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Old 07-29-2010, 04:04 PM   #21
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge of Reality

It seems like the types of things included in this are:
-Technically workable stuff that was actually built or at least proposed up to TL4, but never made it big.
-Stuff that represents myths, both historical and modern. Specifically, myths about supposedly non-magical things. Like alchemy, ethnic cool weapons, stirrups, plate armor weighing hundreds of pounds, impenetrable cloth...

I don't think anything in the book isn't one of the two. So in particular there's nothing that takes a myth and then extrapolates what might have developed from it if it were real.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:05 PM   #22
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge of Reality

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Originally Posted by lexington View Post
I think the argument would be that those are ceramic, not really just aluminum that's transparent.
Alon, yes. X-ray bombarded aluminum, no. I'm not saying the book is wrong. I'm just saying there's more to it than "fake invention" for those interested.

I'll say no more if fear of thread derailment. : )
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:08 PM   #23
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge of Reality

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Originally Posted by ehrbar View Post
By Brady's Materials Handbook, it was discovered in 1727. Other sources place it later, with isolation not happening until the 19th Century.




Napoleon III's crown jewels were apparently displayed or stored alongside bars of pure aluminum; there are also claims that a special set of aluminum flatware was used to honor guests at his table above the gold that other guests used. The Washington Monument was capped with aluminum when it was still expensive. Reasonably cheap production of aluminum (through electrolytic refining) didn't happen until 1885.
Thanks. That sounds right. I must have been mistaken. 'Just wanted to double check.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:47 PM   #24
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge of Reality

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It also says that transparent aluminum is fictional. See ALON for a non-fictional "transparent aluminum."
AlON is a ceramic that contains aluminum, not aluminum metal, and more like a glass or a spinel. You can make these things will all kinds of funky properties; that was a major research goal at my undergraduate school. But I wouldn't call it "transparent aluminum" any more than I'd call a crystal of table salt "translucent sodium." When you use the name of a metal without qualifying what it's compounded with, it's assumed you mean the elemental metal.

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And soft x-rays can make ordinary aluminum transparent over small time intervals.
For definitions of "small" that include "femtoseconds" and "transparent" that mean "to hard UV," yeah. Check out the energy requirement, too. :)
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:09 PM   #25
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge of Reality

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Yes, the steam cat continues to amuse me far more than a grown man should be amused. Each time I stumble across the image I giggle some more.
It's a bit embarrassing that the best illustration in the book doesn't actually have any stats or even a specific item associated with it. So:

Treat steam cat as a modified Di Giorgio tank; the cutting blades are disguised as steam cat's shining teeth. Lwt. increases to 1.9, while load drops to 0.3. The weight difference is the result of a top-mounted portable steam cannon. Steam cat typically carries enough wood to keep the cannon at temperature for two hours and carries 40 rounds of shot. $12,000.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:15 PM   #26
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge of Reality

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
AlON is a ceramic that contains aluminum, not aluminum metal, and more like a glass or a spinel. You can make these things will all kinds of funky properties; that was a major research goal at my undergraduate school. But I wouldn't call it "transparent aluminum" any more than I'd call a crystal of table salt "translucent sodium." When you use the name of a metal without qualifying what it's compounded with, it's assumed you mean the elemental metal.
When it was first announced it was hyped as "transparent aluminum", but that probably has more to do with Star Trek IV than it does with chemistry.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:17 PM   #27
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge of Reality

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
It seems like the types of things included in this are:
-Technically workable stuff that was actually built or at least proposed up to TL4, but never made it big.
-Stuff that represents myths, both historical and modern. Specifically, myths about supposedly non-magical things. Like alchemy, ethnic cool weapons, stirrups, plate armor weighing hundreds of pounds, impenetrable cloth...
Exactly right. It's very specifically a catalog of historical imaginings. Up to a point, history's short on extrapolation and working out the consequences, so there's essentially none of that.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:41 PM   #28
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge of Reality

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post

When it was first announced it was hyped as "transparent aluminum", but that probably has more to do with Star Trek IV than it does with chemistry.
Yeah, I recall the hype . . . another case of marketing triumphing over reason, I guess. :P
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:03 PM   #29
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge of Reality

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For definitions of "small" that include "femtoseconds" and "transparent" that mean "to hard UV," yeah. Check out the energy requirement, too. :)
In a lot of ways that looks more like "vaporized, but only in a local metastable sense", more than "transparent". What's the absorption spectrum of aluminum vapor look like anyway?
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:06 PM   #30
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