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Artifacts of culture? Or artifacts of barbarism?
July 10, 2006 12:57 PM   Subscribe

The Diamond Age has arrived, but no one will admit it. Experts chafe at the mass-production of diamonds. The leading gem analysts refuse to rate them. Duh. "If we could succeed, at a small expenditure of labour, in converting carbon into diamonds, their value might fall below that of bricks." Capital, Karl Marx (previously)
posted by anotherpanacea (96 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 


You should not buy natural diamonds
. The Kimberley Process, which attempts to restrict the trade of 'Blood Diamonds,' only removes one variety of suffering from the production of these shiny gems, despite the claims of the De Beers Corporation. Indeed, children still mine and polish natural diamonds, even those certified conflict free. And don't forget: the bloody things are worthless! Meanwhile, the industry argues over whether to call them 'treated,' 'synthetic,' or 'cultured.'
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:57 PM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sorry, here is the De Beers Co. claiming that it's diamonds are conflict and child-labor free.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:00 PM on July 10, 2006


it's = its
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:01 PM on July 10, 2006


The Diamond Age is going to be awesome. I'm going to be iced out crazy, son.
posted by mullingitover at 1:02 PM on July 10, 2006


I'm going to eat and wear nothign but diamonds, yo.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:03 PM on July 10, 2006


Cheap bling! Now where's my grill?
posted by sourwookie at 1:03 PM on July 10, 2006


here's a transcript of a Frontline episode covering the modern diamond trade. if you ever get the opportunity, i suggest you watch it.
posted by the painkiller at 1:07 PM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, the diamond industry is pretty sickening. The people mining the diamonds should have a standard of living comparable to the people buying them. If some third party is standing in the middle and preventing that from happening, they deserve to collapse. Marx is probably chuckling to himself up in that great big workers state in the sky.
posted by mullingitover at 1:07 PM on July 10, 2006


The New Diamond Age will hopefully be an improvement on the old.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:12 PM on July 10, 2006


Really?
posted by b1tr0t at 1:12 PM on July 10, 2006


Some perspective on diamonds from John McPhee:

At room temperature and surface pressure, diamonds are in repose on an extremely narrow thermodynamic shelf. They want to be graphite, and with a relatively modest boost of heat graphite is what they would become, if atmospheric oxygen did not incinerate them first. They are, in this sense, unstable - these finger-flashing symbols of the eternity of vows, yearning to become fresh pencil lead.

posted by driveler at 1:15 PM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Is 'fancy' some sort of technical term w/r/t diamonds or precious stones? If not, its use all over the cultured diamond web site is grating.
posted by tippiedog at 1:17 PM on July 10, 2006


Cheap bling! Now where's my grill?

Hey man, just because they're cheap, doesn't mean you should grill 'n' eat 'em.

Me, I want my diamond windows. Put it over there with the jet pack.

Seriously, I hate diamond culture -- specifically as it relates to engagement rings. It's disgusting because it's a gift that one adult will demand specific requirements of as a gift from another adult (as a symbol of love or whathaveyou). WTF. 8-year olds make gift demands, not adults. What makes things worse are the points about the worthlessness of diamonds, ethics, etc.

"You want me to spend 2 months of my labour (income) on a symbolic gesture, and it must be in this diamond form?

You want a symbol of my dedication and love to you? How about I steal something rare/difficult to steal for you, risk my life for you, or spend 2 months of my labour helping people in need as my symbol of love to you?

My fiancee's getting an emerald and she's good wit dat. We welcome diamonds at $4 a carat.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 1:18 PM on July 10, 2006


It's probably mentioned in one of these articles that aluminum used to be more valuble than gold once, then someone figured out a cheap way to extract it.
posted by bobo123 at 1:21 PM on July 10, 2006


I can feel smug, liberal and nicely self-satisfied about the fact that neither my wife nor I has any diamonds. We avoided them for the usual blood-diamond reasons, and because they're astoundingly overhyped, and because we like to spend money on useful things.

But if similar truths are unveiled about the platinum and sapphire industries, I guess we'll just have to whistle and look the other way....
posted by gurple at 1:24 PM on July 10, 2006


Is 'fancy' some sort of technical term w/r/t diamonds or precious stones?

Yes: it's the industry's term for 'colored' gems, which are usually cut and set differently. Unlike Apollo, Gemesis only produces red, yellow, and blue diamonds.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:25 PM on July 10, 2006


So what's stopping me from flipping cultured diamonds to merchants and claiming that they are not artificial? How will they know the difference?
posted by geoff. at 1:25 PM on July 10, 2006


Just wait till Gold can be artifically created. Most countries rely on gold reserves ...
posted by homodigitalis at 1:29 PM on July 10, 2006


I will be glad to see diamond culture go.
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:29 PM on July 10, 2006


I hope undetectable synthetic diamonds flood the market and put De Beers out of business. The whole "2 months salary" and and all that drive me up the wall. It's a worthless fucking rock! De Beers has tons of diamonds just laying around and still people think diamonds are "rare" and pay astounding amounts for them....aaarrrggghhh!!!
posted by MikeMc at 1:29 PM on July 10, 2006


So what's stopping me from flipping cultured diamonds to merchants and claiming that they are not artificial? How will they know the difference?

Have you ever tried to sell a diamond?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:33 PM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


If it wasn't for the energy to take CO2 out of the air and fix it as a diamond, that would be a great way to be able to lock away C from the air.

Just wait till Gold can be artifically created. Most countries rely on gold reserves ...
posted by homodigitalis at 1:29 PM PST


Snicker. Naw, most if the 'full faith and credit' of the nation.

Now, if you have enough excess energy, you can get gold and other metals out of seawater.

Good luck with business plans that rely on 'excess energy'.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:33 PM on July 10, 2006


As I understand it, synthetic diamonds are just a touch -too- perfect, so the GIA uses an incredibly expensive device that looks for imperfections. However, it is possible to buy gemesis diamonds with 'inclusions' (imperfections) so there must be a bit more to it than that. More info at the third link.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:34 PM on July 10, 2006



posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 1:35 PM on July 10, 2006


Diamonds are the new fur, the new slavery, and the new apartheid.
posted by 1-2punch at 1:36 PM on July 10, 2006


I still remember my French teacher's fiancee storming around my high school in a fury because the diamond had come out of it's setting on her engagement ring. We were admonished in class to buy diamond insurance, for fuck's sake, and every one of us was put on high alert for her diamond.

"Oh sure, I have nothing better to do than keep my eyes split for a tiny little transparent rock. Oh wait, yes I do: everything."

She found it on the edge of her drain in the bathroom sink a few hours later and, catastrophe alerted, we all returned to educating and being educated.

Needless to say, it left a little less than thrilled about the prospects of buying someone a diamond. "Oh fantastic, the insurance industry has figured out how to get their cut, too."
posted by jon_kill at 1:38 PM on July 10, 2006


A diamond is just a rock in the way that David and Pieta are just stone and Mona Lisa is just cloth and paint.
posted by Cranberry at 1:41 PM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised they can't do better on the clarity than very slightly included. I'd expect fake diamonds to be internally flawless.
posted by chunking express at 1:42 PM on July 10, 2006


You should not buy natural diamonds...'Blood Diamonds...children still mine and polish natural diamonds, even those certified conflict free..

I'm fairly certain that the diamond mines of the Canadian North don't ship their diamonds to war-torn countries to get children to polish them. You have cites that state otherwise?
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:44 PM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


You can get larger diamonds from Canada that have a little maple leaf etched on them; that maple leaf means Pretty Good Things -- i.e., the diamond was mined and cut in Canada.

You have to go pretty big to get those kinds of diamonds, though. India can undercut everybody on the cost of cutting stones, so for the smallest ones they're the only country that can afford to cut them at all.
posted by gurple at 1:47 PM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


A diamond is just a rock in the way that David and Pieta are just stone and Mona Lisa is just cloth and paint.

By that comparison wouldn't the manmade ones be more valuable, not less?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:49 PM on July 10, 2006


Well, I must admit that I don't know where Canadians cut and polish their stones. But I do know that they're about three times as expensive as open market stones, so they're probably not doing much to challenge De Beers.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:50 PM on July 10, 2006


Is 'fancy' some sort of technical term w/r/t diamonds or precious stones? If not, its use all over the cultured diamond web site is grating.

Yes, it means colored.
posted by delmoi at 1:52 PM on July 10, 2006


A sK. Marx noted, quantity drives out [supposed]quality...give all A grades to students and the A becomes totally worthless...oil is expensive because it is (we are told) in great demand and now difficult to get--gold is "good" because it is rather rare...flood the market with it, and its value becomes negligible. I
posted by Postroad at 1:57 PM on July 10, 2006


If it wasn't for the energy to take CO2 out of the air and fix it as a diamond, that would be a great way to be able to lock away C from the air.

Are you kidding me? Do you know anything about chemistry? Ugh. Obviously it takes far, far more energy to convert C to Diamond C then it does to break apart O2 from CO2. Secondly, why the hell would you ever do that? No one needs to remove "C" from the atmosphere. C is a solid, not a gas. CO2 is the gas that needs to be removed. Once you had amorphous C you could just dump it on the ground. Plain C is just soot or graphite, it's used in all biological molecules, etc.

Really what you're talking about is just an idea that makes no sense at all.
posted by delmoi at 2:00 PM on July 10, 2006


Just wait till Gold can be artificially created. Most countries rely on gold reserves ...
posted by homodigitalis at 1:29 PM PST


Gold can never be created, it's an element. Maybe there is some nuclear reaction that produces it (I dunno) but Diamons are just an arangement of carbon atoms.
posted by delmoi at 2:02 PM on July 10, 2006


Screw your faux-precious marital rocks! I want my diamondoid space elevator!
posted by loquacious at 2:05 PM on July 10, 2006


Actually you can create gold. It just requires a particle accelerator or nuclear reactor to do it.
posted by Grimgrin at 2:09 PM on July 10, 2006


I don't know, loquacious. Space elevators have a tendency to fall from the sky!
posted by NationalKato at 2:11 PM on July 10, 2006


delmoi writes "C is a solid, not a gas. CO2 is the gas that needs to be removed. Once you had amorphous C you could just dump it on the ground. Plain C is just soot or graphite, it's used in all biological molecules, etc. "

Most plans for carbon sequestration involve either increasing photosynthetic carbon fixation or pumping CO2 gas underground or under water...
posted by mr_roboto at 2:11 PM on July 10, 2006


Well, I must admit that I don't know where Canadians cut and polish their stones.

Would you be shocked to find that Canadian diamonds are cut and polished in, uh, Canada? Yellowknife, NWT.
posted by zarah at 2:17 PM on July 10, 2006


A diamond is just a rock in the way that David and Pieta are just stone and Mona Lisa is just cloth and paint.

And what, exactly, makes them diamonds so special? You aren't by chance, a De Beers sockpuppet are you?
posted by casconed at 2:19 PM on July 10, 2006


oil is expensive because it is (we are told) in great demand

Don't believe this conspiracy. No one wants oil except you.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:19 PM on July 10, 2006


homodigitalis writes "Just wait till Gold can be artifically created. Most countries rely on gold reserves ..."

Gold is found in sea water at 5-50ppt. Figure out how to get it out cheaply and you'll be a rich man (not only from the gold, lots of other stuff in sea water to make money with)

Postroad writes "gold is 'good' because it is rather rare...flood the market with it, and its value becomes negligible"

Low yes, negligible no. Gold is a wildly useful engineering metal, It'll still be worth more than copper even if as wildly available.
posted by Mitheral at 2:22 PM on July 10, 2006


And what, exactly, makes them diamonds so special?

it's becuz theyr shinier then them other rocks! duh.
posted by loquacious at 2:28 PM on July 10, 2006


Diamonds would be very useful if they could be manufactured cheaply. Already you can get diamond drill bits, saw blades and sharpening stones made with synthetic diamonds. Just like gold/copper, even if we can make square feet of the stuff it will still be worth more than (say) synthetic sapphire because it's more useful.
posted by Skorgu at 2:28 PM on July 10, 2006


Superman can make diamonds. Super-diamonds.
“it's = its” - posted by anotherpanacea
it’s =

posted by Smedleyman at 2:29 PM on July 10, 2006


A diamond is just a rock in the way that David and Pieta are just stone and Mona Lisa is just cloth and paint.
posted by Cranberry at 1:41 PM PST


Last time I checked, there is only one Mona, David and Pieta.

There are alot of collections of Carbon atoms all linked together. Not all that unique, one diamond cut/graded the same is interchangeable with another.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:41 PM on July 10, 2006


And people think OIL is a tightly controlled and manipulated commodity.
posted by HTuttle at 2:46 PM on July 10, 2006


Cashing in on the fragility of the female ego for...not really that long.
posted by HTuttle at 2:47 PM on July 10, 2006


If it wasn't for the energy to take CO2 out of the air and fix it as a diamond, that would be a great way to be able to lock away C from the air.

Are you kidding me? Do you know anything about chemistry? Ugh. Obviously it takes far, far more energy to convert C to Diamond C


Ugh. What part of "If it wasn't for the energy" did you not understand?

Once you had amorphous C you could just dump it on the ground.

Where it could then be re-cycled BACK into the atmosphere in a far shorter time than if it is locked up as a diamond-matrix.

Plain C is just soot or graphite, it's used in all biological molecules, etc.

And in that form, more eaisly re-cycled back into the atmosphere.

Really what you're talking about is just an idea that makes no sense at all.
posted by delmoi at 2:00 PM PST


No, you are just not familiar with the idea of 'diamond age' - where bearings, coatings, cutting blades are carbon linked as diamond. Things become FAR harder to wear out. And a fine reason to pull it from the atmosphere, if there was the energy to do it.

Prob. a vanity market for 'this diamond was made from atmospheric Carbon, and in this form it won't be re-entering the air anytime soon.'


Its just that the ENERGY requirements to get there is beyond what humans can now do. Or may ever be able to do.




Carbon in a diamond matrix would
posted by rough ashlar at 2:49 PM on July 10, 2006


Gold is a wildly useful engineering metal,
posted by Mitheral at 2:22 PM PST


I'm hard pressed to believe that. Metals that act as catalysts or anti-bacterial have more worth, industrial speaking.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:54 PM on July 10, 2006


rough ashlar writes "

"Where it could then be re-cycled BACK into the atmosphere in a far shorter time than if it is locked up as a diamond-matrix."


Utter nonsense. Graphite is far more stable than diamond, except at very high temperatures and pressures. And neither diamond nor graphite will find its way back into the atmosphere spontaneously.


rough ashlar writes "I'm hard pressed to believe that."

Well, you're wrong. Gold has a great set of properties: it's chemically inert, it never corrodes, it's an excellent conductor, it's used as a catalyst in a variety of applications (e.g. hydrocarbon oxidation in fuel cells), it's worked easily, very ductile, easy to deposit onto a variety of surfaces, easy to selectively etch, can be used as a mask in other etching processes, etc. etc. etc.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:01 PM on July 10, 2006


It'll never happen. Disregard.

[ secretly just about to hit "send" button to sell Tiffany's stock]
posted by tkchrist at 3:12 PM on July 10, 2006


In 1855, A bar of aluminium, the new precious metal, is exhibited at the Paris Exhibition...
posted by shockingbluamp at 3:16 PM on July 10, 2006


I still plan to eat diamonds when they become affordable enough.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:27 PM on July 10, 2006


A diamond is just a rock in the way that David and Pieta are just stone and Mona Lisa is just cloth and paint.
posted by Cranberry at 1:41 PM PST on July 10


The Mona Lisa is painted on a panel of poplar wood, not cloth.
posted by Guy Smiley at 3:29 PM on July 10, 2006


Astro Zombie, I hope your dentist isn't reading this thread....
posted by Humanzee at 3:33 PM on July 10, 2006


Or your gastrologist.
posted by absalom at 3:45 PM on July 10, 2006


Would you be shocked to find that Canadian diamonds are cut and polished in, uh, Canada? Yellowknife, NWT.

Actually, most of our diamonds leave here rough. Only a small percentage are actually cut/polished in the area. Those that are leave the country (for sorting? I can't remember) and then are brought back in.

Here is some general info on Canadian diamonds.
posted by ODiV at 3:48 PM on July 10, 2006


gold...it's used as a catalyst in a variety of applications (e.g. hydrocarbon oxidation in fuel cells)

Huh. I was unaware of gold as catalyst.
Guess I have another google rabbit hole to go down later. Thanks for giving me an educational experience.

. Graphite is far more stable than diamond

But graphite doesn't offer the same utility as diamond for wear resistance. Its a fine lubricant, and a conversion of CO2 -> Carbon Nanotubes might be an even better plan than into diamonds as far as human usefullness goes. Cept for the whole nano-particles as toxins thing.


But such a plan to remove CO2 from the air requires ALOT of energy. And the heat generated in a air->Carbon process in such voulme to de-CO2 the atmosphere may be worse for the planet than just leaving the CO2 in the air.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:02 PM on July 10, 2006


Carbon in a diamond matrix would

I don't think this word "matrix" means what you think it means. You could do the rest of us a favor and stop speaking with authority on technical subjects about which you know little or nothing.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:08 PM on July 10, 2006


But such a plan to remove CO2 from the air requires ALOT of energy. And the heat generated in a air->Carbon process in such voulme to de-CO2 the atmosphere may be worse for the planet than just leaving the CO2 in the air.

Don't touch those plants, man. Suckers are HOT!
posted by c13 at 4:49 PM on July 10, 2006


I don't think this word "matrix" means what you think it means. You could do the rest of us a favor and stop speaking with authority on technical subjects about which you know little or nothing.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:08 PM


Then why don't you EDUCATE and use the correct technical terms to describe Carbon as linked together in graphite VS Carbon linked together in a diamond structure.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:09 PM on July 10, 2006


"but woe betide any man who proposes martial union (or any other type) with a fake!"

Good way to get your ass kicked.
posted by mmrtnt at 5:17 PM on July 10, 2006


Don't touch those plants, man. Suckers are HOT!
posted by c13 at 4:49 PM


Other than dumping iron in the ocean in at attempt to pull CO2 out of the air (which should also deplete micronutrients - to cause different issues a few years later), exactly how will man grow MORE plants to sink CO2 for 100+ years like coal/oil have done?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:21 PM on July 10, 2006


rough ashlar writes "Then why don't you EDUCATE and use the correct technical terms to describe Carbon as linked together in graphite VS Carbon linked together in a diamond structure."

The word you might be trying to think of is "lattice". Diamond is a 3D crystal lattice. Graphite is also organized in a lattice structure, but only in two dimensions (the one-atom-thick sheets of graphite lattice slide against one another with very little friction; that's what makes graphite such a good lubricant), so you could describe graphite as a quasi-2D crystal. Single-walled carbon nanotubes also contain carbon atoms arranged in a lattice, but since they extend in only one dimension (along the length of the tube, which has a fixed radius), they're quasi-1D crystals. You could similarly consider a closed fullerene to be a zero-dimensional crystal, with no freedom to extend the lattice in any dimension.

A matrix is something in which something else is embedded.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:31 PM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Actually, most of our diamonds leave here rough. Only a small percentage are actually cut/polished in the area. Those that are leave the country (for sorting? I can't remember) and then are brought back in.

They're sent to South Africa. The kids there have a knack for polishing small things.
posted by mmrtnt at 5:34 PM on July 10, 2006


rough ashlar: The problem is you have no idea what you're talking about. No one is trying to get carbon out of the atmosphere, they are trying to get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. they are completely different chemicals.

Having carbon 'in the air' doesn't even make sense, any more then you would complain about having iron or gold or silicon 'in the air'. They are solids. Carbon is a sold whether it's in a diamond, or graphite. It doesn't spontaneously oxidize the way iron or other chemicals do.

Its just that the ENERGY requirements to get there is beyond what humans can now do. Or may ever be able to do.

Your right, it would take a lot of energy, and where would we get the energy? Burning even more oil? That doesn't make any sense, why would we burn more oil then it takes just to get rid of the byproduct of our first oil burning?

We use nuclear? Well, why not just cut out the middleman and use the nuclear energy in the first place?

The bottom line is that in order to do what you're suggesting you need to use more energy then you started with, so why even bother doing it in order to 'get rid' of the excess CO2?
posted by delmoi at 5:39 PM on July 10, 2006


Other than dumping iron in the ocean in at attempt to pull CO2 out of the air (which should also deplete micronutrients - to cause different issues a few years later), exactly how will man grow MORE plants to sink CO2 for 100+ years like coal/oil have done?

Are you drunk? Or just stupid? What does exactly how will man grow MORE plants to sink CO2 for 100+ years like coal/oil have done? even mean? And how does it relate to my remark about your previous post? Besides, do you remember any of the stuff your high school biology teacher said about how Earth's atmosphere turned from reducing to oxidizing? Remember what living organisms were involved?
Also, in your chemistry class they've probably told you that iron exists as an oxide in nature. Therefore, before you can dump it in the ocean to rust, you have to mine the ore and smelt it. Which required a great deal of energy, which will probably come from fossil fuels. But on an even more basic level, that same chemistry teacher has also probably told you that rusting is a reaction of iron with oxygen in the presence of water. It has nothing to do with carbon dioxide. But you weren't paying attention, were you?

In other words, demoli and mr_roboto are right. You really should stop talking out of your ass.
posted by c13 at 5:54 PM on July 10, 2006


But on an even more basic level, that same chemistry teacher has also probably told you that rusting is a reaction of iron with oxygen in the presence of water. It has nothing to do with carbon dioxide.

Um, not to derail a good pile-on with a wee nitpick, but I think rough ashlar is referring to the scheme where iron is used as a nutrient to increase phytoplankton growth in the open ocean, which, as the article and rough ashlar state, may have further undesirable consequences down the road.
posted by hangashore at 6:38 PM on July 10, 2006


I think the he brought up iron dumping because it could cause algae blooms, which would use up a lot of CO2, but the massive blooms would deplete the other nutrients in the ocean, so there would be less algae in the future, making the whole exercise meaningless. Also, you have to get the iron somehow.
posted by blasdelf at 6:42 PM on July 10, 2006


ECHO!

But yeah, you've kind of been talking out of your ass sideways.
posted by blasdelf at 6:43 PM on July 10, 2006


Well, he may be, hangashore. It would certainly be in line with "carbon"="carbon dioxide", "air -> carbon"= "carbon fixation", "matrix"="crystal lattice", etc.. But how would we know?
posted by c13 at 6:54 PM on July 10, 2006


I think it's just that the precise technical terms are sometimes are a bit unwieldy if you don't deal with them every day. E.g., for the different forms of carbon, allotropes might be an even better term (or polymorphs, which is a more generic term describing a substance taking on multiple crystal forms [although polymorphs doesn't strictly include amorphous forms - dang!]).

Then again, what got the whole ball rolling was the comment that "if it wasn't for the energy to take CO2 out of the air and fix it as a diamond, that would be a great way to be able to lock away C from the air," which I read to be in the spirit of, "other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"
posted by hangashore at 7:25 PM on July 10, 2006


Dude. Forget Doobeers and all that crap.
Where's my damn diamond-based computer?
posted by ryran at 7:41 PM on July 10, 2006


That 1982 article was very interesting, thanks.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:43 PM on July 10, 2006


Where's my damn diamond-based computer?

Right here. Or here.
posted by hangashore at 8:08 PM on July 10, 2006


What does exactly how will man grow MORE plants to sink CO2 for 100+ years like coal/oil have done? even mean?

If one believes that 'locking away' Carbon from the atmosphere is needed, there are a few ways of doing that.

1) Take a lot of plant matter and bury it where it can not recycled into the atmosphere.

2) Expose a lot of rock that when it weathers will react and 'lock' the C into new rock types.

This is how it was done years ago.

Man has options like:

3) Grow plants that won't be eaten, made into fuel, burned for heat or rot. There are VERY few options here, save 100+ year old buildings/books

4) Throw iron into the ocean to get algae growth which would sink to the bottom and get tied up.

5) Take VERY large amounts of energy to compress air into liquid, separate the CO2, and make something long term stable out of the CO2 like a diamond, graphite or nanotubes.


And how does it relate to my remark about your previous post?

So you don't have an answer?

Besides, do you remember any of the stuff your high school biology teacher said about how Earth's atmosphere turned from reducing to oxidizing? Remember what living organisms were involved?

Yes, that's why the 'throw iron in the ocean' is *a plan*, although it seems like a waste of good iron....but YOU were the one making the comment about growing plants and I again ask you - what *IS* your plant growing plan that would 'lock away' the C from than air for 100+ years?

Also, in your chemistry class they've probably told you that iron exists as an oxide in nature. Therefore, before you can dump it in the ocean to rust, you have to mine the ore and smelt it. Which required a great deal of energy, which will probably come from fossil fuels. But on an even more basic level, that same chemistry teacher has also probably told you that rusting is a reaction of iron with oxygen in the presence of water. It has nothing to do with carbon dioxide.

But it does if you are desperate to force CO2 lower by plant growth. Which YOU snarked about.


But you weren't paying attention, were you?

And here you are, snark'n away.

In other words, demoli and mr_roboto are right. You really should stop talking out of your ass.
posted by c13 at 5:54 PM PST


*smile* *kiss*
posted by rough ashlar at 9:00 PM on July 10, 2006


Hate to interrupt the pissing match, but I found that Atlantic article fascinating. It leaves off here:

By the mid-1980s, the avalanche of Australian diamonds will be pouring onto the market. Unless the resourceful managers of De Beers can find a way to gain control of the various sources of diamonds that will soon crowd the market, these sources may bring about the final collapse of world diamond prices.

As predicted in 1982. It's nearly 25 years later, and De Beers is still advertising heavily and with (apparent) success. Is there a good coda to the Atlantic article that coverse what has happened in the ensuing years?
posted by cortex at 9:16 PM on July 10, 2006


If one believes that 'locking away' Carbon from the atmosphere is needed, there are a few ways of doing that.

But the problem is no one, except you I suppose believe that. carbon and carbon dioxide are completely different things, just like how oxygen and water are different things, and sodium and sodium chloride are different things. Not only would be removing carbon from the 'atmosphere' (I assume you mean the surface, because there isn't any elemental carbon in the atmosphere) would be not only impossible but suicidal as well, because we need hydrocarbons to live. Every cell in our body is made out of carbon compounds.

There is no reason to remove carbon from anything, only carbon dioxide.
posted by delmoi at 9:23 PM on July 10, 2006


rough ashlar: The problem is you have no idea what you're talking about. No one is trying to get carbon out of the atmosphere, they are trying to get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. they are completely different chemicals.

And yet, if you take CO2 and fix the C part in a lattice like a diamond, graphite or nanotube you *ARE* getting your C from the air and the overall CO2 would drop.

(and thank you Mrroboto for doing what expletive deleted didn't do)

Having carbon 'in the air' doesn't even make sense,

So somehow the CO2 has no 'Carbon'? Huh. Who'd a thunk it.

Its just that the ENERGY requirements to get there is beyond what humans can now do. Or may ever be able to do.
Your right, it would take a lot of energy,
posted by delmoi at 5:39 PM PST


Ding! Correct.

Which is why I said "If it wasn't for the energy to take CO2 out of the air and fix it as a diamond, that would be a great way to be able to lock away C from the air." Glad we agree. Took long enough to get there.

But at the point where such energy COULD be mastered (and somehow not warm the planet with such an energy cycle or have it used as a weapon), we'd have the material science skills to put C lattices onto items to make diamond coatings. And a reason to put such coatings everywhere - pulling the tons of Carbon floating about in CO2. Making coatings or nanotubes should have more value to man than making something that would get burned - thus putting the carbon back in the air as CO2.

(And well, we CAN "do it now". The SeaLand process in the 1970's took air, compressed it to liquid CO2. It also split water into H2 and O2. Then made methane and methonal with the seperated CO2 and H2. Some of the diamond growing methods use natural gas as the Carbon source, and should be adaptable to methane/methonal. A vanity product like the 'lifediamond' - made from the dead sould be able to be made from taking the Carbon from the air instead of from ashes of the dead.)
posted by rough ashlar at 9:27 PM on July 10, 2006


Hate to interrupt the pissing match, but I found that Atlantic article fascinating.

I don't know if anyone else had tossed this link out, but you might find it a good read.
The diamond invention

The black diamond used as a state symbol is 'interesting'
posted by rough ashlar at 9:33 PM on July 10, 2006


What the... fuck? *puzzled, confused look*

Did Gene Ray hack rough ashlar's account or is there some kind of new found metaphilosophical neurolithic transmutatiation going on here?

Dude, ashlar? I appreciate a good left-field brainbending session much more than most, but your fervent wild-assed wing-nutting is sounding crazy even to me. That's a warning sign. Seriously.

The ideas you have in your head might make perfect sense, but the words you're typing to get the ideas out? Not so much.
posted by loquacious at 10:03 PM on July 10, 2006


Looks like we've got ourselves a 'reader'...
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 11:17 PM on July 10, 2006


And yet, if you take CO2 and fix the C part in a lattice like a diamond, graphite or nanotube you *ARE* getting your C from the air and the overall CO2 would drop.

Yes that's true:

If you remove C from CO2 in the air, and fix it in a lattice there will be less CO2 in the air.

But this is also true:

If you remove C from CO in the air and do not fix it in a lattice there will be less CO2 in the air.

So why take the second step of squishing it into a diamond? Either way, the carbon will never re-enter the atmosphere as CO2 unless it's put through a complex chemical reaction that won't happen on it's own. So why take the second step of converting it to diamond when it requires far more energy then splitting CO2 in the first place?

Not only that, but splitting CO2 into C and O2 requires more energy then you got when you burned whatever it was to produce the CO2 in the first place. So you're better off energetically just leaving the CO2 alone. If you need carbon to make diamonds, well, carbon is not exactly hard to get. If you were to dig up all the dirt in your yard a couple of feet deep you would have literally tons of carbon, most of it probably easier to extract then that in CO2.
posted by delmoi at 11:35 PM on July 10, 2006


cortex: At least part of it is that no-one who owns a diamond mine has any real interest in driving down the prices. Also the Argyle mine, while the largest producer by volume, has a relatively low percentage of gem-quality diamonds (about 5%), and of those that are gem-quality, alot are brown (80%), which are tough to sell.
posted by markr at 2:30 AM on July 11, 2006


but your fervent wild-assed wing-nutting is sounding crazy even to me.

What's crazy about the material science to provide diamond coatings? Or nanotubes? (excluding the shapes/sizes that are toxic) Or believing that the long term CO2 solution is in having that carbon locked into a form more useful to man than something to be burned, eaten, or buried to rot.

The energy needed to make a global change in CO2 levels does follow the spirit of, "other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?" . Example of the energy levels used - the 'waste heat' of man is estimated as the tidal energy amounts to 3x1012 watts. The same source puts mankind’s waste heat from fossil fuel consumption at 1.3x1012 watts. Thus it seems that mankind’s waste heat from fossil fuel consumption alone represents 4 times the power of the world’s tides.

To mitigate such a level of consumption is a WHOLE lot of diamonds (and energy). Not to mention items that don't wear out tends to upset manufactures.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:49 AM on July 11, 2006


Delmoi pulls out his robe and wizard hat Thermodynamics Police badge.
posted by Skorgu at 7:51 AM on July 11, 2006


As predicted in 1982. It's nearly 25 years later, and De Beers is still advertising heavily and with (apparent) success. Is there a good coda to the Atlantic article that coverse what has happened in the ensuing years?

Actually, diamonds have dropped significantly in the last two decades. Remember, during the 80s diamond prices were being driven by conspicuous spenders: "during the 1979-80 commodity boom, a 1.00ct D Flawless reached a dealer price of $36,000 (twice today's list price)." Corrected for inflation, diamonds have dropped in value quite a lot... and they'll continue to do so with the increased competition from synthetics. However, there's no incentive to flood the market right now, so each of the players is divvying up a smaller and smaller chunk of the demand rather than seriously undercutting their competitors. Gemesis and Apollo are both playing this game... it remains to be seen whether they'll get a secure position in the industry and -then- cause a devaluation. I hope so... but I also have my doubts.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:12 AM on July 11, 2006


So why take the second step of squishing it into a diamond?

If you are going to the trouble to compress air to get the CO2 to remove it from the air, why not make a product that won't be able to cycle the Carbon back into the air via providing utility? As you've stated 'there is alot of carbon on the ground' - if you've compressed the air and gotten liquid or solid CO2, you have a "pure" source of carbon to start with.

The energy reality is man is talking about going after an energy 'source' that is an energentic as a baked potatoe, and people are talking how this is a grand plan.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:12 AM on July 11, 2006


I think what is getting lost here is that getting the carbon to make diamonds isn't hard. Carbon is literally all around us. Making diamonds and carbon sequesteration are completely separate endeavors and conflating them is just leading to confusion.
posted by Skorgu at 8:16 AM on July 11, 2006


rough ashlar writes "Its just that the ENERGY requirements to get there is beyond what humans can now do. Or may ever be able to do"

I wish they'd hurry up and get fusion going.

rough ashlar writes "I'm hard pressed to believe that. Metals that act as catalysts or anti-bacterial have more worth, industrial speaking."

I didn't say it was the most valuble engineering metal, just that if plentiful it would be a valuble engineering metal. We use bronze, silver, copper, aluminum right now for a lot of tasks that could be better done with gold. For example I'd love a cast iron frying pan with a nice thick layer of gold on the bottom. And think of the alloys, say a gold alloy with just enough copper for the required tensial strength for house wiring. Imagine how small a motor could be made with gold windings.
posted by Mitheral at 8:38 AM on July 11, 2006


I just ate my mother's wedding ring.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:45 AM on July 11, 2006


If you are going to the trouble to compress air to get the CO2 to remove it from the air, why not make a product that won't be able to cycle the Carbon back into the air via providing utility?

You mean take it out of the carbon cycle entirely, so that it can't ever become part of an organic compound again? Well what the hell is the point of that? Why shouldn't it be allowed back into plants and animals? Removing Carbon from CO2 would in theory lower the amount of CO2 in the air, but that's a terrible way to do it if lowering the CO2 levels was your goal. It would be a lot better to simply reduce emissions to a reasonable level. In fact, we need to have a certain level of CO2 in the air in order to support plant life.

But even then, why would you ever need to take that C you've taken out of the air and make it into a diamond? The entire point I'm trying to make is that once you take C out of the air, it's gone. It's never going to go back into the atmosphere on it's own.

The amount of CO2 is directly related to two things, the number of plants, animals and human energy production. If you want to reduce CO2 you have to increase the number of plants, decrease the number of animals or decrease the amount of CO2 released when you produce energy. the amount of plain carbon sitting around makes absolutely no difference, and more importantly plants and animals don't normally use plain carbon for anything, normally getting energy from hydrocarbons, which are turned into CO2 and then CO2 is turned into hydrocarbons via photosynthesis, so it really makes absolutely no difference how much plain C there is.

So the bottom line is that it accomplishes nothing at all.
posted by delmoi at 11:38 AM on July 11, 2006


You can get larger diamonds from Canada that have a little maple leaf etched on them;

Actually, it's a polar bear.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:23 PM on July 11, 2006


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