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Democratic Republic of Congo

The Cobalt Crisis: How Innovation Is Fueling Injustice & Exploitation

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Cobalt is a mineral utilized for lithium batteries in computers, electric cars, and cell phones.  The demand for cobalt continues to rise.  According to estimates by the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance, the demand for cobalt is expected to grow fourfold by 2030; mainly due to the electric vehicle boom.  The demand for cobalt has tripled in the last several years. 

Greater than 60% of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  It is often mined by impoverished men, women, and children for as little as $2 per day. Appalling human rights violations related to mining operations abound at artisanal mines in the DRC.  Workers at these mines typically have no safety equipment.  It is also well known that handling cobalt exposes workers to toxins that sicken workers and cause birth defects.  DRC has experienced significant conflict and disruption.  DRC has also faced the challenge of fighting Ebola and government corruption.  Child labor, serious injuries, fatal accidents, violent conflict between miners and security personnel occur regularly.

Continue reading “The Cobalt Crisis: How Innovation Is Fueling Injustice & Exploitation”

The Ishango Bone: Early Tool Used For Mathematic Computations

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

IshangoBone
Ishango Bones

 

The Ishango Bone is likely one of the oldest mathematical tools in existence. Sources differ regarding the date of its discovery with some indicating that it was discovered in 1950 while others site 1960 as the date of discovery. The bone was found amongst the ruins of a settlement near Lake Edward that was buried after a volcanic explosion. The Ishango Bone was discovered by geologist, Jean de Heinzelin de Braucort (1920-1998) in the Ishango region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The bone is believed to be the fibula of a baboon. It measures approximately 10cm-14cm in length and is inscribed with a organized series of notches. At one end of the tool is a sharp quartz edge that is believed to have been used as a writing instrument. The Ishango Bones discovered by Heinzelin de Braucourt are housed at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. Continue reading “The Ishango Bone: Early Tool Used For Mathematic Computations”

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