Tuesday, 13 March 2012


When I was growing up one of the stories that always caught my attention was the "Giant vegetable/fruit/cow" story and the idea that if we could make food bigger it would somehow make it easier to feed the world's growing population. At the time it made sense but now I can't help but think how ridiculous the idea is. I also reckon that we're approaching things from the wrong angle. So here's my idea:

"why don't we make humans smaller?"

Think about it.
  • If we made people into 2 foot tall hobbits, then we are effectively making all of our food bigger, without the hassle of genetically engineering EVERYTHING else. 
  • It would surely take less calories a day to keep us alive so it would genuinely help feed the world without requiring more farming space.
  • It would also benefit the environment as every home could be doubled in size. A four storey block of flats could easily be converted into an 8 storey block of flats (the room saving would actually be squared in terms of area).
  • We'd also be able to fit more people into public transport making it more energy efficient too.
  • One of my friends could finally be tall (as she'd be low in the shrinking priority list)

It's such a good idea that maybe we should think of going smaller still. How about "Borrowers" small? (It's still stealing - not borrowing, by the way) Surely the benefits would be magnified exponentially then?
Well, no, that may be too small for the following "obvious" reasons.

  • We still need our brains to be large. I doubt we can get away with being much smaller than a size that allows us to maintain our current intelligence. Some people could (and clearly do) get by with smaller brains but on the whole I think we still need decent sized brains. I mean none of us wants to look like this!
  • We may lose our place on the top of the food chain. As the borrowers clip highlights pets and pests will suddenly become predators. Seagulls could be deadly and I personally wouldn't trust my closest pet cat in a world where i was tiny.
  • Some country would cheat and produce regular sized humans that would effectively become weapons of mass destruction. While comic books tell me super small people only have to crawl into the ear of a giant to defeat them - I'm not sure that would be a "trident-system" of self defence.
  • We'd have to walk a lot further. It's all fine and well saying public transport would be more efficient but if we were super small all distances would be multiplied. How long would it take to run a marathon if you had a stride of 10cm? A long time. This would effectively isolate us a lot more and/or encourage us to be very lazy. Especially with all those cats and birds outside.
So while downsizing may be a good idea there clearly has to be a happy medium. Like it or not size does matter.

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