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Posted February 13, 2023

Matt Insley

By Matt Insley

The $57-Billion Electronic Waste Dump

Happy Super Bowl Monday! (Shouldn’t it be a national holiday? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty bleary-eyed this morning after forgoing my usual 9:30 pm bedtime last night.)

If you recall, we left you on a cliffhanger Friday after a first-hand observer of the Internet’s early days — PLATO — wrote in; so, here’s the conclusion to Richard S.’ recollections, including his ChatGPT observations:

“PLATO had a feature called Group Notes, later changed to News Groups, which allowed us to communicate systemwide in a way similar to what Social Networking does now, but limited by the speed and technology of the time. (These News Groups seemed to be addictive, with some individuals spending hours a day interacting. This got even worse when Control Data Corporation [CDC] linked all the systems together.)

“There was personal messaging called P-Notes, group messaging called I-notes (instructor notes to the class) and a live chat feature between two individuals called ‘Term Talk.’ And there was a special chat program named ‘Talk-o-Matic’ in which up to 20 individuals could chat at once.

“Last week, I spent an hour or so playing with OpenAI,” Richard S. says, “rapidly running into its limitations correcting the chat bot, and going through several iterations before it could produce a short description of what a passenger would see when getting off a cruise ship in Grand Cayman, before I got a fairly accurate description. Try it.. (Hint: There are no piers for cruise ships.)

“Yes, ChatGPT is impressive, but so was ELIZA, a PLATO version and early natural language-processing computer program created at MIT in the 1960s.

“In my opinion, ChatGPT is not an AI; it is a program with advanced algorithms and access to a vast database, sort of like the demos where a technology is hiding under the table doing things the demo’s system is not yet capable of doing. (I’ve seen this done many times).

“Still, in another five years, who knows?”

Many thanks to Richard S. for his fascinating journey through the history of the Internet. His first-hand account is invaluable.

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Your Rundown for Monday, February 13, 2023...

“Solution to NIMBY?”

We’ve talked extensively of late about the many metals required for technology to march forward, particularly pertaining to the agenda of eco-elites… who want all electric, all the time.

But what green-energy activists can’t seem to get through their thick skulls is that so-called eco-friendly technologies require massive amounts of metals.

Namely, huge quantities of copper, lithium, silver, nickel and rare earths — to list just a few.

The rub? Green-energy activists take a NIMBY (not in my backyard!) approach to mining said metals. Thus, we see Team Biden shutting down copper exploration in Alaska, for instance.

Which seems at odds with what Biden said during last week’s recent state of the union address: “We’re going to make sure the supply chain for Americans begins in America.” Hmm…

Which got us thinking about a pretty unsexy subject… Recycling.

If Biden’s “clean energy future” is n-o-w, then the nation — and world — is going to need to step-up its recycling efforts.

Take the problem of electronic waste (e-waste), including anything with a plug or a battery — toasters, cell phones, laptops and more — winding up in landfills.

According to a 2020 study backed by the United Nations: “This means that iron, copper, gold and other high-value, recoverable materials conservatively valued at US $57 billion… were mostly dumped or burned rather than being collected for treatment and reuse in 2019.”

And, last year in the U.S., just 15% of e-waste was recovered.

Which brings us to Texas-based Commercial Metals Company (NYSE: CMC), listed by Statista and Newsweek as one of America’s Most Responsible Companies of 2023.

CMC recycles steel and other non-iron scrap metals for steel mills, aluminum manufacturers and copper refineries. In addition, it fabricates materials for the construction industry.

With a global reach into 80 markets, CMC is certainly a U.S. company to watch. Plus, and this is grim, with the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, Turkey’s steel industry production has ground to a halt.

We’ll continue to follow-up on the metals recycling industry. In our opinion, there’s no end in sight for how companies in this space could profit from the green-tech pivot.

Market Rundown for Monday, Feb. 13, 2023

S&P 500 futures are up 0.30% to 4,110.

Oil is down 0.15% to $79.60 for a barrel of WTI.

Gold’s lost $3.40 to $1,871.20 per ounce.

And Bitcoin is down 1.45% to $21,650.

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