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Old April 22 2010, 11:25 AM   #34
Joshua Howard
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Re: Transporters in everyday life

^ Just as the Enterprise has its own special time zone, there may be some standard of universal time in the future as people cease to be constrained by planetary geography. In theory, it would be easier for people on the west coast of the U.S. to go to bed at 2000 hours and those on the east coast go to bed at 2400 hours than it would be for everyone to try to adjust the clock.

Just as the internet transformed literature, so transporters could transform travel. Twenty years ago, a community such as this one would have probably involved people meeting in person, or simply not existed. Today, the internet makes it possible for the entire world to share information instantly. Brick and Mortar libraries serve a secondary purpose, and even things like television news struggle to keep up with the broad array of information available online. Of course, the internet cannot and will not make books a thing of the past. Likewise, transporters certainly don't make all other forms of transportation disappear entirely.

It is important to remember that the ability to hop from place to place with transporters would mean that people's orientation to their planet in the 24th century is more akin to people's orientation to their metropolitan region today. Travel to other fairly nearby planets in that context would be the 24th century version of our idea of travelling around the country or the world.

If you can walk down to the transporter depot in New York at noon and be in London instantly, that means that global economics changes a great deal from the present model. There would be no reason why someone couldn't live on one side of the world and work on the other side, as the commute wouldn't really be a problem (though that would be darn like working the night shift).

I think we can be certain that transporters are very much a part of earth transportation. The more interesting question is how that changes the way people live. Just as the internet makes many people tune in to specific interests instead of reading whole books (i.e., instead of buying a cookbook, you google "how to make soup") so likewise a global transporter network would make people less aware of their immediate regions, kind of like the way interstate freeways make drivers pay less attention to the things that lie between their starting point and destination.
"The strain of the primitive... remained alive and active. Faithfulness and devotion, things born of fire and roof, were his; yet he retained his wildness and wiliness."

- The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
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