# An engineer's view of Santa....

1. There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18)
in the world. 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 million (according to the Population
Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children
per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming
that there 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
he travels 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 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, the
Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second,
and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per
hour.

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 could pull ten times the
normal amount, the job can't be done with 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 traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous
air resistance-this would heat up the reindeer in the same
fashion as a spacecraft 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 reindeer 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 reached the fifth house
on his trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a
result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001
seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,500
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 crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a
quivering blob of pink goo.

Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.

Merry Christmas.

2. I remember our pastor opening one of his sermons with this a few years ago.

3. Yes but none of that counts because Santa's magic.

4. So, what are you trying to say?

5. As an elf, Santa's not bothered by extreme g-forces. This is the same reason he's able to eat billions of pounds of cookies in 1 night without exploding.

And his super-hybridized flying reindeer-on-steroids are certainly strong enough to pull all that with only 9 of them (don't forget Rudolph!). The years of hybridization also impart heatproofing to their fur, along with an aerodynamics-enhancing Teflon-like quality.

Admit it JP--you just didn't get any toys from Santa because you were BAD!

I am on Santa's naughty list, have been since the ho-ho-ho-merry-cherry-bomb incident Christmas of '84. Last year, he brutally shoved a candy cane up the south port of the angel on the tree, and took a dump in my stocking above the fire, laid out with care. Actually based on the volume of the droppings, it might have come from one of his reindeers. Of course the X-Lax coated chocolate cookies I left him probably didn't help my case either.

Gee, the fat bastard sure can keep a grudge.