PACKET RADIO: Santa

(This text from the W8IZ packet radio bulletin

board. It's formatted to fit a 80 character screen.)

Author unknown.

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help

from that renown scientific journal SPY Magazine (January, 1990) the author

is pleased to present this scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.

1) 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.

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since

Santa does not (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 is 91.8 million homes. One presumes

that there is at least one good child in each.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to different time

zones and the rotation of the Earth, assuming he travels from 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

approximately 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 now are talking about 0.78 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 manmade

vehicle on Earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per

second. A conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles an hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming a

least case scenario where each child gets nothing more than a medium sized

Leggo set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,200 tons, not counting

Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional

reindeer canpull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying

reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot

do even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,340 tons. Again, for

comparison, this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates an enormous air

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

spacecraft reentering 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 creating 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

that 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 is

toast now.

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