PACKET RADIO: Santa
Steve Wolf, W8IZ@W8IZ
(This text from the W8IZ packet radio bulletin
board. It's formatted to fit a 80 character screen.)
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
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