Ottawa Citizen

Scary science


Halloween is just around the corner and some wise guy in Florida wants to ruin the party.

His name is Costas Efthimiou and he’s a physics professor at Central Florida University. After crunching the numbers, the good professor discovered that, according to the laws of mathematic­s and epidemiolo­gy, vampires and zombies could never have existed.

Because people attacked by vampires become themselves vampires, Mr. Efthimiou calculated that if the things really ever walked the earth, all humanity would have long ago been overrun. Same for zombies and other creatures that operate on a contagion model.

Ok, Mr. Efthimiou is clever, we’ll grant him that. He’s like the person who once concluded that humans will never invent a time- travel machine, the proof being that we’d already know about it because the inventor would have travelled back to tell us. Mr. Efthimiou, though, is a bit too earnest. He notes that the existence of ghosts also is “ inconsiste­nt” with the laws of physics ( if they can walk through walls, how come they don’t fall through floors? he asks).

It could be that Mr. Efthimiou is just a big talker. Despite his giant hyper- rational brain, it wouldn’t surprise us a bit if the professor, like the rest of us, refuses to watch The Exorcist alone.

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