As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from
that renown scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990) - I am pleased to
present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.
- No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000
species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of
these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out
flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.
- There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world.
BUT since Santa doesn't (appear to) handle Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and
Buddhist children that reduces the workload to 15% of the total -
378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an
average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that s 91.8 million
homes. One presumes there s at least one good child in each.
- Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the
different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he
travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to
822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian
household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park,
hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings,
the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been
left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to
the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are
evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be
but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are
now talking about...78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2
million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at
least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.
This means that Santa s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second,
3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the
fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky
27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15
miles per hour.
- The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element.
Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego
set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting
Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land,
conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even
granting that flying reindeer (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the
normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight or even nine. We need
214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the
weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison, this is
four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.
- 353,430 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous
air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion
as spacecrafts re-entering the earth s atmosphere. The lead pair of
reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per
second. Each. In short, they will burst into flames almost
exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in
wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26
thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to
centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A
250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the
his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve ...
HE'S DEAD NOW !!
Have a Happy Christmas!
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