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Smart Things by Mike Kuniavsky

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Chapter 4 Information is a Material

All these dotcom people, you know what they really want to be doing? They want to be working with wood.

Chicken John Rinaldi

Once, aluminum was a precious metal. The tiny amount known to exist was used only for the most exclusive decoration. In 1884 the builders of the Washington Monument, then the world’s tallest man-made structure, capped it with the world’s largest block of aluminum, which weighed 3 kg (about 6.5 pounds). To the builders, this block symbolized America’s mineral and technological wealth more than gold or platinum. About a year later, two chemists discovered how to use electricity to extract aluminum from bauxite. Aluminum soon was seen as the most common metal on earth.1 By 1900, the ...

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