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October 18, 2005 2:28 PM   Subscribe

How do we know he didn't invent the thing?
posted by kafziel (18 comments total)

 
Transparent Aluminum!
posted by devo at 2:31 PM on October 18, 2005


Nice Star Trek reference.
posted by Karmakaze at 2:32 PM on October 18, 2005


Last good Star Trek adventure, ever.
posted by johngoren at 2:34 PM on October 18, 2005


We will all miss Mr. Scott.

How soon until they can get this armor on a plane so we can have Wonder Woman planes?
posted by fenriq at 2:34 PM on October 18, 2005


Doh, we all miss Mr. Scott. Dang!
posted by fenriq at 2:35 PM on October 18, 2005


Transparent aluminium's been around for a long time - sapphires [Al(2)O(3)].

Some high end watches with "scratch proof" faces have (artificial) sapphire faces instead of glass. Artificial sapphire as starship viewports in hard sci-fi predates Star Trek, but I guess Star Trek IV popularized the idea of transparent aluminium.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 2:45 PM on October 18, 2005


Dangit, I guess I don't know jack about Star Trek. I thought you were referencing Troy Hurtubise and his angel light or something. Hardy Har.
posted by almostcool at 2:54 PM on October 18, 2005


Old George Carlin joke, circa 1960's: Why do we need to build a new spy plane? Just spread some wreckage and say the fucker went down!
posted by bardic at 3:03 PM on October 18, 2005


Communicators -> Flip phones
View screens -> iChat
Tricorders -> TR-107
Starship Enterprise -> Space Shuttle Enterprise

Now, transparent aluminium. Life has a strange way of imitating art sometimes. Or at least hokey old sci-fi tv shows.
posted by Gamblor at 3:05 PM on October 18, 2005


How do we know that Scotty, in another adventure (ST:TOS:TSE), did not also offer up artificial sapphire. Who knows, and as he was fond of saying, "You say alumina, I say aluminium".

If you want to read a paradox or corundum from Wikipedia:

"As a result of this paradox, transparent aluminum is never actually invented by anyone. It was "invented" by the owner of Plexicorp, Dr. Nichols, in the 20th century after he got the formula from Scotty; Scotty then learned the formula from his knowledge of 23rd century engineering that built on Dr. Nichols's 20th century invention. No one ever actually invented transparent aluminum from scratch."


Can't wait for the holodecks.
posted by notcostello at 3:36 PM on October 18, 2005


Soo... Scotty created a corundum conundrum
posted by hatsix at 3:48 PM on October 18, 2005


In a June 2004demonstration, an ALONtm test pieces held up to both a .30 caliber Russian M-44 sniper rifle and a .50 caliber Browning Sniper Rifle with armor piercing bullets.

Browning doesn't make sniper rifles, but I'm guessing they're referring to the Browning machine gun cartridge. Which, by the way, is awesome in the literal sense.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:49 PM on October 18, 2005


The closed-loop business, where an artifact is brought from the future and never actually invented, is swiped from P. Schuyler Miller's 1944 story "As Never Was" (the OED's earliest cite for "alternative universe"!).
posted by languagehat at 5:14 PM on October 18, 2005


The closed-loop business, where an artifact is brought from the future and never actually invented, is swiped from P. Schuyler Miller's 1944 story "As Never Was"

This idea figures strongly in Heinlein's By His Bootstraps, apparently first published in 1941.
posted by jlub at 5:44 PM on October 18, 2005


ALONtm is virtually scratch resistant

WTF? Human skin is virtually scratch resistant. Lotto tickets are virtually scratch resistant.
posted by furtive at 8:24 PM on October 18, 2005


Human skin is virtually scratch resistant. Lotto tickets are virtually scratch resistant.

Yeah, but our troops already tried armoring themselves with skin, and it's not working out so well.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:33 PM on October 18, 2005


First, perhaps he was just using "shorthand" when he omitted oxide from transparent aluminum. At the risk of sticking my neck out, transparent aluminum oxide is the same (similar) as transparent alumina. Or similarly, although not alumina, omitted oxynitride from the end. They were in a rush after all.

The only problem though is that the first patent for the oxide (3,941,719) was filed in 1973 and for the oxynitride (4,520,116) in 1984.

Of course, there is always ST:TSV. Who knows how many other timelines were changed that we don't know about?

Second, there still is a couple of hundred years to prove him (or whatever spirit he chanelling) right. According to Andre Bormanis, a science advisor to some of the franchises, it is.

Even Data, who is never wrong, refers to it when he says: "Curious. The transparent aluminum alloy of this window is exhibiting a pattern of transient electrical currents". (Sea 4; Ep 99).

Third, what about cryomilled aluminum? Is there a possibility there? Maybe by the 23rd century, this stuff will be transparent?

Fourth, perhaps he is refering to a synthetic metal that is colloquially refered to as transparent aluminum in the 23rd century?

Fifth, there is always the alternative timeline thing. I mean do you remember the Eugenic wars? Or if Star Trek: Phase II had gone ahead?

Sixth, I need to get a life, but as an interesting tidbit, The computer that Scotty uses to show transparent aluminum was originally going to be an Amiga, but Commodore would only provide a computer if they bought it. Apple was willing to loan them the Mac. Look here, at the bottom of the page.

I think we need that guy from the 29th century to figure it out.

Regardless, what other set of etertainement franchises has something like this written about it, solely about the minerals referenced in the shows/movies/books?
posted by notcostello at 1:19 AM on October 19, 2005


"How do we know he didn't invent the thing?" - best fpp ever just cos its a geeky Star Trek reference.

(um not that I like Star Trek erm....)

(I always did question them flying round the sun with the Whales on board and managing time travel...)
posted by 13twelve at 3:33 AM on October 19, 2005


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