Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm Usually Pretty Easy Going But...

In the post immediately below I linked to an earlier post [he does that a lot -ed] "Solar: Peak Gallium? Indium?" which reminded me of a kerfuffle a couple years ago.

In the "...Peak Gallium..." story I had linked to a couple scare/scarcity stories.
That prompted some outfit called ars technica to put up a post slamming the blogs that had the scare stories and led to Open posting:
No Indium Shortage
Ars reports on the hysteria surrounding rising prices of some precious metals needed for electronics. The notion is that we’re quickly running out of metal like Indium and Gallium. But this is really not true. Prices of some metals have increased, but not all. And new technologies are making many of the scarcer metals obsolete. A temporary spike in the derived demand of Indium due to lower prices for LCD panels is nothing to worry about.
That post and the ars technica piece were disingenuous to the point of being dishonest.
So I commented.
Set Caps on lock. Fire! (I didn't really lock caps):
Climateer says:
As the proprietor of one of the blogs referenced by Ars Technica I’d like to introduce myself and make a couple points regarding their analysis.
In a nutshell, it’s lightweight, akin to a high school sophmore trying to show off for a physics prof.
Start with “…recently lit up the blogosphere…”.
There were four blogs. Small ones.
Then the false superiority in this line “Comments on blogs range from the insanely optimistic, “the invisible hand/technology will solve everything” perspective to things along the lines of “you idiots, the world is obviously doomed.”
I prefaced my link by saying this sounded like Club of Rome stuff and ended by saying
“You know how this ends up?
We’ll figure something out. That is really the only claim to fame of Homo Sapiens, singular and collectively.
But, it’s a pretty good one.”
Ars Technica gives a mini-lecture on end-points in price series (duh) and goes on to a discourse in extraction of rare metals; they’re a byproduct. Well double duh.
I can’t speak for the other three blogs but my readers are investment banks and hedge funds. If I don’t assume my readers know this stuff, they figure I’m the moron.
Ars Technica goes on to wrap up with three paragraphs:
“That is not to say that the supply of Indium, Gallium, and other materials are limitless….”
“…but it’s possible that we can find replacements or change our technology altogether….”
“…Ultimately we need to be aware of our use of resources, but the present overreaction is not all that well-thought-out….”
1) Begin with hyperbole.
2) Set up the strawman.
3) Use points you found on the sites you belittle to knock the strawman down.
4) Leave with air of superiority.
I’ve never much cared for folks who assume their readers are ignorant of rhetoric and logic.
I’m reminded of that great line about Noam Chomsky:
“Chomsky is the intellectual for people who aren’t as smart as they think they are”
So don't go dissin' the blog.
(unless, of course, you're right, in which case we will correct or update as needed, crediting you, should you wish)
(And don't draw down on me, I'm touchy about that too.)