So here we are back in California’s Central Valley, delivering Christmas presents to Kevin’s family. These trips always remind me of Ringworld. The land is very flat, and in the north-south direction it seems to go on forever. It certainly stretches much further than the eye can see. From where we started out it was maybe 100 miles north, and several hundred miles south. To the east and west, however, can be seen the Spill Mountains, which mark the rims of the ring. And as Kevin noted, the Sutter Buttes are presumably Fist of God. The only thing we can’t see is the other side of the ring glittering in the sky above us. (There’s also no sign of Speaker-to-Animals, which is probably just as well.)
There are times when we think it would be nice to live out here. Land is plentiful and cheap (at least compared to the Bay Area); so is the food (all-you-can-eat seafood buffet for $8); and the weather is generally good. But we’d miss the action. To return to the theme, we’d need a transporter booth so that we could get back to San Francisco quickly to go shopping and see our friends.
And then, because you always need something to while away the hours on a long road trip, we got into a little thought experiment about transporter booths. Suppose that the technology did exist; but suppose also that it was quite expensive. You, as President of Earth, have managed to secure sufficient funding to build 10 of the things for the entire planet. Where would you put them? Answers in comments, please. Let’s see if you come up with the same answers as we did.