The Physics of Santa Claus
A Scientific Disproof of the Santa Theory, and a couple of
Original source: firstname.lastname@example.org (The Human Neutrino aka Linda Harden)
Original Title: IS THERE A SANTA CLAUS?
In conclusion -- If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's
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.
There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since
Santa doesn't (appear to) handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist
children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million
according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census)rate of 3.5
children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at
least one good child in each.
Santa has 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 822.6 visits per second. This
is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa
has 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 are now talking about .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 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 man- made
vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per
second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.
The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming
that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds),
the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably
described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more
than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could
pull TEN TIMES the normal anoint, we cannot do the job with eight, or even
nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even
counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons.
Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.
353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air
resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
spacecrafts re-entering 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 create 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
than 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.
Rebuttal: (Jim Mantle, Waterloo Maple Software)
Come on, ya gotta believe! I mean, if you can handle flying furry animals, then
it's only a small step to the rest. For example:
As admitted, it is possible that a flying reindeer can be found. I would
agree that it would be quite an unusual find, but they might exist.
You've relied on cascading assumptions. For example, you have assumed a
uniform distribution of children across homes. Toronto/Yorkville, or
Toronto/Cabbagetown, or other yuppie neighbourhoods, have probably less than
the average (and don't forget the DINK and SINK homes (Double Income No Kids,
Single Income No Kids)), while the families with 748 starving children that they
keep showing on Vision TV while trying to pick my pocket would skew that 15% of
homes down a few percent.
You've also assumed that each home that has kids would have at least one
good kid. What if anti-selection applies, and homes with good kids tend to have
more than their share of good kids, and other homes have nothing except
terrorists in diapers? Let's drop that number of homes down a few more percent.
Santa would have to Fedex a number of packages ahead of time, since he
would not be able to fly into Air Force Bases, or into tower-controlled areas
near airports. He's get shot at over certain sections of the Middle East, and
the no-fly zones in Iraq, so he'd probably use DHL there. Subtract some more
I just barely passed Physics and only read Stephen Hawking's book once,
but I recall that there is some Einsteinian Theory that says time does strange
things as you move faster. In fact, when you go faster than the speed of light
time runs backward, if you do a straight line projection, connect the dots and
just ignore any singularity you might find right at the speed of light. And
don't say you can't go faster than the speed of light because I've seen it done
on TV. Jean-Luc doesn't have reindeer but he does have matter-antimatter warp
engines and a holodeck and that's good enough for me.
So Santa could go faster than light, visit all the good children which are
not uniformly distributed by either concentration in each home or by number of
children per household, and get home before he left so he can digest all those
stale cookies and warm milk yech.
Aha, you say, Jean-Luc has matter-antimatter warp engines, Santa only has
reindeer, where does he get the power to move that fast!
You calculated the answer! The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3
quintillion joules of energy. Per second. Each. This is an ample supply of
energy for the maneuvering, acceleration, etc, that would be required of the
loaded sleigh. The reindeer don't evaporate or incinerate because of this
energy, they accelerate. What do you think they have antlers for, fighting over
females? Think of antlers as furry solar array panels.
If that's not enough, watch the news on the 24th at 11 o'clock. NORAD
(which may be one of the few government agencies with more than 3 initials in
it's name and therefore it must be more trustworthy than the rest) tracks Santa
every year and I've seen the radar shots of him approaching my house from the
direction of the North Pole. They haven't bombarded him yet, so they must
believe too, right?
Yet another Rebuttal to the rebuttal:
Several key points are overlooked by this callous, amateurish "study."
Santa dead, indeed; some people will twist any statistic to "prove" their
Flying reindeer: As is widely known (due to the excellent historical
documentary "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," the flying reindeer are not a
previously unknown species of reindeer, but were in fact given the power of
flight due to eating magic acorns. As is conclusively proven in "Rudolph the
Red-Nosed Reindeer" (a no punches pulled look at life in Santa's village), this
ability has bred true in subsequent generations of reindeer, obviously the magic
acorns imprinted their power on a dominant gene sequence within the reindeer DNA
Number of households: This figure overlooks two key facts. First of all,
the first major schism in the Church split the Eastern Churches, centered in
Byzantium, from the Western, which remained centered in Rome. This occurred
prior to the Gregorian correction to the Julian calendar. The Eastern churches
(currently called Orthodox Churches) do not recognize the Gregorian correction
for liturgical events, and their Christmas is as a result several days after the
Western Churches'. Santa gets two shots at delivering toys.
Secondly, the figure of 3.5 children per household is based on the gross
demographic average, which includes households with no children at all. The
number of children per household, when figured as an average for households with
children, would therefore have to be adjusted upward. Also, the largest single
Christian denomination is Roman Catholic, who, as we all know, breed like
rabbits. If you don't believe me, ask my four brothers and two sisters, they'll
back me up. Due to the predominance of Catholics within Christian households,
the total number of households containing Christian children would have to be
adjusted downward to reflect the overloading of Catholics beyond a standard
deviation from the median.
Also, the assertion that each home would contain at least one good child
would be reasonable enough if there were in fact an even 3.5 children per
household. However, since the number of children per household is distributed
integrally, there are a significant number (on the order of several million) of
one child Christian households. Even though only children are notoriously
spoiled and therefore disproportionately inclined towards being naughty, since
it's the holidays we'll be generous and give them a fifty-fifty chance of
being nice. This removes one half of the single child households from Santa's
delivery schedule, which has already been reduced by the removal of the Orthodox
households from the first delivery run.
Santa's delivery run (speed, payload, etc.): These all suffer from the
dubious supposition that there is only one Santa Claus. The name "Santa" is
obviously either Spanish or Italian, two ethnic groups which are both
overwhelmingly Catholic. The last name Claus suggests a joint German/Italian
background. His beginnings, battling the Burgermeister Meisterburger, suggest
he grew up in Bavaria (also predominantly Catholic). The Kaiser style helmets
of the Burgermeister's guards, coupled with the relative isolation of the
village, suggest that his youth was at the very beginning of Prussian influence
in Germany. Thus, Santa and Mrs. Claus have been together for well over one
hundred years. If you think that after a hundred years of living at the North
Pole with nights six months long that they remain childless, you either don't
know Catholics or are unaware of the failure rate of the rhythm method. There
have therefore been over five generations of Clauses, breeding like Catholics
for over one hundred years. Since they are Catholic, their exponential
population increase would obviously have a gain higher than the world population
as a whole. There have therefore been more than enough new Santas to overcome
the population increase of the world. So in fact, Santa has an easier time of
it now than he did when he first started out.