Following up on our recent post, Cornell Tells us How Screwed we Are, the same team has made their simulation, Zombie Town, USA, available for everybody to play with.
Just a day since an outbreak in New York City brings zombies to the U.S.A.
The tool, created by Alexander A. Alemi and Matthew Bierbaum (based on paper they wrote with Christopher R. Myers and James P. Sethna) allows you set a “Kill to Bite Ratio” and the time it would take a zombie to shamble one mile. You can then set a starting point and see a graphical view of how fast the zombie virus might spread.
Currently the tool seems rather simplistic, showing only a regular geographic progression. Variables like highways and other transportation arteries aren’t represented and would likely, we think, speed the infection even more between urban centers. However, taken as a best-case scenario of the worst case scenario the tool is still pretty damn mesmerizing.
As reported by the amazing IFLScience.com in “Mathematicians Work Out Zombie Apocalypse Plan“, graduate students at Cornell have taken to using (they say) fictitious parameters based on zombie outbreaks to model epidemiological forecasts of transmission and control. Not only is the team applying significant scientific rigor to the experiment, they’re also performing their simulations on a huge scale: like the entirety of the United States and all of it’s 300 million people.
Just a day since an outbreak in New York City brings zombies to the U.S.A.
Alex Alemi, a Ph.D. physics student has led the work and his news is mixed but generally, as you might expect, not good. Hollywood, it seems, has the basics but misses, as it often does, in the details. In traditional circumstances, it seems like cities would become overrun quickly along well-established transportation routes. However rural areas could stay infection free for weeks or even months. Truly isolated areas are even more secure and, it turns out, the safest place in the U.S. would appear to be the northern rocky mountains.
Obviously Alemi claims that his work isn’t targetted at actual zombie outbreaks. We choose to believe him, for now. Instead, effort is to test existing and modified modeling techniques to improve their quality.
In “How Fast Would the Walking Dead Zombie Virus” the Nerdist’s Kyle Hill spends some time crunching the numbers to find out exactly how fast a zombie plague might spread. Spoiler: it’s not good news.
On Saturday, Oct 4 the hour-long (8pm EST) Phineas and Ferb Halloween special, “Night of the Living Pharmacists”, will have Doof-zombies. Lots and lots of Doof-zombies. It will also have what looks to be an amazing double cameo from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
That’s pretty freakin’ amazingly cool. Don’t think we spoiled everything tho’, apparently George Romero will also be making a cameo as a reporter. See you this Saturday!
The annual UnDead Fed Food Drive presented by Infect Scranton was a resounding success. Celebrity guests Brighton Sharbino and Michael Koske of AMC’s The Walking Dead provided their time, and not inconsiderable charm, for people who donated cans of food in exchange for autographed photos. Hundreds of cans of food were donated for the Keystone Rescue Mission.
Brighton, of course, played Lizzie Samuels in season four and is responsible for arguably the series’ single most heart wrenching moment. Michael is a regular that you may not recognize, having played over 40 walkers on the show. This includes Callaway, a recurrent walker who you may remember from when he infected poor Otis.
My lovely bride and daughter spent most of their night at the event (friends of ours are volunteers for the event) and has many other pictures at her photography blog in The UnDead Fed Food Drive.
Both celebrities were wonderfully generous with their time and utterly gracious with the many fans. We thank them for a memorable evening!
It always seems to sneak up on us, but Infect Scranton starts tomorrow! There’s going to be tons of zombie fun and zombie lovers. Events include a mad survivors obstacle course, a zombie pub crawl, and visits from some amazing celebrity guests.
We should have pictures and more news throughout the weekend! If you’re in the area, why not come on down and get your zombie on?!
Greg Nicotero, the director – executive producer – writer – makeup effects supervisor – actor (I think he may also be a valet) for “The Walking Dead”, was awarded the George Pal Memorial Award at the 40th Annual Saturn Awards. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, he couldn’t actually attend the ceremony in person. Instead he (and a few friends) put together this fun, and clearly heartfelt, acceptance speech:
Congratulations to Greg for this well-deserved honor!
The amazing IFLScience brings us a amazingly interesting, deeply disturbing story, “The crab-castrating parasite that zombifies its prey“. There’s a barnacle that infiltrates the body of mild-mannered crabs, grows inside them in horrible ways, pops out just long enough to castrate them. It also changes the crab’s behavior drastically forcing it to protect the barnacle’s young and forego eating.
This one area where real-life is vastly more interesting than Hollywood. Where the movies have continually focused on variations of the zombie dead of “Night of the Live Dead” or zombie infected of “28 Days Later” there’s very little digging into the very rich of vein of parasitic infection. Gamers, at least, have last year’s amazing blockbuster “The Last of Us“, but movie goers have yet to get much of that sweet, sweet, parasitic love.
Ars Technica’s Nathan Mattise article “The Walking Dead is now where brains are eaten, not used” examine’s what he considers an unfortunate dumbing down of “The Walking Dead”. He offers up both an intriguing defense of the position and an alternative. As much of a fan of the show and the comic as I am, I have to admit: the man has a good point.
One of the recurring themes you’ll see in my “Random Thoughts on the Walking Dead” posts is a lamentation that the survivors rarely seem to learn from their mistakes. After the events at the farm, why was there no evacuation plan at the prison? Why are we still improvising weapons from materials at hand instead of constructing specialized tools to deal with the situation? Why does everybody still walk around in tank-tops and short-sleeves when even duct-taping a magazine to your forearm could save your life?
Clearly there have been steps forward, but we’re still seeing most of our hero’s victories coming from luck rather than preparation (and most of their defeats coming from a lack of both). In short, why haven’t our survivors adapted better?
Today, April 5th, is International Tabletop Day!
It’s an easy day to observe: just get together with people you like (or people you might like) and play some games. Old-fashioned cardboard and plastic, look-each-other-in-the-eye games. Here are few of our favorite zombie games to get your started:
Zombie Dice: Super simple, super fast game perfect for families. Even grandmas love this one.
Last Night on Earth: Based on classic zombie movies this game of heroes v. zombies is perfect for a dedicated game night.
Zombie Fluxx: Fluxx is a frantic card game of constantly changing rules and the zombie version has… zombies!
Munchkin Zombies: Munchkin is all the best things about role-playing games without all the fuss. The Zombie version includes the same hilariously weird sense of humor but adds rotten flesh.
There are dozens of zombie games out there and hundreds more great games that suffer only from their lack of zombies. Find a few, gather your friends and have some fun!