heh. 'Shrek virus'. heheh.

Theres something Ive always wondered, in a stupid way, about viruses. Like a sloven Creationist musing "IF EVILUTION IS RAEL, Y NO HUMANS HAS WINGZ???", Ive often wondered "IF EVILUTION IS RAEL, Y NO VIRUSES MAEK US SEXAH??"

In my defense, I always wonder this while Im in the throes if a terrible cold or mono.

But for real! Viruses make us SO GROSS! Sneezing, oozing and dripping from every orifice, puking, pooping, changing colors/acquiring spots, itchy, GROSS. Maybe we only think these effects are gross because we instinctively associate them with disease thus gross, but why are there no viruses that spread because they make their host absolutely irresistible? Viruses that make your hair shiny or make you smell awesome (lol) or make you grow four inches? I guess some viruses do help you lose weight...

Anyway, what I long for biologically has apparently been created in silico. Supposedly, a disgruntled ex-employee of the dating website 'Beautiful People' unleashed a virus that made normies more beautiful:

The virus was quickly named Shrek - after the animated film about how looks should not matter - as it attacked the software used to screen potential members. A helpline has now been set up with counsellors on hand to help the distressed rejects from the site.

"We have to stick to our founding principles of only accepting beautiful people - that's what our members have paid for," said Greg Hodge, managing director of BeautifulPeople.com. "We can't just sweep 30,000 ugly people under the carpet."

Hodge reckoned the Shrek virus - which may have been posted by a disgruntled former employee - had affected the software that existing members use to rate prospective new entrants, allowing anyone to join. The website boasts that "beauty lies in the eyes of the voter" who are able to rank aspiring members on a type of traffic light scale where red is "absolutely not" and bright green is "beautiful". The site posts applicants' photographs alongside information about their weight and height and ask candidates to describe their "body type" as well as whether they own a car or home along with their zodiac sign.

"We got suspicious when tens of thousands of new members were accepted over a six-week period, many of whom were no oil painting," Hodge told the Guardian.

I dont think 'the Shrek virus' was necessarily created by a disgruntled former employee. It could have been created by anyone in possession of a normally functioning human soul. Not that anyone applying for that site like that is worthy of such a nicety, but still, I appreciate the spirit of the virus and the lulz it created.


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I know the main point was about a computer virus, but. . .

Most of the symptoms we experience when infected (with a virus or bacterium) are a direct product of our immune system, rather than the pathogen. Mucous, coughing, shlits*, fever, etc, all help to clear the pathogen from our system. It may even be possible that some of the more obvious signs of illness evolved to warn others to stay away.

So don't blame the viruses; they're not the ones who make us look like hell when we're ill.

*some bacteria do cause the shlits directly, which is bad. But crapping yourself silly does help clear the gut of some pathogens.

" or make you grow four inches? "


So what do you think of the latest YourFavoriteMartian video, "Tig ol' Bitties"?

By William Wallace (not verified) on 20 Jun 2011 #permalink

Most of the symptoms we experience when infected (with a virus or bacterium) are a direct product of our immune system, rather than the pathogen.


Well, they got what they wanted .. a lot of publicity. Edan Aharony

By Edan Aharony (not verified) on 20 Jun 2011 #permalink

I call it a publicity stunt on behalf of the site itself.
Especially since the virus seemed to manipulate the voting system that is used to vet new members.

By Who Cares (not verified) on 20 Jun 2011 #permalink

While the changes involved to increase sexual attractiveness might be complicated, those involved in changing behaviour might not be - like Toxoplasma making mice less afraid of cats. Maybe there's a Jersey Shore virus?

I dunno, my gal's voice is dead sexy when she's got a cold, all deep and throaty... um, that didn't come out right...


"While the changes involved to increase sexual attractiveness might be complicated, those involved in changing behaviour might not be...."

I was thinking about this in the context of the romanticist obsession with doomed love and tuberculosis.

Attractiveness has a lot to do with fashion and I don't think it persists long enough to select for a symptom that mimics it, the violent outburst, at least in rabies, seems to work well for transmission.

Gives some interesting biological underpinnings to the various zombie apocalypse scenarios.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 21 Jun 2011 #permalink

Do not taunt Rule 34.

I have to agree with #6 calling this a publicity stunt. There would be far easier ways to mess with a site like this, especially if you had the kind of access a disgruntled developer would (presumably) have.

Incidentally has anyone actually seen a picture of Greg Hodge... not what I would consider good looking and clearly a massive twat


"Incidentally has anyone actually seen a picture of Greg Hodge..."

ewwww. He's orange, greasy and what the hell is wrong with his eyes. Apparently being beautiful involves not wearing a shirt or disregarding the buttons when accidentally wearing one.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 21 Jun 2011 #permalink

From the pictures I have seen ,Greg Hodges should be kicked out of his own website.Wrinkly old droopy eyed......

"We can't just sweep 30,000 ugly people under the carpet."

Butâ¦thatâs exactly what youâre doing.

I vote publicity stunt. Unfortunate that mainstream media and blogs were so happy to give him his wish of attention and possible members.

@ Prometheus

I just meant maybe there is (or could be) a virus that would increase promiscuous behaviour, reduce inhibitions or something of the sort. "Yes" is never out of style.



Moments after I wrote, I realized spreading a virus based on an evolved trait that mimics fashionable sexual peccadilloes is a particularity human problem.

As for the rest of the mammals...

An infection symptom that mimics estrous or a virus that is just particularly infectious during estrous is a much simpler evolutionary hat trick.

Yes? No? Maybe? hmmmm.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 21 Jun 2011 #permalink

SciFi story coming up