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Will we be able to "shrink" or "enlarge" people and objects?


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#1
FutureOfToday

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This might sound like a bit of a bonkers/crazy idea at first, so please forgive me if you think I'm talking crap! I was thinking, would it be possible some day to literally shrink people, animals, and materials, and build tiny cities, but have them inhabitable, so as to save space and resources on earth? Also, maybe "enlarge" objects so that they go further, such as enlarging materials and enlarging items of food? I know it's an odd thought, but if it did become possible, it would probably be very practical.

#2
Smeargle

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Doubt it. Thing is, to achieve that, you would most likely have to resize atomic particles, subatomic particles, etc., and I'm pretty sure those can't change size.


ARADIA: i think i mostly want to see what happens when this whole place breaks apart


#3
Chronicle

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I think we would be able to eventually. But probably not in our lifetimes.


Yes.


#4
Raklian

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Sure, we can do that in virtual reality.

 

However, as for real life, there is no way to do this without breaking some physics laws or altering the way our bodies work to such extent the entire human body becomes one gigantic mutation.


What are you without the sum of your parts?

#5
Chronicle

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We could also enlarge quantum foam.


Yes.


#6
RayMC

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We have absolutely no technology/no idea on how to do this atm.

“Wʜᴀᴛ ɪs ɴᴏᴡ ᴘʀᴏᴠᴇᴅ, ᴡᴀs ᴏɴᴄᴇ ᴏɴʟʏ ɪᴍᴀɢɪɴᴇᴅ.” - Wɪʟʟɪᴀᴍ Bʟᴀᴋᴇ


#7
FutureOfToday

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I know if this is ever possible, it is centuries, possibly millenniums away. But I have some confidence that it will be possible someday. Doesn't seem much more crazy than teleportation to me.

#8
Raklian

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I know if this is ever possible, it is centuries, possibly millenniums away. But I have some confidence that it will be possible someday. Doesn't seem much more crazy than teleportation to me.

 

This is definitely crazier than teleportation, given that scientists at least are actually teleporting sub-atomic particles! :)


What are you without the sum of your parts?

#9
Ru1138

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Considering how different things are on the smaller scales (centimeter or smaller), then I'd hazard that people wouldn't really like doing it.


What difference does it make?


#10
Ewan

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Reminds me of this



#11
Logically Irrational

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Considering how different things are on the smaller scales (centimeter or smaller), then I'd hazard that people wouldn't really like doing it.

 

This is very true. For one, there would be a limit to how small a person would be able to shrink. Past a certain point, the physics for how liquids in particular and molecules in general would inhibit basic body functions. There are too many bodily functions that rely on on us being the size that we are. For one, say goodbye to your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Even if all the molecules, organs, and tissues shrunk proportionately with you, you would still have to breath in oxygen molecules that are now much larger, relatively speaking. I can't imagine that would work wonders for your oxygen absorption. It would probably feel like breathing honey. Countless ducts and tubules in your cardiovascular, digestive, lymphatic, and urinary systems would be incredibly tiny as well, and likely not disposed to handling any normal-sized substances. And then there's the issue of germs and viruses now being proportionately much bigger. I'm sure this is just scratching the surface.

 

You also wouldn't be able to scale yourself up very much. Most importantly, strength is dependent on the cross-sectional surface area of muscles, while mass is dependent on the volume of your body. In other words, as you increase in size, your strength would be squared while your mass would be cubed. This works great for ants, but if you scale a human up to the size of King Kong, he wouldn't be able to support his own weight, or do much of anything else really. On top of that, your bones probably wouldn't be able to support you either, especially since that exponentially increasing weight is balanced on top of two small feet.

 

Of course, this is all trivial, since I don't know of any way that we would literally be able to do this. It wouldn't be a matter of just shrinking fundamental particles, because all that mass has to go somewhere or come from somewhere. The only way you could do that is by adding or removing atoms, which presents its own problems. If you shrink someone down small enough, you would have considerably fewer atoms to do the job of the trillions you started out with. The only way I could see this working within our laws of physics is in virtual reality, or some kind of mind-uploading process into a larger or smaller artificial body. Other than that, I would label this impossible.


Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

#12
Ru1138

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Past a certain point, the physics for how liquids in particular and molecules in general would inhibit basic body functions. There are too many bodily functions that rely on on us being the size that we are. For one, say goodbye to your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Even if all the molecules, organs, and tissues shrunk proportionately with you, you would still have to breath in oxygen molecules that are now much larger, relatively speaking.

 

The viscosity of air was exactly what I was thinking of. If you shrunk to the size of an insect it would be like moving breathable water in and out of your lungs.

 

And let's not forget that everything vibrates when you're the size of a bacterium; being jostled around wouldn't be fun for a lot of people.


What difference does it make?


#13
Zeitgeist123

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if you would need to travel, imagine everything you own can just be carried and kept under your skin. you don't even need a hotel booking.  all you need to do is take out the bedroom kit you brought with you, enlarge it and you are back at the comfort of your own room after a great tour to the canyons.


“Philosophy is a pretty toy if one indulges in it with moderation at the right time of life. But if one pursues it further than one should, it is absolute ruin." - Callicles to Socrates


#14
ShadowBlade15

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Well you could make objects smaller buy using something like claytronics/programmable matter so you could alter the shape and structure of objects.



#15
Roh234

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Making stuff like coffee mugs, cars, carpets, computers, I think is with the reach of technology.

 

However performing it to a living thing, I cringe because all the things that can and will go wrong.


What is true, just, and beautiful is not determined by popular vote. The masses everywhere are ignorant, short-sighted, motivated by envy, and easy to fool. Democratic politicians must appeal to these masses in order to be elected. Whoever is the best demagogue will win. Almost by necessity, then, democracy will lead to the perversion of truth, justice and beauty. -Hans Hermann Hoppe


#16
Alric

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I actually think that it will happen. At the point were we ditch our normal bodies and go fully robotic, we will probably shrink our self way down. Especially if we do everything in a virtual reality space. We might have a computer the size of your hand that could handle millions of people living in a huge city like new york all simulated on that computer. In fact a lot of people think when we start getting into space travel, we are not going to have large ships but extremely tiny ones, like clouds of nanobots that just travel through space.

 

It is one of the possible reasons we have never seen signs of aliens, they could all be super tiny and compact.


Edited by Alric, 22 September 2013 - 07:57 AM.


#17
Futurist

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Probably Not.



#18
h.g.Whiz

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Shrink, and grass will resemble jungle, enlarge, Niagara Falls becomes a trickling stream.
Probably no more shattering book than the Essay on Population has ever been, or ever will be, written. H.G.Wells - Anticipations

#19
rtardx

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Perhaps one could conver the object they're trying to shrink into a pure mass of energy. Then Add/Subtract mass to get the desired size of the object.



#20
Squillimy

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I'm pretty certain this is impossible. You're talking about shrinking and enlarging particles here. I'm sure that if increased & decreased the size of a quark, whether that even makes sense or not, it would most certainly not behave the same way.

 

And if you believe in string theory then we're talking about "enlarging" strings, which would make you able to see the extra dimensions that are folded up at its scale, and be able to physically see a quark, and even a particle at that. Which doesn't make any sense at all!

 

EDIT: I agree this can be done in some sort of virtual reality or transfer of consciousness; such as transferring my consciousness to something much smaller, and much larger. But as for physically enlarging subatomic particles and quantum foam, I believe that even something as far out there as multiverse level technology wouldn't even be able to make this possible, as all reality is likely made up of similar particles, but just of different properties.. Hell, we already found the particle that gives other particles mass.


Edited by Squillimy, 26 September 2013 - 03:59 PM.

What becomes of man when the things that man can create are greater than man itself?





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