Replicaitors and raw food stalk

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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by DarthPooky » 2015-06-25 04:23pm

So the general consensuses is that replicators use some sort of organic goop. What I want discourse more of is what this goop is made from. So like is it made from actual food stuff or organic chemicals in a lab or factory.

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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Borgholio » 2015-06-25 04:34pm

It would probably be quicker to chemically make a block of goop in a factory with the same constituent ingredients as food rather than the food itself. You don't have to worry about being palatable or tasty, let the replicator re-arrange the stuff as needed to do that. The alternative would be to raise a herd of cattle, kill them, then dump them all into a giant food blender and ship it out. That sounds like it would take much longer and take more effort - not something that you want when it's all going to be stored in a vat anyways in the end.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Purple » 2015-06-25 06:52pm

It all depends. If we assume that the transmutation is on the atomic level than we don't really need to raise cattle. Something like a giant grain farm producing carbohydrates in huge quantities might turn out to be cheaper to run than a factory. Especially since you can grind the whole plant up, root and all and not just the edible bits so no processing is required. Combine it with future tech science and for all we know there could be farms of some super crop that gives massive yields tended to by holograms.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Batman » 2015-06-25 06:59pm

If replicators work on the atomic level I seriously doubt that people would be able to tell replicated food from the real thing.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by bilateralrope » 2015-06-25 07:11pm

Chances are most of the replicator stock is processed sewage. Which means most of the stock is in a cycle of replicate food > something eats food > waste is deposited into sewage system > sewage is used to replicate more food. It's not a completely closed cycle, but it would come close. I can see situations where people have to worry about having more replicator stock than they can store, because of a few people who eat unreplicated food introducing more matter into the cycle.
If replicators work on the atomic level I seriously doubt that people would be able to tell replicated food from the real thing.
There are two possible reasons for the replicator producing different food to unreplicated food:
- The first is that it physically can't produce it.
- The second is that it can, but the recipe programmed into replicators produces a different variation to what people produce without a replicator. For example, I checked Google for macaroni cheese recipies. I would definitely be able to tell the difference between the first result and the second. So if one was programmed into the replicator and someone served me the other, I would be able to tell the difference.

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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Batman » 2015-06-25 07:20pm

People don't complain about 'this isn't what it tasted like when Mom made it'. We're not talking different recipies, we're talking replicated food tasting noticeably differently (or at least people 'claiming' replicated food tastes noticeably differently) than the real thing.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2015-06-25 07:26pm

bilateralrope wrote:Chances are most of the replicator stock is processed sewage. Which means most of the stock is in a cycle of replicate food > something eats food > waste is deposited into sewage system > sewage is used to replicate more food. It's not a completely closed cycle, but it would come close. I can see situations where people have to worry about having more replicator stock than they can store, because of a few people who eat unreplicated food introducing more matter into the cycle.
That's not the case, since the sewage is not going to be equal to the mass of food and drink ingested, we take out nutrients etc. Now granted we later excrete some of it, but if you start with a set amount of replicator stock for food that is eaten by a crew and then recycled, you will get less and less back with each cycle.

This, incidentally, would explain the laughably small hydroponics bay on Voyager. It doesn't have to feed everyone, it just has to "top up" the replicator cycle to account for mass lost by people digesting the food.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by bilateralrope » 2015-06-25 07:43pm

The main situations I can see the replicator stock growing over time are mainly those where there is a significant input. Probably communities on a planet who eat a lot of non-replicated food.
That's not the case, since the sewage is not going to be equal to the mass of food and drink ingested, we take out nutrients etc.
If a persons mass is staying the same, then they are either excreting the same elements that they are ingesting, or they are having some elements build up while others deplete within their body. The only question is if the molecules they excrete can be processed back into ingestible food by the replicator, which depends on just how much the replicator can adjust molecules.

Though in the context of starships, there are times when some mass is definitely lost. For example, sweat evaporating while on an away mission. There are also times when mass is definitely added, like when someone eats a meal aliens have prepared for them.

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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2015-06-25 08:14pm

Hmm...well, we can't necessarily assume their weight stays the same purely because their solid/liquid waste output matches their food/water intake. There is plenty of examples of crew excersing etc, in which case they're burning energy that will get sweated off as heat and water vapour. Now the water vapour can be recycled, but the heat, and the CO2 they exhale, will be dealt with by the environmental and life support systems and won't go back into the replicator stock. Yeah, it's a small amount, but some amount is going to be lost in the cycles, purely because nothing is 100% efficient.

Hence why having a small hydroponics bay to "top up" the supplies, and occasional trades with aliens etc, makes sense, even if it's nowhere near large enough to actually feed everyone.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Purple » 2015-06-26 07:26am

Batman wrote:People don't complain about 'this isn't what it tasted like when Mom made it'. We're not talking different recipies, we're talking replicated food tasting noticeably differently (or at least people 'claiming' replicated food tastes noticeably differently) than the real thing.
I always thought that was them being hipsters basically. People look at something convenient and easily accessible like replicator food and longing for the "good old days" when people ate the "real thing".
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Elheru Aran » 2015-06-29 03:27pm

Purple wrote:
Batman wrote:People don't complain about 'this isn't what it tasted like when Mom made it'. We're not talking different recipies, we're talking replicated food tasting noticeably differently (or at least people 'claiming' replicated food tastes noticeably differently) than the real thing.
I always thought that was them being hipsters basically. People look at something convenient and easily accessible like replicator food and longing for the "good old days" when people ate the "real thing".
Well, it's probably a bit of both, honestly. Consider, say, a McDonald's burger versus a home-made burger. Wouldn't one taste better than the other? But the McDonald's product is going to be more consistent, bland, and industrially produced, like the replicator, while the homemade version is going to be a little more varied, cooked differently, etcetera. Nutritionally, the replicated version would not be terribly different (as opposed to a McDonald's burger, unfortunately) but flavor-wise it could be because it's made differently.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by biostem » 2015-06-29 08:22pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
Purple wrote:
Batman wrote:People don't complain about 'this isn't what it tasted like when Mom made it'. We're not talking different recipies, we're talking replicated food tasting noticeably differently (or at least people 'claiming' replicated food tastes noticeably differently) than the real thing.
I always thought that was them being hipsters basically. People look at something convenient and easily accessible like replicator food and longing for the "good old days" when people ate the "real thing".
Well, it's probably a bit of both, honestly. Consider, say, a McDonald's burger versus a home-made burger. Wouldn't one taste better than the other? But the McDonald's product is going to be more consistent, bland, and industrially produced, like the replicator, while the homemade version is going to be a little more varied, cooked differently, etcetera. Nutritionally, the replicated version would not be terribly different (as opposed to a McDonald's burger, unfortunately) but flavor-wise it could be because it's made differently.

I wonder, though, how much of that is due to the raw ingredients, and how much is due to how the replicators cook/prepare said materials. For instance, could you order the replicator to create a raw hamburger, then cook it yourself?

On a slightly related note, could we get the title changed to "stock" instead of "stalk"? :)

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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Borgholio » 2015-06-30 01:12am

On a slightly related note, could we get the title changed to "stock" instead of "stalk"? :)
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by dragon » 2015-07-06 07:14am

Well as to farming obsolete Picard family owned a Vineyard and Sisko father stated that he used real food as eating replicated was wrong.
In DS9 the Klingon food vendor served live Gagh which can't be replicated. so there are examples of non replicated sources of food.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Elheru Aran » 2015-07-06 05:12pm

I don't think anybody has denied that?

*Some* forms of farming, at least, do exist-- the question is how much of it is an actual practical source of food. A vineyard could well be a source of wine for Federation hipsters, and Sisko's dad could be similarly hipsterish. It's quite possible that most people are okay with replicated food and that 'real' food costs too much in whatever (energy credits?) to eat frequently. Regardless of the bombastic claims of Picard, Kirk et al, it's obvious the Federation has *some* form of finances even if it's largely behind the scenes, because it still costs *something* to raise animals, grow plants, and so forth. If it's cheaper to take organic goop and replicate it into food... well, the organic goop has to come from somewhere, unless they're just forcibly assembling enzymes, amino acids, and all that lovely stuff out of atoms. Somehow, I don't think they're *that* far advanced.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Zeropoint » 2015-07-09 12:47pm

Many characters with refined tastes claim they can tell the difference between replicated and real food
Eh, well, many audiophiles with "refined" tastes claim they can tell the difference between cheap wires and speaker cables costing hundreds of dollars. Blind testing proves they can't.

Having said that, it's my head-canon that replicators basically use VERY lossy compression to store their "recipes". We've seen enough transporter shenanigans over the years to confirm that storing the "pattern" generated in scanning a group of humanoids for transport is a LOT of data, such that storing it long-term outside the transporter system is a Big Deal. And yet, the replicator system has thousands of patterns. I like to imagine, for example, that if you got a bowl of rice from a replicator, each grain of rice would be exactly the same as all the rest, because there's only a pattern for one grain stored, and it's repeated as many times as needed. It's probably the same rice grain over and over again in every dish that uses rice, really.

Regarding the buildup/depletion of elements in the replicator stock: If we assume that the ship is a closed system, with no mass being added or extracted, and also assume that no atomic transmutation is happening, then it follows that the mass of each element aboard the ship remains constant. The only question, then, is whether those atoms are available to the replicator system or not. If I were designing things, there'd be some sort of connection between the life support system (which has to remove carbon dioxide from the air and then get rid of it somehow) and the replicator system (which loses carbon to people eating it and then breathing it out instead of pooping it back into the system).
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Elheru Aran » 2015-07-09 02:53pm

Zeropoint wrote:
Many characters with refined tastes claim they can tell the difference between replicated and real food
Eh, well, many audiophiles with "refined" tastes claim they can tell the difference between cheap wires and speaker cables costing hundreds of dollars. Blind testing proves they can't.

Having said that, it's my head-canon that replicators basically use VERY lossy compression to store their "recipes". We've seen enough transporter shenanigans over the years to confirm that storing the "pattern" generated in scanning a group of humanoids for transport is a LOT of data, such that storing it long-term outside the transporter system is a Big Deal. And yet, the replicator system has thousands of patterns. I like to imagine, for example, that if you got a bowl of rice from a replicator, each grain of rice would be exactly the same as all the rest, because there's only a pattern for one grain stored, and it's repeated as many times as needed. It's probably the same rice grain over and over again in every dish that uses rice, really.
Sound is one thing; taste is a bit different. If you could 'taste' sound like you can smell/taste food-- scent is as much a part of the tasting process as the tongue is-- you might be able to tell the difference. Absolutely identical grains of rice probably wouldn't matter that much, but to someone who knows what 'real' rice is like with the odd husk, maybe a little salt, bit of starch... it would be different.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Darmalus » 2015-07-11 09:57pm

Elheru Aran wrote:I don't think anybody has denied that?

*Some* forms of farming, at least, do exist-- the question is how much of it is an actual practical source of food. A vineyard could well be a source of wine for Federation hipsters, and Sisko's dad could be similarly hipsterish. It's quite possible that most people are okay with replicated food and that 'real' food costs too much in whatever (energy credits?) to eat frequently. Regardless of the bombastic claims of Picard, Kirk et al, it's obvious the Federation has *some* form of finances even if it's largely behind the scenes, because it still costs *something* to raise animals, grow plants, and so forth. If it's cheaper to take organic goop and replicate it into food... well, the organic goop has to come from somewhere, unless they're just forcibly assembling enzymes, amino acids, and all that lovely stuff out of atoms. Somehow, I don't think they're *that* far advanced.
One decision I made for a ST based RPG was that "Federation Credits" were actually your share of the daily energy production for the planetary network, letting you get replicated food, toys, furniture, etc. all supported by a network of heavily automated farms, recycling systems, and so forth that made the planet effectively a closed system for "mundane" items. There were a separate hard currency (latinum) and gift-based economies (the Picard vineyard and Sisko restaurant worked in both) for everything that wasn't available from a replicator. And what you couldn't get was a lot, every new replicator pattern had to go through 5 zillion committees, which is why everything we see (clothes, furniture, decorations) is so damn bland.

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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Vendetta » 2015-07-14 06:40pm

DarthPooky wrote:So the general consensuses is that replicators use some sort of organic goop. What I want discourse more of is what this goop is made from. So like is it made from actual food stuff or organic chemicals in a lab or factory.
If a pocketwatch can be broken down and reconstituted as a hot meal, the base block is probably inorganic high density material so that it takes up less volume in the ship.

That also implies that replicators work at a subatomic level, building atoms of whatever is required for the task at hand.

Of course, that also renders the whole concept of restricted base matter supplies moot because you could hoover up a few asteroids and break them down for base matter, but Voyager is stupid like that.
Zeropoint wrote: Having said that, it's my head-canon that replicators basically use VERY lossy compression to store their "recipes". We've seen enough transporter shenanigans over the years to confirm that storing the "pattern" generated in scanning a group of humanoids for transport is a LOT of data, such that storing it long-term outside the transporter system is a Big Deal. And yet, the replicator system has thousands of patterns. I like to imagine, for example, that if you got a bowl of rice from a replicator, each grain of rice would be exactly the same as all the rest, because there's only a pattern for one grain stored, and it's repeated as many times as needed. It's probably the same rice grain over and over again in every dish that uses rice, really.
That's probably a reasonable explanation, Replicators don't have a method to procedurally introduce minor variations that occur naturally in cooking due to the variability of human action in the process (stirring, turning, seasoning differntly, etc). So a replicator will produce exactly the same steak over and over again, with the same pattern of searing, the same differential of cookedness throughout, etc. Whereas a human might turn this one over 30 seconds later than that one and that introduces variability.

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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Lord Revan » 2015-07-15 06:30am

Vendetta wrote:
Zeropoint wrote: Having said that, it's my head-canon that replicators basically use VERY lossy compression to store their "recipes". We've seen enough transporter shenanigans over the years to confirm that storing the "pattern" generated in scanning a group of humanoids for transport is a LOT of data, such that storing it long-term outside the transporter system is a Big Deal. And yet, the replicator system has thousands of patterns. I like to imagine, for example, that if you got a bowl of rice from a replicator, each grain of rice would be exactly the same as all the rest, because there's only a pattern for one grain stored, and it's repeated as many times as needed. It's probably the same rice grain over and over again in every dish that uses rice, really.
That's probably a reasonable explanation, Replicators don't have a method to procedurally introduce minor variations that occur naturally in cooking due to the variability of human action in the process (stirring, turning, seasoning differntly, etc). So a replicator will produce exactly the same steak over and over again, with the same pattern of searing, the same differential of cookedness throughout, etc. Whereas a human might turn this one over 30 seconds later than that one and that introduces variability.
then there's the fact that naturally grown materials are all gonna be unique to begin with, so even if every steak was cooked exactly the same there's still gonna be some variations. Where as an replicator would replicate a same steak, cooked the same way everytime.

I suspect that replicators also intentionally replicate rather bland tasting stuff to begin with (unless specific seasoning is asked for) since you'd have a truly massive amount of different tastes to cater to, so it would be better to replicate something that tastes "good enough" to most of the people then try to cram enough variations to fully satisfy everyone.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2015-07-15 09:10am

I always figured that replicators were ST's future version of ready meals. Tasty enough, easy to use and they fill a hole, but not the most satisfying of cuisine. Can you live on nothing but that? Sure, but it'll get boring quickly and you'll want a change of pace now and then.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Borgholio » 2015-07-15 09:36am

Eternal_Freedom wrote:I always figured that replicators were ST's future version of ready meals. Tasty enough, easy to use and they fill a hole, but not the most satisfying of cuisine. Can you live on nothing but that? Sure, but it'll get boring quickly and you'll want a change of pace now and then.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Simon_Jester » 2015-07-15 06:20pm

I don't recall evidence that the Federation forces vegetarianism on people.

Also, I don't see any evidence that music other than classical or jazz is somehow discouraged, let alone prohibited- it's just not the preference of the characters we see. That's not really a surprise, either. Trends in music have evolved rapidly ever since 1960 or so and any attempt by the writers to accurately portray what 'pop' music would look like, or which parts of our pop music would withstand the test of time.

I mean, would Star Trek: The Next Generation really have been better if they'd shown off Riker's enthusiasm for the "authentic 20th century hair bands" that were contemporary with the actual creation of the show? Would Picard be made better by disco? At least with jazz and classical he can keep his dignity.

As to the violence... well. Aside from the point where Klingons have a superhuman resilience to getting hit over the head with a plank or shivved for insulting someone... :D

There's the point that there ARE societies like that on Earth, where casual violence is far more common as a way for certain people to 'control' the behavior of other people. Would you want to live there? If not, reconsider the desirability of living among Klingons.
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Crazedwraith » 2015-07-15 06:33pm

Simon_Jester wrote:I don't recall evidence that the Federation forces vegetarianism on people.
If I remember the usual argument correctly. There's one example of Keiko being surprised O'Brien's family handled/cooked real meat. Therefore the federation is a vegan communist dystopia and Troi is a political officer. :roll:

Of course then Sisko's Dad wouldn't have his restaurant and everyone who every trashed replicators and wanted real food would be arrested so... yeah.

The Voyager crew never objected to real food either, they just didn't want Neelix to be the one cooking it. ;)
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Re: Replicaitors and raw food stalk

Post by Simon_Jester » 2015-07-15 11:58pm

I've often thought Troi might not be a political officer, exactly... but she may serve a comparable function in that part of her job is to report on the 'mental health' of the senior officers.

Picard, at least, has some major traumas in his past and is also known for being dogmatic, inflexible, and prone to seriously overworking himself... honestly, having an onboard counselor who keeps an eye on him is well justified. And God knows the original Enterprise encountered a lot of things that could interfere with or disrupt the functionings of a human mind (including, or so he assured us, God). So, again, having an onboard counselor, especially a telepathic counselor, who's capable of determining whether your crew has been affected by alien mind control ghosts is helpful.
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