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RE: An Engineer's Take On Christmas

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You assume that Santa is restricted by the same laws of time and physics
that you are.

> ----------
> From: 	Caldwell, Stan[SMTP:scaldwell(--nospam--at)]
> Reply To: 	seaint(--nospam--at)
> Sent: 	Tuesday, December 08, 1998 3:35 PM
> To: 	'SEAint Listserv'
> Subject: 	An Engineer's Take On Christmas
> 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
> that
> there is at east 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 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 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 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), 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).
> 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-enteringthe 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,
> 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 stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to
> acceleration
> dead 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.
> Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.   
> Merry Christmas!
> Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
> Still Waitin' on Santa