back to article Could YOU survive a zombie apocalypse? Uni eggheads say you'd last just 100 days

Physics students at the UK's University of Leicester have concluded that a "real-life zombie outbreak" would all but eliminate humanity in just 100 days. Ignoring more plausible threats like flu pandemic, Pumpkin Spice Latte poisoning, or tweet-triggered nuclear annihilation, Leicester students CT Davies, KJ Cheshire, R …

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes. [running & hiding]

      Might already be too late: judging by the amount of blatant propaganda being directed at western society by their own governments it would seem that they pretty much already regard us as unthinking zombies.

  2. John H Woods

    What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

    Maybe these guys should have talked to some biologists?

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

      My thoughts too.

      I'm not a biologist (or fan of zombie fiction). But it seems to me that zombies can only walk and there are a large number of inhabited islands on the planet.

      Just so long as someone remembers to close the channel tunnel, I don't think we'd be troubled. Though having to become self-sufficient might be a bit of a shock to some.

      1. PNGuinn
        Trollface

        Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

        "Just so long as someone remembers to close the channel tunnel, I don't think we'd be troubled."

        C'mon, by the time the congenital zombies running this place have worked that one out there'll be milions of the buggers through it and claiming asylum and /or a pound of flesh.

        Nearest I can find to a zombie icon >>

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Just so long as someone remembers to close the channel tunnel

          I thought YOU had the key?

          1. Roq D. Kasba

            Re: Just so long as someone remembers to close the channel tunnel

            I'd actually take "World War Z" (the excellent book not the dreadful, unrelated movie) as a more authoritative source in the unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse.

      2. David Webb

        Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

        But it seems to me that zombies can only walk and there are a large number of inhabited islands on the planet.

        But there is also a large amount of people currently in the air and the ocean, planes and boats. One person on a large ship with lots of people could infect quite a lot before people realise "zombies!" and take action, your first thought when you see someone staggering down the road in a strange way is "pub o'clock time, sweet" not "KILL THE BUGGER!" - unless you're in the less friendly areas of Newquay.

        Best bet for survival is an island fortress where you can plant veg, fish freely and bring in livestock but once the human population reaches a small amount (is it 40 odd k?) the chance of survival into the future is zero because of eventual interbreeding due to a lack of people to impregnate.

      3. Mark Dempster

        Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

        >I'm not a biologist (or fan of zombie fiction). But it seems to me that zombies can only walk and there are a large number of inhabited islands on the planet.

        Just so long as someone remembers to close the channel tunnel, I don't think we'd be troubled. Though having to become self-sufficient might be a bit of a shock to some.<

        Ah, but it seems likely that zombies don't breath. Which means they could potentially walk across the seabed in order to get to other islands, etc. Maybe also infecting fish; you could be attacked by a zombie cod while fishing for food...

    2. PNGuinn
      Joke

      Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

      1. RTFA.

      2. University of Leicester.

      4. Possibly Esther from the University of Leicester?

      5. Leicester's probably been infected for yonks already, like Westminster.

      6. Have you tried getting any sense out of a zombie biologist?

      7. Have you tried getting any sense out of a Westminster Weasel? (Congress Critter to left pondians.)

      Yup, we're DOOMED, just taking longer than the mathematical models suggest. Perhaps the komplicated mafematical modelses (excel spreadsheet?) should include variables for zombie diet preferences like ....

    3. Triggerfish

      Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

      It strikes me that slow zombies, versus one of the most successful and aggressive predators on the planet could be unfair on the zombies TBH.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

      Esp if you assume the zombies need BRRAAAAAINS to survive and you drag in predator/prey population cycles.

      On the other hand, that's quite the journalistic stir they are causing with their "simple models", maybe not so dumb after all from a networking/career POV. And imagine the pickup lines!!!

      Cynical, moi?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

        You don't even need islands, just sparsely populated areas. If you live in an area with a couple dozen people per spare mile, aka half the United States, where are the zombies going to come from? Maybe they will wander by eventually, but the people living there will have figured out something is up by the fact that TV, internet, cell phones and electricity go away, though probably they will have seen or heard something about the outbreak before that. Those people are more likely to own guns, but even if they don't they can pretty easily kill or keep at bay a single zombie.

        I've always wondered where all the zombies in the woods in Walking Dead come from. Did they walk from Atlanta?

        1. Florida1920

          Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

          I've always wondered where all the zombies in the woods in Walking Dead come from.
          The nearest Trump rally.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

            > The nearest Trump rally.

            I expected this kind of "response".

            More and more people seem to be infected by Trump Derangement Syndrome, which is worse than Bush Derangement Syndrome or Obama Rainbow Pony Syndrome. Hopefully this will burn itself out or will have to activate the FEMA trailers.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Trump Derangement Syndrome

              Is it worse than whatever the conservatives had over Obama, claiming he's a Muslim, claiming he's not born in the US, claiming the country wouldn't exist in four years if he was elected. Its been eight, and we're still here. And economic growth has been starting to pick up this year, just in time for Trump to take credit for it before he even takes office (but still somehow blame Obama if a recession hits in a few years)

            2. Mark 85 Silver badge

              Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

              More and more people seem to be infected by Trump Derangement Syndrome, which is worse than Bush Derangement Syndrome or Obama Rainbow Pony Syndrome. Hopefully this will burn itself out or will have to activate the FEMA trailers.

              I wouldn't count on it dying out. Both the previous two Syndromes are still running amok... and it seems that the same people are behind them. Hell.. we also still have the Clinton Is Perfect Syndrome* types running around.

              *Take your pick on which Clinton is involved.. there's overlap.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

                Ha ha ha -- Bill Clinton, overlap ... very good!

          2. Updraft102

            Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

            No, no, no, everyone knows the dead vote Democrat.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

              No, no, no, everyone knows the dead vote Democrat.

              Only the ones who stay in the cemeteries. The ones who want to eat brains and bring the world down to their level vote republican.

            2. Phil.T.Tipp

              Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

              True. Those manky socialists hate a bit of truthy factuality... preparing for down-votes in 3 - 2 - 1...

              http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/guiliani-dead-people-generally-vote-for-democrats-229856

          3. craigb

            Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

            The nearest Trump political rally

            FTFY

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

            Their are 10 million people in the state of Georgia. appx 4 million live less than 50 miles from where they are hunkered down in TWD.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

          "I've always wondered where all the zombies in the woods in Walking Dead come from. Did they walk from Atlanta?"

          Cheap Chinese imports like you find at Walmart, taking jobs away from hard working American zombies.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

          Bingo. If every single person in my north GA mountain county (USA, and close to the location where TWD is filmed) turned zombie, I have enough ammunition and skill to kill each and every one... as long as they are slow moving as in "The Walking Dead). Now, if the virus is like "48 hours", where the zombies are extremly fast moving and violent... all bets are off.

    5. macjules Silver badge

      Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

      " ...non-trivial number of guns in the US (~300 million)"

      Of course you should also factor in the number of shootings of uninfected humans by the gun-toting, moron classes and the likelihood that President-for-life Trump would hit the nuke button faster than you can say "Kiss me Vladimir"

      Possibly the biggest factor you need to consider is that people are essentially selfish arseholes. In a major city (LA for example) the first thing you are going to run out of is fresh water, especially in a city where it has not rained for over 3 years. People are not going to stand around simply waiting for the Marines to drop water bottles: they are going to try and take your supplies, and they will probably have more bullets than brains (zombie pun intended) when it comes to doing this.

      My tuppence worth: humanity will do a pretty good job of wiping itself out faster than any shuffling zombie can. To misquote Ripley in Aliens, "You don't see zombies f*cking each other over for a goddamn percentage"

    6. Oh Homer
      Childcatcher

      Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

      Well, if it's only a "Game of Life" type maths model, then obviously biology was never even a consideration, which makes sense as zombies are a complete work of fiction, and therefore any "research" on the subject must simply be a hypothetical model for something else, like maths.

      Although there are in fact two very real phenomena of "zombies", neither of which has anything to do with the supernatural. One is based on the Voodoo practice of poisoning people then bringing them "back from the dead", when in fact they were never really dead to begin with, for the purpose of enslaving them. The other is a strange phenomenon where certain insects become infected with parasitic organisms that consume them from the inside, leaving a dead or dying shell that is then moved by the invading organisms in such a way that it appears to still be alive and healthy.

      The modern obsession with fictional zombies is mostly just an allegory for xenophobia, such as McCarthyism or Islamophobia. The same is true of all fictional monsters, they're really just a paranoid manifestation of our irrational fears.

      A more useful and indeed necessary study would be to consider our survival prospects in more tangible issues, such as the rapidly accelerating problem of inequality, since people are far more likely to die from poverty than from a zombie apocalypse.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

        > The modern obsession with fictional zombies is mostly just an allegory

        Yeah, this reminds me of this article from 2012: "Obsessed With the Undead". Time flies...

        On Halloween, an army of the undead will be unleashed upon Mission Bay off the coast of San Diego. U.S. soldiers, Marines, special forces, police and emergency responders will face the challenge of a lifetime as the flesh-eating scourge threatens to devour their ranks — literally.

        Of course it’s not real. This is a five-day “counterterrorism summit,” but we’ll just refer to it as yet another — albeit extremely creative — government boondoggle. Starting this week, more than 1,000 people participating on the taxpayers’ dime will get to break away for five days from the daily grind and the Xbox 360 to play Resident Evil zombie hunter on a 44-acre reserve (luxury resort) blown out with “immersive Hollywood sets” that feature everything from authentic looking villages to “pirate havens” and hospitals soon to be filled with ill-fated good guys suffering from ersatz bite wounds.

        Move over, George Romero. No one can recreate the over-the-top zombie apocalypse like a private security firm (in this case, Halo Corporation, a beltway bandit operation formed by ex-special operations and intelligence agents) flush with government contracts and corporate sponsorships, and access to the best weaponry, surveillance gear and other technological wizardry the post-9/11 paranoid domestic security state can buy.

        Why Zombies?

        World War Z is an implicit condemnation of the post-9/11 Bush Administration, but easily a metaphor, too, for the self-destructive politics pulling at the levers of American power today.

        Political hubris in Brooks’ “fictional” Washington so blinds the leadership at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that when honesty and clarity are needed the most, the White House stonewalls, stalls and sacrifices time and lives before finally setting a straight course for survival. For millions in World War Z, it is too late.

        Though there are as many disquisitions on the subject as there are movies, books and television series, it’s no stretch to suggest that this mistrust of government ultimately fuels our overall fascination for the undead. Sadly, we could imagine a government that causes and covers up toxic spills, dangerous pandemics or even zombie outbreaks. After a decade of real war, our sense of security and control has eroded so sharply and in so many ways we hardly believe anything the government says, ever.

    7. veti Silver badge

      Re: What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

      They're undergraduates. What do you expect?

      The whole thing is basically an exercise in demonstrating that they know how to plug numbers into an equation (which was given to them by a lecturer), crank a handle and get an answer. That's all it is.

      There's no claim that any of the numbers are even remotely plausible, let alone realistic, and they're not being graded on that. Which is just as well.

  3. Brian Miller

    Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

    It's not simply the number of guns, but also how many have enough ammo. Plus, the electricity is going to go out at some point. Also, fast or slow zombies?

    The "study" assumes that the transmission is faster than the black death, and the black death was transmitted by (flea) bite, bodily fluids, and airborne droplets, i.e., sneezes. Once the zombie plague reaches a threshold of being noticed, everybody with any kind of sneezy illness will be quarantined.

    If the electricity goes out, then the U.S. gov't has estimated that 90% of the population will not survive one year. That's just without electricity. So you betcha the power plants will be cordoned off.

    I would guess that the main problem would not be from the zombie plague itself, but from stupid people panicking and messing everything up. Even with Ebola, the human race would survive that handily, even if there was no containment or vaccine for it. Ebola is only about 50% fatal. Rabies is usually fatal, but there have been survivors. A contagious, airborne rabies is more likely than zombies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

      Power plants, smower plants. The people who will survive the ZA are going to be the ones who realize that a zombie is a rich source of kinetic energy which must be harvested safely. Like in a special cage not unlike a human-sized hamster wheel with appropriate power harvesting magneto/dynamo equipment attached. Just add a zombie, close the cage door, and enjoy days upon days of free electricity from your very own Zombie Electric Generator. Not as much amperage as a gas generator, but needs no fuel. Use it to run a mini-fridge to keep your Cornettos cool as ice, baby!

      If you've not thought of this, you are already doomed. The last of us will cook and eat you with respect, in that case.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Flavours_Cornetto_trilogy

    2. Daniel 18

      Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

      Ammunition is unlikely to be a major constraint.

      Those people without guns will be in a dire situation... but they won't need or consume ammunition.

      The average sport shooter will have hundreds to (more likely) thousands of rounds, as they are far less expensive when bought in lots of 1,000 or more for each caliber, while the average serious hunter may well have hundreds of rounds.

      Preppers will have thousands to tens of thousands of rounds, stockpiled by the case (typically 1,000 to 2280 rounds each).

      This is easily enough to clear your local sporting goods store or gun club of ex-employees, in order to access their storeroom. Larger quantities are likely available at major police stations and military bases, unless they have been used to eradicate zombies, which cuts down on both ammunition and zombies.

      Those with good research skills can hunt down distributors' warehouses.

      I do agree that the collapse of production and distribution (something electricity loss is a cause/proxy for) would kill a lot of people until the population density dropped to the level supportable by hunting/subsistence farming.\

      The study, however, seems to assume that people have no tactical sense, nor adequate shooting skills. Those people will die first, the rest will be a lot more effective.

      Note from the above... ammunition is heavy. Most sport shooters and preppers would require a vehicle to relocate their stockpile... even light ammuntion, such as 5.56 Nato, would max your load out with no more than a couple of thousand rounds, and you wouldn't like the weight. More realistically, you can only carry several hundred rounds. Note to zombie apocalypse participants... avoid shotguns, the ammo is way heavy and too bulky. The lightest effective rounds are the best, where effective depends on skill as well as raw power.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

      Ebola is only about 50% fatal.

      AFAIK it's higher and you will only survive if you are under medical supervision anyway.

      I case of outbreak, those wards will be full, fast.

      1. Brian Miller

        Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

        AFAIK it's higher and you will only survive if you are under medical supervision anyway.

        Well, the data comes from WHO. Yes, I do agree, the hospital wards will fill rather quickly.

        As far as a fast-spreading disease goes, dengue is tops right now. And that's still controllable.

      2. Alistair
        Windows

        Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

        According to the *last* ebola outbreak, 72.5% fatal. However it REALLY doesn't spread as well as even the black plague. Direct contamination with bodily fluids of the infected. (effective countermeasures are latex and most importantly, face shields).

    4. Doctor_Wibble
      Headmaster

      Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

      > Also, fast or slow zombies?

      This might be the most important point, alongside how smart/stupid they are, 'smart' just meaning they don't all walk into the moat and can work out how to get over a wall or have some rudimentary comprehension of opening a door by not shambling into it at the wrong angle.

      Slow+Stupid, we win ;

      Slow+Smart, We stand a chance ;

      Fast+Stupid, we stand a chance if we don't dawdle ;

      Fast+Smart, find a fortress and don't assume a ladder makes you safe.

      The 'preppers' will be in with the best chance but not because of the guns and ammo - they will survive if they have high fortified walls but more critically a sufficient supply of clean water to wash down all those beans, and proper sanitation because you soon run out of places to dig those pits.

      Actually the default 'best chance' starts with being away from populated areas.

    5. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

      I don't think that guns and ammo would be much use against a Zombie attack - personally I plan to rely on my cricket bat and LP record collection. I'd also take down the House Alarm company sign from the front yard (no electricity so it's non-functional) and stick the DVD cover from Shaun of the Dead over it.

      That should see them off.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

        Quite. a cricket bat and a stiff upper lip should be all a chap requires. Incidentally Bristol City Council once commissioned a study for civil defence in the event of Zombie Apocalypse:

        http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/bristol-city-council-s-secret-plan-case-zombie/story-27470602-detail/story.html

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

          "a cricket bat and a stiff upper lip"

          But not just any old cricket bat, you need clicky-ba! And, ideally, a suitable loyal but violent manservant to wield it for you so you can concentrate on getting the stiff upper lip just right.

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

            The sort of people who would only last 100 days are the sort of people who phone helpdesks to say the computers aren't turned on.

            Personally, living in Britain I'd take:-

            1) Camping equipment, tent, gas cooker + hexi burners etc

            2) A supply of canned goods

            3) an angle grinder

            4) length of rope, bucket, shovel and water purifying tablets.

            To the nearest fortifiable keep, Martello tower or thousand year old norman church with a church tower fortifiable to let the local norman priest survive against his flock trying to do him in.

            The camping equipment and supply of canned goods is to ensure a food supply of warm food for a few weeks. The rest is to blow through the iron bars stopping people falling down the well that's inevitably in the basement/dungeon of this sort of place - at which point the rest is obvious. (shovel in case there's a lot of coins and dirt at the bottom)

            And that's food and water for at least a few weeks while everybody else kills each other off. Given more time I might also include a large number of cans of compressed air etc which you could stick in the tent and have open at a low level to provide a primitive NBC overpressure system, where because air is flowing out of the tent it can't flow in, reducing your chances of catching the plague in case it's airborne. And "nice to have" things such as a supply of paving slabs to drop from the tower against zombies trying to imitate a battering ram on the door.

    6. rdhood

      Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

      and speaking of electricity, who is going to man the nuclear reactors? There are several in the state where "The Walking Dead" takes place.. one near Cartersville GA, one at Ga Tech (is that one still active?), one or several at the Savannah River Plant (military), two in south GA, and two more expected to come online in the near future, and one mothballed in the Dawson Forest, in Dawson county.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Guns + ammo, lack of electricity

        Don't need anyone to man them. By that time everything will be wind-turbine powered anyway. Post-zombie apocalypse the world will be powered by chained zombies in huge running wheels chasing the smell of fresh human.

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    The first thing that occurs to me

    Could they find nothing more interesting to theorise about?

    1. Simon Brady

      Re: The first thing that occurs to me

      Don't be so quick to dismiss the topic - Canadian academic Robert J. Smith? (yes, the question mark is deliberate) has modeled zombies and Bieber Fever as well as his more serious work on mathematical epidemiology:

      http://mysite.science.uottawa.ca/rsmith43/

      Mathematicians care about the abstract model, not pesky little application details. And when the zombie apocalypse strikes, you'll be glad their work got funded.

  5. Peter Prof Fox

    It's the panic that distabilises society

    2" of snow forecast... People stock-up huge quantities of supplies. Then replenishment of stretched supplies is patchy. Then the scares worsen everything and it's a vicious circle. If the Internet is down (solar storms are not rare) then we're the first generation that will die of its dependence on the Internet to get spare parts to repair the Internet. Of course there are good sides -- people will have to talk to each other instead of being glued to FB etc.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: It's the panic that distabilises society

      -- people will have to talk to each other instead of being glued to FB etc.

      Only if they remember how to do that. With texting, FB, etc.... not much happens in the way of real face to face conversation among certain groups of people. I am continually amazed by the number of people that if I call, they'll say "text me".

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: It's the panic that distabilises society

      people will have to talk to each other

      You think that's a good thing? Have you met them?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You think that's a good thing? Have you met them?

        Ahh, you seem to be paraphrasing one of the great religious thinkers:

        "I wish I loved the Human Race,

        I wish I loved its stupid face.

        And when I was introduced to one,

        I wish I thought what jolly fun."

        Old Testament maybe? Doesn't sound like New.

      2. Updraft102

        Re: It's the panic that distabilises society

        "You think that's a good thing? Have you met them?"

        I think you just won this whole discussion.

  6. Eddy Ito

    It seems to me that the rate would depend on what the infection looked like. If they're like the zombies "as seen on TV" it seems rather likely that fighting back would be vigorous but if it's anything like more common viral outbreaks one can be contagious for a bit of time before the onset of symptoms. Then there's the whole zoonosis/anthroponosis angle of what your zombie parrot says?

    1. Daniel 18

      Indeed. Most zombie 'models' require contact with a zombie for infection. Change that and you have a whole different ball game.

  7. Lee D

    Just DO NOT go to the designated "safe areas".

    Because guess where the zombies all knew where to head when they were still human?

    Guess where all the food they want is?

    And guess what happens when you have a high density of people at that location?

    And guess where all the weapons are, and it only takes a handful of zombies to work out they can shoot humans back and THEN eat their brains more easily.

    Get as far away from other people as you can, would be my advice. I'm sure - as a mathematician - that the maths would back that up too if you did it properly.

  8. David Pollard

    Relevant and accessible?

    The University of Leicester web page giving details of this study includes a link:

    "Read an article on why it is important to make physics and science education relevant and accessible to the public."

    Rather than making physics 'relevant and accessible', these zombie papers seem to me to endorse the complaint that is often made by university teachers that a great many students arrive with an abysmally poor understanding of mathematics and science, and thus need remedial education before they can properly follow a degree course.

    The papers may have been little more than fillers for the local student journal. It was perhaps a mistake to promote them as the university press office did.

    1. Lee D

      Re: Relevant and accessible?

      I have a maths degree.

      My uni ran "Baby Maths" courses in the first year, where lecturers would give out sheets starting at literally "2+2" and going to simple calculus and simultaneous equations over the course of the year. You didn't need to do them, but it was pointed out that you SHOULD ALREADY BE ABLE TO DO IT ALL, that you've either been taught it before or you desperately need to learn it very quickly, that there should be no wrong answers and that you will have needed all this BEFORE YOU EVEN START at uni.

      It was necessary even then, nearly 20 years ago. People go to uni and think they can just vaguely remember their GCSE and be hand-fed everything through to degree. I know someone who works as a maths lecturer in London, the same stuff still happens. He's appalled by it, being European, and sees it as an embarrassment that people even try to go to uni with that level of appreciation of the subject they are studying.

      But the uni's have stopped caring. So long as you're paying for the year, who cares if you pass or fail or take up the lecturer's time. Those who want to succeed will do so anyway. Those who don't work still pay fees to the uni and then disappear NEXT year when another lot come in and do the same again. Lecturers get paid the same, courses are run the same, and sometimes even the courses are dumbed down to provide dumbed-down degrees which are laughed out of any foreign university.

      It's rife.

      The US - and, because of its perception as following a "US-style" education system - the UK are laughed at in international circles by PhD's and the like. You go there, realise it's a sham, but you can't tell anyone because you just spent three years getting that degree (that might take five elsewhere) and it would then make you look a fool to denigrate it. You go back home, the universities accept the UK degree, and then you do the REAL work over there.

      My girlfriend is a PhD in genetics, so she often got asked to coach PhD students in various biologies, including forensics etc. She once had a PhD candidate ask her what a shoulder was. Another told her - with a straight face - that you knew if a skeleton was male or female because there was one less rib. Only in Bible school, darling. But these people had MEDICAL DEGREES from UK universities and were going for doctorates.

      1. Kiwi
        Angel

        Re: Relevant and accessible?

        Another told her - with a straight face - that you knew if a skeleton was male or female because there was one less rib. Only in Bible school, darling.

        Nope, not even there. There's nothing in the Bible to say that, never was. These people should get to know their Bible a bit more if they believe such nonsense!

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Relevant and accessible?

          "Nope, not even there. There's nothing in the Bible to say that, never was. These people should get to know their Bible a bit more if they believe such nonsense!"

          Pretty sure Eve was made from Adam's rib, according to Genesis 2:22...

          "Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Relevant and accessible?

            No where does it say that Adams children inherited that particular change, or if he grew it back or not, or if Eve had the same number of ribs or not. Or if those who wrote or read the bible could count their own ribs as is no doubt possible.

            I do note that it does describe an understanding of rudimentary animal husbandry though in Genesis 6:22.

            It is easy to claim someone says something, even posting a quote from them. It is a different thing to understand what someone says.

      2. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: Relevant and accessible?

        " He's appalled by it, being European, and sees it as an embarrassment that people even try to go to uni with that level of appreciation of the subject they are studying. "

        You say that as though things are any better in Europe. I taught in a French university for a brief spell, and because their pass mark for the year is calculated on an average basis, most of my students failed my course and still got their degree -- heck, the number attending the resits was about a quarter of the number who failed the course.

        This was bad enough with final year students, but it was a major problem for continuing students, because they'd progress with the next year and progress to advanced courses in subjects they had failed at lower levels, so they didn't have the prerequisite knowledge they were supposed to have picked up during their studies.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You say that as though things are any better in Europe.

          Well, the US has you beat. Since it was decided that students should be graded on the curve instead of their mastery of the subject and that average is B+, that everyone should go to college and that all jobs require a degree, we're seeing some pretty feeble minded honors graduates.

      3. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Relevant and accessible?

        But the uni's have stopped caring. So long as you're paying for the year, who cares if you pass or fail or take up the lecturer's time.

        Utter rubbish. Student retention is a significant issue and is addressed seriously by universities. Failure reflects badly in the various league tables and in the KIS data, affecting recruitment. No-one is so short-sighted as to think that all that matters is one year's worth of tuition fee income.

        Wherever it was you went, they didn't do much to help you improve your critical thinking skills.

      4. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: Relevant and accessible?

        "The US - and, because of its perception as following a "US-style" education system - the UK are laughed at in international circles by PhD's and the like"

        Since when did the UK follow a "US-style" education? And, if they're so crap, why are UK and US universities still so in demand, and why do they make up 19 of the top 20 in the rankings?

        "Another told her - with a straight face - that you knew if a skeleton was male or female because there was one less rib. Only in Bible school, darling. But these people had MEDICAL DEGREES from UK universities"

        I think they might have been taking the piss; it's not unknown in UK culture...

        1. Lee D

          Re: Relevant and accessible?

          The person in question left the course soon after, for religious differences.

          It was NOT a joke.

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Sorry, they modeled survivability of a zombie outbreak without allowing for defense ?

    And they call themselves scientists ?

    Come on, nobody is just going to stand around and let themselves get bitten. There's this thing called "instinct of survival". It's apparently hard-wired in every living thing. Without training, it might only serve to push you into panic mode, which is probably not a good guarantee of survival, but most people are either going to run or at least try to grab something to defend themselves.

    And they had to make a second study to allow for 0.1 zombie death per person per day ? Really ?

    This is nonsense. Please consult this much better study of the consequences of a zombie outbreak.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry, they modeled survivability of a zombie outbreak without allowing for defense ?

      Thank you, that's a great article and much more reality based than this study :)

    2. Jeffrey Nonken

      Re: Sorry, they modeled survivability of a zombie outbreak without allowing for defense ?

      Yes thank you! I've read the article before but couldn't remember where to find it.

      They also missed a trick. Most zombie movies seem to assume that zombies without a source of brains will simply wander around aimlessly forever. But without food, their bodies will chew through their energy reserves very quickly. Fast zombies will waste away even more quickly than slow zombies. Running takes a lot of energy! Any assumption that has the zombies using body mass as fuel will simply have the bodies collapse when they run out of sufficient muscle mass to keep them upright. Which won't take long. Fat zombies will last the longest. But not much of a respite unless the virus can discriminate between muscle and fat. And...

      Too many problems with this model, my head is spinning. Suffice to say the zombies would collapse in hours, I should think.

  10. Alien Doctor 1.1

    They're...

    only after an ignoble.

    1. David Pollard

      Re: They're...

      Then they need to know that Marc Abrams and the crew at Ignoble Research are a bit more selective than that. It's not enough just to be silly.

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "tweet-triggered nuclear annihilation"

    Shit's more unstable than ever. A fart could kill us all.

  12. inmypjs Silver badge

    every day

    "each infected host a 90 per cent chance of turning an uninfected person into a zombie every day"

    Obviously watched too much of that walking dead crap. I just couldn't find zombies slowly stumbling around walking into pits or impaling themselves forever by walking into a sharp stick that scary. I couldn't understand how they managed to bite so many of the healthy apart from the dumb plot lines depending on it.

  13. Ken Mitchell

    UK - Zombies Win. USA - Zombies LOSE

    So in the UK, where guns and knives are forbidden, zombies will triumph.

    In the USA, zombies will win in San Francisco and in Washington, DC. Everywhere else, humans win and zombies die. Especially in Texas.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK - Zombies Win. USA - Zombies LOSE

      This one gets the 'obvious troll is obvious' response, something I never thought I would ever type.

      Presumption of victory is a guarantee of defeat.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: UK - Zombies Win. USA - Zombies LOSE

        Nope, we have plenty of defences.

        No need for guns, a cricket bat should be enough

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: UK - Zombies Win. USA - Zombies LOSE

      So in the UK, where guns and knives are forbidden, zombies will triumph.

      No, we're too creative for that. I bet I could knock up a flamethrower just with what I have in my garage. Not to mention the axes, pitchfork, etc.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: UK - Zombies Win. USA - Zombies LOSE

      I think I should point out that your thesis requires that good people with guns kill bad people with guns (or even zombies without guns) the evidence for this is lacking to say the least.

      I'd imagine within hours of the zombie warnings going out armed militias would have machine gunned anything moving and provided any zombies with so much easy to access braaaaaaaaaaaaiiiin food they would be overwhelmed.

  14. Schultz

    Not very scary...

    because according to my scientific study of aquarium zebrafish reproducing at a rate of 2000% per week, all biomass on Earth will be zebrafish by this time next year. What are the zombies going to bite then?

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: Not very scary...

      Zebrafish... duh!

      (You have now failed your PhD viva/defense.)

  15. MatsSvensson

    No problem.

    Ill just put up my tent, and noting can get me in there.

    Ill survive at least 10 seasons that way.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Just as long as you set up a trip line around your campsite, almost ten feet away from your tent, you'll have plenty of warning when the horde arrives.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "set up a trip line "

        You missed the point. If he can't see them, then they can't see him. :-)

  16. Joe Gurman

    Of course I wouldn't survive

    I ditched my LP albums decades ago.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: Of course I wouldn't survive

      You're OK -- CDs fly better anyway (as we discovered in the computer labs at uni, thanks to free AOL and Compuserve discs).

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Of course I wouldn't survive

        The download generation will be stumped. But that's alright. Like the old joke goes, 'I don't have to outrun the wolf, I just have to outrun you.'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Of course I wouldn't survive

          'I don't have to outrun the wolf, I just have to outrun you.'

          Not really. Because wolves are hard to truly sate. Once he finishes with the slowpoke, he'll pick up your trail and resume the chase.

  17. DerekCurrie
    Holmes

    A Starved Zombie Is A Dead Zombie

    It's typical of horror/monster movies to leave out that baseline, critical problem of life:

    *What's For Supper?*

    One reason I love the movie '28 Days Later' is that it bothers to pay attention to this critical question. If a zombie can't get dinner, it starves, it dies. Simple. Zombie Apocalypse over and done. √

    Of interest: Consider ALL the 'Alien' films. Exactly what do the zenomorphs eat, besides the insides of humans after a facehugger lays its egg in them? Give up? So does everyone else! It's an absurdity at the core of these films. But hey, they're all fantasy anyway, super scary fantasy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A Starved Zombie Is A Dead Zombie

      A little "get out of jail free" card for you. Considering the Zenomorphs biology, I'd assume they were carbon based. They (through necessity of what is shown in the films) would get their mass from an extremely efficient version of a plants growth. With hat and water vapor, they would get most their food, like a plant, from the air. Though this ignores the energy requirements.

      Totally impossible, but I guess you'd call it a carbon nanotube type life form.

  18. PassingStrange

    GI...

    ...GO

  19. Tom Paine

    EAs I understand it, new pathogens that kill their hosts quickly, and where the population isbhughkybsuceotible, and the pathogen is easily transmitted, tend to lose their lethality over time.strains the efficiently wipe out most of the local population in one area will tend to go extinct for lack of fresh hosts, whilst strains that allow their victims to shamble around biting others in the population will flourish. (A host species like industrial age humans that is able to respond ibtelligently, eg by quarantining victims, biosecurity, isolation treatment facilities, development of vaccines and antivirals and antibiotics and whatnot changes things a bit of course; cf the recent Ebola Armageddon which sadly failed to sweep the developed world bringing the end of life as we know it.

    I therefore suggest that the final equilibrium state would be a zombie virus of mild virulence and slow progression, which causes less and less dramatic and noticeable symptoms. You'd end up with a zombie infection being the sort of thing kids get immiunized against, and which get you a month off work.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      We got lucky with Ebola. It's hard to transmit at range and doesn't tend to become conagious until symptoms appear. A mutant strain that can drift and/or transmit asymptomatically (like aggressive flu) is a lot harder to handle.

  20. x 7

    forget Zombies, they're a minor risk.

    Triffids are what we should be worried about.

    Damned dangerous things triffids, but people forget about them. I guess most of those who see one get killed, so there aren't that many records

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Damned dangerous things triffids"

      Pah! Just hose'em down with salt water. I saw that documentary.

  21. Gobhicks

    Whatever

    George R Romero should be a billionaire by now if intellectual property had any credibility.

  22. M7S

    So the survival strategy can be summarised as......

    "Shoot and shag, quickly"

    That should make for an unusual government information leaflet.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, it won't.

    The virus will never make it to Madagascar, the early-stage symptoms are too obvious.

  24. Stevie

    Bah!

    I imagine after the Xmas Binge Drinking wears off it will be back to renaming pluto and other more sensible useless stuff.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    100 Days? Childsplay

    Ahh, it's no big deal. I've killed literally hundreds of zombies - I'm reasonably sure they were zombies. Actually still working on that whole Zombie Identification Heuristics thing. But when in doubt: Better Safe Than Sorry.

  26. Spanky60

    Coming soon - Trumps version of "The Purge"

    I wanna go Zombie huntig.. a zombie hunting we will.. a zombie hunting we will go!!

    I'm not a gun nut, just an enthusiast...Sport shooter.. I have a few firearms and a few thousand rounds of various caliber...Couple of 12 gauges (for up close splattering zombies)... a 16 gauge(for hittin zombies at 100 yards)... several pistols... 2 .45 caliber, and .40 S&W and a 9MM... a .308 and a 7MM-Mag both with some pretty high power scopes (for sitting up on my roof pickin off Zombies at 1000 yards, just for fun) and a AR15 for rapid fire kiilin a zombie horde... Not running out of ammo anytime soon either!!

    One big ass 10,000KVw generator a few gas cans and a nifty little hand cranked siphon pump to quickly drain no longer used vehicle gas tanks.. Big ASS Spot lights to spot zombies at night, or a zombie heard..

    Water? that's not a problem either.... have 3-55 gallon plastic drums of clean potable water.. not to mention a swimming pool that could also serve as water storage

    Food? MRE's... seeds to grow my own food...

    several NBC masks and suits... NBC Nuclear - Biological - Chemical containment suits

    and a few other goodies laying around the house...mostly for defensive needs

    Ya I'm a prepper... just in case of a zombie outbreak..

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Coming soon - Trumps version of "The Purge"

      "big ass 10,000KVw generator a few gas cans"

      10 MW? Planning to kill them with exhausts? Have to be quick with that, one jerrycan will last for a fraction of second.

      (nooo, not doing jokes about 10 million Volkswagens, not today)

  27. jake Silver badge

    There is no such thing as zombies.

    Sorted.

  28. Jack_Rainbow

    Why I will Survive

    The zombie hacks rattling their heads to find an original thought have seized on a few pathetic and worldless students and their homework statistical exercise to create another bag of boring nonsense. We all know the non story with big headlines and this is it. Students know everything right up until they have to get a job. They might as well be zombies too. The fact is that I personally would survive a zombie apocalypse as top dog and I would survive it very easily, with style. You must be asking, WHY? I will survive, because I would never stand in a city centre, surrounded by hundreds of abandoned cars - many with key still in the ignition - and ask my blond co-star, with her bad timing and tight little blouse, "But, how are we going to get out of the city?" I would never stand in a recently busy street stuffed with food shops and ask "Oh god, where will we find food?" and I promise you, I will never, ever, walk, hungry, cold, exhausted, past an abandoned police station/army base/ barracks/gunsmiths, lamenting my lack of weapons.

  29. Calimero

    Successful physicists are those who earn their salary by not doing physics???

    1. Is this "work" just a recycling of Charleston Heston's The Omega Man?

    2. Statistics in physics are great, but taking that approach [an assumed probability distribution function] is not necessarily working in every aspect of life. If it would, we would play the stock market successfully, then work for free -- for example, for those universities where like modeling -- and we will use a non-Gaussian distribution to show that the answer is, indeed, 42 - whatever the question.

    Suggestions for next big article title:

    "Physics departments are shrinking; WHY???"

  30. BillvLee

    Read the original papers....

    Lots of fun and read the entire issue of Physics Special Topics ( AND

    the previous archives ) at:

    physics.le.ac.uk/journals/index.php/pst/issue/view/18

  31. Bernard M. Orwell

    Go have a play of a game called "Project Zomboid". A little isometric simulation of how long you'd last, allowing you to define the conditions of play. You can change how long power, water, sanitation lasts, the frequency of other survivors and zombies, you can even set the parameters for zombie behaviour including speed, strength, intelligence, infection rate and methodology etc. etc. My record is 46 days.

    All good fun.

    "This is how you died".

  32. rusty_wheat

    Not the first time.....

    An SIR model with zombies was published in 2009 by Munz et al -- 'WHEN ZOMBIES ATTACK!: MATHEMATICAL MODELLING OF AN OUTBREAK OF ZOMBIE INFECTION. Chapter 4 in 'Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress' (pages 133-150). Even has some MATLAB code for the model at the end of the chapter.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    think they missed the end of Shawn of the Dead, where the army turned up and killed all the zombies.

    News Flash - automatic weapons vs human body == not much human body left.

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