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 two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total or 918 million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household that's 378 million homes. One presumes there is at least one good child in each.

3. 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. That is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/100th 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 that have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and get to the next house. Assuming 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 very 31 hours, plus feeding etc. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For the purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second while a conventional reindeer can run, tops 15 miles per 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 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as over-weight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that 'flying reindeer' (see point 1) could pull 10 times the normal amount, 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 II.

5. 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates an enormous air resistance, this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft 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 flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and creating a deafening sonic boom 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.

In conclusion, if ever Santa DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

Despite this, I wish you a Merry Christmas & a Prosperous New Year!

[ December 29, 2002, 08:20 AM: Message edited by: Bonni ]

2. There are two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total or 918 million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household that's 378 million homes. One presumes there is at least one good child in each.

3. 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. That is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/100th 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 that have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and get to the next house. Assuming 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 very 31 hours, plus feeding etc. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For the purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second while a conventional reindeer can run, tops 15 miles per 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 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as over-weight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that 'flying reindeer' (see point 1) could pull 10 times the normal amount, 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 II.

5. 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates an enormous air resistance, this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft 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 flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and creating a deafening sonic boom 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.

In conclusion, if ever Santa DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

Despite this, I wish you a Merry Christmas & a Prosperous New Year!

[ December 29, 2002, 08:20 AM: Message edited by: Bonni ]