Zombies: the only pandemic that can really get us
Yesterday, the end of the human race was predicted (for those that credit the existence of zombies, at any rate).
Mathematicians from the University of Ottawa, using models designed to determine the effect of pandemic diseases, have calculated in their study “When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection” that resistance would be futile, and that unless the rise of the undead was dealt with quickly, we would all be “in a great deal of trouble”.
One of the students involved said, “In the short term, it's very hard to wipe out zombies. You might get lucky and have a cricket bat and knock one zombie’s head off, but there are thousands more coming.”
The idea of the zombie is believed to have originated in African voodoo traditions, but it was the case of the family in Haiti who in 1937 claimed that their relative, Felicia Felix-Mentor, had returned despite her death and burial thirty years earlier, that really inspired the subsequent explosion of the idea among horror fans.
But the researchers in Canada have based their zombies not on the principle of unique incidences like Ms Felix-Mentor, but on the slow-moving, biting variety of zombie featured in the film ‘Dawn of the Dead’, which travels around with a sizeable, groaning mob, expanding its numbers with unwitting victims.
Zombie-ism has now effectively been placed in the same category as Swine Flu, whereby the population is divided into those that have it, and those that don’t and are desperately trying to avoid those that do. And the solutions the mathematicians came up with were either “aggressive quarantine” or decapitation - an interesting solution should supplies of Tamiflu run low.
Many will be sceptical about this study, especially given that it was conducted by one professor and three (and here I speculate) extremely geeky students, whose ‘research’ consisted mainly of watching zombie films and playing video games.
But there are, perhaps, signs that we should be concerned. The frequent showings of the ‘Thriller’ video amongst the Michael Jackson tributes of the last few weeks have ensured that zombies have received extensive air time, doubtless raising their confidence. And there are several MPs who, post-expenses revelations, could well be described as ‘dead men walking’.
If the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News had these types of articles, you know, "information we can use", maybe I'd be more inclined to renew my subscriptions. (Yup, if you can get your professors all liquored up, its amazing how much fun they can be......)
If you hope to have a shot at survival, you might want to check out Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.
And lets not forget the modern classic: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.
Now the burning question...why am I thinking about zombies today? I don't know...I guess I'm feeling whimsically eccentric today...but just in case it's something deeper, perhaps even, shall we say, prescient, I think I'll go check and see if I have any fuel for the old flamethrower...it never hurts to be prepared, right?