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* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermat%27s_Last_Theorem Fermat's Last Theorem]]. In 1637, he stated tantalizingly in his commentary for a book that he had figured out a proof for a theorem, but there was not enough space in the margin for him to explain. He never did, and left no notes about it. It took 358 years of stumped mathematicians until it was finally figured out, in 1995. (It was solved using mathematics which hadn't been developed yet during Fermat's time and goes on for hundreds of pages, leading some to speculate that Fermat may have just decided to leave something to annoy future generations, or that he realized his proof wasn't correct, as there is a nearly-correct proof that is short.)

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* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermat%27s_Last_Theorem Fermat's Last Theorem]].UsefulNotes/FermatsLastTheorem. In 1637, he stated tantalizingly in his commentary for a book that he had figured out a proof for a theorem, but there was not enough space in the margin for him to explain. He never did, and left no notes about it. It took 358 years of stumped mathematicians until it was finally figured out, in 1995. (It was solved using mathematics which hadn't been developed yet during Fermat's time and goes on for hundreds of pages, leading some to speculate that Fermat may have just decided to leave something to annoy future generations, or that he realized his proof wasn't correct, as there is a nearly-correct proof that is short.)

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* Averted in ''Film/MastersOfTheUniverse''. Skeletor and Evil-Lyn assume that they have the only Cosmic Key, a portal-creating device, after she stole it from Gwildor, but he had a prototype model that he hid from her, thus allowing the Eternians to have a fighting chance of defeating Skeletor.

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** In ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'', Eggman claims the Egg Dragoon that Werehog Sonic fights is a prototype and that the finished product would be much stronger. Indeed, later versions in ''VideoGame/SonicGenerations'' and ''VideoGame/SonicForces'' prove to be much tougher.
** On the subject of ''Forces'', a Zig Zag of this trope is what leads to the heroes' victory. Eggman made prototype copies of the Phantom Ruby, then tries to make sure those copies are destroyed. Infinite losing one while battling Silver is what allows the heroes to save the day.


*** The reason that T-45d power armor (The stuff the East Coast Brotherhood uses) was considered inferior to later models was because the suits had a couple of drawbacks: They're servo systems weren't quite up to scratch so they were bulky and hard to move around in (represented in game as a -2 penalty to your agility); had problems with heat dissipation; Various electronic and mechanical subsystems of the armor were exposed on the outside of the casing, making it far more susceptible to damage (the condition deteriorates faster than Enclave armor); and the suits also burnt through energy cells like a gas-guzzling SUV (thankfully, you don't have to worry about that issue).

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*** The reason that T-45d power armor (The stuff the East Coast Brotherhood uses) was considered inferior to later models was because the suits had a couple of drawbacks: They're Their servo systems weren't quite up to scratch so they were bulky and hard to move around in (represented in game as a -2 penalty to your agility); had problems with heat dissipation; Various electronic and mechanical subsystems of the armor were exposed on the outside of the casing, making it far more susceptible to damage (the condition deteriorates faster than Enclave armor); and the suits also burnt through energy cells like a gas-guzzling SUV (thankfully, you don't have to worry about that issue).

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** Averted when it came to the Delta Flyer. Tom Paris, making the original Delta Flyer, already had plans for it. Thus, when the shuttle was destroyed as bait for the Borg, they just built a second one and made it even better.


* In Wells' original ''Literature/TheInvisibleMan'' the hero does keep detailed notes, but after his death they are kept by his landlord who has dreams of recreating the formula for himself: but (says the author) he never will, because he is too stupid to realise that it takes learning he doesn't have. (''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' implies that their Invisible Man is that landlord who finally worked it out.)

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* In Wells' original ''Literature/TheInvisibleMan'' the hero does keep detailed notes, but after his death they are kept by his landlord who has dreams of recreating the formula for himself: but (says the author) he never will, because he is too stupid to realise that it takes learning he doesn't have. (''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' implies that their Invisible Man is that landlord who finally worked it out.)


* In ''Discworld/TheLastHero'' by Leslie Charteris, the Saint engineers the assassination of a weapons designer who had created a sort of death cloud device. However, we do not find out what happened to a prototype death cloud machine seen earlier in the novel, nor what, if anything, the Saint did with the plans for the machine.

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* In ''Discworld/TheLastHero'' ''The Last Hero'' by Leslie Charteris, the Saint engineers the assassination of a weapons designer who had created a sort of death cloud device. However, we do not find out what happened to a prototype death cloud machine seen earlier in the novel, nor what, if anything, the Saint did with the plans for the machine.


*** The [[WorldTree Two Trees]] of [[PhysicalHeaven Valinor]], the Trees of Light, were a unique creation of the Vala Yavannah, miraculous even by angelic standards. After Ungoliantë and BigBad Morgoth killed them, she knew she could never again make anything like them.

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*** The [[WorldTree Two Trees]] of [[PhysicalHeaven Valinor]], the Trees of Light, were a unique creation of the Vala Yavannah, miraculous even by angelic standards. After Ungoliantë and BigBad Morgoth killed them, she knew she could never again make anything like them. As the Silmarils were created with their light, they could be used to heal the trees, but doing so would destroy them. See the next entry for why that is a problem.



*** This even applies to Fëanor himself -- he was imbued with such a lifeforce that his mother could never have another child. Having children is much more physically and spiritually draining for elves than for humans, but even so Fëanor's birth was unique. His mother later ''died'', which should be impossible for elves. And his own uniqueness is the reason he was capable of making things like Silmarils.

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*** This even applies to Fëanor himself -- he was imbued with such a lifeforce that his mother could never have another child. Having children is much more physically and spiritually draining for elves than for humans, but even so Fëanor's birth was unique. His mother later ''died'', ''died'' '''''in heaven''''', which should be impossible for elves. And his own uniqueness is the reason he was capable of making things like Silmarils.Silmarils.
*** The white ships of the Teleri are said to be finest ships ever created. The Teleri refuse to loan them to Fëanor (in part because they know he's doing the wrong thing), explicitly stating they are as valuable to them as gems are to the Noldor,, and that they will never be able to recreate vessels such as them. Fëanor then kills them and steals the ships, and after using them burns them. This is one of the many things that he's ultimately damned for.


* Discussed in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' with Varric's crossbow [[ICallItVera Bianca]], which is quite literally a machine gun or automatic rifle compared to the other bows and crossbows in the universe. Played straight in the sense that Bianca ''is'' unique and one-of-a-kind, however Varric is still asked why her creator did not try to make more. Varric's answer is, to put it simply, if every army had an arsenal of Biancas to tote around, battles would be a whole lot bloodier. What he ''tells'' people is that the creator (who's identity varies with the telling) could never figure out why his worked and their other attempts failed.

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* Discussed in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' with Varric's crossbow [[ICallItVera Bianca]], which is quite literally a machine gun or automatic rifle compared to the other bows and crossbows in the universe. Played straight in the sense that Bianca ''is'' unique and one-of-a-kind, however Varric is still asked why her creator did not try to make more. Varric's answer is, to put it simply, if every army had an arsenal of Biancas to tote around, battles would be a whole lot bloodier. What he ''tells'' people is that the creator (who's (whose identity varies with the telling) could never figure out why his worked and their other attempts failed.


** In the 50th anniversary special ''[[Recap/DoctorWho50thASTheDayOfTheDoctor The Day of the Doctor]]'', the plot revolves around the Doctor's intention to use a LostSuperweapon, the Moment, the end the Time War by destroying ''all'' of the combatants. The Time Lords had not previously dusted it off and used it on the Daleks because its designers gave a sentient, telepathic user interface with the right to pass judgment on anyone that actually used it. They were afraid of what judgment it would render on them. Simply building another one without the artificial intelligence failsafe is not an idea that seems to have occurred to anyone (the discussion mentions it wasn't an intentional design feature, but implies it's inherent in anything that powerful). Even EmperorScientist Rassilon is more inclined to just [[OmnicidalManiac destroy the universe]] and have the Time Lords AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence rather than explore this possibility. He himself is notorious for inventing unbelievable technology and leaving absolutely no schematics behind that would allow anyone else to duplicate his inventions.

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** In the 50th anniversary special ''[[Recap/DoctorWho50thASTheDayOfTheDoctor The Day of the Doctor]]'', the plot revolves around the Doctor's intention to use a LostSuperweapon, the Moment, the to end the Time War by destroying ''all'' of the combatants. The Time Lords had not previously dusted it off and used it on the Daleks because its designers gave a sentient, telepathic user interface with the right to pass judgment on anyone that actually used it. They were afraid of what judgment it would render on them. Simply building another one without the artificial intelligence failsafe is not an idea that seems to have occurred to anyone (the discussion mentions it wasn't an intentional design feature, but implies it's inherent in anything that powerful). Even EmperorScientist Rassilon is more inclined to just [[OmnicidalManiac destroy the universe]] and have the Time Lords AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence rather than explore this possibility. He himself is notorious for inventing unbelievable technology and leaving absolutely no schematics behind that would allow anyone else to duplicate his inventions.


*** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' puts a different spin on his shield: Howard Stark presents Steve with multiple options for a shield, but Cap spots a disc shaped one that Howard explains is a vibranium prototype. Why can't more be made? It took the entire world supply of vibranium to make it. (At least, the ''known'' world supply at that time--''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' and then ''Film/BlackPanther'' establishes that there ''is'' more, but Wakanda has been doing everything in its power to keep it out of the hands of the rest of the world.)

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*** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' puts a different spin on his shield: Howard Stark presents Steve with multiple options for a shield, but Cap spots a disc shaped one that Howard explains is a vibranium prototype. Why can't more be made? It took the entire world supply of vibranium to make it. (At least, the ''known'' world supply at that time--''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' and then ''Film/BlackPanther'' ''Film/BlackPanther2018'' establishes that there ''is'' more, but Wakanda has been doing everything in its power to keep it out of the hands of the rest of the world.)


*** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' puts a different spin on his shield: Howard Stark presents Steve with multiple options for a shield, but Cap spots a disc shaped one that Howard explains is a vibranium prototype. Why can't more be made? That was all of the vibranium they had... and implied to be all the vibranium ever extracted. This is later revealed in ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' to be an outright lie: there's loads more of it, it's just all in Wakanda (excepting the bits that Klaue stole and then sold to Ultron, and a few scattered artefacts around the globe which very few can identify).

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*** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' puts a different spin on his shield: Howard Stark presents Steve with multiple options for a shield, but Cap spots a disc shaped one that Howard explains is a vibranium prototype. Why can't more be made? That was all of It took the entire world supply of vibranium they had... and implied to be all make it. (At least, the vibranium ever extracted. This is later revealed in ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' to be an outright lie: there's loads more of it, it's just all in Wakanda (excepting the bits ''known'' world supply at that Klaue stole time--''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' and then sold ''Film/BlackPanther'' establishes that there ''is'' more, but Wakanda has been doing everything in its power to Ultron, and a few scattered artefacts around keep it out of the globe which very few can identify).hands of the rest of the world.)


* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'', we see an inventor on a remote island who has invented a solar battery much more efficient ''than the ones already used'' by the Planeteers and commercially viable to boot. Unsurprisingly, because of the attempts of the villains to seize it, his lab is destroyed and he loses his memory, but he promises to start over from nothing. Not to mention the [[ReedRichardsIsUseless vehicles the Planeteers use]], despite how much they alone could help the environment are never mass produced (although given they were gifts from Gaia they may be unique MagiTech).

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* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'', we see an inventor on a remote island who has invented a solar battery much more efficient ''than the ones already used'' by the Planeteers and commercially viable to boot. Unsurprisingly, because of the attempts of the villains to seize it, his lab is destroyed and he loses his memory, but he promises to start over from nothing. Not to mention the [[ReedRichardsIsUseless vehicles the Planeteers use]], despite how much they alone could help the environment are never mass produced (although given they were gifts from Gaia they may be unique MagiTech).{{Magitek}}).


* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'': Apparently, the intelligence-boosting microchip that Dr. Robotnik was researching in "Grounder the Genius" had only a one-in-a-million chance of being successfully created. Once that one was inevitably destroyed, his computer informed him that he'd be once again subject to that probability if he were to try to recreate it. [[ArtisticLicenseEngineering Uh...]]

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* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'': ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'':
**
Apparently, the intelligence-boosting microchip that Dr. Robotnik was researching in "Grounder the Genius" had only a one-in-a-million chance of being successfully created. Once that one was inevitably destroyed, his computer informed him that he'd be once again subject to that probability if he were to try to recreate it. [[ArtisticLicenseEngineering Uh...]]


** Interestingly enough, there was a ''precursor'' plan: before making the formula, Dr. Erskine formulated a special diet and exercise regiment that would optimize the human body to its peak. However, because of the wartime issues, the plans were stored away and thus research was made into the formula. Eventually, a grandson of Erskine discovered the plans and proceeded to put it through his newborn, Micheal Van Patrick and sure enough, the young man grew up to possess the same capability and talents as Cap himself though diet and exercise.

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** Interestingly enough, there was a ''precursor'' plan: before making the formula, Dr. Erskine formulated a special diet and exercise regiment that would optimize the human body to its peak. However, because of the wartime issues, the plans were stored away and thus research was made into the formula. Eventually, a grandson of Erskine discovered the plans and proceeded to put it through his newborn, Micheal Van Patrick and sure enough, the young man grew up to possess the same capability and talents as Cap himself though diet and exercise. While MVP would not last long as a character, he has been cloned more than a few times.

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