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BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries

Nick 15 Dec 04 - 09:14 AM
ToulouseCruise 15 Dec 04 - 09:37 AM
MMario 15 Dec 04 - 09:43 AM
DMcG 15 Dec 04 - 10:29 AM
Scooby Doo 15 Dec 04 - 11:43 AM
Jeri 15 Dec 04 - 01:23 PM
Don Firth 15 Dec 04 - 01:46 PM
belter 15 Dec 04 - 02:59 PM
Dead Horse 16 Dec 04 - 10:03 AM
ToulouseCruise 16 Dec 04 - 10:28 AM
Don Firth 16 Dec 04 - 12:21 PM
Nerd 16 Dec 04 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 16 Dec 04 - 04:50 PM
CapriUni 23 Dec 04 - 03:09 PM
MMario 23 Dec 04 - 03:11 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 23 Dec 04 - 03:15 PM
CapriUni 23 Dec 04 - 03:25 PM
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Subject: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: Nick
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 09:14 AM

Reminded of this today which I'm sure everyone will have come across. As it was written some years ago, no doubt the task in 2004 is even more onerous and the figures proportionately larger. Still amuses me though...

Just how big is the task facing Santa on Christmas Eve?

Let's assume that Santa only visits those who are children in the eyes of the law, that is, those under the age of 18. There are roughly 2 billion such individuals in the world. However, Santa started his annual activities long before diversity and equal opportunity became issues, and as a result he doesn't handle Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children. That reduces his workload significantly to a mere 15% of the total, namely 378 million. However, the crucial figure is not the number of children but the number of homes Santa has to visit. According to the most recent census data, the average size of a family in the world is 3.5 children per household. Thus, Santa has to visit 108,000,000 individual homes. (Of course, as everyone knows, Santa only visits good children, but we can surely assume that, on an average, at least one child of the 3.5 in each home meets that criterion.)

That's quite a challenge. However, by traveling east to west, Santa can take advantage of the different time zones, and that gives him 24 hours. Santa can complete the job if he averages 1250 household visits per second. In other words, for each Christian household with at least one good child, Santa has 1/1250th of a second to park his sleigh, dismount, slide down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, consume the cookies and milk that have been left out for him, climb back up the chimney, get back onto the sleigh, and move on to the next house. To keep the math simple, let's assume that these 108 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth. That means Santa is faced with a mean distance between households of around 0.75 miles, and the total distance Santa must travel is just over 75 million miles. Hence Santa's sleigh must be moving at 650 miles per second -- 3,000 times the speed of sound. A typical reindeer can run at most 15 miles per hour. That's quite a feat Santa performs each year.

What happens when we take into account the payload on the sleigh? Assuming that the average weight of presents Santa delivers to each child is 2 pounds, the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons -- and that's not counting Santa himself, who, judging by all those familiar pictures, is no lightweight. On land, a reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Of course, Santa's reindeer can fly. (True, no known species of reindeer can fly. However, biologists estimate that there are some 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, we cannot rule out flying reindeer.) Now, there is a dearth of reliable data on flying reindeer, but let's assume that a good specimen can pull ten times as much as a normal reindeer. This means that Santa needs 214,200 reindeer. Thus, the total weight of this airborne transportation system is in excess of 350,000 tons, which is roughly four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

Now, 350,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance, and this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The two reindeer in the lead pair will each absorb some 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second. In the absence of a NASA-designed heat shield, this will cause them to burst into flames spontaneously, exposing the pair behind them. The result will be a rapid series of deafening sonic booms, as the entire reindeer team is vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Meanwhile, Santa himself will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500 times greater than gravity. That should do wonders for his waistline.

Christmas is indeed a magical time.

+++++++++


I, of course, believe that the above is rubbish and that he does it because it's magic... ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: ToulouseCruise
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 09:37 AM

I love this one... thanks Nick!

Brian.


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: MMario
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 09:43 AM

it's not the first time science has been wrong about something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: DMcG
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 10:29 AM

Actually, its much simpler than that. The deliveries taken place at the level of quantum mechanics, so all the possible events happen simultaneously. As is well known, the quantum wave collapses into a single event when it is observed, hence the long standing injunction that you must not look for Santa delivering things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: Scooby Doo
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 11:43 AM

Thank you Nick very interesting and informative,may take it down the folk club tonight and read it out.
Scooby


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 01:23 PM

He didn't take into account the anti-gravity drive on the sleigh. The reindeer just pull the sleigh forward, not up too! (Look at pictures of them, they're obviously not supporting the sleigh.

As far as the temperature generated by air friction at the speed reindeer would have to run, assuming they run the whole time is pretty narrow-minded, not to mention ludicrus. It's also silly. Has no one read Anne McCaffery's 'Pern' novels!? The dragons in her books go 'between': they blink out of sight from one place, and blink in again almost anywhere else. My educated guess is that what they're really doing is 'folding space'. This method of travel was first explained in Frank Herbert's 'Dune'. According to Herbert's theory, only Guild Navigators (who did a lot of 'spice') could bend space. He was wrong though, and it turns out that the Quisatz Haderach (however you spell it) can bend space too. This is possibly because Quisatz Hatracks have to do a lot of 'spice' to turn into Q.H.s in the first place. Herbert also didn't mention the dragons of Pern. If I recall correctly, the dragons smelled like cinnamon, which is what spice smells like, as N. E. Fule no. McCaffery never mentions substance use/abuse in dragons, but who knows what they do back in their caves when no one's around!

Now, about reindeer. Does anyone doubt they bend space? They probably bend time as well. That way, they can actually take an entire year to deliver gifts. They schedule a delivery for next Wednesday, and on Wed, pop forward to Christmas Eve and deliver the Pifferflonk's presents, then pop back to 2 minutes later on Wed. My guess is that Santa can bend space too, because I don't really think he can fit down the chimney. He just lands on the roof, thinks 'Christmas Tree', and he's there.

If you analyze Santa's ride by only using currently understood scientific things, then you could prove that all sorts of things aren't true that really are true. You have to use scientific things that we DON'T understand yet as well!


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 01:46 PM

Possible theory:   Santa uses technology invented by Gene Roddenberry.

He has the elves load a very large transporter pad, pre-programmed with millions of beam-down points, with all the toys and goodies. He then calls for the arch, activates the holo-projectors that make him, complete with sleigh and reindeer, appear all over the world, raises a finger, points at the elf standing at the transporter console, and says "Engage!" Then he kicks back in his recliner with a mug full of rum-laced eggnog and reaches for the TV remote.

He's been at this for awhile. He's got the wrinkles worked out.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: belter
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 02:59 PM

The shock wave caused by hipersonic tavel through an atmospear by a blunt object results in an ectreamly steap heat gradiant. Thats why the apolo capsules reentered blunt end first. The shock wave was so hot that it radiated heat quickly. it apears that that is what is happening w/ rudoulf's nose. all that energy is being radiated away so fast that very little of the heat is felt by the rain dear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: Dead Horse
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 10:03 AM

Oh my Gawd, Don!
Does this mean that Santa is actually......
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Shatner!


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: ToulouseCruise
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 10:28 AM

that would explain a lot, eh DH? like those elves... they don't look like they are from around here...


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: Don Firth
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 12:21 PM

Appalling thought, isn't it?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: Nerd
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 02:00 PM

If Shatner grew a beard he would look like Santa nowadays, too...


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 04:50 PM

Its all explained in Hogfather.


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 Dec 04 - 03:09 PM

Refreshing.... because, let's face it -- He's almost here.

I've been slowly forming a theory of my own over the Santa puzzle (as heady and zen as anything dreamt up in quantum physics), and as of today, the theory is this:

The being we call "Santa Claus" is actually an embodiment of the wind god (or spirit, or energy, or vibration, or whatever you want to call it).

Since there is no place on Earth where the wind does not blow (even the calmest weather is not totally calm), "Santa" is already everywhere at any given moment. This would explain how he can see us when we're sleeping and know when we're awake without having to resort to the rather creepy techniques of a human stalker.

When, in those rare occasions he is called upon to take corporeal form, he is able to draw together dust and ashes in the ambient enviroment, much like a dust devil, but more refined and detailed. This would also explain his small, stocky "build," the fact that he is "Covered all over with ashes and soot," and his shaggy, furry appearance.

This also lets him appear in several places around the globe at any single instant -- rather like an octopus, who, while keeping its head hidden, sends out its tentacles out in many directions at once.

Anyway, that's my theory, and I'm sticking with it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: MMario
Date: 23 Dec 04 - 03:11 PM

Santa is a super evolved dust-bunny?


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 23 Dec 04 - 03:15 PM

You're all wrong. The truth of the matter is that Christmas Eve actually lasts a week...it's just all the adults are too drunk to notice. This also explains why kids are always whinging about Christmas taking ages to come round.


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Subject: RE: BS: Very old-The maths of Santa's deliveries
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 Dec 04 - 03:25 PM

Santa is a super evolved dust-bunny?

Only when he has to be, MMario... Though I think dust goat, or dust reindeer would be a better discription.


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