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Tranporters, Atomic Level Murder

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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-18 02:27pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
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Location: Burlington, Canada
Sela wrote:
I think you just contradicted yourself. Yes, we use real-physics to explain what happens in the science fiction films - that's part of the point of this site, no question. But at the same time, we accept everything we see occurring as actually happening, rather than handwaving away that which is bizzare. You know what else "stretches credulity"? Travelling faster than light. But we make what explanations we can and quantify power-output and levels based on observations anyway.


You have a point, sort of. I stated that in-universe, there is a reasonable explanation that I can accept. As an observer living in the "real" universe, though, I still might try (and have tried) to take the observed phenomena to their logical conclusions with the rules as I understand them to exist. I suspend disbelief and accept that the person continuously exists throughout the transporter process for the purposes of the show; indeed, it isn't as though there would be any external difference. In other words, if someone presented me with a working transporter mechanism, there's no way in Hell I'd use it.

(An interesting question, though, for the case of Thomas/Will Riker, if we assume some sort of consciousness transfer: which one got the "original" consciousness, and which one is just the perfect copy? Again, externally it makes no difference.)

The remainder of your post concerned the various aspects of pure-energy beings, which is very nice, but is not something I'm prepared to debate. I concur that they exist as observable phenomena in the Trek universe, and operate as an explanation for why a person would willingly step onto a transporter pad.
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bilateralrope
PostPosted: 2011-02-18 02:41pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2005-06-25 06:50pm
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SCRawl wrote:
Note that this isn't in response to any of my arguments, but I do see where Franc28 is coming from. If one approaches the problem with the perspective that the transporter is just a long-distance copier -- which I see as inevitable, given what we see from some of the more extreme examples -- then the fact that the original is killed follows. The original stops existing, and a perfect copy takes over.


Fair enough.

Quote:
No one around the transporter room lights candles and sings hymns, because travelling by transporter has become the norm. Perhaps it's because of the fact that in the Trek universe it is possible for beings to live as sentient energy patterns


I don't think sentient energy patterns are necessary to explain people accepting transporters. As long as you have an initial group of people willing to be transported around, other people will be convinced by a combination of:
- Interacting with the transported people before and after transport and realising that they are still the same person.
- Thinking through the moral implications of how to treat transported and possibly transported people.
- Self serving interests. If you had a valuable employee who got transported, would you the materialised person that he is out of a job now even when you know that whoever came out of the transporter will be just as valuable to you ?
- The law is not going recognise that transporters kill in the long run. Partly due to courts having to decide the problem of people who may have been transported and the issues of age restrictions and materialised people, partly due to lawmakers being convinced by arguments about what's good for society, and partly everyones reaction to the threat of teleporter blackmail.
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Batman
PostPosted: 2011-02-18 08:23pm 

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if transporters turn matter into energy one wonders why they bother with Warp cores, really. Sure, with 1 kg of M/AM you get 9E16J (minus the inefficiencies of the system). You also have to keep a store of antimatter, which is a bitch to keep contained, and as they seem to use hydrogen for it fuel density is not going to be anything to brag about. Whereas transporters apparently achieve 100% perfect conversion regardless of the matter transported (I can't recall anything going through the transporter losing mass in the process).
0.5 cubic metres of slush deuterium plus 0.5 cubic metres of slush antideuterium that is a bitch to keep from ruining your day vs 1 cubic metre of lead? At what appears to be 100% efficiency? I'm taking the lead, thank you very much (I'd have used something even heavier, but I have a nasty suspicion a cubic metre of pure plutonium is going to present you with problems all of its own).
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-18 09:49pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
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Location: Burlington, Canada
Batman wrote:
if transporters turn matter into energy one wonders why they bother with Warp cores, really. Sure, with 1 kg of M/AM you get 9E16J (minus the inefficiencies of the system). You also have to keep a store of antimatter, which is a bitch to keep contained, and as they seem to use hydrogen for it fuel density is not going to be anything to brag about. Whereas transporters apparently achieve 100% perfect conversion regardless of the matter transported (I can't recall anything going through the transporter losing mass in the process).
0.5 cubic metres of slush deuterium plus 0.5 cubic metres of slush antideuterium that is a bitch to keep from ruining your day vs 1 cubic metre of lead? At what appears to be 100% efficiency? I'm taking the lead, thank you very much (I'd have used something even heavier, but I have a nasty suspicion a cubic metre of pure plutonium is going to present you with problems all of its own).


I think you broke my sarcasm meter there. :)

Well, seriously, that's another argument for the transporter being a glorified copier. All the receiving end needs is the pattern, as I suggested, and it supplies the energy needed to produce the copy. It might be horribly inefficient, of course, but since it's coming from the ship's main reactor, they can afford to throw it around.
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Wyrm
PostPosted: 2011-02-18 11:22pm 

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Location: In the sand, pooping hallucinogenic goodness.
There's more to matter than energy, you know.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-18 11:41pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
Posts: 3474
Location: Burlington, Canada
Wyrm wrote:
There's more to matter than energy, you know.


Well, sure, fine. That changes nothing but my shorthand. Feel free to change the instance of "energy" to "energy and particles", if you like, from my previous post. The point is that the receiving transporter setup is the thing that is supplying the necessary material to assemble the copy. (Particle physics is a long time ago for me, so I hope you'll forgive me if I slip up on things like lepton or hadron conservation. Off the top of my head, I can't even remember which one has to be conserved.)
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Metahive
PostPosted: 2011-02-19 01:56pm 

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Joined: 2010-09-02 09:08am
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Location: Little Korea in Big Germany
But if it's that easy why was Weyoun so worried when he heard that his last standby clone was annihilated if he could hypothetically just step on a transporter pad to have his pattern loaded into the buffer? Why also aren't then replicators not capable to produce living creatures?
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Kamakazie Sith
PostPosted: 2011-02-19 05:03pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-03 05:00pm
Posts: 7118
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
SCRawl wrote:
Wyrm wrote:
There's more to matter than energy, you know.


Well, sure, fine. That changes nothing but my shorthand. Feel free to change the instance of "energy" to "energy and particles", if you like, from my previous post. The point is that the receiving transporter setup is the thing that is supplying the necessary material to assemble the copy. (Particle physics is a long time ago for me, so I hope you'll forgive me if I slip up on things like lepton or hadron conservation. Off the top of my head, I can't even remember which one has to be conserved.)


So you're assuming that energy to reassemble the transported subject is supplied from another source. What if the energy used to reassemble the subject use to be the matter that the subject was composed of? In other words...there is no secondary source of energy. Nothing is replaced.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-19 05:30pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
Posts: 3474
Location: Burlington, Canada
Metahive wrote:
But if it's that easy why was Weyoun so worried when he heard that his last standby clone was annihilated if he could hypothetically just step on a transporter pad to have his pattern loaded into the buffer? Why also aren't then replicators not capable to produce living creatures?


Wow, you've got me there. In the same manner, it sure was satisfying to see everyone dying of old age in the Trek universe use the transporter to get them back into their prepubescent bodies, just like Picard, Ro, and Guinan did. Oh wait, they didn't do that. Does this mean that there might be an inconsistency somewhere?

The fact is that while the transporter can be used in the manner I've described, it is not generally done. There might be cultural reasons, or simple knowledge-related reasons (ie. not everyone who operates a transporter is aware of how to modify it in order to generate multiple copies or act as the fountain of youth). We all know the real reason, but it's pointless to argue a position based on writer laziness.

Kamikaze Sith wrote:
So you're assuming that energy to reassemble the transported subject is supplied from another source. What if the energy used to reassemble the subject use to be the matter that the subject was composed of? In other words...there is no secondary source of energy. Nothing is replaced.


That argument won't go anywhere. Particles are particles are particles. One proton is the same as another. And we know that the "matter stream" from the source can't be a critical component of the process, since a whole other Will Riker somehow materialized without one.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-02-21 05:34pm 

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Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
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SCRawl wrote:
Kamikaze Sith wrote:
So you're assuming that energy to reassemble the transported subject is supplied from another source. What if the energy used to reassemble the subject use to be the matter that the subject was composed of? In other words...there is no secondary source of energy. Nothing is replaced.
That argument won't go anywhere. Particles are particles are particles. One proton is the same as another. And we know that the "matter stream" from the source can't be a critical component of the process, since a whole other Will Riker somehow materialized without one.
Whenever we get an accidental transporter duplication, it's always associated closely with an attempt to transport someone: We have to be transporting Riker-One to get a Riker-Two, we have to be transporting Kirk-One to get Kirk-Two, and so on.

We never see artifacts emerging from the transporter long after the transporter has ceased to operate.

Therefore, it's reasonable to infer that while you may not need one "matter stream" per created subject, you do need a matter stream to create any subject- you cannot use archived information in the transporter to run off a dozen copies of Captain Kirk decades after his death. The only way to get one, or two, or three, or any number of Kirks is to start with at least one Kirk and somehow cause the transporter to 'hiccup' and produce the desired number of copies on the spot.

Whatever weird effects might produce echoes/interference/duplication/whatever in the "matter stream," there is a fairly clear rule to the effect that a transporter does not store information that can be used to recreate the subject later, at least not under normal operating conditions. Exceptions exist (Scotty being the most prominent one I can think of off the top of my head), but they are exceptions, not the rule. And each exception is accompanied by an explicit "some genius modified a transporter to do something risky..." which means it's not a normal operating mode, or anything like one.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-21 05:54pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
Posts: 3474
Location: Burlington, Canada
Simon_Jester wrote:
Exceptions exist (Scotty being the most prominent one I can think of off the top of my head), but they are exceptions, not the rule. And each exception is accompanied by an explicit "some genius modified a transporter to do something risky..." which means it's not a normal operating mode, or anything like one.


We agree completely about this. I never meant to suggest that duplication was anything like a standard operation, but rather that a transporter could, out of the box, be modified by competent personnel in such a way as to produce the results we see in those unusual circumstances.
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Sela
PostPosted: 2011-02-22 06:47pm 

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Joined: 2009-01-04 11:01pm
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@SCRawl:

If "local matter" is being used to reproduce the image, then how is it possible to beam something into space. I can't be 100% sure whether we get a visual on this or not, but I recall them beaming a tree into outer space to be destroyed by the ships weaponry in "Datalore". If transporters rely on local matter, that local matter would have to be spontaneously drawn from well beyond the atmosphere in this case.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-22 07:27pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
Posts: 3474
Location: Burlington, Canada
Sela wrote:
@SCRawl:

If "local matter" is being used to reproduce the image, then how is it possible to beam something into space. I can't be 100% sure whether we get a visual on this or not, but I recall them beaming a tree into outer space to be destroyed by the ships weaponry in "Datalore". If transporters rely on local matter, that local matter would have to be spontaneously drawn from well beyond the atmosphere in this case.


I never implied that local matter, in the manner you suggest, was what was used to produce the copy, but rather that it was the transporter mechanism. In other words, the actual particles comprising the original subject need not be invoked, but can be generic particles supplied by the transporter.
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Batman
PostPosted: 2011-02-22 07:47pm 

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Err-where would the transporter get those generic particles, please? I seriously doubt it has an emergency matter tank somewhere for the one-off chance of having to create two iterations of a transportee.
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Kamakazie Sith
PostPosted: 2011-02-22 07:57pm 

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Sela wrote:
@SCRawl:

If "local matter" is being used to reproduce the image, then how is it possible to beam something into space. I can't be 100% sure whether we get a visual on this or not, but I recall them beaming a tree into outer space to be destroyed by the ships weaponry in "Datalore". If transporters rely on local matter, that local matter would have to be spontaneously drawn from well beyond the atmosphere in this case.


The Enterprise has an Arboretum on board which does contain trees.
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Batman
PostPosted: 2011-02-22 08:12pm 

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I think he was talking about local matter at the point of reintegration in cases of duplication. That the transporter can transport matter from outside the transporter room is, I think, not something anybody is contesting.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-22 08:25pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
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I imagine the process goes something like this:

1. Subject is scanned by the transporter mechanism, and dissolved.
2. Using the pattern, the transporter generates a copy from the subject's matter (where convenient) or from generic particles (where not convenient) at the location desired.

The nuts and bolts of this process would be interesting, to be sure, but they are necessarily opaque to us. But since protons, neutrons, and electrons are all alike, and they are what everything tangible is made from, any old particles will do. As to the Batman's question about where they come from, well, we know that the Enterprise maintains sizable quantities of deuterium on board, and deuterium is a fine medium for storing store protons, neutrons, and electrons. These might be just for occasions when the original's matter is not available (or not conveniently available), and not, as the Batman suggests, for routine duplication of the transportee. I have argued repeatedly that although the transporter is not generally put to that purpose it seems as though it could be, if someone were inclined and sufficiently well informed.
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Purple
PostPosted: 2011-02-22 10:53pm 

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An interesting argument could be made (although I don't think anyone has until now) about the reasons why this is the case. I mean we know that a transporter can work as a copy device and not just a moving device. And we know that with modification any off the shelf transporter can do so. Hence, the only logical conclusion is that the reason why off the shelf transporters are not configured with a copy function has to do with some sort of morality issue.
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-23 07:40am 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
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Location: Burlington, Canada
I'm hardly the first to make this argument. Darth Wong had something like it in his [url=http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire/Fanfic/Conquest/index.html]fanfic[/quote] (which I can recommend; the ending is especially good), for instance.

Anyway, yes, while I've said that a transporter can function as a copier (but doesn't), I'm suggesting that it would take nontrivial adjustments to achieve this. After all, the only times we ever see it function in this way is when something goes terribly wrong. The fact that it's still the transporter itself which is causing these undesired effects is what leads me to conclude that the transporter is nothing but a long-distance copier, and can therefore be modified to make multiple copies.
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Darth Tedious
PostPosted: 2011-02-23 09:44am 

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Hasn't it been stated that replicators were an outgrowth of transporter technology? As in the exact kind of 'variation on a theme' that you're talking about?
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SCRawl
PostPosted: 2011-02-23 02:26pm 

Has a bad feeling about this.


Joined: 2002-12-24 04:11pm
Posts: 3474
Location: Burlington, Canada
Darth Tedious wrote:
Hasn't it been stated that replicators were an outgrowth of transporter technology? As in the exact kind of 'variation on a theme' that you're talking about?


Pretty much, yeah. I would imagine that those who characters using a transporter would start to get a little squeamish if they really started thinking about it as a long-distance copier, so it has to be called something else.

(Also: as my mod powers don't work, could someone with the appropriate permissions please fix my link from two posts back? "Conquest" deserves a better presentation than the mess I created.)
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