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History remembers the renaissance era as a time of poets, painters, and fair maidens, but the reality is much closer to a horror film.
2. Famine of biblical proportionsA famine of biblical proportions will hit the world in 2021 according to Nostradamus. Picture via Getty Images
Nostradamus also believes the earth will be hit with a famine of biblical proportions. And it has already started in Africa that is beeing attacked by billions of devouring locusts.
The massive famine will have a size the world has never seen before. it will be biblical!
He said: “After great trouble for humanity, a greater one is prepared, The Great Mover renews the ages: Rain, blood, milk, famine, steel, and plague, Is the heavens fire seen, a long spark running.“
Christopher Columbus brought a host of terrible new diseases to the New World
But along with a new wave of settlers, he also brought with him a devastating suite of scourges.
The Native Americans' immune systems were not equipped to handle this. Along with their own set of diseases at the time, Columbus' arrival created a devastating concoction of maladies.
"It was a culture clash, obviously," Stephen Prescott, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation president, told the OMRF news site. "But it also launched a clash of infectious diseases."
These infections were disastrous. OMRF reports that their impact was more catastrophic than the Black Death in medieval Europe, which is estimated to have killed 25 million people in just five years, between 1347 and 1352.
Of the estimated 250,000 natives in Hispaniola, Columbus' first stop in the Americas in 1492, new infectious diseases wiped out a staggering 236,000 indigenous people by 1517 — nearly 95% of their population.
Medical records were sparse or flat out didn't exist back then, so it's difficult to say exactly where and when certain diseases emerged. But here is an inexhaustive list of 30 diseases that were believed to have either been introduced to the new world — or worsened — in the post-Columbian era, which we found in a 1992 study in the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology:
THE BLOODY CONCLUSION
“This was our very first day of shooting in the whole movie,” director Ruben Fleischer said on his commentary track for Zombieland found on the blu-ray disc ( Available here ), “and as a first time director I was really nervous about the whole thing, but Jessie and Amber just really did a terrific job and it started the movie off on the right foot.”
It can be difficult when you love something that is considered to be more niche, or, rather, are surrounded by people who project that label onto what it is that you love. It’s for that very reason that a movie like Zombieland is so important to me and the horror genre at large. It bridges those gaps, invites others in and ultimately reveals what it is they were missing all along.
The scene where Columbus first encounters the disease which will go on to change his life and end the world is integral to the movie’s ability to make the viewer both care about and relate to the characters. The scene elicits urgent, visceral fear. Ruben Fleischer calls it “the biggest scare in the movie” in his commentary and it only works because of the meticulous manner in which it was constructed.
“There was a very particular set of actions [which were] storyboarded carefully,” Production Designer Maher Ahmad said on the feature “Zombieland is your Land” found on the blu-ray, “[I] designed the set around the storyboards… it’s not just about the way things look, but about accommodating the actions.” Each room and hallway turn was built to reflect the moment-to-moment storyboards which they were recreating.
Beyond that, the scene introduced the disease itself in a close up, intimate way. While Amber Heard was only on set for 2 days, her make up and appliances took several hours to prepare and apply. Stephen Prouty, special Make-Up and Effects Artist for the film, wanted to really land the impact of the plague from the start. In the feature “In Search of Zombieland”, he talks about what it was they were going for:
“What we were trying to get with here is that they’re infected, they’re sick, they’re still alive but they’re raging fever, they’re always wet, they’re always dripping, they’re hemorrhaging from all of their orifices and spewing up black bile-like material.”
From the practical make-up to the digital toilet lid that, according to the commentary, was “actually half a lid, they added the other half in digital effects”, the scene in Columbus’ apartment effectively sets the stage for everything that will follow it. Its adaptation from the page manages to distill the heart behind the character with less toxic neuroses, while maintaining the humor behind his everyday cowardice. His dream of sweetly engaging with the opposite sex remains in tact to the viewer while simultaneously being decimated before the eyes of the character in light of the destructive actions he is forced to take against the girl he had “dreamed” about.
While my friends and family didn’t become horror fanatics after watching Zombieland, they certainly became more open-minded. Conversation blossomed. My father-in-law even asked to borrow The Evil Dead (1981) once we got to talking! And it all stemmed from an experience with a movie that crossed genre barriers and managed to tell a character driven story with all of the trappings of one of horror’s most gruesome sub-genres.
Of course, character and emotionality aside, there’s one other thing this scene, and movie, gets very right.
“When I go to theaters,” Ruben Fleischer admits giddily in his commentary, “I like to turn and watch the audience jump in their seats when [Amber Heard] appears.”
Whether it be decades ago, the mid-2000s or even now when horror seems to be in a renaissance, audience reaction is a universal language. And sometimes a frightened leap is the greatest compliment of all, whether it be from a burgeoning horror fan or his skeptical father-in-law. Especially if it’s followed by laughter, a choked back tear and, yes, even another leap.
That’s the power of movies like Zombieland. Of horror. The world at large may dip in and out of scary-movie fandom, some choosing to stay while others only visit, but as long as there are movies like this, I think it will continue to win over those who might otherwise write it off. Which is good because when all is said and done, when the Stephen-King-aissance has passed, just like in the mid-2000s… I’ll still need friends to go to the movies with.
Zombieland (2009): Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick & Directed by Ruben Fleischer
A zombie, also referred to as an undead, was a corpse revived through supernatural means such as Dathomirian witchcraft. Completely will-less and speechless, zombies were controlled by those who had summoned them in the first place. The Dathomirian Nightsister called Old Daka knew a magic chant that could produce zombies. During the Clone Wars, Daka used that resurrection spell to revive a group of corpses from a neighboring graveyard. That Army of the Dead participated in a battle to repel the Separatist forces led by General Grievous. Β]
Through the use of parasitic brain worms, a Geonosian queen could also reanimate and control corpses. While in search for Archduke Poggle the Lesser, the Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and trooper Buzz faced a group of dead Geonosian warriors controlled by Queen Karina the Great. ΐ]
Yoda encountered multiple undead Sith Warriors on Moraband during his mission there. They appeared to be incapable of harming him physically. Γ]
Rather than producing immortality, Project Blackwing accidentally produced a virus that transformed humanoids into cannibalistic undead. The virus had some ability to communicate with itself, allowing it to slowly learn how to operate machinery and weapons. At some point, the virus infected a number of Imperial stormtroopers, transforming them into a hostile army of Undead Troopers. Α]
Lowery was born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. He first started playing guitar at seven after watching Buck Owens and Roy Clark's television show Hee Haw with his dad. Specifically, Lowery recalls seeing a young Jimmy Henley playing banjo that drew his inspiration.
His parents supported his playing as long as it did not interfere with his education. He also took guitar lessons from Detroit guitarist Robert Gillespie who taught him classic blues and rock 'n' roll. They also accompanied him at the adult bars he would play during the evening.  
1987–1995: Early career Edit
Lowery started his career as a session guitarist having moved to Los Angeles from Michigan at age 17. His first band in L.A. was Alligator Soup, which led to an important meeting with Rudy Sarzo from Whitesnake who recruited Lowery for his band Sun King giving him his first real bit of exposure. This also saw him meeting producer Bob Marlette, who has worked with, among others, Tracy Chapman, Alice Cooper, Rob Halford and Black Sabbath.
Lowery began working on numerous projects with Marlette including television show soundtracks, movie soundtracks including Speed 2: Cruise Control, and commercials and infomercials. This in turn saw Lowery being picked to play with Lita Ford, opening up for Kiss. He started another long time friendship with the various Kiss members, including a close friendship with Paul Stanley which resulted in his guesting on Stanley's Live to Win album.
Lowery's next role saw him working with Randy Castillo, in the short-lived projects Bone Angels and Red Square Black, who issued the Square EP via Zoo/BMG. The band disbanded when Lowery was picked to play with k.d. lang on tour.
1996–1998: 2wo Edit
In 1996, Lowery heard that Marilyn Manson was looking for a guitarist and attempted to cold-call the studio Manson was working with to request an audition, but was hung up on, as the guitarist role had already been given to Zim Zum. Lowery teamed up with then-former Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, along with Sid Riggs (drums) James Wooley (keyboards), and Ray Riendeau (bass) to work on an industrial metal-inspired album, under the band name of 2wo (Two). The subsequent album (Voyeurs) was remixed by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and was released on Reznor's Nothing Records label, under the parent company Interscope Records (Universal). The album was not a commercial hit but did produce one video, made by director Chi Chi Larue, for the first single "I am a Pig".  It featured some S&M scenes and so was not widely broadcast, but the video was not banned as has been previously rumored. The band embarked on a world tour and were part of the Ozzfest line-up, but the tour was pulled and 2wo disbanded.
1998–2003: David Lee Roth Edit
Arguably, John 5's first truly "big break" came when he was selected by former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth to play lead guitar on the critically well-received   1998 release DLR Band.
Regarding how he came to meet Roth, in Guitarist Magazine, Lowery relates that, "when I was little, my dream was to play with David Lee Roth. One day I was sitting at my friend's house and. I wonder[ed] what. Roth is doing now. [In 1997, Roth had just been let go from Van Halen for a second time in favor of Gary Cherone, and also penned a tongue-in-cheek memoir.]. I'm gonna call up his manager and see if he needs any songs." 
John 5 submitted six tracks that he had written to Roth's management. Having been a longtime fan of David Lee Roth's work, both in Van Halen and as a solo artist, Lowery believed that he knew exactly what Roth would like. On hearing Lowery's songs, Roth was very impressed and subsequently asked for Lowery to submit several more songs. At the time, Roth was choosing between Lowery and Mike Hartman as to who would play lead guitar. (Lowery would also play bass on the album under the moniker, "B'urbon Bob".) Tragically, Hartman would die a short time later in 2000 of Cystic Fibrosis.
Impressed by John 5's prodigious skill, Roth scheduled a meeting and then scheduled a recording session that lasted two weeks and resulted in the fourteen track DLR Band album. "I remember before we started, he [David Lee Roth] said, 'If you can't do it in two takes, you can't do it.'" 
In 2003, while still lead guitarist for Marilyn Manson, Lowery (then called John 5) was invited by David Lee Roth to write and record the single non-cover song for Roth's 2003 album Diamond Dave. 
1998–2004: Marilyn Manson Edit
After the recording of Mechanical Animals, Marilyn Manson was again looking for a guitarist to replace Zim Zum who had been dismissed from the band during the recording process. Again John went to try out for the band. Following a tour with Rob Halford in Europe, John received a call from Manson's manager asking if he would like to meet Manson for lunch. At the meeting Manson asked John to join the band. Lowery accepted and Manson gave him the name "John 5". As Lowery put it, "right then and there. It was obviously something he'd been thinking about.".  5 signed on for the Mechanical Animals tour and to work on the next album. His first live performance for Marilyn Manson came on the MTV Video Music Awards.
During the opening bars of "The Beautiful People" at the 2003 Rock Am Ring festival Manson was moving across the stage when he hit Lowery's guitar and chest with his boot. Lowery was outraged and threw his guitar while screaming at Manson, which led to much speculation. According to Lowery, the Grotesk Burlesk tour had been a high-pressure endeavour, and just weeks before he had suffered losses of very close family members. Lowery later commented on his behavior, calling it unprofessional and stating that there was no bad blood between Manson and him. [ citation needed ]
During this time period, Lowery also worked on a band called Plague with Jason Lowetz as the frontman. The album was produced with Bob Marlette but never made it out of the studio. Lowetz was considered for the job as frontman for Velvet Revolver before Scott Weiland took it on.
In 2004, Lowery and Manson parted company. Confusion was rife as certain press reported that he had been dumped unceremoniously from the band, but in reality the two came to a mutual agreement that they wanted to go their separate ways. "What actually happened was, at the end of the tour, we were just on different roads. It was completely amicable. He just wanted to write with other members of the band, and I wanted to do other things."  While working with Manson, Lowery stated that Manson may have harboured resentment toward him since he does not do drugs or drink alcohol, whereas Manson "is not like that." However, Lowery claims Manson never stated this explicitly to him, and remains unclear on why or whether Manson has ill will toward him. 
2005–2006: Loser Edit
In 2005, Lowery formed the band Loser. Recruiting vocalist Joe Grah, Charles Lee on bass, and Glendon Crain on drums, they began working on their debut album Just Like You. The band was also partly co-founded by friend and producer Bob Marlette. Vocalist Joe Grah already had a significant amount of success in his home state of Texas, with the band Jibe. Marlette recommended Grah to Lowery, and so Lowery hopped on a plane to Texas to see the band play. Grah flew back to L.A. and was hired on the spot.
The name Loser came about as an affirmation to Lowery's past: "I was from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, which is kind of an upper-class area, and I was always that rock kid," John explained. "I started playing guitar at age 7. I always had a rock shirt on, and I had that tattoo early on. I looked like a loser because everyone around me was wearing Polo and Brooks Brothers. But now if you go into a club wearing Polo, you're called a loser. So I think everyone can relate to that name, and the album title, Just Like You, sums it up." 
The band had initial success not long after signing with Island Records, when the track "Disposable Sunshine" became part of the Fantastic Four soundtrack.
During this time, during the recording of the soundtrack, Crain briefly left the band and was replaced by drummer Elias Andra, a friend of Lee's. Andra had some success himself with the band Psycho Plague, his own creation, an industrial metal band, which toured as a headline act with Linkin Park as an opening act at the time. However, Andra soon left after promotional shots had been taken, and Crain returned. Andra went on to become the drummer for Julien-K.
At the same time, Lowery was also working for Rob Zombie and a working conflict occurred. As Zombie was also touring, Lowery tried to find a live replacement for him while Loser were touring on conflicting dates. However, even with promo material for the debut album out and a release date in the bag, Island Records did not like the idea of Loser without John and so dropped the band from the label.
"Being the founding member of Loser, my decision to leave was not an easy one", said John 5 in a press release. "I've been juggling two careers both with Loser and Rob Zombie for over one year now. I found it impossible to be in two places at once." 
The album has been put on the backburner, and no word on a release date has ever been issued. The official Loser Myspace page has tracks available for download (working on April 11, 2012). 
2005–present: Rob Zombie Edit
While Lowery was working with Loser, he also began to work with cult rock artist and movie director Rob Zombie. Meeting at the Camp Freddy benefit gig, Lowery and Zombie hit it off immediately and Rob asked Lowery to play with him at Ozzfest 2005. "I'm totally ecstatic about having the opportunity to play with Rob on Ozzfest! He has been one of my favorite artists for the longest time. I had the opportunity to play with him a few weeks back and never thought that I would have the chance to share the stage with him playing the Zombie songs we all know and love!" 
It was reported that Zombie was looking to quit the music industry to concentrate on his movie career until he began to work with Lowery.
"Camp Freddy asked me to do this benefit, just to play one song, at the Arrowhead Pond (in Anaheim, California) for this tsunami relief thing. And John was there, and we played one song, 'Thunderkiss,' and it kicked ass and he's a supercool guy and I was like, 'this is perfect.' John said, 'Do you need a guitar player for Ozzfest?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'I wanna do it,' I said, 'Perfect, done.'" -Rob Zombie on John 5 
Lowery worked on Rob Zombie's 2006 album Educated Horses, co-writing eight out of eleven tracks with Zombie. When he left Loser, Lowery took up the role of Rob Zombie guitarist as a permanent gig. "Rob is the best I have worked with. He's great. We have a great time on stage together. It has been the single greatest experience I have had working with someone, hands down."  John is also the guitarist on Rob's latest albums, Hellbilly Deluxe 2, released February 2, 2010,  Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor, released April 23, 2013, The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser, released April 29, 2016, and The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy, released March 12, 2021.
In early 2011, Lowery was joined by fellow ex-Marilyn Manson bandmate, Ginger Fish, as a member of Rob Zombie's band. Zombie/Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison was in Europe with his band Murderdolls, leaving Zombie without a drummer for some shows during the American leg of their tour. Lowery asked Fish to fill in as drummer. In April 2011, Fish was announced as the new and permanent drummer.
In October 2011, Zombie confirmed by his Facebook  account that Lowery would be scoring the soundtrack for Rob Zombie's latest movie, The Lords of Salem. This was also confirmed on the official John 5 website. 
2004–present: Solo career Edit
Starting in 2004 with Vertigo, Lowery has recorded eight instrumental records. His works have featured many guest players. For example, Songs for Sanity had Albert Lee, and other records have had Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Jim Root. In 2009, John released a remix album, Remixploitation. Lowery has also released an instructional DVD entitled The Devil Knows My Name (2007). In July 2009, on his Twitter page, John 5 announced that he is now six tracks into the next solo album.  On October 2, 2009, he played with Slash at a tribute to the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. 
In a Twitter update January 6, 2010, John 5 had this to say about the progress of his upcoming fifth studio album "Just did all the guitar, bass for my new solo CD, Tommy Clufetos played the drums and killed it!"  and a following Twitter update January 8 "Did the photo shoot for the new record today!",  January 18: "Just had Billy sheehan play on the the [sic] song (ya dig), this record is going to rule". 
In June 2011, John 5 officially closed his MySpace page.  John commented on his own website, "There are a number of reasons, mainly the decline of Myspace as a platform to reach you, the fans. . So today, the steps were taken to close the account at the Myspace page." 
He often names his songs after famous murderers, e.g. Ed Gein ("Gein with Envy", Songs for Sanity), Albert Fish ("Werewolf of Westeria", The Devil Knows My Name), or torture devices (see any song from Requiem).
In February 2014, while giving an interview at the Soundwave festival John 5 announced his seventh solo album entitled "Careful with That Axe", which would go on to be released in August of that year. 
John 5 released his eighth solo album titled Season of the Witch on March 3, 2017. He released his first live album, It's Alive, in early 2018 and toured in the early and late months of 2018 in support of it. John 5 released his ninth solo album entitled "Invasion" on July 31, 2019. He was on the road in early and late 2019 in support of the "Invasion" album.
In January through March 2020, John 5 & The Creatures opened for Queensrÿche. [ citation needed ]
John 5 is currently working on his next live album/DVD and documentary entitled Invasion Live. [ citation needed ]
John 5 married pornographic actress Aria Giovanni in 2002, but they divorced in 2006.  He then married hair stylist Rita Aghajani on June 7, 2009.  John 5 has three children: sons Jeremy and Andres, and daughter Nicole.   
He is an avid Kiss collector, concentrating on merchandise, clothing, and promotional items from 1973 to 1983. His collection is the focus of his knightsinsatanservice Instagram account. In turn, thejohn5collection Instagram account focuses on John 5 collectibles. [ citation needed ]
John 5 often performs riffs on his social media accounts featuring at least one of his Sphynx cats. 
During 2005, John 5 used Marshall amplifiers and cabinets, Boss pedals, Fender Telecaster and J5 guitars, and Dean Markley strings.  Prior to that, he used Ibanez guitars and was an endorser for that brand. [ citation needed ]
REVEALED: Zombie outbreak IS possible - and only needs evolution of ONE parasite to happenLink copied
Zombie snail: Parasitic worm invades snail's eyestalks
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It is one of the greatest fears of humanity, inspired by a bulk of Hollywood movies, and scientists do believe that a zombie outbreak could happen. While it would be impossible to believe that the dead would rise and feed on the living, experts do think that a parasite could affect the brain or a virus could evolve. A parasite called toxoplasmosa gondii is known to infect the brains of rodents.
The parasite can then manipulate the rodent&rsquos behaviour to make it fearless around cats &ndash where the parasite is hoping to end up.
The parasite has the ability to make the rodent head towards a cat where it will be eaten.
However, what worries scientists is how similar rats and humans are &ndash which is why they are used for testing drugs and medical breakthroughs.
It is already believed that half of humans around the world have a dormant version of the parasite on their brains in the form of harmless cysts.
Toxoplasma can make rodents unafraid of cats (Image: GETTY)
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that controls the brain (Image: GETTY)
Nonetheless, for some with immune deficiencies, the parasite has taken over which has been linked to schizophrenia and suicidal tendencies.
A study from the University of California revealed that the parasite is more powerful than previously thought.
Wendy Ingham, who was involved in the study, says that the team tested the parasite on mice which were ultimately unfazed by the presence of a predator once infected.
She warned that toxoplasma is dangerous: &ldquoThe idea that this parasite knows more about our brains than we do, and has the ability to exert desired change in complicated rodent behaviour, is absolutely fascinating.
Rabies has a zombification affect on animals (Image: GETTY)
A zombie outbreak IS possible (Image: GETTY)
&ldquoToxoplasma has done a phenomenal job of figuring out mammalian brains in order to enhance its transmission through a complicated life cycle.&rdquo
Other experts however believe that viruses are what will ultimately turn the human race into zombies.
Dr. Ben Neuman, a professor of virology at the University of Reading, believes that a virus such as rabies could evolve and conquer humanity.
He told Yahoo: &ldquoThere are parasites out there that get close to making actual walking around zombies.
Case Closed? Columbus Introduced Syphilis to Europe
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but when he returned from 'cross the seas, did he bring with him a new disease?
New skeletal evidence suggests Columbus and his crew not only introduced the Old World to the New World, but brought back syphilis as well, researchers say.
Syphilis is caused by Treponema pallidum bacteria, and is usually curable nowadays with antibiotics. Untreated, it can damage the heart, brain, eyes and bones it can also be fatal.
The first known epidemic of syphilis occurred during the Renaissance in 1495. Initially its plague broke out among the army of Charles the VIII after the French king invaded Naples. It then proceeded to devastate Europe, said researcher George Armelagos, a skeletal biologist at Emory University in Atlanta.
"Syphilis has been around for 500 years," said researcher Molly Zuckerman at Mississippi State University. "People started debating where it came from shortly afterward, and they haven't stopped since. It was one of the first global diseases, and understanding where it came from and how it spread may help us combat diseases today."
The fact that syphilis is a stigmatized sexually transmitted disease has added to the controversy over its origins. People often seem to want to blame some other country for it, said researcher Kristin Harper, an evolutionary biologist at Emory. [Top 10 Stigmatized Health Disorders]
Armelagos originally doubted the so-called Columbian theory for syphilis when he first heard about it decades ago. "I laughed at the idea that a small group of sailors brought back this disease that caused this major European epidemic," he recalled. Critics of the Columbian theory have proposed that syphilis had always bedeviled the Old World but simply had not been set apart from other rotting diseases such as leprosy until 1500 or so.
However, upon further investigation, Armelagos and his colleagues got a shock &mdash all of the available evidence they found supported the Columbian theory, findings they published in 1988. "It was a paradigm shift," Armelagos says. Then in 2008, genetic analysis by Armelagos and his collaborators of syphilis's family of bacteria lent further support to the theory.
Still, there have been reports of 50 skeletons from Europe dating back from before Columbus set sail that apparently showed the lesions of chronic syphilis. These seemed to be evidence that syphilis originated in the Old World and that Columbus was not to blame.
Armelagos and his colleagues took a closer look at all the data from these prior reports. They found most of the skeletal material didn't actually meet at least one of the standard diagnostic criteria for chronic syphilis, such as pitting on the skull, known as caries sicca, and pitting and swelling of the long bones.
"There's no really good evidence of a syphilis case before 1492 in Europe," Armelagos told LiveScience.
In the seafood?
The 16 reports that did meet the criteria for syphilis came from coastal regions where seafood was a large part of the diet. This seafood contains "old carbon" from deep, upwelling ocean waters. As such, they might fall prey to the so-called "marine reservoir effect" that can throw off radiocarbon dating of a skeleton by hundreds or even thousands of years. To adjust for this effect, the researchers figured out the amount of seafood these individuals ate when alive. Since our bodies constantly break down and rebuild our bones, measurements of bone-collagen protein can provide a record of diet.
"Once we adjusted for the marine signature, all of the skeletons that showed definite signs of treponemal disease appeared to be dated to after Columbus returned to Europe," Harper said, findings detailed in the current Yearbook of Physical Anthropology.
"What it really shows to me is that globalization of disease is not a modern condition," Armelagos said. "In 1492, you had the transmission of a number of diseases from Europe that decimated Native Americans, and you also had disease from Native Americans to Europe."
"The lesson we can learn for today from history is that these epidemics are the result of unrest," Armelagos added. "With syphilis, wars were going on in Europe at the time, and all the turmoil set the stage for the disease. Nowadays, a lot of diseases jump the species barrier due to environmental unrest."
"The origin of syphilis is a fascinating, compelling question," Zuckerman said. "The current evidence is pretty definitive, but we shouldn't close the book and say we're done with the subject. The great thing about science is constantly being able to understand things in a new light."
Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.
World War Z
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is a 2006 zombie apocalyptic horror novel written by American author Max Brooks. The novel is broken into five chapters: Warnings, Blame, The Great Panic, Turning the Tide, and Good-Byes and features a collection of individual accounts narrated by an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission, following the devastating global conflict against the zombie plague. Other passages record a decade-long desperate struggle, as experienced by people of various nationalities. The personal accounts take place all over the world including: China, the United States, Greece, Brazil, Barbados, Israel, Finland, Antarctica, and even in outer space. The "interviews" describe the resulting social, political, religious, economic, and environmental changes that occur as a result of the zombies.
World War Z is a follow-up to Brooks' fictitious survival manual The Zombie Survival Guide (2003), but its tone is much more serious. It was inspired by The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two (1984) by Studs Terkel, and by the zombie films of George A. Romero (1968–2009). Brooks used World War Z to comment on government ineptitude and US isolationism, while also examining survivalism and uncertainty. The novel was a commercial hit and was praised by most critics.
Its 2007 audiobook version, performed by a full cast including Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, and John Turturro, won an Audie Award. A film adaptation, directed by Marc Forster and starring Brad Pitt, was released in 2013, and a video game of the same name, based on the 2013 film, was released in 2019 by Saber Interactive.
Modern Jewish History: The Spanish Expulsion
In the same month in which their Majesties [Ferdinand and Isabella] issued the edict that all Jews should be driven out of the kingdom and its territories, in the same month they gave me the order to undertake with sufficient men my expedition of discovery to the Indies. So begins Christopher Columbus's diary. The expulsion that Columbus refers to was so cataclysmic an event that ever since, the date 1492 has been almost as important in Jewish history as in American history. On July 30 of that year, the entire Jewish community, some 200,000 people, were expelled from Spain.
Tens of thousands of refugees died while trying to reach safety. In some instances, Spanish ship captains charged Jewish passengers exorbitant sums, then dumped them overboard in the middle of the ocean. In the last days before the expulsion, rumors spread throughout Spain that the fleeing refugees had swallowed gold and diamonds, and many Jews were knifed to death by brigands hoping to find treasures in their stomachs.
The Jews&rsquo expulsion had been the pet project of the Spanish Inquisition, headed by Father Tomas de Torquemada. Torquemada believed that as long as the Jews remained in Spain, they would influence the tens of thousands of recent Jewish converts to Christianity to continue practicing Judaism. Ferdinand and Isabella rejected Torquemada&rsquos demand that the Jews be expelled until January 1492, when the Spanish Army defeated Muslim forces in Granada, thereby restoring the whole of Spain to Christian rule. With their most important project, the country&rsquos unification, accomplished, the king and queen concluded that the Jews were expendable. On March 30, they issued the expulsion decree, the order to take effect in precisely four months. The short time span was a great boon to the rest of Spain, as the Jews were forced to liquidate their homes and businesses at absurdly low prices. Throughout those frantic months, Dominican priests actively encouraged Jews to convert to Christianity and thereby gain salvation both in this world and the next.
The most fortunate of the expelled Jews succeeded in escaping to Turkey. Sultan Bajazet welcomed them warmly. &ldquoHow can you call Ferdinand of Aragon a wise king,&rdquo he was fond of asking, &ldquothe same Ferdinand who impoverished his own land and enriched ours?&rdquoAmong the most unfortunate refugees were those who fled to neighboring Portugal. In 1496, King Manuel of Portugal concluded an agreement to marry Isabella, the daughter of Spain&rsquos monarchs. As a condition of the marriage, the Spanish royal family insisted that Portugal expel her Jews. King Manuel agreed, although he was reluctant to lose his affluent and accomplished Jewish community.
In the end, only eight Portuguese Jews were actually expelled tens of thousands of others were forcibly converted to Christianity on pain of death. The chief rabbi, Simon Maimi, was one of those who refused to convert. He was kept buried in earth up to his neck for seven days until he died. In the final analysis, all of these events took place because of the relentless will of one man, Tomas de Torquemada.
The Spanish Jews who ended up in Turkey, North Africa, Italy, and elsewhere throughout Europe and the Arab world, were known as Sephardim &mdash Sefarad being the Hebrew name for Spain. After the expulsion, the Sephardim imposed an informal ban forbidding Jews from ever again living in Spain. Specifically because their earlier sojourn in that country had been so happy, the Jews regarded the expulsion as a terrible betrayal, and have remembered it ever since with particular bitterness. Of the dozens of expulsions directed against Jews throughout their history, the one from Spain remains the most infamous.
The Alhambra Decree was officially overturned on December 16, 1968, at the Second Vatican Council.
The Spanish Parliament approved a measure on June 11, 2015, aimed at restoring citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jewish individuals who were expelled. The law allowed relatives of individuals who were expelled to apply for dual citizenship. Spain&rsquos Justice Ministry announced in October 2019 that the four-year period to apply for citizenship ended. The ministry said 132,226 people had applied.
Sources: Joseph Telushkin. Jewish Literacy. NY: William Morrow and Co., 1991. Reprinted by permission of the author.
&ldquoSpain&rsquos window for Sephardic Jews to seek nationality closes,&rdquo AP, (October 1, 2019).