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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the weekend: What one thing would you change about the human body?

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Mark Wing-Davey

For this weekend’s question, let’s subvert evolution and intelligently redesign our own bodies:
What one thing would you change about the human body?

It’s astonishing how many everyday chores — such as cooking and folding laundry — would be so much easier with a third or even a fourth hand. So that’s what I’d change: I’d add at least one more arm.


(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • madderrose74

    Put a lot more distance between the excretory systems and the reproductive system, lowering the UTI and yeast infection rates dramatically.

  • RogerBW

    Make conception impossible unless both parties actually want it to happen.

  • RogerBW

    If you can do this early enough in history, it might also remove some of the stigma of sex as “dirty”.

  • Bluejay


  • Isabelle May

    one of two things:
    -rearrange the eye so that the nerves did not cover the photosensors (maybe add some more varieties of photosensor for wacky fun!)
    -ensure that the vas deferens did not loop over the kidneys and become significantly longer than strictly necesarry

  • amanohyo

    Throw in an 60% reduction in height and around a 92% reduction in mass while maintaining roughly the same level of intelligence and you’ve got yourself a deal. I’d also like to request a second pair of eyes on the back of our heads, and improved night vision.

  • amanohyo

    It’s impractical, but I always wanted another set of (clear) eyelids and some gills so I could lounge on the bottom of the pool without a tank. Also, it might solve a few land shortage problems (and subsequently create quite a few more).

    Ooh, and of course the ability to photosynthesize would be a nice fix for some of the hunger issues.

  • Hank Graham

    Cliched, I know, but I’d *really* like heat vision.

  • I’m sensing that answering ‘a better brain’ is not quite in line with the spirit of the question. So, in line with some earlier eye-oriented suggestions:

    Wide-angle high-dynamic-range omnispectral vision. Or at least as multispectral as possible. With good resolving power, and, like, proper high dynamic range. Like seriously.

    Just something I thought would be cool. But RogerBW’s is far more practical.

  • Isobel_A

    As a short sighted colour blind person, I’m nodding enthusiastically to all eye related suggestions.

    Also – backs and knees. There has got to be a better way to do it! Flimsy, easily ruptured ligaments and discs are not helpful.

  • RogerBW

    The eye design is lousy. Most of it is fixed in software. :-)

  • Captain_Swing666

    Men’s bellies, why do they have to expand like that?

    Oh and ear and nostril hair. I don’t mind the going grey, the thinning hair on the head but why do I have to sprout hair from the ears and nose?

  • I would have to have two extra arms. Balance, clapping etc.,etc. As an EMT and nurse I’d design a better respiratory system. I will not redesign (waving my finger at you, Maryann) Automatic repair, redundancy and defense.

  • teenygozer

    Having a period every goddam month is annoying, impractical, and messy. Also plays merry hell with the body. How about control of making one’s own body ready for pregnancy and the subsequent egg-release, so it only happens when one wants it to happen?

  • Ah yes, the neural equivalent of “we’ll fix it in post”. Works about as well.

  • dwa4

    Recircuit the limbic system to eliminate addiction and abuse in tobacco, alcohol, drugs and sex.

  • MisterAntrobus

    Electronics companies would love that. They could produce a new omnispectral super-resolution format for playing movies and charge us to buy new copies of all our DVDs/Blu-Rays again.

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