The People, They Love Me

January 28th, 2005 | brainjuice

Received in email:

Hey Warren–

I just saw this review of the third TPB of PLANETARY on and
thought you might get a kick out of it. Dig that crazy syntax, man!

“The writings of Warren Ellis, well they promote drugs, paranoia,
inmature dialoge between men and women, and commentey by a man who
clearly hates himself and the world around him. As this load of
garbage shows. DC Comics should have nothing to do with this quack’s
wriings, and speaking as someone who works in the publishing field as
both editor and writer. I would not give the man’s scripts one passing
thought, They are not worth it.

“-John Q. Public ‘vhspreowner’”

Bedtime Stories At The Vale Of Tears

January 28th, 2005 | brainjuice

Old Jellaby, when he first came to the Vale, sought to ingratiate himself with the great and the good by holding elaborate soirées at the Lodge. These mostly revolved around the selection of ordeal poisons he’d brought back from Africa. “Don’t worry,” he’d rasp around his giraffe-hide tongue. “These saucy little essences can have no effect at all upon the sound of mind and kind of heart.” The Reverend died almost immediately, of course, in appalling contortions. His bollocks exploded like handgrenades, taking Mrs Naismith’s hand off at the wrist and knocking Dr Gideon’s dentures down into his left lung. Where they remained, chattering eerily each winter as the snow covered the small children that the Women’s Institute would nail to the village green every December to get them some fresh air. Some people still believe they hear Dr Gideon’s lung-teeth singing hideous numbers from “The Music Man” and occasionally yelling for Pure Boys, despite the local constabulary having helpfully worked his cadaver over with iron bars prior to the funeral, “just in case the uncanny little bastard tries to come back.”

That sort of thing had been a local problem since I was a boy, when Farmer Hobble contracted the fabled “terrible cock-mange” from the sheep who ate the dumped army chemicals and learned to have sex in the missionary position.

But that, my darlings, is a tale for another time, for I see that the horse tranquillisers have already taken effect.

Good night.

((C) Warren Ellis 2004. Written last year. I was trying to replicate some of the effects Vivian Stanshall got in his “Rawlinson End” stories (and also a half-remembered Garrison Keillor piece). You test these things out to see how the effects work, so you can pull the cogs and levers apart and work them into your own style.)

Old Comics Zen

January 28th, 2005 | comics talk

Neutralino Phantom Space Clouds

January 28th, 2005 | researchmaterial

Small clouds of dark matter pass through Earth on a regular basis, suggest new calculations. The clouds may be remnants of the first structures to form after the big bang and could be detected by future space missions.

Dark matter interacts gravitationally with normal matter and appears to be seven times more abundant in the universe. But physicists do not know what the mysterious matter is made of or exactly how it is distributed through space.

Nonetheless, they have devised a number of hypothetical dark matter particles that were created in the big bang. These particles formed the universe’s first structures, where mysterious “quantum seeds” caused matter to clump more densely in certain spots. Dark matter slid into these spots which grew into structures that merged to become giant clouds – or haloes – with millions or trillions times more mass than the Sun.

For their study, they used the leading candidate for dark matter, a particle called a neutralino which has the mass of about 100 protons and interacts only weakly with normal matter. Their predicted energies and motions made them settle into structures about 30 million years after the big bang. The structures took the shape of flattened spheres or cigars with diameters about 4000 times the distance between the Earth and Sun.

“We estimate that lots of these small clumps can still survive in the Milky Way,” says Diemand. Perhaps a million billion of them drift around the large dark matter halo that is thought to enclose our galaxy. Such a cloud may float through Earth every 10,000 years in an encounter lasting about 50 years.

But the phantom clouds do not affect the Earth, says Diemand. Their relatively wispy densities mean they could only nudge our planet out of its normal orbit by less than a millionth of a metre per second…

Desperate Housewives Spray

January 28th, 2005 | researchmaterial

A mystery chemical that young women deploy as a sex attractant pheromone seems to work for post-menopausal women too.

Joan Friebely of Harvard University, US, and Susan Rako, a private physician in Newton, Massachusetts, US, have studied 44 post-menopausal women. Half added Athena Pheromone 10:13, originally isolated from a woman’s armpit sweat, to their perfume while half added a dummy compound. Neither the women nor the researchers knew who was in each group until the results were in.

In diaries kept by the women for six weeks, 41% of pheromone users reported more petting, kissing and affection with partners compared with 14% receiving the placebo. Overall, 68% of pheromone users reported increases in at least one of four “intimate socio-sexual behaviours” such as formal dates and sex, as against 41% on the placebo…