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Viral Math, Heavy Metal, Robot Parasites and Climate Change

March 30, 2013

This is a haphazard roundup of recent zombie stories that I wanted to write about but didn’t yet

At Castanet a math professor zombie: “Zombies + math = serious disease” by Ragnar Haagen — about Robert Smith?, Australian-born Canadian professor at The University of Ottawa:

Yes, the question mark is actually part of my name. This seems to have made a lot of bureaucrats very upset.

In music, LAWeekly: “Anthrax’s Scott Ian on Why Horror Movies and Metal Go Together” by Jason Roche interviewing Scott Ian, who says:

If there were rules, there wouldn’t be zombies,

Zombie break rules but in so doing they tend to reinforce the status quo notions the other and encourage rule following.

Heavy metal (and also Punk Rock aesthetic) emphasize the existence of Pop norms by the way they break the rules. In theory there are no rules, but in practice Heavy Metal and “zombies” are highly stylized genre with insular and critical fan groups. And their aesthetic of rule-breaking becomes itself an aesthetic rule of what it means to break ‘the rules’, which therefore reify those rules.

Scott Ian continues:

The attitude of heavy metal music and the attitude of antagonists in a horror flick, there’s a lot of similarities. When you see Michael Myers running around stabbing people, it’s not that far off to me from the same attitude and aggression when you listen to a Slayer record.

Recall the role of “Zombie Slayer” album in the Court ruling regarding the Green vs. Red On-and-Off the Shelf. And consider that this punk rock heavy metal aggression attitude may be important for other forms of irony and social satire.

In science – Vancouver Sun: ” Parasites bring out the zombie in us : Nature has an amazing way to allow other creatures to take control of others’s functions” by Jerome Burne, Daily Telegraph:

Perhaps the most famous example of such zombie reprogramming (or neuroparasitology, to give it its proper name) comes from a parasitic wasp that attaches its eggs to the belly of an orb spider. Larvae emerge and release chemicals that zombify the spider, which stops spinning its normal spiral web and instead starts producing a cocoon to hold the baby wasps when they emerge.

Note again insects – but also that language is a virus and dangerous memes may be parasitic? — consider also that many of these words have implications for computer zombies (viral | bugs | spiders — and that computers can now mimic insects – LiveScience:: “Robots Mimic Ant Colony Behavior” by Charles Q. Choi).

Another science story, at WestEndWord:”Zombie Arguments” From Climate Change Deniers” by David Linzee – using “zombie arguments” to mean like “zombie ideas” or uncertainty of “facts” that just refuse to be disproved.

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From → Academics

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