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Zombie Apocolypse

  1. Nov 23, 2011 #1


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    So, I was Stumbling (the proper verb) and came across a humor site that tore a few holes in the "Zombie Apocalypse" idea. The page was on Cracked.com but I'm unable to find it with a simple Google query here at work. Please understand that I am crediting Cracked.com, my wording and summary is original, but the content belongs to them. Anyway, here are a few reasons why a zombie apocalypse is completely impossible.

    1) Natural predators - Let's face it, every depiction of zombies includes the mindless shambling rotting human. The only reason humans aren't constantly eaten by wolves or consumed by maggots is because we have the good sense to sleep inside shelter and swat away flies. Without these instincts (remember, zombies are dead) most zombies would be consumed in a few days. Just think of the all the feral cats going out for an easy meal.

    2) Temperature - As warm blooded living things we can regulate our own temperature. But a quick frost or a really warm day would essentially destroy a zombie. The cold would destroy their soft tissue (no more mobility), and the heat would destroy their internal organs (no more eating).

    3) Terrain - Canyons, cliffs, raging rivers, man-made bridges, steep inclines, small creeks, pot holes, speed bumps, strong wind gusts, puddles, tall grass... absolutely everything would be completely detrimental to a mobile animal with no strategy or common sense. Even if they had the sense to avoid a river, they don't have night vision and might drown in a puddle in the middle of the night.

    4) Humans - Do people even realize why we have hunting licenses? It's to limit the number of animals people are allowed to kill. Without hunting licenses then every living thing in the forest would be dead by sundown; humans are awesome at killing things. Instead of being limited to three deer, what if hunters were limited to "any rotting, walking corpse that is biting people?" I think the problem would be well contained in a few hours.

    5) Inefficient eating and reproduction mechanism - Think about this. For a zombie, reproduction is identical to eating: they have to bite their primary predator. How well would the human race have done if we had to grapple with a grizzly bear (with a rifle) every time we wanted to have sex or have a sandwich?

    Finally, I can sleep at night.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2011 #2
    1. Depending on what defenition of zombie you use some explictly state that the zombie flesh is deadly to eat for anything including microbial decay. Hence zombies not rotting away in the normal time frame of a corpse. Simply put you eat a zombie you die weather your are a cat or a bacteria. Gradual damage and literal erosion still take place as cells are not replaced as they are worn away by the elements and physical contact with objects.

    2. Again they are dead some versions of zombies will freeze in the winter but retrun fully functioning after the thaw. Damage to organs does not matter as the "feeding" is not to gain energy but to spread the "disease".

    3. Dead agian they do not breathe and feel no pain. Yes a cliff would reduce the mobility as it would break legs and damage connective tissue. A river although pushing downstream would not be an obstacle they would eventually fill with water sink and walk along the bottom. Terrain can be a great asset to buy you time but it is not the end all beat all.

    4. This is wishful thinking. we are not talking about individual dear unknowingly walking into the line of fire. Yes a zombie infestation that started in a sparsly populated area would be easy to control. Imagine it starts in a city 1 zombie alone is not a threat to anyone unless they are suprised by it i.e. open a door and it is right there. The problem lies when they create a swarm like at the initial hospital that the first bundle of victims are taken to. Once you have a large group of Zombies together it is no longer about simply picking them off. Each time you fire and each time a zombie moans it will draw in all other zombies with in hearing. They moan and draw all zombies with in that range and in essence this continues until you draw in every zombie that is not already in pursuit of another target. (i.e. each zombie moan travels 1 mile causing all zombies with in that radius to turn towards the moan and begin moaning themselves adding another mile) At that point either you have enough ammunition and enough people shooting it accurately or you do not.

    5. Most types of zombies do not "starve" to death so the need to eat is simply the desire to reproduce. The idea is a critical mass of zombies is achieved in population centers where people are ill equiped to deal with the initial violence. Once zombies outnumber surviors by greater then 3 to 1 in and area it become very difficult to contain. Even the most sickly patient at a hospital is a valid zombie added to the early ranks.

    An individual who keeps moving and always maintains an escape route can do well but once you stop or draw in a sufficient range in all directions you either need to be able to eliminate all zombies interested in you or out pace the closing rings of zombies.
  4. Nov 23, 2011 #3


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    I'm not sure what type of zombie that would be. I guess I'm assuming something within the realm of the medically possible. Most diseases that infect humans don't cross the border to other species. Rabies is an example of one that does; most, however, don't... so I can't see that a human infection would wipe out maggots and cats, too.

    Have you ever seen freezer-burnt meat? How could it return to a condition where it would respond to the electrical signals of the brain? Once all of the cells have ruptured from the water freezing, I don't see a feasible way for them to be repaired. How do you propose a zombie would get energy other than feeding? Or maybe they're vegetarians?

    Unless they suddenly become anaerobic creatures, water would still drown them. And without the ability to find more food (with broken legs) they would run out of metabolic energy (unless they are perpetual energy machines) and would starve wherever they fell.

    Imagine the equivalent situation with unarmed non-dead folks... like say... a busy farmer's market except that, instead of running at the sound of gunfire, they congregate. Sounds like a TRE (target rich environment) to me. Even a moderately armed individual (to say nothing of a well equipped military force) should be able to put a big dent in a zombie crowd. Given that zombies are unlikely to climb stairs or open doors, a moderately sized office building would be enough protection to allow for this operation to be carried out safely.

    Remember, zombies lack the ability to strategize. By luck, alone, one might sneak up from behind, but again, they're still dependent upon the ability to remain mobile to survive so even non-critical wounds would result in dead zombies after a while.

    This is profoundly unscientific, even for a zombie discussion. Zombies cannot create their own energy so they must get it from someone.

    Maybe, but remember that in order for a zombie attack to be successful, that zombie must bite a human. Even airborne illnesses are contained better than that. SARS was labelled as highly contagious, as was bird flu and swine flu, and they could pass through the AIR! Furthermore, carriers of diseases like the flu look identical to non-carriers, whereas zombies are usually visually distinct.
  5. Nov 23, 2011 #4
    If we are going to get serious about this here zombie discussion we have to agree upon zombie characteristics. When I play out zombie scenarios in my head (this comes up more often than I should admit to), here are some of the main questions that must be answered first.

    A) Can zombies die by any means except decapitation (i.e starvation, freezing, drowning and similar previously mentioned ways to die)
    B) Can animals be affected by the zombie disease
    C) How fast are the zombies (max speed)
    D) How smart are the zombies (How quickly on average can they assemble a 100 piece puzzle :grin:)

    I say A) No, because if yes then everything is too easy.
    B) No, because if yes then everything becomes impossible
    C) 15 km/h, no swimming, and dramatically reduced max speed going up hills, with a high chance of falling down going down hills.
    D) They are smart enough to travel in groups, but not really coordinate on a microscopic level. Swarm mentality.

    Whaddya think?

    EDIT: Wikipedia has these
    Mobile but technically dead, without a heartbeat or other vital signs
    In a decaying state, with discolored skin and eyes
    Non-communicative, groaning and howling instead of speaking
    Unemotional, with no mercy toward victims
    Hungry for human flesh (zombies ignore animals like dogs or cats)
    Clumsy and violent
    Vulnerable to destruction of the brain, which kills them
    Unaffected by injuries, even normally fatal ones, as long as they do not hurt the to the brain too much
    Contagious, a germ from a bite causes zombies
    Does not attack other zombies, leading to swarms of zombies
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  6. Nov 23, 2011 #5
    All right, where are the peer-reviewed papers????
  7. Nov 23, 2011 #6
    I don't see the point in killing zombies. They're already dead. The most important thing is to be the sympathetic character in any scenario. For example, suppose you are in a hurry to get something done and you park in a no parking zone and get a ticket. Now everything depends on why you were in a hurry. If it was to pay a previous parking ticket, that's ironic, not sympathetic. You are in deep trouble. If it was to rob a bank, then that is definitely not sympathetic and your brains are dead meat. If it was to warn widow Gooch about the bank coming to foreclose on her house, that's sympathetic and you're safe for the time being, probably for the entire 90 minutes. However, the creep that ticketed your car is going to get it and get it good.
  8. Nov 23, 2011 #7
    The other way to look at it is insctes and animals see thme either as a threat or not as a food source either way decay no longer takes place.

    They must be anaerobic unless you feel they "die" when shot in the lungs or heart? Otherwise how are you proposing they distribute the oxygen neeeded for aerobic energy conversion? The organs stop functioning except for basic senses and the brain stem no digestion no breathing no heartbeat. I know not how the body chemistry works but we really need to define what "flavor" of zombie we are talking about.

    TRE yes but keep in mind targets that only have a few square inches of viable hit zone that are constantly moving. An office building is a very defensable position that is not the hard part it is finding a postion that is both defensible and sustainable. Food and ammunition both need to last until all the zombies are dead if either run out you starve or end up in a building with a horde around you and no way to escape.

    Zombies are actively trying to spread the disease and will not willingly go into quarantine. Once those first victims are taken to a hospital not knowing what they have or why they are so sick from a small bite they are in a TRE and soon 3 becomes the entire population of the hospital workers patients visitors. No matter how contagious an airborn flu is you put a patient in a plastic bubble and nobody else gtes sick.

    I do not know how zombies get energy. Some "flavors" of zombies can starve some can decay and you can "out last" them i.e. 28 days/weeks later zombies starve to death and animals/microbes eat and decay them, but animals also beocme infected and can transfer the disease (hyper rabies). These zombies needed approximately 2 months to starve so once your ammo ran out if you were secure and had 3 months of food you "should" survive. Even zombies that got food regularly would decay in 6 months to the point of immobility the trade off is zombie cats dogs birds and rats...
  9. Nov 23, 2011 #8


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    Okay, let's put the reins on this... I meant an actual zombie apocalypse. Zombies have to eat, breathe, and maintain a sufficiently functioning body and brain. There's no magic in a real-world zombie; if you destroy their means of extracting energy from their environment, then they run out of energy.

    Does a zombie require a circulatory system? Of course, unless they have magic muscle syndrome.

    A zombie is just a reanimated corpse. In lieu of normal-brain function, zombie-brain function occurs. Biting other humans is sufficient to reproduce and to gain chemical energy. I didn't mean for this discussion to get ridiculous.
  10. Nov 23, 2011 #9
    Move to the arctic and you win.
  11. Nov 23, 2011 #10


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    The highlighted sections do not compute for me. But to contribute better to the thread I would say that if we consider a zombie to be someone inflicted by a disease that destroys their memory, rational thought and causes them to be violent and aggressive (AKA 28 days later zombies) then the best way to survive would be to bolt the doors and wait for them to starve or die of infection or some other natural cause.

    Problem comes trying to rebuild society, a modern technological civilisation is far too complex to be boostrapable by a small number of people. It would be back to hunter gatherer life for a loooong time.
  12. Nov 23, 2011 #11
    Zombies are the ideal energy source. They're already dead and will slowly rot, but put them in an oversized squirrel cage, dangle something living in front of them, and they could power any number of devices until they literally fall apart. Any person or animal that is close to death can be bitten and put to productive use for an indefinite period afterwards.
  13. Nov 23, 2011 #12
    Uh oh.
  14. Nov 23, 2011 #13
    The energy cartel would never permit this. Just think about why you aren't allowed have a giant drinking bird in your back yard. Or why perpetual motion machines are against the law.
  15. Nov 23, 2011 #14
    Why should they be permitted? It'll just give people the idea there is a free lunch and, by logical extension, that no one has to pick up their dirty socks. So thank God for money hungry world monopolies on energy. Their greed keeps it real for the common man.
  16. Nov 23, 2011 #15


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    then you shouldn't have brought up zombies...
  17. Nov 23, 2011 #16


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    I am amazed at people's imagination/fascination with this them. TV series and movies not withstanding. People just love the scary idea of being pursued by these creatures and then putting a bullet through their brains, dropping them in their tracks. Scary/fun, maybe that is part of their appeal, along with defining what they are, and adding their own personal spin to their blood line.

  18. Nov 23, 2011 #17


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    Did anyone mention vampires? They are the new "popular" zombies. This Twilight stuff is grabbing some serious bucks. They are pretty locked in to drinking the blood of humans, but if those victims don't turn into vampires, what is the effect on the dynamic? We need some demographics and scholarly studies!
  19. Nov 23, 2011 #18


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    That's one theory, another is that zombies represent cultural feelings regarding immigration;
  20. Nov 23, 2011 #19


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    No, no, no, no!!!! We are not making this political.

    The whole point of this thread was for me to express my relief at realizing that actual rotting corpses, reanimated via infection disease does not constitute a serious threat!

    Now mummies, on the other hand...
  21. Nov 23, 2011 #20
    This kind of thinking is good for cultural anthropologists, in that it makes it look like they are doing something, but I would have to find the roots of the fascination/fear to be more elemental: fear of anything mindless that destroys by virtue of superior numbers. That comprises everything from invading armies to locusts and termites to bacterial infections.

    The zombie craze as we know it was born with Night of the Living Dead , which took a sharp turn away from the original zombie as a "black" carribean thing. The thing that really pumped the phenomenon full of steroids, though, was Michael Jackson's Thriller video. That video got zombies into the minds of kids who then grew up to control the zombie phenomenon as it is today.


    This is psychologically a very complex video containing mixed messages about sex, sexuality and anger, sexuality and death. Michael is not comfortable with his sexuality. He himself switches back and forth between the role of monster and victim. I can imagine all the present day writers, producers, and directors of zombie movies having all those conflicting things rattling around in their unconscious unresolved, generating more and more zombie movies.
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