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Greg Kirkman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 12 May 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 15774
Posted: 16 March 2020 at 7:57am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

The inherent problem is that the transporter was invented to keep the show’s storytelling efficient, rather than as a science-fiction concept to be explored to the fullest. There are any number of episodes and technologies in TREK that, if deep-dived in a logical fashion, would have completely changed the nature of that fictional universe, and mutated it into something other than what it was trying to be. Using the transporter to cure death and disease (...the latter of which WAS cured a few select times) would make good, dramatic stories much harder to write.

The ramifications of teleportation alone could take an entire series to fully explore, in terms of the potential for cloning, medicine, theological and philosophical implications, etc. It’s a tricky balance between depicting believable, futuristic technology, telling a broad range of dramatic stories, and not encumbering the writers with a perpetual Get Out of Jail Free card.

Time travel is another one. You’d think that the crew accidentally achieving it under emergency conditions at the end of “The Naked Time” would have been the biggest event in human history, and that it would open massive floodgates for both the Federation and the galaxy at large. But, no, the only other times the Enterprise went back in time under her own power were in “Tomorrow is Yesterday” (accidentally) and “Assignment: Earth” (for a one-off historical research mission).

Fact of the matter is that STAR TREK is essentially structured as an anthology, but one which happens to have a regular set of characters, and so fully exploring the consequences of certain story points and technologies would derail the show’s primary storytelling ambitions. Ignoring certain logical extrapolations of technology and whatnot is a necessary evil in order for the show to do what it does.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 16 March 2020 at 8:05am
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Mike Benson
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 04 January 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 506
Posted: 17 March 2020 at 8:28pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Weren’t things like broken bones and damaged organs pretty easily fixed without a transporter?  Bones waves some glowing thingie over it a couple times and you’re all better.  

Always thought the transporters were a little too casually used.  Would have helped all the overthinking if they’d treated them more like a parachute.  We can use them to get down there when we have to, but they come with some unpredictability and risk.  
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 121575
Posted: 20 June 2020 at 4:50am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

In my teens I had a science-minded friend (he ended up at CalTech) who utterly rejected the transporter—and he wasn’t even invoking Heisenberg. No, his problem was “open” beaming, going from one unenclosed space to another. He insisted some kind of containment device would be needed to keep the atoms from “drifting”.

I suggested the effect might be like a beaded curtain, with atoms being sent down invisible energy “threads” that kept them aligned. He actually had to chew on that one for a while. (Coincidentally, not long after my family moved to another city, and I didn’t see him again.* So I don’t know if or how he resolved that little quandary.)

The TOS transporter was played like magic, of course, like so much TREK tech. There was no real sense of a physical connection between the ship and the planet. Landing parties were here, and then they were there, with nothing in between.

—————

* Hey, we weren’t CLOSE friends!

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Brian Miller
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 28 July 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 27562
Posted: 20 June 2020 at 7:47am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Your tale makes me think of how Superman’s x-ray vision works. In
actual radiography, you have to have a receptacle to receive the
information from the actual x-rays. Without that, you see nothing.
Superman just firing x-rays* into people and things would reveal
nothing.
Fun fact: The only difference in gamma rays and x-rays is the point of
origin in the atom. Other than that, they are exactly the same. Banner
was essentially bathed in a bomb of x-rays.


* And I’ve long accepted it’s not actual ionized radiation he’s firing from
his eyes and that the whole process is different than how actual x-rays
work.
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 121575
Posted: 20 June 2020 at 7:58am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I tried to establish that Superman can see the full spectrum, so his "x-ray vision" does not entail firing x-rays out of his eyes.
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Brian Miller
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 28 July 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 27562
Posted: 20 June 2020 at 12:09pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

And that’s probably the best was to interpret that particular power.
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