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It’s That Time of Year…

One Response to It’s That Time of Year…


  1. Comment by c0mpl3x | 2006/12/26 at 01:28:20

    There are approximately 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the

    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 378,000,000 (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 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 that Santa’s sleigh is moving at
    650 miles per second–3,000 times the speed of sound. For the purposes
    of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses Space Probe,
    moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and the 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 can pull 10x the normal amount, the
    job can’t be done with the 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 moving at
    650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance – this would heat
    up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spaceship 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 pair 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 reaches 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 .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 crumbling his bones and organs and reducing
    him to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he’s
    dead now. But we wouldn’t make a silly mistake of assuming that
    Santa and his might reindeers are composed of such weak biological
    structure like us now would we!

    Merry Christmas readers and members of Nihon Review!

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