Talk­ing the tall and short of pres­i­dents, other rulers and build­ings

The Globe - - OPINION -

Pres­i­dents of the United States come in all heights. The tallest was Abra­ham Lin­coln at 6 feet 4 inches fol­lowed by Lyn­don B. John­son who reached 6 feet 3 inches. From up there it was all down­ward for the other pres­i­dents. Wil­liam Clin­ton is 6 feet 2 1/2 inches. Thomas Jef­fer­son was the same height as Clin­ton. The 6-foot-2-inch pres­i­dents were Arthur, Washington, Franklin De­lano Roo­sevelt and Ge­orge Her­bert Walker Bush. Our present pres­i­dent, Barack Obama is 6 feet 1 inch. Ron­ald Rea­gan was 6 foot as were seven other pres­i­dents. Harry S. Tru­man was 5 feet 9 inches and the short­est was James Madi­son at 5 feet 4 inches.

If we move be­yond the pres­i­dents, the av­er­age height for a male in the United States is 5 feet 9.2 inches, which is ap­prox­i­mately 5-foot-10, and weighs 189.8 pounds, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Cen­ter for Health Statis­tics of 2005. The av­er­age woman in the United States is 5 feet 3.8 inches, which is ap- prox­i­mately 5-foot-4 and weighs 162.9 pounds. Ac­cord­ing to th­ese statis­tics, women are over-eat­ing. Be­yond our shores, peo­ple grow tall and short. Rus­sia’s Demitry Medvedev at 5 feet 4 inches is short as is Ni­co­las Sarkozy of France at 5 feet 5 inches. Look­ing back, Napoleon was 5 feet 6 inches. Peo­ple have to look up to Sul­tan Kosen, 28, of Turkey, the tallest per­son at 8 feet 3 inches.

When we switch our eyes to inan­i­mate things we be­come amazed at the height of build­ings around the world. For years, the Em­pire State Build­ing in Man­hat­tan was king of height. With its 6,500 win­dows it stood 1,248 feet high. It was the tallest build­ing with an ob­ser­va­tion floor on the 86th at a height of 1,050 feet and an ob­ser­va­tory floor at 1,224 feet up on the 102nd floor above the city of New York. To­day, the tallest in the West­ern Hemi­sphere is the CN Tower in Toronto, On­tario, Canada. This struc­ture can be seen from nearly 40 miles away. From 1976 to 2010 it held the world ti­tle of the tallest free stand­ing struc­ture in the world with an an­tenna reach­ing 1,815 feet above Toronto. Even to­day it has the world’s high­est restau­rant. The high­est build­ing in the world since 2010 is Burj Khal­ifa over in Dubai of the United Arab Emi­rates. It stands 2,722 feet high with its 160 floors, and 57 el­e­va­tors. All th­ese mod­ern build­ings would tower over the Great Pyra­mid of Egypt built in 2560 B.C. reach­ing a height of 481 feet. The world is reach­ing for the heavens with its con­struc­tion. Even the heights of men and women are do­ing the same. As we look to the clouds, one of the plans for the fu­ture is a build­ing in Azer­bai­jan that will have 189 floors and reach a height of 3,445 feet. If things con­tinue this way, we may soon walk to the moon or hike to Mars!

Dr. Mil­ton Fried­man can be reached at tcgn@mont­­ton Fried­man

Health& Sci­ence

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