"But the line about the body being bound to the station by gravity
was idiocy of the most annoying kind, because it blatantly screams that
the people writing and producing the show don't bother to check the most
trivial elements of the science they portray. What they happen to get
right, they get right by sheer coincidence."
The only thing that I would agree with in your analysis is the word
"idiot." I would, however, apply it in your direction, since you so
willingly applied it in mine, as the person who writes and produces this
1) We do fairly thorough research into the science of our show. We
work hard at it. We subscribe to the various scientific journals, we
use advisors on stuff we don't fully understand ourselves. We make a
concerted, conscious and deliberate effort to get the science *right*,
as much as is practical within a TV format.
2) Your attitude is the kind of reprehensible crap I get from people
who aren't paying attention, and just assume that if something isn't done
to what THEY consider satisfactory, that people are just sluffing it off,
that they're idiots, they don't bother. My response: who the fuck are
you? Where the fuck were YOU when we were having production meeting after
productin meeting trying to determine how to do some of this stuff? I
didn't see your name on the list, didn't see you in the room, where do you
get off characterizing our attitude?
And now for the good part.
3) This weekend, I was at the Space Frontier Foundation to receive an
award for Babylon 5 for Best Vision of the Future, part of which was its
recognition of our *deliberate efforts* to get things right. Zero-G
maneuvering, civilian use of space, a working O'Neill station, on and on,
all the stuff you think happens by "coincidence." And which has not
generally HAPPENED on TV before. In attendence were the Delta Clipper
team of engineers, astronaut Pete Conrad, leading researchers with NASA,
JPL, McDonnell-Douglas, you name it.
And one of the people there, who had been with SDI and the Space
Program for 12 years, currently a top-level NASA consultant, pulled me
aside and said that after seeing the line about the gravity not letting
the body get very far -- and THAT is what was said in the script, and in
the episode, NOT your characterization of a body "bound" to the hull --
he said he sat down to do the math required to come up with the actuall
MASS of B5, starting with the 2.5 million tons of actual structure, plus
likely vegetation, quarters, occupants, ships docked inside...and when
you add it all up, it came to about the same mass as a fairly small
moon...and IT WOULD BE ENOUGH TO KEEP THE BODY FROM -- AS STATED IN THE
SCRIPT -- GETTING VERY FAR.
The body would drift from the station a bit, get pulled back, hit
the hull, bounce, drift a bit, and be pulled back. Or go into a slow
elliptical orbit. (He mentioned that in the history of the Apollo
program, little bits of debris that would flake off the outside of the
ship would remain in proximity to the ship, just on the basis of ITS
mass and gravity, and it's not very big.)
A couple of other high-level engineers backed him up, and said that
it was quite reasonable.
What's the difference? THEY sat down and did the math. YOU just
sat down and ran your mouth, and decided to go around insulting people
for being inaccurate when in fact YOU are the one who "didn't bother to
check the most trivial elements of the science." I don't think you really
grasp how big this place is, and how massive it is, and its effect on the
I, however, DO know how massive the station is, and DID bother to
call around to a few people I know who know this stuff even better than I
do, to ask them about this *before I wrote it*, just to be sure.
I put your message on the same level as the occasional screed that
flies through here blathering on about how there shouldn't be gravity in
the observation dome since it's in the center of the station WITHOUT
stopping to LOOK at the goddamned thing and see that it's 1/3rd of the
way down FROM the center, giving at least 1/3rd G.
Let me tell you a story. It's about Van Gogh. He was due to be
visited for the first time by his idol, Gauguin. He covered the walls of
his home with his paintings, and awaited Gauguin's arrival. Gauguin came.
One by one, he walked down the line of paintings. Upon coming to the
end of the paintings, he turned to Van Gogh and said, "You paint too
"No," Van Gogh said, "you LOOK too fast."
You look too fast.
And next time, you might want to actually CHECK your figures before
you go around calling people idiots.