Saturday, 24 September 2011


I have personally seen many reanimated corpses walking around wearing thick coats, diving suits, medieval armour, (i even saw one in a chicken suit) ect. Obviously people have some misconceptions about zombies. I will dispell some of these as best i can.

Max Brooks (in "The Zombie Survival Guide") explains why it is a bad idea to wear armour when attempting to escape zombies. The only advantage humans have over the walking dead is speed. Zombies do not tire, and do not stop. Just because you can outrun them doesn't mean that you have escaped. They can and will walk for days in one direction, and will steadily gain on your position. Whilst you sleep, they will still be moving. It is therefore imperative that you DO NOTHING THAT NARROWS THE GAP OF SPEED between yourself and the undead! Roads are all too blocked to drive, and petrol driven engines generate too much noise (ruling out motorbikes). Moving by foot seems to be the only option left, and you need to be able to do that as fast and as energy-conservative as possible.

Many people seem to have got all their information about the undead from movies.Contrary to popular opinion, zombies cannot rip you apart like a christmas present. They are not strong enough. People do not often get devoured, as this is incredibly slow (although all that get bit inevitably die and reanimate later) and most can simply walk away from the danger.

The critical risk of dealing with zombies is death by asphyxiation. In surging crouds of humans (such as big day out 2001), people sometimes die this way. With an undead horde converging upon you, this risk is maximised by the fact that without painthresholds or mortality from any injury that isnt cranial, zombies can push indefinetly in any direction they perceive human meat to be in. They don't need a functioning ribcage to operate, and will crush themselves in an onslaught of moving decomposing flesh. This compressing force is mainly what kills people. Armour is completely useless, as the forces they can generate will constrict the breastplates of metal amour. I have seen barricades smashed and cars crushed like soft drink cans in this manner. Just because you boarded up your doors and windows doesn't mean they won't come in when they amass. The only way to be safe is to be distant. As aforementioned, get onto rooves or high vantage points!

If you feel you must, you can wear wrist guards to avoid your arms being bitten, but otherwise understand that death by biting is not the threat you need to be afraid of!

Reminiscences ...(9)

This lecture covered agenda setting, and what its effects can be upon society. "The Mass Media" (if treated as a comglomerate unified concept) cannot control what is discussed in a society, but they can prefer certain events over others, and therefore ascribe them more salience then others. This article, for instance, was considered a joke by most, pre Z day, and was therefore effaced completely from the public intelligence.

As media is a commodity thats needs its viewers to justify its existence, (both commercial and public models) inevitably some issues will be silenced to play to what an audience wants to hear. "Agenda setting is not always the diabolical plan by journalists to control the minds of the public but an inadvertent by-product of the nesessity to focus the news" (McCoombs 04) Regardless of intent, as an institution that projects itself as accurate, media bodies have a duty to their viewers to observe that this doesn't happen (too much). Otherwise they lose legitimacy as sources of information (if they get found out). Within day 5 of the apocalypse, people stopped relying on the media's reports of " aggrieved rioting mobs" as they themselves knew by this stage that their adversaries were no longer human. In an attempt to quell rising fears of the supernatural nature of an undead uprising, most media's were portraying this phenomenon as an essentially human disturbance. This concept of media control is explained well by Noam Chomsky "The real mass media are basically trying to divert people. Let them do something else, but don't bother us (us being the people who run the show). Let them get interested in...anything, so long as it isnt serious. Of course, the serious stuff is for the big guys. "We" take care of that." What most likely started as a policy to limit panic and therefore crimes like looting (which distracts the "big guys" from doing their jobs) eventually ended up spreading misinformation and more panic as people weren't aware of the limitations of an undead horde.
The Media largely avoided spreading "alarmist" information

Of course,suggesting that everyone was impinged upon by this lack of information is inaccurate, as it suggests that people are homogenous automatrons that believe everything they hear. This is the "magic bullet" concept, that the media directly "injects" the misinformation into an unquestioning audience. It's limited because it fails to encompass the phenomenon of free will and independent thought, or the influence of other sources of information. Some people were familiar with Max Brooks "The Zombie Survival Guide" which indicates (as mentioned in this lecture) that people are only suceptable to an imbalanced version of events if they only consult one source.

Agenda setting can often be caused by a cyclical process where media outlets choose to discontinue unpopular content, due to a lack of audience engagement. Then this audience apathy (which is a direct result of the information available to them) drives more adjustments by the media, and so on. Information about diseases like AIDS and developing country's famines (argueably) passed into obscurity in this manner. It is the reason why preparedness for a zombie apocalypse fell far behind in the medias agenda, as compared to politicians gaffes, or the latest celebrity scandal. We are living in a world  impacted by the repercussions of media that chose to broadcast what was financially viable over what was morally mandatory.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Dangers of Seeking Rustication

Not only humans are suceptible!
Often the frenetic pace of urban life has forced many a migrant into the rural areas. After the apocalypse, this is a very bad idea! DON'T just assume that a rustic life will be any safer! South East Queensland pre apocalypse had a population of 2,923,00 people, which were spread (most probably unevenly) across an area of 22,420 km2. This works out to roughly 130 people per km2. Most of them have reanimated now, which means thats how many zombies are within earshot if you cough. As for the rest of Queensland, only 1,483,000 people were spread across an area of 1,852,642 km2. But this is where the good news ends... DON'T JUST HEAD OUT INTO THE BUSH HOPING FOR THE BEST! You have a multitude of adversaries to face, as well as the undead!

Vetebrate mammals.- it seems that whatever it is that renders death incompetent affects all mammals. There have been sightings in Brisbane of undead dogs, cats, and in one isolated case, bears (STAY AWAY FROM ZOOS!). Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are more kangaroos in Queensland than there are people in Australia. Whilst i cannot verify this, i can confirm that there are more than 11 million (Eastern Grey and Red kangaroo) ones big enough to harvest (shoot for meat production) and therefore big enough to be a serious threat post reanimation. There are 4.43 million sheep, and 6 million cattle in QLD. Adding that to the human population, that equates to 22,913,000 mammals, at a very conservative estimate (and that does not include goats, pigs, or other livestock). As the area in Queensland is 1,852,642km2, that works out to around 12 potential zombies per km in any given area. Of course, as QLD is very arid, these numbers would be concentrated around available water. As a survivor you would be forced to stay close to available water or risk perishing, but by doing so render your position compromised by the threat of the undead. Animal undead (the same as living animals) are capable of things humans are not. Kangaroos can jump over fences and barricades (A red kangaroo can jump 6 feet or higher). Their toenails can disembowel. Sheep, due to their low stature, are difficult to decapitate. Cattle can trample through most obstacles. All of these creatures congregate in herds that can number in their hundreds.

Supplies. Brisbane will eventually run out of food, but in rural QLD there is little or none. Herds of zombie kangaroos and cattle have eaten most fauna. Most towns have already been raided for their food and medical equipment. The dense population of SEQ fed the zombie horde, but rurally human populations weren't as readily available. Therefore the zombies ate whatever they could find.Going bush would neccetate your own crops, which requires being close to water. At least in Brisbane bottled water is unlikely to run out soon, but rurally, that option isnt available. You would have to find a water source, and you cannot be guaranteed that your water source does not have zombies lurking in the bottom of it.

Roads- Getting out of Brisbane definetly is not a new idea, it was what most tried to do once the apocalypse started becoming visible. All roads out are blocked by burnt out vehicles and reanimated corpses still strapped into their seats. In their panic many people crashed, and killed themselves and others needlessly. This was a buffet for the zombies; within two days of the attempted exodus of Brisbane all routes out had the highest concentration of reanimated. The only way out now is by boat, which has its own dangers (as i mentioned before, bloated corpses float!) or plane (most of which have been taken by now). Attempting to walk out could be potentially suicidal. Even if you got out, the dangers are still quite high. Due to sealed road design (slightly concave so that the water runs off when it rains) highly nutitrious grass often grows near roads. This would attract kangaroos and other ruminants, which in turn will atract more animal zombies. Particularly in times of drought, when little other grass is available, kangaroos swarming the roads would prevent any survivors from moving if their water source ran dry. A heavy vehicle with a bullbar may assuage this risk, but are never particularly fuel efficient, and most fuel has been stockpiled by warring tribes by now.

If you have a plan, have maps and enough equipment to survive living in rural QLD untill it is safe (which may take months or years), and are confident it is a good one, then by all means go. BUT DON'T ASSUME THAT LIFE WILL BE ANY SAFER! Bigger animals neccitate higher calibre weapons to defend yourself!

Reminiscences ...(8)

Last year we discussed public media, and its role in society. It is a binary opponent of commercial media, which means some things and implies others. For instance; would public media broadcasters be swayed to air something because commercial ones had failed to do so? Or vice versa? Both must compete for ratings, and yet the differences of funding for both would imply that they could not both be free to pursue the same information to present. For instance, because ABC and SBS are held "in common" by the people, a commercial criticism would be that they can broadcast entirely irrelevant material and not be held as accountable to their viewers as a commercial platform (elitism, out of touch). Or, a public criticism would be that  treating information as a commodity would potentially violate the quality of that source as it can often end up being rendered into a snack fast-food format (homogeneity, dumbing down).

Public media is defined as a public service more than being a commodity. The key word is "more", because P.M still cannot exist if there are no viewers. Without them it could not justify its funding.SBS for instance is "hybridised" with about 20% of its funds acquired through adverts. But, back to P.M as a service. Governments that supply their citizens with more public services (health care, education, welfare, etc) tend to lean slightly more on socialist conceptions of what law should be. Institutions such as ABC, SBS, or international broadcasters such as BBC or NHK exist because of this funding. This would impact upon the ideologies of these respective bodies. A more right wing laissez-faire approach like the USA's does not inculcate social responsibility over profit generation, which is why the article on PBS was mentioned ( Costello's criticism of the ABC; that it only rebuts labour policy if "it is perceived to be betraying 'true labour principles'... But labour will never be criticized for entrenching union power, or going soft on law enforcement, or spending money it doesn’t have.... the 7.30 report have a consistent editorial perspective" indicates that public media could be seen to be partisan to the success of the (left) labour party. (

As a public service, one of the duties of public media is to provide "public value" for all its citizens, regardless of geographic, racial, or other outlier obscurity. This explains the existence of ABC's extensive rural radio service, or of SBS's multicultural ethos. It seeks to provide “nation building, national heritage, national identity, and national conversation” discourses so as to define the role of the audience as being enfranchised participants within liberal democracy. “The difference between commercial broadcasting and public broadcasting is the difference between consumers and citizens” (Nigel Milan, fmr. Managing Director, SBS). 4th estate journalism is considered one of those roles; however it can be argued that quality of information can be severely impinged upon by partisan interests. The Government can “starve” undesirable information off public mediums by allocating funding to only the ‘appropriate’ pieces. According to Costello, 85% of Australians believe the ABC is unbiased. In 2008, “Today Tonight” (7) had 1,374,000 views, and “A Current Affair” (9) had 1,124,000 views. Assuming (they run on half hour timeslots and could be watched conjunctively one after the other) that viewers watched one of these two shows, and not the other, we can accumulate these numbers together to 2,498,000 views. Assuming that the population of Australia was 22 million at this time (conservative estimates suggest they are less than 50,000 now), this constitutes roughly 11% of Australia. Therefore, almost all of the Australians that do not believe the ABC is unbiased watch “Today Tonight” or “A Current Affair”, which I think damages Costello’s argument significantly.

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Symbol of Queensland...

An ambiguity as to why i chose "old mate bufo marinus" as my pseudonym needs to be clarified. In these dark and troubling times survivors need a concept, an example to lead them into triumph over the undead. I humby suggest a noble example.
Any randomly chosen street in Brisbane
Why choose this pest? Its ugly, its hated by everyone, and it isnt Australian (to quote Tracy Grimshaw). It doesnt look good on a banner, and its destroying our ecosystem. But there is certainly many reasons why Bufo Marinus is such a succesful organism here.
1. Resourceful. The cane toad lives in the tropics of Northen Queensland, and are starting to colonise the deserts in the Northern Territory. They will eat literally anything, with reports suggesting they eat bird eggs, carrion, dog food, other animals excrement, rubbish, etc. You cannot starve something that has no qualms about consuming excrement!
2.Adaptive.  Since their introduction in the 30's, cane toads have changed significantly over the small period of 50 generations. Their legs are getting longer to aid them in the invasion of Australias ecosystem. Compared to the rates of when they were first settled, they now spread 5 times faster than they used to 80 years ago. This adaptation has made them more mobile than any native frog species, with some individuals crossing more than 1 kilometer a night. They are neither nocturnal nor diurnal, they sleep whenever is convenient to them.
3. Tough. As you would imagine, crossing 1 kilometer a night would put severe stress on something that jumps to travel. Dissected toads (on the invasion front) often have severe spinal arthritis from all the travelling they do. They put their bodies to the absolute limit. They can survive being swallowed by dogs (

I suggest to you that if you want a biological example of how to survive the current extremely trying odds, if you want to emulate a incredibly succesful role model, look no further than any Brisbane road.

Reminiscences ...(7)

In this weeks lecture, it was asked of us; "can commertial media both profit and deliver its social functions?" I would argue, no. The Hutchins commision (1947) indicated that the media is a critical aparatus of liberal democracy. It is the means by which voters make decicions about their government, and therefore is a powerful tool for creating hegemonic dominance, or for deriding incompetent systems. They (the commision) prescibed,
1. That what it discusses must be true and give meaning to events.
2.That what it discusses must engender a forum to debate those meanings.
3.That it must produce a "representative picture of the constituent groups within a society".
4. That it must present and clarify their host societies goals and values.
5. That it must give "full access to the days intelligence".
What does no. 5 mean? I believe it's too ambiguous to be helpful. Also no 3 often gets violated in commertial media as buisness pressures dictate that you cannot market to more than one group at one time. Commertial media often publishes content that will appeal to the hegemonic dominant group (caucasions), sometimes at the expense of other groups (eg, the TV show "border security" by channel 7, never airs caucasions being investigated, usually asians).

The buisness of commercial media is essentially the real estate of human ears and eyes. Advertisers pay for access to these. The success or failure of the broadcasting body is dictated by its abillity to generate audiences for their sponsors. The Australian commertial media market (News Limited, Fairfax, Nine, Win, Southern Cross, 10) had to compete with one another to survive, and for greater market share. The key word is "generation" of audiences, as this does not nessesarily imply informing them about any political manoueverings. Modern media has decended somewhat into mental atrophy (a current affair, today tonight, ect) in order to be easily digested, and entertain rather than inform. Most of the aformentioned conglomerates had wide portfolios spanning across a multitude of media publishers, which served to show their function as buisnesses and not as social services.

State interventions can aid the content of the media, yet doing so risks creating a system in which the public are both informed and led by the same people. This bias could easily foment illiberal practices. The Swedish newspaper "Dagbladet" is an example of this model of funding. The "ethical wall" that separates the commercial and social functions within commercial media is not policed by any statutory authority, and is often blurred or totally ignored (does sport reporting serve a social function, or is a spectacle which is geared towards drawing viewers?) The editor and owner of "The Guardian" C. P Scott was quoted as saying "Neither in what it gives, nor in what it does not give, nor in the mode of presentation must the  unclouded face of truth suffer wrong. Comment is free, but facts are sacred". Consider this concept of the ethical wall. Should someone who owns a media outlet be allowed to edit it? Ultimately its success as a buisiness will beneifit the individual. Its success as a social function will not. Therefore, it is more likely that such a person would efface their profit driven partiality, omit certain stories and exaggerate others, to generate a readership. This will succeed as a enterprise, but at the cost of the "sacred" nature of impartiality.

Thursday, 8 September 2011


The term "zombie" aroused much derision in the past, before the apocalypse. Governments mocked and chastised their concerned citizens for asking for a small amount of revenue to be allocated towards a zombie safety plan. The odd professional (Max Brooks, or the intellectuals responsible for the mathmatical model mentioned before) recognised a serious threat, lobbied their respective authorities, and were laughed out of their offices. This is largely why when the outbreak occured, few were ready; almost all reacted innapropriately, and society as we knew it was extinguished. BUT DONT LOSE HOPE! Not all were caught unawares! This excellent public service announcement, done in 2010, shows that there were pocket demographics who were actively preparing for such an occurence. If you havent seen another human for days, understand that not all people were ignorant of the hazards of the undead! There WILL be survivors!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Reminiscences... (6)

This weeks lecture concerned the nature of Information Technology and its impact on journalism. Three 'versions' of the internet were described.

Web 1.0
This was the internet in its infancy. It was chiefly an extension of the "industrial paradigm" medias such as TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, etc. Advertisers utilising such websites tended to treat it as a wall for placing posters, hence the term 'Brochure Ware'. Little interaction was encouraged at this point.

Web 2.0
This was the era of "Prod-users" (Brunz, QUT 2005). Online media stopped having hierarchical publishing practices and instead used more user generated content. This was the birth of such sites as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc. Media became much more available to the common person in that anyone could produce and broadcast their own content. This had two effects. Firstly, the agenda for public debate widened considerably with forums such as 4chan and flickr bypassing commercial media (and often good taste as well). Secondly, it inundated the internet with poorly written/produced material as authors with little or no credibility/talent could gain an audience. Memes, spam, and other virulent media started to flourish.

Web 3.0
This is an era which was predicted to occur in some point in the future, and would probably have happened  had the dead not started walking and eating the living. Called "The Semantic Web" it was essentially pinpoint marketing by accumulating information about an individuals habits (online and in the physical world through GPS on smart phones) and utilising it so as to successfully diagnose what products that person might buy. Amazon suggestive selling was described as a precursor to this next model. A possible downside to this model was described as hyper localisation. As peoples habits were forecasted to be recorded and manipulated in order to better serve their interests, it was predicted that possibly this could make people unaware of anything other than their own narrow interests, something which quite likely runs against the grain of investigative journalism which seeks to educate about a wide variety of subjects.

Journalism was described as being particularly threatened by the internet because of problems of entitlement. As the internet had been providing web news articles for free, it was presumed that this would choke out physical forms of printed news, and would be incredibly difficult to start charging subscriptions for. It was perceived that people would not be enthusiastic about being charged for what they used to get for free. And if you could do this, how would you avoid readers from taking their attention elsewhere? Simply grafting on the old concept of subscriptions onto a new form of web media is probably not a viable option, because there would be a competitor that would under cut any such attempt. The question therefore raised was, how to make readers pay for the online news? Investigative Journalism was not cheap, required a lot a skill, training, and therefore capital. Financial upkeep was noted as an absolute necessity to keep this profession a profession. The difficulty lay in how to fund it in the era of free online media.