They may have had too much time on their hands, but mathematicians have purportedly solved a question for fans of TV shows revolving around an unlikely “zombie apocalypse.”
As portrayed on shows such as AMC’s The Walking Dead, there’s probably little hope for the world in the event of a zombie outbreak. But in 2018, Brazilian scientists used modeling to determine that there is only one country on Earth that could beat back such an infernal attack: North Korea. According to their calculations, that's because the Hermit Kingdom has enough soldiers per capita -- 47 armed fighters per 1,000 citizens -- to prevail over the hypothetically reanimated dead.
- The term “zombie” comes from Haitian folklore. A zombie is a dead body reanimated through various methods, most commonly with magic.
- The English word "zombie" was first seen in 1819, in a history of Brazil by poet Robert Southey. The Oxford English Dictionary says its origin is West African, from the Kongo words nzambi (god) and zumbi or nzumbi (fetish).
- Acknowledging that the subject is fictional, the researchers say that “learning how to mathematically model this kind of scenario can be very useful” in other research, such as economics, biology, and social behavior.