Downsizing the human race

I never saw the 2017 movie Downsizing, but I understand that it involved the premise of shrinking people so that they would use fewer resources.

Perhaps the speculations of "theoretical biologist" Thomas Easton, published in Omni magazine in January 1983, may have inspired the movie:

The burgeoning birthrate will cease to be a problem once we've bred a race of humans half normal size. That at least is the prediction of Thomas Easton, a theoretical biologist and technical writing teacher at the University of Maine.

"Cut people down to about three feet in height and they won't eat as much food," Easton says. "Cars could then be the size of little red wagons, with all the old gas guzzlers converted to buses. In fact man's appetite for open space and raw materials would decrease to match his stature.

"This new breed of human," Easton says, "would have far more muscle, with the ability to run and jump almost like a cat. Reduced weight would ease the wear in joints, cutting the prevalence of arthritis. Since less blood would be pumped through a small circulatory system, the heart's work load would be diminished and there would be fewer cardiac arrests.

"The technology to shrink humans," Easton says, "will probably be available within a decade. A genetically engineered virus, carrying genes coded to create small people, could be placed in a reservoir or released in the air. Then everyone infected would absorb the genes and produce lilliputian offspring."
     Posted By: Alex - Tue May 04, 2021
     Category: Body Modifications | Futurism | 1980s

Eastern basically postulated everyone having Kenny-Caffey Syndrome. (The woman billed as the world's smallest fully-proportioned stripper/pornstar/influencer is 3'6", 38 pounds.)

The movie's 5" tall people is more in keeping with "The Borrowers" by Mary Norton, published in 1952.
Posted by Phideaux on 05/04/21 at 08:29 AM
This was a plot point in Robert Bloch's This Crowded Earth, published in Amazing Science Fiction Stories in October 1958, when I was ten. Probably my introduction to the population (etc.) crisis. The 3' tall people were contemptuously called "Yardsticks."

And what a typical Omni article. "Podunk scientist proposes spreading a virus to shrink everybody. Neat-o!"
Posted by Dr. Fian on 05/04/21 at 10:24 AM
Just what the planet needs, a population of Verne Troyers.
Posted by KDP on 05/04/21 at 10:26 AM
There's an easier way to produce smaller people; just feed them less. After the war in Mozambique, the average height had shrunk 10 centimeters, or 4,5 inches. Just feed people less, and not only will they grow less, they also will live longer (that one is an experiment on fruit flies and an observation on Japanese people).
Posted by Yudith on 05/06/21 at 05:29 AM
Yudith, it depends how much less you feed them. North Koreans are shorter than South Koreans, but I doubt if their lifespans are longer, even if you adjust for deaths not from natural causes (e.g. executions).
Posted by ges on 05/06/21 at 08:07 AM
Phideaux -- Per the video, she said she has declined to do porn.
Posted by FRANK on 05/06/21 at 01:04 PM
@Frank -- The one I mean has the initials "TT" and has nearly two dozen videos on PornHub. She's very inclusive -- men, women, molded rubber, they're all the same to her.
Posted by Phideaux on 05/06/21 at 02:24 PM
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