Remember Me?

 Straight Dope Message Board Remember Me?

#### Menu

 Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
08-13-2017, 12:00 PM
 Nansbread1 Guest Join Date: Jan 2016 Location: England Posts: 282
How many tons of human nail clippings generated each day in the world.

Assuming 1 in a 1000 people clip their nails on any given day. That person generates about 5 mg of nail clippings that day. So by my fag packet calculations that is 37 kg of nail clipping every day on this planet for 7.4 billion people on the planet. Seems a small number. Where have i gone wrong.
#2
08-13-2017, 12:04 PM
 burpo the wonder mutt Guest Join Date: May 2012 Location: NE Florida Posts: 20,200
I'll start on that as soon as I finish my earwax computations.
#3
08-13-2017, 12:15 PM
 Aquadementia Guest Join Date: Sep 2012 Location: Wisconsin Posts: 1,775
You only clip your nails once every 1000 days?
#4
08-13-2017, 12:18 PM
 burpo the wonder mutt Guest Join Date: May 2012 Location: NE Florida Posts: 20,200
^ Wolverine feet
#5
08-13-2017, 01:42 PM
 Schnitte Guest Join Date: Feb 2001 Location: Frankfurt, Germany Posts: 3,467
On the face of your maths, it seems the 5 milligrams of nail clippings is too low. The aggregate mass of nails clipped by the average human per clipping is certainly more than that, by seeveral orders of magnitude; more in the range of several grams. It might be that the average growth of fingernails and toenails per day per human is in the 5 mg range, but you were talking about mass per clipping (which you assume to be once in 1,000 days - I agree with Aquadementia that this is way too seldom), not about mass grown per day.
__________________
"The banana has certain characteristics, appearance, taste, softness, seedlessness, easy handling, a constant level of production which enable it to satisfy the constant needs of an important section of the population consisting of the very young, the old and the sick."
#6
08-13-2017, 05:55 PM
 OldGuy Charter Member Join Date: Dec 2002 Location: Very east of Foggybog, WI Posts: 4,592
It seems to me the amount per clipping is irrelevant. Assuming all toenails are eventually clipped (I'm assuming torn off counts), all that really matters is the average growth per day. If I clip less often, I have more per clipping, but still contribute the same amount to average per day.

So how much do toenails grow in a day?
#7
08-13-2017, 07:27 PM
 Peter Morris Charter Member Join Date: Apr 2003 Location: ___\o/___(\___ Posts: 11,729
Quote:
 Originally Posted by OldGuy So how much do toenails grow in a day?
A factoid often quoted is that nails grow at the same rate that continents drift. They are both about 3mm per month.

Last edited by Peter Morris; 08-13-2017 at 07:28 PM.
#8
08-14-2017, 08:24 AM
 Mangetout Charter Member Join Date: May 2001 Location: England Posts: 57,087
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Nansbread1 Where have i gone wrong.
Where shall we start?
#9
08-14-2017, 08:57 AM
 don't ask Member Join Date: May 2001 Location: Sydney, Australia Posts: 17,788
Let's say for convenience that the average uncut nail is 15 mm long and weighs roughly 1 gm - about as much as a postage stamp.

So the monthly 3 mm trimming would weigh 200 mg. Ten fingers worth would be 2 gms.

So 7,000,000,000 lots would be 14,000,000 metric tons a month. So about 460,000 metric tons a day.
#10
08-14-2017, 09:18 AM
 Darren Garrison Guest Join Date: Oct 2016 Posts: 6,007
Okay, some very rough numbers. Let's call average nail growth rate 3 mm per month. Call average nail thickness 0.36 mm. Call density of fingernails 1.3 g/cc. My widest fingernail is around 1.1 cm across. Flatten out the curve, and I'll guess that to be around 1.4 cm. 1.4 cm x 0.36 cm x 0.3 cm gives that fingernail producing 0.15 cc of keratin a month, which is around 0.2 grams (rounded.) 10 fingers, pinky nail smaller than the largest but thumbnail larger than the largest (because I overlooked measuring the thumb as the largest and I'm not going to go back and recalculate) so roughly in the range of 2 grams per month for all 10 fingers. Lots of children and women who have smaller fingernails that me, so call it an average of 1 gram per month for everyone in the world, or 7.4 million kilograms per month of nail growth. Assuming that everyone trims their nails to keep the same average length, around 246 thousand kilograms of fingernail would be trimmed every day.

That should be within a power of 2 or so of the actual number, unless I screwed up somewhere along the way. (I'll leave toenail clippings for someone else to calculate.)
#11
08-14-2017, 10:59 AM
 LSLGuy Charter Member Join Date: Sep 2003 Location: Southeast Florida USA Posts: 21,037
At that (perfectly reasonable) level of precision, toenails = fingernails.

Still 10 for most people, and some nails larger and some smaller than your baseline index finger. So figure 246,000kg of fingernails & 246,000kg of toenails ~=500Mg of daily nail growth.

I think the OP should tackle total daily human poop next.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 08-14-2017 at 11:01 AM.
#12
08-14-2017, 11:42 AM
 ArmenE Guest Join Date: Dec 2006 Location: NY Posts: 226
Quote:
 Originally Posted by don't ask So 7,000,000,000 lots would be 14,000,000 metric tons a month. So about 460,000 metric tons a day.
that's 14,000,000 kg (not tons) or 14,000 metric tons, or 460kg/day.
#13
08-14-2017, 12:05 PM
 Darren Garrison Guest Join Date: Oct 2016 Posts: 6,007
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Darren Garrison Okay, some very rough numbers. Let's call average nail growth rate 3 mm per month. Call average nail thickness 0.36 mm. Call density of fingernails 1.3 g/cc. My widest fingernail is around 1.1 cm across. Flatten out the curve, and I'll guess that to be around 1.4 cm. 1.4 cm x 0.36 cm x 0.3 cm gives that fingernail producing 0.15 cc of keratin a month, which is around 0.2 grams (rounded.) 10 fingers, pinky nail smaller than the largest but thumbnail larger than the largest (because I overlooked measuring the thumb as the largest and I'm not going to go back and recalculate) so roughly in the range of 2 grams per month for all 10 fingers. Lots of children and women who have smaller fingernails that me, so call it an average of 1 gram per month for everyone in the world, or 7.4 million kilograms per month of nail growth. Assuming that everyone trims their nails to keep the same average length, around 246 thousand kilograms of fingernail would be trimmed every day.
Just realized an error in my math--in the monthly mass calculation I used 0.36 cm for thickness when I should have used 0.036 cm, so all my answers are off by a power of 10-- 0.015 cc and 0.02 grams for one finger per month, 0.2 grams for both hands, 740,000 kilograms per month for the world, 24,600 kilograms trimmed per day.
#14
08-14-2017, 01:21 PM
 blindboyard Guest Join Date: Jan 2010 Location: Newark Posts: 2,054
Given the answer to the OP, how long until Ragnarok?
#15
08-14-2017, 01:28 PM
 Channing Idaho Banks Guest Join Date: Mar 2015 Location: beautiful Idaho Posts: 2,140
You could find someone who has saved all of his nails in order to get a beer idea about the mass that one person creates.
__________________
It's too late.
#16
08-14-2017, 01:36 PM
 Cardigan Guest Join Date: Oct 2008 Posts: 1,753
Quote:
 Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt I'll start on that as soon as I finish my earwax computations.
This kind of thing invites all sorts of comparisons using various bodily excretions and fluids. Providing weights is well and good but what we really need are comparative measures ... e.g. China alone produces enough [insert fluid] every day to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools.
#17
08-14-2017, 01:39 PM
 LSLGuy Charter Member Join Date: Sep 2003 Location: Southeast Florida USA Posts: 21,037
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Channing Idaho Banks You could find someone who has saved all of his nails in order to get a beer idea about the mass that one person creates.
This whole line of questioning sounds like a beer idea to me. As in ... came from way too much beer.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Cardigan This kind of thing invites all sorts of comparisons using various bodily excretions and fluids. Providing weights is well and good but what we really need are comparative measures ... e.g. China alone produces enough [insert fluid] every day to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools.
We found it's always best to convert the final result of any whimsical calculation into units of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peeps.

They can easily stand as units of mass, volume, or cost. With some work you can use them as units of length, strength, hardness, temperature, and a host of other physical parameters. And, just like subatomic particles, they come in multiple colors.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 08-14-2017 at 01:44 PM.

 Bookmarks

 Thread Tools Display Modes Linear Mode

 Posting Rules You may not post new threads You may not post replies You may not post attachments You may not edit your posts BB code is On Smilies are On [IMG] code is Off HTML code is Off Forum Rules
 Forum Jump User Control Panel Private Messages Subscriptions Who's Online Search Forums Forums Home Main     About This Message Board     Comments on Cecil's Columns/Staff Reports     General Questions     Great Debates     Elections     Cafe Society     The Game Room     Thread Games     In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)     Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share (MPSIMS)     Marketplace     The BBQ Pit

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:47 PM.

 -- Straight Dope v3.7.3 -- Sultantheme's Responsive vB3-blue Contact Us - Straight Dope Homepage - Archive - Top
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 -- Straight Dope v3.7.3 -- Sultantheme's Responsive vB3-blue
Copyright © 2017