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Re: Happy New Year!
Fil
(Web Page)

A Scientific Inquiry into Santa Claus

1) 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.

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, & 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.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with. This is due 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/second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has .001 second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down 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/household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles; not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding & etc. So Santa's sleigh must be moving at 650 miles/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/second. A conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles/hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 lb.), 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 lb. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see #1) could pull 10 TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with 8, or even 9 reindeer. We need 214,200. This increases the payload - not counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. This is four times the weight of the ocean-liner Queen Elizabeth.

5) 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles/second creates enormous air resistance. This will heat up the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering 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 .00426 of a second. Meanwhile, Santa will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-lb Santa (seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 lb. of force.

If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

-Fil's \$0.02

1 January 2001, 03:25 GMT

Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Cuco

But Santa has a device which he uses to stop time (this is possible to do actually) and because of that he has, in theory, infinite amount of time to spend on each child.

1 January 2001, 03:47 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
TheBlackKnight
(Web Page)

Please explain this so-called time-stopping device. How come nobody has ever heard about it? This is fitting since it's impossible, at least by our current technology and scientific theory. Even so, such a feat could most likely only be performed in space, if possible, using black holes and such. Stopping time on a planet or elsewhere, so far is impossible.

1 January 2001, 04:06 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Kenneth Johnson

whaddaya mean it's impossible!? all you gotta do is pull the battery out your watch, and presto! no more pesky time!! heh heh...

3 January 2001, 10:20 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Cuco

I would say the argument for such a device to be used by Sanat is the same as for the flying reindeers. Such a device has not yet been invented or discovered but we cannot conclude that such a device cannot exist. Our knowledge of nature or the world is far from complete and people should be aware of that fact. Up until 1900 physicist thought they knew almost everything about the physical world. Only small adjustments were needed. But then came quantumphysics and the world was never the same again. All I'm saying is: "Don't say that anything is impossible just because _you_ can't do it!"

4 January 2001, 03:35 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
matt carlson
(Web Page)

theoretically, there are gaps in space-time called relitivity bubbles, all Santa has to do is slip into one of those babies and he's set. also, researches have invented a matter relocation device. The only problem with it was that they could't put the object back together. seriously look it up, they used an apple and by doing chemical testing they found the individual apple atoms in the closed receptacle room.

5 January 2001, 09:53 GMT

Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Jacob Braun

This inquiry is not very scientific at all. Santa can never exceed 1.86282397 x 10^2 miles/sec (2.99792458 x 10^8 m/s) (the speed of light) in accordance with Eistein's Special Theory of Relativity. If Santa were to exist he would be able to travel no faster than the speed of light, but he wouldn't need to either. Since as he approached the speed of light time would warp allowing for him to have even more time to deliver his payload.

1 January 2001, 05:25 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Cuco

Yes, but the time he "saves" while flying at near 3*10^8 m/sec would be made up for in the acceleration faces at the start and at the end. I don't wanna explain it, but saving time by flying very fast only works while you're flying at that speed. Otherwise you would have to go from 0-3*10^8 m/sec instantly and vice versa. That is an incredible acceleration which would devestate Santa. Unless he does it by other means.
By the way, theory doesn't say that it's impossible to travel faster than the speed of light only that it is impossible to travel _at_ the speed of light. Since you would have to do that while accelerating we cannot do it today, but there's nothing that indicates that it would be impossible to travel faster than the speed of light. (The argument is a formula which yields devide by zero, if the speed of the object is equal to the speed of light. If the speed is faster than the speed of light, the formula yields a division with a negative denominator, which would lead to a negative mass of the object and a backward timecurve. This is also the argument for the possibility of timetravel.)

4 January 2001, 03:56 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Wes Curtis

Not really. Speeds greater than light ARE restricted. The formula for relativistic mass (sorry if it's slightly wrong, it's off the top of my head...) is this: m / sqrt(1 - v^2/c^2). A velocity of more than c does NOT create a negative denominator, it creates an IMAGINARY mass (mathematical imaginary, accomplished through the square root of a negative number). Hence, the formula RESTRICTS speeds greater than light. Another odd consequence is the length between two points. As v -> c, the distance between them approaches zero (not to mention time dilation), so maybe if Santa could go .999999c and drop the presents out reaalllly carefully.....

4 January 2001, 04:52 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Cuco

Sorry about that, completely forgot about the sqrt() - it's been a few years since I went through this. Anyway, it doesn't rule out the fact that particles moving with speeds >c can exist. As mentioned further down this page, there are some theoretical particles called tachyons which are supposed to do that.

6 January 2001, 03:14 GMT

Space & Time
Jacob Braun

What you said it totally inaccurate. He is not "saving" time. Time is relative; An earth observer would see Santa going in super-fast motion, while Santa would see that same observer on Earth going in super-slow motion, but both would seem to being going at normal speed to themselves. Furthermore, it is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light. Photons, the smallest electromagnetic particals, which are massless, travel at the speed of light.

4 January 2001, 06:37 GMT

Re: Space & Time
higgimonster

OK. This is how all this stuff works. Any object with a real rest mass cannot travel >=c (Speed of Light). There are theoretical particles called tachyons that have imaginary rest masses and can only travel >=c. If santa was travel near light speed it would be almost impossible for him to throw packages out of his sleigh because he would be moving very slowly relative to people on earth. When he looks down at the cars he would see them zipping around faster than seems possible. When a person looks up at santa he and his reindeer would seem to be moving very slowly. (I am refering to physical movements not velocity) There is a lot more but I don't have enough time to explain it all right know

higgimonster

4 January 2001, 23:46 GMT

Re: Space & Time
calcgenius

Tell me this all you eggheads you.What is a photon made of?Whoopii-packet of light!It must be made of something and if I am correctlight is not the smallest particles in existence.Anyone heard of quarks and gluons?Also, since no one has been able to slow light down enough to get a good peep at it,how do you know anything else can go faster than the speed of light?Physicists literally know jack about the properties of light and therefore cannot conclude that speeds greater than c are impossible.For example, whoever is familiar with the stream(?) line theory, which I can prove to be correct(email me), lines are never ending and go on infinitely.Yet, mathematically, graphs of lines with asymptotes(remember ye old favorite x><1,et cetera) have breaks in the line.This is physically impossible,thus mathematics cannot be a realistic foundation for (quantum)physics.Yes, I am disagreeing with Einstein's theories.After all, they are only theories. In conclusion,(geez, this is sounding like a term paper for English) if I am correct, his theories or not a sound basis for qauntum physics.

And to think this is a calculator web site!!

7 January 2001, 01:38 GMT

Re: Re: Space & Time
Jacob Braun

Did it really take a whole paragraph to say nothing intelligent at all...

7 January 2001, 18:38 GMT

Re: Re: Space & Time
Cuco

Well, he said smallest _electromagnetic_ particles...quarks and gluons are not electromagnetic. I think by "small" he ment the particle with smalles "weight".
Of course Einsteins theories aren't a sound basis for quatum physics, the theory of quantum physics wasn't totally developed at the time and Einstein never believed quantum physics to be true. "God doesn't play dice" his famous quote was. So how can you ever think that Einstein's theories has anything to do with quantum physics? The theories are about physical implications of moving with great speed, not about the physical world in a very small scale.

7 January 2001, 21:38 GMT

Re: Re: Happy New Year!
MathJMendl
(Web Page)

How kind of you to completely plaugerize something that someone else wrote a few years ago, without any mention of its source, acting as if you wrote it. Try http://www.microtec.net/jared/santa2.htm , or a number of other locations where the file can be found.

1 January 2001, 06:47 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Nathan Haines
(Web Page)

Actually, it looks like the guy just collects joke chain-email and posts them on his Web site--I don't think he wrote that one.

Nevertheless, that is quite an interesting page! Definately worth a visit. The page is located at http://www.microtec.net/jared/, and you can click on the (Web Page) icon on this post to jump over there.

1 January 2001, 07:13 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Fil
(Web Page)

I never gave myself credit for coming up with it, and the page where I came across it did not give credit to anyone either. But, just to make your little self happy, here's the link to where I found it:

www.bannister.org/humour/00000001.htm

Happy now?

-Fil's \$0.02

1 January 2002, 18:48 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
MathJMendl
(Web Page)

By not saying that you found it elsewhere, you implied that you wrote it. It is irrelevant about this site, I did a google search and they are everywhere. I'm sure one of them cites it.

4 January 2001, 03:56 GMT

Knight/Rocket

See "The All-Purpose Extra-Strength Bathroom Reader" for a very similar set of statistics and formulae for this problem.

Knight/Rocket's 1/80th of a pound of copper-zinc alloy.

1 January 2002, 23:10 GMT

Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Michael Vincent
(Web Page)

Having no life, I once did something similar. I only had a 1994 almanac for the figures though, as I wrote this in 1996 (there's probably some flaws I could correct now):

Based on 1994 figures, there are 1,833,022,000 people in the world who receive presents from Santa Claus. Santa has 24 hours of darkness to deliver his presents. There is an average of 2.62 people per household. Therefore, Santa must visit 699,626,718 homes. He can only visit each home for one-thousandth of a second, leaving a total of 4.5659245 hours for travel. Assuming that all of the homes are distributed evenly around the Earth's landmass, Santa must travel .2889987064 miles between each house. This requires Santa to maintain an average speed of 12,300.30926 miles per second. Nearly instant acceleration to this speed is also required. Santa will be subjected to gravitational forces 5,620,078.997 times greater than gravity, therefore instantly crushing him and causing the sleigh to disintegrate. Air resistance is a major problem. Friction between the sleigh and the air will cause it to vaporize, releasing 2,120,582,271,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules of energy. The blast would decimate a portion of a continent. In addition, the weight of the sleigh and reindeer would be 14,664,176,400 pounds; impossible to support on any rooftop. Based on this evidence, we can conclude that Santa Claus does not exist.

1 January 2003, 01:49 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Fil
(Web Page)

Yup. By the way, you posted this comment two years from now. So maybe that time-warping device from above is possible...

-Fil's two pennies

3 January 2001, 02:58 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Michael Vincent
(Web Page)

What's interesting is that I checked, and only comments I posted are 2003. No one else has that date. Perhaps the server doesn't like me.

3 January 2001, 18:09 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Michael Vincent
(Web Page)

Now I'm back to 2001. :)

3 January 2001, 18:11 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Daniel Bishop
(Web Page)

I didn't realize that Santa used foot-pound units and followed a path so well-defined that everything can be accurate to 10 significant digits.

3 January 2001, 03:35 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Michael Vincent
(Web Page)

Well, it's theorical. Actually, I don't believe in Santa at all; and ten significant digits happens to be the accuracy of the TI-36X I was calculating this on.

3 January 2001, 18:06 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Michael Vincent
(Web Page)

At least I think it was my TI-36X, either that or my 82. I don't really remember, but it doesn't matter that much.

3 January 2001, 18:07 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
calcgenius

I pity the other 0.62 of those two children(poor soul)
Doesn't that prove how mathematics doesn't exist?

7 January 2001, 01:41 GMT

Re: Re: Happy New Year!
Samir Ribic
(Web Page)

Do not forget also that ortodox Christians celebrate Christmass in January 7th, while communists accepted Santa Claus for New Year instead Christmass and called him "Grand Freezy" (same dressed in red suite with white beard). This gives him additional 62 hours.

3 January 2001, 08:56 GMT

Re: Re: Happy New Year!
(Web Page)

You saw this on /. didn't you?

4 January 2001, 00:13 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Happy New Year!
MathJMendl
(Web Page)

Likely. I saw it there.

4 January 2001, 03:57 GMT

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