Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some thoughts for Holiday Cheer

We all know the story about Santa. He lives on North Pole along with his wife, elves and reindeers. Elves help him to process requests of millions of children who write letters to Santa every year requesting for toys and other wishes, to help him determine whether these children have been good or bad, to fulfill the wishes of all good children and make requested toys for them. On Christmas Eve, Santa wears his famous red suit with white snow-white trimmings, puts all the toys on his sleigh and nine reindeers are attached to the sleigh to pull it. The bright red nose of Rudolph the Reindeer acts as an indicator to tell the direction.

Santa parks his sleigh on the roof of the household, climbs down the sleigh, look for the right gifts, climbs down the chimney of each household, laugh in his famous way 'Ho! Ho! Ho!', drink and eat the milk and cookies kept for him by the children and keep the requested gifts for them under the tree, fill the stockings, come back up and sit in his sleigh. He is to do all this and more in one night! There are some things which make us doubt, whether Santa Claus really exists or if he does, whether he is really alive or is he dead already. Here are some reasons why we have our doubts:
  • No one has ever seen flying reindeers, except Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves, of course. However, since there are over 300,000 species of living organisms that are unclassified (though they are mostly insects and germs), we can give them benefit of doubt.
  • According to the Populations Reference Bureau, there are about 2 billion children (defined as under 15) in the world. Assuming that Santa caters to Christian children only and do not bother himself about children of other religion, he still has 15% of the above children population to think about.
  • 15% of 2 billion means 300 million children, which is certain an enormous workload, even for benevolent and kindly Santa.
  • Let's assume that there are about three children in each household and at least one of them is good. Thus, Santa has to visit 100 million homes during Christmas Eve.
  • Let's assume Santa starts distributing gifts, starting from 5 pm to midnight (which makes 7 hours). Since earth rotates and there is a difference of full 24 hours overall due to different time zones, we can say that Santa has 31 hours to finish his work. We can also assume that Santa works from East to West to use this time difference to his full advantage.
  • Visiting 100 million homes in 31 hours means that Santa has to visit 896 homes per second.
  • Thus, he has about 1/1000th of a second to do everything mentioned above such as parking his sleigh, looking for the right gifts, climbing down the sleigh and chimney, binge on snacks, fill the stockings, come up again and rush to his next stop.
  • Even if we assume that all households are distributed evenly throughout the earth for convenience of Santa and Santa Claus works non-stop for 31 hours (both of which are very big assumptions that are almost impossible!), Santa has to travel about 75.5 million miles in 31 hours and 650 miles per second.
  • Now the fastest man-made vehicle moves at 27.4 miles per second and normally reindeers can run at the speed of 15 miles per hour. 650 miles per second is 3000 times faster than the speed of sound.
  • On an average, each toy for a child weighs about 2 pounds; the sleigh has to carry over 321,000 tons plus the Santa with his big belly and his reindeers.
  • Known reindeers can only pull 300 pounds at once. If flying reindeers can pull up to 3000 pounds, about 214,000 reindeers will be needed to pull Santa's sleigh, which means sleigh must carry over 353,000 tons.
  • 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second in the air will create enormous friction and Santa, his reindeers and his sleigh will instantly burn to death, just like meteors that occasionally enter earth's atmosphere.
Thus, we can safely conclude that if Santa ever existed, he was dead when he attempted his seemingly impossible project for the first time and is no more alive.

I found this little gem during my frustrating search for Christmas trivia games for play at my upcoming cookie swap. It was a bright spot in an otherwise fruitless search. (O Google, why are you letting folks promote sites now??! Searching is all wonky. ) Too good not to share. Thanks World of Christmas for a good giggle.


Mrs said...

This was an aimless conversation.


For a minute there, I thought you guys were doing the Christmas unit!