Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"No, Virginia, when the scientific method is applied, there is no Santa Claus."

One of my best friends Annie read this to me a while back, and I thought it was hysterical, so I'm sharing it with all of you in honor of Christmas! A more reverent Christmas post will probably follow, but here's something to make you laugh in the mean time.

I wish I could give more credit where it's due...but I don't know the source here. Just something from off the internet. Anyway, enjoy.

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990) --here is 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 the Population Reference 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
millions 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 every 31 hours, plus feeding and 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.

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 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 (the ship, not the monarch).

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates 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 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 X-mas.



  1. These calculations are for mortals. Obviously Santa is something like the Highlander.

    Santa, much like Bill and Ted, is a master of the space/time continuum. I posit Santa is delivering presents at the very exact same second everywhere in the world and going so fast none of us can see him.

    And that bag? It's another rip in space/time. He doesn't even carry those presents with him. He just reaches his hand into that hole and some elf hands him the appropriate gift.

    Santa works one whole second out of the year and gets back in time to the North Pole to dance the Humpty with Mrs. Claus who is the super hottest chick in the known universe.


    this is for you because i know you will laugh until you pee in your pants

    okay mayhaps not THAT hard

    david setaris is the man
    THE man
    I think he is gay
    he is still

    as manly as they come.

    read this.

    also the word verification on this was flerph

    say it ten times fast you know you want to.