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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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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/2/2014 | 11:34:43 AM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@StacyE- No, the beach doesn't have wifi. I know you are kidding. But this really does bring up something that amazes me about the people who stay on Earth. I don't think they get how really bad it gets when no one is there to run the infrasstructure. No wifi, no TV, no electricity, no phone, no running water, no bathrooms, no one making toilet paper, no food production. 

And worse yet, no ability to stop easily and do that stuff. I don't know exactly what a Martian Colony would look like. But I bet it has Candy Crush. :) 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/2/2014 | 11:30:52 AM
Re: always wanted to go to Mars
@SunitaTO- Hrm...most zombie movies I see, when you cut a zombie's head off, blood spurts out. That implies to me that they have circulation. Blood wouldn't spurt out of a corpse. 

Also, if gun shot wounds and injuries will "kill" a zombie, clearly they rely on some sort of nervous system and circulation. 

Obviously this all depends on your favorite movie and everything. But i always think of zombies as less undead and more twitchy bran dead folks who want to eat flesh.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/2/2014 | 11:27:25 AM
Re: Tough Call
@Joe- Isn't that just choosing Mars without getting to see space? You're stuck in a tiny hole until the food runs out. At least on Mars you get space adventure and then you live in a tiny hole until the food runs out with the chance that you can rebuild civilization if you are clever enough.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/2/2014 | 11:24:56 AM
RE: Fight Zombies, Or Go To Mars
@Zerox203- All great questions. Generally, I tried to leave those as open as possible so the imagination of the person being asked can fill it in. But my general impression is slow zombies and a built colony. Fast zombies are just a death sentence and you need to know the colony will be viable when you get there.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/2/2014 | 11:14:49 AM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@TerryB- No ESPN in the middle of a zombie apocalypse either. In fact, no sports. Other than running...running away from zombies. :)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/2/2014 | 11:13:22 AM
Re: always wanted to go to Mars
@kstaron- I suspect the zombie burns up in whatever atmosphere it falls victim to. But here's a fun though. I assume zombies don't need to breath. So what if they can survive the vacuum of space (our blood boils so maybe theirs does, too). And what if one was pulled to the moon. With the moon's lower mass and lack of atmosphere, maybe it hits slow enough to survive. First zombie on the moon. :)
majenkins
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majenkins,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2014 | 9:56:12 AM
Need More Info
I don't watch "Walking Dead" and for that matter never watched "World War Z" so I need some additional info about the current type of Zombie. In the old 1960s movie "Night of the Living Dead" if I remember correctly the way you became a Zombie was by being bitten but not fully eaten by an existing Zombie, though I could be wrong and I don't remember where the first Zombies came from. If the current Zombies have that trait then I think I might stay and fight. If however it is some contagious germ, virus or bacteria, that causes Zombieism then I would flee though I guess the ship might take the Zombie bug with it. So can someone fill me in on how Zombieism is spread in the current Zombie apocalypse so I can make an informed decision for myself and my family. Thanks.
majenkins
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majenkins,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2014 | 9:47:12 AM
Re: Next stop: Mars
Seems to me that the other humans trying to take your stuff would apply to a boat as well as any other place you could try to find refuge.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2014 | 6:44:37 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@Joe well, there's that, but I don't believe the guns are available in the New York locations.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2014 | 6:44:35 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@Joe well, there's that, but I don't believe the guns are available in the New York locations.
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