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Get out the indestructable tin foil hat
August 20, 2004 5:14 AM   Subscribe

Introducing: Metal Rubber. "Twist it, stretch it double, fry it to 200°C, douse it with jet fuel—the stuff survives. After the torment, it snaps like rubber back to its original shape, all the while conducting electricity like solid metal." Sounds familiar, no? Here's the son of the Roswell air field's intel officer, describing the debris he says he saw in 1947: "It was possible to flex this stuff back and forth, even to wrinkle it, but you could not put a crease in it that would stay, nor could you dent it at all. I would almost have to describe it as a metal with plastic properties." The UFO freaks are already all over the "back engineering" of Roswell crash debris. Meanwhile, there's something unusual in the sky over Minnesota right now.
posted by CunningLinguist (49 comments total)

 
The real reason we invaded Irag.
posted by crunchburger at 5:38 AM on August 20, 2004


Come on, you know that thing over Minnesota is a weather balloon.
posted by a3matrix at 5:45 AM on August 20, 2004


Or swamp gas.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:46 AM on August 20, 2004


*cue Twilight Zone theme *
posted by caddis at 5:56 AM on August 20, 2004


I saw the "weather balloon" myself yesterday, right after I got home from work. White dot, high in the sky, not apparently moving. In binoculars, yeah, could have been a large, runaway balloon way up there. It looked kind of "dimpled" like a partially deflated bag, and seemed to be reflecting lots of sunlight, which made it easily visible.

Made for *lots* of calls to local radio stations.

I did take pictures, and in the best UFO tradition, all I got was an inconclusive, blurry white dot.
posted by gimonca at 6:11 AM on August 20, 2004


For a civilization that still buries their trash and is still dependent on oil for energy, I'd say reverse-engineering alien technology is a bit far off.
posted by banished at 6:22 AM on August 20, 2004



I did take pictures, and in the best UFO tradition, all I got was an inconclusive, blurry white dot.


WE HAVE PROOF!!
posted by a3matrix at 6:29 AM on August 20, 2004


Come on banished. Burying trash and using oil doesn't make the world technically retarded, just lazy.

I would put it like this: For a civilization that cannot cure the common cold, I'd say reverese engineering alien technology is a bit far off.

But then, that would not be accurate either. As we all know that while we are capable of great things, if we don't focus on them, they are left undone. Though, I seriously doubt we have reverse engineered anything alien.

Thank god we finally got Viagra though. All those research dollars spent on a harder, longer lasting schlong, will truly benefit mankind. Or should that be womankind?
posted by a3matrix at 6:34 AM on August 20, 2004


OK, back to the primary topic- that "rubber metal" is FUCKING COOL! I especially dig that it needs to be made molecule-by-molecule. Here come the first wave of nanotech businesses...
posted by mkultra at 6:45 AM on August 20, 2004


When they say "douse it in jet fuel," do they mean burning jet fuel? I mean, is it really any stronger than other polymers, or is it's claim to fame simply that it is a flexible rubber that conducts electricity?
posted by moonbiter at 6:47 AM on August 20, 2004


What's wrong with burying trash? What's wrong with using oil? The simple fact that we produce such an incredible amount of trash is testament to the complexity and efficiency of our society. We are able to produce a lot of goods and meet a lot of needs -- and still have a lot left over. Burying trash can be as high-tech as any other alternative. You simply have to choose your site well and prepare the ground. Space to bury things happens to be something that the United States (for one), has in dizzying abundance. What's the alternative? Recycling? You can eat your own poo-poo and drink your own urine if you want. I'll flush mine down the toilet, thank you.
As for oil, the terrific efficiency with which oil is now extracted from the ground, refined for a thousand different uses, and efficiency used in our automobiles is yet more testimony to the outstanding technical brilliance of our society. To use these evidences of our society's great energy and ingenuity as examples of how we are "retarded" or "lazy" is sophomoric.
In fact, we in the west have so much surplus intelligence, that some very bright (if nutty) people can spend enormous amounts of time engaged in the harmless pursuit of these UFO fantasies, and we, their audience, have such a surplus of our own intelligence and good will, that we are tolerantly amused. The democratic west is a wonderful world.
posted by Faze at 6:52 AM on August 20, 2004


Not to mention that while we still can't cure the common cold, thanks to AIDS, Ebola etc. we've learned and are continuing to learn an awful lot about viruses.
posted by alumshubby at 6:56 AM on August 20, 2004


The simple fact that we produce such an incredible amount of trash is testament to the complexity and efficiency of our society.

You need to work on your sarcasm.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:02 AM on August 20, 2004


The democratic west is a wonderful world.

I've heard the democratic east is pretty rad, too.
posted by toby\flat2 at 7:18 AM on August 20, 2004


I've heard the democratic east is pretty rad, too.

Haha those fistfights in Taiwan Parliament are totally badass
posted by rxrfrx at 7:21 AM on August 20, 2004


Metal Rubber. Sounds great. But I want my transparent aluminum, dammit.

And Faze, I think it's just super that you are one of the few Contrarian Voices of Regressivism here, but you should get your basic concepts straight. Waste is by definition a symptom of inefficiency, not efficiency.
posted by adamrice at 8:11 AM on August 20, 2004


*Looks up from eating own poo, smiles at Trollmaster Faze, goes back to eating own poo*
posted by gwint at 8:18 AM on August 20, 2004


adamrice,
Tons of waste at the back end is proof of our efficiency at producing tons of stuff to go in at the front end. Our economy is so efficient, and our people so prosperous, that we can not only produce tons of waste, but that it just SITS here. We do not have the mobs of poor that ancient and many current societies have, picking over our middens. You can see why everyone wants to live in the U.S or Western Europe.
posted by Faze at 8:26 AM on August 20, 2004


I don't think efficiency means what you think it means.
posted by jpoulos at 8:33 AM on August 20, 2004


jpoulos, that's comedy Gold, Man.
posted by soyjoy at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2004


INCONCIEVABLE!
posted by prodigalsun at 9:10 AM on August 20, 2004


Give me a dump to build a dream on
and my imagination will thrive upon that dump.
Sweetheart, I ask no more than this,
a dump to build a dream on.
posted by trondant at 9:14 AM on August 20, 2004


According to Michio Kaku, Earth is a humble "Type O" civilization:

"Currently, our energy output qualifies us for Type 0 status. We derive our energy not from harnessing global forces, but by burning dead plants (e.g. oil and coal). But already, we can see the seeds of a Type I civilization. We see the beginning of a planetary language (English), a planetary communication system (the Internet), a planetary economy (the forging of the European Union), and even the beginnings of a planetary culture (via mass media, TV, rock music, and Hollywood films)."
posted by sharksandwich at 9:28 AM on August 20, 2004


*head spinning after Faze whirls a big stinking mess into a shining pillar of societal virtue*

Whew!
posted by zoogleplex at 9:30 AM on August 20, 2004


So looks like this Minnesota womans UFO attractor actually worked!
posted by zeoslap at 9:35 AM on August 20, 2004


Our economy is so efficient, and our people so prosperous, that we can not only produce tons of waste, but that it just SITS here.

Or, just perhaps, the invisible hand of the market is not correct and your analysis of that waste stream is wrong?

I know, a shock to your head-space. - you could be wrong.

Perhaps Faze would like to give us his address so we'd know where to place our used-up prosperity?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:52 AM on August 20, 2004


We actually don't make much trash at all.

All the trash produced in the USA in the next 1,000 years will fit in an area 35 x 35 sq mi 200 ft tall (*). That's 0.03% of land owned by the USA. To cover all of the USA it will take 3,333,333 1/3 years. I do believe our sun explodes, or we crash into it, or something like that, first. So, yeah, you can now stop worrying about it.

(*) Source: Penn and Teller Bullshit, Season 2, Episode 5.
posted by shepd at 9:59 AM on August 20, 2004


adamrice: You're not looking hard enough.
posted by seanyboy at 10:05 AM on August 20, 2004


All the trash produced in the USA in the next 1,000 years will fit in an area 35 x 35 sq mi 200 ft tall

I wouldn't want to be in that NIMBY fight.
posted by gwint at 10:18 AM on August 20, 2004


Hey gwint, don't be bogarting that poo. That shit don't grow on trees.

Anyway. On to the truly important uses of this stuff:
Which band is going to be the first to make stage outfits out of it? Judas Priest is the obvious choice, but the Scorpions and Billy Idol are doubtless following this story closely. (And Spinal Tap or Gwar could reunite and rip them all off. Yeahhhhrrr!)
posted by chicobangs at 10:33 AM on August 20, 2004


We've already got Transparent Aluminum adamrice.
posted by Mitheral at 10:35 AM on August 20, 2004


shepd: I think the primary concern about waste is not the actual trash disposal (which is more of a local problem, who gets stuck with the dump), but rather the resource consumption. That's what the whole recycling thing is about.

I'd also love to see the breakdown on those stats, as Penn and Teller's show was not really what they wanted to be -- an honest skeptical show. Sometimes they did a great job, other times they got too caught up in their own axe grinding biases (I mean seriously, digging up the fringe global warming denying scientists, and instead of showing the other side with another scientist (from the vast majority of scientists), you show a bunch of hippies). I'd be curious what stats they used and if they accounted for potential population growth.
posted by malphigian at 10:37 AM on August 20, 2004


Shepd--that factoid sounds suspiciously like the one Reagan dredged up when he said that all the nuclear waste in the USA would fit under his desk. Technically, it was true--if all the low-level waste were reprocessed into an ingot of high-level waste, it would fit there. But we didn't and don't have the facilities to do that, so the point was entirely academic. The P&T factoid might be along the same lines.

Plus, there's the problem of trucking all that waste to the 35 sq-mi Mt Trashmore...
posted by adamrice at 10:53 AM on August 20, 2004


From zeoslap's link: She didn't have any success attracting UFO's, but she says she and her friends had a good time sitting around the campfire.

Well, isn't that what's really all about anyway?
{cracks open another Schlitz}
posted by Witty at 11:06 AM on August 20, 2004


Bugger. Can't we get back to cool new technologies or UFOs?

Pic of the Minnesota thing. (Completely useless, but hey.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:37 AM on August 20, 2004


There's still an uneasy question about the Minnesota incident:

Nobody (FAA, NWS, whoever) has owned up as to *whose* balloon it might have been. Nobody's felt the need to investigate. So, it seems that anyone can fly a big, untethered balloon over a densely-populated area of the U.S., a balloon that could be spreading or distributing lord-knows-what, and the government will just shrug its shoulders and say "beats us!"

This probably was just a harmless "oops" by someone upwind, but I'm not real happy with the casualness of the response.
posted by gimonca at 11:42 AM on August 20, 2004


>"We do not have the mobs of poor that ancient and many current societies have, picking over our middens."

Are you trolling or being earnest? I can practically taste your possibly willful ignorance from here, and it tastes like poop. You haven't actually visited a landfill or visited any city over 10,000 people, have you?

The only reason we don't have mobs of poor at the landfill is because they're not allowed to be there. And even still, you'll find people there with trucks grabbing appliances, furniture, bikes, and whatever they can fix up and sell.

Instead, these poor people wander our streets picking over our middens, eating out of dumpsters and much more.

Didn't we just have some dumpster diving link posted?

Besides, it's not the volume or the size of the landfill that's the problem. We can bury stuff and build golf courses, apartments and parks on it. It's been done.

The problem is the loss of resources and energy. The problem is the stinking, leaching goo that seeps into our groundwater tables and gets back into our water and food supply chain.

I have news for you. You ARE drinking and eating your own piss and shit. We all are. We always have been, and probably always will - at least until someone synthesizes food from, say fucking moon rocks.

*bonk* Hello? The Earth's biological, organic systems are closed systems*! Nothing we do here is magically swept beneath some magic carpet.

Imagine yourself encased in a glass ball. Now imagine nearly 7 billion people in that ball with you. Now imagine them all pissing and shitting with gusto in that glass ball with you.

Every waste breath laden with carbon, every piss laden with urea, it all has to be processed somewhere. Thankfully, microbes and insects naturally handle the brunt of the work. We do very little.

But then... Bugs Michael. You're eating bugs.


*Well, nearly completely closed. Bacteria, viruses, fungal spores and God-knows-what-else may or may not be able to survive the rigors of space, hitching rides on solar wind or meteorite impacts that fling debris up out of the gravity well after impact.
posted by loquacious at 12:12 PM on August 20, 2004


Imagine yourself encased in a glass ball. Now imagine nearly 7 billion people in that ball with you. Now imagine them all pissing and shitting with gusto in that glass ball with you.

There's a MetaFilter tagline in there somewhere.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:25 PM on August 20, 2004


I bet you could make a pretty damn sweet reusable condom with that there metal rubber, doncha know.
posted by DenOfSizer at 12:43 PM on August 20, 2004


Has anyone with a decent telescope looked at that Minnysoaty thing ?
posted by zeoslap at 12:46 PM on August 20, 2004


I could very well be wrong, but hasn't stuff like this been around for awhile now? The (metal) frame of an old pair of glasses of mine can be tied into a knot and untied without doing any permanent damage. I guess I don't know if it conducts electricity, though.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:48 PM on August 20, 2004


I have news for you. You ARE drinking and eating your own piss and shit. We all are. We always have been, and probably always will.

When fuel cells become more commonplace, I wonder if people who are paranoid about that sort of thing will start condensing and drinking the (water vapor) exhaust. That water has never passed as such through anyone's body, as it has been molecularly assembled from its constituent atoms. But y'know, who knows where those atoms have been?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:32 PM on August 20, 2004


They'll be used for homeopathic medicines, George. Because they're manufactured h2o molecules that have never been in contact with contanimating surfaces, they'll be ideal for picking up the harmonic vibrations of the homeopathic remedial herbs and whatnot. These new titrations will be orders of magnitude more effective than can be currently produced, as all the water molecules used in today's homeopathic medicines have been shaken to death in waterfalls, sewer plants, kidneys, and rainfall, and have surely come into contact with every conceivable protagonist molecule over their past twenty billion years of watery existence.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:20 PM on August 20, 2004


They're never going to be able to market that stuff with a name like "Metal Rubber"! Think of what will happen the first time it comes in contact with junior high school students:

"Huhuhuhuhuhuuh huhuuh, I've got a metal rubber huh huhuh hu hu hu huhuhuuh!"
posted by donkeymon at 7:01 PM on August 20, 2004


the harmonic vibrations of the homeopathic remedial herbs. molecules. shaken to death. contacting protagonist molecules.
BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
posted by quonsar at 7:24 PM on August 20, 2004


Hey, don't mock homeopathic medicine! It's real, don't you know? Just like Peter.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:39 PM on August 20, 2004


"It was possible to flex this stuff back and forth, even to wrinkle it, but you could not put a crease in it that would stay, nor could you dent it at all. I would almost have to describe it as a metal with plastic properties."

Yeah, it does sound kind of familiar. About as familiar as mylar:
Now part of this, they're like kite sticks, balsa wood, that was the framework for this target. And on that framework, those kite sticks, there were hieroglyphic-like marks, kind of purplish pink. And they looked kind of like Chinese writing or something. And this is what Marcel was pointing out to me. This was a fact that was on there. But I know damn well that it was not any foreign writing. And I didn't have any idea what it was until I finally met Moore, Prof. Moore from Socorro. And he explained to me that that was basically mylar, which was real new then, and they couldn't get it to stick where they wanted to. So they went to some toy store, of all places, and got some glue and they put the glue on those sticks. And then they put this, I say mylar, whatever it was, it was tinfoil material, and stretched it across, and that made it stick to those sticks. But then anyway, when it started coming apart, it had seeped through and made these impressions.
posted by NortonDC at 8:16 PM on August 20, 2004


wow, how in the world did this thread turn into such a trollfest, i mean seriously, i never thought a cool product like conductive non-fatiguing plastic/metal would turn into a overburdened discussion of humanities inhumanity.

behold the (un)power of metafilter
posted by NGnerd at 9:22 PM on August 20, 2004


I'd still like to know what this stuff is all about, what it's claimed qualities are and all of that. From what I can read in the linked article, this stuff doesn't seem to have any of the purported properties of 'alien tin foil' that I have seen.
posted by moonbiter at 11:45 PM on August 29, 2004


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