If you haven’t read The Physics of Zombies: Madore’s Rules of Zombie Cohesion, Zombie Cells and Super Cells, Zombie Black Holes, Zombie Cell Stress-Fission and Zombie Quirks, I would recommend you read it. It’s the first scientific journal article I’ve found that addresses the scientific aspect of zombie behavior – I hope other scientists will pick up on it and expand the research. This is part 2 of my analysis of the paper, as part 1 of the review was written just a few days ago. Also, look forward to an interview with the researchers that authored the paper – they’ve agreed to an interview so we can learn more about them and the research leading up to the article.
In part 1 of the analysis, we learned about ZCF – the zombie cohesive force which describes the attraction between two groups of zombies. After describing ZCF, the authors begin to describe the Big Bite theory. Similar to the Big Bang, the Big Bite defines the moment of that first bite which spreads the zombie infection, and the authors used the electron avalanche theory to describe the multiplication factor of the infection, i.e., how fast the zombie infection will spread. The equation presented in the article is:
The authors state that “as the zombie bite rate nears the zombie attrition rate; the only limiting factor is the number of humans, P, that are available for consumption and turning“. I’m having trouble with this equation and especially the statement about the zombie bite rate nearing the zombie attrition rate: if the bite rate is equal to the attrition rate, there would be no new zombies created rather than an infinite number as described by the authors. Either there’s something wrong with this equation, or I just can’t get a grasp on it, although I’m working on it. In the original electron avalanche formula, as the applied voltage (bite rate) nears the breakdown voltage of the material (attrition rate), the multiplier rate approaches infinity. While that is true of voltage / breakdown voltage, it is not true of bite rate / attrition rate. Perhaps in my interview with the authors I can get them to explain their thoughts behind this equation .
The paper goes on to explain a zombie chaos cloud – if you can imagine multiple groups of zombies attracted to each other, and multiple sources of prey competing for the attention of the zombie group – it would appear that the zombies begin exhibiting random behavior when in fact they are conforming to a zombie chaos cloud definition. In other words, what do you think will happen when there are multiple zombie groups, multiple prey locations, in other words a typical urban scene during the zombie apocalypse, like this:
This is a typical zombie chaos cloud – there are ZCF forces acting between the zombie groups, and there are multiple prey signals being noticed by each group. What’s a zombie to do? The authors have come up with an equation to make sense of the zombie’s erratic behavior, which at this point will look entirely random to the casual observer. The equation takes into account the direction, number, intensity, and duration of these mixed signals and looks like this:
Furthermore, as the prey is reduced by the zombie groups, the zombie cohesive force (ZCF) begins to play a larger role in bringing the zombie groups together, until a large group of zombies is formed. The authors describe this as a zombie “cell”. The cell may stay together, join another group, or break apart in the absence of any prey or prey signals. However, should several of these cells group together in the hunt for prey, they can create super cells, or extremely large groups of zombies. Furthermore, should several of these super cells join together, it is very easy to create a zombie black hole! This is one of the events that the authors want us to prepare for. A zombie black hole is like a cosmological black hole – nothing escapes! This is a very important concept – zombie black holes will easily form if extreme measures are not taken immediately once the Big Bite has begun.
If you’re still with me, there’s good news – there are only a couple more mathematical concepts presented in the article, and those are near the end. Stay tuned for part 3 of the review where we examine several thought experiments presented by the authors for your contemplation.