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Electric Jesus

O4's DNA + Neutron Bombs: A Physics Crash-Course

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Edit: disclaimer: I'm tired and not a physicist yet. I might be wrong about stuff.

 

Ok, so, i'm putting it in the simplest terms here, and typing really fast in the spirit of a crash course. Anyway Physics is my 2nd love, behind zombies, much like our favorite Melon / my idol @MrRoflWaffles. I kinda wanna tackle a little thingy that occurred to me, but it takes a little mutual physics knowledge to discuss. Anyway here's a quick lesson. K6rkbXv.jpg Ok, so all of your DNA, and cells, and in fact all matter is made of atoms. These consist of a nucleus made of neutrons with no electrical charge, and protons with a positive charge. They are surrounded by electrons with negative charges that orbit the nucleus. like with magnets, opposites attract, so the electrons are pulled in to the protons in the nucleus. The protons in the nucleus have a like charge but are held together by a powerful nuclear binding force. Imagine attaching 2 balls to opposite ends of a bug spring and squeeeeeezing them together. Lots of stored up energy there because they want to jump apart, like the protons. anyway, nuclear bombs work by effectively releasing that spring in one nucleus by shooting stuff at the nucleus. This breaks up the nucleus and throws out little bits of crap in an explosion. These bits then hit other atoms' nuclei, and set off a chain reaction that ends up looking like this: eQJhL96.jpg Additionally, like I said before, like charges repel. When you're sitting on a chair, your ass never actually comes in contact with it. You're effectively just hovering above the surface without touching, as the electrons on the outside of the atoms are repelling. When you touch something and feel it, you're just feeling the electrons in your finger repelling the electrons in the object. Anyway, imagine a brick wall. This wall is made of neutrons, electrons, and protons. Now imagine you're holding a negatively charged baseball, like an electron. If you throw it at the wall it bounces off because of the electrons in the wall. Throwing a positively charged basketball, like a proton, will yield the same result, as the protons in the wall repel it. However, imagine a soccer ball with no charge. this is your neutron, and lemme tell ya, neutrons don't give a shit. It isn't repelled by anything so if you throw it, it'll just go straight through the wall. However, it turns out neutrons are really not the biggest fans of your DNA. They'll bump into protons and break down your chromosomes and kill you horrifically if you get blasted with a lot of them. If you've heard of something referred to as radioactive, it means the atom has a huge nucleus made up of an absolute ton of neutrons and protons, so many that they are basically leaking and throwing bits out. these bits hit your cells and give you the symptoms of radiation. Anyway some scientists were like bruh, we gotta weaponize these neutrons. Thus the neutron bomb was born, and very nearly used in actual warfare. It seemed like a perfect plan. FiVqJaN.jpg Effectively they modified nuclear bombs in such a way that they ejected 10x as many neutrons. The result was that within a 0.8 mile radius, any people would have their DNA fried and die, but it allegedly left buildings and infrastructure intact. Remember what I said about the soccer ball going through the wall? Imagine a nuke that kills everyone, but leaves your buildings standing, so you can follow up by just walking into an empty city that's fully intact and meet no opposition. HMMM, a nuke that kills everyone but miraculously doesn't damage structures. Where have we seem that before? 4kdJG8y.jpg Yup, I think the Ka-Boom Nukes are inspired by the neutron bomb. So why does this matter? You might be saying to yourself "So what EJ, they based a seemingly magical gameplay mechanic on a bit of real science, it doesn't change anything, does it?" Well here's the thing. A neutron bomb explains why zombies die from the nukes but the terrain is unaffected. Why, then, can the players survive? This almost makes me speculate that being exposed to 115 without actually being dead beforehand re-enforces your DNA somehow. Well we already know from the song "We All Fall Down" that this is potentially the case. "We used the helicase to bind the CXV." CXV is 115 in roman numerals, and helicase is an enzyme for binding nucleic acid-- the NA in DNA. Think about it-- literally every character to come in contact with the nuke power-up has spent a significant amount of time in a 115-infested area. Even the soldiers on Nacht had to have been sitting on it, otherwise the zombies wouldn't have shown up. Unfortunately, 115 incidentally also does some pretty unpleasant things to dead bodies, as we already know. So I guess my actual "question" is, what the hell does 115 do to our DNA? We know based on Jason Blundell's responses to waffles' questions that the O4 are guaranteed to be human, but does 115 maybe make them a bit more than just that? Did Richtofen get his (radiation-proof) super-soldiers after all?

 

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NaBrZHunter    489

This is genius. Why are there not more brainz like this in the community??? Adding this to my all-time favorite theories. 

 

I want to make comment, but I have nothing to add at the moment other than, I would like to delve further into this from the approach that it is *also* an Aethereal manifestation, and would like to make sense of how that would work and how it could further support this theory. Will be considering it.
 

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This is a great theory. While I don't have a physics background, I do have a biology degree, so I'll give two theories on how 115 might be working here. 

 

First, a "quick-ish" explanation of effects of radiation on the human body. When radiation (referred to as an ionizing radiation-maybe EJ can explain if that's different from the radiation neutron bombs give off) enters the body, it knocks off an electron on a molecule and generates a free radical.

 

The new free radical now has a charge and will attempt to steal an electron from any other source in the body. This will happen naturally throughout your day due to radiation in our environment. We're kept safe because the body has natural antioxidants that will feed an electron to free radicals and protect other, more important molecules.

 

However, if the amount of free-radicals exceeds our body's ability to eliminate them, damage will occur. The damage can be very small, like causing a small break in DNA; through the accumulation of small changes like this over many years, cancer can develop. If the amount of free-radicals is HUGE in comparison to the body's compensation mechanisms, massive damage will occur: DNA is wrecked, cell membranes become porous, everything rushes in to the cell and (basically) the cell explodes. This results in what is called radiation toxicity or radiation sickness. If the amount of damage that occurs is large enough, death can occur. 

 

1. 115 as a Protective Mechanism

  • In "We All Fall Down", it talks about helicases to bind the 115. Helicases are enzymes that split the DNA double-strand so that replication and translation can occur (see image below). If helicases are opening up the DNA, it could be allowing 115 to be incorporated into or alongside the DNA-strand. When the Nuke activates, 115 could then be acting as an anti-oxidant and feeding free radicals electrons. Thus the character's DNA will be protected.

DNA_replication_en.svg

  • Another idea I had, is that exposure to small, constant amounts of 115 is protective and not incorporation itself. 115 is radioactive in real life, so if you were to be constantly exposed over a long period of time, your body may strengthen its own ability to fight radiation. This has been shown to happen in bacteria, but not in humans as far as I'm aware. However, the process of up-regulation of proteins and enzymes in response to a constant stimulus is well documented; the up-regulation of dopamine receptors in the brain contributes to addition. A similar mechanism could be happening where our characters are protected because they've been constantly exposed to 115 but have never had it incorporated into them in such a way as to cause massive damage. 

 

2. 115 as a Damage Amplification

  • If you look at the next line of "We All Fall Down", you see: "Nonresponsive, their ferritin is high, in vivo, and but still seem to be alive". This seems to be describing the process of "zombification". More specifically, it talks about having high ferritin. The line about ferritin is particularly interesting. Ferritin is an iron-storage molecule that is usually INSIDE of a cell. Increasing levels of ferritin IN THE BLOOD can be a marker of cells dying and releasing their contents (remember the explosive cell death I mentioned earlier?). The person is suffering massive cell death from the helicase incorporating 115 into DNA, thus resulting in their "death" without them "dying".
  • This seems to be a little more in line with what real-world data of Ununpentium (element 115) we have. 115 is considered to be highly radioactive; as it is incorporated into a person's DNA, necrosis and death should result. However, the person survives and becomes a zombie. Dead, but still clinging to some shadow of life.
  • What if a zombie were exposed to just a little more radiation? One possible outcome is that it could overwhelm their body's ability to prevent free-radical damage, thus amplifying the relative damage, resulting in death. This is (kind of) the idea behind using radiation to treat cancer; cause the cancer to get so much damage in such a short amount of time that it will die. The trick is getting the dose right so that you only kill the cancer and not the rest of the person.

I propose that our characters receive a protective mechanism while the zombies receive a damage amplification mechanism from 115 that contributes to the effect of radiation damage from a neutron bomb (AKA Nuke). 

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