Written by Albino on October 31, 2012
Once the impending apocalypse actually occurs, your complaints about that nasty canned meat will all but disappear. As a matter of fact, finding the gelatinous glob of deliciousness will be a rare delicacy and one that will keep you alive. Not only is it actual meat which will provide you with much needed proteins, it is also canned, which means long storage life and a nice blunt object if the situation calls for it.
Contained within this article are the top five canned meats you should not be without at any time. These preservative packed proteins inundated with salts are one of the best things you can have, barring a can opener of course.
Not So Fowl After AllComing in at number five is the delicious and yet so horribly gross looking canned turkey. Let's just dispel any confusion right now. I am talking about a turkey in a can.
It comes in a larger size can, packaged very nicely in KY Jelly. Now you can still have the delicious Thanksgiving dinners like before this whole mess happened. Simply scrape off the gooey stuff and save for later. Then place the turkey over your fire. Also, make sure you use the wishbone to try to get yourself to a better shelter than the hut you made out of a porta-potty and plywood.
The Other White Meat
Number four is one that brings back many memories from our past lives. Spam was scoffed at before but now is a rarity that brightens the day just as much as finding an unopened can of Coke. Although the saltiness of Spam is enough to make a sailor cringe, the taste sure provides a change from the onion and crouton soup you've had the past four nights.
Tastes Like Chicken
Make sure you have a steady supply of number three here. Alligator meat gives you the much needed sustenance. It also gives you, whether figuratively or literally, what the Indians called 'The Spirit of the Beast'. Feel the power and primal instinct course through your body as you consume one of the most fearsome predators of our old lives. If you don't believe that you'll have those feelings, then just eat the dang stuff and shut up.
Ham It Up
Ham is the breakfast of champions. It conjures up memories of the old life better than the other meats already discussed. This makes it even more powerful as it boosts your confidence in your impossible circumstances. It will give you the full stomach you are looking for and if you have some crackers handy, you can make yourself a lunchable and then cry yourself to sleep because your life is terrible.
One Meat to Rule Them All
Last, but oh so not least, is the king of all meats, Bacon. Canned bacon is the difference between you going crazy and actually having a will to survive. This delicious meat candy will give you the needed strength to keep trying. Although it is a very rare find, you'll notice that your will to live increases about 97 percent after you take the first bite. Bacon is the great equalizer in the new life we live; it shows us why life is good, and that euphoric feeling far outweighs the endless foes that have quietly surrounded your shack while you stuffed your face.
Say that you get caught without a can opener. What do you do at that point? Once you have let loose with your favorite string of colorful language, you should get working on opening the can. If you have a knife handy then you could use that to try to get into the can. This does come with its own set of risks such as accidentally cutting yourself. The last thing you want is to be hungry with a half opened can and a gaping wound attracting all sorts of undead.
The best thing to do if you do forget your can opener is a little known trick which requires a flat surface of cement. Once you find your cement (try to find some relatively clean surface), flip the can upside down so it is standing on its top. A can’s top has a seam that is just rolled over the edge. A can opener cuts through this seam and allows you to get into the contents. Take the can that is upside down and begin to rub it back and forth on the cement. Do this with some pressure so that the friction will begin to wear down the rolled over seam. After about 30 seconds you will begin to see perforations along the top of the can which can then be easily broken with your knife. You now have access to the contents.
Other options would be rocks or that hatchet you found. Bear in mind that using anything other than a can opener will likely end with half of the contents of the can spilled on the ground, or you hunched over your newly acquired gash. Moral of the story; if you have canned meat (and you should) just don’t forget the can opener.
Be sure to keep your can opener close and your canned meats closer. They'll give you the much needed nourishment your body requires while also giving you some more will to survive. If you find that canned meats are too much of a hassle or you don't like the taste, then keep eating the left over scraps and garbage you find while in hot pursuit from the undead.
Written by Darrin on October 30, 2012
During the oncoming zombie apocalypse your vocabulary will grow and change. You will learn new words and phrases that you hoped to never have to know. Some of these you should not be using. So I’ve compiled a list of words and phrases that you shouldn’t be using during the impending zombocalypse.
Someone actually beat me to this one, and built an online Zombie Killing game around it. Play the game as much as you can stand but know this, if I hear you use the word “Zombocalypse” while sheltered in the same building as me I will dispatch you like one of the horde.
If for no other reason than the fact that I don’t want you tempting fate while you are near me, you should never use the term “impenetrable” when describing the sanctuary you’ve taken during the zombie apocalypse. Zombies are endlessly persistent and will work tirelessly to gain entry into any fortress that you have chosen. So please don’t let your bad karma get you and your crew dead. Keep your confidences about hour hideout to yourself.
#3 What’s the worst that could happen?
For the same reason that you don’t describe your stronghold as impenetrable you shouldn’t ever be tempted to ask yourself or your company, “What’s the worst that could happen?” I don’t care how rhetorical you are being just keep your stupid to yourself and don’t ask. I’ll answer right now, a zombie apocalypse, that’s the worst that could happen.
#4 How could this get any worse?
More zombies, that’s how. What possesses to ask so many rhetorical questions anyway? If you don’t want an answer don’t ask the question. I guarantee you as soon as you ask this question it will start raining, or your drawbridge will catch fire, or the zombies waiting outside your door will grow a second head and start spitting acid. This can get worse, and in all likelihood it will continue to get worse for a long time until things start to get better.
If you haven’t noticed, we’re developing a pattern with these words. This pattern deals with words you use with a surety like “safe” and “impenetrable.” The problem is when the zombie apocalypse arrives there is no such thing as safety. You might find one hiding spot that is safer than another but nothing is sure. The zombies will continue to pursue you until they are all destroyed.
Unless you’re a pirate, and I know you’re not because I didn’t see you at the meeting last Thursday, I don’t want to hear the word “swag.” Just for the fact that you saying it makes me want to kill you because you’re not using it like you should. I will force feed you the dictionary and then you still will not be allowed to say swag.
This one has a caveat, if “maneuver” is immediately proceeded by the surname Heimlich I’ll let you get away with using it. Otherwise you are using it as if the zombies are organized and moving in thought out patterns so as to overtake you and your survival group. For example, “Look they’re performing a flanking maneuver.” No, they’re not. They are not organized. They do not plan ahead. They run on instinct alone and are simply trying to move closer to your delicious smelling brain.
First of all, if you know where this word came from I will throw you out of the chippermonkey story of our fort and let the zombies eat you, because I don’t want to risk you busting out and trying to entertain the group by recounting your favorite moments from the origin of this word. I don’t care if you can make head shots at 500 yards with a blowgun, it’s just not worth hearing you speak.
#9 Yo momma…
She’s dead, have some respect. “Yo momma” jokes are the lowest form of humor. You could make a pun about a pun about a pun, that’s a pun cubed and “yo momma” jokes are still many orders of magnitude more mind numbingly awful. If I even find out that you have a newspaper with the seven letters that make up these two horrible words all on the same line I will personally eat your brain. You don’t have to worry about zombies. I know how soft that grey-matter is and it seems like a good time for pudding.
You will not sing honky-tonk songs, hide in honky-tonk bars, play honky-tonk piano, or write honky-tonk lyrics. Any of those actions will get you and every human in the same state killed. Zombies will line dance through your walls and your face will melt onto the floor. And the worst part for you is, I won’t save you and neither will anyone else because we all hate you and your poor choice of music, hiding place, performance, and poetry. You’re making it worse for everyone and everyone wants you dead. Luckily we’re all armed and can oblige in removing you from our presence.
Written by Darrin on October 22, 2012
Let me start with a quick COA: We at Zombie Watchdog do not support or oppose any religion or belief as correct, creepy, good, bad, smelly, funny, boring, or any other modifier you can throw out there. We’ll try not to single anyone out so we don’t have any hurt feelings but bad things happen. As such the information provided here is presented for entertainment purposes, even with the copious amount of research we do put into it, and should be taken with a grain of salt.
That being said, the zombie most likely to eat your face off and then giggle to itself afterward is the possessed zombie.
Behind every possessed zombie is an impotent man with hostile feelings towards some group of people. This person has decided that the only solution to their life problems is to create a zombie to go to the mat for them. They find some manner of turning their subject and sic them on their enemies. Not something that nice people should be doing.
I think I’ll start with some of the various ways that a person is turned into a possessed zombie and then look into what can be done about it. As always possession type zombies often overlap with other types, diseased and drugged are the most common with undead being the most difficult to produce and therefore the rarest.
Your basic possessed zombie is just a person that has been severely and thoroughly brainwashed. This could take the form of being, “possessed by the devil or evil spirits.” Usually this ruse is perpetrated by some ill-minded person pretending to be a “man of god.” They will convince a week-minded or easily fooled person that they are possessed and that common things are very uncommon and even evil. Eventually the brainwashed person will be so deep under the control of the possessor that they will do any bidding the possessor will them to. In this case that bidding is almost always a scam the swindle honest people out of their money. That scam takes many forms but the basic idea is that people believe the possessor can save them from the zombie or that he can heal the zombie, if only they would all pitch in some money for help.
Other common labor that a brainwashed zombie might find itself put in is that of being a bodyguard. Possessors will often surround themselves with several zombies to protect them from the groups they are harming.
Another way that a person can be brainwashed into becoming a zombie is through some sort of religious salvation. What happens in these cases is a perceived holy man will cause some ailment to come upon his chosen victim. One version of this that has become common in movies and TV shows lately is Tetrodotoxin poisoning. When poisoned with Tetrodotoxin the victim falls into a death-like state. When the toxin wears off the possessor will convince the victim that they saved them from death or that they are still dead and must answer to him. Drowning in perflourocarbon is another way that is becoming more popular since it began appearing in popular books and media.
A form of possessed zombie that is in reality much more uncommon but that appears more often in popular media is possession by magic. In these cases a magician will cast a spell or perform some rite that causes the zombie to come under their power and do their bidding. These are very rare in truth because the actual power to overcome someone with magic is extremely rare and those that do possess it don’t use it to be jerks.
When you meet a possessed zombie know this, they are still humans and are just performing tasks for another person. It’s not likely that you’ll be able to save them yourself. Causing a lot of pain, physical or emotional is the most likely way that you’ll be able to wake the zombie from their trance. But unless the possessor has a relatively week hold on the zombie to begin with you are more likely to kill the somnambulist before you wake them up.
Your best bet is to find the possessor and stop him. Don’t kill him unless absolutely necessary because that will usually leave the zombies in the state that they are or kill them as well. Find the possessor and turn him over to the authorities. Over time the hold he has on his faction will lessen and they will wake, or the authorities will be able to “convince” him to release his hold. In that way you’ll save the most lives and still stop the zombie horde.
In the end remember this about possessed zombies; they are still humans so don’t kill them if you don’t have to. If you have to I’ll forgive you, but don’t be a jerk save who you can.
Written by Darrin on October 10, 2012
So, you’ve been out all day working hard to claw your way back to the top of the food chain. Good work, we all appreciate your diligent zombie-bashing. But at some point, you just have to come home and get some sleep, perhaps take in a taco, or spend some time with the family.
Problem is you’re filthy, and your family doesn’t want to be near you, your dog is blaming you for the smell, and the bed sheets shriveled up and rolled off the bed when you tried to lie down. You’re going to have to do some cleaning before the time for rest and relaxation can be achieved.
This one is pretty simple ladies and gentlemen. Take a shower. Now you’re going to want to be careful when you’re washing the zombie guts out of your hair that it doesn’t run in your eyes or mouth. Maybe you should slap a piece of duct tape over that gaping wound in your shoulder where your buddy caught you on the backswing, just so it doesn’t get crap in it. The most important thing here is to find some nice anti-bacterial soap and use plenty of it. And please, when you get out, put on some deodorant we’d all appreciate it.
Clean Your Vehicle:
I know you worked hard to get that Humvee you found on the interstate to run again, so let’s keep it looking nice. Of course we’re not going to worry about a custom detailing job here, but you should get the larger chunks out of the grill so as to not attract wildlife or other undead. They can smell it and we don’t need zombie-raccoons chewing through your storm doors in the middle of the night. Grab a hose and spray your vehicle down as often as needful. Get in there and scrub off as much leftover zombie as you can just be sure to wear rubber gloves.
Clean Your Home:
Keeping your home clean and livable is important for two reasons. 1, it helps keep you healthy; 2, it helps keep you happy. A house that you can navigate without tripping over your munitions pile is a safe one. A house that allows for enough room to move about helps keep moral up. Do your part in your group and at least pick up after yourself. Wipe your feet when you come in, you don’t need to be tracking brain matter on the rug. Just think what your mother would say.
Clean Your Weapons:
Especially in the case of firearms, keeping your weapon clean is an important measure in ensuring that the same weapon will keep you safe when the zombies are at the front door enquiring about the freshness of your brains. After a day of hunting wipe down your melee weapons and thoroughly clean and lubricate your guns. Be sure to wear gloves and protective eyewear when doing so; you don’t want a dried zombie-booger flicking into your eye and messing up your otherwise enjoyable day.
While I don’t always agree with the sentiment, “if you have time to lean you have time to clean,” your survival group and I would appreciate your efforts to keep yourself and your environment clean. If only so your musk doesn’t attract the undead fauna.
Written by Darrin on August 03, 2012
Types of Zombies
Fungal infections are generally ignored when considering a disease that can create a zombie. The problem with that mentality is that the only current cases of zombie-like infections have been caused by fungi. The Ophiocordyceps fungus is found in ants. It injects spores into the brain of the ant and causes it to infect other ants and eventually move into a favorable location for the fungus to grow and spread further.
The Ergot fungus also bears mentioning. Not because it causes people to become zombies but because of the insanity it can cause. For instance recent historical study has suggested Ergot poisoning as a possible reason behind the Salem Witch Trials. A simple wheat harvest that got wet and grew some mold may well have caused the raging paranoia that destroyed a community and turned them against each other causing accusations of witchcraft and devil worship.
The greatest difference between diseased zombies and those of other types is how they propagate. Undead spread from bad karma, the possessed spread from witchcraft but diseased zombies spread like, well, like a disease. In today’s world of global travel and constant interpersonal interaction the spread of disease can be disturbingly fast.
Diseased zombies survive for only one purpose, to spread the disease that made them zombies. Like the Ophiocordyceps fungus that causes ants to find and infect others the different infections that cause zombies by disease drive them to find the living and put themselves into close contact with them in order to spread the disease. Many times the urge to spread the disease looks like the need to feed and in rare cases, usually when groups of zombies are involved, the urge to spread the disease will cause zombies to ingest portions of their victims or to dismember them to the point that they cannot recover and become zombies themselves.
But why do zombies bite their victims? A bite is the most efficient form of infection that a zombie has in their arsenal. Scratching, spitting, vomiting, sneezing, coughing; all these work to spread a disease but none are more effective to spread disease than a bite. Perhaps is a zombie could persuade its victims to have sex with it we could consider one more option for the spread of disease, but let’s hope that never ever happens.
The idea of a cure has been thrown around from time to time but the prospect of a success is basically negligible. The reasons are twofold, first because researchers don't take a zombie outbreak for the threat it is. Second, because a zombie-disease outbreak can come in so many different forms it is likely that when an outbreak does happen it will take too long to find the cause for the time needed to find a cure to even matter. Then even if you do find a cure for the disease what do you have? Probably just a dead body, which isn't the point of a cure, that's the same way that a bullet cures a horse’s broken leg. Another massive problem facing finding a cure is the likelihood that the cure that the researchers find ends up being a worse threat to humanity than the original disease.
Because of the commonality of disease there is nowhere on earth that you can find people that you cannot find diseased zombies. You'll find diseased zombies chasing the living across desserts and tundra, walking the bottom of lakes and oceans, and swarming cities. That being said there are very few places you can be safe, as such, when the zombie apocalypse arrives you should be wary no matter where you are.
If you ever have the opportunity to meet a diseased zombie in life, my prayers are with you. In most cases diseased zombies are the most dangerous type, the only exception being a possessed zombie focused on you. For that reason battling diseased zombies should be done with the utmost caution and planning. Like undead zombies, diseased zombies will eventually succumb to rot and decay. In some cases the disease itself can be detrimental to the being that it has attached itself to. Fungi often cause a host's death before it would naturally die had it been infected by a virus or bacteria. Bacteria are another problematic disease, due to the rate of replication, eventually there will be no more nourishment to be gained from the host and the bacteria will die.
A diseased zombie can be destroyed in much the same way that an undead zombie can; if they are dismembered to the point that they can no longer pursue new victims. After the initial dismemberment of the zombie one must still take care to dispose of the body. Cremation is preferred but dowsing in alcohol or a caustic cleaner does well to destroy the infection to the point that it won't spread further. When disposing of the corpse take hazmat like care, lest you continue the cycle yourself.
Written by Darrin on August 01, 2012
Types of Zombies
“If there's ever been a danger in the world to be proclaimed the greatest it would be the man rendered living once his breath has ceased and his flesh falls cold.” – David Browne
Zombies by disease have become the most popular in movies, literature, and pop culture since the mid 1990's. Think of any zombie movie you've seen of late and you are very likely to see running, moaning, spitting, semi-intelligent zombies. Diseased zombies make for high-grossing, action packed, dramatic films.
Patient Zero: This is the term used for the index case of a disease. That is to say, patient zero is the first person to catch the disease. In zombie terms patient zero is important to note because they are the one who goes on to cause an outbreak. While patient zero is important to know because knowing who it was and how they were infected is your best bet for learning how to stop or cure a zombie grade infection.
There are many, many forms that a zombie by disease can occur. Any way someone can catch an infection can be the start of a diseased zombie outbreak. It could start with something as innocuous as a cut while shaving or scraping and elbow on a tree branch. More often though an infection will come by more violent means, like an attack from a rabid rat-monkey, or a bite from another diseased zombie.
Now I'll take a moment to speak of the different ways that an infection by disease happens. Again this is another case where a commonplace bacterium could bring about the end of the world. So I'll just take a moment to touch on a couple of the most commonly spoken about diseases.
The T-Virus also known as the Tyrant Virus became famous because of the Resident Evil games and movies. While the T-Virus may be fictional for the time being that is why Zombie Watchdog was created. Originally the T-Virus was cultivated for use as a Bio Organic Weapon. So many times in history has a weapon been created that was to be the end-all be-all and after only a short time it turns out to be more destructive than its creators could control.
The Solanum virus was first describes in the Zombie Survival Guide as a virus on unknown origin that kills its victims relatively quickly and brings them back to life after a short time with a hunger for the flesh of their living counterparts. Solanum differs from the Tyrant Virus in that it has not been much cultivated to be used as a weapon and when it has been kept for study or weaponization those studying have been the first to fall victim to its ravages.
Bacterial infections are, in general, the easiest for conventional medicine to combat because of things like general antibiotics like penicillin. But when a strong, drug-resistant, or unknown bacterium comes around real problems can happen real fast. Take for example flesh eating bacteria that live in your local lake or swimming pool.
The biggest danger from bacteria comes less from what it can do to a human body and more from how it spreads. Bacterial infections spread the most easily of any infection. They can easily spread by contact, water, or air. More importantly bacteria can spread and multiply quickly doubling as often as once every 20 minutes when conditions are favorable. Luckily for the bacteria favorable conditions exist in the human body. Making the rate of spread even more dangerous and unpredictable, is the length of time a bacteria can lay dormant. In the early 19th century a study of salmonella described a lag stage before the bacteria began to replicate. This stage, known as the zombie stage, is why Typhoid Mary was dangerous. Asymptomatic carriers like Mary Mallon can carry and spread a bacterial disease for years and may never succumb to it themselves; this is exceedingly rare with other types of infections.
Written by Darrin on July 24, 2012
As I start this article for the Watchblog I'll take a moment to introduce myself. I'm Darrin, one of the creators of the Zombie Watchdog site and Android app. During the day I'm a mild mannered support technician at the same web-hosting company that Cody described in his article. After hours I'm a part time blogger, a competitive archer, a dog lover, and a vigilante superhero. I'm very excited to see the Zombie Watchdog grow and evolve into the beast it is quickly becoming. It feels so good to see an idea become reality, it happens oh-so rarely. That being said here's my next article.
Types of Zombies
In this article I'll explain the intricacies, tendencies, and realities that are the walking dead. I will help to differentiate between undead zombies and zombies created by disease, possession, or drugs.
Undead zombies are the most common and yet the hardest to explain. Since undead zombies aren't created or altered to give them the “life” they fain, undead zombies are the most common in movies but are rarely explained. These are the zombies that just show up for no particular reason, usually in the least opportune place and at the worst possible time.
Because of these peculiarities undead zombies are usually accounted for by some sort of natural but hard to explain phenomena: magnetism, sunspots, or karma for example. Karma strikes me in particular as the possible reason that undead zombies rise. Like I pointed out before it is the undead zombie that is most likely to show up at a teenage girl's slumber party or come crashing through the windows of your local pub.
Undead zombies are most likely to originate from areas where the recently deceased are gathered. These areas include cemeteries, mortuaries, morgues, and hospitals. While there is no specific time frame after death which a dead body can be reanimated into a zombie, the general rule is two years. After that time most bodies will be too decomposed to be a viable candidate for quickening. Of course, modern embalming methods and ancient mummification rituals can dramatically lengthen the time for which a body remains in the form of a body.
The method of death also seems to have very little effect on the likelihood that the decedent may one day become a zombie. The exceptions include particularly violent death like those caused by fire or dismemberment. These bodies are less likely to come back to life not because the celestial conditions are wrong but that the body would be immobile when reanimated; for obvious reasons this makes a zombie less likely. A zombie's purpose is to kill, feed, and propagate; a body that can't do that once it comes back is far less likely to come awake in the first place.
An item of interest with undead zombies is where they occur. I mentioned that zombies come from areas where the dead are gathered and they are most likely to pop up near unsuspecting citizens living their lives oblivious to the fact that zombies are likely to show up and feast on their soft, delicious brains. That being said, zombies don't often occur in areas of extreme climate. Very cold areas are the least likely for a zombie horde to crop up; closely followed by hot areas of either very low or very high humidity. Intense climate may also explain why undead zombies don't often come out of mass grave sites, since most of these sites are located in developing and warring countries where these climates are more common.
Now I'd like to change directions a bit and talk about what undead zombies do once they become undead. Unlike diseased, possessed, or drugged zombies, undead zombies prime directive is to feed. They will feed on anything that they can catch. As a general rule the undead are slow and dumb, but this is very dependent on how the formerly living person was in their life, if they ere fast the zombie will be relatively fast, if they were “slow” the zombie will have the measurable IQ similar to a shovel.
This drive to feed is what makes undead zombies so dangerous. The have only one purpose and they will fulfill that purpose no matter what stands in their way. They are relentless and tireless. They want nothing more out of their afterlife than to feed and even though they don't need to feed to survive they will brave any condition to catch their quarry. They will pursue their prey either until they catch it or they are stopped. And, before I move on, yes the undead do particularly like brains.
Here's your ray of hope. Undead zombies are the easiest to stop. Since they are solely focused on feeding they are easily hunted. Undead zombies can be bated very easily into a trap, which is probably your best choice if you look to go on the offense against the undead when the apocalypse happens. A solid blow to the head, enough to mash the brains up a little bit will be all it takes to re-kill undead zombies. Decapitation or any other method of separating the brain from the body are perfectly effective ways of stopping the undead. A blow that opens up the skull has the added benefit of distracting other zombies momentarily with the presence of an easy snack of their favorite food.
Another effective way of combating the undead is to simply wait them out. While the undead can survive an indefinite amount of time without feeding they do easily succumb to weather and decomposition. Molds and microbes will continue the work they started when the deceased first became diseased. Insects will also happily feed on the undead just as they will the dead, carrion fowl also do their best to get their fill of these walking buffets. Faster birds such as hawks and ravens do the best at eating yet not being eaten. It is not uncommon to see an undead zombie missing most of the flesh from their back and lower body.
The undead will continue to pursue food until they can't move. Once enough of their body has been destroyed they will simply cease to live. This is another mystery very closely tied to why they come back to life in the first place, Why is it that a dead body will become reanimated for no obvious reason and then return to a quietly dead existence after it can no longer pursue flesh?
While there are many mysteries still surrounding the undead, it's quite likely that there always will be. I simply hope that after reading this article you are more prepared to take on the next undead zombie you encounter.
Here's hoping I don't encounter the zombie-you!
Written by Cody on July 23, 2012
Welcome to the Zombie Watchdog "WatchBlog!"
As an introductory article, we thought it might be nice to introduce you to some of the technology and concepts that are behind this website and our Android app(s), and to a smaller degree some of the team behind the Watchdog.
First of all I am Cody, the founder and lead developer for Chill'Em Studios. I am a software engineer for a leading web hosting company during my "professional hours," and an Android app developer (amongst various other technical hobbies) in my free time. I'll allow Darrin and Jeff to tell you a bit about themselves in their own articles. Together we dreamed up and created Zombie Watchdog, and are working feverishly to bring to completion all of the many aspects that are still only visions in our heads and tasks on our to-do lists.
Several months ago, Darrin mentioned that it would be neat to have an app that would "alert you of the fact that the zombie apocalypse was under way." The comment was made in passing at first, but it spawned a discussion on how it might be done and what exactly such an app might entail. Of course there were some logistical questions we had to address:
- What exactly constituted the "zombie apocalypse?"
- How would our app know when it was happening?
- Umm, if the zombie apocalypse is a fictional thing, how could such an app possibly have real-world application and value?
The first two questions were easily solved once some experience was applied. Shortly after the initial announcement of a highly anticipated game a few years ago, I built a news feed system that essentially scanned hundreds of online game news sources for articles pertaining specifically to this game and the software company that was creating the game. Every relevant article found was stored in my database and re-published on my site, RSS feed, and Twitter account. When it was in full swing, this system was scanning nearly 1000 news articles every fifteen minutes. We realized that we could easily leverage this system, with some modifications of course, to scan the news for anything that is relevant to the upcoming zombie apocalypse.
We created a system that utilized weighted keywords; a large database of keywords (for example "zombie," "t-virus," "outbreak") was created, with every keyword meticulously assigned a value. The system then scans through hundreds of world-wide RSS (Really Simple Syndication) news feeds, reading tens of thousands of unique articles every day. Whenever an article is found that contains any of these words, our algorithm uses this value to assign a weight to the article based upon a number of factors such as the number of keywords found, repetition of keywords, title placement, combinations, and more. There is also a database of negative match keywords used to rule out the "false positives;" when we first ran our scanner the keyword "epidemic" picked up a lot of hits due to the fact that the media loves that buzzword and they were currently fixated on what they coined the "childhood obesity epidemic." Finally, every article is matched to one of 13 geographic regions if possible; or it will only contribute to a global baseline value.
After the RSS pass is complete, we do a similar thing with Google search trends, Google+ trends, Twitter trends, and various other social media and search outlet systems. Overall, we are able to get a very good picture of what is going on in the world. The system is then able to use a complex equation to assign a value of 1-5 to every geographical region; those values correspond to the safety system levels you see on our home page and in our app. We admit that our keyword database is still a growing entity; we are constantly finding odd articles that are completely off-topic. However, whenever that happens it gives us very good clues as to ways we can filter them out of future searches....so it is definitely getting more accurate when it comes to the topic of the zombie apocalypse!
The very last question we faced at the outset of this project, #3 from above, was actually the easiest to answer. We have always thought that the notion of zombies is an interesting concept to ponder for a wide variety of reasons. The fact that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) used the zombie apocalypse as an example for disaster preparedness education shows that it is more than a fad, it is best described perhaps as a cultural phenomenon. Expanding from the early concepts of reanimated corpses with a cannibalistic hunger to the unintended consequence of biological warfare, a "zombie" can be defined in as many ways as a story can be told. Because of the necessary vagueness of the word, the human imagination can paint the face of a zombie on anyone....just look at the case of the "Miami zombie bath salts" incident. It is a perfect example of the fact that the human mind and body are both frail enough to be damaged or taken over by external or internal forces, and that the event will immediately be labeled as a "zombie outbreak."
So yes, we believe the zombie apocalypse could very well be a real thing. We do not pretend to know the actual cause, or how it will start. We do know how it has been imagined time and time again...this part of pop culture we are intimately familiar with. And so we have created an automated system that is monitoring the world for those possible events and story lines that bear the trademarks of a zombie outbreak, and we will alert you the very moment we find them.
This is science people!
Written by Darrin on July 18, 2012
All of the zombies that you are going to run into can fit into one of four basic groups. This short guide was written so you can identify what type of zombie is after your delicious brains on this day and help you dispatch them with the greatest possible prejudice.
This guide will also help you to identify the zombies in the film you just came walked out of. That’s why you’re reading right? You just saw a new movie and your interest is piqued and now you want to figure out exactly what it was you just saw.
This type of zombie is the most common that you will find in films made before about 1995. These are the zombies that you’ll see climbing out of their graves or falling out of morgue coolers.
While there is a lot of crossover between the four types of zombies, Undead is a particularly difficult fence to keep a zombie locked inside. This is because many of the zombies that should be classified as Undead died of other causes before they woke up dead, as zombies.
Undead zombies aren’t likely to pursue humans with the intent to infect. In fact they aren’t any more likely to pursue humans than any other warm blooded mammal. Once an undead zombie catches its meal it is likely to sit and eat until the supply of food in front of it has been eliminated. Undead zombies won’t die if there is nothing to eat; they’ve already been dead once, being hungry isn’t going to hurt them. Undead zombies will only stop after natural decomposition puts them back in the ground or the living interfere.
These zombies are by far the most common in films and books today. These are the zombies that were turned by some sort of virus, bacteria, fungus, or a mixture of the three. These zombies are the most likely to be mistaken for undead and vice versa. These zombies have become very common in literature, films, and video games since the T-Virus and Solanum became common.
Diseased zombies are the most likely to spread quickly as the virus won’t stop their movement and spread like being previously dead has a tendency to do. Diseased zombies are the ones that you will see biting people and moving on without hanging around for a meal. Much like the Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis fungus that leads ants to infect one another for the propagation of the fungus, diseased zombies survive only to spread the disease. When there are no victims available, diseased zombies will eventually die off either from the disease itself simply eating them away or from natural decomposition. Of course, living human intervention is the most common way diseased zombies are eliminated.
Possessed zombies are the most common type that you’ll read about in actual news reports of past zombie incidents. In fact, take a moment right now and do a Google Image search for Voodoo. Aside for the dozens and dozens of needlessly creepy dolls the other most common of the images are zombies. There is much anecdotal evidence of Voodoo spells and other witchcraft creating zombies.
Unlike diseased and undead zombies, possessed zombies are more like mindless slaves. They exist only to do the creators bidding. Possessed zombies don’t take time to propagate their own kind because they don’t possess the ability to do so, only the ones that created them can create more like them.
Undead zombies are subject to the same frailties as you and I. They have to eat. They are subject to extreme weather and climate. And to a lesser extent possessed zombies are subject to pain and even emotion. Recent studies of the human mind have shown that a person playing a video game will have less brain activity in their frontal lobe and increased activity in their amygdala. In this way, your average eighth grader is much like a possessed zombie. Keep that in mind if you ever meet up with a possessed zombie, while there may be nobody home if you knock loud enough you may be able to procure an answer at the door.
I only mention this type of zombie because of the fancy that has hit the media in recent months. Drugged zombies are nothing more than people under the influence of some illicit substance. The most common name I’ve heard lately are Bath Salts; before that it was Methamphetamines and before that Acid.
While drugged people may take on the actions and likenesses of zombies while they are under the influence of their chosen drug, when the effects wear off, as they always will, this person will go back to being the same knuckle-dragger you knew back in high school. As such it is best not to try and dispose of drugged zombies yourself. In this case, leave it to the authorities or the local fauna.