Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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8/29/2014
08:06 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
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Geekend: Fight Zombies, Or Go To Mars?

It's the most divisive question in all of geekdom: What do you do when the zombies invade?

Geek's Guide To NYC Travel: Interop Preview
Geek's Guide To NYC Travel: Interop Preview
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Bear with me as I paint a picture of how I came across the geekiest question ever asked. I was at a party with 20 or 30 of my oldest friends, mostly from college, all with serious geek cred. In the room were engineers, IT pros, writers, and sci-fi fans galore. On most questions throughout the night, there was generally a consensus -- except one.

That one burning question had the room nearly evenly split. Not only that, but everyone at the party was convinced there was no room for discussion; the other side was clearly insane. Never have I seen a question so excite geeks and so divide them at the same time. So it occurred to me I had to share this question with an even bigger Geek community:

If a Walking Dead-style zombie apocalypse began and you and your family were invited on to a spaceship that could take you to a zombie-free Martian colony, would you take the ship or stay and fight the zombies?

Before you jump to a conclusion, let me explain what you are up against:

If you stay and fight the zombies, a huge percentage of the population will become mindless, flesh-eating, dangerous predators. You may be infected by the same thing that infected them. They will hunt you down, because they are voracious, tireless eaters who swarm their prey.

[Scared of zombies? Here's to your health! Geekend: Scare Yourself For Health.]

You might think you'll be able to outsmart them or outrun them. You might be right. But don't forget -- even if the zombies don't get you, other humans will. You'll be forced to scavenge for the last vestiges of resources from a dying civilization. You'll be breaking into every convenience store on Earth, looking for that last pack of Twinkies. You'll be living off vodka and old cans of Spam. You'll be breaking into Walmart, fighting your way through hundreds of zombie customers who spent their last moments of consciousness trying to save 10 cents on a bar of soap, in an effort to beat everyone else to the ammunition.

And you can't stop. You can never stop. When your supplies run low, you can try to defend some sort of enclave and maybe grow your own food. But you'll end up defending it, not only from zombies, but also from other humans who resent the fact that you have something. They will try to take it from you. And they are smart. And fast. And they have guns.

You will never sleep safely. You will never eat well. You may have to kill your own kids because they've become zombies.

Still not convinced? Look at this brutally honest view.

So, ready to go to Mars?

Well, that's no treat, either. First, you'll spend 180 days (or more) in a tiny metal box just to get there. All that time there will be no mission control and no fanfare for your brave trip. You're not Neil Armstrong -- you're Ripley from Alien, running from a threat that may destroy your species. Earth is gone, and a barren red rock awaits.

Spend six months in zero gravity and see what happens. Your muscles will atrophy. Your bones will thin. Worse, you'll actually lose blood. Gravity pulls blood to your feet. When gravity disappears, blood distributes evenly, and

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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 2:08:37 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
Do I have to clean the fish we catch, Susan? I'll keep the bathroom clean instead. But I can cook the fish, pretty good at that.

I'm liking my thought about zombie sharks, thinking I need to get a screenplay to Hollywood for next year's Shark Week. What's more popular now than zombies and sharks? Combining those two has to be a winner....

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/29/2014 | 2:07:34 PM
Re: Tough Call
@Drew: No way, stick with the zombies. You can keep your family safe on a boat and besides, as this scientist notes, the zombie apocalypse can never happen because carrion animals would eat them before they could eat us:

(sorry, I can't post a hyper link, but you can cut and paste this into your browser): http://www.enterpriseefficiency.com/author.asp?section_id=1151&doc_id=269130

Dave conveniently left this important bit of research out of the current debate because he's trying to get everybody to go to Mars with him.

 

 

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/29/2014 | 1:54:36 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@TerryB: You could apply for the first DirecTV franchise on Mars. but I"m with you, as Dave kindly noted in his blog. In fact, our colleague Sara suggested getting a houseboat and just staying on water as long as possible. You're welcome aboard. :)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/29/2014 | 1:36:06 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@TerryB- Ha! I don't know if they can swim. they might float. Dead bodies float. :)

But I think the problem is that zobies are tireless. They will sit on the beach  grunting at you until you get tired of swimming and have to come in.

But you do mention an interesting escape-- a boat. A well-provisioned luxury yacht might be the best way to wait out the scenario if there is an end to it. And if there is no end to it, at least it gives you a safe place to rest.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 1:28:43 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
Zombies can't swim, can they? They're mindless, even a Dog Paddle should be too much? I'd hang on beach, when they chased me I'd swim out to where they couldn't touch bottom and drowned. Don't tell me...zombies are already dead and can't drown. Can they fill up with water so they aren't hungry anymore? Or at least walk very fast?

But if this zombie world of yours has zombie sharks, my plan goes out the window. :-(

But Mars?  They don't even have ESPN on Mars! What's the point of living at that point?  :-)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/29/2014 | 1:11:20 PM
Re: Tough Call
@Drew- That's really interesting. I think it takes a lot of guts to take your kids to a life totally unlike their own even if does mean fleeing zombies. Funny enough, I made the decision based on what I perceived was logic and assumed whatever was right for me would be right for my kids. But when you bring up that it is the responsibe thing to do for your kids it makes me doubt myself. We have no idea what the affect of a multi-month space trip would be on the bones and other gorwth of children. 

Hrm...I hate myself for bringing up this question. :)
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 1:07:37 PM
Tough Call
Wow, this is a juicy proposal. If I had been asked this question 20 years ago, before I had a wife and children, the answer would've been an enthusiastic "Zombie apocalypse!" Now that I'm a parent, I know the more responsible thing would be to head for Mars. That said, having read "The Martian"--a great novel about an astronaut stranded on Mars--it's pretty clear the Red Planet would be working just as hard as a zombie mob to kill me.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/29/2014 | 11:35:52 AM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@Shane- See you on the colony! We'll start MarsWeek.
David Wagner
IW Pick
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/29/2014 | 11:35:14 AM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@jasteroff- Cheater. :)

All the beaches are filled with zombies in bikinis and speedos. You have to choose. :)
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 10:19:16 AM
Re: Next stop: Mars
thanks @dave for another wonderful Geekend. 

I'm opting for Plan C, wait it out in a warm climate with a nice beach.
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