Friday, December 28, 2012

Science of Zombies

Son of a B-. No, I won't swear at that level in the blog, but I sure as hell did say it out loud when I read and watched the video about the science that could create an actual zombie-like event. Located on Mashable, this article discusses the ability of a virus to meet the qualifications necessary to create a zombie horde.

You see, nature is a mean spirited destroyer of all things - just as much as she can create some amazing wonders. No one should ever forget that that same person who creates the awesome beauty of things like this image at right:

Also create terrible things like this:
That is an image of Hurricane Sandy from space as it envelopes a majority of the Eastern Seaboard. Like I said - Mother Nature is not all sunshine and honeybees. 

Imagine my displeasure to hear that she allows for viruses to take over human brain function. I don't think anyone can ignore the fact that Rabies is a disease that acts like this. It is a mean spirited bug intent on death and to spread itself to new victims. Why do you think Rabies causes aggressive behavior and salivation in animals? Aggression makes the animal use its main weapon - biting, and salivation is a method to spread itself - since Rabies is passed through fluids. 

It doesn't take much of a stretch to get to unending hunger and other loss of mental control. The video explains that all it takes is a virus specifically targeting those parts of the brain. The terrible part of it as well - is that the virus could easily enter via a sense of smell. The damn olfactory nerves lead directly to the part of the brain that handles these sorts of things. 

Damn Nature. Now I have to worry about things I may smell. This planet is flipping crazy!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Terminal Defense Position: The Channel Islands

Since my last entry discussed some of the concerns a Zombie-apocalypse survivor needs to keep in mind when selecting a location, I decide I should start picking some out that I think would make for interesting analyses. Lets face it, after playing a few rounds with the game "Plague Inc." almost anyone would want to find a nice secluded spot to live when the Zombies come. Or in this case - the vastly over-powered mutating sentient disease intent on wiping out humanity.

One can only hope that Plague Inc. gives me a free copy of the app for plugging them here (please? I need to scare myself more often?)

Anyways, my location for today's analysis is going to be the Channel Island off the California coast. Here is a map in case you are unsure where they are. that city in the top right corner of the Map is the Ventura/Oxnard region just outside of Los Angeles. This location will include the caveat that I have not spent any time on the islands - I have only looked longingly at them from the coast when I spend time in Ventura. This location speaks to me on a number of different wavelengths, so lets look at each of the areas of concern and how this location stacks up.

Limited Approach
These islands are nice in that they are close to shore, but out of range of most swimmers. The first small island is almost 20 miles off shore - I know I can't swim that far as of today. (Note to self, begin swimming training for endurance) The island each have few locations that you can just get onto the island - their coasts are rocky - this will help provide less area to patrol and keep possibly infected people off-shore under quarantine. Can't beat that. However - this place is within an hour travel of the metropolitan area of Los Angeles. The city proper has almost 3.9 million residents, and the Metro area is closing in on 20 million inhabitants making it one of the largest city centers on the planet. Score: 8/10

Length of Stay before Re-Supply
This one is tricky. If you have time to prep the location - which you cannot in this case because I guess people get angry if you modify a national park- these locations can be very long-term inhabitable. Fishing is ample around the islands, and there seems to be enough rain to keep the place green most of the year, however this island is along the dividing line of the California heat and the more common cooler rainier climate of the northern half of the state. With the right seed crops in addition to local wildlife, and a way to store large amounts of water, this island could be a great place to spend your time. Also, though you can't see it on the smaller map above - directly north of the eastern peninsula of the island are active oil derricks. That's right - you have a pre-tapped supply of oil - if you know how to not blow yourself up operating an oil derrick. Score: 10/10

This location could be self-sustaining if properly managed - however a fair amount of technical expertise is needed. Who here can farm? How much needs to be planted to feed a single/multiple persons? Who can operate an oil derrick? Can you fish without a fancy pole or net? Also, the previous blog entry mentioned that whole "Tons and tons of explosives" that would be dropped to stop the advance of the Zombie horde. Does anyone reading this that the military would think twice about nuking an LA with Zombie Justin Beiber eating his fans? Hell. No. (a Google image search was too revolting to include here.) I wouldn't stop myself. So this location could be partly irradiated, and any supplied you would have tried scavenging while fighting off the millions of undead in LA will be a melted pile of slag. Your only hope is that the mountains shielded Ventura and Oxnard - lots of hippies with Solar panels, and marina's with nice boats. Score: 6/10

Available Skill Sets
This one will take some planning. Good news is that California has Rocket scientists - so no shortage of mad-scientist types can be found near the Channel Islands - they do Rocket testing there. Additionally, the Naval Engineers (Sea Bees) are located at the naval base at Point Mugu - on the south side of Oxnard. Make that another notch for very well armed construction and trade skills. In fact - if you can't make a pretty hospitable location work when you have both rockets scientists and a full armed construction force you are really going to have to reconsider your plan of action for the apocalypse.  Score: 11/10

Final Score
Because of the relative ease of sustaining this area, and the availability of both farm and technical skill sets, but its proximity to a major ZBA - I would give the Channel Islands a total score of 35/40. This location could sustain a group of people for an extended period of time, in relative ease with its moderate climate conditions, proximity to technical and physical resources and a more secure location than most people can find on land. Well done California, well done.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Terminal Defensive Positions

I am pretty sure my family has been involved, in some form or another, in most every major conflict in the last 1000 years of Western European history. No - I can't confirm all of that - that is the beauty of "anecdotal" history. Needless to say though, of all the generations currently alive - all of them have served in the military. At least one member of the family has found their way into the defense of the country we call home. Part of the reason this matters to me - is because all of us are obsessed with tactics and strategy. My love of strategy also bleeds over into my fear of the undead.

In the past I have written about my need to know the escape routes of places I am at, or think of how I can turn said locations into an easily defensible position. This is important to me - in some part of my mind I need to know what sort of defensive strategy I should have in place for where I am at a given moment. Handy? not most of the time, but it is in that one in a million time when that sort of information needs to be understood. 

This entry will discuss the importance of Terminal Defense Positions. These are locations that have a few required ratings that a person should take into consideration, to determine how long you should stay there, and what sort of places really are the best places to escape to in case of zombie outbreak.

1. Limited Approach. How limited are the access points for the undead to reach you. Are you trying to hide in a green house? (That is an Epic Fail by the way) Are you just hanging out in your basement/attic? (Another possible group of FAIL) Are you using one of these?

Yes, that is one freaking epic-ally hard to approach fortress (Built in Yemen according to the Google Image search that found it). While this limited approach appears, well, pretty awesome, it does suggest utter failure in the next category.

2. Length of Stay before Re-Supply. While that Yemeni fortress above is a great place to draw a proverbial "line in the sand", it probably doesn't have a natural spring of fresh water inside of it. That rock looks pretty dry. Probably doesn't have access to fuel - either wood, oil, gas, or anything else. While it would be perfect for a solar installation (power for the place and shade for you is a good idea) lugging solar panels around in the apocalypse is not going to be an option here.

3. Supplies. How difficult is it to manage long-term in that location. Can you supply yourself food, fresh water, and fuel supplies? Materials to rebuild equipment that breaks? I do not consider non-replenishing scavenging here. The idea that you can "scavenge forever" is faulty - and fails to take in the assumption that there are million of tons of high-grade explosives and nuclear weapons that will be used in a Zombie Apocalypse. 

That whole "you need two keys and some magic codes from that briefcase by the president..." goes out the window really fast when a rural base commander see a nearby town overrun with undead coming at his soldiers, and he gets a technician to jury rig an override to that fancy trigger gizmo inside of it. Nuclear weapons need two things - fissionable materials and a really big *bang* surrounding it to get it to become unstable. every other part is just to help or control the reaction when it prepares to go off. Urban centers will be ravaged by fires, nuclear and traditional explosions and the thousands of people living in that town that panic and strip the place bare before you get to it. Scavenging will not be a good fall back plan. 

4. Available Skill Set. Some people are more valuable than others to save - sorry Geek Squad. Unless you can toss together a Tesla Coil or any other technical feasible device other than an Ipod we don't need you. I will not have to worry about my IP Address in the Apocalypse. Civil engineers, Contractors, Electricians, Pipe Fitters, Masons... Hell with it - just find every tradesmen you can tie up and toss in whatever vehicle you have around. Ignore doctors, get the Nurse Practitioners first - they do a lot of the real work anyways. 

This is a perfect time to be friends with a Union Representative because chances are he knows some of the best in these trades. Please don't discuss Union vs. non-Union here - Unions are more connected typically than non union and we need that knowledge fast. You don't have time to take applications and do background checks.

Additionally, it is handy to know that crazy, food hoarding gun enthusiast down the street - that I assume you made sure to invite to every fun event at your home you could get away with over the past few years. If he is hoarding Twinkies you don't have to be his friend - we want the people that are hoarding raw grains and salts for curing the meat they hunt or fish themselves. That family - strange as you may think they are, will have what you need. You better have been helping them out otherwise they might just shoot you on sight.

These four values should be used to evaluate any location that you want to sit down in and ride out the hoard of undead wiping out all those people you didn't really like anyways. Next week - we will begin going over locations that are best suited for a long term survival of you and your family (or people you saved instead of your horrible, horrible, insane family that were the first to be turned).  

Bad news - California is actually, AGAIN, one of the best places to be for this sort of event - if you can avoid the initial problem of that state having more undead than any other on the continent. Goddamn hippies did that on purpose didn't they?