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Tue Mar 13, 2012, 09:05 AM

Today's entry in the "What Could Possibly Go Wrong" category:

How Engineering the Human Body Could Combat Climate Change
Mar 12 2012, 10:03 AM ET 330

From drugs to help you avoid eating meat to genetically engineered cat-like eyes to reduce the need for lighting, a wild interview about changes humans could make to themselves to battle climate change.

The threat of global climate change has prompted us to redesign many of our technologies to be more energy-efficient. From lightweight hybrid cars to long-lasting LED's, engineers have made well-known products smaller and less wasteful. But tinkering with our tools will only get us so far, because however smart our technologies become, the human body has its own ecological footprint, and there are more of them than ever before. So, some scholars are asking, what if we could engineer human beings to be more energy efficient? A new paper to be published in Ethics, Policy & Environment proposes a series of biomedical modifications that could help humans, themselves, consume less.

Some of the proposed modifications are simple and noninvasive. For instance, many people wish to give up meat for ecological reasons, but lack the willpower to do so on their own. The paper suggests that such individuals could take a pill that would trigger mild nausea upon the ingestion of meat, which would then lead to a lasting aversion to meat-eating. Other techniques are bound to be more controversial. For instance, the paper suggests that parents could make use of genetic engineering or hormone therapy in order to birth smaller, less resource-intensive children.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/how-engineering-the-human-body-could-combat-climate-change/253981/

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Today's entry in the "What Could Possibly Go Wrong" category: (Original post)
grntuscarora Mar 2012 OP
txlibdem Mar 2012 #1
grntuscarora Mar 2012 #2
txlibdem Mar 2012 #4
guardian Mar 2012 #6
Odin2005 Mar 2012 #3
Nihil Mar 2012 #5
Dead_Parrot Mar 2012 #7
Nihil Mar 2012 #8

Response to grntuscarora (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 04:06 PM

1. I quit eating red meat

Now if I try a few bites of steak my tummy gets upset (the bad kind).


It's as if my body is telling me that this is not what you are supposed to be eating. I still eat chicken, turkey, pork and fish so I am slowly on my way off of meat but red meat is the worst, ecologically, so I feel that it was an easy transition and a big help to the planet.

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Response to txlibdem (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 05:26 PM

2. I'm pretty much off red meat, too.

Although no patch was needed. A look at the price per pound did a pretty good job of killing my desire.

After reading her parts of the article, my 8-year old volunteered to get the cat eyes. As long as they look like cat eyes, she said. It's nice to know she's willing to do her part.

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Response to grntuscarora (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 09:34 PM

4. Cat vision is very different than ours

Cats do not see colors the way we do. They perceive different colors as meaning distance from them. So I guess they'd have to isolate the gene for the shape of the pupil only...

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Response to grntuscarora (Reply #2)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 06:44 AM

6. As demand for red meat declines....

 

that leaves more for the rest of us

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Response to grntuscarora (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 08:27 PM

3. I need a pill that makes me quit boredom-eating junk-food.

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Response to grntuscarora (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 06:25 AM

5. Isn't it delightful to find someone like that?

i.e., someone who has practically zero contact with the real world?




Thanks for posting that but isn't it worrying that someone who is smart enough
to recognise certain issues ...

> Each kilogram of body mass requires a certain amount of food and nutrients and
> so, other things being equal, the larger person is the more food and energy they
> are going to soak up over the course of a lifetime.

... is dumb enough to ignore the obvious one and instead goes off on a weird
and tortuous "solution" ...

> And so size reduction could be one way to reduce a person's ecological footprint.
> For instance if you reduce the average U.S. height by just 15cm, you could reduce
> body mass by 21% for men and 25% for women, with a corresponding reduction
> in metabolic rates by some 15% to 18%, because less tissue means lower energy
> and nutrient needs.

Reducing the height by 6" will simply make people even more spherical than
they already are ... WALL-E becomes a documentary ...



You want to do something prescriptive to reduce the human impact on the planet?
Reduce fertility. Mandate sterilisation for BOTH men & women after 4 offspring but
financially encourage people to stop at fewer.

You want a "blue-sky" genetic research project? Track down, isolate & reverse
the gene(s) responsible for selfish greed.

"Cats-eyes"? "Belief tailoring"? G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate?

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Response to Nihil (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 02:10 PM

7. They tried G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate recently..:

Most of the test subjects died from apathy:


A fraction of a percent went batshit insane and started eating everyone.


Nasty stuff.

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Response to Dead_Parrot (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 05:12 AM

8. Nicely done! (n/t)

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