Chris Hackett on Why Zombies Fascinate Us, How to Survive the Apocalypse

By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times
April 28, 2014 Updated: May 1, 2014

WASHINGTON—Chris Hackett takes the energy of do-it-yourself (DIY) to a climactic, apocalyptic pitch.

Basic physics could save you from zombies. Well, probably not zombies since they are not likely to ever exist, but understanding physics could save you from everything zombies stand for.

“Why are you all into zombies?” Hackett asked the crowd at the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. He answered his own question: “We need a shorthand for the end times.”

The “end times” will come more like “a whimper than a discreet bang,” Hackett predicted. He joked that zombies are a way of envisioning end times that caters to people’s “twisted sociopathic fantasies.” In a strange way, he said, we’re also drawn to the idea of an apocalypse because “we like that it’s a reset.”

Hackett teaches a way of thinking that could help you survive when all the things you rely upon are no longer so reliable. His tips could save you from zombies, or from languishing in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

A key point to remember: you can’t shop your way out of disaster. In zombie movies, the survivors seem to have an unlimited supply of ammunition and guns. “When the zombies take over, who’s making ammunition?” he asked. The example used is weaponry, but the logic applies to any other tools you may need in a post-apocalyptic world.

It’s about distilling the basic properties of these tools, then thinking of alternatives that could perform the same tasks. 

“My vibe is making stuff out of the stuff that’s lying around. I detest the idea … that you can shop your way out of the zombie apocalypse,” he said. “Shopping is not the cure for anything. Learn stuff, because then you’ll be able to do stuff, because then you don’t have to rely on people, you don’t have to worry if your credit card still works after the zombies have eaten all the people at Visa.”

Stuff You Should Learn So You Can Do Stuff

What is a gun? At it’s core, it takes energy from one place (an explosion caused by mechanical force and gunpowder) and transfers it to another place (the bullet, which is then pushed out toward the target).

With this understanding, it’s easier to envision how to make a weapon without the conventional materials.

Chris Hackett
Chris Hackett shows his DIY battery gun made from a tank, a bike pump, and using AA batteries as ammunition. (Tara MacIsaac/Epoch Times)

For example, Hackett used his body’s energy to compress air in a bike pump. The energy is then transferred to dead AA batteries—the ammo—and a gun is thus made out of garbage. He also noted the simplicity of a crossbow. The energy in his body is transferred to the spring, which then transfers the energy to the projectile.

Chris Hackett
Chris Hackett, host of the Science Channel’s popular DIY show “Stuck With Hackett,” speaks zombie apocalypse while displaying a crossbow at the annual USA Science & Engineering Festival on April 27, 2014. (Tara MacIsaac/Epoch Times)

Other quick tips from Hackett: You can use crazy glue if you need to stitch up a wound; stay put, don’t flee to the country.

The people who live in rural areas won’t want to accommodate those leaving the cities and suburbs. And it’s better to stay in the environment you know. “Hunker down,” Hackett said.

Remember, you’ll fail at first. On YouTube, we see all the cool things people have done, said Hackett. If people uploaded all the failed attempts that preceded those cool things, YouTube would be overwhelmed.

Epoch Times was a media sponsor of the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., April 26–27, 2014. The USA Science & Engineering Festival is a national grassroots effort to advance STEM education and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. See more articles on the USA Science & Engineering Festival.