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Old July 17 2013, 10:01 PM   #31
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

I wonder why O'Brien didn't just replicate the materials and build a new beta-matrix compositor.
Some elements would seem to require either human construction or require a grade of material that cannot be cheaply or effectively replicated. Perhaps monetary-grade latinum cannot be replicated. Perhaps a particular grade of latinum is necessary for creating gold-pressed latinum. Perhaps there is an aesthetic quality to some latinum that cannot be achieved in a replicator. It might be similar to the difference between industrial-grade diamonds and what someone would get in a ring.
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Old July 17 2013, 10:03 PM   #32
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Which is fine - I'm not saying some things aren't difficult to replicate. I just reject the notion that some things are impossible to replicate, as there's no basis for it except fanon.
Replicatable and unreplicatable may be a false dichotomy. There are many indications that replication was not a perfect technology, and the grade of what is produced might matter according to the tastes of the consumer or the intended application.
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Old July 17 2013, 10:04 PM   #33
Pavonis
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

Or maybe it's just illegal to replicate latinum, the same way it's illegal to counterfeit currency. I could run off some decent-looking $100 bills on my home computer and printer, but I'd be put in prison for doing it.
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Old July 17 2013, 10:42 PM   #34
TheRoyalFamily
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

Star Wolf wrote: View Post
TheRoyalFamily wrote: View Post

Of course, I seriously doubt replicators can just create gold/latinum/whatever out of thin air/pure energy, so that point is moot.
I thought that is exactly what replicators did. It is part of the no need for money prejudice of the Federation expressed in the TNG era.
A pesky guy named Einstein has a problem with assuming that replicators work on pure energy. E=mc^2 still applies in Star Trek, as far as we know - that's the whole basis of matter-antimatter reactors, after all. Basically, all mass has an energy locked up within the matter. When matter annihilates, it has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is a buttload of energy. Conversely, it takes a buttload of energy to make a little bit of mass.

So, how does that present a problem with replicators? Let's consider a possible meal for one. Between the plate, the silverware, and the food and drink, it might come out to be about one kilogram. If it were replicated based on pure energy, that would need as much energy as is released by a 42.96 megaton nuke! That's almost three times as big as the biggest nuke exploded by the United States. And we are supposed to believe all this energy is funneled into a device the size of a microwave (and very quickly), all the time?

You might say that that isn't much energy, compared to what a warp engine uses. We don't have a clue what that is, other than a lot, but fair enough. All you would need to do is use something over 1kg of your fuel to make that meal (since there is bound to be some energy loss in there somewhere). That might explain why Voyager had that replicator restriction at first. That doesn't help when we consider, say, DS9. DS9 only had fusion reactors, not matter/antimatter ones. Yet, DS9 uses replicators all the damn time, a lot more than Voyager would use.

Logically, replicators would need to run on a lot less power than pure energy conversion would get you. But how? Well, one theory (and the one I subscribe to) is that replicators merely put together your whatever. As in, there is a store of basic material (molecular or elemental) somewhere, and the replicator draws from that to put together what you asked it for. For instance, there's a lot of biological material floating around, so it would be trivial to make pretty much any food. Everyone sticks their dishes back in the replicator, so there's your material for your dishes, and other stuff. And it goes on. Maybe a nasty person could reprogram a replicator to cannibalize whatever ship/station they were on (or use it on people! ) It wouldn't take much energy to do that. And it would explain why something like latinum, or other valuable stuff might be difficult to replicate - to replicate latinum/gold/whatever, you would need an equal amount of it in store...and then, what's the point of replicating it?

(This ignores whatever difficulties might lie in programming or manufacture of different stuff, which the replicator might not be able to...replicate.)
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Old July 17 2013, 10:43 PM   #35
Star Wolf
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Or maybe it's just illegal to replicate latinum, the same way it's illegal to counterfeit currency. I could run off some decent-looking $100 bills on my home computer and printer, but I'd be put in prison for doing it.
the problem then becomes the show was set during a total war and in humanity's known history counterfeiting was used to disrupte the enemy. and the Founders were a smart enemy. They certainly were not concerned about the civil laws of the quadrant.
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Old July 17 2013, 11:06 PM   #36
Pavonis
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

TheRoyalFamily wrote: View Post
A pesky guy named Einstein has a problem with assuming that replicators work on pure energy. E=mc^2 still applies in Star Trek, as far as we know - that's the whole basis of matter-antimatter reactors, after all. Basically, all mass has an energy locked up within the matter. When matter annihilates, it has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is a buttload of energy. Conversely, it takes a buttload of energy to make a little bit of mass.
Despite mass-energy equivalence, or maybe because of it, transporters don't blow up the starship every time an individual is beamed to a planet or back from it. Apparently transporters don't work on currently known physics. Neither would the replicator, then, since they're related technologies.

Logically, replicators would need to run on a lot less power than pure energy conversion would get you. But how? Well, one theory (and the one I subscribe to) is that replicators merely put together your whatever. As in, there is a store of basic material (molecular or elemental) somewhere, and the replicator draws from that to put together what you asked it for.
Seems like a perfectly workable theory to me. "Replicators" exist in other science fiction stories, and they often use a feedstock of raw material and some nanomachinery to assemble finished products. Sometimes these mini-factories carry exotic elements around, too, for use in more complex items. Trek replicators might simply be the use of piles of raw elemental feedstock, or simple compounds, reorganized by the transporters. It would explain why mining is still a necessary economic activity - the raw material has to come from somewhere. Then the question is, why would dilithium or latinum be exempted from atomic assembly in this manner?

Star Wolf wrote: View Post
the problem then becomes the show was set during a total war and in humanity's known history counterfeiting was used to disrupte the enemy. and the Founders were a smart enemy. They certainly were not concerned about the civil laws of the quadrant.
But the Ferengi were ostensibly neutral in the conflict, and gold-pressed latinum is their currency, not the Federation's. The Dominion are bad guys, but they'll honor treaties and agreements for as long as it suits them. In this case, why would antagonizing the Ferengi be useful, except to drive them into the Federation Alliance?
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Old July 17 2013, 11:22 PM   #37
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

[QUOTE=Pavonis;8393692]
TheRoyalFamily wrote: View Post
But the Ferengi were ostensibly neutral in the conflict, and gold-pressed latinum is their currency, not the Federation's. The Dominion are bad guys, but they'll honor treaties and agreements for as long as it suits them. In this case, why would antagonizing the Ferengi be useful, except to drive them into the Federation Alliance?
Perhaps outright counterfeiting might not be wise, but I don't think that it would be unbelievable if the Dominion did some creative speculation. Latinum may have been minted by the Ferengi, but it operated as a global currency (even for the Federation, as much as it needed one). Imagine if the Federation's reserves of GPS were found to be compromised. That might ruin relations with a number of worlds. Were the Federation's allies also cashless societies? Their war effort might have been hampered.
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Old July 17 2013, 11:24 PM   #38
Pavonis
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

I think it would've been an interesting approach, too. Economic warfare alongside ray guns and battleships, but it probably wouldn't have been fun for the audience. The writers may have gotten bogged down in the details, too. We know Klingons use something for currency - darseks, I think. The Cardassians use leks, I think. Don't know about the Romulans.
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Old July 17 2013, 11:30 PM   #39
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

Even if a few thousand bricks turned into a pool of changelings?
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Old July 18 2013, 12:46 AM   #40
Elvira
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

Pavonis wrote: View Post
I just reject the notion that some things are impossible to replicate, as there's no basis for it except fanon.
Fanon and of course the show itself.

The vaccine in Code of Honor was impossible to replicate, even though Dr. Crusher possessed a sample of the vaccine.

The Child, replicating 512 special specimen containers required divert power from the warp engines into the replicator for two hours, the ship couldn't go to warp because of the replicator power requirements.

In other words, the replicator can require warp drive levels of power to make certain things.

Same question - when was it established the replicators couldn't handle "living tissue"?
Picard's heart, Neelix's lungs. Replacement organs were not replicated.

The genetronic replicator used to replace Worf's spinal cord in "Ethics" was perfectly capable of replicating living tissue?
Maybe not.

The genetronic replicator as described isn't a replicator in the usual meaning. According to the shows technical advisors, the replicator dematerializes base material, changes the material while in the matter stream, and then materializes the re-arranged item. All this happen relatively quickly.

Worf 's new spine is specifically refer to as being grown, plus by dialog growing the new spine takes approximately one hour and forty minutes.

Strickly speaking, Worf's new spine wasn't replicated.

Would you argue that air and water can't be replicated either ...
My take is that the replicator has problems with some complex compounds. That's why it could not make that drug. Air and water are fairly simply.

"Beta-matrix compositors" are a piece of technology, not an element or compound
The "compositor" has to be made of something. There are over a hundred elements on the periodic table. Compounds are chemically bonded substances that contain two or more different elements.

transporters don't blow up the starship every time an individual is beamed to a planet or back from it
The transporter does move people and things around as energy (or a energy state).

But apparently it never releases that energy, so no explosion.


Last edited by Elvira; July 18 2013 at 01:01 AM.
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Old July 18 2013, 07:00 PM   #41
Pavonis
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

T'Girl wrote: View Post
The vaccine in Code of Honor was impossible to replicate, even though Dr. Crusher possessed a sample of the vaccine.
Not impossible to replicate, just unstable when replicated. Why that would be the case, beyond dramatic needs, is unclear.

The Child, replicating 512 special specimen containers required divert power from the warp engines into the replicator for two hours, the ship couldn't go to warp because of the replicator power requirements.

In other words, the replicator can require warp drive levels of power to make certain things.
Something I've never disputed. Some things may be more difficult to replicate than other things, like the vaccine samples in "Code of Honor", but I've not seen anything explicitly described as "impossible to replicate".

The genetronic replicator as described isn't a replicator in the usual meaning. According to the shows technical advisors, the replicator dematerializes base material, changes the material while in the matter stream, and then materializes the re-arranged item. All this happen relatively quickly.

Worf 's new spine is specifically refer to as being grown, plus by dialog growing the new spine takes approximately one hour and forty minutes.

Strickly speaking, Worf's new spine wasn't replicated.
Strictly speaking, it was replicated, as in a copy of Worf's spinal cord was made and used to replace his severed one. The fact that it took hours instead of seconds doesn't seem like anything worth quibbling over.

My take is that the replicator has problems with some complex compounds. That's why it could not make that drug. Air and water are fairly simply.
And maybe that's all that's ever encountered - problems with replication, not impossiblities. Maybe if Crusher took more time to work on the unstable replicated vaccine, she would have solved it. A deadline, with thousands of lives in peril, prevented her from bothering with the replicator when a natural stable source was nearby.

It's funny though that Neelix managed to live with holographic lungs for some time, but the replicator couldn't make one. I might guess that tissue compatibility might be a problem, so just replicating one from the database and installing it in Neelix might kill him. But I can't see why taking more time to clone some of Neelix's tissue and figuring out how to make a compatible lung couldn't be done. I wonder if the genetronic replicator was still in beta when Voyager was launched.

"Beta-matrix compositors" are a piece of technology, not an element or compound
The "compositor" has to be made of something. There are over a hundred elements on the periodic table. Compounds are chemically bonded substances that contain two or more different elements.
Thanks for the tip! I'll let my physics students know that little known fact about compounds and their relationships to elements. You know, just in case their chemistry prof forgot to tell them. I think you missed my point, which was that if the finished product isn't available for replication, why wouldn't they replicate the elements and/or compounds that compose the "beta-matrix compositor" and build it by hand from scratch?
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Old July 18 2013, 08:33 PM   #42
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

Pavonis wrote: View Post
I think it would've been an interesting approach, too. Economic warfare alongside ray guns and battleships, but it probably wouldn't have been fun for the audience. The writers may have gotten bogged down in the details, too. We know Klingons use something for currency - darseks, I think. The Cardassians use leks, I think. Don't know about the Romulans.
Give financial warfare over the holodeckgone wild episodes anytime.
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Old July 18 2013, 08:35 PM   #43
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Then the question is, why would dilithium or latinum be exempted from atomic assembly in this manner?
It could be that they are just too complicated for replicators to handle, for whatever reason, in the 2370's. They might solve a lot of those problems in the future.

Or it could be that the replicators on a ship (or space station) are not good, or powerful, enough for it. Perhaps those industrial replicators can handle the more complicated stuff.

Also, those particular items have different issues (probably). We don't know enough about latinum to say what it is that could be an issue. Could be that it's some funky new element, or a particular funky compound of funky isotopes, which wouldn't necessarily be found in your typical replicator's supply of stock material. Dilithium crystals need to be energized a certain way to be effective, and perhaps the replicators for whatever reason can't do that. (It could also be that money-grade latinum needs to be energized in a similar way, which the replicator can't replicate.)
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Old July 19 2013, 09:05 AM   #44
Timo
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

There are many ways to make the creation of a substance or an item difficult today. Complexity can be worked in at various levels, from microscopic to macroscopic; it can be introduced in controlled amounts (fine print on a bill or passport, difficult to forge) or in uncontrollable ones (forging all the details on the entire Mona Lisa takes massive amounts of work; breaking a suitably complex code makes a supercomputer burn out). Creating very small amounts of something may be difficult (fine jewelry; nanoparticles of gold in exquisite red glass), or creating very large amounts may be (you can make gold out of lead, but in order to even see the amount of substance you created, you have to work for millennia using current methods).

If latinum were trivial or merely difficult to replicate, no ban would protect it from forgery. Some sort of complexity is necessarily part and parcel of the value of latinum. Is it "random", "natural" chemical complexity, the sort that makes it difficult to replicate tricyanate or certain biological materials? Is it a chemical code built into the substance, so that while one can replicate latinum, one can't replicate latinum of worth without knowing the code? Is there even a difference?

We know Quark can recognize the smaller GPL-based means of exchange by the sound they make, and by their taste or consistency (i.e. the biting test). This tells us basically nothing, though, as all these features could be there on a superficial, macroscopic level - Quark wouldn't be bothered to go too deep for mere slips. Quark has not been witnessed verifying the value of entire bricks by such crude means; perhaps these greater-value items have more complex codes, only readable by technological means?

Also, that gold is worthless without the latinum within doesn't necessarily mean the latinum would be of worth in itself... Quark found the stuff in "Who Mourns for Morn?" and was delighted, but then again, he also possessed the gold casings at that point; perhaps it was only the combination that made him (temporarily) rich?

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Old July 19 2013, 11:04 AM   #45
Elvira
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Re: Latinum is better tha gold because...

TheRoyalFamily wrote: View Post
Dilithium crystals need to be energized a certain way to be effective, and perhaps the replicators for whatever reason can't do that.
I believe it was the (non-canon) Star Trek Tech Manual that said that dilithium crystals are a basically just a type of quartz crystal, but with a unusual property.

So perhaps if you were to attempt to replicate dilithium, what you would receive would just be a regular every day quartz crystal.

Pavonis wrote: View Post
why wouldn't they replicate the elements and/or compounds that compose the "beta-matrix compositor" and build it by hand from scratch?
Because the particular materials necessary to the construction of the "compositor" can not be replicated, they need to be acquired from natural sources.

Embrace the obvious.

Not impossible to replicate, just unstable when replicated.
It was the sample that became unstable when they tried to replicate it.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Strickly speaking, Worf's new spine wasn't replicated.
Strictly speaking, it was replicated
Strickly speaking it was grown, this is make clear in the dialog.

The point I'm making Pavonis is the the device that grew Worf's new spine wasn't the machine known as "The Replicator." It didn't rearrange material within a matter stream, but rather grew an organic bone structure, which isn't how a replicator works. At least not as stated.

You need to want to watch the episode.

Thanks for the tip
Glad I could help you.

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