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Next generation downsize

Creating "human ant colonies" instead of population control
  [vote for,

This time, its a serious idea. (Not: ideA - please notice.)

By making our next generations smaller, something which is possible by current medical and genetic knowledge, we can solve the population-explosion problem.

It will allow for an extremely larger population, no need to go to war anymore, at least for a long time, much less food needed, a smaller ecological footprint. No need for large cars, wasted energy, and infinite amounts of plastic and rare earth elements.

Of course, in advance figure how to downsize all technology to fit these new generations, and how to protect them from "us, the giants". Maybe large robots can be developed for that.

We'll have to take large and small animals into consideration, and perhaps even birds will become a threat which they currently are not.

Even if the downsizing is not as drastic as the size of an ant, making us smaller can be a serious benefit. Notice how the tiny Japanese cars allow a large population to cram into a small space, in one of the most populated but advanced and comfortable megacities.

Think what would happen if the next generations would be half the size of the Japanese. It's possible.
In England, the middle ages palaces have kiddy chairs and tiny doorways that you must bend over to enter. Even WWI uniforms are tiny.

During the transition period, we'll have to accommodate for the new generation, creating a whole new meaning to the inter-generation communication, and the generation gap.

pashute, Jul 01 2013

Tiny Humans tiny_20humans
[marked-for-deletion] redundant. Sorry! [DrBob, Jul 02 2013]

Daily Mail: Population control https://www.google....+population+control
[pashute, Jul 02 2013]

(?) In case the previous links weren't funny http://www.youtube....watch?v=-faCh8BUEts
[pashute, Jul 02 2013]

Finally truly downsized and baked https://www.youtube...watch?v=UCrBICYM0yM
[pashute, Jan 28 2018]


       Of course we'll have to learn from the "little people" around the world, about the psychology of size.   

       And perhaps we'll come to respect the Pygmies. (From the old movies, they certainly do deserve it. Nobody talks about their current condition)
pashute, Jul 01 2013

       Oddly I was thinking on similar lines a month ago. Just my take on it was "make everything 10% smaller each decade", so we'd use 10% less of the resources.
not_morrison_rm, Jul 01 2013

       It's true (and baked, I believe, at least in fiction) that smaller people use smaller resources. Against this, though:   

       (1) Physics doesn't necessarily scale. Wind will be just as windy, waves will be just as wavey, surface tension will be just as tense. Smaller people (especially ant-size) will not experience the world as we do - would you really like to be killed by a falling raindrop, or sucked to your death by the surface tension of a puddle?   

       (2) People don't necessarily scale. It's likely that human intelligence can happen in somewhat smaller skulls; certainly people with proportionate dwarfism are intelligent with perhaps half the typical skull size, which is surprising in itself. But unless you want to redesign cellular biology from the ground up, an ant-sized person is going to have roughly antic intelligence.   

       (3) The small people of the middle ages were not genetically small. They were small by virtue of the nutrition available to them, their mothers, and possibly their fathers and grandmothers. Did you really think evolution happens that fast? The current generation of Japanese are pretty much the same height as anyone else.   

       (4) Tiny people would sound all squeaky; dogs and bears would laugh at them.   

       (5) It is infinitely easier and much better for people to downsize by the simple expedient of not breeding so much. If the average person could resist, ever so slightly, the urge to spread descendants over the face of the Earth, we could all have twice as much space and twice as much stuff in a generation; four times as much in two generations.   

       Alas, even the full-sized typical human skull is not sufficiently intelligent to see the irony in the statement "I want to save the environment for my children."   

       Still, on the plus side, if you can fix the superficial, fundamental, and superficially fundamental problems with this idea it's a winner.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 01 2013

       In dog breeding, the small toy sized breeds are almost always attained/maintained by breeding for recessive traits (specifically those concerning small size). As a result, various breeds end up with well-known flaws, such as a high risk for certain types of cancer or congenital defects; pomeranians and chihuahuas, for example, are prone to a shaking palsy.
Alterother, Jul 01 2013

       That's not entirely true. Overall size (as opposed to things like the achondroplasia that makes bassets so stumpy) is one of those things that, like human skin colour, is the product of many genes. As a result, "big" isn't generally dominant over "small", at least not reliably, any more than dark or light skin is dominant. Some of the individual alleles that contribute to smallth are recessive, but some are dominant. That said, it's true that if you want a small dog you breed the smallest parents.   

       The reason so many pedigree breeds have a bunch of genetic disorders is that _those_ disorders tend to be recessive traits, and recessive traits manifest themselves more often in small gene pools (where the chance of both parents carrying the same recessive allele is quite high).   

       I've often wondered why thoroughbred horses aren't a complete mess, since they're supposedly descended from only four ancestors. But perhaps they are (racehorses are fragile things and often break down); or perhaps horse breeders are smarter than dog breeders at keeping bad alleles out of the population.   

       Anyway, you could breed for smaller people just as you breed for small dogs. It would take longer, not just because of the generation time but because dogs do seem to be more genetically plastic than humans. And you'd need to keep the gene pool large. Rather than breeding from the smallest 100 people in the world, you'd want to breed from the smallest 10% (allowing for nutritional disadvantage), and make sure you mixed up the different populations of small people. My guess is that you could reduce average height by a foot or so in 20-50 generations, as long as you were systematic.   

       One risk of this would be that you'd create a population of neotenic people, who stopped growing in childhood but matured sexually. In effect, human axolotls.   

       Of course there would be opposition to this, from both the tall sterilized people and the shorter farmed people. But perhaps this is the "transition period" of which [pashute] spoke.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 01 2013

       Given that smallness could be got by either breeding or developmental malnutrition, perhaps the latter route would be quicker and easier.
pocmloc, Jul 02 2013

       Proof of Concept Maximum Level of Operational Capability has a point.   

       In 1989, Just married in Jerusalem, we lived in one of the old neighborhoods with "courts" where there's a shared bathroom outside, and small two room apartments. In olden times each room held a family with 10-14 kids, who piled up the mattresses in morning. The one shared kitchen was at the end of the road.   

       We had a tiny neighbor, an old lady, with giant brothers. She was 8 years old in 1917, when the last two years of the first world war turned bad in Jerusalem and people starved. So it takes only one year or so to achieve this.   

       But I'm talking about doing it with careful genetic engineering. And yes, we must learn from the mistakes, Temple Grandin wrote a book or two on that. And quite interesting too.   

       DrBob, your right but too late. An interesting discussion calls for leaving this here. Also some issues in more detail.   

       Bigsleep could you point to some?   

       I started writing a sci fi (Hebrew) recently, and then thought it would be interesting to see HBer's comments on the basic theme. I had already posted the "scientific" resurrection of the dead, and got totally boned... deduced that I'll need a thick layer of humor besides the idea itself.
pashute, Jul 02 2013

       I'd sooner be full-size and less numerous, personally.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 02 2013

       On reflection, [marked-for-deletion], redundant with the first-linked idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 02 2013

       //(5) It is infinitely easier and much better for people to downsize by the simple expedient of not breeding so much...   

       It doesn't work that way. You can't curtail the population numbers, unless there's a total world government.   

       Currently Russia has a negative population growth and a problem for paying health care and pensions to people who refuse to die.   

       At the same time the self eliminating originally European cultures are wiping themselves out with anti-motherhood and safe-sex-fun advertising (actually propaganda) , while overflowed by immigrants of a culture which is against population control, leading to a cultural takeover and ultimately much violence.   

       Reading [mrThingy]'s idea [[Tiny_Humans]] and its ano's I saw [baf]'s remark, that Kurt Vonnegut wrote in his 1976 Slapstick novel that Americans find out the plague they have is caused by inhaling microscopic Chinese, who used it to solve overpopulation.   

       Its well worth reading the annos there. Some of them are extremely funny. (ie futurebird)   

       dmfdm - To my defence - not morisson's^2 anno.
pashute, Jul 02 2013

       //At the same time the self eliminating originally European cultures are wiping themselves out with anti-motherhood and safe-sex-fun advertising (actually propaganda) , while overflowed by immigrants of a culture which is against population control, leading to a cultural takeover and ultimately much violence.//   

       That's an interesting point of view - I didn't realize you could get the Daily Mail out there.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 02 2013

       Actually that idea came from "the onion"
pashute, Jul 02 2013

       Well then it probably ought to go back there.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 02 2013

       sea lynx
pashute, Jul 02 2013


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