[Loch-ruadh] Fw: FW: An engineer's view of Santa and Christmas...

Sun Dec 16 15:18:19 PST 2001

This was sent to me on another list by someone with WAY TOO MUCH time on his
hands. But it's still funny.
> There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the
> world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu,
> or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload
> Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the
> population reference bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children
> per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming there is at
> one good child in each.
> Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the
> time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to west (which
> logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that
> each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a
> second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the
> stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever
> snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the
> and get onto the next house.
> Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around
> the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the
> purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per
> household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops
> or breaks. This  means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second --
> 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest
> made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per
> second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.
> The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that
> each child gets nothing more than a medium sized LEGO set (two pounds),
> sleigh is carrying over 500 thousands tons, not counting Santa himself. On
> land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even
> granting that the "flying" reindeer can pull 10 times the normal amount,
> job can't be done with eight or even nine of them -- Santa would need
> 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of
> sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the
> Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).
> Six hundred thousand (600,000) tons traveling at 650 miles per second
> creates enormous air resistance -- this would heat up the reindeer in the
> same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead
> pair of reindeer would adsorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second
> each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously,
> exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in
> their wake.
> The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a
> second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.
> Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating
> a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to
> acceleration forces of 17,000 g's. A 250-pound Santa (which seems
> ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015
> pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him
> a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead
> Merry Christmas, everybody.

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