2006.02.15 Grow an arm, turn green

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Some people think the human body is far short of showing intelligent design. It’s truly an amazing set of organs, but maybe it wasn’t all that well thought out.

As Stephan Peters puts it, “The human body is crammed full of messy plumbing, circuitry, scaffolding, dodgy components and building materials, and is riddled with workarounds to compensate for poor initial design."

Peters was one of many entries in the Human Design contest sponsored by the British magazine New Scientist. Readers were asked how they would modify the body if they were not restricted in any way.

Life events, career and age led to many similar suggestions. New parents wanted extra arms, of course, although some contestants went into greater detail: the ability to grow and resorb limbs on demand.

There was some obvious pouch envy from new parents, as well, as they eyed the marsupial way of life.

Teachers want eyes in the back of their heads and students want light-emitting eyebrows to read under the covers while in bed on a school night.

Chameleon skin would take the worry and expense out of clothing, or how about green skin? If humans could survive on chlorophyll and photosynthetic skin, we would all look a lot more alike and racism would take a dive.

Besides that, becoming carbon-neutral would remove the need to eat anything, ever.

Entries from older readers called for an all-day bladder, joints with lubrication points, regenerating teeth, two-way elbows that would make back-scratching easier, and earlids that could blank out the noise made by those annoying brats that came out of the pouch.

Several readers  wanted some sort of “Pinocchio gene” that would make a lie obvious. For example, a lie could launch an asthma attack.

Now for the winning entries, chosen not just for wit but also for originality.

• Instead of producing fat, modify the body so it produces oil. Just tap it off every so often like extracting sap from a maple tree, says a contestant from Hexham, Northumberland, UK.

The writer points out this will solve obesity problems while simultaneously addressing the energy crisis. The more the merrier; you’re merely contributing to the greater good of humanity.

• A man in Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, wants to glue monkeys to his hands and feet, and then glue geckos to their hands and feet. Then he could climb anything.

• A new father in Neutral Bay, Australia, wants a small gauge on the forehead of his four-month-old daughter. It would have a simple scale reading from “empty” to “full.”

“I cannot tell you what a difference that would make in our lives,” he wrote.

• An entry from Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, suggests that pain usually outlasts its welcome. It’s still there long after you’ve figured out that something is wrong.

This guy wants a shut-off button that would tell your body, “Yes, I know I shouldn’t have picked up that soldering iron by the wrong end, but it’s too late now, so please stop bugging me for a while.”

• A book collector in Canterbury, Kent, wants to be able to hold a book in an interested sort of fashion and have the contents downloaded into his brain—with search and delete functions, of course.

“My shelves are full of books just waiting,” he writes.

• Computer functions suggest a lot of adaptations for the human body. I’ve found myself doing a keyboard “save” function when I wasn’t even at the computer, not that it really works. I forget the next day.

But how about this restart button, perhaps on the ear lobe, to pull yourself out of a state of confusion.

“Depressing the button momentarily would result in a ‘warm restart’—taking me back to my mental state of five minutes previously,” says a contestant from Shepperton, Middlesex. “Holding in the button for two seconds would produce a ‘cold restart’—to be used only in the event I am found swinging from a chandelier or become convinced I am Napoleon.”

And think of the fun you’d have grabbing someone’s earlobe over and over.

“Hey, don’t touch that...where am I? What are you doing? Hey, don’t touch that...What happened?

– February 15, 2006
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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