Lynette RF Cowper (lcowper) wrote,
Lynette RF Cowper

SF Question of the Week

So, I've decided to post a question for discussion here, since a lot of my friends are SF fans. I'm thinking of posting a new one once a week, just for the heck of it. The idea is to invoke discussion, so feel free to comment on other commenters or jump right even even if I don't know you or vice versa.

This question brought to you by the joke that my son Ren must be able to photosynthesize because he certainly doesn't eat enough food to maintain his weight and level of activity, which then combined with contemplation of Old Man's War by John Scalzi (read it to find out why).

Imagine that at some point in the near future, a biotech company comes up with a treatment to render people able to photosynthesize. The original thought was as a way to allay the problem of hunger in especially vulnerable populations. After all, treatments that will keep 1000 people alive for quite some time are the merest fraction of the amount of food you'd have to ship in. As you might imagine, the military took an interest and backed the research, as did NASA. (Hey, soldiers who can go longer without food and astronauts who can recycle some of their CO2 back into oxygen? You bet!) The treatment reduces the need for food but doesn't eliminate it entirely. You still need to drink water. The big side-effect? It turns your skin slightly green.

With something so new and scary, they've jumped through a lot of hoops for a lot of different drug-testing agencies worldwide and it's been passed by all of them. There's thought of including it in the treatment regimen for diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, anorexia, bulimia, and several other conditions.

At first, its uses and availability are quite limited, but after a few years, it becomes more and more common until it's kind of a chic thing to do. The green movement has embraced it as the answer to overfarming. (And what could be more green than being, literally, green?)

So, multi-part discussion question: If you suffered from a metabolic problem that could be treated by going green, would you? If you had no medical reason to get the treatment, but could get it anyway, would you? Would you give money to a hunger-relief organisation that gave the treatment to people in vulnerable populations? Why or why not? What difference would it make if the treatment were a) temporary, b) permanent but easily reversible, c) permanent?

Feel free to pass the link to this post on to your friends if you'd like them to join the discussion, though I'd ask that those posting anonymously (like those without LJ or OpenID accounts) sign their post with some unique identifier-- intials, first name, nickname, whatever.
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