The New Scientist has put together a neat-o graphic detailing how many years we can sustain our current consumption of lead, zinc, aluminum and other metals. If they’re right, we’ll run out of chromium, copper, antimony, zinc, uranium, tin, tantalum, silver, platinum, lead, indium and gold within the next 42 years, with huge implications for the electronics industry.
Those metals are used in everything from LCD screens and cell phones to batteries and buckshot. But don’t worry — even at current consumption rates, we’ll have everything we need to make aluminum foil hats well into the 26th century.
On a tangentially related note, Wikipedia says the tin-foil hat is a religious item for a small Japanese cult called the Pana Wave:
In the mid 1980s, members calling themselves the “scientific faction”, and warning of the evils of electromagnetic waves (which the group claimed were causing catastrophic environmental destruction and climate change) built the Pana-Wave Laboratory in Fukui Prefecture in an area they believed was less at risk from electromagnetic pollution. Members started to dress only in white in the mid 1990s, in the belief that this would protect them from harmful “scalar electromagnetic waves”, which they claimed were being used against them by communists to try to kill their leader.
In 1994 the cult formed a convoy of white vans which travelled around rural Japan searching for a place least at risk from harmful electromagnetic radiation and away from power lines, and setting up camp in remote locations for months on end and covering everything in white.
They first attracted attention in March 2003, when they attempted (and failed) to capture Tama-chan, an Arctic seal which had become a national celebrity in Japan since showing up in Tama River in Tokyo the previous year. The group believed that the seal had been led astray by electromagnetic waves, and claimed that doomsday would somehow be averted if the seal was returned to Arctic waters. They had even built two swimming pools, lined in white, in a compound in Yamanashi Prefecture in which to hold the seal until it could be transferred to the Arctic.
Story via the most excellent FlowingData.