Rare earth elements aren't actually that rare

#1 Edited by TheSpoonyBard (68 posts) -

Several articles (and the podcast) mentioned the plot revolves around the war between China and the US over rare earth elements. Which, it turns out, isn't really that rare.

Basically, it's not economically or environmentally viable to mine it anywhere else but China at the moment (since most electronics manufacturing goes on there anyway and it's not like the Chinese have a stellar environmental record), but, y'know, you gotta cram in some sort of plot.

#2 Posted by Dagbiker (7022 posts) -

Video Games.

#3 Posted by TheSpoonyBard (68 posts) -

@Dagbiker: Baha. Pretty much. They shoulda fought the war over that delicious, delicious duck sauce that they never give me enough of in Chinese takeaway.

#4 Posted by Tennmuerti (8249 posts) -

CoD plot is silly, nothing surprising here.
At least Russians aren't sneaking their entire army across the ocean and half a continent without anyone noticing this time around.

#5 Edited by Harkat (1158 posts) -

They're rare IN THE NEARFUTURE.

#6 Posted by Jimbo (10180 posts) -

Certainly not as rare as a good Treyarch game!!! UP TOP!

#7 Posted by Dagbiker (7022 posts) -

At least Activision isn't worried about pissing off China unlike Homefront was.

#8 Posted by Oldirtybearon (5193 posts) -

Realism is overrated.

#9 Posted by Grillbar (1962 posts) -

@TheSpoonyBard said:

@Dagbiker: Baha. Pretty much. They shoulda fought the war over that delicious, delicious duck sauce that they never give me enough of in Chinese takeaway.

cod black ops 3: revenge of the duck sauce

tagline: its time to chop suey.

i know its bad but hey atleast i tried

#10 Posted by N7 (3815 posts) -
@Tennmuerti said:
CoD plot is silly, nothing surprising here. At least Russians aren't sneaking their entire army across the ocean and half a continent without anyone noticing this time around.
"Hey Tango Whiskey BurgerTown Six, it appears on the radar that half of Russia is flying overhead right now. Confirm, over."
 
"Hey Roger Roger Whiskey Roger Ramirez it doesn't seem as though anything is on our radar at the moment. Over."
 
"Could you guys just do us a favor and look *up*?"
 
"You got it-HOLY SHIT THE RUSSIANS ARE HERE SOUND THE ALARMS HOLY SHIIIIII-"
 
How the fuck do you sneak 900,000 Russians into America on a plan hinged on the theory that no one will have enough sense to look into the fudging sky!? HOW!? WHY!?
#11 Edited by Hitchenson (4708 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

Realism is overrated.

Call of Duty is.

#12 Posted by deathstriker666 (1349 posts) -

China wouldn't even need the rare earth metals if it wasn't for its export dependent economy. There are a huge number of domestic and regional problems China faces today. War with the US or any world power with a nuclear arsenal is the last thing on Beijing's mind. Hell, they have enough trouble as it is maintaining their own internal security.

The only reason they're beefing up their military is simply because of how outdated most of their equipment is. It's largely the same as it was during the 70's. The Sino-Soviet split along with Mao's death deeply hampered modernization programs for the military. America's and its allies (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan) aggressive military build-up since then leaves a huge military imbalance in China's side in its own backyard. China's military build-up should come as no surprise to any senior analyst on Chinese/East Asian affairs. Those who say otherwise are driven by sensationalist fears, the same fears about Communism in the 50's.

But of course any video game needs an antagonist. Also horses apparently

#13 Edited by FourWude (2274 posts) -

China is the future. Their acceleration in all spheres of life has been phenomenal tbis past 30 years. And today they stand as the only nation who has tbe capability of overtaking the bankrupt US, who have had their asses handed to them by a bunch of rag tag fucking farmers.

This is what you whitey fuckers get for stealing shit, and for generally being whiteys. Can't stand me no whiteys.

Long live glorious civilization of China and its majestic leaders who have stoid up to whitey-western tyranny.

#14 Posted by Dagbiker (7022 posts) -

You know what is rare, Unobtanium. This shit is near impossible to get.

#15 Posted by NegativeCero (3085 posts) -

Videogames lying to me?

#16 Posted by Ramone (3073 posts) -

@TheSpoonyBard said:

@Dagbiker: Baha. Pretty much. They shoulda fought the war over that delicious, delicious duck sauce that they never give me enough of in Chinese takeaway.

Is this the elixir you desire?

#17 Posted by Tylea002 (2382 posts) -

@Jimbo said:

Certainly not as rare as a good Treyarch game!!! UP TOP!

Yeah, but Spider-Man 2 is still fucking fantastic.

TOP UP.

#18 Edited by believer258 (12712 posts) -

They could have said that it was hydrogen and I don't think it would have made the plot any dumber than it's probably going to be.

#19 Posted by CaLe (4223 posts) -

Everything is finite. Except my burning, loathsome hatred of humanity. /wrists

Online
#20 Posted by Oldirtybearon (5193 posts) -

@N7 said:

@Tennmuerti said:
CoD plot is silly, nothing surprising here. At least Russians aren't sneaking their entire army across the ocean and half a continent without anyone noticing this time around.
"Hey Tango Whiskey BurgerTown Six, it appears on the radar that half of Russia is flying overhead right now. Confirm, over." "Hey Roger Roger Whiskey Roger Ramirez it doesn't seem as though anything is on our radar at the moment. Over." "Could you guys just do us a favor and look *up*?" "You got it-HOLY SHIT THE RUSSIANS ARE HERE SOUND THE ALARMS HOLY SHIIIIII-" How the fuck do you sneak 900,000 Russians into America on a plan hinged on the theory that no one will have enough sense to look into the fudging sky!? HOW!? WHY!?

Your first mission as Roach was with Captain Soap to recover the downed ACS module before the Russian Ultranationalists could crack it and find out how to ghost by NORAD's radar. You failed. They spelled this out in TF 141's mission briefing (those cool loading screens aren't just for pretty satellite views of Earth) and before the invasion.

I never understood how people claimed that was a plot hole, or was never explained. It was the whole reason you were in Russia looking for that module.

#21 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

In the near future, we're going to wrest rare metals from asteroids and shit. Why is this game not set in space?

#22 Posted by BraveToaster (12636 posts) -

They should have created some fictitious element that powers the countries technical weaponry. They would call it Elitetanium or another relatively cheesy play on words.

#23 Posted by justinsimonin (46 posts) -

But... It's more Terrifying if they're rare!

Online
#24 Edited by Tennmuerti (8249 posts) -
@Oldirtybearon said:

@N7 said:

@Tennmuerti said:

CoD plot is silly, nothing surprising here. At least Russians aren't sneaking their entire army across the ocean and half a continent without anyone noticing this time around.

"Hey Tango Whiskey BurgerTown Six, it appears on the radar that half of Russia is flying overhead right now. Confirm, over." "Hey Roger Roger Whiskey Roger Ramirez it doesn't seem as though anything is on our radar at the moment. Over." "Could you guys just do us a favor and look *up*?" "You got it-HOLY SHIT THE RUSSIANS ARE HERE SOUND THE ALARMS HOLY SHIIIIII-" How the fuck do you sneak 900,000 Russians into America on a plan hinged on the theory that no one will have enough sense to look into the fudging sky!? HOW!? WHY!?

Your first mission as Roach was with Captain Soap to recover the downed ACS module before the Russian Ultranationalists could crack it and find out how to ghost by NORAD's radar. You failed. They spelled this out in TF 141's mission briefing (those cool loading screens aren't just for pretty satellite views of Earth) and before the invasion.

I never understood how people claimed that was a plot hole, or was never explained. It was the whole reason you were in Russia looking for that module.

Clearly radar is the only way to detect a humongous army crossing the globe.

Not a single human being from Moscow to the east coast bothered to pickup a phone and say: hey dudes, Russia just mobilised their entire fucking army. They are probably planning for war. ?
There are no US spies, plain citizens, tourists or sympathisers in Russia or in Europe?
No one in the UK or any other european country saw a massive fleet sailing by?
There are no other satelite networks beside the US one?
There are no US patrol ships off the east coast?
Fuck there are enough sane Russians in Russia to just outright tell people. News agencies. etc etc
There are a 1000 and 1 ways for information dispersal in this day and age.
 
A full scale national invasion between huge countries is impossible to carry out undetected in modern times.
Especially when such an invasion has to cross a significant chunk of a continent and then an entire ocean past half a dozen other countries
This is not a plothole.
It's a logical falacy.
 
The entirety of US security relies on a single satelite system?
Sure. What is this preschool or national security?
 
This is a Red Dawn fantasy taken to an extreme level.
It's not a bad fantasy. But it has no basis in reality and breaks down as soon as any critical though is applied to it.
Fuck this is even beside the point that both countries have nuclear deterrents in the first place.
 
I could have just asked if you read what you quoted by N7. But I typed this out so might as well post it. Otherwise it would have been wasted time :)
#25 Posted by MikkaQ (10296 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

@N7 said:

@Tennmuerti said:
CoD plot is silly, nothing surprising here. At least Russians aren't sneaking their entire army across the ocean and half a continent without anyone noticing this time around.
"Hey Tango Whiskey BurgerTown Six, it appears on the radar that half of Russia is flying overhead right now. Confirm, over." "Hey Roger Roger Whiskey Roger Ramirez it doesn't seem as though anything is on our radar at the moment. Over." "Could you guys just do us a favor and look *up*?" "You got it-HOLY SHIT THE RUSSIANS ARE HERE SOUND THE ALARMS HOLY SHIIIIII-" How the fuck do you sneak 900,000 Russians into America on a plan hinged on the theory that no one will have enough sense to look into the fudging sky!? HOW!? WHY!?

Your first mission as Roach was with Captain Soap to recover the downed ACS module before the Russian Ultranationalists could crack it and find out how to ghost by NORAD's radar. You failed. They spelled this out in TF 141's mission briefing (those cool loading screens aren't just for pretty satellite views of Earth) and before the invasion.

I never understood how people claimed that was a plot hole, or was never explained. It was the whole reason you were in Russia looking for that module.

Does the Coast Guard or Navy not exist in the alternate dimension you occupy? They would have so much advance warning that Russia would be a nuclear wasteland before the army reached the Azores. Plus you know... with all the US' political and military allies they would have to pass over to reach the states, you'd think one of them would have the courtesy to pick up the phone and warn them.

Anyway, this new war sounds even dumber. Going to war with China would fuck our economy and production into oblivion, even though we have plenty of rare earth metals in the US. And if it was China that invaded they wouldn't be able to afford supporting their troops internationally for a very long time. They'd lose all our business, too. Plus them going to war would destroy their export based economy, so I doubt they'd ever want to do it.

A more realistic conflict would be if China and India started clashing, and then US and UN steps in as peacekeepers. That's... more along the lines of how wars work in the modern era. I guess it's not as sexy though. Man remember when COD was about the realism of being an average joe in a large-scale conflict where you participate in important battles, instead of constantly tipping the scale of a war with your insane Hollywood action movie antics?

#26 Edited by Napalm (9230 posts) -

@Dagbiker said:

Video Games.

#27 Posted by Drebin_893 (3002 posts) -

@believer258 said:

They could have said that it was hydrogen and I don't think it would have made the plot any dumber than it's probably going to be already.

Oh my God I wish they'd said it was Hydrogen.

#28 Posted by Jayzilla (2641 posts) -

No thanks. This will be another 4-5 hour campaign with gratuitous cussing and blatant shock value tactics with the story. I have had enough multiplayer in which a 14 year old kid lets his 2 year old brother scream into his microphone over team chat. Again, no thanks.

#29 Posted by Brodehouse (10490 posts) -

When do I get to mine asteroids for the Syndicates? I'm a college dropout with no need for socializing, and I've completed the tutorial for Evochron Mercenary. I'm the perfect candidate for space trucking.

#30 Posted by Brodehouse (10490 posts) -

Also, you guys... I'm pretty sure the game is about Menendez (or as he used to be known, Liquid Ocelot) stealing control of the drone fleet (or the SOP) and using it to attack Chinese interests in the hopes of starting a war. It's intended to be China responding to what appears to be an attack on their sovereignty.

It's essentially the same as MW2, where Makarov shot up the Russian airport under the guise of a US interest to inflame tension and give a casus belli to the Ultranationalists.

#31 Posted by Demoskinos (16217 posts) -

Does it matter all? Were gonna mine some fucking asteroids! I knew Mass Effect 2 had that mining stuff in there for a reason...

#32 Posted by BigChickenDinner (787 posts) -

You can "charge" your shots with a sniper rifle, and you people are complaining about if humans are stupid enough to kill each other?

Someone explain to me how you charge your shot?

I don't care if this is a video game, it should at least be possible. Explainable by super tech, but no, this shit will never happen, fucking stupid game devs.

#33 Posted by bigsmoke77 (841 posts) -

China has most rare earth mud sludge that is easy to process that is the main point behind most of the recent articles. I doubt its emphasized in black ops.

#34 Posted by theredcoat24 (274 posts) -

@N7: lolz

#35 Posted by Tennmuerti (8249 posts) -
@BigChickenDinner said:

You can "charge" your shots with a sniper rifle, and you people are complaining about if humans are stupid enough to kill each other?

Someone explain to me how you charge your shot?

I don't care if this is a video game, it should at least be possible. Explainable by super tech, but no, this shit will never happen, fucking stupid game devs.

I could see it being explained away by minituatised magnetic acceleration coils that need to be charged up via capacitors or some shit like that.
#36 Posted by BigChickenDinner (787 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: So why does it use more ammo than a regular shot...........

#37 Posted by Tennmuerti (8249 posts) -
@BigChickenDinner said:

@Tennmuerti: So why does it use more ammo than a regular shot...........

no fucking idea :P
bullets are part batteries??? hehe
#38 Posted by jozzy (2053 posts) -

I always thought the next world war would be about clean drinking water..

#39 Posted by Suicrat (3829 posts) -

If you believe the history books written by non-American analysts, the US goes to war to prop up their Keynes-inspired, consumption-focused economy whenever there's a massive spike in unemployment and a sustained period of economic malaise.

Of course, they're in that situation now and they were in the 70s too, but now, like then, they're actually pulling troops out of their easily-winnable, but self-crippled wars.

Also, to anyone using this thread to bash "pig-dog capitalist imperialist Americans" or whatever: the US, if it actually used its war materiel, could have ended all 3 of its pointless wars overnight if it wasn't so bloody concerned with you Marx-zombies. Of course, if they actually gave a crap about what people who want basically the same thing as those who fought in the Amerivan Revolution wanted, it would only have gotten involved with one of those pointless wars, the one in Afghanistan. You know, the one that's arguably less pointless than Vietnam and Iraq.

China on the other hand has no reason to go to war with ANYONE though, it's using the sort of imperialism in Africa that people will let you get away with: state-owned Chinese companies entering joint ventures with local state-owned companies.

O, and they offered to take off Canada's hands all the oil Canada was trying to sell to the US, but Obama for some retarded reason turned down.

#40 Posted by Jackel2072 (2509 posts) -
@Dagbiker said:

You know what is rare, Unobtanium. This shit is near impossible to get.

its like its almost completely unbeatable! am right or am right? 
#41 Posted by Omnomnivore (2935 posts) -
@TheSpoonyBard Interesting and good to know. Thanks for sharing; It does make for an interesting plot, and with all the unrest going on that we have, makes it all the better.
#42 Edited by Seastalk (129 posts) -

Meanwhile in Australia: "I see America went to war with China over rare earth elements; weird they could have just brokered a deal with one of the existing mining companies here (including one of their own national companies which operate within Australia) or they could have talked to the federal government about a trade agreement. Funny that."

#43 Posted by Phatmac (5918 posts) -

So you went out of your way to tell us that the plot of the next Call of Duty game isn't all that realistic? Next time you'll tell me that Alex Mason didn't kill JFK!

#44 Posted by Deranged (1922 posts) -

Cool story bro.

#45 Posted by Commisar123 (1852 posts) -

Thank god they can't cut off our supply of future horses (Yes I know the horses are in the 80's)

#46 Posted by jillsandwich (804 posts) -

@Tylea002 said:

@Jimbo said:

Certainly not as rare as a good Treyarch game!!! UP TOP!

Yeah, but Spider-Man 2 is still fucking fantastic.

TOP UP.

Word.

#47 Posted by Monopolized (554 posts) -

@Dagbiker said:

Video Games.

#48 Posted by Citizengamer (198 posts) -

@TheSpoonyBard said:

Several articles (and the podcast) mentioned the plot revolves around the war between China and the US over rare earth elements. Which, it turns out, isn't really that rare.

Basically, it's not economically or environmentally viable to mine it anywhere else but China at the moment (since most electronics manufacturing goes on there anyway and it's not like the Chinese have a stellar environmental record), but, y'know, you gotta cram in some sort of plot.

Your research is correct about them not being rare, as well as the fact that mining them can be done in environmentally destructive ways. Though I still find it kind of fun that the game is drawing attention to rare earth elements (aka rare earth minerals), even if the idea of the U.S. and China entering a serious Cold War over them is a stretch (unless U.S.-China relations deteriorate over other factors as well, which isn't impossible).

Another big reason why China has its current near-monopoly over production of rare earth elements (REE) is that no other country has the production facilities to refine/chemically distill the REE ore. Plenty of countries (including the U.S.) have or will have active mines, but they still need to send the ore to China if they want to make use of the REE. One former U.S. Geological Survey expert on REE described the production process as basically involving tons of chemical vats and tanks to gradually extract the REE from whatever was mined. If the U.S. or any other country wants its own independent REE supply chain, it needs to build those separation facilities -- but they're not cheap and it'll likely take several years.

(I've written a number of articles about this as part of my day job in recent years -- here is a basic primer sample on REE.)

To be fair to the Black Ops 2 premise, there has been a fair amount of tension involving China's current leverage concerning REE. There are often accusations about China's government or state-owned companies manipulating the pricing and supply of REE, although China has countered that it's trying to impose better environmental regulations and shut down smaller, dirtier REE mining groups in the country. China also became annoyed enough with Japan and the West in separate incidents to temporarily suspend REE exports, but the main political tension in both cases (China-Japan territorial dispute and WTO investigation of China) was unrelated to REE.

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