Rare earth elements: What are they?
Nd, La, Ce, Pr, Gd… ring a bell? These are elements from the periodic table. They are not rarely occurring at all, but economically exploitable deposits containing these elements are unusual.
They are however very difficult to extract and dangerous to process. 95% of the world production comes from mainland China.
All have important applications, of which the most mainstream would be Neodymium and Samarium, commonly found in high quality speaker magnets.
Christmas lights and power consumption
An average town of 300 000 - 400k people needs an extra 1 to 1,5MWh during Christmas to keep the lighting working. Of this power, 2/3 is due to domestic lighting alone. To bring these numbers into scale, a conventional coal power plant assures 50-100MW of energy, whilst a single nuclear reactor provides 0.6-1GWh. During Diwali this figure would be certainly bigger.
In order to estimate this figure the following assumptions were made: 5W decorating incandescent bulbs, 1W LEDs, blinked 1/8W LED strips& optic fibre, coventional 25W christmas tree lights. 90k inhabitable homes, of which 75% would be in occupancy at the time. 2 main roads stretching a total of 50km and additional 15 important streets that are decorated by the city council.