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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Santa. Why he can’t exist, Kiddies.

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From an Engineer’s perspective.

I. 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 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 house hold, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

II. 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 toilet stops or Starbuck breaks (Just to be topical), 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 leisurely 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

III. 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 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).

IV. 600,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second crates 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 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 vapourised 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 a milli-second, would be subjected to  forces of 17,500 Gs. 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.

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

Just saying. I tried this on my kids and they just produced formulae stating that due to quantum mechanics and string theory, my thesis was flawed. I’ve yet to be convinced.

My argument is “Why should kids in their thirties expect a stocking from me”?

Their reply:

“ Cos You’re my Dad”

Bastards.

Kind regards

The Filthy Scrooge Engineer

7 comments:

  1. And even if Santa did exist, he couldn't visit every home because some buggers insert inflatable bungs up their chimney! Don't they??

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    Replies
    1. The fire will be lit on Xmas eve. He'll need a fire extinguisher instead

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  2. Plus he cannot possibly deliver to kids in Germany as every single rooftop is covered in solar panels

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    Replies
    1. You're right the sleigh would slide off.

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  3. You've spoiled my day and I'm telling my mum.

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  4. 1. Every family has their own Santa - it's not just one fellow doing it alone.
    2. The chimney thingy went out decades ago. Think Capt. Kirk and transporters (we're in a hurry).
    3. Air, resistance is useless
    4. String theory always stumbled about length.
    5. That's it folks!

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  5. Sod all that maths - I knew he didn't exist when I was 5. I heard a noise in the night, and crept down the stairs to see father drinking the whisky he had left for "Santa"...

    I was REALLY unpopular at school when I told the class - you should have seen the tears!

    ReplyDelete

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