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Hyperpygmytize humans

humans dwarfed to 1/10th size would give time for dealing with the population crisis
  (+5, -2)
(+5, -2)
  [vote for,

Create and spread a virus that only infects humans, inducing tenfold dwarfing/pygmytization. It would be like we landed on a planet ten-times bigger than earth, and we wouldn't fit into our obselete technologies like cars, etc. Great launching pad for a quantum leap in technology, and we would need a tenth the limited resources we have now, or less, with more advanced tech.
briancady413, Mar 14 2011


       Problem - we might get beat up and beat out by meercats.
briancady413, Mar 14 2011

       OK, let's deal with the major problems one by one.   

       //Create and spread a virus that only infects humans, //
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 14 2011

       A virus couldn't cause Hyperpygmytization without causing horrible, excruciating, and extremely dangerous related health effects that would probably kill half of us right off. Also 1/10 the size doesn't mean 1/10 the energy usage.   

       This idea is bizarre and could wipe out the entire human race. (+)
Voice, Mar 14 2011

       Yeah but we'd be wiped out by housecats which would be a bit too embarassing. [-]
FlyingToaster, Mar 14 2011

       I think there's a Twilight Zone or Doomwatch episode or something which has this in it but i can't pinpoint the exact series. It was in the early 'seventies.   

       What occurs immediately is the problems small people, for example children, have as a result of their size, namely higher relative viscosity of body fluids, the tendency for pathological change to spread more quickly and the higher surface area to volume ratio, leading to such effects as less effective temperature control, greater susceptibility to dehydration and the like.   

       Forgive me. I'm about to express myself in a way which may raise the hackles of metaphysical naturalists. This is because i can't find a way of wording it more neutrally, but i do believe there's a way of restating it.   

       In the case of paediatrics, there's a compensatory greater vitality which enables children to deal with potential problems more quickly. Adults are more susceptible to entropy as a factor in pathology than children. Therefore an adult the same size as a small child would be more vulnerable.   

       OK, that's over now.   

       Another problem is the size of the brain.   

       An adult the size of a small child would effectively have cystic fibrosis, be susceptible to heat stroke and hypothermia and have to eat a hell of a lot constantly.   

       Now i have a question. Clearly there are some very small mammals about. How do they deal with the viscosity problem? Is their mucus, for example, essentially different, for example is it less salty? I've long wondered about this.
nineteenthly, Mar 14 2011

       Seagulls [+]
pocmloc, Mar 14 2011

       Isn't this how you get the tiny people who live inside the television ?
8th of 7, Mar 14 2011

       Smaller mammals tend to have faster metabolisms, which provides more waste heat to regulate hypothermia. They also dump heat faster becuase of the lower volume to surface area ratio, which keeps them from hyperthermia. This does mean that they eat a much higher calorie/body mass diet. It also means they tend to live shorter lives and mature more quickly.   

       Not really sure about the cystic fibrosis bit, it probably is a matter of different mucus mixtures.
MechE, Mar 14 2011

       /we'd be wiped out by housecats/ I think this would have to be something gradual. Or an evolutionary bottleneck - like on a colony ship. The new babies would be tiny. There is no good way to get rid of all that bone and meat on an adult. Since the generation of biggies would be raising the smallies, we could equip them with small firearms to help with the housecats.   

       re susceptible to entropy - yes that is hard to comprehend. The relationship of body size to environment is enigmatic for lots of critters but for humans I think cultural adaptations make body size diversity largely irrelevant.
bungston, Mar 14 2011

       Paediatric pathology really does quite often depend on the relative viscosity of fluids. Examples are asthma and whooping cough.   

       A smaller human adult would certainly need to have faster metabolism, and clearly that's also true of children, in the same environment, but i think they'd also have to be hairy, "obese" or have different body proportions in order to reduce surface area. I'm not sure right now, but i think there'd probably have to be quite a redesign of the digestive system to provide enough energy to make that possible. Also, babies would be even smaller and would still have to survive. I'm imagining humans of what i'm thinking of as a tenth of their current mass, which scaled down in proportion would make them around eighty cm tall as adults. Some adults are that short but i think they tend to have health problems like pneumonia.   

       I suppose the ambient temperature could be kept near body temperature, but then other problems would emerge such as dehydration. I would expect a short lifespan too. That would mean less time for education and experience.
nineteenthly, Mar 14 2011

       Extremely small people (like He Pingping) weigh (or in his case, weighed) less than 10kg, which is about a tenth the weight of an average person.   

       These people often suffer from a variety of problems, but not always. It's also not clear if all of these problems arise from their size alone, or are an independent consequence of the other effects of the genetic problems that caused their shortness.   

       On the other hand, finding shoes without cartoon motifs on them would be a problem.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 14 2011

       You are right [Max...] think of the cobblers and shoe makers, how long would they last...
4whom, Mar 15 2011

       Hyperpygmytized people couldn't reach the cookies on the top shelf, and without cookies we'd be miserable. fishbone.
phundug, Mar 17 2011

       Then again, for a 10kg human, "Death by Chocolate" is a much more economically viable option, so [+].
8th of 7, Mar 17 2011


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