Since the 1960’s zombies have held a special place in the hearts and minds of the global populace. People have been flocking to “Zombie Land” in droves, crowding and pushing each other out of the way while groaning for more just like a pack of mindless”¦ I can’t think of a parallel. Nonetheless, who hasn’t had ‘The Zombie Talk’ with their friends; a candid and serious tactical discussion about what they’re going to do in the event of a zombie outbreak? This cultural obsession hearkens to something very primal in the human consciousness that relies on twitch reflexes and cleverness that appeals to us all. One scientist at the UniversitÃƒÂ di Parma in Italy may have finally answered the question, “If I were being chased by a legion of the undead, where should I go?”
The question, for the purpose of scientific credibility, replaced the word “Zombie” with the word “Random Walker.” Davide Cassi dedicated a considerable amount of time and work toward finally conducting a scientific study into the nature of zombies and survivalists given a purely physics based model. It found that “Random Walkers” would eventually overtake a person in a non-crowded or simplistic structure and that survivors would instead have more luck sprinting through the hallways of a complex structure like a mall. The more complex the structure, research found, the more difficult it would be for a survivor to be cornered and subsequently devoured by the undead. The physics model he used to find the answer was aptly named the “Random Walking” model. It also took into account rest, sleeping, and hiding. It did not take into consideration, however, the propensity of zombie survivors to grab implements of destruction such as hedge trimmers, propane cans, and riding lawnmowers. Of course a riding lawnmower is a very complicated thing to add to a physics model. It also didn’t take add in any sort of sentience or problem solving abilities the zombies may have. It assumed the zombies were quite literally senseless wandering attackers.
Is there much chance of a zombie apocalypse happening any time soon that requires us to understand their movement and attack patterns? Likely no, but it does get potential survivors into the problem solving process. ‘The Zombie Talk’ serves as a cooperative endeavor toward solving potentially real life puzzles and is a fundamental part of what being human is. 10,000 years ago these talks were not about zombies, but invading forces and hunting. Plans would be made to protect settlements and ensure the survival of friends and family over the overwhelming hordes of “the others.” The dehumanization of zombies allows humankind to still rival without guilt against something even while attempting a progression away from human-to-human conflict. Zombies serve as an important intermediary between modern civilized life and the desire for adventure and danger within us all. Would Davide Cassi’s model work in the event of flesh eating zombies? What about other scenarios involving mindless “Random Walkers?” It may be a good idea to peruse this paper even if uninterested in zombie survival, particularly with Black Friday just around the corner.