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Science Disproves Zombies, Ghosts, And Vampires
Here's the bit on vampires:

If vam­pires—corpses that rise up to suck the blood of the liv­ing—sound bi­o­log­i­cal­ly im­plau­si­ble to you, you’re not alone. They ex­ist pure­ly in leg­end, as vir­tu­al­ly all sci­en­tists agree.

A post­er for one of the first vam­pire films, Nos­fer­atu (1922.)
But for any vampire be­liev­ers un­dis­sua­d­ed by bi­o­log­i­cal facts, a pro­fes­sor has come up with a sec­ond proof of their un­re­al­i­ty, us­ing math.

If vam­pires ever ex­isted in the forms in which mo­v­ies and books por­tray them, they would have quick­ly wiped out hu­ma­n­ity long ago, ac­cord­ing to phys­ics pro­f­es­sor Cos­tas Ef­thi­mi­ou of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cen­tral Flor­i­da in Or­lan­do, Fla.

Pop­u­lar lo­re pas­sed down through cen­turies holds that vam­pire vic­tims be­come vam­pires them­selves, and launch their own blood-hunts on hap­less hu­mans.

To rule out vam­pires, Ef­thi­mi­ou re­lied on a bas­ic prin­ci­ple known as ge­o­met­ric pro­gres­sion.

“If vam­pires tru­ly feed with even a ti­ny frac­tion of the fre­quen­cy that they are de­picted to in the mo­v­ies and folk­lore, then the hu­man race would have been wiped out quite quick­ly af­ter the first vam­pire ap­peared,” Ef­thi­mi­ou and a grad­u­ate stu­dent col­league wrote in a pa­per posted on­line.

Efthimiou sup­posed that the first vam­pire arose Jan. 1, 1600, around the be­gin­ning of a cen­tu­ry dur­ing which some of the first im­por­tant mod­ern writ­ings on vam­pires ap­peared. The re­search­ers es­ti­mat­ed the glob­al pop­u­la­tion at that time, based on his­tor­i­cal re­c­ords, as 537 mil­lion.

As­sum­ing that the vam­pire fed once a month and the vic­tim turned in­to a vam­pire, there would be two vam­pires on Feb. 1, four the next month, and eight the month af­ter that. All hu­mans would be vam­pires with­in 2½ years. “Hu­mans can­not sur­vive un­der these con­di­tions, even if our pop­u­la­tion were dou­bling each mon­th,” which is well be­y­ond hu­man ca­pa­ci­ties, Ef­thi­mi­ou said.

Please...use math to take on belief in Jesus and the work of Sylvia Browne. Please!

via Machines Like Us

Posted by aalkon at November 15, 2006 5:20 AM

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So this guy wrote an academic paper on a subject I figured out when I was 8. Hey, what's your stance on the lunar green cheese issue?

Posted by: Jim Treacher at November 15, 2006 8:36 AM

There's another take on this. Some "sources" say that vampires can feed without turning all of their victims into vampires. Something like a vampire has to feed on a person eight times, or suck almost all the blood out, stop the heart, etc. Assuming (heh) that vampires are real, one could walk the streets and feed on various folks without turning everyone into vampires. It takes more than a nip.

Posted by: k at November 15, 2006 8:38 AM

"Science Disproves Zombies, Ghosts, And Vampires"

But not, I note, Klingons.

Posted by: Melissa at November 15, 2006 8:40 AM

Yeah, maybe you figured it out, Treach, but plenty of people believe in vampires and Jesus, too.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 15, 2006 9:13 AM

And, more to my point, academia.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at November 15, 2006 1:39 PM

"a vampire has to feed on a person eight times, or suck almost all the blood out."

I usually break up with them after the 3rd or 4th time.

Posted by: Lena at November 16, 2006 4:51 AM

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