Weekly Readings - Week 1

- April 4th, 2021

Rare Earth Minerals


While reading on Hackernews about the semiconductor industry, there was a thread about the use of rare earth minerals and its increasing usage is increasing China’s coffers and our dependency. In that discussion though a few things were learned, most surprising, rare earth minerals are in fact not all that rare and are actually pretty common around the world. A reason countries choose not to mine them is due to its high environmental costs, whereby mining ends up creating vast pools of acids and other harmful chemicals that we don’t know how of to dispose.

This has a link to climate change and human’s general propensity for unsustainable living.

United States Code


Have you ever wondered where all of US laws exist and whether there’s an easy resouce to see them? I’ve seen Congressional bills and to a large extent, I assumed those bills are what we use as reference for law. From my reading, it does seem like a bill’s language is what is law, but it’s later organzied into a book of laws, called the United States Code.

There’s 53 volumes organized by subject matter - including “The President”, “Money and Finance”, “Public Contracts” among others - which are all published online. There’s even an option to buy a hardcode, each volume costing $150, or nearly $8k for the entire copy of our federal laws.

Lumber Prices Going Up, Who’s Benefiting


This is an interesting read on the current lumber market and surprisingly revealing that the winners aren’t the growers, it’s the sawmills. Prices have soared during the pandemic, trees are plentiful and the price for lumber has actually been its lowest in years. The bottleneck of our current short supply of wood that’s available for building is turning that lumber to planks, as sawmills are running at full capacity.