Mind-Controlling Parasites and The Last of Us

Mind-Controlling Parasites and The Last of Us

Bugs that control your brain? More plausible than you think.

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I'd like to say I enjoyed your article, really I would. The problem is that I'm already introverted and you just gave me even more reasons to avoid leaving my room for any reason ever, so it's honestly kind of a net negative. But I did learn stuff at least, so there's that.

Well.... that just made me want to crawl under my bed and shudder.

Robert Rath:
Mind-Controlling Parasites and The Last of Us

text

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Text? Can I warn this fellow for low-content post? :P

Interesting article, though I must admit that however interesting it was, I'm a bit tired of seeing more tLoU articles - there were way to many after the game's release.

Thedutchjelle:

Robert Rath:
Mind-Controlling Parasites and The Last of Us

text

Read Full Article

Text? Can I warn this fellow for low-content post? :P

Interesting article, though I must admit that however interesting it was, I'm a bit tired of seeing more tLoU articles - there were way to many after the game's release.

As someone getting into Biomedical engineering, it's intriguing to see other organisms be able to alter higher level functions in animals. I wonder if we can make symbiotic organisms for ourselves?

While it is definately a very interesting concept, I feel it still simply translates to 'zombie' in-game.

It might've been much more interesting if long term infection actually led to a passive form of zombie. They are plants/funguy after all, so it might make sense that the more the infection spreads the less human aggression remains. Making them these quiet, gentle wandering fungal beings who won't even be aware of your presence, untill they ultimately root themselves into the ground and complete their cycle.

Now ofcourse the whole "zombie" plot takes a backseat to the more road trip-like journey the characters go on in The Last of Us. But by making the zombification of humanity a much more passive proceeding rather than the usual aggrassive one, it would feel more haunting and eerie, and also side step the standard zombie fare.

I still love this game to bits though.

Thedutchjelle:

Robert Rath:
Mind-Controlling Parasites and The Last of Us

text

Read Full Article

Text? Can I warn this fellow for low-content post? :P

Hehehe. Fixed.

I love this article, as a side note. I think that other articles haven't bothered with the interesting background information that Naughty Dog build for Last of Us, instead focusing on the (justly deserved, don't get me wrong) character arcs.

But, really, I just like to geek out on The Science Of [insert fictional thing]. Especially science with a thin basis in reality.

Izanagi009:

Thedutchjelle:

Robert Rath:
Mind-Controlling Parasites and The Last of Us

text

Read Full Article

Text? Can I warn this fellow for low-content post? :P

Interesting article, though I must admit that however interesting it was, I'm a bit tired of seeing more tLoU articles - there were way to many after the game's release.

As someone getting into Biomedical engineering, it's intriguing to see other organisms be able to alter higher level functions in animals. I wonder if we can make symbiotic organisms for ourselves?

We already have billions of those in us :) All the bacteria in our gut, the bacteria on our skin.. without them we wouldn't be able to survive.

Is there a way to configure an ad-block type software so I never see that picture of that spider again? It is too creepy.

This is an awesome, yet terrifying, article. If I ever catch the flu I'll make sure my friends and relatives lock me in my house under quarantine so it doesn't affect my brain.

Love the article. Scary as hell for the possibilities.

Now we need a movie about some scientist making biological weapons for behavior manipulation.

Oooh, this is giving me flashbacks to Scott Westerfeld's book Peeps. It was half vampire story, half... well, this article basically. Every second chapter explained in detail about a parasite or a variety of parasites, viruses, bacteria, toxins, etc. that exhibit properties that could be combined into a single, fictional parasite capable of recreating most of the main attributes of a vampire. Great book, and I remember toxoplasma and rabies from it in particular.

Dammit Rath! Now I'm never getting out!

*Is sitting at work inside a 34 story office building*..... I hate you Rath..... (just kidding).

Quite disturbing when you think about it, also makes you wonder what other diseases effect people's behaviors without them knowing.

Cool stuff. I actually heard a lot about this stuff before. Neat to find out it has it's own field of study though.

Pretty funny, and somewhat creepy ending too, Rath.

Well done. =w= b

Thedutchjelle:

Izanagi009:

Thedutchjelle:

Text? Can I warn this fellow for low-content post? :P

Interesting article, though I must admit that however interesting it was, I'm a bit tired of seeing more tLoU articles - there were way to many after the game's release.

As someone getting into Biomedical engineering, it's intriguing to see other organisms be able to alter higher level functions in animals. I wonder if we can make symbiotic organisms for ourselves?

We already have billions of those in us :) All the bacteria in our gut, the bacteria on our skin.. without them we wouldn't be able to survive.

I was honestly thinking of something that seems out of a Sci Fi movie but thanks for the correction

Well, that was unnerving.
The best part about this article is also the worst: Knowing how close that infection is to reality.
I thought it was kind of neat, reading about the whys and hows that make the game's infection more accurate. Like reading that we find them in closed up hallways because if condenses the spore volume, I thought those areas were just more-or-less randomly placed but no, there's a method to it.
I did NOT enjoy however, knowing that the infection is so close to reality that there are already infections that have tampered with our human brains. I mean, I knew about the cat parasite and rabies, but I didn't know about the flu thing or T. gondii.
Well, at least now if/when an infection does hit us, I can be slightly less horrified and be able to say
"Well, I guess I saw this coming."

You missed another example of behaviour modification in humans, the threadworm. When it's ready to reproduce, it migrates to the surface of the skin in the leg, at which point it makes the skin feel agonisingly hot. Then when the person takes the hot limb to cool in water, the hot spot bursts, releasing the young worms into the water.

Another cool one is a species of barnacle which takes over a crab, castrates it, and then commandeers its reproductive behaviour, causing the crab to waft the barnacle's young out into the water exactly the same way it does its own sperm.

And there's the fluke that eats a fish's tongue and replaces it, acting exactly like a tongue, except that it eats some of the food on the way down.

I love this shit. It's terrifying. Read 'Parasite Rex' for more - one of the most mind-blowing science books I've ever read.

Flatfrog:
You missed another example of behaviour modification in humans, the threadworm. When it's ready to reproduce, it migrates to the surface of the skin in the leg, at which point it makes the skin feel agonisingly hot. Then when the person takes the hot limb to cool in water, the hot spot bursts, releasing the young worms into the water.

Another cool one is a species of barnacle which takes over a crab, castrates it, and then commandeers its reproductive behaviour, causing the crab to waft the barnacle's young out into the water exactly the same way it does its own sperm.

And there's the fluke that eats a fish's tongue and replaces it, acting exactly like a tongue, except that it eats some of the food on the way down.

I love this shit. It's terrifying. Read 'Parasite Rex' for more - one of the most mind-blowing science books I've ever read.

I remember when The Colbert Report showed that damn fish-tongue eater. "Jimmy, let's haunt their dreams forever!"
So there's a real fungus that takes over other animals bodies, and humans are subtly controlled by viruses. As if I didn't have reason enough to drink.

jsims85013@gmail.com:
Well.... that just made me want to crawl under my bed and shudder.

Wait a minute... the undersides of beds are generally damp, dark spaces prone to fungal growth...

...

HE'S GOT THE SPORES! PUT HIM DOWN! BURN IT WITH FIRE BEFORE THE REST OF US ARE INFECTED!

OT: I wonder if we could weaponize this?

this gives calling someone a parasite a whole new spin. awesome article thanks!

This was a super cool article, wont trust my behavior ever again :) The bugs made me do it :P

I did very much appreciate how The Last of Us made the "zombie" idea a realistic, organic type of thing that seemed plausible. I think it was a strong point - especially considering the length of the situation. I am always a little skeptical of the whole "created virus" zombie issue going on for more than a decade or two - if we made it in a lab somewhere there ought to be a way to make a vaccine. I know that's not entirely true, and usually games or movies "solve" that by wiping out all the scientists and labs that could be working on that, but that always seems like a stretch too (that all of them would be wiped out, those places are... pretty secure and pretty high priority in such a situation). It being something of nature in The Last of Us resonated with me on a much more scary and realistic level.

I am not, however, wholly impressed with all of the game as it seems others tend to be. Other aspects of the writing and situation creations lacked the same realism in my opinion

But as far as the way they did the zombies - it was both creative and realistic and I really appreciated the thought that went into it. This article was a good explanation I could point to as far as why I feel that way if I talk about it to someone who hasn't played the game - or doesn't play games.

 

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