An Engineer's Christmas

moz

Joined
30 Jul 2007
Posts
638
Reaction score
4
Location
Port Elizabeth
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 1/1000th 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 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 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 travelling at 650 miles per second creates 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 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 m/s in 0.001 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
 
Joined
24 May 2007
Posts
11,995
Reaction score
126
Location
North of Durban and South of Mozambique
Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating
from a dead stop to 650 m/s in 0.001 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,

He can do it, because he is Santa :razz::razz:
 

Top