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

View Poll Results: Transporters, Hovercars, or Both?
Transporters 4 16.67%
Hovercars 1 4.17%
Both 19 79.17%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 13 2014, 03:25 AM   #1
kcmartz
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Transporters Vs. Hovercars

I was wondering, what everyone thinks of the two of these. Which would you rather have, Transporters, Hovercars, or both?
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Old May 13 2014, 12:41 PM   #2
Timo
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

Transporters only. Vehicles are extremely primitive and inconvenient as a concept if the goal is to move.

- They have to be built, maintained and eventually disposed of
- They have to be stored (by the user, close to the user, for convenience) when not in use
- They have to be parked even when in use
- They have to be taken through all the points between A and B, most of which are uninteresting, inconvenient or downright dangerous
- They have to be operated (automated, perhaps, but with some supervision and user input as to destination)
- They are slow - to varying degrees of slowness, but nevertheless always slow

With transporters, none of this applies but the operating bit. Okay, somebody somewhere has to build, maintain and dispose of these things, but that's not the user, and there doesn't need to exist (be built/disposed) tons or even kilograms of hardware per each individual user.

The only valid application of vehicles is sightseeing. But that could also be done with transporters, especially if you transport the relevant parts of a "vehicle" (a comfy chair and a weather cover, possibly some music and food and copulation furniture as well) to each vantage point.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old May 14 2014, 09:33 PM   #3
varek
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

Hovercars would be all right, but transporters would be better. Both would be good.
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Old May 15 2014, 06:45 PM   #4
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

Timo wrote: View Post
Transporters only. Vehicles are extremely primitive and inconvenient as a concept if the goal is to move.
The thing is, the goal isn't always to move. Many times, the goal is to move, wait, deliver, wait, pickup wait some more, and then move again.

Okay, somebody somewhere has to build, maintain and dispose of these things, but that's not the user
Wait a minute... why does the user have to build, maintain and dispose of vehicles if the users of transporters don't?

and there doesn't need to exist (be built/disposed) tons or even kilograms of hardware per each individual user.
Same question: why not? If higher traffic necessitates the construction of more transporters, then you WOULD need quite a bit of physical hardware to make it workable. The most you can say is that transporters would require slightly less hardware but individual, but since we don't actually know how much material goes into a transporter (or in the background functions, e.g. transporter waveguides, powerplants, circuitry, safety equipment, etc) that's not a claim that one could support.

The only valid application of vehicles is sightseeing.
Also:
- The physical transportation of bulky cargo or objects
- Search for/recovery of missing objects
- Search for/recovery of missing persons
- Convenient and flexible placement of materials in undefined locations
- Convenient and flexible removal of materials from undefined locations.

The above example cover things like food trucks/carts and mobile shops, freight trucks, coast guard helicopters, park rangers, fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, bulldozers, tractors, harvesters, snow plows, construction equipment, tow trucks, sky cranes, warships, hospital ships, trawlers, drilling platforms, and exploration vessels.

That's a LOT of vehicular applications that are not covered by a simple "move a single person from one place to another." If it was that simple, we would have all traded in our cars for Segway Scooters by now.

But that could also be done with transporters, especially if you transport the relevant parts of a "vehicle" (a comfy chair and a weather cover, possibly some music and food and copulation furniture as well) to each vantage point.
That's still, basically, a vehicle though. Actually it's less efficient than a real vehicle because the engine that makes it move is so huge that it can't be carried with the vehicle itself and is located in some other location.

Then again, in another hundred years the Federation will develop the technology to create objects that are bigger on the inside, so installing a whole industrial transporter system inside of a two-door Sedan would be more than doable. Fifty years later, the Federation would unveil its first TARDIS, making even transporters seem quaint by comparison.
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Old May 15 2014, 08:39 PM   #5
Timo
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

The thing is, the goal isn't always to move. Many times, the goal is to move, wait, deliver, wait, pickup wait some more, and then move again.
...Which is an artifact of the vehicle mode of operation. Teleportation involves no concept of "waiting": everything goes where needed when needed. It does not need to be stored anywhere in between, not aboard a transportation vehicle, not in a warehouse, not on the sidewalk.

If you want to perform intermittent activity or enjoy intermittent presence, don't drag a stupid vehicle with you. Be there only when you need to be, and be back at your living room when you don't.

Wait a minute... why does the user have to build, maintain and dispose of vehicles if the users of transporters don't?
Transporters are a "cloud" service: you can call for site-to-site without possessing hardware of your own. And they are much more capacious at that than, say, taxi services or even bus or train services, which are also "cloud" in a way. As said, the amount of hardware per user or per user-hour or user-mile is minuscule compared with vehicle-based systems. Even if a transporter capable of handling fifty beaming requests at once weighed ten times as much as a fifty-seat bus, it would be immensely more capable in delivering people from place to place - millions of times more capable at the very least, simply thanks to the extreme difference in delivery speed (and accuracy, and lack of scheduling needs, etc.).

I have a hard time believing in bulky transporters, though, considering how military-ruggerized hardware for fairly extreme beaming applications can be easily carried aboard a runabout. Just park twenty runabouts side by side (or a single runabout dedicating all of its internal volume to twin-pad transporters like the one in the cockpit) above the Azores and you have way more trans-Atlantic capacity than all the airlines of today combined. Without the inflight peanuts, but without the need for them, either.

- The physical transportation of bulky cargo or objects
- Search for/recovery of missing objects
- Search for/recovery of missing persons
- Convenient and flexible placement of materials in undefined locations
- Convenient and flexible removal of materials from undefined locations.
Nope, nope, and nope. Transporters are much better at handling large loads than vehicles, as they don't add the bulk of the vehicle to the total load to be negotiated to a destination. Search is conducted much faster if the search instrument (a "partial vehicle" if you insist, but without a need for the motive parts) can arrive at the various observation points instantaneously; recovery is obviously infinitely faster after locating is achieved. And a vehicle ultimately needs the location defined by some means, a "terminal homing system" if you will - but teleportation can provide that means just as well, if not otherwise, then with a series of "ranging beam-ins".

The above example cover things like food trucks/carts and mobile shops, freight trucks, coast guard helicopters, park rangers, fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, bulldozers, tractors, harvesters, snow plows, construction equipment, tow trucks, sky cranes, warships, hospital ships, trawlers, drilling platforms, and exploration vessels.
For each of these vehicles that is supposed to actually move (as opposed to, say, a hospital ship or a drilling platform, which only needs to be there), teleportation is obviously the faster and more capable option. And for those that simply need to be in place, avoidance of the "travel from A to B" thing is an inherent advantage for the teleportation option: you beam the required machinery directly to the point of application. And then apply some further teleportation to achieve the drilling effect or the delicate surgery, for that matter...

That's still, basically, a vehicle though. Actually it's less efficient than a real vehicle because the engine that makes it move is so huge that it can't be carried with the vehicle itself and is located in some other location.
You have a weird definition of efficient. Should telephone operators carry kilowatt- or megawatt-range powerplants and giant antennas with them so that they could be truly independent of a fixed infrastructure and thus "more efficient"? The more superfluous gear you can offload from your comfy-chair-and-minibar-under-parasol, the more efficient it really becomes, because its very physical existence is a nuisance you would be better off without.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old May 15 2014, 09:18 PM   #6
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

I would rather ride a hovercar than use a transporter.

What if something goes wrong? If your hovercar crashes, you may be injured or even killed, but if a transporter malfunctions, all sorts of weird shit could happen to you - some of which would be a fate worse than death.

At least with a car (hover or otherwise), what happened to Sonak in ST:TMP won't happen to you.
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Old May 15 2014, 10:14 PM   #7
Timo
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

Physical impact can already cause a full range of suffering, brief or prolonged - you don't need transporter accidents for that. And teleportation minimizes the risks by minimizing exposure: in a car, you spend tens of thousands of times longer in "traffic" or the actual danger zone of motion.

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Old May 16 2014, 12:09 AM   #8
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

My point is, when a transporter malfunctions, it can mess with the entire fabric of reality. It can result in effects that are much, much worse than a traffic accident. You saw what happened to Sonak in TMP - I'm sure he suffered just as much, if not worse, than this. If the transporter lock malfunctions, you could end up being transported into the side of a building - I bet that's not exactly pleasant. And remember Matt Franklin from "Relics" - who knows what kind of pain HE went through, and how long (from his POV) it lasted?
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Old May 16 2014, 02:08 AM   #9
PhoenixClass
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

I voted both because, well, why not? If I could only pick one, I would chose transporter. Being able to travel very long distances would be wonderful - I could see and learn so much more.
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Old May 16 2014, 08:11 AM   #10
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

We know Star Trek has both. Personally, having seen dozens of transporter malfunction Trek episodes and learned about things like Transporter Psychosis, flying cars sound like the safer bet to me. If the transporter were guaranteed safe, on the other hand...
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Old May 17 2014, 08:17 PM   #11
Timo
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

It can result in effects that are much, much worse than a traffic accident.
I don't quite see how. The limits of pain and suffering don't come from technology - they come from the human body. A transporter can embed you in a wall, but so can a high speed collision. A transporter can scramble you like an egg, but so can a high speed collision. A transporter can alter your body chemistry, but you get the same sort of effects from being burned in an accident and inhaling the fumes. Etc.

OTOH, I would be worried about what happens when things don't go wrong. A vehicle isn't a very complex environment; it would be possible for a layman to understand the risks of normal operations. Driving around today gives you cancer from inhaling polyaromatic fumes, but that's pretty much it, and the risk is minimal compared with accident risks. Would a layman understand the risks of taking a teleport to work every morning? That is, assuming 0% failure rate, which the layman could verify from personal experience or statistics?

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Old May 17 2014, 08:51 PM   #12
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

Timo wrote: View Post
The limits of pain and suffering don't come from technology - they come from the human body.
The transporter is absolutely unique. It messes with the fabric of reality in a way that no other device has ever done. What it could do to the human body if it malfunctions, would also be unique.

A transporter can embed you in a wall, but so can a high speed collision.
Slamming into a wall would be a completely different thing than being transported into one. The former would be a simple high-speed impact; the latter, your very body structure would be 'integrated' with the wall, thus producing a much worse effect.
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Old May 17 2014, 09:06 PM   #13
Timo
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

Worse how? Your circulation would be blocked and/or segmented to pieces, which is what happens in an impact, too. Your organs would be mashed, penetrated by concrete, etc. etc. but again nothing unique there, in any sense that would matter. You'd die, in great pain, but you usually do.

Being hit by transporter is unique, sure - but so is being hit by a car that is painted to look like Donald Duck, or a car driven by Paris Hilton. The effects supposedly won't be all that different, in terms of, well, effects. Pain is pain, and ultimately death is death.

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Old May 18 2014, 10:08 PM   #14
Bagliun Edar
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

I voted both. A transporter could transport me from home to work and back; but there are times when I would want to just travel, in which case, the transporter could transport me and the hovercar together, leaving me to go around within the locale with the hovercar. I would also want to have journeys in which the roads are as important as the destination; for me at least. I love touring around.
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Old May 19 2014, 05:44 PM   #15
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Transporters Vs. Hovercars

Timo wrote: View Post
The thing is, the goal isn't always to move. Many times, the goal is to move, wait, deliver, wait, pickup wait some more, and then move again.
...Which is an artifact of the vehicle mode of operation.
No, it's a consequence of reality being largely inefficient for tasks that require pre-determined schedules. Like if you're helping your girlfriend move all of her furniture into storage but you can't get the loading done right away because the movers are still on the other side of town eating a pizza: you're waiting.

If you're a police officer staking out a building that may or may not be the hideout for a fugitive: you're waiting.

If your construction company is rebuilding the roof of a house in a job that will take at least twelve hours: the car with all your tools and equipment is waiting.

Teleportation involves no concept of "waiting": everything goes where needed when needed. It does not need to be stored anywhere in between
But it does, because a lot of what humans need to do at their destination requires some means of storage, either of their stuff or of themselves. The transporter alone cannot provide that functionality unless you add an additional component -- say, a large reconfigurable boxcar or a transportable cabinet system that can be beamed from place to place as easily as the people -- in which case you still basically have a vehicle.

If you want to perform intermittent activity or enjoy intermittent presence, don't drag a stupid vehicle with you. Be there only when you need to be, and be back at your living room when you don't.
Except my "intermittent activity" involves transporting two hundred pounds of presentation materials and artifacts back and forth between local school districts, along with hand carts needed to haul all that shit up and down the stairs and the elevators. Do I really need to store all of that crap in my living room and them use the transporters to hand-carry all of that material back and forth between my room and the school district where it needs to go? Because I would MUCH rather store it all in one place, a small portable "Sled" of some kind that I could beam from one place to the next, unload when I get there, load it back up when I'm done and then beam the whole kit and caboodle back to my house.

Better still of the sled can beam itself there so I don't have to charter a transporter.

Wait a minute... why does the user have to build, maintain and dispose of vehicles if the users of transporters don't?
Transporters are a "cloud" service: you can call for site-to-site without possessing hardware of your own.
And yet, cloud computing has not fully replaced on-site storage and is not likely to do so at any point in the forseeable future. Nor is cloud storage appropriate for all types of media (hand-written notes, for example).

Basically, it isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. Transporters would definitely make transportation more convenient, but they wouldn't replace vehicles in anything less than a millenia. Quite the contrary, in fact, they would make certain types of vehicles ALOT more attractive, and as transporter technology becomes more streamlined and portable, it would eventually lead to the development of the TARDIS (e.g. a self-beaming box that can instantly take you and your stuff anywhere you want in about five and a half seconds).

I have a hard time believing in bulky transporters, though, considering how military-ruggerized hardware for fairly extreme beaming applications can be easily carried aboard a runabout.
I don't know about "easily" since runabouts are fairly large spacecraft. I also don't know about "military-ruggerized" since they don't seem to be that much tougher than their starship counterparts (which also glitch distressingly often and in very odd ways).

Nope, nope, and nope. Transporters are much better at handling large loads than vehicles
This statement doesn't seem to be based on anything at all. It's also logically contradicted by the fact that the Galaxy class starship has an enormous shuttlebay, and the fact that the runabouts you keep mentioning are, in fact, designed to carry cargo.

Which means even Starfleet, who arguably INVENTED the transporter, doesn't think they're that much better than vehicles.

Search is conducted much faster if the search instrument (a "partial vehicle" if you insist, but without a need for the motive parts) can arrive at the various observation points instantaneously
This statement also is based on nothing, and is mathematically disprovable. Broadly speaking: if you're attempting to search an area nine kilometers wide with a sensor device with a range of 500 square meters, you would have to beam that device to 18 different locations and have it search every one of them. Assuming there are no obstacles that obscure its view from any one location (and there almost always would be) a transporter cycle of five seconds up and five seconds down would mean the search could be conducted in not less than three minutes.

A hovercar with an identical sensor package would be able to match that by flying over the area at fifty meters per second, AND would have the advantage of being able to quickly change positions to avoid obstructions to its field of vision.

The latter problem -- obstacles in the field -- could be mitigated by simply adding propulsive capability to your sensor device (which Starfleet already does, hence their probes still have the ability to move under their own power).

The above example cover things like food trucks/carts and mobile shops, freight trucks, coast guard helicopters, park rangers, fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, bulldozers, tractors, harvesters, snow plows, construction equipment, tow trucks, sky cranes, warships, hospital ships, trawlers, drilling platforms, and exploration vessels.
For each of these vehicles that is supposed to actually move (as opposed to, say, a hospital ship or a drilling platform, which only needs to be there), teleportation is obviously the faster and more capable option.
This statement is also based on nothing, and is again explicitly contradicted by the fact that storekeepers throughout the Federation are seen using physical stocks of goods and not relying on teleportation (even in places like Deep Space Nine, where said teleportation should be available). In fact, it seems that teleportation itself is incompatible with that business model, as the only distributors who use transporters are fully automated replimats or ship's stores.

And for any given person who relies solely on teleportation to move his goods, the person who combines a teleporter with a vehicle already has a distinct advantage. There is literally no scenario where transporter-only is superior to transporter+vehicle.

That's still, basically, a vehicle though. Actually it's less efficient than a real vehicle because the engine that makes it move is so huge that it can't be carried with the vehicle itself and is located in some other location.
You have a weird definition of efficient. Should telephone operators carry kilowatt- or megawatt-range powerplants and giant antennas with them so that they could be truly independent of a fixed infrastructure and thus "more efficient"?
It WOULD be if the kilowatt-range powerplants were the size of cell phone batteries (which, in the Trek universe, they are). Indeed, the Star Trek universe has shown us spacecraft the size of golf carts capable of traveling interstellar distances; a hovercar could probably circumnavigate the Earth on a power source no bigger than my laptop battery.

Transporters are not competitive with vehicles until they can be scaled down to THAT size; even then, they are still not competitive with MOBILE transporters that can self-teleport along with their contents.

The more superfluous gear you can offload from your comfy-chair-and-minibar-under-parasol, the more efficient it really becomes
Unless, of course, you're someone who uses you vehicle to do useful work, in which case the minibar and parasol are combined with a toolshelf, a gun rack, a bookshelf, a desk, and a bathroom. Transporters may do some things better than vehicles, but transporting your vehicle adds layers of convenience.
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