Tag Archives: Zombies

Zombies After Bark

Looking for some Halloween fun on campus? The College of Human and Behavioral Sciences (or, CHBS) and several clubs within the college will be collaborating to host an RU After Dark event on Oct. 30 from 8:00p.m.-Midnight in the Hulbert Student Center (Bonnie) and on the plaza.

They’re calling it Zombie After Bark and it will include a charity run, games, music, and movies that are both filled with Halloween fun and in an effort to raise supplies and resources for the Radford Animal Shelter.

Get your zombie on for a good cause. Graphic from Radford Events Calendar
Get your zombie on for a good cause. Graphic from Radford Events Calendar

The Zombie Run will begin at 9:45, after events starting at 8:00p.m. which include costume contests, a “Thriller” dance-a-thon and live music. After the run, refreshments will be available as well as the game room and a zombie movie (Shaun of the Dead) will be playing in the food court.

Come in your best zombie garbs, paint your face, practice that limp, and harness that hunger for human flesh as you chase some humans in the run. Dress like the zombie — become the zombie! And show off for the glory of being crowned Best Costume.

Haven’t danced the “Thriller” since last year? Youtube it now and get your groove on Thursday the 30th! (Might as well get some “Monster Mash” going while you’re at it.)

Enjoy the music, food, and games while watching the kickoff movie for Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy. (Better order the rest of it now, if you haven’t — you know you’ll be craving it after!)

Finally, don’t forget that in order to participate in the events, CHBS and the sponsoring clubs only ask that you donate an item from their list for the benefit of the Radford Animal Shelter. Items include but are not limited to: Purina Dog Chow, Purina Cat Chow, Purina Kitten Chow, non-clumping cat litter, bleach, and Pine Sol (Lavender scent).

Food and litter are the Radford Animal Shelter’s top priorities for donations and they prefer these items over monetary donations due to how much farther it goes than 10 bucks.

Do your part in supporting our local shelter and have a blast while your at it — hope to see all you lovely Whim readers eating some brains there!

The truth about zombies

As Halloween approaches, all the horror movies are coming out, and they’re bringing the zombies. I personally, am a big fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead. So what’s the deal with zombies? How would zombies actually work and could they really exist?
First of all, let’s define a zombie as an immortal and flesh craving “animal” that no longer has any semblance of humanity (hopes, dreams, empathy).

The Brain
Zombies are typically imagined to be fast, incapacitated by hunger, and immune to pain. So what does that mean for the brain? Much of the brain would still need to be “on” and working with degradation to some very specific parts, despite what some of those science fiction shows have taught you.

Analyzing the zombie. Graphic by Jilletta Becker
Analyzing the zombie. Graphic by Jilletta Becker

To be immune to pain, zombies would likely have some sort of damage or brain lesions on their sensory cortex, which receives information from touch, pressure, pain, vibration, and temperature receptors. Without the sensory cortex, the brain would be unable to receive any information from those receptors, and therefore wouldn’t register pain, temperature, pressure, vibration, or touch. Another explanation, would also be degradation of the receptors themselves; no receptors, no pain!

In terms of those poor decision-making skills, the brain affected could potentially be the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is on the front of your head (right behind your forehead), and is one you’ve probably heard is still developing through your late teens. The prefrontal cortex helps you to coordinate information to form associations between information, and therefore gain an understanding of consequences of actions events. So having a damaged prefrontal cortex is what could cause the whole “closed door” predicament for zombies, as in “How do I get through this closed door?”

As for the crazy hunger for flesh and the general ability to function (minus the humanity), several parts of the zombie brain would have to continue working. An important grouping is the midbrain (plus the thalamus and hypothalamus) and the cerebellum. The midbrain is, as per its name, located in the much protected middle of the brain, connecting from the inside to the spinal cord. The midbrain, along with the thalamus and hypothalamus, work to process incoming sensory information, such as visual and auditory information, as well as outgoing motor information (as in, “move your arm now”). More importantly, these parts of the brain control the endocrine system, allowing or disallowing, changes in mood, sleep, energy, and metabolism. It’s possible changes in these parts of the brain would allow for some of those “zombie-like” qualities like hunger and sleeplessness. The cerebellum is what directs the involuntary coordination and control of ongoing body movements (Run, Zombie, Run) and would be necessary to successfully coordinate the movements that make zombies so fast.

The Cause
Imagine the complexity of a pathogen that would be so selective in its damage to some areas and leave others intact. Even if there were such a selective pathogen, it probably wouldn’t be able to limit it’s feeding to those areas forever, and would eventually move on to damage more until the zombie eventually died of dementia. In nature, such examples do exist, but can only be sustained for a limited amount of time for these reasons.

Another important point, is why? What’s in it for this pathogen to make these symptoms? In nature, zombification has occurred to promote reproduction of the pathogen/virus/fungus, which zombies definitely do through biting. Also, the inoculation/incubation would have to occur quickly, or the zombie would eat its prey before infection even occurred. Why then, is there no zombie vs. zombie action? It could be explained in the World War Z fashion: another zombie would be a poor host for infection. The idea is brilliant, but would be practically impossible to come into existence. Overall, it seems like a losing battle, if zombies were too good at what they do, they’d eventually run out of hosts and die off anyway.

Keep in mind, this article only touches on the possible mechanism of the zombie, and are only guesses based on the functions of the brain. There are many different ways to bring about the qualities that zombies exemplify. Even with damage in the regions suggested above, the brain is an amazing, unpredictable organ that will often find ways to “rewire” and avoid damaged areas. Therefore, if you’re getting ready for the apocalypse, it’s probably better to prepare for radiation or an airborne pathogen — or just not worry about it!

Will the dead really walk?

Shambling corpses are America’s new love affair. From the lauded show “The Walking Dead” to a zombie equivalent of “Twilight,” the rotting reminders of humanity’s dark side are everywhere. Of course, it has become a popular pastime to speculate on whether a zombie apocalypse could actually happen.

A common theme brought up by the “it could happen” crowd are plagues and parasites. There’s a parasite called toxoplasmosa gondii that infects rats, takes over their brains, and purposely gets them eaten by cats, so that the parasite can breed in the cats’ intestines. Continue reading Will the dead really walk?

Zombie epidemic

Zombies, survivors, and fear rule the cold, windy night on campus and set the mood for the improv club’s annual event “Survive Radford.” A crowd of students gathered and prepared for their adventurous night, awaiting for the terror filled evening to ensue. The chase began with the survivors leading with mere seconds ahead of the zombies. We ourselves entered this fray. A judge and a survivor — these are our stories. Continue reading Zombie epidemic

Whim’s staff Halloween treats

The staff at Whim have been working hard to provide the daily content you, as readers, have come to thrive on. In the spirit of this Halloween season, each staff member has provided you with their favorite thriller movie to get you through these chilly Halloween nights. Unfortunately, there seems to have been some sort of radiation leak in our offices, leaving most of our staff members … well … see for yourself. Continue reading Whim’s staff Halloween treats

Don’t Be Left4Dead 2

Valve, the makers of Left4dead, recently released the sequel to their popular game. Left4Dead2 is moreof the same zombie killing goodness that its predecessor flaunted in mass. Though this time it comes with a cajun flavor, the background to this version of the game being Louisiana.

Game Play

Game play is more or less the same as what was found in the prequel. The game introduces a number of new characters. These new characters are Coach, Ellis, Nick and Rochelle. Coach is an overweight football coach with a bum knee. Ellis is a mechanic and tends to say some of the funnier things in the character dialogue. Nick is a con artist and gambler. Rochelle is a low-level assistant at a television station who was reporting on the evacuation.

There are also a number of new special infected along with level-specific zombies. The level-specific zombies are known as uncommon infected. They are harder to kill thanks to equipment they were wearing prior to becoming infected. These uncommon infected range from zombies wearing riot gear making them nearly bullet proof to wearing hazmat suits that are fire proof. There are also new special infecteds such as the charger, the jockey and the spitter. The old special zombies have been tweaked and modifications have been made to some of their behavior. For example: on some campaign levels, the witch is now capable of wandering around aimlessly, able to strike at any moment.

The game also runs off of a new artificial intelligence known as the Director. The Director does a number of things for the game in hopes of taking away some of the repetitive play troughs found in the older game. The Director forces players through more treacherous paths in the game, basing its actions on the players’ skill level and how they have done throughout. The Director can also manipulate physical elements of the game such as lighting, weather and placement of walls. In effect the director is in charge of how the game flows and encourages players to take longer paths to reach their goal by providing better weapons and more health packs for taking a greater risk.

Valve has made a number of adjustments to the items found in the game. One such addition to the game

Image from the opening http://pcmedia.ign.com
front picture: http://www.platformnation.com Large picture: http://www.wouldyoukindly.com Image two:IGN.com Image three: http://pcmedia.ign.com

play is the addition of melee weapons such as chain saws, ninja swords, axes and, of course, the frying pan. This adds an interesting component to the game as players have to decide whether to keep their pistols or trade them out for melee weapons. Another addition to the game is the adrenaline shot. This item does not heal characters instead it allows them to ignore their pain and continue to run when their health is low. The bile bomb is a bomb that makes use of the boomer vile; allowing you to coat infected with it, causing them to attack each other.

The Good

There is nothing quite like watching zombie body parts go flying as characters make use of the melee weapons. It has to be one of the more amusing sights to the game. Dialogue between characters is funny and fitting, as they make their way through the game. The AI does a good job of making each play through a unique and interesting experience. It also does a good job of controlling the atmosphere of the game allowing for the correct amount of tension to build before each zombie horde. The bile bomb has to be one of the best weapons in the game watching as a horde of zombies swarm a tank knocking down its health for you is a nice relief when low on ammo.

The Bad

Their really isn’t all that much to say negatively about the game. The one sticking point are the graphics they are not nearly as sharp as they could and should be. Also at times some of the zombies’ movements don’t look entirely natural, rather a bit mechanical.

Whim Rating 5/5

Hitler on left4dead2

Intro to left4dead2