I must confess that I am wasting a good part of my precious time to graduate on an illegal streaming website where I do feast of Walking Dead episodes. As a biologist, I cannot help to be fascinated by the prespective of a parasite able to kill its host and restore the basal life function in order to spread itself. To be honest, we are not really info fiction, since the life- cicle of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a parasite mushroom that infects ants’ brain causing them to respond to the mushroom’s will, it is a well- known fact. But the very human and very very orrific version of this, it is (luckily) a sublime fiction product.
The question I always happen to ask myself, while watching The Walking Dead, is what kind of host functions the parasite should restore in orther to make a dead body live again?
I cannot respond since I am a terrible neuroscientist, but I have found a couple of guys out there who did.
On this first article, Dr. Steven C. Schlozman, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, gives a very consistant overview of the possible mechanisms underlying a Zombie’s neurophysiology.
On Forbes, Alex Knapp cites the reflections of Bradley Voytek, that gives another interesting point of view on this issue.
But, if you want to be quick, you can still read this really pertinent fact- list on Zombies from an expert like Max Brooks.
Happy Halloween to everyone!
It’s all about passion. The fingers tapping on your keyboard gets tired to the faint light of the screen, the room is dark, a b-serie sci-fi show is on tv. Late night and still programming. Line by line you define shapes and colors, fonts and sizes, functions and exceptions. Sometimes you freak out because nothing seems to work and PHP looks responding to mysterious principles that you’ll never understand. Sometimes you get mad at everything, and start considering to give up. But that sweet moment, when everything comes to a sense and you succed, is enough to reward you for all the anger and the fatigue. And then you start writing. When you write on the internet is a bit like sending messages in outer space. Will someone get it? Will someone like it? Will someone respond? And after hours spent in front of your laptop you can feel the passion in your tired eyes and sleeping legs. Because creating a blog it’s a matter of passion.
And it’s all about atrlessness too. Because you can even spend a lot of time on the books trying to figure out how a cell work, why HIV virions can only infect CD4+ cells, or who, in a far past, convinced the cows to swim and become dolphins. You can even start talking with big words and strange acronyms in order to look cool and cleaver. It won’t change. Every biologist is nothing more than a little kid playing in a big garden full of tall trees, strange animals and beautiful flowers. And despite all the professionalism one can put in, every scientist stealing into the secrets of life will always be like a little boy looking at the world with the eyes of innocence. Because biology is passion, but it is mostly about atrlesness.
And well, it’s also definetly all about challenge. Because this could be “yet another biology blog”, just like many others out there. But it would be pointless and boring. Or may be that me, the author, and you, the readers, can accept a little challenge. We can choose to focus on that twilight zone, where the stern rationality of mathematics meets the playful complexity of biological systems. Where algorithms and statistics meet the DNA, and the sophistication of engeneering faces the perfection of a mitochondrion. And, in this border region, we can try to describe the birth of something new. Many of you will consider the term “theoretical biology” as pretty umproper, since biology doesn’t really benefit from a real theoretical approach. But we must admit that the theoretical contributions provided by other disciplines are becoming indispensable for biological research and there is a growing interest in providing a theoretical dimension to biology, which is one of the most important challenges of the next ten years.
So welcome to atcgeek, a small and unpretentious blog about passion, atrlessness, challenge and theoretical biology.