This should make for an interesting thread. Suppose you got your hands on a portal gun and are free to use it however you wish. You can use it to help other people or to break the law. The only rules are the laws of physics and the rules set forth by the game (i.e., you can’t have a portal on a moving object or a liquid).
After the initial amusement that would come from using it all over my house and scaring the bejesus out of my cats :D, I think I’d put a portal in my bedroom, then fly to some vacation spot like Europe or the South Pacific and set up a portal there. Free vacation any time I want it.
For those of you who haven’t played Portal, a portal gun is a handheld device that allows you to shoot two portals (one orange and one blue). You can freely travel back and forth through the portals which makes for some very interesting physics and questions the legitimacy of the Law of Conservation of Energy. The portals will “stick” to any solid, non-moving surface large enough to contain them and will stay there until you release them, which can be done anywhere. Additionally, the gun allows you to pick up extremely heavy objects (within reason) easily.
The problem with many applications is that the Portal Gun looks like, well, a gun. A relatively massive, high-tech gun. So getting it through airport security, customs, or any other legitimate border crossing is going to be a pain. If we interpret the OP to mean that, like Chell in the game, we don’t have the knowledge to disassemble and reassemble it, then bringing it to other countries is likely right out.
That said… If I were a maniacal single-minded criminal genius (à la Batman comics), I’d set up my blue portal on a beach at low tide. I’d wait for high tide, then place my orange portal in the ceiling of offices housing those opposed to my worldview. Polluters, lawyers, tax evaluators… Not to drown anyone to death, of course, but just to destroy computers, paperwork or anything else that lets them get their work done.
After I get caught and do a stint in Arkham, I could be rehabilitated and start a swimming pool maintenance firm…
I have a vague recollection that an old Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors episode touched on this, and that Homer used this ability to use the toilet and to reach the refrigerator from the comfort of his bed. I see nothing at all wrong with these applications.
Lacking the mentality for crime, I’m guessing my other uses would simply be to set up a portal at my desk at work. It would save me two hours in commute time every day, and I could wake up five minutes before I was due in the office. Plus, home for lunch every day!
But that’s the brilliant part of having the gun! You can use it to just bypass security entirely!
I envision myself doing some sort of stunt show. Jumping off a large building and portalling the ground beneath me so I end up flying up and down in and out of the portals like you do in the game, until I lose enough momentum for me to safely land on the street.
Yeah okay, I’m afraid of heights and I’d never do that. But the thought is fun!
Not that simple, by my figuring. Take the aforementioned “set up a portal here and another in the South Pacific” scenario: If I’ve got only one portal gun, I have to leave one portal at home for this to work. No portalling through the airport for me! Forget mailing the thing: I can’t trust courier companies not to peek and/or accidentally rupture space-time. If I just want to fly for free, I’m also hindered. I can’t portal through PET International Airport (though I dearly wish I could, it’s that ugly), because there’s glass everywhere, and the portal beam won’t go through it. I could use the gun outside to portal onto the airfield, but then I’ve still got to climb onto a plane *sans *ticket but *avec *one large gun-like thingie. If I sneak onto a cargo plane, I’ll be mighty uncomfortable for the flight, not to mention probably dropped off in a hub and forced to find another outgoing cargo plane. I suppose it would be easier to portal onto the deck of a docked cruise ship, and then sneak around for the rest of the trip… I wonder if the stewards would notice a portal under a buffet table?
You know, this would be an amazing law-enforcement tool as well. Who needs spike strips for police chases? Just attach the gun to a helicopter. Create a large, completely enclosed dirt field adjacent to the police station. At the beginning of a chase, open a portal there. Then the helicopter opens the other portal in front of the fleeing vehicle at an opportune moment, and you’re done!
I haven’t played the game. What are the physics of the Portal? Is it exactly the same as that old Road Runner cartoon where you walk around with a “hole” that can be placed anywhere? Is momentum or gravity transmitted through the portal? What happens if an object is partway through the portal? Does what happens on the other side of the portal affect the object that’s partially portaled? Can you drop something through the portal that’s tied onto a long string, and then draw it back by pulling on the string?
Off the top of my head, place the “outgoing” end of the portal in orbit or other large vacuum. Back on Earth, take a big water tank and a nozzle. Place nozzle partway through portal. Open the water tank’s flow. Water boils to vapor, propelling tank cheaply to high velocities, to orbit, to anywhere.
Which really doesn’t answer any of my questions. According to the wiki page, momentum is transfered to the outgoing portal. Fine. What happens if you put a black hole next to the incoming or outgoing portal – is gravity transmitted? What happens if you tie a weight on a string and toss it into the outgoing portal? Can you tug the string and get your object back? To me there seems to be quite a few questions about the basic properties of portals that would define how they could be used.