from the world's big
How A Zombie Outbreak Might Actually Happen — and How to Protect Yourself
Of all the fictional ways humanity might possibly kill itself, zombies are the most likely. Here's the data to prove it.
If any of our fictional monsters are going to kill us, it's zombies. Why? Because the vast majority of zombie scenarios have two things in common -- a pandemic, and the extinction of humanity. And both of those scenarios are scientifically plausible.
Pandemics, or global disease outbreaks, don't need zombies to be terrifying: they're the third most likely cause of an extinction event according to the Global Catastrophic Risk Report (GCRR), as we've told you before. “Between the Spanish Flu, the Black Death, and the Great Plague of Justinian, over 25% of the world's population was killed by disease," according to the GCRR. Pandemics have such high death counts because they emerge from viruses we haven't built up an immunity to -- namely, ones that come from animals. “Viruses that have caused past pandemics typically originated from animal influenza viruses," reports the World Health Organization (WHO).
A zombie pandemic would be quite a bit worse. Partly because zombies could be created the same way, like in the film 28 Later. But also because the result of a zombie pandemic isn't infection: it's consumption. Remember: the goal of almost every single zombie is to eat humans, be it their flesh, organs, or braaaaaaaaains.
Credit: The Walking Dead / AMC
That cannibalistic bent complicates our usual protocol for handling pandemics. The three major steps to handling a normal pandemic are prediction, modeling and treatment, reports Popular Science. The usual protocol is for scientists to “track and collect zoonotic [infectious animal] pathogens in 20 hot-spot countries in order to create a database of the most dangerous." Once they've identified a potential threat, they use “various data, including insect populations, human demographics, and airline routes, to map outbreaks. Health agencies use the maps to plan a response," which can be rapid vaccination or quarantine, depending on the spread and speed of the disease.
If the pathogen causes people to eat each other, it breaks down that entire protocol: rapid vaccination and quarantine are necessary almost immediately because the disease spreads more quickly, giving scientists less time to accurately model and track the disease -- much less create a vaccine.
How quickly would a zombie pandemic spread? There are 6 different possibilities, according to João V. Tomotani from the University of Sao Paolo, Brazil. He crunched all sorts of numbers for Geek Studies, from the number of humans in a given area and the minimal number of zombies needed to infect them, to the amount of time needed to train the humans in survival skills and the time needed to develop and distribute a vaccine. Those are a lot of variables to handle, and he punched them all into a simple turn-based game to create each model. He found that “in no scenario zombies stayed inactive for long, being either reanimated, destroyed or cured very quickly." Meaning, a zombie pandemic will always spread relatively quickly -- as long as there are living people to contaminate. Or, as Tomotani bleakly summarizes, “all humans have a chance of becoming a zombie."
Here's our best-case scenario:
Credit: Geek Studies
In this scenario, 20% of the population were trained after the first infection, and that took 500 turns. After 2,000 turns, 30% of the population had a vaccine. From there, everything goes slowly downhill and humans go extinct at 20,000 turns. “After the zombies “invaded" the human colony, the infection began to spread quickly," Tomotani explains. “Once the population was trained and armed, the rate of infection got slower and the rate of zombie destruction got higher. Once the population was equipped with vaccines, the number of susceptible humans slowly rose for a while. Humanity's demise was that the zombie infestation had already gotten out of control, with way too many zombies."
Again, that's our best-case scenario. Here's our worst:
Credit: Geek Studies
This is what happens when it takes too long to arm a population, as Tomotani writes: “Once the population was trained and armed, the number of zombies was already overwhelming and there was nothing to be done. Humans became extinct after close to 1,000 turns and more than 7,500 zombies were left at the end."
That, my friends, is the end of humanity.
But don't worry! There are ways to survive a zombie apocalypse. The best way is to get ahead of the outbreak and move somewhere with a small enough population where you can avoid it. You'll also need to be near fresh water and in a temperate enough climate to grow your own food, since supermarkets and Seamless will most likely be down. YouTuber Matthew Patrick (MatPat) looked at pandemic models, global population trends, and agricultural calendars to figure out the best place to go: a tiny little town near Ontario, Canada.
Credit: The Game Theorists/YouTube
MatPat won't tell us the second most popular place to go, but looking at the data it's safe to assume it's also in Canada as it would have to be in the same latitude and climate. Plus, MatPat is a stickler for using real science to solve fictitious problems; he even figured out the best weapon to use against zombies. I trust him.
If you don't feel like traveling to Canada, or your passport gets eaten by the walking dead, don't worry: some states are surprisingly well-prepared to ride out a zombie apocalypse. You just need to get to them before the outbreak starts:
Estately is more light-hearted in their approach than either Tomotani or MatPat. They use different data points (largely drawn from Facebook interests) and are not at all rigorous in their modeling. They don't even specify the speed or kind of zombie outbreak they're accounting for. Still, their chart does have similar useful factors for surviving a zombie apocalypse. The biggest indicator of human success from Tomotani's models, remember, is quicky training and arming the surviving human population. Military personnel and veterans are the two most important factors in Estately's rankings, and they are most likely to train and arm a human population for their survival.
Other important takeaways from Estately's graph include states with physically active populations and fewer obese people are more likely to arm themselves and fight for survival. Those factors far outweighed a state's success than how many people had guns and liked shooting them (including activities like “laser tag" and “paintball"). However, states with high concentrations of people who play zombie video games had a tactical advantage as well because they understood the enemy. States like Massachusetts and Connecticut ranked so low not because they weren't fit, but because few people watch The Walking Dead or play Resident Evil. TL; DR -- put down the Halloween candy and stay the heck away from the East Coast.
And now you know how to survive the zombie apocalypse. Good luck!
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Paul Krugman on the Virtues of Selfishness<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="7ZtAkm6C" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="828936bf6953080e9018307354c0c02b"> <div id="botr_7ZtAkm6C_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7ZtAkm6C-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/7ZtAkm6C-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7ZtAkm6C-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> The Nobel Prize-winning economist on the virtues of selfishness.
Evolution Is Moving Us Away from Selfishness. But Where Is It Taking ...<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cyeqmYCb" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="6c5efecb56456e9acc25cf36935b1826"> <div id="botr_cyeqmYCb_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cyeqmYCb-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cyeqmYCb-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cyeqmYCb-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Exploring Morality and Selfishness in Modern Times<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="02eX1Cag" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="45cc6180db791f32683988fb52faff26"> <div id="botr_02eX1Cag_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/02eX1Cag-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> Philosopher Peter Singer discusses the state of global ethics.
Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.
Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?