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13 Ways of Saying "Zombie" on The Walking Dead

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Image Credit: AMC

Just as a carbonated beverage is referred to as soda in some areas of the U.S. and pop in others, the scattered and isolated survivors of The Walking Dead zombie apocalypse have different names for wandering corpses. While the wider Walking Dead universe has even more zombie-monikers, here are 13 ways of saying “walker” on the show.

1. BITERS

Used by citizens of Woodbury, GA, a seeming utopia headed by a man only known as the Governor, biter might be a more accurate moniker than walker since zombies will continue to want to bite even if they don’t have legs. A biter is also a deceiver, says the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), like the Governor himself whose pleasant facade hides a sociopath.

2. COLD BODIES

Said by Terminus native Martin in the episode “No Sanctuary.” Cold bodies may be opposed to warm bodies, or non-zombie humans, which Terminusians like to serve up as barbecue.

3. CREEPER

“Got us a creeper,” Merle tells the Governor in “Walk with Me.” In the Walking Dead universe, zombies are of the slow, creeping variety, while in movies like World War Z (although not the book) and 28 Days Later, they're the quick, wall-climbing type.

4. DEAD ONES

Nickname preferred by the posse headed by Abraham Ford. Rosita says she and her group were “fighting off some dead ones” when Abraham showed up out of nowhere in a tank. Later, Eugene “Mullet” Porter says, “I sure as hell can't take a dead one down with sharp buttons and hella confidence.”

5. FLOATERS

The most famous floater zombie is the one that's found stuck in a well on the Greene Family Farm. Because it’s been in the water so long, it’s grotesquely swollen and rips apart when the survivors try to pull it out. Dale calls this well walker a "swimmer."

While floater seems to be the accepted term for a water-logged zombie, no one on the show actually ever says it (at least not according to the transcripts). However, floater might be used in the comics, video games, or other Walking Dead formats.

6. GEEK

A term that was used in the beginning of the show but not recently. In season two, Darryl says, “Look at him. Hanging up there like a big piñata. The other geeks came and ate all the flesh off his legs.”

A geek is a circus performer who, like zombies, will eat anything. American Horror Story’s Meep the Geek prefers live chickens, while in The X-Files’ “Humbug,” Conundrum the Geek’s diet consisted of live fish, cockroaches, and evil parasitic twins.

7. LAMEBRAINS

Used in “Nebraska” by Dave and Tony, two minor yet menacing characters. “Walkers?" Dave says to Rick. "That’s what you call them? I like that better than lamebrains.” Lame-brained was coined by P.G. Wodehouse in 1929, says the OED, while lame-brain came later, around 1945.

8. LURKERS

In “Walk With Me,” the Governor describes lurkers as “docile” zombies, that is those that have had their arms and jaws removed. Unable to grab or bite, they simply lurk. However, in the wider Walking Dead universe, a lurker is also a zombie that “plays dead,” lying in wait until a warm body comes by.

9. MONSTERS

“When they turn,” Andrea says, “they become monsters ... Whoever they once were is gone.” While she uses "monster" to refer to zombies, Andrea could very well be talking about the sadistic Governor, the cannibalistic Terminus residents, the horrific Marauders, or any humans that have been "turned" by grief, terror, or simply the will to survive.

The word monster ultimately comes from the Latin monere, “warn," and originally referred to a mythical creature that was part human and part animal.

10. ROAMERS

This is the term of choice for Aaron and the other members of the Alexandria settlement. When asked how long he has been following Rick’s group, Aaron answers, “Long enough to see that you practically ignore a pack of roamers on your trail.” In the comic and novel series, packs of zombies are also referred to as herds and hordes.

11. ROTTER

In Slabtown, also known as the Grady Memorial Hospital, the walking dead are rotters, a fitting term for a place that has a pile of corpses (and non-corpses) rotting at the bottom of its elevator shaft. A rotter is also someone who’s morally corrupt, much like Slabtown leader Dawn Lerner, who runs the hospital like a police state, forcing female residents to be "comfort women" for the police officers and refusing to release those she's “helped.”

12. SKIN EATER

This term is used by minor characters Ana and Sam, who quickly meet their demise. Zombies eat more than skin, but that’s how they usually start, tearing at the epidermis with their teeth. Another skin-eater is a type of insect that preys on prepared furs or hides.

13. WALKER

Used by Rick and his group, walker is the zombie nickname we hear most. A walker is also anyone who travels by foot, as Rick’s group does when they’re vehicle-less, wandering from settlement to settlement, looking for a place to stay.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief
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What Happened to Jamie and Aurelia From Love Actually?
May 26, 2017
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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief

Fans of the romantic-comedy Love Actually recently got a bonus reunion in the form of Red Nose Day Actually, a short charity special that gave audiences a peek at where their favorite characters ended up almost 15 years later.

One of the most improbable pairings from the original film was between Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz), who fell in love despite almost no shared vocabulary. Jamie is English, and Aurelia is Portuguese, and they know just enough of each other’s native tongues for Jamie to propose and Aurelia to accept.

A decade and a half on, they have both improved their knowledge of each other’s languages—if not perfectly, in Jamie’s case. But apparently, their love is much stronger than his grasp on Portuguese grammar, because they’ve got three bilingual kids and another on the way. (And still enjoy having important romantic moments in the car.)

In 2015, Love Actually script editor Emma Freud revealed via Twitter what happened between Karen and Harry (Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, who passed away last year). Most of the other couples get happy endings in the short—even if Hugh Grant's character hasn't gotten any better at dancing.

[h/t TV Guide]

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