How did I miss this conversation until now? The only thing I can add is to point out that earth travel issues will become a thing of the past, once the fruits of feline butterology technology are available. To wit:
When a cat is dropped, it ALWAYS lands on its feet; and when toast is dropped, it ALWAYS lands with the buttered side facing down. Therefore, strap buttered toast to the back of a cat. When dropped, the two will hover, spinning inches above the ground, probably in to eternity. A "buttered-cat array" could replace pneumatic tires on cars and trucks, and "giant buttered-cat arrays" could easily support a high-speed monorail linking New York with Chicago.
Here at Fox Labs, white-coated scientists are working round the clock to bring the marvels of buttered-cat arrays to glorious fruition. We are confident that, once the vexatious problem of having the cats lick the butter off the toast is solved, enormous strides forward are imminent.
Hey, I feel just as bad for affirming your innaccuracy about Troi! But I'm not changing my comment. It's a matter of principle. Plus, I was quoting you verbatim and somebody's gotta preserve the historical record. ;-)
Oh my. I go away for a day (which was *painful*. gotta work sometime, though), and I come back to this. In my new mental image of all my favorite Wordies, you all wear fake spock ears while sitting at your computers. :-)
These days I'm more of a BG man, myself. And I can't fracking wait for Razor.
Don't forget, though, that there are cargo transporters, not suitable for organic matter, but presumably there's some advantage to using them--perhaps they use less energy, or transport further or in bulk, but... let's not forget those are available as well, and may well serve a more fruitful purpose today than a standard personnel transport. Think of the savings in gasoline alone, from not having all those eighteen-wheelers on the road, for example. The carbon dioxide savings, etc. would not be negligible.
Secondly, if you just want to get from one side of the planet to the other, it would be more efficient to build a frictionless (or low-friction) subterranean gravity-operated tube. You'd accelerate until you reach the center of the planet, whereupon your speed would begin to decelerate (at the same rate) for the second half of your journey, until you finally arrive at the surface at a full stop.
The coolest thing is it doesn't have to go directly through the center of earth. It works at an angle as well.
To add to the transporters discussion, I never recall anyone teleporting around Earth, only back and forth from orbiting ships. Given shuttles with autopilots, traveling would be fast and stress free without resorting to transporters.
There really isn't a problem with transporters. Safety mechanisms like the aforementioned pattern buffers and Heisenberg compensators have made the risk negligible. Beaming down to a planet surface is far safer than piloting a shuttlecraft down there, and has been for several hundred years (we're in the 24th century, right?).
Occasionally you'll have some freak thing happen, like a duplicate you running around, or you turn into a ghost, or you discover that old crewmen have been hiding in suspended animation for years in the matter stream. Or any number of other weird anomalies. But for the most part, it's perfectly safe. The major limitations are the 40,000 km range, the fact that you can't transport through raised shields or during warp travel. Certain hacks have overcome some of those, but can't be relied upon in everyday use.
OK. I suppose Beverly Crusher might be a better fantasy choice than Deanna Troi. I can't believe she and Picard never...you, know, in that episode where they were joined telepathically...and she was wearing that...Is it getting HOT in here?
Hmm, I'm not sure about pattern loss on a trip through a planet. You're probably right. But the transporter doesn't only work line-of-sight either. I assume there's a threshold of several meters of matter that you could beam through safely, more or less depending on what the material is. My guess is that if you wanted to transport from one point on the earth's surface to another, you'd only be able to go a little further than the horizon; eventually the planet's curvature becomes an issue.
Of course, that's assuming you're using the wireless protocol they install on starships. That's pretty impractical on land. I expect you could send the signal through the internet on earth, and get just about anywhere there's web access.
There is an absolutely hilarious Weird Al video here on YouTube--a parody of a rap song called "Ridin' Dirty"--about the whitest, nerdiest dork in existence. There are at least four references in the video to Star Trek. So I guess it's easy to see why this discussion has ended up on "dork out."
Hey--do you think chained_bear was trying to smoke us out? She has apparently succeeded.
Lots of conversations on Wordie are irrelevant to the word on which they reside, but not this one.
I'd have the transporter. The circumference of the earth is 40,008 to 40,075 kilometers, so a range of 40,000 kilometers could take me anywhere in the world with a short 8 - 75km walk added on. I'm assuming the "pattern will degrade" if I try to go through the earth.
But here's what I never quite got--why bother with warp drive if you have the transporter? Is it so you can take along your bedroom and your library and whatnot when you travel? But if you can just transport yourself back and forth, why take all that stuff with you?
And on and on....
Skipvia, don't forget that despite what I said previously on this thread, Deanna Troi DOES NOT read minds. Important to note. :-P
No, it would be a food replicator. That's the one I think has the most immediate and pressing application to daily life. (E.g. wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to cook anymore?! OR eat out?!) Or maybe the transporter--particularly for people who travel for a living.
On the other hand, I didn't say that you couldn't wish for more wishes, so if you could hack a food replicator to replicate another complex engineered mechanism, why... more power to you.