I got to work some more on this for the Dark Matter collab; but maybe someone can use something silly like this.
I've been thinking about possible visuals for the Dark Matter collab, and since dark matter doesn't actually look like anything, not even schematically*, I figured we'll probably go for little characters, like maybe sojushot's ninja ( http://www.hitrecord.org/records/1516503 ); and perhaps something like this could stand for ordinary matter. I want to try and make him move, but I'm hoping for some feedback first. The color difference inside the "halo" is intentional and may or may not make sense for what I have in mind.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who do what they think is right, and those who think what they do is right.
*meaning that you can either act according to your morals, or adapt your morals to your actions. Maybe there's a better way to put it?
Scientists are mostly in the dark about the matter of dark matter. In fact, they are not even sure it exists. They just assume it does because stuff isn't behaving as it's supposed to, out there in space, when you look at larger scales, like entire galaxies.
You know our own galaxy, the Milky Way, with its spiral arms - and it's rotating. There are billions of them, and they all rotate. In essence, it's the same as Earth revolving around the sun. Because gravity. Gravity is a property of mass. Every piece of matter has a mass; and everything that has a mass attracts every other piece of matter. The more mass, the stronger the attraction. It's a pretty weak force, so you need a lot of mass for a noticable effect. Sun and Earth are a lot of mass; they would just crash into each other if Earth wasn't spinning around as it is.
And the same happens in galaxies. It's a tad more complicated because you have not only two bodies, but usually billions of stars and planets with enormous clouds of gas and dust inbetween, and the occasional Black Hole (which isn't really matter but also has a mass); and it's all pulling at each other. And the further out you get from the galaxy's center, the more of that stuff you have pulling from one direction, and the less from the other; so you always end up with a gravitational pull towards the center. And as with Earth, it's rotation that keeps it all from collapsing.
There is a clear-cut, fix relationship between the mass pulling and the rotation speed needed to stay in orbit. Newton figured that out three centuries ago; and those laws allow us to watch how fast stars are orbiting in their galaxies and to calculate from that how much mass we're dealing with.
Another way to determine that mass is to scan the electromagnetic spectrum. That's radiowaves, infrared radiation, visible light, x-rays, gamma-rays - all the same thing, just on different energy levels. And all kinds of matter we know, atoms and the things they are made of and more exotic stuff, heavily interacts with the EM spectrum. It's pretty much a constant coming and going and absorbing and emitting of photons, the only things that can make it all the way from other galaxies to our telescopes and tell us what's out there and how much of it. Just what we calculated from the motion of the stars.
Problem is, the two methods turn out vastly different results. Stars move like there is almost seven times as much stuff as we can see. And a very plausible explanation would be that there is a lot of stuff out there that we can't see. Which means it doesn't interact with the EM spectrum; so it has to be something we don't know yet. We know it's matter because it has a mass, and because it's invisible we call it "dark". But beyond that, it gets tricky.
Since nothing gets here from that dark matter, we can only observe its effects on other matter, but what it really is is anyone's guess. Of course, physicists make educated guesses. They develop theories of what properties it may have to still be compatible with the rest of physics as we know it. Some think dark matter particles could be WIMPs - weakly interacting massive particles. Others suggest they might be MACHOs - MAssive Compact Halo Objects.
Despite the funny names, it's all very dry and technical; but with those theorized particles, there may be a chance to confirm their existence in particle accelerators, or possibly by other means. So far, though, nothing like that has happened. Which may mean that we still don't know what exactly to look for, or how to look for it. Or it may mean that we're chasing a phantom.
I said dark matter is a plausible explanation for the extra gravity. But it's not the only one. Another possibility is that we don't really understand how gravity works after all. And there are scientists looking into that, too; trying to explain the workings of physical reality in a new way without a need for dark matter or dark energy - which is a different but very similar story.
So... maybe dark matter is just some kind of deus ex machina, magically filling the holes in our understanding of the Universe. Or maybe it's a real thing, waiting for mathematics to shed its light on it. Maybe it's eighty-five percent of all the matter there is. Or maybe it's just a dark corner in the expanse of current knowledge. In either case, it's a mystery that attracts scientific curiosity just as it attracts stars. And a reminder that at the end of the day, we still don't know what the heck is going on. We still have to find the light switch.
Talking really isn't a talent of mine, so text will have to do. But maybe a VO could work? Feel free to give it a polish as you see fit. Mantia already wrote a great summary on the matter here ; it's just a bit more optimistic about the average viewer's scientific background than I am. I tried to keep it more basic, but the idea to throw in WIMPs and MACHOs is owed to Mantia's RECord.
You have probably heard that dragon eggs hatch in fire. Well; that's not wrong. But it's true only for one of the two extant dragon species, draco magnus or the Big Dragon; while the True Dragon, draco verus, was recently discovered to lay its eggs in molten rock, using crevices and holes in sleeping volcanoes as entrances to the magma chambers deep below the surface of earth. When you are watching Old Faithful, you are standing on top of not only a supervolcanoe, but also the world's largest incubator.
Draco verus is smaller than its fire-born cousins; but it's also faster and fiercer; and its fire breath dwarfs anything a magnus can do. A Big Dragon can produce a flame just strong enough to roast a sheep for dinner, or cook the occasional knight in his armor. It is the True Dragon's breath that scorches forests, fields and villages. For a magnus, breathing fire is a neat trick of evolution. For a magma-born, it is the essence of his being.
Except for Russell. Little Russell can't breath fire. Never could. Nobody knows why; but his peers and the adults make sure that he understands what that means: "You are not a True Dragon", they say. "You are not one of us."
to be continued...
There are 2 kinds of people in this world: Those who can count, those who can't, and those who get carried away and start rambling and just go on and on and on even though they've long forgotten what they were talking about and you're like, "WTF?" and they just never shut up and they just won't fucking STOP. Like, ever.
REmix of Nick De Augustine's contribution.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who see two kinds, and those who see seven billion.
Russell couldn't breathe fire.
But with Whitehead (someone he knew)
he proved, on threehundred sixty pages,
that one plus one equals two.
I'm not sure how this could fit into the story; but I'd really like to see something to the effect that Russell's fire doesn't have to be of the same kind as everyone else's.
Might be each piece of your tomorrow
stems strictly from your yesterday.
But while that means there are no choices,
you'll have to make them anyway.
My take on the matter: it doesn't matter.
I remember a time when villages were small settlements with homes for a handful of people. These days, "villages" is what they call the urban buildings, most with a dozen stories - one for technics, one for communal purposes, each of the rest providing homes for a couple hundred people, embedded in carefully designed agricultural ecosystems. Sun-powered climate control allows for year-round fresh food supplies right at your doorstep, tended by those who enjoy gardening, to forage in passing and harvest for distribution. Wide, half-open bridges connecting the cities' villages are sporting fruit trees and shrubs that are more integrated into the natural environment, and make roads on the ground obsolete. The ground belongs to the wilderness.
In North America, you can sit on a bridge and watch wolf packs hunt, or toss an apple to the occasional bear. Wild animals should not be fed; but people are still people. In Indonesia, disobedient children sneak outside to play with the orangutans, who greatly appreciate their gifts of cookies and useful utensils - bowls, bags, or hammocks. In the monsoon rains, you can sometimes see them cowering under colorful umbrellas that they certainly didn't make themselves. They are supposed to be left alone, but they have become neighbors and will often take their sick and injured to the villages for medical attention. Anecdotes tell of elephants, coyotes, even tigers doing the same. How a wild tiger would come to think that human dwellings mean help, I'll never know. But we don't turn anyone down, regardless of species. Unconditional respect for life in all its variety is the foundation of the social contract that guarantees every individual's wellbeing. We don't make exceptions anymore, other than at the threat of death. We stopped killing animals for food once we'd learned to grow tasty meat in tanks. It's still impressive how fast we can develop anything if we just invest the necessary resources.
Life has slowed down. We have time. Plenty. Slow gondola lines and the ubiquitous carts connect villages; and the carts are a sight to behold in any city; no two are the same. Everywhere in the world, they serve as projects to teach young children the basics of mechanics and engineering. And after all these years, the kids still come up with new designs. If you ever find yourself in a hurry, solar hoppers cover for emergencies withing cities, and the small, hydrogen-powered planes can get you anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye. But hurries have become rare experiences. Travel is no longer the time between being in one place and being in another. It's a time of being in a place that moves. We spend a lot of time in moving places.
There are so many vacaloons now that their shiny surfaces reflect more sunlight back into space than what remains of the icefields and glaciers. The "loonie bins", as they call their gondolas, offer ample space to make yourself at home in small, temporary communities; green walls, food tanks thriving on sunlight and human waste, and condensers to draw water from the atmosphere can support their passengers almost indefinitely. And so they should, as strong winds have their way with them and make travel times and destinations a game of chance. You can easily end up in Winnipeg instead of New York City. But who cares? Winnipeg is as lovely a place as any; and New York isn't going anywhere; it's safely anchored to the Catskills shore. Diseases are virtually eliminated, fatal accidents are extremely rare, and ageing is a thing of the past - your friends will still be there next year. In the meantime, you can always holoject them on the sofa next to you.
The conditions are the same everywhere: there will be a place for you to stay, food and healthcare, people for company and to look after your well-being, new things to learn and ways to contribute. I've been a nomad - or "gluebal" in the youngsters' idiom - since I was in my sixties. I'll spend days or weeks, sometimes months or even a year in one place before I get restless and move on. In another thirty or fourty years, when I've seen every place on Earth and the Bishop Rings, I want to go to Mars and help build cities in the spaces left by then. After that... who knows. I might feel like settling down for a while, and board one of the starships for a few millennia.
This is the future. We made it.