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Bacteria Turns Plants Into Zombies

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witches' broom

Witches’ broom are indications of parasites

We all know how to turn people into zombies: just give them boring, 9-5 jobs (or worse, 8-6, 7-7, etc) that don’t require them to use their brains at all and thus turn them into the shuffling, vacant-eyed folks that appear in Shaun of the Dead even before the undead start snacking on them. Animals can become zombies too, when under the control of bodysnatching parasites. Now, scientists have learned that bacteria can work their zombie mojo on plants, too.

A team of scientists from Norwich, UK’s John Innes Centre published research in PLOS Biology that describes how phytoplasmas, parasitic bacteria that wreak havoc on the likes of sugarcane and coconut, take over plants and make them do all sorts of things they otherwise wouldn’t. Flowers become shoots, petals change color, and the plant sends up the telltale “witches’ broom” shoots. As the parasite takes hold, the host becomes incapable of reproducing. Insects descend on these new shoots, transmitting the bacteria to make new zombies. They don’t even have to bite anything. The report points out that for all intents and purposes, the plant is dead, living on bacterial life support.

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Syfy Gets Into The Zombie Game With Z Nation

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SyfyAMC has their zombie show, an adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead; BBC has one of their own, In the Flesh; and damn it, Syfy wants one of their own. And what Syfy wants, Syfy gets, in this case in the form of their new zombie show Z Nation. You can see the obvious allusion to Max Brooks’ World War Z in the title.

The undead are everywhere, from movie screens and TVs to video games and marketing for cars and candy, and it takes a lot to set a new project apart from the pack. Syfy seems to be hanging their prospects in this area on one fact, that while the zombie apocalypse genre is usually rather depressing, Z Nation plans to offer viewers a more hopeful outlook. That certainly is a different approach than the overwhelming bleakness of The Walking Dead.

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The Walking Dead Delivers Three More Ominous Finale Posters

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The Walking DeadSeason four of AMC’s hit zombie-apocalypse drama The Walking Dead wraps up tomorrow after 16 surprisingly good installments. This year, especially the second half of the season, the episodes have been consistent and strong, especially considering that has been a huge issue, and right now The Walking Dead is as good as it has ever been. Building up to the finale, the network has released a series of ominous character posters, and they’re back with three more that still seem to indicate gloom and doom on the horizon, if and when the survivors reach the mysterious Terminus.

After the events at the prison that finished up the first half of the season, the group of survivors was forced to split up and find their own way through the walker infested Georgia wilderness. Like the episodes, these posters check in with one splinter at a time, and first up we have Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman). Wounded, worried about his sister, and playing guardian to two young girls and a newborn, he’s had some stuff to deal with. And then factor in the brutal, heart-breaking situation that he and Carol (Melissa McBride) had to deal with in “The Grove” a few weeks ago, and he’s carrying an almost unbearable emotional weight with him as he approaches Terminus, which may or may not provide a safe haven.

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The Walking Dead Post-Game: The Grove

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Well, that was one hell of a bummer of an episode, even for a show a notoriously bleak as The Walking Dead. If you thought Andrea’s death at the end of season three stung, Rick shooting zombie Sophia in the head in season two, or the debacle at the prison a few weeks ago were bad, you’re in for a hard slap of reality with tonight’s episode, “The Grove.” It’s like the writers went out of their way to say fuck you, here’s how bad shit can really get. So sit back, strap in, and get ready to get ready to have your day ruined a little bit.

The Walking DeadSince The Walking Dead returned from its mid-season break, with the group of survivors in ruins, the show has taken to telling smaller, more contained stories. “The Grove” sticks with this program, and follows the splinter that includes Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), Carol (Melissa McBride), and the kids Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino), Miki (Kyla Kenedy), and baby Judith, who as we learned a couple weeks ago, is still alive.

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Afterlife With Archie Comic May Bring Riverdale’s Zombies To TV Or Film

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afterlife with archie

I used to read a lot of Archie series when I was younger, and there seemed to be a million or so, including the digests, each with their own different names. Archie Comics, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, has spent the last five years or so taking the Riverdale gang to places they’ve never been before, and giving the entire brand a modern facelift. The latest and greatest evolution came late last year with the quasi-horror comic Afterlife With Archie, in which zombies enter the storyline, something usually reserved for dating and high school life. And there’s a decent chance you’ll be able to see this series’ shambling characters come to life as a TV series or a feature film. It might be the handful of random pills I swallowed an hour ago, but this sounds like the greatest thing that could ever happen to TV or cinema.

Series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa — who is a lifelong Archie fan as well as being a Marvel writer, a playwright and a screenwriter — was appointed the comic company’s first ever chief creative officer, as co-CEO Jon Goldwater wants to take the franchise into places it’s never gone before. There was talk last summer of an Archie movie in the works, and both Goldwater and Aguirre-Sacasa shined a little more light on that in a recenter interview with Comic Book Resources, which is well worth a full read.

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The Walking Dead Post-Game: Still

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Last week’s episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, “Claimed,” was all about looking towards the future. We were introduced to a trio of new characters—Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene—who will continue shape the show for the foreseeable future and beyond. At the same time, we learned that they were on a mission to get to Washington DC, and could possibly hold the key to ending the walker apocalypse once and for all. “Still,” tonight’s installment of the hit zombie drama, however, looks into the past, specifically into the earlier life of fan-favorite Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus).

The Walking Dead