop these resistant tomatoes? It turns out that almost every heirloom variety already had the resistance. It was just the new, genetically modified varieties that had lost their resistance. So the scientists isolated the resistance gene and spliced it back into other varieties. The result is a tomatoe that's smaller, a little tougher, but resilient. And also a lot more expensive.
If we keep going down this DNA modification path we're going to eventually kill off a critical crop. If we wipe out one year's corn or wheat we're going to experience starvation on a scale larger than the potatoe famine.