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An Engineer's Guide To Santa. (Read 341270 times)
Philip Andrews
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An Engineer's Guide To Santa.
Dec 11th, 2006 at 5:17pm
I got this in an email Cheesy

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).

     Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the
different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to west
(which seems logical).  This works out to 967.7 visits per second at an
average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, which comes to 108
million homes, presuming there is at least 1 good child in each.  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 stocking, 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 or 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.

     The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. 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 can pull 10 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).  A mass of nearly 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 re-entering the earth's
atmosphere.  The lead pair of reindeer would adsorb 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 miles/second in .001 seconds, would be subjected to
acceleration forces of 17,000 g's.  A 250 pound Santa (which seems
ludicrously slim considering all the high calorie snacks he must have
consumed over the years) 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!


(No, I didn't write it.  I got it from Jack Ganssle's Embedded Muse
newsletter, and I'm sure it's been around for quite some time.)

Check out my blog:

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Phil Andrews
Life is too short to be so fucking serious

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
       --- John F. Kennedy, 1962 White House sp
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Posts: 87
Gender: male
Re: An Engineer's Guide To Santa.
Reply #1 - Dec 12th, 2006 at 6:46am
A powdery substance!
That's got to be it.

TC: Hey, just a minute, man.  Now, how'd he do that, man?
CM: Oh, well, man, he took da freeway.  How else, man?
TC: No, man.  No, man, how'd he do all that other stuff, man?  Like, how'd he
    make himself small, man.  And, how'd he, like, how'd he get the reindeer
    off the ground, man?
CM: Oh, well, man, he had some magic dust, man.
TC: Some magic dust?
CM: Yeah, magic dust, y'know?  He used ta give a little bit to da reindeer, a
    little bit to Santa Claus, a little bit more for Santa Claus, a little
    bit more...
TC: And this would get the reindeer off, man?
CM: Aw, got 'em off, man?!?  Are you kidding, man?  They flew all da way
    around da world, man!
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Re: An Engineer's Guide To Santa.
Reply #2 - Dec 12th, 2006 at 10:17am
There it is! Tom, you're the one who was hiding that message in the form of a mushroom cloud! And look at that, you use it as an avatar!

I knew Condoleeza wasn't (ahem) Lying!
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