So, finally, Cruz has thrown in the towel. Kasich too. Donald Trump is now the sole candidate in the race for the Republican nomination. Or is it even a race anymore? Perhaps it still is, otherwise why would Cruz have done what he did? But a race with whom? These are questions some are now asking.
Will the Republicans (the Grand Old Party – GOP) do what they did to Barry Goldwater in 1964? Probably not. But who knows what they are planning. I, certainly, remain flummoxed by politics here. And I’ve now voted in a number of elections. Probably best to turn to the BBC to find out what’s really going on. Many of my American friends do!
Where do Trump and Clinton stand on trade agreements?
All that said, of passing interest to members may be how Trump and Clinton stand on trade agreements. Back in November last year, Trump said of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): “The TPP is a horrible deal… It’s a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door, and totally take advantage of everyone.”
Clinton, too, appears to be against the deal. In October last year, she was quoted as saying: “As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.” However, at this juncture, I am not sure whether either has come out with a view on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the EU. But, going by Trump’s isolationist rhetoric and Clinton’s need to keep the unions on side, I’m not sure either of them has all that much reason to look favorably upon it. We’ll just have to wait and see – unless the deal is consummated before everything is concluded in November.
As readers of my letters will know, I like to keep an eye out for interesting scientific advances using minor metals. Here are two I found particularly interesting. Unfortunately, because of their nature, they’ll probably not lead to a massive increase in demand for the metals involved.
Two-dimensional semi-conductors in electronic and optoelectronic devices
The first was news from the U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that it had “uncovered a way to overcome a principal obstacle in using two-dimensional (2D) semi-conductors in electronic and optoelectronic devices.”
Seen, as the NREL notes, as promising candidates for next generation devices, 2D semi-conductors, which are only a few atomic layers thick, are made of such metallic compounds as molybdenum di-sulfide (MoS2), molybdenum di-selenide (MoSe2), molybdenum di-telluride (MoTe2), tungsten di-sulfide (WS2) and tungsten di-selenide (WSe2). The obstacle (the Schottky barrier between the semi-conductor and metal contact) is actually removed by using a 2D metal, for example, niobium di-sulfide (NbS2) as the electrode.
Liquid metal particles for heat-free soldering and other applications
The second was contained in news from Iowa State University that scientists there had “developed liquid metal particles that can be used for heat-free soldering and other applications.” In this case, the particles are only about the size of red blood cells, i.e. some 10 micrometers in diameter. The scientists proved their concept using “liquid-metal particles containing Field’s metal (an alloy of bismuth, indium and tin) and particles containing an alloy of bismuth and tin.”
If, indeed, these particles do actually have “significant implications for manufacturing”, then it’ll be interesting to see whether, down the line, demand for the aforementioned metals is affected positively in any way.
As last month, on that last scientific note, I remain, from a very wet and chilly New York, with best wishes to MMTA members everywhere.
Tom Butcher, May 4th, 2016 ©2016 Tom Butcher
PS I’m only sad I missed the conference this year. I heard it was great! tb