Welcome to a Scintilla of Playful Musings

Welcome to my new blog, noos anakainisis, translated literally as mind renewal. The primary obsessions are neuroscience, computation, information, structure, form, art and history of science. Some environmental, political, and technological developments will also be included.

I hope your neurons are sufficiently stimulated...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dreams of Autotrophic Humans

For years I've thought about genetically modifying humans into autotrophs to solve our worries about food production, animal rights, etc. "But wait, I love food" you say. Well, two options, either we also alter the hardwiring in your brain that directly links food to hedonic pleasure and reward, such that you no longer crave food and instead seek sunshine with the same fervent, or we supplement our autotroph-abilities with minimal food, little flavor pills to satisfy our food urges if you will. In all likelihood we would not be 100% efficient in converting available light energy into food (would we all need to start (?) running around naked, to maximize skin exposure to sunlight first of all...) See a friend's calculations on the upper bound of energy production by a human-plant.   In reality, we would likely have to supplement with food anyway.  Still, if would be rad. Think Avatar in green, rather than blue.  Regardless of implausibility of suggested modifications, autotrophs rule!

Part animal-part plant, we are that much closer to making green humans that photosynthesize rather than eat. Go Autotrophs!  See the actual science paper, a Wired post, a New Scientist post.

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