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<   No. 136   2003-06-10   >

Comic #136

1 Iki Piki: Space banditos!
1 Bandito: Stick 'em up, muchachos!
2 Paris: Eat ionised plasma, dirtbags!
3 Serron: You realise that's a tautology? Plasma is by definition ionised.
3 Paris: It's comments like that...
4 [sound]: Blamm! Blamm! Blamm! Blamm!
4 Paris: {standing over the smoking corpse of an excessively semantical Bandito} ... that really get me riled up.

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Alternate punchline:

Another alternate:

Serron: You realise that's a tautology? Plasma is by definition ionised.
Paris: Hey, I'm the party combat monster. You want to worry about semantics, go right ahead, fancy-pants.

2012-04-05 Rerun commentary: Plasma is a state of matter in which the atoms - or at least some of the atoms - are ionised. So although "ionised plasma" is indeed a tautology, plasma can be ionised to different extents.

Ionised, by the way, means that some of the electrons of the atoms have been removed. Usually this occurs because of a large amount of energy being present, such as extreme heat, or bombardment by strong electromagnetic radiation or energetic atomic or subatomic particles. The electrons typically flit around the electron-deficient atoms in a sort of gas-like mixture. They may recombine with the atoms to form electrically neutral atoms again, and this process produces radiation, sometimes in the visible spectrum. If the energy causing the ionisation continues, this ionisation/recombination process can keep happening over and over, and produce a continuous stream of secondary radiation. This is how neon lights work, with the energy input being electric current.

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