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Supplies of Rare Earth Elements Exhausted By 2017 958

tomhudson writes "While we bemoan the current oil crisis, I ran across an editorial that led me to research a more immediate threat. Ramped-up production of flat-panel displays means the material to make them will be 'extinct' by 2017. This goes for other electronics as well. Quoting: 'The element gallium is in very short supply and the world may well run out of it in just a few years. Indium is threatened too, says Armin Reller, a materials chemist at Germany's University of Augsburg. He estimates that our planet's stock of indium will last no more than another decade. All the hafnium will be gone by 2017 also, and another twenty years will see the extinction of zinc. Even copper is an endangered item, since worldwide demand for it is likely to exceed available supplies by the end of the present century.' More links at the journal entry."

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.