Those little details in films/books/games/etc that you just can't help but wonder about.

Doclector

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Well, yeah. What ones do you wonder about? What little unresolved sideplots and unanswered questions that shouldn't be important, but just bug you?

SOA overthinking time! said:
Y'see, I'm up to about episode 9 on sword art online. I'd probably have watched more, but I really don't want that awkward moment when someone walks in, asks what I'm watching, and then I have to explain shit.

Now, it is amazing so far. it's a good premise, well done, with great characters. But there's one moment in particular that I just can't get out of my head.

At the first episode, when it is revealed that nobody can log out of this MMO, and if they die here, they die for real, the players' real life bodies are revealed, as before, they could create their character. The changes aren't massive in main characters (at least, not that we see) but there's one person who turns to the person next to him, a man in female armour, and says "You're a guy!?"

A little nod to how some people act in MMOs, you think. But Now...think about that more in depth. At episode 9, the game has been going on for two years. That one decision, that one point where he said "screw it, i'm gonna play as a female character", for whatever reason, be it to con gullible, lonely guys out of loot, be it for the lulz, whatever, must have haunted him for the rest of his online days. How long did he have to stay in the female default armour? People are seen fighting the first boss in the second episode in default armour, and if I remember rightly, that's at least a week later. It's thus easy to guess that SOA ain't the most generous game loot-wise.

Whatever the case you can bet whoever saw him on that first day never let him hear the end of it. Kinda makes you feel sorry for the guy. Even though, as far as I know, you never see him again.

Why does this keep coming up from the back of my mind every time I watch SOA? Pfft, like fuck if I know. Maybe it's because I've always been afraid of making small, seemingly unimportant decisions that end up resulting in someting really bad happening, something with lasting effects. I can't help but think of that guy, recieving flak yet again for the incident, wondering "if only I had chose the 'Male' option.".

Well, considering the situation, he'd probably wish he hadn't started playing, but still...y'know, he has more to regret than most people.
On a secondary note...in the more recent "italian job" movie which can't really be called a remake, there's a scene where they steal a truck by blowing a hole in the street, which it proceeds to fall through. There's a little shot of people running and screaming when the explosions go off, in which for like a second, you see some guy in a spiderman costume. He ain't even in the background, he's near enough centre frame. I mean...what was that guy doing there, in the middle of a traffic jam, dressed as spiderman? What possessed the filmmakers to put it there?
 

Tom_green_day

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When I was younger I used to watch this programme called 'Primeval' with my younger siblings. It wasn't some serious stuff, it was about portals that open up from prehistoric times and jump out and the 'gang' have to get them back. At the end of the first series
the leader goes through a portal to the past to sort out some business, and when he comes back his love interest has gone. It is evident that no-one in the team knows who their fellow co-worker ever is/was, they have no knowledge of her. At the start of the second season, the same woman turns up but she goes by a different name and is completely different, and the leader is the only guy who is thinks she is the previous woman.
It's implied to be some parallel universe business, but is never resolved and is just forgotten about by the time the series died a few years ago. It doesn't matter in the series now as
the leader died and the second woman married
but it really bugs me because it could have been cool.
 

DoPo

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A lot of giant mecha and robots - why do they need to be humanoid? I suppose I get terminators and such, as in "normal sized robots" - they were probably initially designed to look like humans, so humans would be less freaked out by the machinem but they are still somewhat guilty of it. I don't think the whole bipedal thing is that efficient - it's a machine, why does it need to have 2 arms, 2 legs and a head? It's designed for war and fighting, so why not just make it better - four legs would work way better for balancing and also speed, you can still attach as many hands as you want, but you might be better off just having guns, and the head is often times the weak spot - just have the weak spot behind several layers of protection and guns. Why mimic humans all the time?

I've been perplexed by this for just so-o-o long. Since I was a kid, in fact, I never did manage to watch many robot stuff because of that, it's always been nagging me.
 

Doclector

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DoPo said:
A lot of giant mecha and robots - why do they need to be humanoid? I suppose I get terminators and such, as in "normal sized robots" - they were probably initially designed to look like humans, so humans would be less freaked out by the machinem but they are still somewhat guilty of it. I don't think the whole bipedal thing is that efficient - it's a machine, why does it need to have 2 arms, 2 legs and a head? It's designed for war and fighting, so why not just make it better - four legs would work way better for balancing and also speed, you can still attach as many hands as you want, but you might be better off just having guns, and the head is often times the weak spot - just have the weak spot behind several layers of protection and guns. Why mimic humans all the time?

I've been perplexed by this for just so-o-o long. Since I was a kid, in fact, I never did manage to watch many robot stuff because of that, it's always been nagging me.
Yeah, that is something. Maybe some of the mechs that "link" with the user have an excuse. Like it would be too challenging for a human being to master controlling something via direct nervous input that isn't shaped at least vaguely like a human?

Maybe it's where the ideas come from. Some guy says "Hey, if we had a giant metal soldier, we'd be unstoppable!" So that's exactly what they make without actually considering all that much that it doesn't necessarily need to be just a giant soldier. So, of course, at first, the giant metal solider design works, and people rush to copy it because it's proven to work.

You could apply the whole "shape" thing to spaceships as well. Sure, the smaller ones need to leave orbit and get back in all the time, so I understand why serenity or the millenium falcon has an aerodynamic design. But why does an imperial star destroyer need to be aerodynamic? Space is a vaccum. No air, means no resistance. This is why I like the design of Red dwarf over many serious spaceships, because why wouldn't they make it a huge chunk of metal with a giant scoop on the front and thrusters at the back? This way, they can fit anything they need on it. Crew, equipment, facilities, engines, it doesn't need to conform to an areodynamic design, so it can all go where it's most efficient.
 

Genocidicles

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I just dislike it when something interesting sounding is only mentioned in passing, and then is never brought up again.

For example, in my favourite book Schismatrix, near the end it mentions the new horrifying varieties of transhumanism that have arisen while the protagonist has been in a coma for fifty odd years.

They're given names like the Blood Bathers, Patternists and the Lobsters. Only the Lobsters are described in detail, being humans encased in shiny black exoskeletons, who no longer need to eat, drink or sleep, and who are able to live off of solar energy and breathe in vacuum. They also have beautiful, synthetic sounding, sing-song voices and have sex via a virtual simulation.

Of the others it mentions a group of Blood Bathers basking in the artificial sunlight waiting for their skin to grow back, and Patternists apparently have lop-sided heads. That's it. After the awesome description of the Lobsters I was expecting a little more rather than a couple of hints.
 

DoPo

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Doclector said:
Yeah, that is something. Maybe some of the mechs that "link" with the user have an excuse. Like it would be too challenging for a human being to master controlling something via direct nervous input that isn't shaped at least vaguely like a human?
Yes, to be fair, some do have that excuse. Well, I can only think of Iron Man right now, but I know others did it, too. Still, most show robots either being autonomous (if they are human-sized - e.g., terminators) or they are operated by buttons and levers and such. Human sized robots, as I said, do have some amount of excuse, if they were initially designed to interact with humans - making the form more familiar would reduce the freak factor and would help people not inherently distrust the robots as much. It's basic user friendliness. But if they are designed for war, you don't need them humanoid. Heck, you don't need them that big either, smaller robots can move faster, larger ones can use their size as an advantage. And making the head being the weak spot is pretty stupid.

Doclector said:
Maybe it's where the ideas come from. Some guy says "Hey, if we had a giant metal soldier, we'd be unstoppable!" So that's exactly what they make without actually considering all that much that it doesn't necessarily need to be just a giant soldier. So, of course, at first, the giant metal solider design works, and people rush to copy it because it's proven to work.
I suppose the "being copied" argument could work...if it wasn't for the fact that it needs to initially be designed that way. Thing is, engineers are pretty smart people and would always go for functionality over looks. Heck, the only way a robot would be designed as a humanoid is if there was a big board of directors who decided it and let the marketing team loose on it. Which is an awesome concept for a comedy and detracts from whatever the robots show is supposed to be about.
 

Doclector

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DoPo said:
Doclector said:
Doclector said:
Maybe it's where the ideas come from. Some guy says "Hey, if we had a giant metal soldier, we'd be unstoppable!" So that's exactly what they make without actually considering all that much that it doesn't necessarily need to be just a giant soldier. So, of course, at first, the giant metal solider design works, and people rush to copy it because it's proven to work.
I suppose the "being copied" argument could work...if it wasn't for the fact that it needs to initially be designed that way. Thing is, engineers are pretty smart people and would always go for functionality over looks. Heck, the only way a robot would be designed as a humanoid is if there was a big board of directors who decided it and let the marketing team loose on it. Which is an awesome concept for a comedy and detracts from whatever the robots show is supposed to be about.
Maybe the idea was "Shock and awe". Or simply a display of power and technical prowess, that eventually evolved into being used in active combat.
 

Zipa

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Doclector said:
DoPo said:
A lot of giant mecha and robots - why do they need to be humanoid? I suppose I get terminators and such, as in "normal sized robots" - they were probably initially designed to look like humans, so humans would be less freaked out by the machinem but they are still somewhat guilty of it. I don't think the whole bipedal thing is that efficient - it's a machine, why does it need to have 2 arms, 2 legs and a head? It's designed for war and fighting, so why not just make it better - four legs would work way better for balancing and also speed, you can still attach as many hands as you want, but you might be better off just having guns, and the head is often times the weak spot - just have the weak spot behind several layers of protection and guns. Why mimic humans all the time?

I've been perplexed by this for just so-o-o long. Since I was a kid, in fact, I never did manage to watch many robot stuff because of that, it's always been nagging me.
Yeah, that is something. Maybe some of the mechs that "link" with the user have an excuse. Like it would be too challenging for a human being to master controlling something via direct nervous input that isn't shaped at least vaguely like a human?

Maybe it's where the ideas come from. Some guy says "Hey, if we had a giant metal soldier, we'd be unstoppable!" So that's exactly what they make without actually considering all that much that it doesn't necessarily need to be just a giant soldier. So, of course, at first, the giant metal solider design works, and people rush to copy it because it's proven to work.

You could apply the whole "shape" thing to spaceships as well. Sure, the smaller ones need to leave orbit and get back in all the time, so I understand why serenity or the millenium falcon has an aerodynamic design. But why does an imperial star destroyer need to be aerodynamic? Space is a vaccum. No air, means no resistance. This is why I like the design of Red dwarf over many serious spaceships, because why wouldn't they make it a huge chunk of metal with a giant scoop on the front and thrusters at the back? This way, they can fit anything they need on it. Crew, equipment, facilities, engines, it doesn't need to conform to an areodynamic design, so it can all go where it's most efficient.
I think that it is stated that the Imperial ships in star wars are that way because it allows to shoot the most weapons forward by dipping the bow of the ship.

Plus Tarkin's fear of force thing might come into play , there is no ship in the star wars lore more intimidating than a star destroyer. Especially if you are a planet thinking of rebelling.

Same for the AT AT walkers I guess, the walking design is pretty bad because they can be wrecked with a tow cable but they strike fear into their enemies when they see them coming.
 

Leemaster777

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Here's a big one: The Death Star.

Okay, I can buy that the Empire built that thing in space, and managed to keep it a secret. But WHAT did they make it out of?

What I mean is, where in the HELL did Empire dig up THAT much metal? The Death Star is the size of a moon. That is a freaking metric fuck-ton of metal, plastic, and assorted other materials. Where did it all come from?

You could say that they found some metal-rich planet or something, but even IF (and that's a pretty massive if), they found a planet that contained enough metal to create an entire moon, how did they go about extracting it all? Even if they had every clone in the army working that planet, it would take a FREAKING LONG TIME to mine an entire moon's worth of metal. And that's ignoring transporting that much metal from a planet's surface to space. And the smelting process.

Really, if they wanted to build a spacestation the size of a moon, they should have just found a moon made out of metal, and hollowed it out. Would have taken a helluva lot less time and effort than making one from scratch.
 
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Leemaster777 said:
Here's a big one: The Death Star.

Okay, I can buy that the Empire built that thing in space, and managed to keep it a secret. But WHAT did they make it out of?

What I mean is, where in the HELL did Empire dig up THAT much metal? The Death Star is the size of a moon. That is a freaking metric fuck-ton of metal, plastic, and assorted other materials. Where did it all come from?

You could say that they found some metal-rich planet or something, but even IF (and that's a pretty massive if), they found a planet that contained enough metal to create an entire moon, how did they go about extracting it all? Even if they had every clone in the army working that planet, it would take a FREAKING LONG TIME to mine an entire moon's worth of metal. And that's ignoring transporting that much metal from a planet's surface to space. And the smelting process.

Really, if they wanted to build a spacestation the size of a moon, they should have just found a moon made out of metal, and hollowed it out. Would have taken a helluva lot less time and effort than making one from scratch.
Asteroid mining. Many (I have no idea what percentage) of asteroids are nickel/iron lumps. No need to get them into orbit, easy to obtain (asteroid belts) and if you have a ship capable of smelting while it's in space, a done deal.

OT: I get that the Star Trek Federation doesn't use money in the regular sense (Ferengi and gold-pressed latinum notwithstanding), but who and how do they arrange for resources to be harvested, distributed and used? I mean, replicators use proto-matter as the building-blocks for whatever it is the device is making. So who harvests/manufactures the proto-matter?

Infrastructure is not optional!
 

Xpwn3ntial

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Leemaster777 said:
Here's a big one: The Death Star.

Okay, I can buy that the Empire built that thing in space, and managed to keep it a secret. But WHAT did they make it out of?

What I mean is, where in the HELL did Empire dig up THAT much metal? The Death Star is the size of a moon. That is a freaking metric fuck-ton of metal, plastic, and assorted other materials. Where did it all come from?

You could say that they found some metal-rich planet or something, but even IF (and that's a pretty massive if), they found a planet that contained enough metal to create an entire moon, how did they go about extracting it all? Even if they had every clone in the army working that planet, it would take a FREAKING LONG TIME to mine an entire moon's worth of metal. And that's ignoring transporting that much metal from a planet's surface to space. And the smelting process.

Really, if they wanted to build a spacestation the size of a moon, they should have just found a moon made out of metal, and hollowed it out. Would have taken a helluva lot less time and effort than making one from scratch.
You are thinking too small, my man. Don't think of one metal-rich planet, think of a dozen, or a hundred. The Empire would waltz in, enslave the nearest local populace, have them mine it out, send the metal to thousands of factories, and finally assemble the Death Star. Many hands make for light work, as it were.

OT: One thing I've always wondered about mechs is why doesn't anyone just shoot the legs? That's the weakest point, shoot there. Sure, they might be heavily armored (unlikely), but the joints can't be. But no, they always go for the chest, the head or the shield.
 

Marik2

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Xpwn3ntial said:
OT: One thing I've always wondered about mechs is why doesn't anyone just shoot the legs? That's the weakest point, shoot there. Sure, they might be heavily armored (unlikely), but the joints can't be. But no, they always go for the chest, the head or the shield.
Think that has something to do with the psyche. Like it is easier to aim the chest and head cuz it is on eye level and people don't normally see the lower body when seeing people

And mechs usually have all the circuitry around the chest and pilots are on it too so it is easier to kill them. Shooting the legs will stop them but the pilot has a better chance of escaping if that happens.

Think Broken Blade had moments where they tore off some mech legs

*shrugs*
 

Jolly Co-operator

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I have a question about Avatar: The Last Airbender. I accept that people can bend one of the four elements (fire isn't really an element, but whatever). What I want to know is how the element a person is able to bend determined? Is it genetic? If so, what happens when people from different nations (for sake of example, let's say someone from the earth nation and someone from the water nation) have a child? Is one element randomly selected as dominant? If so, how is it determined which nation it lives in?
 
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Jolly Co-operator said:
I have a question about Avatar: The Last Airbender. I accept that people can bend one of the four elements (fire isn't really an element, but whatever). What I want to know is how the element a person is able to bend determined? Is it genetic? If so, what happens when people from different nations (for sake of example, let's say someone from the earth nation and someone from the water nation) have a child? Is one element randomly selected as dominant? If so, how is it determined which nation it lives in?
Its completely genetic. In the Legend of Korra series the two male leads are a firebender and an earthbender who are brothers. Their parents were of each bending ability, so its safe to say that the dominant element is completely random.
 

Azahul

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Cloud Atlas. My god, Cloud Atlas. I've seen it four times, and it is absolutely full of little details. Some of the weirder ones:

-Recurring Georges. In Adam Ewing's arc in 1849, Kupaka says something about the Reverend deciding "Old Georgia Way" is the best way to run their slaves. In Robert Frobisher's arc in the 1930s, there's a statue of Saint George and the Dragon. I've never been able to spot the equivalent in the Luisa Rey's one (but this is a fairly recent detail that I've noticed), but in Timothy Cavendish's 2012 story there's a character named Georgette. In Sonmi-451's story, my brother swears he heard someone shout out "Do it, George!" just before a customer squirts mayonnaise all over Yoona-939's back. And of course, Zachry's story revolves entirely around interactions with Old Georgie. The funny thing? Each of the ones I've spotted are introduced fairly early on in their respective stories, and are tied pretty closely into what incites the events of their respective arcs. The way the slave trade is run is what gets Autua to stow away on Ewing's boat, "sometimes the dragon slays you" is of huge significance to Frobisher's story, Georgette is one of the reasons Cavendish's brother dislikes him enough to trick him into an aged care home, Yoona-939's outburst is what sets off the Neo-Seoul story, and Old Georgie is, well, the driving force behind Zachry's adventures.

-The implications of some of the actors, beyond even the "obvious" connotations. I mean, it seems clear that the comet-marked characters are the same soul, recurring throughout history. Then there's the easy extra layers in terms of relationships. Jim Sturgess and Doona Bae's relationship occurs twice, along with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry's with, in both cases, their positions as the comet bearer inverted), aren't too hard to figure out. The funny things are when you consider that Ben Whishaw plays both Robert Frobisher and Georgette, and Jim Broadbent plays both Vyvyan Ayrs and Timothy Cavendish. So, in a roundabout, highly symbolic way, they did hook up in another time and place. I've got to believe that this kind of thing was intentional. Everything about Cloud Atlas is so well constructed, so brilliantly put together, that I'm hard-pressed to believe that anything in it was an accident.

-At one point, you can see a statue of Sonmi before she's even born. I've always wondered about that. Was Sonmi created based on the template of someone else that was famous long before her? Entirely probably, I suppose, especially given the film's main themes.

I love and adore Cloud Atlas. It's a movie where every frame is full to the brim of Easter Eggs, little details that just add to the interconnectedness of the characters' lives. In terms of mastery of cinematic techniques, it blasts every other film I've ever seen out of the water.
 

Dr_Fred

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Leemaster777 said:
Here's a big one: The Death Star.

[...]
I'd guess that the Death Star is mostly made of air inside. (Question for XKCD's "what if" : would a Death Star float on water ?)

But thanks to it being Star Wars, there is of course an entire book to answer that question. [http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Death_Star_(novel)]
 

OneCatch

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Leemaster777 said:
Here's a big one: The Death Star.

Okay, I can buy that the Empire built that thing in space, and managed to keep it a secret. But WHAT did they make it out of?

What I mean is, where in the HELL did Empire dig up THAT much metal? The Death Star is the size of a moon. That is a freaking metric fuck-ton of metal, plastic, and assorted other materials. Where did it all come from?

You could say that they found some metal-rich planet or something, but even IF (and that's a pretty massive if), they found a planet that contained enough metal to create an entire moon, how did they go about extracting it all? Even if they had every clone in the army working that planet, it would take a FREAKING LONG TIME to mine an entire moon's worth of metal. And that's ignoring transporting that much metal from a planet's surface to space. And the smelting process.

Really, if they wanted to build a spacestation the size of a moon, they should have just found a moon made out of metal, and hollowed it out. Would have taken a helluva lot less time and effort than making one from scratch.
Wookies. I'm not even kidding. Used them as slave labour in the EU.
And yeah, it's a lot of material, but in fairness it did take them 20 years to complete with all of the Empire's resources.

And they couldn't hollow out a moon - they might have missed a hole or cave or vent in the side and then some rebel could have shot a torpedo in it and blown up the whole thing. And that would have been dreadful.
 

Scarim Coral

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I remember I weirdly wonder how did the Waterbog mother is still able to recieve an income from the film The Waterboy since all she did is just stay in the house and hunt local wildlife for food. This is however before I came to learn about income benefits or whatever other recieve income that the US get.
 

Lieju

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davidmc1158 said:
.

OT: I get that the Star Trek Federation doesn't use money in the regular sense (Ferengi and gold-pressed latinum notwithstanding), but who and how do they arrange for resources to be harvested, distributed and used? I mean, replicators use proto-matter as the building-blocks for whatever it is the device is making. So who harvests/manufactures the proto-matter?

Infrastructure is not optional!
People still have jobs. I think the idea is that people will still want to contribute to society or understand it's necessary even if they'd get fed anyway.

And they have robots and holograms (I'm not kidding. It's dumb) that do the mining.
 

Angie7F

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Well, Evangelion basically sustains itself on details that keep people wondering.
I have a whole bookshelf of books that try to explain it. lol