It's Halloween... and the end is (almost) nigh!

Today's post is brought to you by the letters H & N and the numbers 9,2,1 & 7.

Today is All Hallows' Eve of course - a time when ghosts and spirits are supposed to be abroad. In Irish mythology these supernatural creatures  are called the aos sí (pronounced "ees shee"); they are the 'people of the mounds' and on Halloween they walk amongst the living. Sounds uncannily like a definition of a zombie to me and since it's October 31st, it seems like an appropriate time to mention an article published on the Zombie Research Society's site.

Whilst a flu pandemic might not trigger a zombie apocalypse - really, who knows? - it's a pretty scary proposition and we should rightfully be very concerned about the next one. The last outbreak of 'Spanish Flu' in 1918 was purportedly responsible for the deaths of 50 million people.

Now streams of data might be useful to a scientist but since us ordinary folk find it easier to process visual images, info-graphic guru David McCandless set about designing a Venn diagram to illustrate how we as a species are interconnected with other animals and how viral-borne disaster might strike: a handy at-a-glance guide to how we're going to hell in a handcart, if you will:

“No doubt [the nomenclature] is meaningful to a biochemist, but not to me. I wanted to better understand the various strains and the role of pigs, chickens and humans, so I could get a better picture and decide whether to ignore H7N9, take interest, or suit the hell up!”

And here are the results...

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