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Santa physics


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  • Santa physics

    In these commercial times, when people will stand in line for hours to acquire a toy that speaks Furbish, we sometimes forget that Christmas is about more than just the birth of Christ, it's about rampant consumerism and the jolly saint that keeps on giving, Santa Claus. Not everyone believes in Santa or understands the complex physics involved in Santa's annual activities, so we've decided to set the record straight.

    Ever since the esteemed "SPY" magazine article which questioned the science of Santa back in January of '91, there has been considerable doubt about whether, given the laws of nature, Santa could possibly fulfill his Yuletide obligations. The Arguments Against Santa might seem pretty conclusive at first glance, but when one applies certain little-known principles of Christmas science, it all starts to make a lot more sense.

    1. Flying Reindeer
    Skeptics are always quick to point out that there are no known species of reindeer that can fly. Santa's flying reindeer would either have to be among the 300,000 species that have not yet been identified, or they don't exist. In an effort to resolve this dispute once and for all, we placed a camera on our rooftop last Christmas eve, which resulted in the following photograph:

    Picture #1

    Here you can clearly see that some unidentified flying object has been captured on film. Could it be Santa? We zoomed in 1300 percent on the highlighted area, and this is what we found:

    Picture #2

    A person in a red and white suit, reindeer, a sleigh, a large sack, and even (presumably) Rudolph's red nose are now clearly visible. Not only that, but they appear to be getting a little help from advanced alien technology. Evidently St. Nick's existence can no longer be denied.

    2. 650 Miles Per Second
    Santa has to visit an estimated 91.8 million households in roughly 31 hours, taking time zones and the rotation of the earth into account. If we assume that those homes are evenly distributed around the globe, there would be about .78 miles between each stop. St. Nick would subsequently have to travel at 3,000 times the speed of sound, or 650 miles per second, to complete the journey on schedule. Perhaps worse, he would have only a microsecond or two for each visit, during which he must traverse the chimney twice, stuff stockings, distribute gifts, and eat any snacks left out for him.

    There are several problems with this line of reasoning. A) Some people live in apartments and condos which enable Santa to service multiple units in a single stop, giving him extra time for more sparsely populated areas. B) 650 miles per second might seem pretty fast for a sleigh considering that the Ulysses space probe travels at only 27.4 miles per second. Nevertheless, it should be noted that light moves at blistering 186,000 miles per second. Furthermore, the Starship Enterprise has a top speed of approximately warp 9. There is little doubt that Santa's sleigh, equipped with a full team of flying reindeer and a warp drive, could ipso facto attain similar speeds. C) By traveling at such high velocity, Santa benefits from the effects of special relativity as observed in the original "Superman" movie, when Superman flew around the earth really fast to turn back the clock and save Lois Lane.

    3. Payload
    It is said that the combined weight of Santa, his sleigh, the reindeer, and the big bag of toys he delivers would be in excess of 350,000 tons, or four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth. The implication is that since a conventional reindeer can pull only about 300 pounds, it would take a couple million reindeer to move the load.

    Granted the conclusive aforementioned factiods verifying the unusual nature of flying reindeer, it is clear that they either have substantially more pulling capacity than standard reindeer, or Santa's sleigh has a power source of its own, or most likely, both.

    But what about the volume of the load? Even if each child wants no more than a robot dog, the toys would fill a massive fleet of transport trucks, and yet Santa appears to handle the entire lot in a single sack on his shoulder.

    According to recent studies, toys are, on average, 88.27% water. By simply dehydrating the toys, Santa reduces his payload by a similar ratio. This also explains how he gets larger toys down the chimney. Once they are under the tree, Santa adds a little water and hey presto - full-sized toys! Besides, most kids don't want anything but video games these days, and they are much more compact than Lego sets.

    4. Air Resistance
    Given the size of the payload and the speed at which it must travel, some have argued that Santa's lead pair of reindeer must absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. Naturally, quite impossible for conventional reindeer to do without bursting into flames. The entire reindeer team, it has been suggested, would be vaporized in a fraction of a second, to say nothing of centrifugal forces 17.5 thousand time greater than gravity.

    Well, for starters, there is only one lead reindeer, Rudolph. For another thing, scientists discovered years ago that Rudolph has extremely high levels of dilithium crystals in his nose which produce a force field capable of absorbing at least 60 quintillion joules of energy per second no problem. I don't think I have to tell you that the same field also protects Santa from the nasty effects of centrifugal forces and keeps him from being crushed into the back of the sleigh.

    That should put to rest any doubts about the existence of gift-bearing saints. Wacked out scrooge types that like to muck things up for kids can go dehydrate somewhere.

    [ 12-15-2002, 08:00 PM: Message edited by: Mike Tx ]

  • #2
    Well put.

    1) I believe again.
    2) I think that you are ready for Art Bell.
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