You never knew this about santa...

IS THERE A SANTA CLAUS?

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990) - I am pleased to present the annual 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 and 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, 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. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th 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 have been left, get back up 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 per 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.

This means that 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 on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

1. 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 overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that “flying reindeer” (see point #1) could pull TEN 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.

2. 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts 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 flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms 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 Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he’s dead now.

Merry Christmas.

Hehe. Man, you’ve gotta hate science sometimes Those guys just ruin everything. Although I did chuckle internally at the reindeers spontaneously combusting

No matter how often I see this, it never fails to at least make me smile. Thanks for reposting.

A rather thoughtful post - glad to know that scientists with too much time on their hands take the phenomon of Christmas quite serious. Have a great christmas!

dude I’m just imagining the reindeer and santa just whirling around in circles in the air exploding and being crushed by G forces

you are forgetting that santa’s sleigh has the ability to open wormholes and travel in space-time, so he actually takes one month to complete the task, but for us it seems like 31 hours

You forget that Santa has a network of localised warehouses, he doesn’t carry the full payload all at once, but that alone wasn’t enough…

You’ll notice that around christmas you’ll see an awful lot of santas on the high streets…

the keen eyed amongst you will have noticed that they speak with different accents and all look a bit different… THE TRUTH IS THEY’RE NOT THE SAME MAN!!!

This is because Santa has “outsourced” much of his business over the last century and now runs the most sucessful seasonal franchise ever…

He rarely needs to leave the north pole these days and makes a good living off film rights for hollywood movies based on his brand

haha, santa corporation

nah, a common mis-conception…

they just invented the red costume with the white trim, the “look and feel” of santa…

Santa was not invented by any one person or corporation.

The symbolic personification of Christmas as a merry old figure begins in the early 17th century, in the context of resistance to Puritan criticism of observation of the Christmas feast.

if santa was travelling close to the speed of light, he may have used time dilation to deliver all the presents on time. He could have also used lorentz contraction to make all the presents fit his bag.

while “normal” reindeer cannot handle relativistic speeds, santa’s reindeer are extra-terrestial (as is santa himself). As santa was from a heavy-gravity world, he can withstand the g-forces, which are already dampened by his advanced technology.

If the global recession hasn’t caused his toy shop to fall into bankruptcy and had to lay off all the elves.

No presents this year, because Santa had to lay off the workforce and that the toy factory was reposessed.

Two words: Quantum Santa.

You never observe Santa so he exists in all of the houses at the same time

In the nordic stories the “Santa” chopped of peoples head. If you’ve been bad that is. Hence the blood stained clothes and bloody red bag. Red Santa indeed.

Oh, how I love the description in number 5!!
That’s Santa Suicide!
I like all your Quantum Santa and Alien Santas, so I thought of a Suicidal Santa who just doesn’t care about the G-Forces. He goes on anyway. Then, they extract the DNA from his ashes, and create a new clone. Five hundred sextillion of them to be exact. Thus, Santa is CLONE SANTA. [poster above me posted a botched cloning test]

So wait. They get his DNA after he burns up? sounds backwards to me

saNta? Take the “N” from the middle and put it on the end and you will see who the red man really is. Guess that explains the flying reindeer, elf-slave workforce, and his love of red.

Everything I thought I knew has just been shattered.

Hahaha… that was brilliant.

EDIT: New av free_ality?

The only problem here is that these all assume that Santa can’t bend the space-time continuum, which he clearly can.