Fellow laureate excoriates Nobel literature winner

Updated 26 November 2012
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Fellow laureate excoriates Nobel literature winner

A past winner of the Nobel Prize in literature has called this year’s choice for the award, China’s Mo Yan, a “catastrophe” and accused him of “celebrating censorship,” a Swedish newspaper said Saturday.
Herta Mueller, who won the prize in 2009, told the daily Dagens Nyheter that she wanted to cry when she heard Mo Yan had been given the prestigious award.
“The Chinese themselves say that Mo Yan is an official of the same rung as a (government) minister,” the Romanian-born writer said.
“He celebrates censorship. It’s extremely upsetting.”
She noted that the laureate had copied by hand a speech by late Communist ruler Mao Zedong for a commemorative book this year. In the speech Mao says art and culture should support the Communist Party.
Mueller, 59, added that handing the prize to the vice-chairman of the government-backed China Writers’ Association, while 2010 peace laureate Liu Xiaobo remains in jail, was “a slap in the face for all those working for democracy and human rights.”
Liu is serving an 11-year prison term for subversion after he called for democratic reforms to China’s one-party system.
The day after his prize was announced, Mo Yan told reporters that he hoped Liu could be released from prison “as soon as possible.”
“He should have said that four years ago, or at least two weeks before receiving the prize,” Mueller said.
Mueller was persecuted by Romania’s Communist-era secret police for refusing to become an informant, and her work was censored at home. She emigrated to Germany in 1987.
Her novels, notably “The Appointment” and “The Land of Green Plums,” describe the terror and humiliation she said she suffered under Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime.


Massive diamond cache detected beneath Earth’s surface

Updated 18 July 2018
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Massive diamond cache detected beneath Earth’s surface

  • “This shows that diamond is not perhaps this exotic mineral..."
  • These naturally occurring precious minerals are located far deeper than any drilling expedition has ever reached

WASHINGTON: There’s a load of bling buried in the Earth.
More than a quadrillion tons of diamonds to be exact — or one thousand times more than one trillion — US researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported this week.
But don’t expect a diamond rush. These naturally occurring precious minerals are located far deeper than any drilling expedition has ever reached, about 90 to 150 miles (145 to 240 kilometers) below the surface of our planet.
“We can’t get at them, but still, there is much more diamond there than we have ever thought before,” said Ulrich Faul, a research scientist in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
“This shows that diamond is not perhaps this exotic mineral, but on the scale of things, it’s relatively common.”
Using seismic technology to analyze how sound waves pass through the Earth, scientists detected the treasure trove in rocks called cratonic roots, which are shaped like inverted mountains that stretch through the Earth’s crust and into the mantle.
These are “the oldest and most immovable sections of rock that lie beneath the center of most continental tectonic plates,” explained MIT in a statement.
The project to uncover deep Earth diamonds began because scientists were puzzled by observations that sound waves would speed up significantly when passing through the roots of ancient cratons.
So they assembled virtual rocks, made from various combinations of minerals, to calculate how fast sound waves would travel through them.
“Diamond in many ways is special,” Faul said.
“One of its special properties is, the sound velocity in diamond is more than twice as fast as in the dominant mineral in upper mantle rocks, olivine.”
They found that the only type of rock that matched the speeds they were detecting in craton would contain one to two percent diamond.
Scientists now believe the Earth’s ancient underground rocks contain at least 1,000 times more diamond than previously expected.
Still, very few of these gems are expected to make their way to the jewelry store.
Diamonds are made from carbon, and are formed under high-pressure and extreme temperatures deep in the Earth.
They emerge near the surface only through volcanic eruptions that occur rarely — on the order of every few tens of millions of years.