What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Zombie Monday #6: Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain.

Planning for a zombie invasion is fun. Getting eaten alive is easy.

Take your pick.

"This sounds a whole lot like vampires. Are the two related?" - you can call me batman

Zombies and vampires are totally different. Vampire survival is a topic for another series, but here are a few quick differences:

VAMPIRE LIABILITIES: Garlic, wooden stakes, silver bullets, light, etc.
ZOMBIE LIABILITIES: Removing the head, destroying the brain.

They do have a few things in common, including aversion to light and a tendency to bite people. But zombies and vampires are very, very different.

Let's get more in depth by going back to the basics: the anatomy of a zombie. What are they? How are they different from humans? And most importantly, how do we kill them?

As we already covered, Zombieism is a fatal nerve disease contracted by a strong
zombie virus infection. The virus takes over the host's brain (killing the host in the process) and then animates it the body.

There are many different kinds of a zombies. Here, we describe the common zombie, your most likely and abundant foe:

Physical Changes. Contrary to many popular depictions, zombies do not immediately change color, rot, ooze green stuff, or engage in any other strange physiological behaviors. These are colorful details added by sensationalists. Zombies have human bodies, changed only in a few subtle ways. Human bodies don't ooze green stuff. Of course, due to cessation of basic hygienic activities, zombies will eventually start to look pretty gross. Maybe as gross as some of the people you know right now. You know the ones.

The most important physical change is that zombies are good at isolating wounds. While a nasty wound to an extremity could couse a human to go into shock or pass out from loss of blood, zombies are able to isolate the damaged area pretty quickly, meaning cutting off a zombie's hand isn't going to bother it a lot.

Along the same lines, zombies do not experience widespread rot. Zombies do not treat their wounds in any way, but they can isolate the flesh wound and keep the gangrene from spreading. Locking a zombie in a closet until he rots to death is not a good strategy.

Mental Changes. Zombies have mediocre motor skills and very poor imagination. Their minds are not active enough to engage in complex activities like using weapons, driving, opening all but the simplest doors and containers, speaking, or dancing. Their minds are well compared to that of mice. The two basic instincts (to spread the virus and find food, in that order) are very strong in zombies. Of course, they directly conflict with human's two basic-but-more-complex instincts (to protect oneself and find meaning). The zombie thought pattern is very basic: Brains. Brains. There are brains. Eat food. Spread. Find more brains.

As the virus becomes more accustomed to the host, motor skills will improve, making the zombie much more efficient in chasing down prey. Running, jumping, and even climbing will be natural in a zombie that has been infected for more than a few weeks.

Zombies are devoid of emotion or long-term memory.

Sensory Changes. Zombies use the same sensory organs we do, but perceive them very differently. The sense of smell is greatly amplified. An inconclusive 1998 study indicated that zombies have up to thirty times stronger smell than humans.

Their vision, meanwhile, is thoroughly impaired. Lacking the complex motor skills and reflexes to control the eyes, zombies will more or less blunder into the world ahead with only a vague notion of what's immediately in front of them.

Hearing is slightly amplified.

Zombies have no sense of touch, so you may safely poke them in the back, provided they do not hear or smell you.

So how do I kill them? By removing the head or destroying the brain. I say again: by removing the head or destroying the brain.

"Build a 50.caliber automatic gun. Place it on a 100ft vertical mountain with the only way to get up being a pullable ladder. Then make sure you have approximately 10,000 mega tons of ammunition. Hire gangs of ruthless walmart shoppers to get food and drink for your hideout." - Anonymous

Anonymous, let's just for a second ignore the numerous glaring logistical flaws in your plan and look at your weapon: a .50 caliber machine gun. Machine guns tend to be wildly inaccurate even when correctly set up and operated. They're great for fighting humans because humans can't stand getting shot, even in the pinkie finger or the hair. Put one or two rounds anywhere near them and they'll go scurrying for cover. Put one or two rounds anywhere in their bodies and they're down for the count. Not so with zombies, who are impervious to pain and oblivious of machine gun fire. Most of your rounds are going to miss, and while you're reloading, they'll eat you. The shots that do hit are unlikely to stop them. Machine guns are only effective against zombies at extreme close range (assuming you're only being attacked in one direction, such as down a narrow corridor), and then only if you have a reload plan.

"My zombie survival plan is simple: Stab them in the head with a wooden stick. It's the most satisfying way of killing them." - dwight

Great idea, dwight. And we're not being sarcastic. But consider your choice of weapons. Have you ever tried stabbing a wooden stick through someone's head? We thought not. Well, we have (in the name of science), and we can tell you first hand: it's really hard to do. Consider a rail spike or a spear instead. Just be sure to have plenty of high-calorie food and keep yourself hydrated. Melee combat will really drain your stamina.

Sadly, you have only the start of a zombie survival plan. Your full plan must account for much more, including how you take care of (or don't take care of) loved ones and material possessions, finding a safe place to sleep, rounding up fellow survivors (if pertinent), and acquiring food and medical supplies. You're off to a great start, dwight. Keep going!

There is one other way to kill zombies that we haven't mentioned yet. But that will have to wait for another Zombie Monday.

And if there's any way we can help you - and this time "you" means all you tasty readers out there - be sure to leave us a comment.


Anonymous said...

I'm too busy writing my nuclear apocalypse survival plan to worry about zombies...

dwight said...

Don't be ridiculous. With my superior strength and martial arts skills, I would have no problem stabbing anything with a wooden stick. Anyways, a rail spike or spear would not be as satisfying.

Anonymous said...

Whack them on the head with a crowbar... Assuming, of course, that you aren't a zombie yourself. Either that or get a big shovel to whack them with instead. But if you don't feel like killing them, just hide away somewhere you think is safe... And keep believing (and hoping) that it's safe.

guitarbob said...

two things. A: its waaay more satisfying to put your foot through a zombies head, assuming that you're ninja enough to do it...
B: zombie apocalypses are more fun whn youre totally unprepared and totally winging it!