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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old October 19 2012, 05:16 AM   #16
T'Girl
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
regulate the amount of GPL in the economy
Something like diamonds then. Ten percent of the best mined diamond are allowed to enter the market and ninety percent are ground up for abrasives, used in electronics, optics, or stuck in a warehouse.

Replicator latinum (if possible) might not have a detrimental effect on the value of "natural" latinum if the two could be told apart. It would be like the effect of synthetic diamonds on the diamond market, which is basically none. People want natural diamonds.

Someone walks into Quark's bar with replicator latinum, and the scanner in the door frame screams bloody murder.

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Old October 19 2012, 08:24 AM   #17
TheRoyalFamily
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

I've always been under the impression that you need matter, along with energy, to replicate stuff. With food and drink, that's easy - there's always a ready supply of organic materials to be recycled But for non-organic items, you would have to have a ready store of the base stuff. Thus, mining is still a thing that needs to be done. And, it seems the process works in reverse, too - you put your dirty dishes back in the replicator, and they disappear as magically as they appeared.

Also, it seems the replicator can only create something to a certain level of complexity. The food is never quite right (it seems the complaint is a certain blandness, or sameness, which would make sense). If GPL is sufficiently complicated in internal structure for whatever reason, it would be impossible to get quite right with your typical replicator.

But really, only the first thing really need apply. If you need latinum and gold supplies for replication of GPL, if it could be done, it wouldn't lose its value - you needed it in the first place. Heck, maybe GPL is made by replication in the first place - the replicator does the work of making the alloy, perhaps. In "Little Green Men", Quark says gold is fine as a payment for his tech, so obviously replicators aren't alchemy.
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Old October 19 2012, 08:51 AM   #18
Timo
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

you need matter, along with energy, to replicate stuff
Might be, or then it might be that matter is a convenient thing to have but not a necessity. Synthesis of elements is mentioned in "Night Terrors", although that, too, might refer to synthesis of elements out of other elements, i.e. transmutation.

The food is never quite right
Well, food is never quite right, regardless of how it is made. People just won't stop complaining merely because something is perfect.

If GPL is sufficiently complicated in internal structure for whatever reason, it would be impossible to get quite right with your typical replicator.
But just like some people gladly eat vile food, and others have no time to stop and ponder the nuances of taste, there'd probably be lots of folks who would have neither the patience nor the means to notice that GPL is "slightly off".

In "Little Green Men", Quark says gold is fine as a payment for his tech
...Because in the Earth of 1947, everybody will accept gold!

so obviously replicators aren't alchemy
According to "Night Terrors", that's exactly what they are. Unless some other technology was behind the synthesis or transmutation of elements mentioned there.

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Old October 19 2012, 06:41 PM   #19
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

For some reason, I seem to recall a line in "Night Terrors" where they implied that there were some substances that they didn't have available on the Enterprise AT ALL and made no mention of their capacity to replicate them. I remember it because it raised eyebrows for me, even though I can't recall the exact scene.
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Old October 22 2012, 11:46 AM   #20
Timo
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

It was a plot point that they needed to offer something exotic and explosive to the aliens on the other side of the weird rift, and they had a variety of explosives on stock.

But earlier in the episode, they speculated on creating the necessary rift-sealing explosion all on their own, without cooperation with the aliens - and that would have to have been more potent stuff than the materials they considered for the cooperation. On that, the dialogue went like this:

Riker: "Couldn't we replicate the elements that Tyken used?"
Data: "No, sir. We no longer have the power to reproduce complex elements in the replicator. We must find a way to generate a violent energy release without using conventional means."
So "reproducing complex elements" was a "conventional" means for our heroes. That is, they did transmutation on routine basis. But they still had explosives on stock, establishing that replication on as-needed basis was not the preferred Starfleet approach, perhaps exactly because replicators might go down in emergencies, perhaps simply because replicators work rather slowly in producing complex bulk.

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Old October 22 2012, 05:53 PM   #21
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Timo wrote: View Post
Actually, nobody even went as far as saying "latinum can't be replicated".

For all we know, it can, just like hundred-dollar bills can be printed.
Latinum is not a currency, it's a rare material, like diamonds. That's why it's important that it cannot be replicated in a proper fashion, because otherwise the entire Ferengi financial system would fall apart. There might be artificially created industrial latinum, like artificial diamonds, but just like those, it's useless on the market.
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Old October 22 2012, 06:59 PM   #22
Timo
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Latinum is not a currency, it's a rare material, like diamonds.
Says who?

Besides, latinum isn't the thing with value. Gold-pressed latinum is.

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Old October 22 2012, 07:10 PM   #23
Pavonis
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Latinum is clearly used as a currency. It comes in different denominations! It's exchanged for goods and services!

It is never made clear what latinum is, though. Is it a resource that's mined? Is it manufactured? Is it even, against all fanon, exclusively replicated, because it's a completely artificial substance that only exists because of replicators?
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Old October 22 2012, 08:28 PM   #24
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Timo wrote: View Post
Latinum is not a currency, it's a rare material, like diamonds.
Says who?
This guy does:


Pavonis wrote: View Post
Latinum is clearly used as a currency. It comes in different denominations! It's exchanged for goods and services!

It is never made clear what latinum is, though. Is it a resource that's mined? Is it manufactured? Is it even, against all fanon, exclusively replicated, because it's a completely artificial substance that only exists because of replicators?
If it could be replicated, it wouldn't have any worth.

Money can't be replicated because of serial numbers and other stuff. Yeah, you can print banknotes all you want, but it doesn't work. Latinum is a resource. The denominations are something like strip, bar and brick, it's almost a weight measure. Morn smuggled liquid latinum in his body, and was most wanted for it. That episode wouldn't work if it could be replicated. Heck, the entire relationship between Quark and Starfleet wouldn't work. The Federation has an unlimited supply of energy, they can replicate any shit they want. Starfleet officers would be kings. Klingons have replicators, Romulans have replicators, everyone has replicators. The Ferengi would be ruined. But no, there's an episode where Jake wants to get that Baseball card, and he has no latinum and has to beg Nog for it. Why didn't he just replicate a bar of latinum?
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Old October 22 2012, 11:30 PM   #25
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Jake wouldn't be able to replicate latinum for the same reason I can't print off a thousand $100 bills on my laser printer. I don't have the authority to issue legal tender, and if I did, it would be counterfeit currency - useful only until I got caught.

As for not being replicated, we never heard anyone in Trek make the claim. But if latinum isn't replicable, then what is it? Mined? Would the Ferengi allow their currency's value to be tied to the vagaries of the mining industry? Latinum miners would be the most powerful Ferengi in the Alpha Quadrant. They would control the value of the currency, not the market, and not the Ferengi government. But no one ever even hinted that latinum was mined.

So if it isn't mined, then it is manufactured. But why would manufacturing it be possible, but not replicating it? Replication is just rearranging atoms into a pre-programmed pattern. And even if it is manufactured, then wouldn't the latinum manufacturers be more powerful than the Ferengi government?

Whether mined or manufactured, someone is creating currency out of "thin air", just as a replicator would. I don't see why latinum would hold value better than anything else just for not being replicable. Latinum's only use is as currency; it's never suggested that it can be used in anything else. Sure, some decorative items, but no industrial use for latinum is ever described. At least gold is used for industrial applications in addition to looking pretty.

So what is latinum? It's fiat currency. It has value because everyone agrees that it has value.
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Old October 23 2012, 10:21 PM   #26
JarodRussell
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Jake wouldn't be able to replicate latinum for the same reason I can't print off a thousand $100 bills on my laser printer. I don't have the authority to issue legal tender, and if I did, it would be counterfeit currency - useful only until I got caught.

As for not being replicated, we never heard anyone in Trek make the claim. But if latinum isn't replicable, then what is it? Mined? Would the Ferengi allow their currency's value to be tied to the vagaries of the mining industry? Latinum miners would be the most powerful Ferengi in the Alpha Quadrant. They would control the value of the currency, not the market, and not the Ferengi government. But no one ever even hinted that latinum was mined.

So if it isn't mined, then it is manufactured. But why would manufacturing it be possible, but not replicating it? Replication is just rearranging atoms into a pre-programmed pattern. And even if it is manufactured, then wouldn't the latinum manufacturers be more powerful than the Ferengi government?

Whether mined or manufactured, someone is creating currency out of "thin air", just as a replicator would. I don't see why latinum would hold value better than anything else just for not being replicable. Latinum's only use is as currency; it's never suggested that it can be used in anything else. Sure, some decorative items, but no industrial use for latinum is ever described. At least gold is used for industrial applications in addition to looking pretty.

So what is latinum? It's fiat currency. It has value because everyone agrees that it has value.
Again, Morn was chased for liquid latinum in his stomach. And you can't replicate bills because they have serial numbers and other safety precautions. Nobody chases you for the paper or the ink.
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Old October 23 2012, 11:52 PM   #27
Pavonis
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Morn was a fugitive from the law because he broke into a bank and stole money. The fact that it was a liquid that he could store in his second stomach is not relevant. He could have just as easily stored the latinum in a vial in his pocket, or, if he had lived as a human in the 20th century, as a pile of banknotes in his mattress. Whatever the method of concealment, he'd be a wanted criminal.

What Morn's heist and subsequent concealment of the latinum (not the gold-pressed latinum) tells us is that the latinum somehow conveys value. But how? You point out that the paper and ink are not the valuable part of a bill. What they convey is important though. The serial numbers that certify the bill as legitimate currency are what's important.

So, perhaps the latinum conveys information that certifies its legitimacy as legal currency. Quark pointed out that the little bit of latinum that Morn spit out was worth about 100 bricks of GPL. A brick of GPL is pretty big, the largest denomination introduced, so there must not be much latinum in one brick. Of course, the serial numbers on a bill are only a small part of the ink on it. The rest of the ink is decorative, more or less. Perhaps latinum conveys the "serial numbers" of the gold-pressed latinum currency. Maybe each latinum molecule is uniquely identified somehow, and so only a little bit of it needs to be included in the GPL currency to stamp it as authentic money, legal to exchange for goods and services. Without the latinum, the gold is just gold, and while not completely worthless, is worth less because it's no longer fit to be used as currency. A vandalized $100 bill is not worth $100 anymore, if all the serial numbers on it are missing or illegible.
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Old October 24 2012, 08:09 AM   #28
Timo
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

...Indeed, it's a common plot element in crime and action movies that a component of money printing process (authentic plates for the printing machine, genuine bill paper, proper chemicals for colors) has been stolen and may lead to villains making money, either with it or out of it.

Intricate chemical marking would be the only plausible way to "code" currency in the Trek future so that the code could not be easily reproduced. But an unreproduceable code isn't actually all that relevant - the content of the code is what matters. Does it match records elsewhere? The most intricately forged serial number in a bill doesn't help if it's an incorrect serial number...

Well-forged serial numbers are okay for "everyday" currency units such as 100-dollar bills. But a brick of GPL is supposedly more valuable than that in relative terms, and would have its serial number or equivalent feature checked against records when a transaction took place. So the liquid latinum probably isn't the exact analogy of either bill-engraving ink or bill serial number, but a mixture of some sort.

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Old November 6 2012, 07:16 PM   #29
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Apparently objects or lifeforms with complicated quantum structures can't be replicated, but they can be transported. I don't see why the never used the same transporter accident that created two Riker's to make more dilithium, for example.
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Old November 7 2012, 02:54 AM   #30
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Re: Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Captain_Amasov wrote: View Post
Apparently objects or lifeforms with complicated quantum structures can't be replicated, but they can be transported. I don't see why the never used the same transporter accident that created two Riker's to make more dilithium, for example.
Because they're incompetent idiots.

Well, either them or the writers.

Like age-reversing transporters.
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