Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
Commentary
8/29/2014
08:06 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

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

Next Page

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
Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 8   >   >>
Susan_Nunziata
50%
50%
Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 1:25:12 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@SaneIT: Thank you, you've helped me focus my plans. I'm staying on Earth and making a beeline to Cuba when the Zombie Apocalypse hits.
David Wagner
50%
50%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/4/2014 | 1:09:11 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@SaneIt- Fair point. Maybe I'm making the erroneous assumption that that spirit would be alive and well on MArs. Certainly NASA used to have that spirit. Perhaps it is gone. 
SaneIT
IW Pick
100%
0%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
9/4/2014 | 7:47:16 AM
Re: Next stop: Mars
I think relying on technology to survive in a harsh environment is a bad idea.  I think the only reason the Curiosity rover is still going it because there isn't a human there to mess with it.  Smart people have a tendency to mess with things thinking they can make it better when really all they need is for it to work.  In my opinion if you want to see who would survive the zombie apocalypse look at countries like Cuba where guys are building water purification systems out of nothing and welding with car batteries and jumper cables.
David Wagner
50%
50%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/3/2014 | 1:46:25 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@SaneIt- I see what you are saying, but if you go to Mars, you are going with 21st century technology and presumably the wealth of human knowledge. I would assume zombie apocalypse leads to a dark ages of lost knowledge on Earth.

You might actually be in a better spot. and presumably, the people allowed on the shuttle are top notch humans and their families (so i wouldn't be invited). I think I'd rather try to make it work with the elite of humanity than go through the Dark Ages on earth.
David Wagner
50%
50%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/3/2014 | 1:25:10 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@GAPProgrammer- Well, for one thing the parameters of the question is "viable" Mars community which implies the ability to eat.

But it is an important question to ask. Mars is a desolate place. Right now, there'd be no way to get enough supplies to Mars to create a self-sustaining food chain. In the short term, we're all stuck here fighting the zombies whether we like it or not.
SaneIT
100%
0%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2014 | 7:24:47 AM
Re: Next stop: Mars
@GAProgrammer,

This is pretty much what I came here to say.  Anyone who thinks colonizing another planet with a group of people you don't know is going to be any different than fighting for resources on Earth didn't think this out very far.   Assuming you survive the trip how are you going to sustain yourself and your family in the coming years.  You can only pack so much spaceman food paste.  So you'll have to hope that you can get some farming going assuming you're able to build a greenhouse to protect your crops and the soil is fertile enough to actually do any growing.  Then if you do manage to get your things in order what happens when the neighboring clan across the crater has a bad year for crops.  I'm staying on this mud ball and fighting for my little corner of the world.  I do know where I'd set up camp though and I'm not sharing because I don't want a bunch of people following me.

 
GAProgrammer
50%
50%
GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2014 | 4:56:38 PM
Re: Next stop: Mars
Shane, what makes you so sure the group who goes to Mars won't be reduced to rabid savages when THEIR supplies run out. Or when the air does? Or the water? At least you know you can breathe on Earth!

That being said, I'd go to Mars because I have always wanted to go into space. At least I'd die with that dream being fulfilled!
majenkins
50%
50%
majenkins,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2014 | 12:02:09 PM
Re: Need More Info
My compound has a huge solar array to provide power and I have lots of rechargable death ray batteries.
David Wagner
50%
50%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/2/2014 | 12:00:15 PM
Re: Need More Info
@majenkins- I'm OK with that as long as it runs on pedal power and coconuts like a Gilligan's Island episode.
majenkins
50%
50%
majenkins,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2014 | 11:58:45 AM
Re: Need More Info
Well if I get to make up my own parameters then I am going to invent a Zombie death ray that I can broadcast like a radar beacon and keep them away from my compound and eventually cleanse the entire planet. Of course that would leave a lot of dead/undead bodies laying around stinking up the place.
<<   <   Page 2 / 8   >   >>
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.