The Strategic Importance of Microchips
For years, oil was the most important commodity. In the past few years, it has become clear that the microchip has surpassed oil as a far more important commodity. We don’t have a strategic reserve of chips that we can pump into the ground for later retrieval. Oil took millions of years to become useful. Microchips can become outdated in less than 90 days.
The COVID lockdowns forced people to realize how much we use chips in our daily lives. You can open a card that plays a song that wishes you a happy birthday. You check your emails on your smartphone. You check into work at your factory or home office. All these actions are only possible by having access to microchips.
The internet is completely dependent on a system based on chip technology. Trillion-dollar firms like Amazon, Google, and Apple would not exist if it wasn’t for the microchip.
Looking around my room, I realize my phone, electric razor, and light bulbs would not function without this technology. I am mortified that we have fallen into a state where we are totally dependent on a few nations for these microchips.
The point where we realized how behind we had fallen in the production of chips is when we were not able to produce cars because of a shortage. We are so far behind that it will take until 2023 before the backlog is cleared.
At one point, chips were all made in America. As the price of manufacturing them rapidly declined, American companies turned to Asian firms to fulfill orders. It took decades to play out, but we eventually reached the point where our production levels were dangerously low. Taiwan now manufactures approximately 92% of advanced semiconductors; South Korea manufactures nearly all of the rest.
China’s dependence on foreign semiconductors is a key factor preventing a Chinese attack on Taiwan: should China attack Taiwan, Taiwan could destroy its semiconductors and infrastructure. But if China can ramp up its own domestic manufacturing while everyone else is behind, China is in a solid position to blackmail all the world economies.
The government has recently passed the US Chips Act, which is aimed at boosting domestic semiconductor production and improving technological competitiveness in the world. There is no guarantee that new plants will close the gap. We are about two years behind our competitors. Since it will take two years to build a microchip plant, we may find ourselves in the same position when our new factories come online.
Moore’s law is a term used to refer to the observation made by Gordon Moore in 1965 that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years. For several decades Moore’s law was extremely reliable. In recent years Moore’s law began to slow down as we reached basic limits. The component of some transistors is now only a few atoms thick.
Most people have no idea that the Netherlands is the only source for high-end chip-making modules. In the southern Dutch town of Veldhoven sits the only factory capable of assembling a revolutionary machine that’s relied upon by the world’s biggest chipmakers. EUV lithography is the most expensive step in making the advanced microchips that power data centers, cars, and iPhones. The machines are made by only one company: Advanced Semiconductor Materials Lithography.
“ASML has a monopoly on the fabrication of EUV lithography machines, the most advanced type of lithography equipment that’s needed to make every single advanced processor chip that we use today,” said Chris Miller, assistant professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. “The machines that they produce, each one of them is among the most complicated devices ever made.”
ASML has sold a total of about 140 EUV systems in the past decade, each one now costing up to $200 million. The price tag for its next machine, called High NA, will be more than $300 million.
Its EUV machine is “so expensive that most companies cannot afford it,” said Joanne Itow, managing director of manufacturing at Semico Research. “It certainly has eliminated a lot of players out of the market,” including chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries, which decided a few years ago to stop working on more-advanced chips because of the high cost, she said.
We have nothing to fear from the Dutch’s monopoly lithography machines. China is the nation that we need to keep an eye on. China is coming up fast in the chip world, and I know it uses any advantage as a weapon against us. Just as Europe made a huge mistake in trusting Russia for its natural gas supply, we would be in a similar bind if China grained a monopoly in the Chip market.
America would still be the leader in microchips and many other technology fields if it had not faltered in our faith in God. By rejecting our first love, we removed the source of our once great wealth.
“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18).
This Drunken Earth
God’s prophetic Word, I’ve always considered, says something profound regarding this wondrous planet. My fascination begins, as I’ve written before, with Jesus’ words upon entering Jerusalem on the little donkey not long before He was crucified.
The people were, you will remember, shouting “Hosanna!” They were welcoming Jesus because they thought He was to be Israel’s Savior—their Messiah, perhaps.
The Judaizers—the Pharisees and others who were His detractors—were trying to make the people stop praising Him. They wanted Him to shut down His ministry because they thought He was taking away their power and authority.
They appealed to Jesus to shut the people up, and He replied that if they were to remain silent, the very stones would cry out.
By this, the Lord meant, I have no doubt, that if they didn’t praise Him at that history-shaking moment, the very geophysical creation would erupt in praise of Him.
Then I think of that day on that boat when the storm on Galilee was raging and the disciples awoke Jesus to ask if He didn’t care that they were about to perish in the tempest. Jesus chided them just a bit for their lack of faith (they didn’t yet know that He was fully God as well as fully man). So they were fearful—as you and I would have been.
He put forth His hands and said, “Peace, be still.”
I believe He said it very softly rather than shouting it. The raging wind stopped. The heaving waters became instantly calm. It is said that not even the convulsions had to settle as waters have to do after being so turbulent. That lake became like glass.
So this planet is under the Creator’s hand at all times. Jesus created all that was created, and by Him all things (every element) are held together.
When God’s prophetic Word says something about planet earth that hasn’t yet occurred, we, as believers that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, can be assured it will happen.
Things are being reported today with prophetic overtones. Scientists have climbed aboard the climate-change panic train, of course, and are using their findings to further foist that mantra.
Now, we admit to climate change because the climate is and always has been changing during various eras of recorded history. But climate change because man is responsible for it in the physical meaning is a lie being perpetrated for political/ideological control reasons.
On the other hand, climate change by mankind in the evil-spiritual sense is indeed taking place.
Here’s what I mean.
Mankind doesn’t have the ability to change the climate in the sense of physically affecting it. We are simply too small. God controls it completely. But, like Jesus said, when mankind doesn’t praise Him, the very elements (the physical earth, for example, will “cry out”).
With the world now getting much like it was in antediluvian times—with people denying God at every level, especially the scientists—perhaps the planet is beginning to “cry out.”
The following further validates this possibility:
“For the first time, scientists have identified why Earth wobbles as it spins.
The decrease in Greenland’s ice mass is the main reason for the wobble, NASA says.
Changes in the Earth’s wobble could impact the accuracy of satellite tools like GPS systems, according to NASA.
Climate change is impacting how Earth spins on its axis, NASA says.
Over the past century, Earth’s axis—the imaginary line that passes through the North and South Poles—has drifted about 4 inches, and a decrease in Greenland’s ice mass is the main contributor to the wobble, the space agency has announced.
As temperatures increased throughout the 20th century because of humans, Greenland’s ice mass decreased.
A total of about 7,500 gigatons—the weight of more than 20 million Empire State Buildings—of Greenland’s ice melted into the ocean during this time period.” (“Climate Change Is Causing Earth to Wobble on Its Axis, NASA Says,” By Pam Wright, weather.com)
Jesus’ pronouncement, as said at the beginning of this article, is the first of the fascinating things about the reactions involving this planet on which God has chosen for us to live. It gets much more interesting even in the prophetic sense. The prophecy I have in mind relates significantly, I think, to the article above.
God, through the prophet Isaiah, says the following about a future time:
“The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again” (Isaiah 24:20).
Today, the ideological mindset of the reprobate mind (Romans 1:28) is that man is physically destroying Mother Earth with reckless fossil fuel carbon emissions, etc. But, God says mankind is making the world corrupt through anti-God activity. Here is the entire body of that Isaiah passage telling why the earth will eventually stagger like a drunkard.
“From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth” (Isaiah 24:16–21)
It is the sins and rebellion of mankind that will make the planet itself drunk on the rebels’ corruption –much like in the days of Noah. For this, God will make those evil ones drink from the cup of His wrath (Revelation 14: 10).
You don’t want to be part of that drunken time when even the earth staggers and falls, and is unable to recover its equilibrium. Here is how to escape that fate and instead be with the Lord in the wonders of Heaven.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9–10).