Monday, December 3, 2007

An Engineer's Perspective on Santa - Funny

If you have an engineer in your life you may have seen
this ~ but it's just too funny! Personally I'd just
rather believe in the magic of the season!

An Engineer's perspective on Santa...

There are approximately two billion children (persons
under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not
visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist
(except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the
workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or
378 million (according to the population reference

At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per
household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming
that there is at least one good child in each.

Different time zones and the rotation of the earth,
assuming he travels east to west (which seems
logical), this works out to 967.7 visits per second.

This is to say that for each Christian household with
a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to
park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill
the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under
the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him,
get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get
on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is
evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course,
we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes
of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78
miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million
miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks.

This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per
second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes
of comparison, the fastest manmade vehicle, the
Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per
second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best)
15 miles per hour.

The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting
element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more
than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh
is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa
himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no
more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the “flying”
reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the
job can't be done with eight or even nine of them.
Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the
payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh,
another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight
of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates
enormous air resistance. This would heat up the
reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft
reentering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of
reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of
energy per second each. In short, they would burst
into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the
reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic
booms in their wake.

The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within
4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time
Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.

Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result
of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001
seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of
17,500 g’s. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously
slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by
4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his
bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob
of pink goo.

Therefore, even if Santa did exist, he’s dead now.

Merry Christmas.

1 comment:

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