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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old July 27 2010, 12:14 AM   #1
SoM
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Replicator resolution

It's an oft-repeated (and, as far as I know, canonical) fact that replicators work only on a molecular scale, as opposed to transporters which go down to the quantum level.

After rewatching DS9: "Visionary", however, I'm wondering about the nature of this limitation (in the aforementioned episode, a group of undercover Klingon intelligence agents "realign the matter-energy conversion matrix" of a replicator, using a device made on Davlos III and turn it into a small transporter).

Is it that they can't work beyond the molecular scale, or merely that - to preserve computer memory, remembering how much five transporter patterns took up in DS9: "Our Man Bashir" - the patterns are routinely stored at the "good enough" lower resolution, but they're capable of utilising a quantum scale pattern if one is given to them?
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Old July 27 2010, 08:22 AM   #2
Timo
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Re: Replicator resolution

In VOY "Emanations", the EMH has no trouble replicating working neural tissue. In DS9 "Rivals", the El-Aurian con artist not only manages to get copies of alien technology from the Cardassian replicators, he gets scaled-up copies. Clearly, the replicators can achieve significant feats when they are pressed hard enough.

It's probably just a question of allocating resources. Most replicators might be capable of extreme resolution in terms of their hardware, but practical resolution would be limited because a) it saves computational resources and b) the user has no need for better resolution in the general case. There could be hardware limitations, too, but those probably have more to do with size/output than with resolution - that's where industrial replicators would come in.

I have no problem with the idea that replicators normally work on "molecular resolution", as long as that's enough to resolve the molecules that make up the all-important taste of food. That doesn't mean the replicators couldn't handle better resolution with proper keypresses or with proper tampering of their innards.

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Old July 27 2010, 11:29 PM   #3
Mytran
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Re: Replicator resolution

If it was as simple as pressing a few buttons, why would characters make a big deal of "real" food being superior in taste? Anyone who wanted genuine-quality food could get it for the cost of a few extra keystrokes!

Of course, we are talking about Cardassian replicators here, maybe they are the issue.

The characters in TNG seemed to think replicator food was fantastic!
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Old July 28 2010, 07:59 AM   #4
Timo
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Re: Replicator resolution

I'd argue that the quality of replicated food has little to do with the perceived quality of replicated food...

But the thing would be, pressing those keys would make the meal more costly to create, so the act might carry an artificially imposed penalty of some sort. There could also be a natural penalty in that making a better meal would take significantly more time, negating many of the advantages of the process. If a microwave oven roasted a superior beef but took six hours doing so, a traditional oven would still win.

Interestingly, it was the Cardassian replicators that we saw doing the most impressive replication feats in Trek. Terok Nor hardware replicated and enlarged the probability-altering devices in "Rivals"; Terok Nor hardware created the phaser emitter that threatened our heroes in "Civil Defense"; Terok Nor hardware was altered into a fine-tuned mini-transporter in "Visionary". And I don't know if our DS9 heroes really complained about the "Cardassian-made" dishes more than our TNG heroes complained about their UFP ones, but my gut feeling is that they actually complained less. It was just that the machines on DS9 were often broken during the first season, and the heroes (mainly Sisko) complained about that.

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Old July 28 2010, 03:56 PM   #5
SoM
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Re: Replicator resolution

Mytran wrote: View Post
If it was as simple as pressing a few buttons, why would characters make a big deal of "real" food being superior in taste? Anyone who wanted genuine-quality food could get it for the cost of a few extra keystrokes!
Because if they can store 25+ recipe patterns of perfectly adequate quality @ molecular resolution, or one (1) superior (transporter-quality) pattern for just one dish... they'll take the 25+ options.

Even in the 24th century, computer memory isn't infinite - look at what happens when they have to store Sisko, Jazdia, Kira, Worf and O'Brien's transporter patterns in computer memory in DS9: "Our Man Bashir." They have to wipe most of the station's memory to do it! There simply isn't the "hard disk" space to waste on going to the quantum scale on a chilli con carne.
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Old July 28 2010, 10:17 PM   #6
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Re: Replicator resolution

Actually, I believe even for the Luck Devices in "rivals" molecular resolution alone would have been good enough. "Quantum resolution," whatever that means, is apparently only necessary for replicating things AND their processes; this is only made possible with a Heisenberg Compensator, which replicators lack.
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Old July 29 2010, 12:10 AM   #7
kkozoriz1
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Re: Replicator resolution

Another possibility is the fact that every time you order the same meal it'll be exactly the same as it was last time. No minor variations. It would be like eating at McDonalds every time versus a homemade burger.
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Old August 2 2010, 07:46 AM   #8
STR
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Re: Replicator resolution

Mytran wrote: View Post
If it was as simple as pressing a few buttons, why would characters make a big deal of "real" food being superior in taste?
I don't recall the Enterprise-D/E crew complaining about food all that much. It might have lacked individual flair, but it was consistently good. Those punks on Voyager...they just wouldn't shut up. Hell, look at the Pepsi Challenge. Idiots don't really know WTF they're eating and drinking. They just like to have an opinion and complain.
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Old August 2 2010, 05:15 PM   #9
Elvira
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Re: Replicator resolution

STR wrote: View Post
I don't recall the Enterprise-D/E crew complaining about food all that much. It might have lacked individual flair, but it was consistently good.
They might not complain about the food, but how often can you remember them raving endlessly about it? With the sole exception of Troi and her chocolate fetish. Food is important to people, we look forward to it and we talk about it.

I liked the the look on the face of "Tom" Riker after being trapped on a planet for several years and ordering some old favorites from the Enterprise D's replicator, the bemused look on his face saying **Just as bad as I remember it**
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Old August 3 2010, 07:47 AM   #10
Mytran
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Re: Replicator resolution

STR wrote: View Post
Mytran wrote: View Post
If it was as simple as pressing a few buttons, why would characters make a big deal of "real" food being superior in taste?
I don't recall the Enterprise-D/E crew complaining about food all that much. It might have lacked individual flair, but it was consistently good.
In fact, Riker actively praises it in Lonely Among Us:
ANTICAN: But we have seen humans eat meat.
RIKER: You've seen something as fresh and tasty as meat, but inorganically materialised out of patterns used by our transporters.
ANTICAN: This is sickening. It's barbaric.
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Old August 3 2010, 04:59 PM   #11
Penta
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Re: Replicator resolution

He was being a diplomat. In other words, he was lying about what he really thought.
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Old August 5 2010, 07:20 AM   #12
Elvira
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Re: Replicator resolution

RIKER: We no longer enslave animals for food purposes.
Yet in spite of this Riker cooks real eggs for his friends, they all (initially) regard this as a great treat, not as a barbaric act on Riker's part.

They were all looking forward to a little home cookin'.

from the episode Remember Me
CRUSHER: Will Riker! Your First Officer. He's very good at playing poker, loves to cook, he listens to jazz music, plays the trombone.
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Old August 5 2010, 08:03 AM   #13
Deks
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Re: Replicator resolution

Depending on what the term 'home cooking' or 'loves to cook' implies in the 24th century.

Do we have any concrete proof that he's been using real eggs and hasn't replicated them for the sake of preparing them 'the old fashion way'?
It's certainly possible.
;-)

Then again, the term 'real' is very inappropriate here because replicated food is just as real as the original.
Exact duplicates.
Just because humans like to utilize primitive terms in a capacity that's not really even applicable is another story.
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Old August 5 2010, 08:52 AM   #14
Timo
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Re: Replicator resolution

We know Riker fishes.

We don't know if he eats what he catches, but that wouldn't be at odds with Riker's conviction that enslaving animals for food is wrong. He isn't enslaving anybody - he's hunting free animals in their natural environment. For all we know, he gets his eggs much the same way.

Joe Sisko also kills "real" animals for food. Or if his mollusks are artificially created, he's a sadist for creating them dirty and alive, and forcing his son to clean them, after which he himself can kill them for food. But again, "real" clams would not be in violation of the idea that animals must not be enslaved for food.

They can apparently be enslaved for other purposes, though, as several heroes keep pets...

Timo Saloniemi
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Old August 5 2010, 05:34 PM   #15
Elvira
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Re: Replicator resolution

Deks wrote: View Post
Do we have any concrete proof that he's been using real eggs and hasn't replicated them for the sake of preparing them 'the old fashion way'?
Riker states that he picked up the oversized eggs on a planet they had recently visited, the implication is that they're real (out of a living beast) as opposed to replicated.

the term 'real' is very inappropriate here because replicated food is just as real as the original.
I'm using real as in natural, and then replicated to mean artificial or facsimile.

Exact duplicates.
Probably not. If you order a replicator to produce a T-bone steak, it's unlikely to biologically be a piece of bovine muscle tissue attached to a segment of vertebra. not at the cellular level, it's just a facsimile.

If you ordered your steak "fresh tartare" (right out of the cow), and applied a electrical charge, the replicated meat probably wouldn't move like a "real' fresh cut would. Doctor Pulaski couldn't create a new Human heart for Picard because the replicator couldn't do it.
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