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The Expanse Bad Science Roundup (Page 3)
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subego  (op)
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Aug 10, 2022, 05:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
That’s true. With a longer barrel you have more “barrel time,” which equates to more time to burn more propellant and thus theoretically increase velocity.

However, that may not be necessarily useful or desirable. The recoil energy of any firearm - the “push back” against the shooter - is a function of the mass and velocity of the projectile. Even a fairly small mass, pushed at high enough velocity, can cause “undesirable” recoil. The mass of the weapon can mitigate this, but only to a point.

As to railgun-type weapons, I don’t know if there’s a point at which the accelerator can no longer add energy to the projectile. I need to research that.
For railguns I’m assuming whatever we can impart with barrel length X, we can impart more with 2X. Emphasis on assumption. I haven’t gone much beyond that due to the theoretical nature. Off-the-cuff, there’s going to be a limit in atmosphere because the bullet will melt. Probably not one in space.

As for recoil, I haven’t bothered with any calculations because this system is built into a powered exoskeleton. Also, if it uses chemical propellant, the charge would be very tiny because of the volume issue I noted above.

To give a very rough idea of some of the energies involved from the super-simplified ballistics model I’m using, a 2mm bullet with 100J would penetrate just as well as a 9mm with 400J.

Of course, the 9mm will cause a lot more damage on the way through. Relevant if the target is a person.


Edit:

( Last edited by subego; Aug 10, 2022 at 06:23 PM. )
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 10, 2022, 06:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Pedant stick incoming...volume of a cylinder is based on the square of the radius, so you would actually need a barrel that's 10^2 as long.
That’s… not pedantry.

I’m an idiot. Thank you for the correction!
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 10, 2022, 06:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Soldier: Wow. I've often dreamed of a gun with no trade-offs ... *reville sounds*
Soldier (awake): Damn. Not again.
No offense was intended. I assumed you understood gun design involved compromises.

What I was getting at was this specific type of trade-off (spin-stability versus velocity) is the kind gun design is filled with.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 10, 2022, 06:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Edit:

Notes:

It addresses blowing your hand off at the expense of not being able to use a steering wheel.

The book apparently says it’s 2mm. That’s bigger than 2mm.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 10, 2022 at 07:02 PM. )
     
reader50
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Aug 10, 2022, 07:16 PM
 
My dialog sample was a joke. Not a disagreement. I suppose it counts as an agreement.

During S3, at one point the camera gets close enough to read an ammo case for a goliath suit. The case is labeled "6.25mm Incendiary Caseless Ammunition". That size looks compatible with your picture above. It's a hair under 1/4 inch.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 10, 2022, 08:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
6.25mm Incendiary Caseless Ammunition
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 11, 2022, 03:18 PM
 
So, I ran some numbers.

Assuming a 20% increase over what we have now in both power per gram of propellant and burn efficiency within the barrel, the tl;dr is for single shots the 6.2mm Goliath would be very roughly analogous in performance to an MP5K

With the most absolutely batshit complicated feed system known to man, using the most fragile rounds possible.

At least with the 2mm, it could conceivably integrate the round into the belt, like a roll of caps (not my idea). This would be much better at handling the flex needed at the arm joints, and the necessary 90° twist(s).



P.S. Saw the mag-lock. Amos totally steals that scene.

P.P.S. The CG balloons on the Venus explorer were better than the CG sandcrawler balloons in Dunc.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 11, 2022 at 06:04 PM. )
     
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Aug 11, 2022, 06:07 PM
 
I take it you're in S3 now? Enjoy. Season 3 is awesome.

The Expanse takes place a few centuries in the future. A 20% improvement in burn efficiency is lame over so much time. My own impression is the ammo loads into the rear of the gun module, and does not overflow to the rest of the suit. Not supported by direct observation, so take it with a grain of salt.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 11, 2022, 06:40 PM
 
That’s where my model puts it at 2300. I didn’t write it, but I assume it’s extrapolated from historical trends.

The rotary design implies a sustained, high rate of fire. At 6.2mm you couldn’t store enough ammo in the arm.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 11, 2022, 06:43 PM
 
All that said, hit me with a different percentage or set of percentages, and I can run those numbers.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 13, 2022, 03:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
A 20% improvement in burn efficiency is lame over so much time.
The more I think about it, the more I agree.

If they can work out the feed mechanism, recoil compensation, and cooling, the Goliath cannon would be a devastating weapon in a boarding action.

In an atmosphere, the short barrel would give it crummy ballistics compared to a longer one, however this would matter less and less as the propellant improved.
     
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Aug 13, 2022, 04:31 PM
 
So what episode are you up to? I'm having to hedge some answers, because possible spoilers.

Beware that once you binge up to S5, someone else will have to discuss. I'll have to avoid the thread.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 13, 2022, 05:18 PM
 
My plan was to start spoiler blocking.

The numbers of the episodes don’t show up, so it’s hard to keep track. We just got to the part where Mao flips from “we’re torturing CHILDREN” to “no, wait… that’s actually pretty cool”.

Also saw Draper grab the ammo box to reload her armor. This implies, as you said, no belt-feed. Not sure how well that mates with a high rate of fire.

Aghdashloo loves wearing that flightsuit.
     
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Aug 13, 2022, 06:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Also saw Draper grab the ammo box to reload her armor. This implies, as you said, no belt-feed.
Ep 3x05. My assumption about no belt-feed was based on how that scene ended. Draper grabs the boxes, goes to fool with the back of the arm-gun. Presumably opening the ammo-loading port. If the ammo spilled over to the suit, the loading port would be at the end of the feed path.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 13, 2022, 08:06 PM
 
Well, an actual belt-feed system could require any number of steps along the feed path to reload, but if she was out of ammo she’d also be out of belt.

So it uses a magazine or something, which makes it seem gimped on capacity to me, but the entire round could be tiny-ish. If some rando Martian warship has it lying around, it’s used in some other weapon. Maybe their pistols? If it’s a rifle round it means less capacity.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 14, 2022 at 02:35 PM. )
     
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Aug 14, 2022, 08:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
The helmets are removable. Check 1x4, between 34 and 35 minutes in. Holden has reached the holding cell, and the prisoners are about to suit up. There's a shot of Naomi holding her helmet separately. Shot lasts about 2 seconds. In 1x01, when they board the Scopuli, they also see a loose helmet in a corridor at one point.
I think you raise good points. On smaller sets members of ships at least wear their space suits without helmets before a battle. And also here, another TV-related reason why they don’t wear helmets is likely the same as why heroes in many GoT-like shows don’t wear them — so the audience has an easier time to recognize the characters. It’s the same reason why explosions and propulsion drives still make (muffled) sounds on the expanse: it is to provide a richer experience for the audience.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Got through three episodes. The FedEx pods got an actualol out of me. Amos is the best character ever. He reminds me a bit of Animal Mother in Full Metal Jacket.
Amos is much more interesting character than Animal Mother, just wait, you’ll see in the coming episodes. Amos, Bobby and Chrissy are by far the characters with the best one-liners. And then there is Drummer’s speech in the last season. Two of Amos’ gems are “I hate waiting.” and “I’m that guy.”
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What’s the problem for Martians with the horizon? My dad and I couldn’t puzzle that out.
It is two-fold: Martians live in domes, so they don’t see a horizon on a daily basis. And secondly, their inner ears are accustomed to a lower gravity.


Overall, I’m surprised why nobody has mentioned how amazing and thought-out the space battles are. They keep the weapons capabilities consistent throughout the series. In one battle they critically use that the rail gun is effective only up to a certain range. For most space battles it really pays off to rewatch them and check out the details.
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subego  (op)
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Aug 14, 2022, 09:27 PM
 
I dig the space combat!

I only have a bone-and-a-half to pick.

The full bone is the rotary cannons. Without the benefit of convection a rotary design makes little sense. An actively cooled single barrel would be far more practical.

The half-bone is I’m wondering if it’s past the point of bothering with nukes for “planet busters”. These drives seem capable of insane acceleration, and 350 tons of whatever at one percent the speed of light is a pretty big blammo.


Edit: metric tons. Space is always metric. That means you, NASA.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 14, 2022 at 09:51 PM. )
     
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Aug 14, 2022, 11:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The full bone is the rotary cannons. Without the benefit of convection a rotary design makes little sense. An actively cooled single barrel would be far more practical.
I thought you could reach a higher firing rate with mini guns and you’d reduce the wear on individual barrels — I reckon exchanging barrels would be rather cumbersome. But perhaps that is just an artistic decision — they look cool.

What is super interesting is that the choice of weapons really constrains story telling. If they had laser-based weapons (which seems completely feasible), this would probably completely change the battle sequences. For example, they eschewed a staple in many scifi genres, fighters. Torpedoes can withstand much higher g-loads than humans in fighters, so they don’t make much sense. Instead, much more emphasis is given to using different ship types to their advantage, infantry, different types of infantry (you’ll see different types of exoskeleton suits) and e. g. gunners winning battles.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The half-bone is I’m wondering if it’s past the point of bothering with nukes for “planet busters”. These drives seem capable of insane acceleration, and 350 tons of whatever at one percent the speed of light is a pretty big blammo.
Keep watching.
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subego  (op)
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Aug 15, 2022, 01:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I thought you could reach a higher firing rate with mini guns…
The firing rate is dependent on how quickly the action can extract what’s left of the previous round (if it’s not caseless) and shove in a new one. Put the same action on a single barrel and it will shoot just as fast as the rotary.

The rotary pattern is for heat management. If the action fires at 1,000 rounds per minute, with 5 barrels each one only gets 200 per minute, so they heat up at 1/5 the rate.

While multiple barrels heat up more slowly, without an atmosphere they lose the benefit of dumping that heat through convection. It’ll take a long time to cool once it overheats, and using it before it cools will warp the barrels.

One solution is a single, liquid cooled barrel. If the coolant is efficient enough it simply won’t overheat.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 15, 2022 at 03:42 PM. )
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 15, 2022, 02:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Keep watching.
Prediction: Space Mormons never catch a break.
     
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Aug 15, 2022, 04:36 PM
 
On rotary barrels, I can think of a couple reasons other than heat management.
• Parallelization. A barrel is being loaded as another is fired. As reloading takes time, it's impossible for a single barrel to match the firing speed of a rotary. The two steps (three if extracting anything) are done in parallel across multiple barrels, rather than in series on one barrel.
• Redundancy. The barrels are exposed parts. If one is damaged, I expect the computer can skip that barrel. Your gun port keeps firing, until all 6 barrels are damaged. Or if any of the common parts are damaged. Those are probably shielded more heavily.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 15, 2022, 05:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
• Parallelization. A barrel is being loaded as another is fired. As reloading takes time, it's impossible for a single barrel to match the firing speed of a rotary. The two steps (three if extracting anything) are done in parallel across multiple barrels, rather than in series on one barrel.
Excellent point! I honestly had no idea this was part of the package. I thought it was just heat.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 15, 2022, 07:43 PM
 
My batting average sucks but it won’t stop me from swinging.

Tracers. The show loves them some tracers.

From what I understand, space is a nearly ideal ballistic environment. Nothing to slow the bullet down. Nothing to deflect the bullet except gravity, the gross effects which can be easily predicted.

Of course, we can make the bullet behave less than ideally, like by having it squirt out flaming shit. Maybe not the best idea?
     
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Aug 15, 2022, 08:34 PM
 
I would hope they (ship-fired bullets) have a range- or travel-time limit. After which they explode. Otherwise each firefight creates micrometeorites in free orbit. In an admittedly *very* large solar system.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 15, 2022, 09:47 PM
 
Hmmm… good point.

That’s in the tracers’ favor, since instead of exploding, which would make space shrapnel, we want the bullet to consume itself.

Curse this show!
     
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Aug 16, 2022, 04:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Tracers. The show loves them some tracers.
I can see the utility of tracers, bullets are probably too small to keep track of even with advanced future tech. If anything, they are probably necessary for the audience to keep track of what happens. The CGI people on The Expanse were super meticulous. If the drive plume of one of the torpedoes is in a different color, it means something. The scenes are so dense that I needed to rewatch and pause some of the scenes to appreciate all the detail.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Of course, we can make the bullet behave less than ideally, like by having it squirt out flaming shit. Maybe not the best idea?
Space trash is always a bad idea … 
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Aug 16, 2022, 04:52 AM
 
Making my first own entry in the Bad Science column, in one of the episodes the Roci made a bunch of gravitational sling shot maneuvers. These have likely lasted months rather than hours.

But IMHO we should also make a thread called “The Expanse Good Science Roundup”. There are so many bits to love, from the Belter Creole to how plants are integrated into space stations.
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subego  (op)
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Aug 16, 2022, 09:48 AM
 
I still have the light on for the water pouring sideways on Ceres. To me, that was the holy grail of sci-fi TV.

My dad noted the compressed time for a lot of these space actions, like the slingshot. How fast that was going is what made me think of kinetic kill vs. nukes.
     
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Aug 16, 2022, 09:53 AM
 
Belt feed is very complicated; you either have to shove a round into the chamber from the belt (the less complex option, but still fiddly) or you have to pull it out of the belt and then shove it into the chamber.

The A10’s canon is fed via a “chute” system. The rounds are pushed along a metal track and presented to the feed system without a belt. Essentially it’s a “belt-less belt feed” system.

(Sorry, I can’t get the link to work embedded…)


Rotary barrels GREATLY increase rate of fire. Sure, the not firing barrels get a chance to cool (in atmosphere), but with 6 barrels, the rate of fire is essentially 6 times the rate for each barrel. VERY fast. With a 6.25mm projectile, however gee-whiz it may be, throwing a lot of them very quickly will do a lot more damage than one at a time.
( Last edited by reader50; Aug 16, 2022 at 01:01 PM. Reason: embedded video)

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subego  (op)
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Aug 16, 2022, 01:55 PM
 
Haha. A-10 goes BRRRRRT
     
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Aug 16, 2022, 02:55 PM
 
Yes. Yes it does. It’s also spooky quiet. The placement of the engines and design of the tail directs both exhaust heat signature and noise up and behind. If you hear the thing, it’s because it’s just gone over you.

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subego  (op)
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Aug 16, 2022, 03:26 PM
 
This reminds me. Air show this week.

The Blue Angels are not spooky quiet.
     
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Aug 16, 2022, 04:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
This reminds me. Air show this week.

The Blue Angels are not spooky quiet.
Wife's friend used to live in an apartment right across the road from Lake Michigan, possibly near Navy Pier? She had a good view of the airshow.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 16, 2022, 05:00 PM
 
A lakefront high-rise would make it a lot more fun.

I’m close enough to the lake it’s a short walk to see it, but failing that the sky is blocked and it’s just lots of noise.

A few years back I almost wiped out on the interstate because I was trying to ID a jet instead of watching the road.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 16, 2022, 05:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I can see the utility of tracers, bullets are probably too small to keep track of even with advanced future tech.
I was imagining less like tracking and more like modeling. If it’s far enough away from a big source of gravity the bullets go where the gun is pointed. That’s easy to model.

Gravity makes it trickier.


Edit: there’s probably an issue with getting consistent enough velocity to lead a small target properly.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 16, 2022 at 05:58 PM. )
     
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Aug 17, 2022, 02:57 AM
 
I've mentioned before that you can hear sound in space when rocket exhaust is being released nearby. And that SpaceX had included a microphone atop a Falcon 1st stage, to capture it.

It took me quite awhile to track it down, because I'd misremembered who did it. It wasn't SpaceX. It was Rocket Lab's Electron launch vehicle.

Excerpt from their "Return to Sender" launch on Nov 19, 2020. Interstage view from atop the first stage. This camera view was posted to YouTube on Nov 24, five days after the launch. Altitude during this video was approx 74-80 Km.



You can see the regular launch stream here. That's where I got the altitude data. The separation snippet happened during about 21:50 in the regular stream. The interstage view is not shown - the regular stream uses a rear-facing camera on the 2nd stage.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 17, 2022, 03:53 AM
 
Nifty! Similar to the sound they use in the show.
     
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Aug 17, 2022, 04:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Nifty! Similar to the sound they use in the show.
Mind blown. I thought they just chose some sound. Kudos to the special FX team. I should have known that their attention doesn’t stop with CGI.
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subego  (op)
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Aug 17, 2022, 05:07 AM
 
I figure it’s sound from an actual rocket launch. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen one, but that’s what I remember the ascent sounding like.
     
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Aug 17, 2022, 07:36 AM
 
To my knowledge, that Electron launch was the first ever to record rocket sounds across intervening space. In Nov 2020. Maybe NASA did something earlier, but I don't recall anything.

The Expanse began production in late 2014, so the SFX sound team chose their standard sounds by early-2015 at the latest. Over 5 years before a real space-sound sample was available. So a few extra kudos may be in order.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 17, 2022, 08:27 AM
 
Maybe?

I mean, “space” sounds are sounds, no? To me, this sound of a rocket sounds suspiciously like… a rocket.
     
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Aug 20, 2022, 12:52 AM
 
Finally saw a couple more episodes after a hiatus.

One episode had the fight between Draper and the Blue Meanie. I didn’t want to bother my dad with rewinding and going frame by frame, but it definitely looks like there’s something going along the right arm. Could be a hose or strap, but I think it’s supposed to be the ammo belt. It’s definitely flat.

Favorite Amos line, even though it was such an obvious setup: I am that guy.

Speaking of homicidal maniac characters, Drummer’s really growing on me.

Lastly, I feel sorta guilty, but I laughed for a solid 30 seconds at the annoying slingshot pilot turning into goo.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 20, 2022, 04:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
One episode had the fight between Draper and the Blue Meanie. I didn’t want to bother my dad with rewinding and going frame by frame, but it definitely looks like there’s something going along the right arm. Could be a hose or strap, but I think it’s supposed to be the ammo belt. It’s definitely flat.
From S2 I think:




Edit: kinda looks like they made some sort of Frankenstein foam rubber half-ammo belt, half-series of tubes. That it’s hanging out of a slot with no apparent strain relief implies a belt though.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 20, 2022 at 04:52 PM. )
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 20, 2022, 07:05 PM
 
Observations:

1) Whatever that is, it should be smoother so it doesn’t catch on things.

2) Taking a peek at the GAU-8 cutaway in the thumbnail of Glenn’s video, it looks like an integrated belt drives the ammo inside a housing.
     
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Aug 20, 2022, 07:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
One episode had the fight between Draper and the Blue Meanie. I didn’t want to bother my dad with rewinding and going frame by frame, but it definitely looks like there’s something going along the right arm. Could be a hose or strap, but I think it’s supposed to be the ammo belt. It’s definitely flat.
Such a badass scene.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Favorite Amos line, even though it was such an obvious setup: I am that guy.
One of the best lines in the series. Probably top-5 lines in all of the series. Arvaserala’s “whatever I goddam like” is in there, too. There is at least one line in the last season that probably takes the cake, though. Technically, it is two lines or, a small speech. Anyway, I don’t want to spoiler anything.

Bobbie telling Arvaserala to STFU when fighting the hybrid is another one of my favorites. I have to say, my favorite characters are, with the exception of Amos, all women: Arvaserala, Bobbie Draper and Drummer.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Speaking of homicidal maniac characters, Drummer’s really growing on me.
Keep watching.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Lastly, I feel sorta guilty, but I laughed for a solid 30 seconds at the annoying slingshot pilot turning into goo.
Yeah, that was funny.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 21, 2022, 01:19 AM
 
As males go, I like(d) Miller, Ashford, and Dawes. All just fantastic actors.

Draper kind of annoys me, but has had some great lines. Avasarala is fantastic, and I loved “whatever I goddamn like”. Drummer I like more and more. I love her crazy voice, as I do with Avasarala, who must smoke 20 packs a day.

My dad took issue with “closed timelike curves and a Lorentzian manifold”, but I think he heard it as in a Lorentzian manifold, which I guess doesn’t work.

More Goliath shots from the back. It really looks like a free-hanging ammo belt.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 21, 2022 at 01:42 AM. )
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 21, 2022, 01:52 AM
 
One reason Draper bugs me is she comes from a country where they can’t pronounce a hard “R”, and there’s one in the name of her goddamn planet.

“Mahhhs!”
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 21, 2022, 10:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Avasarala is fantastic, and I loved “whatever I goddamn like”.
She got *so* much better once the Network switch allowed her to swear, and the writers really cut her loose. Loved that character.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 21, 2022, 03:05 PM
 
I forgot the best Amos line.

“Break some shit if you have to. I don't care. Just...not the coffee maker again.”
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 21, 2022, 03:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
She got *so* much better once the Network switch allowed her to swear, and the writers really cut her loose. Loved that character.
Was this due to the network switch? They swear in S3, which was still SyFy.
     
 
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