October 30, 2012

Barbara Walters once asked an aging Katharine Hepburn "if you were a tree, what kind would you be?"

The question has often been derided ever since, but we can't help thinking of that situation because it combines the concepts of a person's age and trees. What if we could determine your age the same way we might estimate the age of a live tree?

Here's how that works. There are parts of the human body that grow in size each year, much like the trunk of a tree does, which can then be measured and the person's age estimated from the result. And no, despite what you might think, we're not talking about measuring your waistline....

Instead, we're talking about your ears! Thanks to a 1997 study published by U.S. Veterans Administration researchers, we have the means to estimate how old a person is from a measurement of the circumference of their ears, and vice versa:

It is generally observed that older people have bigger ears and noses. Cartilage is known to alter in structure with age. We conducted a cross sectional study to verify the trend between age and the size of two cartilaginous structures, ear and nose. A total of 100 young individuals were compared to older individuals with respect to their ear and nose sizes. We found that the greatest correlation coefficient of age was with ear circumference, and the linear regression equation being: Ear circumference = 88.1 + (0.51 x subject's age). Except for the ear tragus, which correlated insignificantly with age, anatomical variables of the ear had higher correlation with age than anatomical variables of the nose. This study supports the view that as people age, their ears get larger, particularly the ear circumference, which increases on average 0.51 mm per year. This enlargement is likely associated with aging changes of collagen. The knowledge from this study allows us to calculate the age of an individual based on ear size: Subject's age = 1.96 x (Ear circumference in millimeters - 88.1).

That second equation is the exact math we've built into the tool below! Just enter the value of your or your subject's ear circumference (the distance you measure around the outside edge of the ears) in either inches or millimeters (we'll sort out which is which, although the default value is given in inches) and our tool will do the math for you!

Ear Dimensions
Input Data Values
Ear Circumference [inches or millimeters]

Estimated Age
Calculated Results Values
Estimated Age [years]

It's a bit like CSI if you think about it! You can almost imagine yourself as the lead detective investigating a murder ("We didn't find any ID, but we estimated the vic was 25 years old from the size of their ears!..." Ed. You're no Caruso....)

Of course, this is really bad news for people who lie about their age, because now they will be less likely to get away with it. ("38? Ha! Let's measure those ears of yours!..." Ed. No means no.)

We suspect that the hardest hit will be Hollywood actresses, who in addition to doing things like growing out their hair to cover their ears and going to all sorts of other extremes in a vain effort to hide their ages, probably haven't realized that those things attached to the sides of their heads are giving them away.

Really, the only remaining question is which aging Hollywood actress do you suppose will be first in line for some otoplasty after they read this post? Quite possibly, the next hot new trend in cosmetic surgery will be the "ear job"!

### References

Tan, R., Osman, V. and Tan, G. Ear size as a predictor of chronological age. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 1997 Sep-Oct; 25(2): 187-91.

Labels: ,

Unexpectedly Intriguing!

is good for you

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Recent Posts

A First Look at GDP for 2012-Q4

How Old Is That Tree?

The Dividend Cliff

Investors Become Nearsighted

Visualizing the Actual Price of Gasoline: October ...

The Real Trend for New Jobless Claims

Markets in Everything: Stormtrooper Motorcycle Sui...

Counting All the U.S. Government's Regulations

Update: Visualizing the Growing Complexity of Medi...

Most Popular Posts
Quick Index

U.S. GDP Temperature Gauge

Political Calculations' U.S. GDP Temperature Gauge provides a means to quickly evaluate the growth rate of the U.S. economy against the backdrop of how the economy has performed since 1980, with the "temperature" color spectrum ranging from a recessionary "cold" (purple) through an expansionary "hot" (red).

The GDP Temperature Gauge presents both the annualized GDP growth rate as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports for a one-quarter period and also as averaged over a two quarter period, which smooths out the volatility seen in the one-quarter data and provides a better indication of the relative strength of the U.S. economy over time.

Site Data

Visitors since December 6, 2004:

#### JavaScript

The tools on this site are built using JavaScript. If you would like to learn more, one of the best free resources on the web is available at W3Schools.com.

#### Other Cool Resources

ZunZun - Exceptional regression analysis tool.
Wolfram Integrator - Solve integrals. Do calculus!
Create a Graph - Easy-to-use basic graph-making tool.
Many Eyes - Data visualization extraordinaire!
Wolfram Alpha - Computational knowledge engine.
Khan Academy - Math & science video mini-lectures!
Picasion - Animate images.

Archives
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013