History Main / WorthlessYellowRocks

18th Sep '17 12:24:20 PM Kooshmeister
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* In ''Literature/StormOfSteel'', UsefulNotes/WorldWarI German soldier Ernst Jünger finds an incredibly valuable first edition of ''Literature/DonQuixote'' in a partially destroyed French house. Being fond of literature, he is initially excited about his discovery until he realizes that the book is useless to him as a soldier in the middle of a war. Comparing himself to "Robinson Crusoe and the lump of gold," he reluctantly leaves the book behind.
12th Sep '17 1:21:02 PM WanderingBrowser
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** Zigzagged in the Creator/CarlBarks story "Land Beneath The Ground"; at the story's climax, the Terries and the Firmies proceed to send Scrooge's money back up to him, having inadvertently cracked open his moneybin with their last earthquake, because they think it's worthless. However, their reasoning as to ''why'' it's worthless is because all they know about the surface is gleaned from overheard radio talk shows; they've misunderstood the cash prizes offered on such shows as indicating that surfacers hold money in contempt. This is averted entirely in the ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'' adaptation of the story, "Earth Quack", where they know full well what money is worth to the surfacers, they just feel guilty about accidentally stealing it.

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** Zigzagged in the Creator/CarlBarks story "Land Beneath The Ground"; at the story's climax, the Terries and the Firmies proceed to send Scrooge's money back up to him, having inadvertently cracked open his moneybin with their last earthquake, because they think it's worthless. However, their reasoning as to ''why'' it's worthless is because all they know about the surface is gleaned from overheard radio talk shows; they've misunderstood the cash prizes offered on such shows as indicating that surfacers hold money in contempt. This is averted entirely in the ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'' adaptation of the story, "Earth Quack", where they know full well what money is worth to the surfacers, they just feel guilty about accidentally stealing it.


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** Subverted in the episode "Earth Quack", an adaptation of the Creator/CarlBarks story "Land Beneath The Ground" from the original comics: the Terra Firmies send Scrooge's money back up into the money bin after their earthquake cracks it open not because they don't think it's valuable, but because they ''know'' it's valuable -- they didn't ''mean'' to steal it in the first place, so they felt guilty and made sure to give it back.
12th Sep '17 6:00:36 AM jormis29
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* Water Elementals in J. Scott Savage's ''Literature/Farworld'' series place value on an object because of its craftsmanship. An old boot holds equal value to an expensive necklace (or at least, they are judged against each other based on craftsmanship, and not the obvious value), where a lump of gold is just a shiny rock. While this much is understandable, they go on to confound the other characters as well as the reader when they show that they would rather throw a 'valuable' item back into the water than give it to someone without compensation, regardless of whether or not they were ever going to keep the objects.

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* Water Elementals in J. Scott Savage's ''Literature/Farworld'' ''Literature/{{Farworld}}'' series place value on an object because of its craftsmanship. An old boot holds equal value to an expensive necklace (or at least, they are judged against each other based on craftsmanship, and not the obvious value), where a lump of gold is just a shiny rock. While this much is understandable, they go on to confound the other characters as well as the reader when they show that they would rather throw a 'valuable' item back into the water than give it to someone without compensation, regardless of whether or not they were ever going to keep the objects.
7th Sep '17 2:14:45 PM Dijini
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* Water Elementals in J. Scott Savage's ''Literature/FarWorld'' series place value on an object because of its craftsmanship. An old boot holds equal value to an expensive necklace (or at least, they are judged against each other based on craftsmanship, and not the obvious value), where a lump of gold is just a shiny rock. While this much is understandable, they go on to confound the other characters as well as the reader when they show that they would rather throw a 'valuable' item back into the water than give it to someone without compensation, regardless of whether or not they were ever going to keep the objects.

to:

* Water Elementals in J. Scott Savage's ''Literature/FarWorld'' ''Literature/Farworld'' series place value on an object because of its craftsmanship. An old boot holds equal value to an expensive necklace (or at least, they are judged against each other based on craftsmanship, and not the obvious value), where a lump of gold is just a shiny rock. While this much is understandable, they go on to confound the other characters as well as the reader when they show that they would rather throw a 'valuable' item back into the water than give it to someone without compensation, regardless of whether or not they were ever going to keep the objects.
23rd Aug '17 10:07:40 AM jjnonken
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* PlayedStraight and [[InvertedTrope inverted]] with the Modsva in Creator/PeterFHamilton's ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy''. The Modsva live in massive "disk cities" made out of old asteroids that survived their sun's expansion into a Red Supergiant. Since all the system's planets where destroyed, and every last bit of the original asteroids where mined out and used to build the disk cities, the only way the Modsva, lacking FTL travel, can gain new resources is to mine their sun for hydrogen and then use fusion to transform it into other elements. Since Iron is the heaviest element that can be created without a supernova, it's considered the most valuable, with one character proclaiming that an FTL drive would be worth more than "The sun's mass in iron". However, since carbon is much easier to create through fussion, and the Modsva have the industrial capacity to convert it into diamond, it's commonly used in a number of Modsva technologies, with Iron being limited to the upper class.

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* PlayedStraight and [[InvertedTrope inverted]] with the Modsva in Creator/PeterFHamilton's ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy''. The Modsva live in massive "disk cities" made out of old asteroids that survived their sun's expansion into a Red Supergiant. Since all the system's planets where destroyed, and every last bit of the original asteroids where mined out and used to build the disk cities, the only way the Modsva, lacking FTL travel, can gain new resources is to mine their sun for hydrogen and then use fusion to transform it into other elements. Since Iron is the heaviest element that can be created without a supernova, it's considered the most valuable, with one character proclaiming that an FTL drive would be worth more than "The sun's mass in iron". However, since carbon is much easier to create through fussion, fusion, and the Modsva have the industrial capacity to convert it into diamond, it's commonly used in a number of Modsva technologies, with Iron being limited to the upper class.



* The exact details are a bit memory fuzzed, but a Modern Marvels about chocolate gives us this: Chocolate was once extremely expensive, and extremely secret, the Spanish kept its existence a secret from the rest of Europe for decades. This came to its logical conclusion when some pirates, having captured a Spanish merchant ship and finding it was full of "dried sheep droppings" burned it and its cargo at a time when cocoa beans were worth their weight in silver.

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* The exact details are a bit memory fuzzed, but a Modern Marvels about chocolate gives us this: Chocolate was once extremely expensive, and extremely secret, secret; the Spanish kept its existence a secret from the rest of Europe for decades. This came to its logical conclusion when some pirates, having captured a Spanish merchant ship and finding it was full of "dried sheep droppings" burned it and its cargo at a time when cocoa beans were worth their weight in silver.



* Speaking of UsefulNotes/WW2: The one-cent Penny is struck from a zinc and copper alloy, both common metals, and considered worthless outside of pocket change, befitting its status as the lowest-value, lowest-denomination unit of the currency. But, in 1943, the demands on copper for use in component parts for the war effort made it so valuable as a strategic resource that the US Mint made all it's pennies from plain ''steel'' that year. While steel was of course itself an important component of ships and tanks, the American steel industry at the time was more than capable of meeting that particular demand with plenty to spare.[[note]]The scrap metal drives to "support the war effort" were purely a morale-building exercise so that every civilian, even the elderly and children, could feel like they were doing their part to help. Not one ounce of donated bronze, iron or steel was actually used in the making of war materiel, and in fact little of it was even melted down at all until after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was over.[[/note]]

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* Speaking of UsefulNotes/WW2: The one-cent Penny is struck from a zinc and copper alloy, both common metals, and considered worthless outside of pocket change, befitting its status as the lowest-value, lowest-denomination unit of the currency. But, in 1943, the demands on copper for use in component parts for the war effort made it so valuable as a strategic resource that the US Mint made all it's its pennies from plain ''steel'' that year. While steel was of course itself an important component of ships and tanks, the American steel industry at the time was more than capable of meeting that particular demand with plenty to spare.[[note]]The scrap metal drives to "support the war effort" were purely a morale-building exercise so that every civilian, even the elderly and children, could feel like they were doing their part to help. Not one ounce of donated bronze, iron or steel was actually used in the making of war materiel, and in fact little of it was even melted down at all until after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was over.[[/note]]
19th Aug '17 2:27:17 PM Whitewings
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* The ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats'' find gold in one episode, but discard it as too soft and too heavy to use for anything they can think of. Wouldn't you know it, they need the gold to help repower a fire spirit who can help Lion-O repair his WreckedWeapon. This one's weird; it showcases the cats' non-materialism, but both Panthro and Tigra could be expected to know enough about electronics to come up with something to do with it. Cheetara did keep some of it because it was pretty, though. The rest got dumped.

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* The ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats'' find gold (which they've never encountered before) in one episode, but discard it as and Panthro says it's "soft, pulls apart too soft and too heavy to use for anything they can think of. easily. Has a low melting point. Won't react with other metals or chemicals. It's just... junk." Wouldn't you know it, they need the gold to help repower a fire spirit who can help Lion-O repair his WreckedWeapon. This one's weird; it showcases the cats' non-materialism, but both either Panthro and or Tigra could be expected to know enough about electronics to come up with something to do with it.keep some around for further experimentation. Cheetara did keep some of it because it was pretty, though. The rest got dumped.
16th Aug '17 10:26:23 PM EverybodyGetUp20
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** The same BeachEpisode had resident moron Cosmo unearth a ''Honus Wagner baseball card'' under the sand of Dimmsdale Beach as a crab and then discard it as junk, breaking it in half with his claw. Sure, it sounds humorous, but it could be interpreted as a veritable mule kick to the testes for baseball card collectors viewing that particular episode.

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** The same BeachEpisode had resident moron Cosmo unearth a ''Honus ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T206_Honus_Wagner Honus Wagner baseball card'' card]]'' under the sand of Dimmsdale Beach as a crab and then discard it as junk, breaking it in half with his claw. Sure, it sounds humorous, but it could be interpreted as a veritable mule kick to the testes for baseball card collectors viewing that particular episode.
12th Aug '17 10:37:44 PM Ryulong
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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'': The Wong family long ago bought land off the native Martians (who didn't have a concept of ownership) for a single bead. Generations later, the Martians, thinking they'd been scammed, exact revenge on the Wongs, but it turns out that the bead was actually a gigantic, inconceivably expensive diamond. Of course, the modern Martians actually ''do'' have a concept of ownership...

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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'': The An ancestor of the Wong family long ago bought land off traded the native entire western hemisphere of Mars from the Native Martians (who didn't have a concept of ownership) for a single bead. Generations later, the Martians, thinking they'd been scammed, exact revenge on the Wongs, but it turns out and in the process try to kill Kif with the bead, only for the Planet Express crew to remark that the bead was actually "bead" is in fact a gigantic, inconceivably expensive diamond. Of course, The chief of the modern Martians actually ''do'' believed that their people had been duped due to their lack of a concept of ownership, and when asked if they would return the diamond refuses because they ''now do'' have a concept of ownership...ownership and wealth.
25th Jul '17 1:33:51 PM Caps-luna
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*** Its worth mentioning that they thought they were firing low purity silver ore, which looks similar. Smelting and shipping operations in Siberia were so expensive the low purity ore of anything just wasn't worth anything.
24th Jul '17 1:11:35 AM BreadBull
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* In ''Franchise/StarTrek'', gold-pressed latinum is a universal currency outside TheFederation, which is officially a [[MarySuetopia cashless society]] (though unofficially it's the universal currency ''inside'' the Federation as well). However, the gold itself is worthless -- the [[{{Unobtainium}} latinum]] sandwiched within the gold is the source of its value. Ordinary latinum cannot be [[MatterReplicator replicated]], and because it's liquid at room temperature (like mercury) and even a small drop represents a considerable sum, it's encased in gold to make convenient (and shiny) units of currency. An episode of ''Deep Space 9'' featured Quark falling victim to a con game where he ended up in possession of a large amount of valueless, hollowed-out bars of 24k gold. Of course, being the [[MagnificentBastard crafty and greedy sonuvabitch]] that he is, the Ferengi promptly {{subvert|edTrope}}s this by remembering that ''other'', more primitive races in the galaxy would consider the gold valuable, and tries to convince the guy who got him caught up in the scheme in the first place to help him barter with said races.
** Of course, ''Franchise/StarTrek'' isn't completely consistent; there are episodes of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', where the replicators are introduced, in which gold is of considerable worth to [[ProudMerchantRace Ferengi]] (chalk it up to EarlyInstallmentWeirdness, remember that "gold-pressed latinum" as a ''concept'' didn't exist yet).
*** Not entirely a case of EarlyInstallmentWeirdness. In an episode of ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine [=DS9=]]]'', two years before Quark calls gold worthless, he gets very excited about gold when he, Rom, Nog, and, Odo get sent back in time to Roswell, NM.[[note]]But as he mentioned above, gold ''is'' valuable to primitive cultures. Quark has no idea what "dollars" are or how to measure their worth. At least gold is tangible to a space trader.[[/note]]
---> '''Quark:''' Gold is good!
*** Another Deep Space Nine episode had Quark try to get a bar patron who was sick with an illness that gave him aphasia and hadn't paid his tab to pay him with gold.
---> '''Quark:''' You gold owe me!
*** An ''[[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Enterprise]]'' episode with Ferengi also has them getting excited over pure gold, even though they know what gold-pressed latinum is.
** The detail that combadges are partly made of actual gold became useful in "Time's Arrow" when Data was sent to 19th-century Earth; he was able to use his as his initial stake in a game of poker. [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard Which frankly isn't fair, as Data is an emotionless android that can count all the cards and has the ultimate poker face]], but as the [[HustlingTheMark gamblers were looking to basically take others' money]], it works out....
*** Not just that, the gamblers let Data deal, and it was established a few episodes earlier in "Cause and Effect" that he can stack the deck faster than the human eye can detect.
** ''[[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Enterprise]]'' inverted the trope in one episode. In order to get their hands on the formula for some AppliedPhlebotinum, Archer gave an alien merchant a selection of Earth spices, presumably from the kitchen. While spices aren't exactly worthless on Earth (as Trip said, "on our world, [[SeriousBusiness wars were fought over these]]"), Archer could probably have replaced the sample set for about 50 bucks. But to the alien merchant, they were exotic spices from a distant world, which he could probably have sold for significantly more than the value of the formula he traded.
*** Assuming none of them turn out to be [[FridgeHorror poisonous to alien biology...]]
** In another episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', the crew comes across some 20th Century citizens who've been cryogenically frozen. Among them is a financier who at the end of the episode has trouble dealing with the knowledge that his trade (and as someone who always pursued wealth, his purpose in life) has become meaningless.

to:

* In ''Franchise/StarTrek'', gold-pressed latinum is a universal currency outside TheFederation, which is officially a [[MarySuetopia cashless society]] (though unofficially it's the universal currency ''inside'' the Federation as well). However, the gold itself is worthless -- the [[{{Unobtainium}} latinum]] sandwiched within the gold is the source of its value. Ordinary latinum cannot be [[MatterReplicator replicated]], and because it's liquid at room temperature (like mercury) and even a small drop represents a considerable sum, it's encased in gold to make convenient (and shiny) units of currency. An episode of ''Deep Space 9'' featured Quark falling victim to a con game where he ended up in possession of a large amount of valueless, hollowed-out bars of 24k gold. Of course, being the [[MagnificentBastard crafty and greedy sonuvabitch]] that he is, the Ferengi promptly {{subvert|edTrope}}s this by remembering that ''other'', more primitive races in the galaxy would consider the gold valuable, and tries to convince the guy who got him caught up in the scheme in the first place to help him barter with said races.
** Of course, ''Franchise/StarTrek'' isn't completely consistent; there are episodes of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', where the replicators are introduced, in which gold is of considerable worth to [[ProudMerchantRace Ferengi]] (chalk it up to EarlyInstallmentWeirdness, remember that "gold-pressed latinum" as a ''concept'' didn't exist yet).
*** Not entirely a case of EarlyInstallmentWeirdness. In an episode of ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine [=DS9=]]]'', two years before Quark calls gold worthless, he gets very excited about gold when he, Rom, Nog, and, Odo get sent back in time to Roswell, NM.[[note]]But as he mentioned above, gold ''is'' valuable to primitive cultures. Quark has no idea what "dollars" are or how to measure their worth. At least gold is tangible to a space trader.[[/note]]
---> '''Quark:''' Gold is good!
*** Another Deep Space Nine episode had Quark try to get a bar patron who was sick with an illness that gave him aphasia and hadn't paid his tab to pay him with gold.
---> '''Quark:''' You gold owe me!
*** An ''[[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Enterprise]]'' episode with Ferengi also has them getting excited over pure gold, even though they know what gold-pressed latinum is.
** The detail that combadges are partly made of actual gold became useful in "Time's Arrow" when Data was sent to 19th-century Earth; he was able to use his as his initial stake in a game of poker. [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard Which frankly isn't fair, as Data is an emotionless android that can count all the cards and has the ultimate poker face]], but as the [[HustlingTheMark gamblers were looking to basically take others' money]], it works out....
*** Not just that, the gamblers let Data deal, and it was established a few episodes earlier in "Cause and Effect" that he can stack the deck faster than the human eye can detect.
** ''[[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Enterprise]]'' inverted the trope in one episode. In order to get their hands on the formula for some AppliedPhlebotinum, Archer gave an alien merchant a selection of Earth spices, presumably from the kitchen. While spices aren't exactly worthless on Earth (as Trip said, "on our world, [[SeriousBusiness wars were fought over these]]"), Archer could probably have replaced the sample set for about 50 bucks. But to the alien merchant, they were exotic spices from a distant world, which he could probably have sold for significantly more than the value of the formula he traded.
*** Assuming none of them turn out to be [[FridgeHorror poisonous to alien biology...]]
currency.
** In another one episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', the crew comes across some 20th Century citizens who've been cryogenically frozen. Among them is a financier who at the end of the episode has trouble dealing with the knowledge that his trade (and as someone who always pursued wealth, his purpose in life) has become meaningless.


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** An episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' featured Quark falling victim to a con game where he ended up in possession of a large amount of valueless, hollowed-out bars of 24k gold. Of course, being the [[MagnificentBastard crafty and greedy sonuvabitch]] that he is, the Ferengi promptly {{subvert|edTrope}}s this by remembering that ''other'', more primitive races in the galaxy would consider the gold valuable, and tries to convince the guy who got him caught up in the scheme in the first place to help him barter with said races.
** ''Franchise/StarTrek'' isn't completely consistent with this though; there have been episodes in ''The Next Generation'', ''Deep Space Nine'' and ''Enterprise'' where gold is of considerable worth to the [[ProudMerchantRace Ferengi]]. Partly this is EarlyInstallmentWeirdness as "gold-pressed latinum" as a ''concept'' didn't exist yet; but partly because gold [[PracticalCurrency does have a fair few uses]] other than being shiny. At the very least it's more useful than the paper and cloth that modern banknotes are made from, anyway.
** ''[[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Enterprise]]'' inverted the trope in one episode. In order to get their hands on the formula for some AppliedPhlebotinum, Archer gave an alien merchant a selection of Earth spices, presumably from the kitchen. While spices aren't exactly worthless on Earth (as Trip said, "on our world, [[SeriousBusiness wars were fought over these]]"), Archer could probably have replaced the sample set for about 50 bucks. But to the alien merchant, they were exotic spices from a distant world, which he could probably have sold for significantly more than the value of the formula he traded.
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