We're Running Out of These Elements — Here's How

  • Published: 07 November 2019
  • Phones, TVs, solar panels, and electric car batteries are all made of some rare and unusual elements. As our modern world creates more and more of these technologies, will things go from "rare" to "nonexistent" and what will we do then?

    Hosted by: Michael Aranda

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Comments • 1 692

  • João de Carvalho
    João de Carvalho  7 hours back

    Asteroid and Moon mining is still decades away, but we will do that. If pollution is inevitable, better to do it on the Moon than here.

    • WormholeJim
      WormholeJim  9 hours back

      There's a lot of info in this that doesn't show in the debate. The rare earth elements, for instance, and hw there are people concerned about China "sitting on most of the wold's availabe deposits" when it in reality is because China is the only producer that is willing be subjected to the environmental consequenses. Thanks for uploading this, it helps put nuance and more facets to the ongoing, rather toxic and two-dimensional debate running circles around the human impact on the planet.

      • Roy McLean
        Roy McLean  13 hours back

        Climate change will reduce both the sourcing of these rare elements, but the demand as well... the burning question is whether we’ve reached a tech plateau. Lost Atlantis will be joined by Lost Apple...

        • Scarleto
          Scarleto  14 hours back

          Lowkey surprised we haven't figured out how to synthesize these elements, or that the focus on doing as such hasn't yet shifted from mining them naturally, but maybe that's just me reading too much scifi?

          • Jaydaks rules
            Jaydaks rules  17 hours back

            WHAT! lighter spark isnt from magnesium :( whole life has been a lie

            • sinisterLMN
              sinisterLMN  1 days back

              Sounds like a job for (tears open shirt jacket and tie): “Asteroid Farming Man!”

              • MegaGouch
                MegaGouch  1 days back

                So western countries claim they have stop mining some of these dangerous elements, therefor saving the planet.
                Instead they just import them from countries who don't protect the environment or workers, and that is somehow ok?

                • Andre Fouche
                  Andre Fouche  1 days back

                  Remember the climate will always change no matter what we do.

                  • Jebediah Clang
                    Jebediah Clang  2 days back

                    Nomophones b!tches. Get used to it.

                    • Eugene InLaw
                      Eugene InLaw  2 days back

                      Get to asteroid mining already!

                      • SPOOKS
                        SPOOKS  2 days back

                        thorium cam hardly be considered radioactive, and both thorium and urainium are incredibly good at making energy.

                        • Cj's Bullshittery
                          Cj's Bullshittery  2 days back

                          I really like this guy idk why

                          • Abby Leonard
                            Abby Leonard  3 days back

                            Basically stop using electronics or your killing the planet and causing global warmins

                            • Karl Tsang
                              Karl Tsang  3 days back

                              Guess it's time to turn to the alchemists again.....

                              • SuperAnime4444
                                SuperAnime4444  3 days back

                                This is why I drop electronics at Best Buy's bins instead of throwing them into the garbage.

                                • psychotikpaisano
                                  psychotikpaisano  4 days back

                                  Hmm. Titanium will spark if struck against another piece of itself

                                  • Al Rats
                                    Al Rats  4 days back

                                    It's criminal that we have constructed a society where the end of life of products are not considered in the design of the product.

                                    • Matthew Weisenburger
                                      Matthew Weisenburger  4 days back

                                      Just another reason to travel to other planets

                                      • Tonechild
                                        Tonechild  4 days back

                                        All of the elements are just made up of electrons and neutrons, so, just grab those and put them together, then you get whatever elements you need. Probably just need a lot of energy, which you can get from nuclear fusion, which by the way probably makes elements too.

                                        • El Asesino
                                          El Asesino  5 days back

                                          recycle much

                                          • spijkerpoes
                                            spijkerpoes  5 days back

                                            Why no word on planned obsolescence?
                                            I'd have no trouble inheriting my parent's laptop if it functioned alright
                                            Like a voyager space probe

                                            • ᖇᗩ乙0229
                                              ᖇᗩ乙0229  5 days back

                                              Me, an intellectual: _We still have SUN_

                                              • TRR47
                                                TRR47  5 days back

                                                5:28 *shots fired

                                                • Brynna Wenz
                                                  Brynna Wenz  5 days back

                                                  God I recognize this guy from some old YouTube channel but I can’t place it..

                                                  • Unotch
                                                    Unotch  5 days back

                                                    Seems like a good time to invade the Congo!

                                                    • Chris Pierce
                                                      Chris Pierce  5 days back

                                                      Thanks scishow for depressing me before work..

                                                      • STEPHAN FEIBISH
                                                        STEPHAN FEIBISH  5 days back

                                                        I have shares in many if not most of the companies that mine the elements mentioned. Most are money losing propositions that probably will go bankrupt. Losing money for their original shareholders. Picked up for a song and perhaps profitable for some private equity investors.

                                                        • Steve Mclean
                                                          Steve Mclean  5 days back

                                                          When we run out of helium., that is when we all die.

                                                          • Lorenzo Robles
                                                            Lorenzo Robles  5 days back

                                                            @7:27 he claims recycling the metals will help stop climate change...you can't stop the climate, brother.

                                                            • Darmok
                                                              Darmok  5 days back

                                                              Two words: *asteroid mining*

                                                              • The One Minds
                                                                The One Minds  5 days back

                                                                Alchemy is the solution to all the problems listed here

                                                                • Frukwon 420
                                                                  Frukwon 420  5 days back

                                                                  tech companies should pay consumers to recycle their tech

                                                                  • Lakshmi T
                                                                    Lakshmi T  6 days back

                                                                    Why are lanthanide series marked two periods up the group?

                                                                    • DEATHWISH -CHRIS
                                                                      DEATHWISH -CHRIS  6 days back

                                                                      Totally unrelated but the host looks so much like Chino Moreno singer from the Deftones!

                                                                      Great video, thanks!

                                                                      • Ben Johnson
                                                                        Ben Johnson  6 days back

                                                                        Global warming is a con, by the way.

                                                                        • Hans Hoerdemann
                                                                          Hans Hoerdemann  6 days back

                                                                          What's wrong with his ear lobes?

                                                                          • Daniel Law
                                                                            Daniel Law  6 days back

                                                                            I look forward to mining asteroid.

                                                                            • Harry Helen
                                                                              Harry Helen  6 days back

                                                                              Damn. This means we can’t make the Death Star. I’m so sad.

                                                                              • Armando Flores
                                                                                Armando Flores  6 days back

                                                                                Unlimited universe and we're running out of elements. Smh

                                                                                • Red Jew
                                                                                  Red Jew  2 days back

                                                                                  The universe is running out because the population is growing and we are using too much resources.

                                                                              • Rose Gott
                                                                                Rose Gott  6 days back

                                                                                Thank you, handsome science guy!

                                                                                • Adam Salazar
                                                                                  Adam Salazar  6 days back


                                                                                  • Cole Chapman
                                                                                    Cole Chapman  6 days back

                                                                                    Obviously the solution is to print out more elements duh.

                                                                                    • mikitz
                                                                                      mikitz  6 days back

                                                                                      I used to mining anti-materia. The mine blew up, once I materialized the proceeds.

                                                                                      • 989533234564
                                                                                        989533234564  6 days back

                                                                                        assuming we cant just get them from space in the future once the price is high enough there will be people willing to mine in dangerous conditions to extract the materials even if they try to make doing so illegal, if the price of arsenic was say $200/kg and there were deposits near me with around 1kg of arsenic per ton of ore mined id be right out there with a pick axe and a gas mask id like to think im a decent enough chemist so unless the extraction of the metal requires electrolysis at 2000k ish like with something like sodium or aluminium i could probably do the extraction on a small scale too can't be much worse than working with mercury or lead.

                                                                                        • Marco Cardin
                                                                                          Marco Cardin  6 days back

                                                                                          Metals can be recycled but it's almost impossible to recover helium and that's a huge trouble!

                                                                                          • tentimesful
                                                                                            tentimesful  6 days back

                                                                                            China has probably has the most minerals as their prices stay low, in made in China products... Samsung and others are bringing products that cost 1000+ dollar smartphones , which is a joke... But in real life we will run out of things we can't make out of nothing, iron wolf ertz, uranium, oil etc... World should keep hold on what brings us to forward without those minerals and fossils...

                                                                                            • oliver franklin
                                                                                              oliver franklin  6 days back

                                                                                              The future is bleak for your kids

                                                                                              • Jimme2020
                                                                                                Jimme2020  6 days back

                                                                                                Asteroid mining would solve all the problems......