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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Science behind Zombies: Can "Zombies" roam the earth, no seriously?

Do you ever wonder about all the different ways of dying? You know, violently? And wonder, like, what would be the most horrible way to die?

Zombies are the new Dracula for the 20th century. If you add Zombies to almost any medium it seems to either make a shit load of money and in most cases make it more enjoyable. Today, we're going to take a look to see if Zombies can be part of a dysfunctional society and why in theory they cannot, if it sounds stupid as shit; it is.

Zombies where first made famous by George Romer's Night of the Living Dead back in 1965, which rolled into theaters shocking movies goers around the world. But have you ever ask yourself Can Zombies become a reality?

Resident Evil premise is not too far off with the infamous T-Virus. With rogue governments out there, that has nothing but money and time on their hands, they could in deed produce some sort of crazy ass retro-virus. But, instead of rogue governments let's take a look at nature first.

Zombie threat #1

First off, is the lancet fluke Dicrocoelium dendriticum, for example, it forces it's ant host to clamp itself to the tip of grass blades, where a grazing mammal might eat it. It's in the fluke's interest to be eaten, because only by getting into the gut of a sheep or some other grazer can it complete its life cycle. So in essence, we have a parasite that drives an ant to commit suicide.

Can this result in Zombies:
This may not qualify as a potential Zombie maker but, it shows they are natural biological life forms that has the ability to drive some in nature to a path of certain death.

Zombie Threat Level: absurdly low 

There's really not much to get all work up here! Now if you had the luck of gracing the earth as an ant or this is your second life time "as an ant" I've have to say you are "Shit outta Luck"

Zombie threat number # 2
Then there is Toxoplasma gondii, this single-celled parasite lives in the guts of cats, sheddding eggs that can be picked up by rats and other animals that can so happen be eaten by cats.

Toxoplasma forms cysts throughout its intermediate host's body, including the brain. Scientist at Oxford University did experiments with rats infected by Toxoplasma gondii parasite, and found out that they are perfectly healthy, with one minor change.  The parasites made a slight changed  "to their brains pattern".

Oxford scientist, discovered that rats infected with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite were more likely to be less anxious and extremly brave around cats. Making their death all but certain.  The scientists speculated that Toxoplasma was secreting some substance that was altering the patterns of brain activity in the rats. This manipulation likely evolved through natural selection, since parasites that were more likely to end up in cats would leave more offpsring.

The Oxford scientists knew that humans can be hosts to Toxoplasma, too. People can become infected by its eggs by handling soil or kitty litter. For most people, the infection causes no harm. Only if a person's immune system is weak does Toxoplasma grow uncontrollably. That's why pregnant women are advised not to handle kitty litter, and why toxoplasmosis is a serious risk for people with AIDS. Otherwise, the parasite lives quietly in people's bodies (and brains). It's estimated that about half of all people on Earth are infected with Toxoplasma.

Some scientist believe that Toxoplasma changes the personality of its human hosts, bringing different shifts to men and women. Parasitologist Jaroslav Flegr of Charles University in Prague administered psychological questionnaires to people infected with Toxoplasma and controls. Those infected, he found, show a small, but statistically significant, tendency to be more self-reproaching and insecure. Paradoxically, infected women, on average, tend to be more outgoing and warmhearted than controls, while infected men tend to be more jealous and suspicious.

E. Fuller Torrey of the Stanley Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Torrey and his colleagues had noticed some intriguing links between Toxoplasma and schizophrenia. Infection with the parasite has been associated with damage to a certain class of neurons (astrocytes). So has schizophrenia. Pregnant women with high levels of Toxoplasma antibodies in their blood were more likely to give birth to children who would later develop schizophrenia. Torrey lays out more links in this 2003 paper.

Can this result in Zombies:
Now, schizophrenia can be a very scary and violent condition.  What if Toxoplasma evolves to turn  half the worlds population into a bunch of mindless, violent schizophrenia induced humans with a slight taste for brains? Are Zombies a schizophrenia patient perfected?

Zombie Threat Level: Higher than normal
This one has me thinking "cats" are not my best friend, officially.  I do know a few people with cats so they are now off my Facebook friends list and on the quarantine list.  It will probably take a few thousand years for a crazed evolution of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, so I know right now we are cool.  All I have to do is past down playable copies of L4D 1&2 to future generations.  

Zombie Threat #3
The Haitians coin the term "Zombie". There are certain kinds of poisons that slow your bodily functions to the point that you'll be considered dead, even to a doctor. The poison from fugu (Japanese blowfish) can do this; to great effect.

Victims under this state of consciousnesses can then be brought back under the effects of a drug like datura stramonium (or other chemicals called alkaloids) that leave them in a trance-like state with no memory, but still able to perform simple tasks like eating, sleeping, moaning and shambling around with their arms outstretched. 

This shit is as real as it gets, there are books about it, the most famous ones by Dr. Wade Davis (Passage of Darkness and The Serpent and the Rainbow). Some of the stuff in the Serpent and the Rainbow was base on true events.

What is no bullshit is the true story of Clairvius Narcisse. He was a Haitian guy who was declared dead by two doctors and buried in 1962. They found him wandering around the village 18 years later. It turned out the local voodoo priests had been using naturally occurring chemicals to basically zombify people and putting them to work on the sugar plantations.

Can this result in Zombies:
Yes it can, the shit has happen already.  I'm not too sure about the chances of cannibalistic violent outbreak occurring But as I write this, you better bet your soul there some shit going on at some Haitian plantation.

Zombie Threat #4:
Neurogenesis (birth of neurons) is the process by which neurons are generated. Most active during pre-natal development, neurogenesis is responsible for populating the growing brain.  In other words the process of growing brains.  The preferred food of any good Zombie.

Well, people Science fiction is closer to home than you may ever imagine. They're already able to re-grow the brains of comatose head trauma patients until they wake up and walk around again.

Couple that with the new ability to keep a dead body in a state of suspended animation so that it can be brought back to life later.  Doctors are able to save heart attack patients by cooling the body, this can reduce the brain's demand for oxygen and this may protect it after a cardiac arrest. And shit if there is any brain damage they can just re-grow it.

Can this result in Zombies:
Hell yes! This shit can result into Zombies, I believe Ted Williams will be our first celebrity Zombie. Besides that, DARPA and many other governments has a new found fascination with the resurrection of the dead or re-animation. America is not the only government that's throwing millions of tax dollars to either bring you back from the dead or make death just be a server case a H1N1.  What if some craze dictator from a rogue government says "fuck it" and unleash a wave of blood thirsty crazed ass celebrity zombies.

Zombie Threat Level: Extremely Inevitable
This is were "If I where you" go rent a copy or purchase a copy of L4D 1&2 and any of the Resident Evil series and start playing. Most importantly take notes, take plenty of notes. You will need them in a few years.

Zombie Threat #5
Nanotechnology, shortened to "nanotech", is the study of the controlling of matter on an atomic and molecular scale.  And without "nanotech" there will be no "nanobots". Nanorobotics or nanobots for short is the technology of creating machines or robots at or close to the microscopic scale of a nanometer (10−9 meters).  Scientist are devising ways to utilize nanobots to help fight cancer to creating a nano-cyborg, by fusing a tiny silicone chip to a virus. The first thing they found out is these cyborgs can still operate for up to a month after the death of the host.

Can this result in Zombies:
Of course, according to studies, within a decade they'll have nanobots that can crawl inside your brain and set up neural connections to replace damaged ones. That's right; the nanobots will be able to rewire your fucking thoughts. What could possibly go wrong there? Let's fast foward thirty years, where, if by chance you get ran over by a car and suffer severe brain damage.  Shit no problem, first they will drop your body temperature to minimize brain damage, then the damage portion of the brain will be re-grown with nanobots inserted into your head(for the rest of your life) to monitor and stabilize your body. Now seriously, what can go wrong in thirty years? we will be able to prolong our life with machines and science, but our taste(not a taste of fashion) and mental well being will only evolve.

Zombie Threat Level: Be Fucking Scared
Shit yeah, be scared, this is where the years of playing video games come in handy. This is where when everyone laughed at my "Zombie survival kit" no one is laughing anymore. First, I highly recommend Left4Dead series for the Xbox 360 plug it in and brush up on your skills. L4D teaches you how to handle light to heavy assault weapons right off the bat. L4D also educates you on which, household items beside your standard chainsaw, axe, or baseball bat , lying around the house you can be use to survive a zombie apocalypse.
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Anonymous said...

1 word: woah.

Anonymous said...

dude left 4 dead can not help u with a zombie invasion it is far from fact of a real 1 i personally believe they will happen 1 day but u gotta brush up on ur zombieology or watever it is that game only teaches teamwork and even then its still not a good survival lesson jst look me up on fb and i can give u the lowdown Ethan Soapy on fb

Unknown said...

There are already BIO Weapons capable of making people into mindless and violent zombies, but you never adressed why zombies eat living flesh

Unknown said...

welll... i need to say that i dont believe in this however biotech can also disintegrate living form(any even bacterias)the only problem is...why humanity is so stupid if they know that this will od that?

K. Joseph said...

@Ethan Soapy....I will sure hit you up on FB...when the outbreak begins....

@Hughesadrian94...You make a very good point..I will have to do some research...

@Tommaso....The chances of an actual zombie outbreak is very slim...but if it does happen......use my blog as a survial

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

this is really scary is it acually going 2 happen if so when i want an answer now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

who ever made this artical thing get rid of it its scary im only 12 its stupid get rid of it or ill tell the people who made this site!!!!!

Anonymous said...

lol hahahahahahaha i dont wanna egt eaten i wanna be a test patinet fuk i aint gonna survive just to be eaten id rather be shot

Jessica said...

This is fantastic! Anyone read about the recent case in France. Eleven people jumped out of a window because they thought one guy was "The Devil". His wife even stabbed him a couple times. If something wasn't fishy, wouldn't one of those eleven people be logical about the situation? A baby even died in the jump...and there's no follow up story, no names, no details...

Anonymous said...

i lilke black zombie penis <3333333333333

Anonymous said...

I mean aside from the annoying typos in the beginning this was pretty good to read. I like to think all those hours I've spent being stoned and playing L4D and L4D2 will come in handy some day.

Anonymous said...

This is some crazy shit. Still, very believeably though!

Otaku said...

So generally, zombies are like, ppl who've gone mental/got drugged/gotten some disease/get controlled by some nano crap, right? Zombies aren't so scary anymore. LOL.

I'm guessing that even if there is a zombie epidemic thingo, we will all still survive, I mean, we have guns and stuff and bombs so we shouldn't fear zombies, instead, we should fear WW3! It is gonna happen sooner or later... And we will all die in like 3 seconds when all the countries release their nucleur bombs X_X

So zombies ain't so scary. War is.

So that 12 year old kid who said they would report this, know that I am 12 too and I'm a heck of a lot more logical than you ^^ Zombies won't kill us, other stuff will >>

Anonymous said...

im 14 for christ sake and this is sweet i actually cant wiat for the apokalips (i've probably spelt that wrong but o well) quite frankly i think it will be brilliant but im twisted (really twisted) so thats possibly why

Anonymous said...

hahaha this shiz crazy i always toad meh friends z apocalypse comin in 22 years lol i dont wanna be eaten D: rofl XD

Anonymous said...

lol this is awesome just to read

Anonymous said...

holy crap you suck noob

Anonymous said...

cough cough

Most of this is in the above Cracked article, only not written like a third grader who just discovered curse words. I'm curious, how often do you copy other peoples' hard work? By the way, the 20th century ended 11 years ago lol. Learn how to blog, writing noob.

Anonymous said...

First off, Night of the Living Dead was released in 1968. It never even uses the word Zombie.
Second off, it was not the first film to popularize zombies... White Zombie, which indeed refers to them as zombies, was released in 1932.
Third off, Steambrook's book The Magic Island, was the first thing about zombies, it was released in 1928.

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