Zombie Apocalypse (Part 2)

Post Date: 9 June 2013

Listen now:

Season 4, Episode 14

Photo Credit: Resident Evil, SONY pictures

Photo Credit: Resident Evil, SONY pictures

The Zombie Apocalypse rages on as Neil deGrasse Tyson and his heroic sidekick Eugene Mirman hunt for the truth on two fronts. First, World War Z author Max Brooks explains why the world’s gone zombie-crazy, what the best weapon is for dispatching zombies (Hint: it’s not a gun), and why the CDC has a “wonderful zombie plan.” Next, zombies take a back seat to real life viral threats, thanks to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Laurie Garrett, who’s been on the inside of outbreaks around the world including Ebola, SARS and the Black Plague. She describes how governments and viruses don’t mix, from the ongoing Russian biological warfare apparatus to terrorists targeting Polio aid workers in response to CIA activities to the SARS outbreak and its fatal cover up by the Chinese government.

If you missed Zombie Apocalypse Part 1, catch up on it here.

Guests:
Max Brooks, Author of World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide

Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize winning Science Journalist, Director of the Council on Foreign Relations – Global Health Program [Twitter: @Laurie_Garrett]

Co-Host:
Eugene Mirman, comedian

Music:

“Zombie” – The Cranberries
“Epidemic Ignorance” – Randy
“Zombies Ate My Neighbors” – Single File
“Down with the Sickness” – Disturbed
“Alive” – Krewella
“Disease” – Matchbox Twenty
“Zombie” – Family Force 5
“Small Things” – The Audreys
“Zombie” – Fela Kuti & Afrika 70

  • Matt

    FINALLY!!! I have been waiting forever for this to be posted.

  • Garrett

    Max is sort of wrong headed on the oil supposition, it would be Canada, the OPEC countries as a whole sure, Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be too bad, we produce on our own more oil than they sell us so we could easily make up production lost.

    Now if Canada got blasted? We’d be hunting deer with sticks.

  • Gary

    Come on, Eugene!!
    Just be quite for a moment, let people talk. Love Neil though.

  • Jason in Colorado

    I’m going to preemptively defend Eugene and Chuck and all the other co-hosts. People are taking the show too serious. It is a light hearted discussion of science to make it accessible to all. And while you are talking and cracking jokes live, the timing isn’t always there like when it is edited. Sometimes they bomb and sometimes they are hilarious.

    Have fun and keep it loose, NDG and crew!!!

  • Alex

    I agree with Gary. “Non science” guests have the bad habit of cutting others mid-sentence just for the sake of placing a joke.

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-100th-Monkey/109017479191224?ref=hl Agree with Gary

    I agree with Gary, too much comedy.
    It’s fun to have a little bit of humor tossed in there, but I believe when most people come across a Neil DeGrasse Tyson clip, they are looking for intelligent conversation.

    Humor is good, and I thinks its valuable to keep the show light and entertaining, but Eugene should not be interrupting Doctors and Scientists with one liners he’s thinking up on the fly. A limited roll would suffice.

    Besides that, great show. I willingly, or unwillingly, am one of those people that obsess over zombies.
    It’s the prepper in me. I like to plan for the future, and IMHO the future looks very delicate, and quite easy to disrupt.

  • sp00fie

    sweet

  • Tim

    Awesome show, Neil. Would have been even “awesomer” if Eugene would take Gary’s advice. Would love to hear lots more from Laurie Garrett. I hope there is never an urgent reason to have her back, though. Still have the heebee-jeebies.

  • clay

    I agree with Gary.
    Neil, if you read these, please tell Eugene to pull it back.
    We don’t need a bad joke for every single comment made. It all seems excessive and as if Neil and Laurie were being forced to talk over him.

  • Anthony C.

    Semi related to the discussion in this program: There was a game showcased at E3 this year (The Division) that postulates an end of the world virus outbreak that’s spread via tainted currency during black Friday shopping. It specifically makes reference to the idea that once the supply chain is broken (which Max Brooks brought up in your interview) we can only really survive for a few days.

  • Gar

    Sounds like Neil has an axe to grind over the science literacy thing – that if people just knew how biology and virology works, mass panic would be mitigated. That didn’t stop the doctors and nurses in India. And Neil just kept bringing it up even when talking about societies where a large portion of the population can’t even read (or in time periods where virology had yet to be invented).

    I applaud Neil for working to increase American scientific literacy which is hampered by the fact that our politicians, journalists, and entertainers disastrously misunderstand science. And I know the young people who aspire to those positions still see math and science as a barrier to the “truly important” things. But science qua science is never going to unseat deeply held mistrust where social and cultural approaches to problems are just as important, if not more so, than scientific approaches. I hope Neil realizes, he is actually doing a cultural approach that’s simply informed by science, not really driven by it.

  • Tom

    How was Zombie Nation not the first song picked!?!

  • Phos

    To correct Max and Niel. Freezing would work on zombies. If the brain is the command centre then the brain cells are required for movement and other functions. Freezing damages cells and brain cells are fragile, simple biology. -Dr. B.

  • Mustafa

    Actually, for the first time eugene was tolerable. That’s only because he didn’t interrupt and talk as much. If anyone was annoyed by eugene in this episode, then they should watch older episodes where he was basically a blackhole sucking the fun out of the episode.
    In general, yes people need to understand the show is supposed to entertaining and fun. Its not a lecture people. That’s why I always enjoy chuck nice episodes. He’s fun and knows when to join the conversation or ask a question and when to make jokes.

    That being said, this episode turned out to be way more fun than I expected. Laurie was an absolute delight. I really really hope she comes back on the show.

    The only that annoyed me greatly is the usual talking point of neil. Science literacy. When he insisted on bringing it up when laurie mentioned how the CIA messed up the efforts of polio vaccinations by using them to capture Bin Laden. It pissed me off how it was obvious that it was the CIA’s fault but somehow neil made sure to sidestep that to blame it on the ignorant and uneducated people of that region. Shame on you Neil.

  • Steven

    Let me first mention that I LOVE listening to StarTalk, and constantly check the website hoping to catch a new episode. I’ve listened to every episode available, and I can honestly and confidently say that Eugene is the single most annoying, overbearing and intolerable “guest” ever to appear on the show. I get that this show is a lighter take on modern science topics and current events, but Eugene completely ruins any intelligent content the show otherwise offers. I recall one episode where the actual scientist/guest was trying to speak and finish a sentence, but after being cut off 3 or 4 times by Eugene (no-doubt dropping some elementary one-liner), he gave up and quit trying to talk. It’s ridiculous–Eugene seems to have been born without the filter in his head telling him when to be quiet, in addition to the sensor that tells him when someone else is annoyed by his words.

    Neil, I was going to email you directly before I saw these comments. It really does degrade the quality of the show and the content offered when the listener is constantly having to “pause” his or her thinking to allow Eugene’s jokes to pass through before finally being able to hear and appreciate the rest of a comment/fact from one of the actual guests. I really hope you’ll consider these comments and keep Eugene as a friend, but not as a guest on future shows. I’d even be willing to pay for each episode if it was guaranteed that I’d be able to listen to one guest give their full story or comment without being interrupted every 10 seconds.

    That being said, keep doing what you’re doing, Neil! StarTalk definitely occupies a uniquely satisfying niche in a sea of overly serious and monotonous science-focused podcasts. Can’t wait for the next episode.

  • http://www.willeskridge.com Will Eskridge

    Love Neil, but Eugene needs to SHUT UP. It really is almost unbearable. We almost didn’t make it through this particular episode. There have also been times with other episodes where Eugene interrupts with a dumb joke and the discussion just stops and we were left hanging. Chuck Nice is a billion times better. Perfect amount of peppers of humor and no interrupting of guests or Neil. Even Neil starts to interrupt a bit much when Eugene is on.

  • ABS

    I think Max underestimates how easy to cut through a 5 inch diameter tube of bone and flesh, and overestimates how long a blade sharp enough to make that cut easy will last. The harder an edge is, the sharper it can be. The sharper an edge is, the thinner it gets. Razor sharp edges are thin and brittle. The core and spine of the blade may be made of a softer more durable steel, but without the edge it becomes a crappy, entirely too light club.

    Blades also get stuck.

  • Yvonne

    It’s funny to me that so many people seem to dislike Eugene, because he is actually one of my favorite co-host.

    I really enjoyed this podcast and I found Laurie’s experiences around the world documenting pandemics super fascinating. I had no idea that the CIA had used a vaccine ruse to try to catch Bin Laden. I was nearly in tears when she described how vaccine aid volunteers are now being target by terrorist organizations as a result. Her interview was really insightful and would love for Neil to follow up with another podcast on pandemics featuring Laurie Garrett.

    • Jeff

      Yvonne, you’re in luck. We just recorded a Cosmic Queries episode about viruses with Laurie Garrett. Stay tuned!

  • spatulaboy

    Eugene is hilarious, don’t listen to the haters. There is still plenty of great science discussion lightened by comedy.

  • Don

    Sorry but I do believe vaccinations have caused and\or contributed to autism and the autism spectrum along with ADD, ADHD. The Amish do not vaccinate and do not have autism (actually they had three instances of autism and of those three 2 were vaccinated and the third was likely vaccinated). If autism was caused by environmental factors the Amish statistically would have the same rates of autism as the rest of us. The stuff they put in vaccinations is poison, plain and simple. Don’t believe me, go look at each of the ingredients in different vaccines and then go research those compounds. Countries like the US who vaccinate like we do have higher cases of autism. Countries that don’t have lower cases of autism and other childhood diseases.

  • Fuck conspiracy theorists

    Dude, stop believing in the propaganda made by the fearmongers that say vaccines cause autism, there is no data that supports it, only lies.

  • Alx

    Eugene, PLEASE be quiet! and stop constantly interrupting people with childish comments….man. I honestly dont know why he is a part of this show. besides that , show is great.

  • Waleli

    Just got around to listening to this show. It was great…fun and informative, and unlike many of the other folks who commented, I liked Eugene too.

  • mikeobrien313

    the Eugene Mirman episodes are by far my favorite ones, I went back to earlier episodes and was disappointed to not find him on many episodes. here’s to the future. the fake non-existent future,.

  • William Sando

    think this was one of my favourite episodes, Laurie was a pleasure to listen to! Synthetic biology ftw

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  • No

    Wow I was on board with this journalist until she started talking about “low caste” Indians and how we’re all illiterate. I get that people acted stupid about the plague in Gujarat whenever that was, but people ALL OVER THE WORLD are idiots. All human beings act stupid and crazy about disease. You’re just being cruelly ignorant to blame it on our ethnicity.