As a result of an overwhelming lack of request, and with research help
from that renowned scientific journal SPY magaznie (January,1990)- I am
pleased to present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.
No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are over 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 the 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 Chrismas 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 Chrisitian 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 75.5 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
comparision, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a
poky 27.4 miles per second-a conventional reindeer can runs, tops, 15 miles
per hour.
The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming
that each child gets nothing more than a meduim-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 pouns. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN
TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, of 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 Queen Elizabeth.
353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormus air
resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft
reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb
about 14.3 QUINTILLION jouls 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 conculsion- IF SANTA EVER DID DELIVER PRESENTS ON CHRISTMAS EVE,
HE'S **DEAD** now!
--An excerpt from FARPOINT, a small alternative newspaper in St. Louis.