Latinum is better tha gold because...

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

  1. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Not impossible to replicate, just unstable when replicated. Why that would be the case, beyond dramatic needs, is unclear.

    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".

    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.

    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.

    Thanks for the tip! :lol: 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. :p 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?
     
  2. Lt. Cheka Wey

    Lt. Cheka Wey Commander

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    Give financial warfare over the holodeckgone wild episodes anytime.
     
  3. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

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    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.)
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    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?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    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.

    It was the sample that became unstable when they tried to replicate it.

    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.

    Glad I could help you.

    :)
     
  6. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    It's not at all obvious, though. The finished product couldn't be replicated as a whole, so the next best thing as far as O'Brien was concerned was to go scavenge one. There was no mention of building one from scratch. Why not? Is it simply a time issue? Replicating one would take seconds, scavenging one would take a day, but building one might take a month. I don't know, but there's no reason to jump to the conclusion that it's impossible to replicate the materials to construct a "beta-matrix compositor".

    The sample worked fine as an injection (and, gosh, I would hope it would, else it would be completely useless), but "it" becomes unstable when replicated. I took "it" to be a reference to the replicated vaccine - the stuff that comes out of the replicator falls apart. You take "it" to mean a reference to the original vaccine specimen. Maybe it is, but Crusher's words are ambiguous.

    It was called a "genetronic replicator". Why put "replicator" in the name if replication is an unrelated technology? It's not clear to me that only matter-energy conversion is involved in replication.

    Perhaps the genetronic replicator is a hybrid of cloning-related technology and replicators. It uses DNA-based generators, reads the DNA of damaged tissue and converts it to replicator instructions - that's explicit in the dialogue. Growth of the tissue is involved, too, but the growth is apparently enabled by the replicator. But, I'll concede that maybe the "replicator" part of the "genetronic replicator" is a literal use of the word "replica", as a euphemism for "clone", which may be a taboo word in the Federation (what with their hesitation to do much with genetic engineering even centuries after the Eugenics Wars).
     
  7. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Could I suggest that trying to understand why something is unreplicatable is chasing a wild goose? Instead, I think it should be a question of whether or not replicator technology is intended to be perfect. What is produced might usually be adequate, but flawed or imprecise when compared to the real thing. You may ask for a Stradivarius, but you'll get a violin.
     
  8. Data's Cat

    Data's Cat Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    By the late 22nd century, $5600 won't be worth much. Inflation, yanno. :D
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Even if there is some ambiguity about the replication of Worf's spine in "Ethics", there is none about the replication of Ptera's brain stem neural tissue in "Emanations".

    Whether the EMH is making use of the now-perfected technique of Dr. Russell, or some other technique, we don't know. But the good holo-Doctor doesn't have access to the sort of special instrumentation Russel brought aboard, and he still says he replicated neural tissue - whereas there are no references in Star Trek to it being impossible to replicate living tissue. (It's merely difficult, as evidenced by the slow progress in Russell's technique, and by the fact that Tal'Shiar wasn't able to create perfect fake blood in "Data's Day" despite no doubt desiring to do so.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    However, he does not replicate an entirely new brain stem, does he?
     
  11. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    He didn't need to replace the brain stem, just remove the cancerous growth.
     
  12. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Which is why the example is problematic: the general neural tissue might not need to operate in the same manner as a new set of lungs, but in the presence of an otherwise healthy brainstem, may, through grafting, mimic its function.

    I also should point out that not all uses of the word "replicate" should be understood as "used a replicator." The word has its own meaning.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    He replicates entirely new neural tissue. Whether this represents 5% of the brain stem, or 95%... Why should it matter?

    It's quite noteworthy that in the one ambiguous case, that of "Ethics", the process of replication still consists of making something out of nothing in front of the eyes of the audience, while having the thing glimmer and sparkle. "Replication" in Trek seems to mean one and the same thing even when we might expect it not to.

    That doesn't necessarily mean that even the food replicator should be utilizing only one type of process or gizmo. Quite possibly, there's a whole factory inside, with multiple fascinating techniques in use, and with just the end product finally materializing via the help of basic transporter technology.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    Gold just isn't rare to a sufficiently technologically advanced race.

    Or the fact it might not be that rare, most of the gold on Earth is unaccessible with current techniques and there is a lot of gold in asteroids.
     

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