90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Rare Earth Elements, Global Power & the China Dynamic

Read about the latest wrinkle in this global resources story — the NYTimes‘ Dec. 28, 2010 article “China to Tighten Limits on Rare Earth Exports.”

Rare-earth oxides . Clockwise from top center: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium. (U.S. Agriculture Dept.)

In James Cameron’s blockbuster “Avatar,” the essential object of desire is “unobtainium” – a fabulously important element on a faraway planet. In real life, the essential element is not out in space.

It’s called “rare earth” – rare earth elements with astonishing and obscure qualities that are essential to everything from cell phones and hybrid cars, to wind turbines and guided missiles.

But  the catch is that  China has quietly cornered the market on 97 percent of rare earth. Basically all of it. That’s power. It’s an incredible story, with bracing implications.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Peter Ford, Beijing bureau chief for the Christian Science Monitor.

Anthony Mariano, geologist and world-renowned expert on rare earth elements.  He has fifty years of experience working with rare earth elements, in the lab, and in the field across multiple continents.  He serves on the advisory boards of several rare-earth-related companies.  The mineral “marianoite” was named in his honor in 2008.

Christine Parthemore, fellow at the Center for a New American Security, where she directs the Natural Security Project, specializing in how the production and consumption of natural resources affect national security and foreign policy.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 27, 2014
On Point host Tom Ashbrook raises a toast with a glass of fresh apple cider in the On Point studios. (Jesse Costa / WBUR)

All about hard cider. It’s all over these days. And sweet, fresh apple cider, too. We’ll look at the history and comeback.

Nov 27, 2014
Bob Dylan and Victor Maymudes at "The Castle" in LA before the 1965 world tour. Lisa Law/The Archive Agency)

A new take on the life and music of Bob Dylan, from way inside the Dylan story. “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 26, 2014
A 1597 map of Lesbos / Mytilene, Greece by Giacomo Franco. (Flickr / Creative Commons)

How Aristotle invented science. The great ancient Greek, and life on Earth.

 
Nov 26, 2014
Getting together with your family and loved ones at Thanksgiving and the holidays doesn't have to lead to  arguments and fights. (Meg Hunt / Flickr)

The Thanksgiving get-together and all the family drama trimmings. Sage advice from advice columnists.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Last-Minute Thanksgiving Luxury
Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

Our three Thanksgiving chefs offer up their best bets for delicious, last-minute holiday helpers, including a crunchy celery salad and maple glazed carrots.

More »
Comment
 
Calling All Interns, Calling All Interns
Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Have you ever thought about interning with On Point Radio? Good news: your time is now!

More »
Comment
 
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
1 Comment