Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...
Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]
Santa Claus seen by an engineer
[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] To: <seaint(nospamat)seaint.org>
 Subject: Santa Claus seen by an engineer
 From: "Javier Encinas" <jencinas(nospamat)coqui.net>
 Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2000 14:41:43 0400
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
1/1000th 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 sleigh and
go onto the next house.
Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is
evenly distributed around the Earth (which, of course, we know is 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 and 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
manmade 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 than a medium sized LEGO set
(2 pounds), the 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, the job
can't be done with eight or 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 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 thousands 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 mps in 0.001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of
17,000 g's. A 250pound Santa 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, unless there are millions
of Santas around the world, it's quite difficult, from the engineering point of
view, to explain his presence tonight. Merry
Christmas.

 FollowUps:
 Re: Santa Claus seen by an engineer
 From: frp 2000
 Re: Santa Claus seen by an engineer
 Prev by Subject: Salary
 Next by Subject: Re: Santa Claus seen by an engineer
 Previous by thread: VIRUS FROM MIR MAHBOOB HUSSAIN
 Next by thread: Re: Santa Claus seen by an engineer
 About this archive
 Messages sorted by: [Subject][Thread][Author][Date]