The unofficial Zombie guide!
Since the incident last week in Miami in which a man decided to eat another man's face, people are running around gleefully saying that this may be the start of the Zombie apocalypse; and the undead will rise and spread through the land, slowly turning us into walking bags of meat, soon to become a human Happy-Meal...Minus the toy.
I have written before about the zombie uprisings and jumping back on this little theme, let's have a look back through all things Zombie related, starting with...
5 Ways the Zombie Apocalypse could happen
At this point I have to stress that the zombie apocalypse is unlikely to be triggered at any point soon. But don't worry, you see it very much could happen at any time. Why? Well...
Brain Parasites - Now outside of the Resident Evil series, brain parasites sound like something that just won't happen. BUT, it does happen and it's more common than you think. Toxoplasmosa Gondii is a type of brain parasite that effects the brain of rats, turning them into mindless drones with only one objective; take over the world.
Okay that last bit I made up, the infected rat has one objective; which is to get itself eaten. Seriously. The parasite thrives in the intestines of the average house cat, so once the brain of the willing rat has been taken over, all it needs to do to get itself into the rat's digestive tract is to be eaten.
However that's just rats and cats that are affected! So why should us humans worry? Well actually, over half the human population is infected with Toxoplasmosa Gondii, and we didn't even know. But it's not like we share similar DNA with rats so let's not worry! Wait, actually we share 98% of the same DNA as the rat, so now we just need to wait for a modified gene to turn us into walking, moaning meat bags, with no fear and no regrets. Let's just thank our lucky stars nobody is experimenting with this as a form of chemical warfare...Or are they?
Neurotoxins - These are toxins which affect a persons mind and bodily functions, slowing them to such an extent that the infected person is often considered dead; even by the best doctors. When they are brought back they are left in a trance-like state, capable of only basic motor functions, such as holding out your arms in front of your body, eating flesh and moaning "Braaaaaains"
These infected people have no idea where they are, or what they are even doing. They're literally as close to the idea of zombies as we can get without starting to decompose.
Now, to put your mind to rest, the neurotoxins that have so far been discovered have not made a person cannibalistic or aggressive, but it's only a matter of time.
But this doesn't happen very often in reality...does it?
Tell that to the sugar plantain workers of Haiti, found in this state, capable only of harvesting the crop and starring in the nightmares of people all over the world.
The Rage Virus - As a Zombie enthusiast I'm sure you are aware of the film 28 days later? Where people were infected with a disease which turned them into mindless killing machines.
Of course, that's just a film, not real life. In real life we have mad-cow disease, which attacks the spinal cord and brain of the cow, and turns the bovine beast into...A mindless killing machine, weighing about half a tonne and seeking revenge for his bovine brothers. But of course that simply affects cows, hence the 'mad-cow' in it's name.
But for humans we have Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease, the symptoms of which perfectly describe zombies. Dementia and delirium, lack of coordination, changes in walking. But not aggressive. No, to become aggressive the disease would have to block the serotonin receptors in the brain, which they tested on rats (Remember that we shared 98% of the same DNA as rats?), with the Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease and blocked serotonin receptors they became extremely violent and dangerous, turning on each other in a bloodbath.
But I'm fairly certain this sort of human-affecting disease won't get into a food supply any time soon...Right? Guys?
Neurogenesis - I'm fairly certain that, unless you have lived your entire life under a rock in the Sahara Desert, everyone on this list will have heard of Stem-Cells. They can be quite useful when somebody needs an organ transplant, because we can just grow a new one. Neurogenesis works in a similar way, in that we can regrow brain tissue.
When you die, so does your brain, and once your brain has gone then there is no coming back, at all. BUT, if we put a living brain, or even living brain tissue into a dead body, there we go. Zombies.
But there is a slight problem. Once the brain has been reanimated, it will start to die from the outside inwards, eventually reaching the cortex. After some time the dead brain does not have any humanistic qualities left, only basic motor functions, such as the ability to moan and the desire for human flesh.
Nanobots - I've written before about these little bastards. They're a threat in their own right, now. Billions of self-replicating, microscopic robots with the ability to destroy or attach to anything. Even a common virus.
Yes, that's right...A virus. But who'd be as stupid as to fuse those two together? Us. That's who. When the virus died the nanobots just kept on going for nearly a month. That fulfills the un-dead part of this horror.
Now reports indicate that within a decade these little blighters could be used to go into your brain and rewire things. But it just takes one mistake for these to go from being used for good to attacking the brain, or even worse, turning the host into a mindless killing machine so they can do the one thing they are designed to do. Survive and replicate.
If they, say...gave their host a sudden desire for human flesh then, well actually you can imagine. They'd bite others and transfer over to that host. And even when the host died, they would carry on, ensuring they got every single one of us.
Should we worry?
Okay. Let's imagine for a moment that zombies have become a reality this very second on this rainy Sunday afternoon. Naturally we'd all be too busy running around squealing and soiling ourselves to do much about anything, but we shouldn't worry. And here's why.
We're just too damn good at killing things.
At this very point in time, us humans are at the very top of the food chain. Not because we're particularly hard to kill, but because we're simply too damn good at killing things ourselves. From the Semi-Automatic machine gun to a simple baton, we've developed an array of tools to be used against hordes of the un-dead. The zombies are only able to use their bodies as weapons. Let's face it, a zombie bite vs a tank, there can be only one winner.
Zombies are made of dead flesh. They are the un-dead, so once they've been hurt or damaged they don't regenerate their flesh, or heal their wounds. We humans however do. And this isn't just in relation to a lion bite. Little knocks and stubbed toes too. Can you imagine if humans never ever healed themselves? It'd be hell, and we wouldn't last more than 3 seconds in the outside world.
We're fast and agile.
As humans we have brilliant coordination. We know, without even trying, where all of our limbs are in relation to our body. Due to this we can run as quickly as we'd like, and climbing becomes a breeze. We can easily out manoeuvre a bulking lion, or a hippo, let alone a fragile zombie. (Also, it's important to note that our limbs require oxygen pumped around our body in our bloodstream. As zombies are dead they are unable to pump oxygen around their body, and their muscles will not achieve their full potential, unlike ours.)
This goes hand in hand with the "We're very good at killing" part. We are extraordinarily smart. We know what consequences our actions will have, and what to do with the things we have around us. We know that we shouldn't run to close to the edge of a cliff because we may fall in, and cliff falls hurt like a bitch.
We also know that sleeping in the open isn't a smart idea if we want to stay in one piece. Zombies don't know how close to the cliff edge to stay, because he doesn't have the foresight to see that it might be a bad idea.
Zombies are defenseless.
We humans have a vast array of weapons to keep us safe and armed should such an event happen. What do zombies have? Nothing. So say a stray dog sees a zombie, it doesn't see a human it sees a happy-meal, minus the toy. With nothing to defend themselves for all of our natural predators, it's not just humans armed to the teeth that zombies have to worry about.
Humans recognize patterns and have 'common-sense'
Humans have a brilliant system hardwired into our brains that is usually referred to as 'common sense'. We know that rather than jumping off of the cliff, we should find a safer route, and we know not to poke a lion with a stick, because that'd just be asking for trouble. Zombies don't have this. And it isn't just major things we have covered with common sense. Little things too, such as the ability to open doors, or climb trees, or find shelter from the freezing cold nights. Every little mechanism that humans have pre-built in to our bodies in order to survive zombies simply do not have. It's nothing short of a waiting game in reality.
The do's and don'ts survival guide
Okay, so it's happened. All of your friends from work are mindless husks of their former selves looking for dinner, and YOU are on the menu. You're going to have to start a new life now. Here are the do's and don'ts that you should adhere to in order to survive.
DO - Find a weapon. Anything from a cricket bat to a gun will do, but the further away you can keep from the zombie to inflict the damage the better. Pen knives might do the trick, but when you have to be right next to the zombie to kill it, you're putting yourself at risk.
DO - Hide in a well ventilated but rather inaccessible place. Zombies are not smart, nor creative. Hiding somewhere hard for them to find and get into, such as an attic or a roof-top can only increase your chances. Just make sure you have enough room for you, your resources and your friends/family should they come along!
DO - Keep pets. Namely, keep dogs. Dogs aren't subject to the same diseases as humans, and they may be able to help sniff out food. Plus a dog may find the prospect of a zombie very appetizing. Keep an eye on them however, and make note of any strange behaviour in animals as it could be a sign.
DO - Cripple the legs. A zombie without legs isn't getting very far very fast!
DO - Have a vehicle. A vehicle will help you get around much faster, and transport goods much easier, besides...A 10 stone zombie vs a 2 tonne car is no match.
DO - Find others. There is safety in numbers, and people can have shifts in being a lookout. Keep an eye on newcomers however, and be aware of how many there is in your group coupled with the resources you have!
DO - Keep stock of food, and ration it accordingly. You're going to need it. If food and water isn't accessible anywhere nearby, move.
DO - Have a phone and radio. You never know when a broadcast might be made, and you never know when you might need to get in touch with the outside world.
DON'T - Panic. You make bad decisions when you panic.
DON'T - Visit gun shops. Some people are going to be selfish, and will kill other humans to ensure their own survival. If you visit a gun shop someone less willing to share may have located themselves there already...
DON'T - Desert your friends. If you help them, they will return the favour!
DON'T - Let yourself become backed into a corner. Always have a way out.
DON'T - Forget the little things. Everything might have some use in the wasteland.
DON'T - Leave it to chance. Take the extra time to ensure everything is fail proof. It could mean your life.
DON'T - Stay out in the open. This is fairly obvious.
DON'T - Wear baggy clothing. You may find it gets snagged on something, and slows you down.
But most of all, DON'T leave yourself open to attack. Keep your guard up at all times, wherever you go, and good luck. You might need it.