While tools like shotguns, baseball bats and flame throwers might prove invaluable during the zombie apocalypse, there’s another tool — which takes a more cerebral approach to the problem — that might also come in handy. Infection-mapping tool Zombietown USA lets you chart the spread of the zombie outbreak and know exactly where you should flee to last the longest when the brain eaters start taking over the US. You can even adjust sliders to account for different variables, so your escape route can be the most efficient possible.
Though Zombietown USA seems like a gag, it actually grew out of hard science. As we reported earlier, a group of researchers at Cornell University, inspired by the book “World War Z” by Max Brooks, modeled the way in which a zombie outbreak might spread and determined your best bet was to run for the hills.
Zombietown USA grew out of their research and accompanies a paper graduate students Matt Bierbaum, Alex Alemi and several of their peers recently submitted to arXiv, an online depository for physics papers. The paper, “You Can Run, You Can Hide: The Epidemiology and Statistical Mechanics of Zombies,” uses zombies as a basis to model any disease, including ones that might actually strike.
“We wanted to study zombies using many of the scientific tools used for actual disease, albeit in a fun context,” Bierbaum, told me. “We hope in this way to introduce the real methods and science behind diseases to a broader audience and show the fun in science.”
“Zombies, while maybe not a ‘real’ disease, is a unique model of diseases compared to those that are traditionally studied,” Bierbaum said. “In standard disease models as well as zombies, an infection takes place when there is contact between an infected host and a healthy one — someone sneezing on someone else, or a zombie biting a healthy human. In standard disease models, infected individuals recover when they get better on their own. A zombie, however, only recovers when it is actively killed (canonically, by destroying the brain).” (Read more from “Cornell Researchers Create Online Simulator to Map Zombie Outbreak” HERE)