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"We [science fiction writers] always wanted to believe in "private sector" space -- hucksters make better characters than a government does."
- Larry Niven

Ubik Spray Can  
  One of many definitions of Ubik. Take only as directed.  

"What is Ubik?" Joe said, wanting her to stay.

"A spray can of Ubik," the girl answered, "is a portable negative ionizer, with a self-contained, high-voltage, low-amp unit powered by a peak-gain helium battery of 25kv. The negative ions are given a counter-clockwise spin by a radically biased acceleration chamber, which creates a centripetal tendency to them so that they cohere rather than dissipate. A negative ion field diminishes the velocity of anti-protophasons normally present in the atmosphere; as soon as their velocity falls they cease to be anti-protophasons and, under the principle of parity, no longer can unite with protophasons radiated from persons frozen in cold-pac; that is, those in half-life. The end result is that the proportion of protophasons not canceled by anti-protophasons increases, which means - for a specific time, anyhow - an increment in the net put-forth field of protophasonic activity... which the affected half-lifer experiences as greater vitality plus a lowering of the experience of low cold-pac temperatures.

Technovelgy from Ubik, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Doubleday in 1969
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