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Old April 20 2010, 03:55 AM   #24
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Re: Transporters in everyday life

Timo wrote: View Post
Or at least as ubiquitous as airports. Doesn't LaForge call them "the safest way to travel" in "Realm of Fear", in a not so subtle analogy to air travel today (and to the associated mix of irrational phobias and rare but real and very gruesome ways to die, as per the theme of the episode)?

I'd think the ability to transport from platform to platform would keep the playing field much the same as today: getting to and from a platform would call for personal vehicles and the associated culture of driving them for business and pleasure. Yet if civilians had transporters that could move them from platform to a platform-less destination, or vice versa, the traffic culture could be very different. Many would probably prefer to beam to within a walking distance of a target, yet not to the target itself; a social code might develop in which it is rude or perhaps illegal to beam directly to pretty much anywhere. Some advanced technology might also be needed to protect the privacy of one's home or workplace.

In general, I'd think the civilians on Earth have access to much more advanced technologies than our Starfleet heroes. Military organizations operating in the rugged outdoors do not readily adopt the newest gadgetry, and do not buy all the bells and whistles when they do agree to purchasing an item. In "Devil's Due", Picard considers a soundless and sparkle-free transporter a "cheap trick", perhaps suggesting that civilian transporters are all like that (with some resulting loss of ruggedness, range or somesuch)...

Timo Saloniemi
I don't think there is anything irrational about thinking of transporters as riskier than other modes of transport, just like there isn't anything irrational about thinking of an airplane flight as riskier than a bus or train ride. It's not a matter of statistical probability of being in an accident, it's about how much control you have over your fate and what your chances are of doing something and saving yourself if you happen to find yourself in an accident. I'd be much more confident that I could get out of a bus or train that has crashed and stay alive, than I am about a chance to do something to save myself if I happen to be in a plane that is falling down from the height of 10000 m. And the transporter... if you happen to be one of those small percentage of people who have a transporter accident - well, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, it's something that is completely out of your control.

It's only a phobia if you are panicking over the use of transporter every time you really need to use it, or if you refuse to use it even when you REALLY need it.

And don't forget the issue of wasting energy on unnecessary use of transporters. Using a transporter all the time instead of any other means of transport would be at least as idiotic as getting into a car in order to drive to the shop at the corner, when you could just walk. If you are not in any kind of rush (and from what we've been told about the Federation society, they are hardly corporate businessmen types always in a hurry, what do they have to be in such a rush for?) and you don't have a huge distance to travel, why wouldn't you use another means of transportation? There is a pleasure in travelling, sightseeing, meeting people during your trip on the bus/train/plane/whatever they use in the 24th century, you can have an interesting conversation, or you can prefer to spend the time by reading... Walking can be more fun that taking a bus, and travelling by, say, a shuttlepod, or some "old-fashioned" mode of transport, can be a lot more fun than beaming to places all the time.
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