Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

2nd zombie paper rises from dead

By Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca. A group of University of Ottawa researchers who wrote about an outbreak of zombie-ism earned the unique distinction of publishing the first paper modelling a fictional disease. But as it turns out, they aren't the only Canadian mathematicians to consider "the zombie problem."

Looking for comment from researchers in the field of disease modelling, I called Troy Day, an associate professor at Queen's University and the holder of a Canada Research Chair in mathematics and biology.

Day, who read the study with interest, said the work of professor Robert Smith? and his students did provide a set of general principles one could use in real-life to model the spread of an infection.

And, perhaps because great minds think alike, it turns out he and a graduate student, Mike Delorme, whipped up their own paper a few years ago.

The unpublished paper entitled, The efficacy of vaccination for the eradication of rage-virus mediated zombieism, looked at the more fleet-of-foot zombies seen in the film 28 Days Later, rather than the plodding zombies the Ottawa researchers studied. And they focused instead on vaccinating against the "disease."

The findings, however, were spookily similar.

"A vaccine can never eradicate the disease if its effectiveness is less than approximately 0.09 (i.e., the vaccine must reduce transmission by at least 91%). Furthermore, even for highly effective vaccines... the vaccination coverage required for eradication is unrealistically high. Consequently, other control measures, such as the slaughter/incineration of infected individuals... are likely to provide a better approach."

There are two important lessons here.

One, zombies, if they were to ever make the leap from fiction to reality, pose all kinds of problems for mankind. And two, mathematicians have a wicked sense of humour.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments

Matt Innes

I'm fairly sure neither of these is the first academic paper on the spread of zombie-ism or other imaginary infection disease.

Google "World of Warcraft epidemiology" and it returns over 11,000 hits. There was an accidental epidemic in August of 2007 and an intentional one at the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion in October/November 2008, both of which led to some academic activity.

Posted August 19, 2009 01:55 PM

Brad

Toronto

What a RIDICULOUS WASTE of my time and yours.
It's pathetic that our 'higher' educational institutions are actually publishing studies based on the spread of 'zombie infections'.
Why aren't we OUTRAGED as a tax paying public for the BLATANT mis-use of our tax dollars not to mention the gall of certain administrators thinking that we the TAX PAYING PUBLIC actually care about such a fantasied, irrelevant and juvenile scenario to begin with? What rubbish.

Posted August 19, 2009 08:13 PM

Gail Cooke

Brad,

Lighten up. Not everything in this world has to be serious. I get that money is tight and perhaps it could have been rerouted to something more valuable. At this point though, the Canadian Government wastes so much of my money it hardly makes a difference. At least it's not spent on the hideous bridge that the municpal government here is ready to lay waste to my tax dollar. This has entertainment value.

Personally, I think we should all get ready for the Zombie Apocalypse. Or the H1N1 Apocalypse...take your pick.

Posted August 20, 2009 11:54 AM

Anthony H

Australia

If you read the article properly, this research does have purpose in that it can be used as a reference material for real life "disease" transference. Just as we saw with H1N1, it was basically impossible to stop its transference across state/country/international borders.
Quote"Day, who read the study with interest, said work of professor Robert Smith and his students did provide a set of general principles one could use in real-life to model the spread of an infection."end quote
so whiel the disease is a fantasy, the actions and consequences of it are not and therfore have real world applications.

Posted August 20, 2009 11:33 PM

Robert Smith?

Ottawa

Brad: you can relax. Not one dollar of taxpayer's money was spent on this research. That's the beauty of mathematics. Surprising as it may seem, we didn't collect specimens or travel to exotic locations to observe zombies in the wild. Not that we didn't want to, of course...

Posted August 21, 2009 08:46 PM

Bradisdumb

toronto

Brad: Your tax dollars are not wasted... the students pay for the professors salary.. more than you ever will.

Posted August 27, 2009 08:41 AM

Shawna

London

I would like to observe zombies in the wild.

Posted August 27, 2009 02:00 PM

Gail Cooke

Calgary

I too would like to observe zombies in the wild...but I believe I have observed domesticated zombies at the office on occasion...

Posted August 27, 2009 05:13 PM

Jeff

Japan

Dr. Smith, there are lots of zombies to study here in Japan. They slowly stagger around in wavy lines, staring at their cell phones as they text message, murmuring in low tones, and occasionally running into things because their vision is limited to the distance of a cell phone screen held at arm's length. Some of them have even learned to ride bicycles.

Posted August 28, 2009 10:12 AM

Dwight Williams

Brad, do you have a problem with researchers having a sense of humour and a self-admitted fandom affiliation in the course of their work?

Posted August 28, 2009 05:19 PM

Mitch

ontario

I think the idea of zombies rising and attacking humanity is silly however if they ever did I feel that the human race would be doomed since there is a lack of unity in the world perhaps the un-dead Apocalypse would unite the world on the basis of a common foe thus putting aside our differences to remain at the top of the food chain in a sense.

as was said before when or if the Apocalypse ever does come I rather fight zombies then be wiped out in a Nucular Apocalypse or some sort of H1N1 or SARS or So on and so far.

IF the zombies do come, would the canadian government allow looting for the sole purpose of survival or will it be a state of martial law kind of situation such as hurricane Katrina was ?

Posted September 1, 2009 03:15 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

Istanbul bomb attacks kill 29, wound 166: interior minister video
Turkey's interior minister says twin blasts outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul have killed 29 people and wounded 166 others.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella vows quick fix to country's PM crisis
Italian President Sergio Mattarella pledged on Saturday to act quickly to solve a government crisis prompted by Matteo Renzi's resignation as prime minister, with all major parties calling for elections as soon as possible.
Syria, Russia pound rebel-held Aleppo but advances halt
​Syrian troops have identified 45 bodies so far in a mass grave found in the city of Palmyra after it was recaptured from Islamic State, a military source told Reuters on Saturday.
more »

Canada »

Mountie sues, alleges PTSD from exposure to child porn in sex offences unit
An RCMP officer has filed a lawsuit alleging he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after being exposed to a "significant volume" of child pornography while working in a specialized unit.
Freezing rain, more snow heading for Metro Vancouver as deep freeze continues
The winter weather in the Vancouver area is far from over — the province's deep freeze is set to continue until next week.
Recap Toronto FC loses MLS Cup to Sounders in penalty kicks
Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei came back to haunt his former team as the Sounders defeated Toronto 5-4 in a penalty shootout to win the MLS Cup and end a long, chilly Saturday night.
more »

Politics »

Analysis Trudeau's climate deal points the way to 2030 - with more arguing to come video
Friday night, Justin Trudeau was able to appear on stage with the premiers and declare himself "very happy" to have general agreement on a pan-Canadian framework deal on climate change. But that means there's still lots of talking to be done.
Bill to simplify border crossing passes U.S. Congress
A bill with potentially sweeping consequences for the Canada-U.S. border has just been adopted by the American Congress, allowing new projects aimed at speeding up travel through the international boundary.
Trudeau announces 'pan-Canadian framework' on climate — but Sask., Manitoba hold off video
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a "pan-Canadian framework" to fight climate change and meet Canada's commitments to cut carbon emissions by 2030 — but a day of intense talks failed to get all premiers onside.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

'I'm sorry, I'm so nervous': Patti Smith forgets Bob Dylan lines during Nobel Prize performance video
Even well-known musicians who have been performing for decades get nervous and Patti Smith is no exception.
Kim's Convenience fans brave the cold to meet stars of hit CBC show
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Simu Liu and Jean Yoon were all on-hand at the real-life Kim's Convenience store on Queen Street East on Saturday.
New Apprentice boss Schwarzenegger OK with Donald Trump as producer
Arnold Schwarzenegger, star of the new version of Celebrity Apprentice, is unfazed that president-elect Donald Trump has retained a producer's stake in the show.
more »

Technology & Science »

Photos On Lennox Island, no one debates whether climate change is real
A small Mi'kmaq First Nation community in Prince Edward Island is a kind of canary in the coal mine when it comes to climate change. It's one of the places in Canada where you can see the effects of climate change happening right now.
Profile 'This game is not over yet:' Arctic researcher has hope we can turn corner on climate change
John England, who won a prestigious award this week for a lifetime of northern research on climate change, says he's still hopeful. 'There are these moments when we jump forward in a way we never anticipated.'
Al Gore's climate change film An Inconvenient Truth gets sequel
Al Gore's climate change documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is getting a sequel.
more »

Money »

Non-OPEC oil producers to cut output 558,000 barrels a day
OPEC has persuaded 11 non-members to cut oil production, a move aimed at draining a worldwide oil glut and boosting low prices that have squeezed government finances in Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Major New York markets hit second consecutive day of record highs
Major New York indexes hit a second consecutive day of record highs, while the Toronto stock market inched up to continue a six-day rise.
Ad revenue outlook sees continued big gains for digital media in 2017
Digital advertising will continue to outstrip other media forms this year and next when it comes to bringing in ad dollars, according to a new forecast from media buying company GroupM.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Recap Toronto FC loses MLS Cup to Sounders in penalty kicks
Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei came back to haunt his former team as the Sounders defeated Toronto 5-4 in a penalty shootout to win the MLS Cup and end a long, chilly Saturday night.
Oleksiak anchors Canada to short-course relay gold video
Canada claimed its first gold medal of the world short-course swimming championships on Saturday night in the women's 4x200-metre freestyle relay.
Analysis Gretzky, Bettman take opposite views on NHL's Olympic participation
The NHL board of governors meeting did little to settle the matter of whether or not the league should continue its participation in the Winter Olympics. In one corner, Gary Bettman claims "strong negative segment," while Wayne Gretzky stated that he loves and is "a big believer in the Olympic Games."
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »