Today an interesting new report came out on the website http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8206280.stm. A British mathematician has published research on zombie outbreaks, and it does not look good for humanity. However, it is not the results that interest me as much as the research itself.
As a fellow researcher and theorist, I often have to defend the use of my research. However, when scientists look into the likelihood of humanity surviving a zombie attack, the news makes sure to report it. Zombies, while scary as all get out, are not the most pressing concern of humanity, and I wonder the usefulness at this research (as I have yet to see a zombie). It does not have initially apparent uses; however as a culture, zombie-ism is an important issue. It is a fear that has been in western culture for centuries. The dead walking is a basic human horror and it is possible that the research could help. Except of course, that this study shows that the zombies could easily win. Nevertheless, even this seemingly useless study relates to outbreaks of rapidly spreading diseases that could infect large numbers of people. The algorithms used to track the spread of zombies, could also be used to track the spread of flues.
Power to the researchers who got funding for zombie research; I hope that the information does more than just amuse the masses.
Researching something other than Zombies,
J.R. West the Raccoon