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Frogs and sizes

2016 October 25. Tuesday.

How much smaller is a small frog than a large frog? The Goliath frog of Cameroon sometimes weighs 3.3 kilograms. The Panamanian golden frog sometimes weighs 3 grams. If you put 1100 clones of the small frog in a jug together, it would weigh about as much as one big frog.

How much bigger is a big person than a small person? This is a different question, because with frogs we were comparing different species, now we are comparing individuals. The heaviest person ever was Jon Brower Minnoch, 635 kilograms. The smallest person is a harder question because people get very thin as they starve to death, but we want the smallest person who is living a long time at that weight. Tom Staniford is a para-cyclist who has been at about the same weight for at least decade, 30 kilograms. So the biggest person weighs 21 times the smallest person.

No real thesis, I just like to think about deviation. I think the heaviest entree at a restaurant is usually about 3 times the weight of the smallest. The fastest human-run mile ever is about 230 seconds, where a typical beginner might take 540 seconds. So that’s only a difference of 2.3x or so.

You can also think about the spread over the whole population, instead of just considering two individuals. I think [the sum of the mass of the 20% heaviest books] is about 8x [the sum of the mass of the 20% lightest books]. The top quintile divided by the bottom quintile. In the United States, I think the total combined income of the top quintile is about 9x that of the bottom.

Just a useful tool for analyzing some data.

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