Zombie Science: 1Z Alien Syllabus
This page is incomplete, a development site for the development of our new show - Zombie Science.
There is an increase in the numbers of humans becoming Zombies. The show elucidates our theory on how other civilisations from other planets in our Universe are spreading their species through space using viruses and DNA, and how this relates to the rise in Zombieism on the planet Earth. Zombies are fictitious, used as a vehicle to introduce an audience to the science, however everything else in the show is real.
Humans are being infected with Zombieism at increasing rates. This is caused by a virus containing DNA designed to modify human brains. The aim of the virus is to transform humans into a new life form, similar to that of the Aliens, a higher being, who many billions of years ago (the Universe is 13.7 billion years old) sent the virus in the direction of our galaxy. However, if the brain of the host (human) is not suitable then Zombieism sets in.
What is a Zombie?
A Zombie is a human who has been infected with a virus that has changed the DNA and operation of the brain in a way that induces Zombie behaviour. The primary purpose of the virus is not to induce Zombieism but to modify a host species in such a way that it becomes a new 'higher' species. Zombieism is a side-effect and failure of the process, caused by the human brains incompatibility, probably due to a lack of intelligence.
Why are we under Alien attack?
Amongst other things, the Aliens probably think that they are doing the Universe a favour. It is likely that they have a high opinion of themselves and their importance. Their star and planet has died, but before this they wanted to guarantee the existence of their species.
It might be easier to understand why Aliens are attacking us from space if we take a human perspective on a similar problem. (There are good arguments why these motivations are shared by aliens.) From our perspective the human species is important and we'll go to some effort to maintain its existence. If our planets existence was threatened then we'd be interested in moving.
The Sun is about 5 billion years old and has about another 5 billion years left. The Sun works by fusing hydrogen into helium. When there is no more hydrogen available in the core for fusion the Sun will turn into a Red Giant star. As a Red Giant the Sun will be larger, much larger. So much so that it will swallow the Earth. The Earth will disappear. What are we going to do, sit around and fry? (Image: Sun, space.about.com)
How are we being attacked?
Life supporting planets orbiting around stars are very far apart. Too far away to consider travelling to in a conventional manner. The time, risks and energy involved in travelling between them is impractical on any species terms. The type of science we need to solve these problems is biological, including suspended animation and miniaturisation.
The solution the Aliens use is to send only the essence of their species in a frozen dehydrated form. We believe they are using DNA packaged in viruses.
For their plan, there are some assumptions the Aliens will have had to have made about other intelligent life they were hoping to usurp.
- They will have thought that it was reasonable to assume that in our Universe most life will be carbon based.
- Given the carbon assumption, assumptions on the use of protein and water in life follow.
- Life will be have to be based upon cells - there has to be a base building block.
- Intelligent life form has to come from something and so they can assume that evolution will exist on other planets.
- Finally, due to the limitations of viruses they will have decided to attack one organ, the brain.
Viruses and DNA
A human papillomavirus, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (Courtesy of Norman Olson).
For the purpose of spreading through the Universe viruses and DNA have several important advantages:
- ability to contain and pass on information
- tolerate dehydration and the cold of space
- they can spread through space in frozen water
- capable of infecting a host when it arrives at its destination
Once the virus is established, people infected with the alien virus would be contagious so it could pass between people like any normal virus. Even Mother and baby transmission in the whom or during birth/breast feeding in the same way that HIV does.
Why not cryogenic suspended animation
- There is only one of you but you and when you are not sure where you are going, it is better send lots of your DNA in different directions.
- Your body may not be suitable to the new environment.
- Cryogenic freezing is difficult
- Variable success with dogs.
- We have about 5litres of blood.
- 45% red blood cells.
- A blood cell has 100 times its volume of water passing over its membrane every second. 17000 tons for al your blood cells every day.
- You have to freeze the body at a point in time.
- Any mistake can cause changes to the brain.
Send only part of the Alien DNA
Viruses are small and are not big enough to fit all the DNA of an Alien. The solution is to only send part of the DNA.
It is also not desirable to send it all anyway. Many of the characteristics stored in the DNA will be for physical attributes which evolved to cope with the Alien's environment and are not suitable for Earth. For example different gravity and climatic conditions. It is better to utilise much of the hosts DNA which already has physical characteristics specifically suited to the new environment.
Thus only the essence of the Alien needs to be sent.
As far as we know, the human brain is the most complex entity in the Universe. It is made up of over 100 thousand million cells with 100 million million interconnections between them. It has an astonishing capacity and complexity, and we have much to learn about it. If there are other intelligent life in the Universe then it is likely that it is likely that even more complex central nervous system.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a large molecule found in cell nuclei.
- It is made up monomers - smaller molecules.
- DNA is part of all living organisms. It can be argued that life, any where, would have DNA.
- Can store information long-term (very stable) survive freezing, drying and self correcting.
As you are limited by the amount of DNA you can fit in a virus and viruses only normally infect one type of cell/organ the best target for the virus would be the brain. To take over a species, attacking the reproductive mechanism might be preferred. However, this would be too biologically variable in structure, and designing just the right virus would need extraordinary luck. A brain, on the other hand, is a good target because the intelligence has to be concentrated in some biological form and is a reasonable assumption that intelligence life will have some brain like structure.
If the alien virus attacks our brain to make us more intelligent/think like they do etc., then once we have alien like brains it will be easier for them to continue evolving us into them. Recently Noble prizes were awarded for discovering that you can use very small bits of DNA to specifically block any genes you want. So the small bits of DNA in the viruses can turn off genes in the brain that make us very human and replace them with alien brain genes. However, if the blocking part worked but the replacement part didn't or our brains just couldn't cope with the alien genes then I think you would end up with a zombie.
Inheriting Alien DNA
Viruses are small infectious agents.
(www.wadsworth.org, Herpes virus)
- Made out of protein.
- Replicate inside cells of other organisms.
- Infect cells
- Enters nucleus
- interferes with ...
- Cell becomes virus factory
- Spread to other cells very efficiently
- Can modify surface of cells to deflect virus infecting
- Most numerous biological entity.
- Contain DNA or RNA.
- Can modify DNA of host
- Some can survive dehydration and low temperatures.
However, It is not even necessary for the virus to persist. The alien DNA could be directly inheritable.
Some types of viruses when they infect a cell their DNA gets incorporated into the DNA of that cell. So the infected cell starts making virus and if that cell makes any new cells then they will also have the virus DNA and will make virus. Basically, even if you have for example a brain targeting virus, a little bit always spreads to other parts of the body. It can get into the germline cells which produce sperm and eggs. If it gets in to the germline cells then it will be transferred into the sperm or eggs and will therefore be in every cell of the child.
This is an important safety consideration in gene therapy. If you use a virus to treat someone then you don't want the DNA to be passed on to their kids. Theoretically this is possible but no one is sure if it could actually happen or what the rate of it occurring would be.
Why we become Zombies and not Aliens?
The White Zombie Hypothesis (White, pers com, email, Zombies, 29.01.2010)
- Viruses normally infect only one cell or organ type.
- A Zombie virus would likely attack the brain.
- As we start to think and act like they do then our evolution will then be influenced and we will become even more Zombie like.
- "A few years ago a couple of people got a Noble prize for discovering that you can use very small bits of DNA to specifically block any genes that you want. So you could have a virus that turns off genes in the brain that make us very human and replace them with alien brain genes. If the blocking part worked but the replacement part didn't or our brains just couldn't cope with the alien genes then I think you would end up with a zombie."
Can we prevent the attack?
Comet Hyakutake Credit: NASA
The viruses are tiny and can be arrive from space in all directions . They piggy back on-board frozen water, comets and micro-comets. The light signatures in the tail of comets, streaming out as they get closer to the sun, shows clear signs of organic compounds. Some scientists have theorised (now largely discredited) that seasonal flu is caused by virus being washed down from the upper atmosphere by winter weather. So unless we can stop the Earth moving through space and stop the weather we can not prevent the attack.
The life cycle of Zombies
First, there is the initial infectious stage, where the virus finds a host. Being sterile, Zombies do not reproduce sexually. In a similar manner to the other organs, with the exception of the brain, the sexual organs are shut down. Zombies, instead, produce more Zombies by passing on the Zombie virus via direct fluid transfer, usually a bite to the flesh.
How to avoid becoming a Zombie
Once infected, the host becomes ill, and will eventually fall into a coma. The coma state can last from several minutes to hours. The transformation, from initial infection to Zombie, typically takes under 24 hours. (Image: i.ehow.com)
In theory, if we were able to undo all the changes in the nervous system made by the Zombie virus then the process could be reversed. However, in practice this is impossible. Humans have something like 100 billion neurons. They are linked up in just the right way to process everything we see, hear, touch, taste, think, say, the way we walk... everything your brain does. Even if we used stem cells to replace damage, these would have to know how to hook up in the right way. And even if they did this would have to be done, in the Zombie state, without a functioning body to deliver them.
Zombie Physiology and Attributes
When a human becomes a zombie, the physical body starts to decay. A Zombie can exist for an estimated 4 years, however, 6 months is more likely. This variation is due to factors such as local climate, initial physical state or damage sustained, age, weight, etc. Zombies do not require food or any nourishment, including air, to survive. They do not use any of the bodies organs apart form the brain. (Image: blogs.zdnet.com/gadgetreviews)
How you make a Zombie safe
Zombies can only be made safe by destroying the brain, their only vital organ. When severed from the body, for example a limb, body parts will stop functioning. When decapitated the body, separated from the brain, will cease to function. However, the head will still attempt to attack. A 'dead' Zombie is still infectious and provides a significant hazard and should be disposed of in the proper manner.
Other related stuff
Where life on Earth came from
- Types of life
We can use lessons from the emergence of life on Earth.
- Magic / God - life is more interesting
- Comets etc.
- Lots of commets
- Density problem
- Dark matter hypothesis - most of the dark matter is organic compounds deliberately spread.
- Universe life nucleation points
- If there is a place where life can start even a little bit easier than on Earth then we are likely to have been seeded.
Biology and Human Physiology
- What are cells
- The effect of cold
- Frozen hand
- Organic compounds and molecules
- What are viruses
- How to control viruses
- Prevention of spread
- Flash cotton
- Fire eating
- Kills 100% of victims
- Destroy brain
- Changes behaviour
- remove teeth
- Cold temps keep stable
- What is DNA
- How viruses can interfere with DNA
- How the offspring DNA can be effected.
- Blood brain barrier
- How the brain works and controls the body.
- What would give a stiff walk
- What would cause you to bight
- Limitations on intelligence.
- Size of head for a live birth.
- Nervous System
Astrophysics and Astro-biology
- Planet formation
- Stellar formation
- Characteristics of interstellar space
- organic compounds found in the tails of commets
- Red Giants
- Rocky planets
- Gas planets
- Space travel
- Extreme cold
- Why is the human body unsuitable on other planets.
- Carbon based life
- Age of the Universe
- Seasonal virus attacks from the upper atmosphere.
- Time, energy and not knowing where to go.
- Life seeded from space.
- Importance of humans
Realistic frozen hand smashed with hammer demo
This demonstrates some of the problems of freezing a higher organism to transport them over large distances.
New hydrogen rocket
You have been given an extension for your Zombie Science 1Z Exam.
Just click the picture below,