Pachacutec

12-19-2000, 03:52 PM

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world.

However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or

Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for

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 least one

good child in each. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks

to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to

west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is

to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around

1/1000 th 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 sleigh

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 man made vehicle,

the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a

conventional reindeer can run at 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),

the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand 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, the 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 the sleigh, another

54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the

ship, not the monarch). 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 reentering 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 from 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 to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa

did exist, he's dead now. Merry Christmas.

However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or

Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for

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 least one

good child in each. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks

to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to

west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is

to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around

1/1000 th 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 sleigh

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 man made vehicle,

the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a

conventional reindeer can run at 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),

the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand 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, the 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 the sleigh, another

54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the

ship, not the monarch). 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 reentering 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 from 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 to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa

did exist, he's dead now. Merry Christmas.