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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 May 25 2011, 01:43 PM   #1
GalaxyClass1701
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Food Slots?

What is the difference between a food slit and a replicator?
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Old May 25 2011, 02:07 PM   #2
MatthiasRussell
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Re: Food Slots?

A replicator has a greater selection and is of higher quality. Especially after watching TAS, the food slot seems to have very similar capabilities.

The difference might be the same as the difference between a landing party and away team: a linguistic change that developed after a century.
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Old May 25 2011, 02:37 PM   #3
SicOne
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Re: Food Slots?

And tribbles have a much harder time fitting into the replicators.
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Old May 25 2011, 02:47 PM   #4
Starlock
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Re: Food Slots?

^Replicated Tribbles.....Mmmmmm.

The major difference between a Food Slot and a Replicator is that with the Food Slot all items are said to come from a central series of Food and Beverage Synthesizers.

The order is generated at the panel and the meal is assembled at the synthesizers. The tray with the meal is sent up through the ship to the Food Slot via a special turbo elevator system - which is why Tribbles get to hitch a ride over with a free meal en route.

With the Replicator the meal is generated at the unit itself using a transporter linked network connecting to various raw material sources. You know the rest....
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Old May 25 2011, 10:05 PM   #5
Timo
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Re: Food Slots?

Of course, the tribbles might have gotten into the slots at the business end, sneaking in and waiting for the meal to arrive. In that case, the meal need not arrive using anything as clumsy and inefficient as a dumbwaiter: it could arrive in the TNG replicator fashion, being generated in situ.

A dumbwaiter system is a major drain on internal volume; if it could be avoided, engineers certainly would do so. Starfleet already expects the crew to gather on specific spaces for their meals, so it would make sense to have the food-generating machinery right there, not three decks down and fifty meters to starboard at the end of some sort of a pipeline.

There's a food slot on certain transporter rooms, too. Probably not due to there being a kitchen right behind the wall in that case. But it would be easy to argue that if these things are (primitive) replicators, then they utilize transporter technology and transporter resources, so a transporter room would be the most natural place in the world for having an extra food slot!

If these putative primitive replicators indeed exist, then one might argue they can produce other things besides food. An excellent thing to have next to the transporter, then, so that landing parties can be swiftly equipped with things like period clothing, local currency or breathing apparatus.

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Old May 25 2011, 10:40 PM   #6
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Re: Food Slots?

Can't remember the episode but it was either season 4-5 of TNG I watched last wee Ricker tells someone to use the Food slot in the quarters he was assigned.
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Old May 26 2011, 04:43 AM   #7
SicOne
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Re: Food Slots?

I just figured that there was a guy cooking meals on the other side of the food slots, and he just took your order and whipped it up and slid it through the slot. Kinda like the little dwarves the banks hire to sit in the ATMs and count out your money, or the guy who lives in the roof of my garage and raises/lowers my door when I press the button. Yeah.
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Old May 26 2011, 08:01 AM   #8
Idran
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Re: Food Slots?

SicOne wrote: View Post
I just figured that there was a guy cooking meals on the other side of the food slots, and he just took your order and whipped it up and slid it through the slot. Kinda like the little dwarves the banks hire to sit in the ATMs and count out your money, or the guy who lives in the roof of my garage and raises/lowers my door when I press the button. Yeah.
Unfortunately, those dwarves went extinct during World War 3.
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Old May 26 2011, 06:29 PM   #9
SicOne
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Re: Food Slots?

Idran wrote: View Post
SicOne wrote: View Post
I just figured that there was a guy cooking meals on the other side of the food slots, and he just took your order and whipped it up and slid it through the slot. Kinda like the little dwarves the banks hire to sit in the ATMs and count out your money, or the guy who lives in the roof of my garage and raises/lowers my door when I press the button. Yeah.
Unfortunately, those dwarves went extinct during World War 3.
I just figure they got bought out by Ferengi.
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Old May 26 2011, 10:20 PM   #10
jayrath
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Re: Food Slots?

Major difference? On screen, at least, food slots require computer cassettes and they do their work behind little doors. Replicators work by voice command and are all sparkly. What I want to know is -- which produces food with better taste?
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Old May 26 2011, 11:17 PM   #11
Olive, the Other Reindeer
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Re: Food Slots?

jayrath wrote: View Post
What I want to know is -- which produces food with better taste?
Unquestionably, the replicators of the TNG-and-later era. Unless you have a taste for celery and multicolored cubes of, uh, something edible.

The crew's mess in Trek TOS was never clearly defined. In "Charlie X," Kirk tells a cook (the voice of Gene Roddenberry!) to make fake Thanksgiving turkey out of synthetic meat loaf. TMOST says nothing about the Enterprise having the capacity to synthesize or replicate food from basic matter, only that food can be stored in "garden-fresh condition" almost indefinitely. As for those slots in the wall, I figure they must have been the terminal points of an elaborate dumbwaiter system, as needlessly complicated as that seems. Otherwise, instead of tribbles emerging alive and happily purring on Kirk's food tray, they would have been chemically broken down and processed.

Mmmmm . . . tribble-flavored coffee.
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Old May 27 2011, 01:10 PM   #12
Timo
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Re: Food Slots?

Unless you have a taste for celery and multicolored cubes of, uh, something edible.
If the device is good enough to synthesize convincing celery, then it's obviously not technical limitations that cause it to create multicolored cubes instead of roast beef.

And even if the celery is grown yet the ship lacks facilities to grow bovines for beef, this doesn't mean the "something edible" would taste subpar. Apparently, the multicolored cubes are haute cuisine for the day, as they are served to diplomatic bigwigs in "Journey to Babel".

As for those slots in the wall, I figure they must have been the terminal points of an elaborate dumbwaiter system, as needlessly complicated as that seems. Otherwise, instead of tribbles emerging alive and happily purring on Kirk's food tray, they would have been chemically broken down and processed.
Unless, as said, the tribbles were simply waiting in the food slots for the food to be delivered. The delivery could then take place by arbitrary means: dumbwaiter, mini-transporter, on-the-spot nanoassembly, midget cooks, whatever.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old May 27 2011, 09:12 PM   #13
jayrath
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Re: Food Slots?

I think we should all just be happy that Tribbles are apparently not carnivorous.

I think it's pretty much assumed that even the original 1701 has some pretty impressive recycling. Waste has got to be made into food again -- either via conventional growth of vegetables, or molecular conversion. Otherwise, we'd be making waste dumps all the time. And taking on tons of groceries at every stop. For a ship meant to be away from humanity for at least weeks at a time? Foraging would become a primary mission.

We'll never know the answer, but I think the TOS Enterprise had food replicators. It seems a simple technology, once you have transporters. On the other hand, it does seem awfully energy-intensive. ("I want a hamburger. Let's convert some molecules just for me and then have it beamed to this station.")
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Old May 28 2011, 05:03 AM   #14
SicOne
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Re: Food Slots?

^ I am picturing the alternate Carnivorous Tribble universe...
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Old May 28 2011, 05:37 AM   #15
Idran
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Re: Food Slots?

SicOne wrote: View Post
^ I am picturing the alternate Carnivorous Tribble universe...
Remember the near-apocalyptic Enterprise-D from Parallels? Turns out it wasn't because of the Borg after all.
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