Imagine this: you glance into your freezer and are unable to locate your next delectable MagicKitchen.com meal. You then simply place your order online, wait a few seconds, and voila, your meal materializes in front of your eyes on your transporter platform (which could be conveniently placed on your dining room table). You then pour a glass of wine and sit down to enjoy your dinner. This scenario could happen…sometime in the 23rd century.
Yes, if we had this Star Trek technology today we, and you, could save big bucks on shipping and dry ice costs as the only things that would be able to disable the transporter would be solar flares, ion storms, and electromagnetic and nucleonic radiation. However, while we have few ion storms here on earth, we, unfortunately, also have few transporters…wait, make that none.
Just a second, there are other options for teleportation given to us by movies, television programs and comics. Take, for example, the Hollywood movie, The Fly, which comes in two versions, one made in 1958 with Vincent Price and David Hedison and one from 1986 which starred Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. In each version, a weird amalgamation of fly and human is created when the two are teleported simultaneously. On second thought, scratch that, we could end up with Lasagna-stuffed Sole instead of Crab-stuffed Sole.
In the popular British television series, Dr. Who, a T-Mat (transfer matter) system is developed in the mid-21st century, no less, and they actually use it as a food distribution network. Hold on, nix the T-Mat also, as the entire global food distribution system fails after the T-Mat is compromised by the lunar Ice Warriors…too risky.
Finally, Nightcrawler, a blue mutant with a prehensile tail (think opossums and howler monkeys), yellow eyes, and elfin ears has the ability to teleport himself, as well as items within his grasp, via an alternate dimension. Darn, that won’t work either as people won’t take kindly to a blue, monkey-like human with three fingers and two toes suddenly appearing in their homes with a loud bamf-like sound, despite the fact that he’s delivering tempting delicacies.
Since none of these technologies, or Nightcrawler, exists, we are stuck with shipping costs that are inexorably tied to weight, distance and the cost of dry ice that ensures your meals stay frozen while in transport. So, until Dr. Emory Erikson invents the transporter in the early 22nd century, shipping costs will continue to be a necessary evil.
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