VOYAGER - it doesn't make sense to stop & gather food from a planet

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SFTVratings
Watching the reruns on Spike, I notice they sometimes stop at various
planets to gather Leola roots and other food items.  It's illogical.
The amount of energy "burned" in order to carry several shuttles worth
of food out of the planet's gravity well would be HUGE.

It makes more sense to just use the replicator.  It would be more
efficient.
                                            
consul
and thus SFTVratings inscribed ... 

I didn't think that those engines would burn out from such use. They are essentially limitless, unless you put random stress on it. It's like your car battery, it should essentially run forever, unless you just like to sit in a parked car with the AC and the radio running for hours on end.


They were going for the long haul, where replicated stuff taste like crap and for morale and sanity, you need the variety. Plus, it's nice to stretch your legs and breath real air.
                                            
bob
Have you ever owned a car? You usually have to replace your battery every 4 
years or so.
                                            
Sean
It's generally a good idea to change the car's battery, as well.
                                            
consul
and thus bob smith inscribed ... 

I've owned a few vehicles, and no, I never had to replace it every 4 years or so. In fact, if there wasn't a short in other parts of the car, I never would have had to replace the battery in the 2 times of replacing the battery in the 18 or so yrs plus of driving vehicles, for at least 8 yrs each vehicle.
                                            
Anim8rFSK
Annually someplace like Arizona, where they just melt in the heat.

Checker Auto Parts sells a lifetime guarantee battery, and every few 
years here they void them out and 'pro-rate' them.  Really hard to 
understand how you pro-rate a lifetime guarantee.
                                            
SFTVratings
(rolls eyes)

Wow.

I didn't say that the engine would burn.  I said it would burn
ENERGY.  It takes energy to drag a heavy shuttle out of a planet's
gravity well..... far, far, far more energy than if you just replicate
the food needed.






Replicated carrots and potatoes taste better than Leola roots ("with
mildew" adds Neelix).
                                            
David
And how did you determine how much energy a replicator needs?
                                            
SFTVratings
Common sense.  Moving some matter a few meters (within the ship) uses
far less energy than moving matter hundreds of mile into & out of a
planet's gravity well.
                                            
Sean
'Common sense is the collection of unexamined prejudices acquired before 
the age of 18.' --Albert Einstein

And how exactly is 'common sense' relevant to the workings of a future 
technology, whose details and fundamental mechanisms you know almost 
nothing about, in a world full of physical entities and processes that 
haven't been discovered yet, and which on top of that is FICTIONAL? 
That's like Aristotle in 350 BCE trying to use 'common sense' to figure 
out how much it would cost, in 2007 US dollars, to build HG Wells's time 
machine.
                                            
SFTVratings
I see.  You probably think the "future technology" of Fuel Cell Cars
are a good idea.  (Even though we have no source for the hydrogen &
they'll probably burn MORE energy than a gasoline car, not less.)  You
have to learn to think practically, and acknowledge the fact that even
future tech has to obey the Law of Conservation of Energy.
                                            
fozzi
You are saying we have no source for the most common element in the universe 
(by a factor of several trillions of times the number molecules of all the 
molecules of all the other elements combined), an element that makes about 
60 % of our oceans and about 10 of the land mass (this varies by continent 
depending on local rock structures), and then you completely miss the point 
of the fuel cell car and you have the nerve to imply an idea you dont 
understand is actually a bad idea. It has far more to do with pollution 
control, a hydrogen cell car will have less than one percent of the 
emissions of traditionally fuelled cars and, more importantly, the emission 
that is put out is simply water vapour. While water vapour is, in and of 
itself, a greenhouse gas it is far less devestating to the environment than 
CO2 and far less toxic (once again by orders of magnitude measured in the 
trillions) to life than carbon monoxide
                                            
consul
One of the benefits of hydrogen is not based on how much energy it takes to 
make. It's that all the probable pollution and energy consumption happens at a 
more singular source that is far easier to keep track of and keep clean than the 
millions of tiny carbon-burners driving around the globe.
                                            
David
The problem is finding it uncombined.  Otherwise you need some other
polluting power source to make it.
                                            
Padmar
Exactly. And since you will get less than 100% efficiency in
converting from other power sources to hydrogen, you will end up using
more of those sources as another poster said.
                                            
Markku
"SFTVratings" kirjoitti ...


This is apparently a very important issue to you.

- MJH
                                            
SFTVratings
Well not "important", but I get frustrated with so-called "science
fiction" shows that ignore science.
                                            
Anim8rFSK
Markku, allow me to introduce you to Troy Heagy, performance troll and 
the self styled "most annoying man on usenet"

Troy posts under at least half a dozen names (see below) and his game is 
to create a thread that might otherwise be interesting, and introduce a 
deliberate mistake into it, and watch it fall apart with people arguing 
about his mistake instead of the actual topic.

He's been busted in rec.arts.tv so many times that he's expanding his 
net to other groups.  But he sets the cross posts to rec.arts.tv to show 
that he's still managing to annoy us here.

He'll now scream that we're haters, and are stalking him, etc., etc., 
etc., and probably threaten legal action, yadda yadda yadda.  

Oh, and he sends death threats to people that expose him like this, and 
then will claim they've been sending HIM death threats, and writing his 
boss and trying to get him fired, blah blah blah.

Killfile Troy Heagy in all (s)he-its many incarnations now:
[email protected],[email protected]
[email protected],[email protected],[email protected]
**DON'T FORGET THE NEWEST ONE>>> [email protected]
                                            
Merrick
Nonsense..  He ranks up there, but I know more men from 'round
here that were infinitely more annoying.  He's just more tenacious is
all.  The rest have slithered off to other realms, including reality. 


	Or he can revive the Defiant vs. Whitestar thread...  Now
there was some mind-killing shit if ever I had seen it cross my
screen.  


	By breathing.  


	Wha'?  We're not stalking him?  Damn, why didn't I get the
memo?


	Hey..  I tried that with Al Ruffinelli.  The infamous Internet
Laws00t was a scream, let me tell you.  


	Nah..  Even better.  Wackylace or KIBO his ass three ways to
China..  I'm tellin' ya, that's what I'm prepping him for.
                                            
Markku
"Anim8rFSK" kirjoitti ...


Thanks, I believe I've had the dubious honor already before. :)

I should know better than to feed the troll, but it's hard to resist.

- MarkQ
                                            
Anim8rFSK
:)
                                            
consul
and thus SFTVratings inscribed ... 

Sheesh. The phrase "burnout" with regards to engines doesn't mean anything actually catches on fire? It's about the energy consumption and wear and tear used to power the shuttles. It's essentially limitless in Star Trek, sort of like using the radio on your car is essentially limitless with regular normal use.
                                            
SFTVratings
Okay, let's back up.

- Janeway installs "replicator rationing".  Why?  Because they are 70
years way from home & without any way to refuel the warp core.

- Therefore she sends Neelix and other crewmembers to a planet to find
food & haul (or beam) it back to the ship, IN ORDER TO CONSERVE
ENERGY.  (that's not yelling; it's emphasis)

- Problem:  Hauling (or beaming) food out of a planetary gravity well
uses MORE energy than a replicator.  So they are wasting energy, not
conserving.



Now.  Are we one the same page?  Do you understand the point I was
trying to make (even if you disagree with it)?
                                            
David
We have no reason to believe that's the case.
                                            
orioncaearthlinknet
IF transporters and replicators work on the same principle then the
energy of beaming food up from the surface has to be added to the
energy of reassembling the food from the pattern buffer when
transporting food from the surface - the energy of the food is the
same whether it's taken from an original or assembled from spare atoms
you have lying around in your replicator storage unit.  Of course,
those atoms have to come from somewhere if you don't have the
original's to work with, but I'd imagine that waste recycling would be
sufficiently advanced to provide most of these; the rest you can scoop
up from the interstellar medium as you fly through it.

(If you're beaming a pig up you also have to add in the energy
transfer to momentum as it accelerates to a relative speed of 20Kkm -
30Kkm/hr in orbit - else you'll have to explain the pig-shaped hole in
the aft bulkhead to the captain.)
                                            
consul
and thus SFTVratings inscribed ... 

I do understand. I suppose my argument is that its a different power source, so it didn't matter that the main energy source was in jeopardy because that power source had no direct influence on other systems, that they were separate and not connected. So Neelix and the others are free to go gallivanting in the shuttle crafts because they are  not going to affect the main power core usage. The shuttle crafts did not have to plug into the main core to recharge.
                                            
SFTVratings
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<



(sigh).  Yes but the shuttlecraft fuel could be dumped into Voyager's
warp reactor.  It makes no sense to just waste it on random journeys
to a planet, when it could be used to extend Voyager's main reactor.

Hmmm.

Let's bring this down to TODAY'S world.  Maybe you'll better
understand the concept.  I need to conserve energy.  Which is more
efficient:

- driving to work and burning 2 gallons of gasoline per day
- staying at home and doing my work there (hence NOT burning gasoline)

The same principle applies to the replicator.  It makes more sense for
the crew to "stay home" and eat food in the ship, rather than go
taking a journey to a planet & wasting several megawatts of energy.
                                            
Aaron
That's a pretty crummy analogy.  Here's a better one: Which is
cheaper, going out to eat, or staying home and cooking a meal?
Normally cooking at home is much cheaper, but if the gas company
turned off your gas, that's not an option, so you have to go out.

That's the situation they presented on Voyager.  They simply didn't
have enough "replicator energy" to supply all their needs, so it
wasn't a question of efficiency.  Yeah, it's stupid, and yeah, it
makes no sense, but there it is.


How on earth can you compare the two, when both technologies are
fictional and vaguely defined?  Where are you getting "several
megawatts," other than pulling it out of your hat?  Why not
"gigawatts" or "terrajoules"?  We have absolutely no way of
calculating how much either costs.
                                            
SFTVratings
Hence the title of my post: "it doesn't make sense".  All they have to
do is divert some energy from the warp drive to the replicator & make
food.



(sigh)   It was just a casual expression in a casual conversation.
Megawatts.  Gigawatts.  It doesn't matter.... the point is youre
burning a LOT more energy trying to climb a shuttle (laden with Leola
roots) out of a gravity well, then if you just walked to the mess hall
& replicated some meatloaf.
                                            
Aaron
Agreed.  The concept of "replicator power" that can't be converted to
and from other "types" of power is ridiculous.



Casual or formal, it still makes no sense.  We can determine how much
energy it takes to lift a pound of food into orbit, although it's
going to vary based on the gravity and size of the planet.  But we
have no idea how efficient replication is, so how can you say it costs
more or less than any other process?  

You aren't comparing apples to oranges, you're comparing apples to the
mystery fruit behind door #3.
                                            
SFTVratings
Energy has no mass.  It costs nothing to move it around the ship, like
say from the warp core to the replicator, and generate food.  There's
some internal resistance due to wiring, but that's trivial compared to
how much energy is required to move heavy food stuffs out of a gravity
well DOES cost a lot of energy.

Same principle as today:

- Is it more energy efficient to sit at home & tele-commute to work?
- Or to drive and move a heavy car (plus yourself) to the office?

The telecommuting is "cheaper" in energy terms.  Likewise, so is the
replicator.

This is self-evident.
Simple conserv. of energy equation.
                                            
Sean
Um, wrong. Does a little equation called E = mc^2 ring a bell? You know, 
it's possible to rearrange it to say m = E/c^2 -- and you don't even 
need a degree in math!
                                            
SFTVratings
When I sit down and design my electronics, I don't think, "Now how
much mass does an electron weigh?"  Because for all *practical*
purposes the electron has no mass.    The weight of an electron vs.
the weight of a shuttle filled with Leola roots, is so small (~
0.00000000000000000000000001),  as to be essentially massless.

That's why I said the energy required to move a couple electrons from
the Voyager Warp Core to the replicator, and convert biomass into
replicator rations, is so small as to be insignificant.  Much, much,
much, much, much, much, much smaller than the energy needed to yank
several tons of Leola roots of a Planet's gravity well.

That's why Federation ships have replicators:
- Because they are more energy-efficient
than trying to collect, transport, and store tons of food.
                                            
Victor
Welcome to Troy's world (in which everything is just a *leetle* bit off).
                                            
Anim8rFSK
ooo ooooo


I've been looking for a new sig, now that May is over  :)
                                            
David
Wrong.  Magically conjuring up food takes much more energy than moving
food.
                                            
Merrick
Don't befuddle poor Troy with facts...  He's going to have a
hard enough time jumping through the circus hoops I'm setting up for
him.
                                            
Anim8rFSK
Hmm.  Let's not forget we're sending a shuttle, with Neelix and Pilot, 
down into the gravity well, flying around searching for celerly, and 
lifting the shuttle, Neelix, Pilot, and celerly back into orbit.  I'd 
bet magically conjuring food would use less energy than that, but of 
course the replicator can't MAKE crisp things, and they don't have the 
special power to run it anyway.  Hard to compare energy usage when 
you've got two incompatible forms of energy.  I wonder how much regular 
energy it takes to make replicator energy?
                                            
ddldanlancom
| 
| > 
| > >
| > >> Casual or formal, it still makes no sense.  We can determine how much
| > >> energy it takes to lift a pound of food into orbit, although it's
| > >> going to vary based on the gravity and size of the planet.  But we
| > >> have no idea how efficient replication is, so how can you say it costs
| > >> more or less than any other process?
| > >
| > >
| > >Energy has no mass.  It costs nothing to move it around the ship, like
| > >say from the warp core to the replicator, and generate food.  There's
| > >some internal resistance due to wiring, but that's trivial compared to
| > >how much energy is required to move heavy food stuffs out of a gravity
| > >well DOES cost a lot of energy.
| > 
| > Wrong.  Magically conjuring up food takes much more energy than moving
| > food.  
| 
| Hmm.  Let's not forget we're sending a shuttle, with Neelix and Pilot, 
| down into the gravity well, flying around searching for celerly, and 
| lifting the shuttle, Neelix, Pilot, and celerly back into orbit.  I'd 
| bet magically conjuring food would use less energy than that, but of 
| course the replicator can't MAKE crisp things, and they don't have the 
| special power to run it anyway.  Hard to compare energy usage when 
| you've got two incompatible forms of energy.  I wonder how much regular 
| energy it takes to make replicator energy?

I think Data once explained that energy is energy whether produced by
technology or magic.  Oh wait.  Wrong show...

				Dan Lanciani
				[email protected]*com
                                            
SFTVratings
Oh no.

I'm about to agree with Anim8r.

But he's 100% correcto-mundo.  It takes more energy to MOVE MASS than
it does to divert some energy from the Warp Core to "massage" biomass*
into edible replicator rations.




*
(A previous poster was correct; the ship's replicator doesn't convert
energy to mass.  It converts biomass (glop) into replicator food.  FAR
more efficient than carrying actual food & the reason all Federation
starship have replicators.)
                                            
EvilBill
I don't recall them ever saying *anything* about using the shuttles. They 
just beam the shit up. Which serves two purposes: first, no need for 
shuttles. Second, the pattern goes through the buffer, so it can probably be 
copied to the replicators for future use.
                                            
SFTVratings
Okay, well, the transporter still has to yank all that matter (via the
matter stream) out of the huge gravity well of the planet.  Not an
easy task.
                                            
Sean
For one thing, there's no such thing as 'terrajoules', unless you're 
talking about some kind of strange Earth-energy. The SI prefix for 10^13 
is 'tera-'. For another thing, [whatever-]joules and [whatever-]watts 
don't measure the same quantity. The joule is a unit of energy, while 
the watt is a unit of power. Power is actually measured by the flux of 
energy per unit time, and one watt is equal to one joule per second.

None of that has anything to do with your point, of course, but unit 
abuse always bugs the hell out of me.
                                            
Aaron
That was my point.  As long as we're comparing measurements that we're
pulling completely out of our asses, they might as well be in
fictional sci-fi-ish units too.
                                            
Anim8rFSK
Aaron, allow me to introduce you to Troy Heagy, performance troll and 
the self styled "most annoying man on usenet"

Troy posts under at least half a dozen names (see below) and his game is 
to create a thread that might otherwise be interesting, and introduce a 
deliberate mistake into it, and watch it fall apart with people arguing 
about his mistake instead the actual topic.

He's been busted in rec.arts.tv so many times that he's expanding his 
net to other groups, in this case various Star Trek groups.  But he sets 
the cross posts to rec.arts.tv to show that he's still managing to annoy 
us here.

He'll now scream that we're haters, and are stalking him, etc., etc., 
etc., and probably threaten legal action, yadda yadda yadda.  

Oh, and he sends death threats to people that expose him like this, and 
then will claim they've been sending HIM death threats, and writing his 
boss and trying to get him fired, blah blah blah.

Killfile Troy Heagy in all (s)he-its many incarnations now:
[email protected],[email protected]
[email protected],[email protected],[email protected]
**DON'T FORGET THE NEWEST ONE>>> [email protected]
                                            
consul
and thus SFTVratings inscribed ... 

To use your example, you don't pour your gasoline or hook your car battery into your stove or fridge. It's a different power source. You can jury rig something in an emergency, but you don't do it for normal usage.

And while many folks would love to work from home, myself included, there are also many benefits to me to work out of the home. Also the same reasons why they do the planetside trips: variety of scenery, people interaction and discussion, new and possibly better things can occur.
                                            
John
Why argue?  The show doesn't make sense.  The whole replicator using 
different energy was a lame excuse to have some away party episodes.  I 
mean, if you have a generator that provides all your electrical needs, why 
would you make your most important piece of equipment, food, run off of a 
fuel supply that's limited?  Why not make it run on the same generator that 
powers everything else?

john
                                            
Jack
But... you can't eat gasoline, it's a different power source!
                                            
Markku
The Voyager crew knew exactly how many megawatts a planet landing would 
spend could compare it to the benefits. Since they made the landing, the 
benefits were bigger.

- MJH
                                            
Anim8rFSK
They explained this 2 ways, neither of which made any sense.  Neelix 
said he had to go down and forage for stuff like wild celery, because 
the replicator only makes limp stuff.  Which bodes ill for replacement 
shuttle parts, much less people going through the transporter.

They also said that the replicator used a different kind of power, that 
they were short on.  They had unlimited amounts of every other kind of 
power, including holodeck power, and could make food in the holodeck ... 
but didn't.
                                            
David
Replicators are not transporters.  Transporters are not replicators.
                                            
Sean
I do recal mentions (I can't quite place them) that transporters and 
replicators are related technologies, though. Not the *same*, but related.
                                            
Its
It makes sense.  A transporter takes matter apart and puts it back 
together again in a different place.  A replicator takes matter, 
rearranges, and materializes it as a new thing rather than the old 
thing.
                                            
Sean
It's more like they take *information* (in the form of transporter 
patterns, or the programmed replicator patterns), stored in the 
computer, and use it to reshape existing matter into the new form 
described by the pattern.

That's what's similar between them. What's different is that the 
replicator uses patterns that have been stored long-term, in an 
unchanging state, and are used to reproduce the same things over and 
over again in the same state, while the transporters recalculate the 
pattern every time and store it only until the same person comes through 
again, at which time the old pattern is replaced by the new pattern, so 
that during each transport the person who rematerialises has the same 
thoughts and memories as the original copy that is destroyed during the 
scanning process. Thus the transporters would be much more complicated 
in many ways.

Also, I believe replicator patterns can only be much smaller and simpler 
than transporter patterns; that would be why they can only reproduce 
inanimate objects, for example.
                                            
David
Since people are aware of events occuring during the transport, no.
                                            
Sean
Of course there are impossibilities in the details of how the technology 
actually works. It's fiction. But I'm pretty sure my description is 
indeed the basic idea behind the fictional technology.
                                            
David
The basic idea is that that all your particles get zapped from here to
there, but remain together in the same relationship.
                                            
John
This doesn't explain Riker 2.

john
                                            
David
Neither does anything else.
                                            
John
How about what they said?  The teleporter converts your mass to energy, then 
the pattern is used to convert energy back matter.  Riker 2 was a glitch 
where the pattern from a previous transport.
                                            
Anim8rFSK
Wasn't Riker 2 formed because the signal bounced off the ionosphere and 
created a Riker at both ends of the beaming, one on the planet and one 
on the ship?  Somebody really should have noticed that the transporter 
used twice as much whatever it uses as normal.
                                            
Its
The whole argument makes me giggle.  IT'S FICTION!  It can have 
whatever properties, quirks, or glitches the people who make it up 
want it to have.
                                            
Anim8rFSK
fiction?
                                            
Michael
Lies told to entertain.
                                            
EvilBill
Sounds like everything said by Tony Blair.
...Oh, wait, those lies aren't entertaining. ;)
                                            
David
The problem is, where did the energy to manufacture a new Riker come
from?
                                            
John
Batteries.

john
                                            
Sean
The same place the energy to beam people up from the surface without 
them standing on a transporter pad comes from: the Closet of Plot 
Conveniences.
                                            
David
No, that's not the issue.  The energy to beam people up from the
surface is presumably pretty modest by their standards and it comes
from the ship.  But the energy to create a 180 lb man from nothing is
another matter.  Even by their standards that's a fair chunk of change
but they didn't notice what had happened.
                                            
Its
Oh, like there has never been a single piece of technology that 
experienced a glitch.  Ever.
                                            
John
Well of course there's a glitch.  But a fax glitching will get you two 
copies, a dumbwaiter glitching won't.  David's idea about transporting is 
just a hightech dumbwaiter, you take material from point A and move it to 
point B, there should be no way for something like that to glitch out a 
second set of material.

john
                                            
Sean
Um, no. As I already explained, the basic idea is that all your 
particles have their quantum states measured (destroying the original 
pattern of matter in the process), then the information is sent through 
entangled photons to a distant place, and used to put available 
particles into the proper states so as to create an exact replica of the 
original person, right down to the brainwaves.

It would make no sense to 'zap all their particles to another place'. No 
matter how much you 'broke down' the person's structure, you would still 
have the exact same amount of mass to transport, and thus the 
transportation would be redundant -- by the time it gets you there, you 
could have just walked. The key is that the states of the person's 
particles are converted into an information signal consisting solely of 
photons, which travel at the speed of light and have no rest mass. 
Without that conversion into information, the process of getting the 
person to the other side would be just as slow as pushing a huge donkey 
up a hill. But with scanning, destroying, sending information, and 
repatterning, no (non-photonic) matter has actually moved from one place 
to the other; the signal contains information only and therefore can 
travel at the speed of light, allowing near-instantaneous transport.
                                            
pvusenetpoboxcom
Perhaps someone described a vaguely possible transporter technology that
could be made to work like this in the real world, but it's not consistent
with how the transporter works in the TOS-TNG era. It's just pretty words. *
                                            
Sean
Nothing could be *totally* consistent with every detail of how the 
technology works all the time on the shows. It's obvious that plot 
considerations override consistency and realistic feasibility most of 
the time.
                                            
pvusenetpoboxcom
My point being - don't try to stick real scientific explanations on what
happens with this particular fictional device. It was never intended to
have any technology behind it other than what was needed for the story.

"The Science of Star Trek" really pisses me off. It gives credit where it
is most definitely NOT deserved. *
                                            
ddldanlancom
| 
| 
| >>Of course there are impossibilities in the details of how the technology 
| >>actually works. It's fiction. But I'm pretty sure my description is 
| >>indeed the basic idea behind the fictional technology.
| 
| > The basic idea is that that all your particles get zapped from here to
| > there, but remain together in the same relationship.  
| 
| Um, no. As I already explained, the basic idea is that all your 
| particles have their quantum states measured (destroying the original 
| pattern of matter in the process), then the information is sent through 
| entangled photons to a distant place, and used to put available 
| particles into the proper states so as to create an exact replica of the 
| original person, right down to the brainwaves.

When you beam something into space, where do the available particles
come from?  Why can't you skip the last step if you want to get rid
of something, e.g., Nomad, Jack the Ripper, Omega molecules, or plazma
plague samples?

				Dan Lanciani
				[email protected]*com
                                            
Sean
Even the emptiest space in the Universe has a sea of virtual quantum 
particles appearing and disappearing in various arbitrary ways. There is 
a basic zero-point vacuum energy that can be tapped in many ways, 
theoretically. Matter is always being created and quickly 'destroyed' 
(turned back to energy) and then created again and again, all over the 
place.


Because that would make plotlines too simple.
                                            
Aaron
If the transporter is capable of gathering up a bunch of zero-point
forces and turning them into whatever matter/energy it has in its
pattern buffer (as when Paris and Torres transported themselves into
space when their shuttle was coming apart), then Voyager should never
have had any shortages.  

Simply transport some warp plasma, or food, or replicator goo into
space, to get the pattern in the buffer.  Then put a GOTO in the code
so it skips the "breakdown" step and goes right to forming the same
pattern in space again.  Or, since zero-point forces are everywhere,
make it more convenient by creating it in a containment field, or the
mess hall, or wherever you want it.  

I don't think there's one answer that satisfies all episodes.
Sometimes the transporters acted like straight matter/energy
converters, and sometimes they didn't.
                                            
Anim8rFSK
The only shortage they had was food, 'cause replicator power is 
different.
                                            
Aaron
That was the shortage they talked about the most, but they often
stopped at planets for one kind of phlebotinum or another.  Surely it
wasn't always for the replicators -- at least the 'babble terms
weren't always the same.
                                            
Anim8rFSK
Yeah, good point.  They had a shortage of deuterium or something 
cringworthy at one point didn't they?
                                            
Auzeraiswebtvnet
Thank you!  That was my thought too.
But I was trying to figure out where the  transporter gathers up all the
locally available iron, calcium, potassium, iodine, etc, etc and other
elements necessary for the human body to be reconstructed down on a
planet that may not be floating freely in the atmosphere.

And if one person somehow manages to aquire all the locally available
elements, what happens to the next person to beam down immediately
afterwards when there's no longer just enough, say, calcium available?

OR- perhaps the transporter draws from a parallel universe or creates
elements from membranes in the M theory.

But if you pick the wrong 'universe' where electrons have the wrong
charge,,,,,
                                            
David
There is no indication in the series that you are right that I can
see.
                                            
Michael
Information and energy that equals the energy needed to convert back 
into matter at the reassembly point.  TANSTAAFL