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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

From YKTTW:
Why have a second trope page for Applied Phlebotinum with a different name?

Idle Dandy: This week's House subverted what must be a trope: the metal that can't be identified by the lab, suggesting that it must be extraterrestrial. Trouble is, the only example I can think of is from Port Charles. Did they maybe pull this with Scully's chip on The X-Files?

Ungvichian: Winx Club did a variant with Tecna saying that the obelisk she was facing wasn't even made of matter.

Ununnilium: I know I've seen this with something made of an element that isn't even on our periodic table...

LTR: Sounds like it may be an attribute of Green Rocks , any laboratory attempt to find out what they're made of reveals that they're made of, well Green Rocks. They're elements we haven't discovered yet, as opposed to some exotic formation of carbon or silicon that we haven't yet seen or can only produce in the tiniest ammounts in perfect lab conditions?

Idle Dandy: That wording reminded me of the related trope of the non-carbon-based life form. Really the point of all of these things is to establish that something is so different it must be from an entirely other place or time. Rarely does the novel substance ever do anything or behave in any novel way. It's more like a passport sticker from outer space.

So, if I do it up, where should it go and what should I call it? I could be boring and go with Cant Identify The Metal. Blah...

Looney Toons: Unknownium?

Ununnilium: I like Unknownium.

Robert: Unobtainium is the standard SF fandom term for impossible materials, though they're typically less overtly magical than Green Rocks. If you want your starship to be able to hit a planet at ludicrous speed and bounce off unscratched, you build it out of pure unobtainium. It's also essential for a lot of mad science devices.

Is this one trope or two? Also, what about Mysterium? Unknownium sounds a little clumsy, with three consequitive n's and similar vowels.

Looney Toons: Unobtainium! I knew there was a term I was circling around but couldn't quite remember. Consider my suggestion of Unknownium demoted in its favor.

Ununnilium: This seems like two different tropes: the mysterious, unidentifiable metal that proves extraterrestrial activity, and the fantasy supermaterial that makes the hero's Applied Phlebotinum gadgets possible. The two occasionally intersect, but stuff like adamantium and the Star Trek examples are only the latter.

Idle Dandy: I see that. The one I was going for was the unidentified metal, but I think the term is more traditionally used to mean the other thing. I'm a splitter, so I'm all for two entries.

Ununnilium: Indeed, though I have no idea what to call it.

Robert: Not of This Earth for the unidentifiable metals? That could also cover biological materials such as bits of dead alien. There is a lot of overlap, aliens frequently do seem to use low-grade unobtainium, but splitting would make sense.

Ununnilium: Makes sense. I've actually seen Unobtanium used as an Alternate Company Equivalent for adamantium before, so I'd like to see that meaning stay in here.

Robert: Adamantium is one of the more common types of Unobtainium, so that would go on the Unobtainium page - 'The name Unobtainium is sometimes used as a Lampshade Hanging, or as an Alternate Company Equivalent for specific types of Unobtainium, such as Adamantium.'

Ununnilium: Well, "sometimes" as in "only once". It was in this one RPG, don't remember the name...

YYZ: The standard Unobtainium substitute in anime is Orichalcon (spelling varies). I've heard it referenced in series as far apart as Dirty Pair and The Slayers, so something must be going on - perhaps it's worth a reference.

Red Shoe: Also the "Orichalcos" meteor stones in Yu-Gi-Oh!.

Scifantasy: That's anime for you: grabbing legend and running with it. Orichalcum is the Mineral of Atlantis.


Big T: I added an example from the second Spider-Man movie. I'm not sure if it would also apply in the comic, which I guess would take priority, as it's been around longer.

Joey Jojo: um... Big T you did watch Spider-Man 2 right? Real-life Tritium is used in control nuclear fusion. which is exactly what doc Octo does with it.


Nornagest: Edited this —

Technically Unobtainium in that ZPM's work off the physics of Zero Point Energy, a currently impossible usable energy source (though exists).

IIRC, there are several ways of approaching the equations which imply vacuum (zero-point) energy. Some of them give large or infinite values for vacuum energy per unit volume; others give small (but nonzero) values. Which are correct is currently unknown; personally, however, I'd bet on the boring options.

PuppetChaos : About the Megaman X example and the robots having DNA... isn't it the case, that in the MMX series, the robots are biomechanical, which would mean they would probably have DNA of some sort? My memory's a little hazy on that.