Thursday, February 21, 2008

Send in the Zombies

What can I say? I've got zombies on the brain (on the brain - ha!). Maybe it's because I read World War Z a while back. Maybe it's because I just finished How to Survive a Horror Movie not too long ago, or maybe it's because unlike Aliens, monsters, and bunnies, zombies scare the living bejeebies out of me! I don't know exactly why, I mean they're slow, they're semi-easy to kill and you can plan your attack on them right in front of them and they won't react, but still. . .scary.

Anyway today I read an article (from Cracked Magazine) given to me by the one and only Jeff Tromphlin about how a zombie apocalypse could actually happen. And it kind of freaked me out. I would just post the article here, but 1) It's got some more adult-oriented language, 2) It's longer than most of you would have the attention span to read and 3) that takes all the fun out of me writing about it.

So here's basically what they had to say in that article. There are five ACTUAL diseases out there that could (in the distant, unrealistic future) cause a zombie plague that would destroy life as we know it. And they are, as follows:

1. Toxoplasmosa gondii (brain parasites). This is a parasite that lives in rats, but can only breed in the intestines of cats (HUH??). So the parasites will actually control the rat's brain so that it will go where the cats live! How crazy is that. AND, according to another study, many humans already have this parasite. It's only a matter of time before those parasites start leading US toward where the cats live! And have you seen the movie Strays? Cats can be scary (when they're en masse and animatronic and you're a little child trapped in a house).

2. Neurotoxins (in layman's terms: Brain Poison). There are certain kinds of poisons (like in blowfish) that slow your bodily functions to the point that you'll be considered dead, even to a doctor. The quasi-dead people can then be brought back under the effects of 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 stumbling around with their arms outstretched while trying to bite you. Ok, I don't know if that last part is true, but it COULD be.

3. Mad Cow Disease. Don't laugh. It attacks the spinal cord and the BRAIN! And it's not just found in cows. When humans get it, these are the symptoms: Changes in gait (the way they walk), hallucinations, lack of coordination, muscle twitching, myoclonic jerks or seizures and rapidly developing delirium or dementia. What does THAT sound like? A Metallica fan at a Hanna Montana concert (ZING!) OR. . . .a zombie.

4. Neurogenesis (layman's terms - brain band with Phil Collions, Peter Gabriel and others). This deals with stem cells. Well, some of the work scientists are doing with stem cells involves REANIMATING DEAD CELLS. Reanimating the dead is a no-no in most horror films. Neurogenesis is also finding ways to keep a body in suspended animation so it can be brought back to life later. And this technology COULD (possibly, hypothetically, with our fingers crossed over a 4-leaf clover) bring the dead back to life. And the process of "reanimating" a person creates a problem because it causes the brain to die off from the outside in. The outside being the cortex, the nice part of you that makes humans human. That just leaves the part that controls basic motor function and primitive instincts behind. And what are our primal instincts? Eating, sleeping, and wearing ragged clothing.

5. Nanobots. That's right. Killer small iPods. Actually nanobots are microscopic self-replicating robots that can infiltrate your body. And these little evil robots will live on (and be able to control you long after your body is dead). 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 thoughts. That. . .sounds bad.

So there you have it. And these are just five possibilities, we haven't even started talking about radioactive satellites from space, radioactive monkeys, or constant watching of The View! It's just a matter of time, people, so I'd get your zombie survival (and zombie killing) skills sharp as an undead-killing blade.

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