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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  14:34:31  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
His timing is atrocious. Physicist Costas Efthimiou (a fine name for a vampire, in my opinion) has chosen this unholiest of seasons to debunk our treasured Halloween nightmares. Just as we were trying to get the kids all worked up and ready to be deliciously terrified on the Night of the Dead!
quote:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It may be the season for vampires, ghosts and zombies. Just remember, they're not real, warns physicist Costas Efthimiou.

Obviously, you might say.

But Efthimiou, a professor at the University of Central Florida, points to surveys that show American gullibility for the supernatural.

Using science and math, Efthimiou explains why it is ghosts can't walk among us while also gliding through walls, like Patrick Swayze in the movie "Ghost." That violates Newton's law of action and reaction. If ghosts walk, their feet apply force to the floor, but if they go through walls they are without substance, the professor says.

"So which is it? Are ghosts material or material-less?" he asks.

Zombies and vampires fare even worse under Efthimiou's skeptical microscope.

Efthimiou looked at the most prominent child-turned-zombie case that zombie aficionados cite: the 1989 case of a Haitian 17-year-old who was declared dead and then rose from the grave a day after the funeral and was considered a zombie. The boy, who never died but was paralyzed and could not communicate, had been poisoned with toxins from a relative of the deadly Japanese pufferfish, later research showed.

Efthimiou takes out the calculator to prove that if a vampire sucked one person's blood each month -- turning each victim into an equally hungry vampire -- after a couple of years there would be no people left, just vampires. He started his calculations with just one vampire and 537 million humans on January 1, 1600 and shows that the human population would be down to zero by July 1602.

. . .


Shame on you, Mr. Science Buzz-kill! Again, science's hobnailed boots stomp on superstition. But at what cost? Won't someone think of the children?


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.

Edited by - HalfMooner on 10/27/2006 15:10:26

Vegeta
Skeptic Friend

United Kingdom
238 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  15:02:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Vegeta a Private Message
there's always witches

What are you looking at? Haven't you ever seen a pink shirt before?

"I was asked if I would do a similar sketch but focusing on the shortcomings of Islam rather than Christianity. I said, 'No, no I wouldn't. I may be an atheist but I'm not stupid.'" - Steward Lee
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Master Yoda
Skeptic Friend

59 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  18:08:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Master Yoda a Private Message
I particularly love the mathematical proof of the impossibility of vampires. I actually went and did an Excel spreadsheet based on the Hollywood assumptions, and based on a round population of 5 billion.
It was fun, and astonishing.

If we have 5.0 billion on earth (and had about 4 billion in 1990), and assuming a birth to natural death increase accordingly, if there was a single vampire alive on Jan 1 2007, there would be no "people" by Feb. 5! (Using the luxury of vampires having to eat every day.)
If you assume they eat weekly or monthly, you merely take longer, but it's still a mathematical certainty that in well less than a year, the entire "human" population of the earth would be converted to vampires.

The only extrapolation he missed is that if there really was a Dracula in the 18th century (he assumed 1600 for his table) was the other assumption.... We're all vampires!

I'm filing this under "W" for "Wonderful, but I'll never have use for it other than amongst skeptics". You don't run into a lot of people out there who believe in vampires (or do you?).

Sidebar cultural note: I'm in Hong Kong. I've referred to Asia before as "The Land of Woo". The headline in the paper here read, "Physicist Disproves Ghosts and Vampires to Americans". Subtle, but typical. They wouldn't go so far as to upset the believers here by leaving off "to Americans", so I guess I have to keep wearing my garlic tie.

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Vegeta
Skeptic Friend

United Kingdom
238 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  18:16:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Vegeta a Private Message
dont you guys watch buffy. she kills like 10 every week, and van helsing and others too

What are you looking at? Haven't you ever seen a pink shirt before?

"I was asked if I would do a similar sketch but focusing on the shortcomings of Islam rather than Christianity. I said, 'No, no I wouldn't. I may be an atheist but I'm not stupid.'" - Steward Lee
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  18:19:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Master Yoda
If we have 5.0 billion on earth (and had about 4 billion in 1990), and assuming a birth to natural death increase accordingly, if there was a single vampire alive on Jan 1 2007, there would be no "people" by Feb. 5! (Using the luxury of vampires having to eat every day.)
If you assume they eat weekly or monthly, you merely take longer, but it's still a mathematical certainty that in well less than a year, the entire "human" population of the earth would be converted to vampires.
Except in many depictions of vampires, merely being bitten doesn't transform you into one yourself (unlike werewolves). You must actually drink some of the vampire's own blood to become a vampire, under his complete control, obviously.

Plus you didn't factor into account the predatory effect of Vampire Slayers.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  19:42:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
The first problem I thought of with regard to these vampire analyses is that it seems to me that the typical Hollywood vampire kills the people he/she doesn't turn into vampires. So even if vampires eat every day, most of their victims simply die (they get drained dry) instead of becoming vampires themselves.

Let's just stick to the USA. We've got 300 million people, and a population growth rate of about one person every 11 seconds, that's about 7,855 new people every day. So whether a person becomes a vampire or just gets killed due to a vampire's feeding, it'll take 7,855 vampires just to counteract the population growth.

If, when a vampire creates a new vampire, he/she only creates one at a time, then a single "vampire generation" doubles in size when it's time to make new vampires. 12.94 vampires generations would be 7,855 vampires. If vampires only made new vampires at a rate of once every 100 feedings, then it'd take 1,294 days (or thereabouts) to generate 7,855 vampires.

At Buffy's rate of 10 vampires per week (not counting syndication), she'd only be able to kill 1,849 vampires in the same 1,294 days. Assuming that the first group of vampires would stay the hell away from Sunnydale and LA (perhaps instead deciding to live quietly in Santa Carla for a while), they could easily overwhelm Buffy and the rest of us. 300 million is only 28.2 vampire generations, and 2,820 days is only 7.7 years. 7.7 years is no time at all for vampires.

Of course, assuming that vampires that don't eat instead die, there will be zero vampires and zero humans one day after 27.2 vampire generations have gone by (when 150,000,000 vampires all have their last meal, not counting real population growth).

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  21:24:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
So, what you're saying, Dave, is that not only are vampires possible, but that they are statistically damned near certain to exist. That's very reassuring, just before Halloween.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  22:21:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by HalfMooner

So, what you're saying, Dave, is that not only are vampires possible, but that they are statistically damned near certain to exist. That's very reassuring, just before Halloween.
Nah, he completely ignored Blade, who blows Buffy's kill numbers out of the water.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  23:20:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by HalfMooner

So, what you're saying, Dave, is that not only are vampires possible, but that they are statistically damned near certain to exist.
Not at all, I'm actually agreeing with Professor Efthimiou (and Master Yoda), I'm just trying to make the analysis more... uh... er... realistic.

Look, there were 144 episodes of Buffy, so she killed about 1,440 vampires in Sunnydale between March 10, 1997 and May 20, 2003. That's 2,261 days, or 22.61 vampire generations, so a single vampire somewhere outside Sunnydale (we know there was at least one) could spawn 6,401,594 more vampires in that time. So even though Willow made all the potential Slayers into real Slayers in the last episode, there would have had to have been 44,766 potential Slayers in the world before that point in order to kill off all the vampires before they were able to "reproduce" again 100 days later. That's one Slayer for every 134,029 people on the planet, an outrageous lack of rarity that would have been noted not only in the series, but in the original film. With nine million people in Los Angeles county, there would have been 67 potential Slayers nearby in the film, so surely Merrick would have picked someone more capable and less ditzy in the first place. We would have gotten "Joan the Vampire Slayer" and the series wouldn't have lasted as long as it did (six years to clear out a single town? Sheer incompetence!).

Clearly, the whole scenario doesn't work out, mathematically. Thus, given that we're not all vampires and we're not all dead, we can safely say that Buffy was fiction and vampires don't exist.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  23:22:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Nah, he completely ignored Blade, who blows Buffy's kill numbers out of the water.
No, Blade is part of the problem, given that his supply of serum isn't limitless.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2006 :  23:31:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
Um...what about Batman?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2006 :  00:14:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Um...what about Batman?
Did I miss a movie, comic book or graphic novel in which Batman battles vampires? Dammit!

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2006 :  00:38:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

quote:
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Um...what about Batman?
Did I miss a movie, comic book or graphic novel in which Batman battles vampires? Dammit!

Ok, I admit I was totally guessing, but... Batman vs. Dracula.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2006 :  16:52:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Dracula-Red-Rain-Comics/dp/1563890364
An actual graphic novel Batman v Dracula

Batman #656 is Batman v Ninja Man-bats

In Batman: Crimson Mist, he actually becomes a Vampire and fights crime....

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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LizW
Skeptic Friend

USA
113 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2006 :  21:14:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send LizW a Private Message
"Sigh...." You have all overlooked the "Vampire the Masquerade" type vampires, which don't kill or convert hardly anyone. They take a pint or so from a hypnotized victim then release them back into the public to recycle (sort of like the Red Cross but much sexier).

Also Buffy would have cleaned the vampires out of Sunnydale in no time if the power of the Hellmouth didn't keep drawing in new blood (so to speak), not to mention all of the time she has to waste figuring out how to kill the myriad of different demons which also show up.

Also we have no specs on the physical properties of ghosts so we cannot just randomly asign movement and other attributes to them. If we had that kind of data they would not be ghosts they would be "Life Challenged" and eligible for social services and jury duty.


You learn something new every g****mn day!
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2006 :  22:24:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Thank you, Liz!

I am more comforted day by day with the postings here, despite the sometimes nitpicking differences in detail. Our Halloween traditions are indeed safe so long as the skeptics here are able to debunk the extraordinary and unevidenced claim that the undead are dead or might die.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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