The Beta Factor

Radio Has Many Fathers
But Only One Takes Credit

Radio created itself, as they say. But Italian Giglielmo Marconi is credited as its first facilitator, the one that actually tamed its waves into a serviceable device. The historical record though actually points to a combination of inventions and circumstances at the device’s origin, not to a single inventor. Among the many that have anticipated and laid down the path for Marconi, there’s Brazilian Roberto Landell de Moura. But you probably never heard of him, have you?
History is littered with great inventors, visionaries, people who could’ve changed history itself but didn’t, or couldn’t, Continue reading

Blood Calls

Your Cell Is Funding
Child Slavery in Congo

You’re certainly already aware of this but it’s always worth repeating it: an essencial composite mineral used in our cellphones, laptops, mp3s and even Sony’s Playstations, is mined by workers as young as 11, laboring in subhuman conditions under the watch of implacable AK47-clad guards, in the African war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo since the middle 1990s.
Sold at top dollar, the extraction and trade of tantalum, a combination of columbite and tantalite known collectively as coltan, has the same nefarious effect the infamous blood diamonds have at the border of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Both are hightly profitable trades carried on by corrupted army and paramilitary forces, with the tacit approval of local governments. It’s hard to understimate the millions they make out of our Continue reading