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Old 12-15-2002, 21:40   #1 (permalink)
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biggrin Xmas for an Engineer

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 to 108 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 1/1000 th 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 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 -- 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 thousands 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 he 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 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 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 m.p.s. 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.
Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-15-2002, 21:57   #2 (permalink)
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I have two problems with this theory:

1/ LEGO is damn expensive stuff, more so now than I was a kid, and Santa could never afford so much LEGO.

2/ Two pounds is close to a kilo, and a LEGO set does not weigh that much!
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Old 12-15-2002, 23:32   #3 (permalink)
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ROFL!!!

That is good. Like they say, never let the truth get in the way of a good story!

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Old 12-15-2002, 23:35   #4 (permalink)
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Thats is excellent stuff driver thanks for cheering me up....LMAO
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Old 12-15-2002, 23:37   #5 (permalink)
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If santa has 1/1000 th of a second how come he can drink a whole carton of guinness that i leave for him before he has to go?
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Old 12-15-2002, 23:45   #6 (permalink)
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Ooops sorry Irish - that was me. I sneeked in and stole it while you were sleeping.

Good story Driver - you'd get on well with a certain school headmaster who was in the news last week.
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Old 12-16-2002, 03:21   #7 (permalink)
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Santa dead nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Typical Engineers no idea how the real world works
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