Category Ecology

Fish Representatives

In most genetics research, Homo sapiens is represented by small fish like Danio rerio (zebrafish)  and Oryzias latipes (Japanese rice fish). Both are important model organisms, representing man in developmental genetics, neurophysiology and biomedicine. When we tinker with genes what happens to the fish is most likely to happen to us as well. If the […]

One Bean Coffee

According to the Water Footprint Network the fresh water involved in the production of a single cup of coffee (125ml) is 140 liters. One part of coffee consumes 1100 water parts. To make an average cup of coffee requires around 40 coffeebeans. To produce one bean requires 3,5 liters of water. In total the global […]

Toad Leather

If we decide to shrink to 50 cm, cane toad leather could replace the less flexible, thicker leathers we use now. It is both beautiful and very soft, perfect for Shrinking Man’s shoes, bags or any other leather products. Other suitable leathers are snake-, eel-, salmon-, lizard- and chicken leather. Leather production has a significant […]

Deflating the Food Bubble

The era of world food security is coming to an end simply because we can’t sustain the way food is produced. Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Research Centre in Washington, says the demands for food are growing so fast that unless we deflate the food bubble at wartime speed, a breakdown is inevitable. The inability […]

Counterfactual History

If we consider contemporary human size as just one possible outcome of different evolutionary possibilities then perhaps it becomes easier to envision a different, short-sized, future. What if human evolution had developed differently? Counterfactual history tries to answer what-if questions. It explores history by means of extrapolating a timeline in which a key historical event […]

Abundance Fantasies: Corn Cult

Mexican protesters against the high tortilla prices in 2007 rallied around an oversized corn. Their public display of the desire for an abundant food supply ressembles cargo cults in which the visualisation of desired abundance, or the context in which the abundance is believed to exist, is reproduced in order to attain it. But obviously they don’t. […]

Global Human Biomass

A new REPORT published on BioMed Central rightfully warns us of the need to consider the ecological effects of increasing human weight. Obese and overweight people globally consume an extra amount of food that could feed 300 million people. From data collected in 2005 researchers calculated the total human biomass of the planet’s adult population at  287 […]

Six Cities / Empty World

Earth is turning into a global city. Over half the world’s population lives in urbanised areas and those cities are taking up more and more space.  Most of the rest of the world is organised to supply food and resources. Even so, cities are the most efficient way to support our growing populations. Yet citizens are […]

Tiny House Movement

Fish kept in small tanks remain small because they produce pheromones that suppress growth. If the same rule applies to people, the small house movement may proof to be a powerful tool to curb our physical growth. The small house movement is an intriguing architectural and social movement that advocates living in very small homes. While in most developed […]

Parental Height Minus 10

In an exiting paper by S. Matthew Liao,  Anders Sandberg, and Rebecca Roache, it is argued that human engineering may well be a reasonable tool to achieve a sustainable relationship between the planet and its human population. One of their more intriging suggestions is the possibility to control height through Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). This specific form […]