In Elementary Business, BBC World Service's Business Daily goes back to basics and examines key chemical elements - and asks what they mean for businesses and the global economy.
Many scientists now believe that this great proliferation of new life was driven by the development of what was, by Cambrian standards, an exotic new capability - theories include the eye, or even the anus.Or how about teeth?
Tungsten filaments served us well for a century but the truth is they were always much better at producing heat than light - in some bulbs as much as 97% of the energy was lost as heat.
And tungsten's extraordinary properties have led to the development of a class of missiles that work without explosives."Kinetic bombardment" weapons involve firing what are, in effect, spears of tungsten at incredible speed towards your target. All these evolving military and industrial uses explain why tungsten is classified as a critical strategic element by many nations.Yet more than 80% of world supply is controlled by China, and in recent years China has imposed restrictions on the export of tungsten - along with many other raw commodities.
The UK's exit from the European Union could cause "severe regional and global damage", the IMF warns in its quarterly economic outlook.
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Cyclocross started in Europe more than one hundred years ago when cyclist were looking for a way to stay fit in winter.
Cyclocross requires the power of a sprinter, the speed and endurance of a time trialist, the bike-handling skills of a mountain biker and the tactics of a road racer. It is not surprising that cyclocross has become the fastest growing part of the sport of cycling in the U.S. Events foster a festive atmosphere and encourage everyone to have fun while racing as hard as possible.


There are saucer-eyed creatures with tentacles below and an arc of dramatic spines on their backs, there are squids with crab-like arms and strange things like floating air mattresses with a fringe of tiny waving fingers.Charles Darwin reckoned what is known as the "Cambrian explosion" was the most powerful objection to his theory of natural selection. Worm-like creatures with spikes around the entrance to their guts that first appeared during the Cambrian look fearsome even now, but just think what effective killers these predatorial jaws would make in a world of soft, vulnerable organisms.And that's not all.
They make a range of drill bits and cutting tools used in the aerospace, automobile and many other industries out of tungsten carbide - a super-hard compound of tungsten and carbon - cemented together with cobalt. Even using diamond cutting tools the work involves an unholy battle, though you wouldn't know it inside SGS Carbide's factory. The great scientists and inventors who developed the first light bulbs tried out filaments of platinum, iridium, carbonised sewing thread and even bamboo - the latter both innovations of Thomas Edison's.Then in 1908 another great American inventor, William D Coolidge, finally figured out how to make wires out of ultra-tough tungsten.
And its density and hardness is why the military has called tungsten into service in another kind of evolutionary arms race."Tungsten makes very good bullets," the military analyst Robert Kelley tells me. It wants to encourage the development of the hi-tech industries that use tungsten within China itself.That's also helped to push prices up, making previously uneconomic non-Chinese deposits worthwhile to mine.
The Cambrian is also when the shells and exoskeletons first appear in the fossil record in significant numbers.
These proved ideal filament material - strong, durable and heatable to extreme brightness without melting. It is also used to form the emitter tips of the electron guns that allow electron microscopes to peer down and examine objects as tiny as single molecules.But it was tungsten's density that earned it its name - it comes from the Swedish tung sten, heavy stone.
Hemerdon, on the edge of Dartmoor, is the first new metal mine to be opened in Britain for 40 years, and will exploit the world's third largest tungsten deposit.It is being re-opened by a company called Wolf Minerals, named after "wolfram", an alternative name for tungsten and why the element is represented by a W in the periodic table.


All you hear is a quiet hum from the lathes and other machines.Each one is contained in its own sound-proof box and has a sophisticated cooling system using refrigerated oil.
So then people will develop warheads that will fly towards the tank and then at the last minute go up and then drop on it, so then you have to start arming the top of the tank. New materials are developed - super strong alloys, for example - which mean something like an aeroplane or an electricity turbine can be made more resilient, and often lighter and cheaper too.But stronger components require tougher tools to work them - and that is where tungsten comes in. But even with these state-of-the art machines it can take 10 minutes or more to cut a single drill bit. And they are expensive - a single drill bit can cost more than ?500 ($750).Yet, as more and more advanced alloys are used in industry, the demand for the super-strong, super-durable and super-accurate tools companies like SGS Carbide produce has grown.
Yet now we use tungsten to write with, to traverse glaciers, to emit X-rays and to destroy buildings without the use of explosives.To understand how this happened, we need to understand the competitive forces that have shaped everything in our world, and where better to start than a mystery at the heart of the evolution of life? Through the clear glass I can see the fragile filament shiver as he gently shakes the bulb.



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