Science fiction presents captivating tales of machines that take us beyond the stars, allow us to travel back in time, or make it easier for us to masturbate. Unfortunately, just like in the real world, these fanciful inventions would have terrible unforeseen consequences that would make living in a sci-fi universe a waking nightmare. Or, at least, kind of a pain in the ass.
5 Ant-Man's Shrinking Technology Would Punch You Into The Ground
In addition to gallantly adding another middle-aged man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man brings back a trope not seen in sci-fi lately: that of a shrinking man. This continues a proud tradition that includes works like The Incredible Shrinking Man, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, and Benjamin Button.
Ant-Man's power comes not just from being as small as an ant or as charming as Paul Rudd but from the fact that his suit works by reducing the distance between atoms. Because the atoms are merely squished together, he still has the same mass, but it's tightly compressed into a body the size of an insect. That's a key part of the character -- the whole reason he packs such a wallop is that he has "the force of a 200-pound man behind a fist a hundredth of an inch wide."
In addition to being a gross misunderstanding of how much Paul Rudd weighs, it's also a gross misunderstanding of how that would work out.
In particular, Ant-Man would have a lot of trouble getting around: No matter how he moved, he would be putting all the weight of a full-grown man into an area the size of a knife point. He would constantly be sinking into all but the hardest surfaces, unable to pull himself out of them because he'd be ripping them apart as he tried to break free. And in softer surfaces, like soil, wood, or plastic, he would just sink straight in and fucking suffocate. Lord help any ant he tries to sit on and ride, because any tiny animal husbandry would just end in a miniature bloodbath.
Also, his femurs and spinal column would immediately explode into splinters from the weight.
Now, in Captain America: Civil War, we see that Ant-Man has the ability to use the same technology to become Giant-Man, which, as the name implies, results in a 13-story Paul Rudd.
"Can you all turn around for a sec? I want to compare ... something."
Since the physical principles are still the same, that means he's now increasing the distance between his atoms but still keeping the same mass. Because the mass of a normal-sized person would be spread pretty thin across a giant, this would essentially make him a huge balloon. So instead of being able to stomp cars into the pavement, his foot should bounce off of anything he steps on, if he can manage to walk without being blown away by the slightest breeze.
4 Space Colonies Would Become Incestuous Nightmares
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Plenty of science-fiction movies (Gattaca, Elysium, Pandorum, Boat Trip) feature a small group of people tasked with the explicit goal of rebuilding the population. Sometimes it's a small group of colonists off to create a better future on a new planet, and sometimes it's Earth's elite using their wealth to secure a coveted spot in the new world, but it always involves an ark full of people boning for the future of humanity. In some cases (such as the ending of Snowpiercer) the task falls to just two people.
Who first have to outrun a polar bear.
In our world, the joke about how inbreeding creates genetic deformities is in fact based on science. Getting enough genetic variation to avoid that fate actually requires a whole lot of people. Insular communities such as the Amish -- even avoiding outright incest -- have staggeringly high incidents of genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis and Cohen's disease. So, just add the word "space" to the beginning of either of those, and that's what everyone riding that Halo in Elysium has in store for them.
This is just one reason why anybody talking about the importance of "racial purity" should make you just roll your eyes. Having a tightly knit, homogenous population that doesn't breed outside the gene pool isn't likely to lead to a master race, unless you're talking about mastering the need for constant medical attention. That's why space neo-Nazis like the villain in Moonraker need to rethink their plans. Similarly, the people hoping to repopulate the Earth on The 100 are in for a rude surprise a few generations down the line, because they don't have nearly enough people to pull that off:
"OK, just to be safe, everybody has to fuck everybody."
Basically, with 150 people as the starting population, genetic variation is so low that everyone would eventually look like the weird prince Jenna almost marries on 30 Rock. The larger the initial population, the better they hold on to their genetic variation. But you don't find genetic variation stabilizing at better than 90 percent until you get to a starting population of about 10,000. That's the minimum recommended amount.
That doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room for anything to go wrong, which seems like poor planning for anything involving space travel. To really do it even close to right, the recommendation is 40,000 people. So future colonists should expect some serious genetic disorders down the line, unless they leave to cultivate their new world in a biblically humongous spaceship with a group equal to the population of Annapolis, Maryland.
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And even then, you'll still need a Tinder app that checks to make sure you're not fucking your cousin.