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RE: SANTA CLAUS: An Engineer's Perspective

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The Grinch lives!!

> ----------
> From: 	John Cannon Jones[SMTP:jcjones(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: 	Friday, December 19, 1997 9:45 AM
> To: 	'seaoc'
> Subject: 	SANTA CLAUS:  An Engineer's Perspective
> SANTA CLAUS:  An Engineer's Perspective
> I.  There are approximately two billion children (person under 18) in
> the world.  However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim,
> Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist 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
> that there is at least one good child in each.
> II.  Santa has about 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 967.7
> visits per second.  This is to say that for 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 stockings, 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 on
> to 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 around 650 miles per second - 3000 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 best) 15 miles per
> hour.
> III.  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 could
> pull ten 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).
> IV.  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 absorb 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, 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 0.001
> seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 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.
> V.  Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.
> Merry Christmas
> John Jones