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(President Tanaka of Sirius in a casual conversation accidentally provides the solution to a wood-free building material that can be recycled. While it isn’t enough to bring it to reality it does provide quite a few laughs.) 

Russ: so on Sirius, are you able to access much in the way of earth communications?

Tanaka: I cannot discuss that.

Russ: oh

Skip: okay yeah, that's understandable.

Tanaka: I am Tanaka, I am not President Tanaka at the moment.

Skip: alright.

Tanaka: but my interest is more in the technological....

Russ:  ahhh, excellent.

Tanaka: my private interests.

Russ: right.

Skip: oh, then you can tell me how to build a......

Tanaka: build a what?

Skip: no I'm just teasing. Nevermind.

Russ: ask Kiri.

Skip: it's a standing joke okay?

Tanaka: ahh, it is something to do with a propulsion system, I am not that kind of technologically interested.

Skip: warp engines.

Tanaka: I am more construction materials, composites.......

Skip: I was just teasing.

Russ: well actually we have been talking to Treebeard about a way to stop the killing of the trees as much as to create a building material that has the same properties as such without having to use wood as much.

Tanaka: hmmm.

Skip: oh actually this is starting to grab ahold, they're still using wood but they're using it in a more conservative manner.

Russ: hmm.

Skip: the new coatings that they're starting to use in construction now is called chipboard rather than plywood.

Tanaka: wouldn't it be easier to use a ceramic fabric material?

Russ: we're not there yet.

Skip: our technology isn't advanced that far yet.

Tanaka: it seems to me that it would be something very easy to use a ceramic based material that would certainly would give a material that would be light, heat resistant, cold tolerant and also....

Russ: flexible.

Tanaka: of.....well flexible, easy to.....

Skip: fiberglass.

Russ: yeah, ceramic fiberglass.

Tanaka: no, I am familiar with the primitive material. This is more of a natural mixture. It is heated and compressed together to form sheets which are easy to......and I have just had my daughter turn around and go no.

Russ: uh-uh, hit some technological gray areas there.

Skip: okay I see. Okay what's happening is you're getting a little bit ahead of our technology.

Tanaka: yes, I'm not quite sure what is going on. She is looking......

Skip: she is telling you no.

Tanaka: she does not have that authority.

Skip: no but she's telling you that you're overstepping which information you're giving us.

Tanaka: I do not see how it would be of harm, it would be more useful.

Russ: well it's been explained before that we might invent something that was given to us but at that point we would be.....it would be because it came from you, interfering with our technological growth.

Skip: yeah, right.

Tanaka: but how do you know you weren't supposed to be the individuals that actually.....

Russ: ahhh, there's the question.

Skip: well that's the challenge, that's the challenge.

Russ: they avoid it by not giving out that information.

Tanaka: hmmm, I see.

Russ: right.

Skip: I'm going.....wait a minute.

(everyone laughs)

Russ: anyway, how's life been?

Tanaka: ummm, I am getting some strange looks from both my daughters and looking at the monitor, you gentlemen seem to be enjoying my.....

Skip: not really, not really.

Tanaka: my confusion.

Skip: no, not really it's just that we do understand that some of the technical things that you have access to we do not. We're discussing this between us and kinda......

Russ: we realized that the more we discuss it, the more you're going get in trouble, well not trouble, but.....

Skip: well we're kind of poking fun too okay?

Tanaka: I am aware of that.

Skip: okay, not maliciously, just poking fun.

Tanaka: uh-huh but for me, I'm having a difficulty that I give you the information that would be useful as a whole for your species.......

Skip: maybe too much.

Tanaka: but it would definitely not be harmful.....

Skip: no I understand that.

Tanaka: giving you that information, I am having difficulty understanding why the total restriction on giving the information......

Russ: well, look at it this way, let's say for example we create something like this.......

Tanaka: uh-huh.

Russ: and then our military gets a hold of it, restricts its use to the rest of the world, uses it strictly in its creation of weapons of war and destruction.........

Skip: uh-huh.

Russ: and never gets used in a beneficial term except for killing things or keeping things from being killed.

Tanaka: the material, it is purely a construction material and would serve no purpose whatsoever as a projectile, it would be useless.

Russ: but as protection against heat as body armor, it would be invaluable.

Tanaka: that would be the only use that I could perceive would be as a heat protection. It definitely wouldn't be useful as a protection against a energy weapon of any kind.

Russ: we don't have energy weapons, we have projectile weapons.

Tanaka: even projectile weapons, it would penetrate very easily.

Russ: oh it would?

Tanaka: so....

Russ: then in that case I don't see the problem either but.....

Skip: and the only thing that I can see is creating something from the information that was given to us through you and not coming up with it from our own process of advancement and invention.

Tanaka: but would it not be more useful to give you......I have not told you how to create it.

Skip: no I understand that. No, no, I understand that but it's still, you've set the thought there.

Tanaka: but it would be something that would be useful. I find it difficult that something that has no hostile capacity that would be beneficial once produced inexpensive in your fiscal capacity......

Skip: well right now it wouldn't be inexpensive, in fact it would be just exactly the opposite. It would be more expensive than building material.....

Russ: why?

Skip: than we have access to at the present time.

Russ: oh, I see what you mean.

Skip: okay?

Russ: so if you're going into more construction material like a house, you're cheaper going with trees which are already grown.

Skip: yeah, we're talking about sheets, big sheets. At least 4 x 8, 4 x 10, 5 x 10, 4 x 12's. You have to have a way of manufacturing the sheets and the mills at the present time do not have that capacity. To make plywood, you peel a log, dry the wood and then you crosshatch it with glue and put it in a steam press and trim the edges. So there's no actual form to make a 4 x 8 sheet of building material at the present time other than Styrofoam.

Tanaka: yes but once the facilities have been manufactured and they are produced, the price would go from something that would be expensive to something that would be very cheap and inexpensive and very recyclable.

Russ: true, if it was proven to be a far superior material than what we're using now, then the price would drop because other people would do the same thing.

Skip: true, true.

Tanaka: I see the problem would be if you were to keep it to yourselves and make a huge, considerable profit......

Skip: uh-huh.

Tanaka: whereas, instead of I believe the term would be franchising?

Russ: uh-huh.

Skip: uh-huh.

Tanaka: which means that the price would be reduced even more and it would be a more usable technology.

Russ: right, hold on to the patent but release the.....

Skip: yeah, patent it and franchise it out.

Russ: franchise the patent out yeah.

Skip: yeah.

Russ: patent being our way of protecting those inventions that are created by people down here.

Tanaka: and ideally it would......you would be rewarded by fiscal gain correct?

Russ: correct.

Skip: uh-huh.

Tanaka: okay, I am being signaled to by my.....

(everyone laughs)

Skip: yeah, I'm sure you are, I'm sure you are. Thank you very much.

Russ: thank you Tanaka.

Tanaka: you're welcome.
Skip: thank you.