AN ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE ON CHRISTMAS

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 to108 million homes, presuming there is 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
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 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

onto 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 we'll 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.

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). 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 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 mps in .001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces
of 17,000 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.

Richard D’Andrea Dover

In His
Steps Ministries

Previous
Jokes

To the world, you may
just be somebody...but to somebody, you may be the world.

*Bill Wilson, Metro Ministries*