Latinum is better tha gold because...

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Lt. Cheka Wey, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How do you put serial numbers on a liquid that is clearly divisible down to the molecular level? Are you suggesting every individual molecule gets tagged? And do you really think Ferenginar has a mint somewhere where they control the money supply? And how could you possibly catch somebody who replicated latinum?

    Unless the writers created latinum as some sort of modern variant of currency so Ferengi acquisitiveness could be physically represented without thinking about realistic rules of supply and demand within the established rules of their universe *glares at camera*, it makes no sense that latinum can be replicated. Dilithium can't be replicated either.
     
  2. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Why shouldn't individual molecules of latinum be tagged? Star Trek has all sorts of technologies to tag items at the submolecular and subatomic levels. Why should that be difficult? And why wouldn't the Ferengi have a mint? Gold-pressed latinum is their currency.

    But hey, if you want to believe that things like latinum and dilithium can't be replicated, feel free to cite dialogue that demonstrates the fact.
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There is dialog that states that certain substances can not be replicated at all, and other substances require unusual amounts of power to produce.

    If latinum is a living organism (an old thought of mine) that would be another possible reason a replicator couldn't construct it.

    Pavonis, you challanged others to produce dialog evidense that latinum and dilithium can't be replicated, can you provide anything from the show indicating that either of those CAN be replicated?

    :)
     
  4. Star Wolf

    Star Wolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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. For dramatic reason things like dilithium crystals and later latinum had to be replication resistant waiting for a genius Scotty, or more likely a Rom considering the motivation to break the code

    I agree with The Wormhole latinum is better then gold because it was used as a dramatic and comedic twist for a human audience after a few episodes of gold pressed latinum being introduced as a currency of sorts we are presented with the latinum as actually being the valuable component.
     
  5. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Isn't there also dialogue which says that replicated materials don't always reach high performance and quality standards?

    ETA: in Mind's Eye, it was strongly suggested that a Federation rifle could not be wholly replicated (subsequently, the Romulan copy was detected on analysis.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
  6. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    OK, but which episodes? Which series? I'm completely open to the idea, but I'm not going to sit down and watch hundreds of hours of Trek again just to isolate one snippet of dialogue. If you know something, do share. On the other hand, are you sure you're not mis-remembering some details of some episode?

    Same question - when was it established the replicators couldn't handle "living tissue"? The genetronic replicator used to replace Worf's spinal cord in "Ethics" was perfectly capable of replicating living tissue? Are you thinking that replicators aren't normally capable of replicating living things, but can do so with refinements or upgrades, or just more power?

    "Whatever we tell it to do" - that's what a replicator is capable of producing, according to Janeway. If she tells it to replicate a crystal of dilithium, what's the problem? Why wouldn't it be able to do so? It might be limited to the size of the slot it would materialize in, but that's not a big deal. There are open-sided replicators, seen in the Enterprise-D replication center in "Data's Day", for items too bulky to come out of a food-sized slot.

    If dilithium and latinum were "unreplicatable", then there are a lot of questions about what a replicator can do, why it can work on some things but not others, and why these restrictions weren't plot points in some episodes. In "Night Terrors", the replicators were power-limited, but no one said it couldn't produce anything in particular if enough power were available. Of course, the crew was searching for explosives to extricate themselves from a rift, but we learned that replicators were power-limited, but not necessarily limited in what they could produce when enough power is available.

    The urgent need for dilithium was a plot point in some TOS episodes, but I believe that during the development of TNG the plot device was considered played out, so it was decided that dilithium would never be in short supply on the new Enterprise. We know that dilithium is still mined, but it is also "recomposited" in the warp core while it is still being used. So apparently starships are more dilithium-efficient in the 24th century. Whether they can or can't replicate dilithium isn't addressed - but why shouldn't it be replicated? What's special about dilithium that would make it impossible to assemble atoms into the correct crystal structure to produce it? Maybe it's more power intensive than mining it, but that's not the same as "impossible to replicate". It makes it foolish to do it, not impossible.

    There are lots of valuable items on a starship - deuterium fuel, antimatter reactant, dilithium crystals, but also air and water. Without any one of them the whole system is a giant waste of resources. Would you argue that air and water can't be replicated either, just because a starship needs them as much as it needs dilithium and antimatter?

    As for dilithium, so too for latinum - why is it impossible to replicate it? If it isn't produced in a replicator, where does it come from? Is it mined? Is it manufactured? If it's manufactured, what's so special about the manufacture of it that it can't be done with a replicator? If it is mined, then Ferengi latinum miners are the master of the Ferengi (and therefore galactic) economy. Grand Nagus Zek would have only as much power as the latinum miners would allow him, because they would be the true power in the Ferengi Alliance - they would control the value of GPL by controlling the supply, and they would decide who gets rich and who doesn't. Yet I see no evidence in the show that Ferengi latinum miners are a powerful faction, nor any mention of latinum mining specifically. So what is it? Where does this latinum stuff come from?

    The only reason people think latinum can't be replicated is because they think rare things are the basis for economic utility as currency. But our modern currency is a fiat one. We don't trade baubles of ore as money, or even use such to back up our currency. It's all based on faith. So why would we expect the Ferengi, who are supposed to be masters of the financial, to do something so crude as use mined baubles as currency? Why can't they use latinum as a fiat currency that is actually valueless, but useful as a system for tracking value?
     
  7. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    The Most Toys: Crushers says Tricyanate is too difficult to replicate to make it worthwhile.
    Empok Nor: O'Brien can't replicate a Cardassian manifold because of the nature of the technology.
     
  8. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Crusher says "With tricyanate? That's hard to believe. It's slow to assimilate, difficult to replicate, and hard to transport. There are a lot easier ways to poison a water supply. More effective ways too." So it's difficult, but not impossible, and probably exactly what Fajo did to poison the water supply on on Beta Agni II, since it was all a lure to capture Data.

    So now the only question is why Cardassian manifolds use beta-matrix compositors, and why they are "unreplicable". "Beta-matrix compositors" are a piece of technology, not an element or compound. I wonder why O'Brien didn't just replicate the materials and build a new beta-matrix compositor.
     
  9. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    T'Girl mention some things were difficult to replicate, you asked for a reference, and I answered tricyanate. ETA: it leads to the possibility that other substances are not worth replicating.
     
  10. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  11. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  12. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  13. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  14. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

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    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! :cardie:) 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.)
     
  15. Star Wolf

    Star Wolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  16. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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.

    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?

    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?
     
  17. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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  18. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  19. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Even if a few thousand bricks turned into a pool of changelings?
     
  20. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    Picard's heart, Neelix's lungs. Replacement organs were not replicated.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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: Jul 18, 2013

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