Mar 08, 2015 12:29 PM EDT
Think that you've got what it takes to survive a zombie apocalypse? Well you may be right. But if you're training in the city, a new study may reveal that your survival rate is significantly affected, in the event that a zombie-like infection were on the loose.
Since the sci-fi, fantasy invention of zombies, it appears that several generations of man have pondered the plausibility of such a pandemic taking place. Though no known pathogen or disease to date has caused symptoms like those posited by zombie stories, with the Ebola virus outbreak so highly ranked amongst today's news, researchers have decided to look into the scenario. And what they're finding is that even when the models are used to study real disease epidemics, city-dwellers often don't fair quite as well as those secluded to mountains.
"Modeling zombies takes you through a lot of techniques used to model real diseases, albeit in a fun context" graduate student involved with the study, Alex Alemi says. "It's interesting in its own right as a model, as a cousin of tradition SIR [susceptible, infected, and resistant] models-which are used for many diseases-but with an additional nonlinearity."
The new study presented at the American Physical Society meeting held this weekend, was developed by researchers with Cornell University and was entitled the "Statistical Mechanics of Zombies". Utilizing different populations as factors, and varying rates-of-infection to determine how a fictional zombie outbreak would spread, the researchers believe that they have created a plausible scenario of how a zombie epidemic would devastate the US.
"Each possible interaction is treated like a radioactive decay, with a half-life that depends on some parameters, and we tried to simulate the times it would take for all of these different interactions to fire, where complications arise because when one thing happens it can affect the rates at which all of the other things happen."
The researchers say though that not everyone should be equally concerned when it comes to survival in a zombie-like epidemic. Mostly it's the city-dwellers that should consider a new strategy or even a new place to call their home. While New York City may play the role of hot spot for any zombie agent, Alemi and fellow researchers recommend that survivors head to the northern Rocky Mountains if they want to survive throughout the zombie invasion.
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