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  #1  
Old 02-12-2017, 02:38 PM
Patch Patch is offline
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Recognize this short story? Perforations in paper lead to indestructable materil

A long time ago my brother told me about a short story where a scientist, investigating why perforated paper always seems to tear anywhere except at the perforations, discovers some property by which holes in things make the material stronger. He ends up inventing a material with so many holes in it it's no longer there, and is now impenetrable.

Probably not the most exact description, but does it ring any bells? It runs through my mind whenever something with perforations fails to tear properly, and I'd love to read it.

Last edited by Patch; 02-12-2017 at 02:40 PM..
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2017, 02:39 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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Sounds like one of Tevis's slightly absurd "scientific" stories like "The Big Bounce."
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  #3  
Old 02-12-2017, 03:16 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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"It Was Nothing -- Really!" by Ted Sturgeon.
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Old 02-12-2017, 03:27 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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...or Sturgeon, when he was feeling playful.
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  #5  
Old 02-12-2017, 04:16 PM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is online now
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What was the story about the human race's discovery of interstellar travel?

In a nutshell, a guy notices that a letter going across towm can take a couple of weeks to reach its destination, while one from across the country makes it in two days. On a hunch, he addresses a letter to a planet in the Proxima Centauri system, and drops it in the mailbox. Next morning, he gets a letter from the aliens, congratulating him, and welcoming Earth to the Galactic Confederation.

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 02-12-2017 at 04:17 PM..
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  #6  
Old 02-12-2017, 04:48 PM
Patch Patch is offline
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Thanks, everyone!
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  #7  
Old 02-12-2017, 04:58 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Thanks, everyone!
It was nothing, really.
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Old 02-12-2017, 05:35 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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The story I remember is about aeroplane wing roots.
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  #9  
Old 02-12-2017, 05:54 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
What was the story about the human race's discovery of interstellar travel?

In a nutshell, a guy notices that a letter going across towm can take a couple of weeks to reach its destination, while one from across the country makes it in two days. On a hunch, he addresses a letter to a planet in the Proxima Centauri system, and drops it in the mailbox. Next morning, he gets a letter from the aliens, congratulating him, and welcoming Earth to the Galactic Confederation.
"Mail Supremacy", by Hayford Pierce.
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  #10  
Old 02-12-2017, 06:01 PM
Andy L Andy L is offline
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
"It Was Nothing -- Really!" by Ted Sturgeon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
"Mail Supremacy", by Hayford Pierce.
You beat me to both of those - I shouldn't have stepped away from the computer this afternoon...
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  #11  
Old 02-12-2017, 06:08 PM
Andy L Andy L is offline
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The story I remember is about aeroplane wing roots.
What about them?
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  #12  
Old 02-12-2017, 06:08 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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The story I remember is about aeroplane wing roots.
Is that the one about the Israeli Air Force perforating the wings of planes right where they tend to get stressed -- because, hey, if there's one thing we've learned from being Jewish, it's that matzo never breaks that way, amirite?
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:52 AM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
Is that the one about the Israeli Air Force perforating the wings of planes right where they tend to get stressed -- because, hey, if there's one thing we've learned from being Jewish, it's that matzo never breaks that way, amirite?
It's an unnamed aerospace company and the idea comes from a junior engineer who previously worked with toilet paper.
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Old 02-13-2017, 05:27 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
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OK, as long as I'm here....

I have a story I'd love to find again: scientist invents impenetrable force field. But the nature of the field is such that the longer it's on, the more power it takes to sustain it. So more than a couple seconds is flatly impossible; it would take the output of a sun to keep it going. Inventor discards the idea as having very limited application.

Then a new guy uses the invention successfully by triggering it on and off thousands of times per second, making what's in effect a continuous field for practical purposes.
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  #15  
Old 02-13-2017, 06:14 AM
Baal Houtham Baal Houtham is offline
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"Not Final!" Asimov.
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  #16  
Old 02-13-2017, 06:24 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
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"Not Final!" Asimov.
That's it!
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  #17  
Old 02-13-2017, 06:40 AM
Andy L Andy L is offline
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"Not Final!" Asimov.
And this one has a sequel - Asimov's "Victory Unintentional"
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  #18  
Old 02-13-2017, 08:55 AM
Loach Loach is online now
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I know it's been answered but I'm going to move this to where it belongs anyway.
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  #19  
Old 02-13-2017, 09:41 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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On "Not Final", my favorite bit is how the original scientist (who declares that this is an absolute limit) is so proud of his theoretical work, because an experimentalist would probably have lost an arm before he realized it was impossible. And then at the end, the ship with the triumphant forcefield hull is piloted by the one-armed man who made it work.
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Old 02-14-2017, 02:34 PM
BobArrgh BobArrgh is offline
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Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
OK, as long as I'm here....

I have a story I'd love to find again: scientist invents impenetrable force field. But the nature of the field is such that the longer it's on, the more power it takes to sustain it. So more than a couple seconds is flatly impossible; it would take the output of a sun to keep it going. Inventor discards the idea as having very limited application.

Then a new guy uses the invention successfully by triggering it on and off thousands of times per second, making what's in effect a continuous field for practical purposes.
Interesting, because that is exactly how LED bulbs work.
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  #21  
Old 02-14-2017, 03:33 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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LEDs don't need to turn off repeatedly to work. If you hook them up to AC, then they do, but that's because of the AC, not because of the LED.
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  #22  
Old 02-15-2017, 12:02 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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LEDs don't need to turn off repeatedly to work. If you hook them up to AC, then they do, but that's because of the AC, not because of the LED.
LEDs will burn out when directly attached to a voltage source. They have inadequate internal resistance.

Two common solutions:

1. Add a little resistor. You can buy LEDs with a resistor built in. Problem: you lose out on some of the efficiency of an LED. Plus it adds some heat that might be undesirable.

2. Flick the thing on and off rapidly. (And a lot more rapidly than 60Hz.) Not so much wasted current as a resistor but a bit more complicated make. For something like an LED lightbulb this is what's they'll do.
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  #23  
Old 02-15-2017, 12:20 PM
silenus silenus is online now
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
"Mail Supremacy", by Hayford Pierce.
1. It's actually spelled "Peirce."

2. The story is available on the Amazon page for Chap Foey Rider: Capitalist to the Stars.
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  #24  
Old 02-15-2017, 12:36 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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It's actually spelled "Peirce."
I'm actually going to damn auto-correct.
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  #25  
Old 02-15-2017, 01:25 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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And this one has a sequel - Asimov's "Victory Unintentional"
One of my all-time favorite Asimov short stories. I love how the arrogant aliens
SPOILER:
get a little more uncertain and spooked with each new example of the three Earth robots' indestructibility.

Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 02-15-2017 at 01:26 PM..
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  #26  
Old 02-15-2017, 01:46 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
What was the story about the human race's discovery of interstellar travel?
Another one where humanity gets Space Drive that I love is Fredric Brown's What Mad Universe? , where someone wiring up a sewing machine incorrectly abruptly develops what is essentially Warp Drive.

The novel is well worth reading as an early example of poking fun at a lot of science fiction tropes, and especially of SF fan culture.

Brown himself referenced this feature of the book in his more realistic novel The Lights in the Sky are Stars.



Finally, I feel certain that this way of discovering Warp Drive must have influenced Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter to create their potato-powered "Stepper" in their The Long Earth series.
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  #27  
Old 02-15-2017, 07:45 PM
chorpler chorpler is offline
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And this one has a sequel - Asimov's "Victory Unintentional"
Wow, I enjoyed "Not Final!" but I never knew there was a sequel story. Time to find it!
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