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This time, its a serious idea. (Not: ideA - please notice.)
By making our next generations smaller, something
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
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
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
be developed for that.
We'll have to take large and small animals into
consideration, and perhaps even birds will become a
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
[marked-for-deletion] redundant. Sorry! [DrBob, Jul 02 2013]
Daily Mail: Population control
[pashute, Jul 02 2013]
(?) In case the previous links weren't funny
[pashute, Jul 02 2013]
Finally truly downsized and baked
[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)
||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.
||It's true (and baked, I believe, at least in fiction) that
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;
people with proportionate dwarfism are intelligent with
perhaps half the typical skull size, which is surprising in
But unless you want to redesign cellular biology from the
ground up, an ant-sized person is going to have roughly
||(3) The small people of the middle ages were not
small. They were small by virtue of the nutrition available
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
same height as anyone else.
||(4) Tiny people would sound all squeaky; dogs and bears
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
||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.
||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
||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
||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.
||Given that smallness could be got by either breeding or developmental malnutrition, perhaps the latter route would be quicker and easier.
||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.
||I'd sooner be full-size and less numerous, personally.
||On reflection, [marked-for-deletion], redundant with
the first-linked idea.
||//(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
||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
||Its well worth reading the annos there. Some of
them are extremely funny. (ie futurebird)
||dmfdm - To my defence - not morisson's^2 anno.
||//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
||That's an interesting point of view - I didn't realize you could get
the Daily Mail out there.
||Actually that idea came from "the onion"
||Well then it probably ought to go back there.