Mail in the 24th century...

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Mail in the 24th century...

Post by AdmiralSirJohn » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:10 pm

So I'm sitting here watching an episode of Firefly, and there's a scene where our intrepid heroes/misfits are retrieving their mail. Yes, actual mail.

And that got me wondering... Would there be mail service in the 24th century that we would recognize as mail?

I mean, recorded messages are one thing, but some things would still be sent as hardcopy, not to mention parcels...

And if not, what would replace it?

Thoughts?
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by JM1776 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:34 pm

Perhaps there might be a service via which one inputs the desired object, and such is constituted at its destination via replicator—assuming one has the financial means, if applicable in your version of Trek.
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by AdmiralSirJohn » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:41 pm

Well, I was thinking in terms of non-replicatable or hand-made objects... but I could see how remote replication would be an alternative...
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by KahlessOfVulcan » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:43 pm

That would result in a lot of copying, I think. Why part with something if you can give someone a completely identical version of it? Of course, there might very well be some people who would view that as lessening the value of the gift and would prefer to actually send the original physical item itself. Of course that wouldn't really apply in every situation, if it wasn't a gift for instance.

I can also see there being physical deliveries - they still have cargo ships, why not mail carriers?
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by collierctr » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:15 pm

AdmiralSirJohn wrote:Well, I was thinking in terms of non-replicatable or hand-made objects... but I could see how remote replication would be an alternative...

I think TemporalExpress handles those... their motto?

"When It Absolutely Positively Needed to Get There Yesterday"


I also think items that have sentimental value might not be as cherished if you can just replicate them or use a transporter to disassemble or destroy them and recreate them somewhere else.

But hey, even if you have the actual cozy your 6 year old child made you as you step on that transporter pad to head to the moonbase, when *you* materialize on the moon, is the tea cozy in your hand still the exact same atoms of cozy that you held in your hand before you stepped on that pad, or is it a perfect copy? I dunno...but I think enough doubt would be out there to render mementos more symbolic than sentimental tangible real items from your past.
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by captainuniverse » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:22 pm

I thought the invention of the holodeck would have solved the need for mail-order brides? \drm/

Just kidding.

Kahless and Joe seem to have some interesting explanations for Mail in the 24th century. Fascinating, they are. \Y/
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by AdmiralSirJohn » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:30 pm

I would think that certain objects would be considered (for transporter purposes) the same as a person: the quantum entanglement of the transport process makes them the same as the source particles, whatever they were before.

Plus the things that simply can't be replicated or beamed....
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by collierctr » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:15 am

AdmiralSirJohn wrote:I would think that certain objects would be considered (for transporter purposes) the same as a person: the quantum entanglement of the transport process makes them the same as the source particles, whatever they were before.

Plus the things that simply can't be replicated or beamed....

I hear ya. I tend to think of transporting yourself as sort of a concession to expedience. Like if the answer to 'will I feel no pain and still feel like myself on the other side?' is yes, most will be willing to take the utter annihilation of their body in some apparatus for the expedience in not having to wait ten minutes for a taxi, and close their eyes and thoughts to questions like 'how in the f--- did my source particles get there and reconstituted, and how was that easier than just keeping me intact?' - still, how unsettling would it be if they patted their pocket and found their wallet was now in the right breast pocket instead of the left....

and that's why Star Fleet uniforms have no pockets!!! Peace of mind...

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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by Michael » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:36 am

collierctr wrote:I hear ya. I tend to think of transporting yourself as sort of a concession to expedience. Like if the answer to 'will I feel no pain and still feel like myself on the other side?' is yes, most will be willing to take the utter annihilation of their body in some apparatus for the expedience in not having to wait ten minutes for a taxi, and close their eyes and thoughts to questions like 'how in the f--- did my source particles get there and reconstituted, and how was that easier than just keeping me intact?'
Not me. No way I'd ever step into that thing. [-(

No convenience could make up for being annihilated, nor would it be any comfort knowing something would walk out the other end thinking it was me.

If there are things which can't be transported, what does that say about the people who go through it?

I doubt there'd be much need for a formal mail service in the way we think of it. You might have a very few things shipped here and there, but replication technology and the 24th century communication system would eliminate the need for most of what we see mail doing in our time.
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by AdmiralSirJohn » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:53 am

But there would be a need for some sort of official fast courier service, right?
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by Michael » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:58 am

Given the 24th century technology we've seen, I can't think of more than a handful of things needing shipped which could justify such a service.
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by amehatrekkie » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:52 am

they most likely just use civilian transport

i agree with michael that i doubt the volume of shipments would warrant a dedicated company or government network....and it's probably consists of ancient artifacts, handmade statutes, etc, etc

i don't see a FedEx Interplanetary or UFPS
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by JM1776 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:37 pm

Michael wrote:No convenience could make up for being annihilated, nor would it be any comfort knowing something would walk out the other end thinking it was me.

If there are things which can't be transported, what does that say about the people who go through it?
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by Triton » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:07 pm

You guys don't believe that there is a government-run United Federation of Planets Postal Service (UFPPS)? Call it "warp mail"?

John's question actually reminded me of the Pony Express from the Traveller RPG.

I imagine if the public-sector doesn't deliver packages and physical objects, I imagine that there would be a private-sector Federation Express or Federation Parcel Service etc. They may even have their own fleet of courier starships.
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Re: Mail in the 24th century...

Post by AdmiralSirJohn » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:18 pm

I think the argument against such a service is, "In the age of the replicator, why would anyone need to send physical mail?"

Which is a valid argument. I'm just wondering if there might be some sort of courier service (which I envision as akin to the Dispatch boats of the Honorverse: small and fast) for those things that aren't readily replicatable or aren't replicated for personal/sentimental reasons.

I mean, I can understand a favorite nephew scanning one of those plaster handprint things in school and having it appear in Uncle Bill's replicator out on the USS Whatever, but I think the family might want to send the original to the grandparents on Mars or Andoria...

Of course, considering the urgency of some cargoes, even in the 24th century, one would think that any sort of courier service (whether government or private) would utilize existing fast cargo ships...
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