The Science of Santa Claus

written by BAH HUMBUG!

No
known species of reindeer can fly, but there are 300,000 species of

living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are

insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer

which only santa has ever seen.

There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world, but since

santa doesn't (appear) to handle the muslim, hindu, jewish and buddhist

children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million

according to population reference bureau. At an average (census) rate of

3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes

there's at least one good child in each.

Santa has 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 822.6 visits per second.

This is to say that for each christian household with good children,

santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down

the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under

the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney,

get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that

each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth

(which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our

calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per

household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to

do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding

and etc.

This means
that 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 on earth, the ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4

miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per

hour.

The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming

that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2

pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting santa, who is

invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can

pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see

point #1) could pull ten times the normal amount, we cannot do the job

with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the

payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons.

Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen

Elizabeth.

353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air

resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as

spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer

will absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy. Per second. Each. In

short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the

reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake.

The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a

second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces

17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound santa (which seems

ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015

pounds of force.

In
conclusion - if santa ever did deliver presents on christmas eve,

he's dead now