An engineer's perspective on Santa...

8 replies to this topic
  • yamaha.dude

Posted December 20, 2002 - 01:09 PM


1. 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 religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). 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.

2. Santa has about 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 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 their 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 other 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 man-made 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.

3. 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).

4. 600,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance---this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering 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 360,000 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 centrifugal 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.

5. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.

Sorry for the bad news kids... LOL

  • tctrailrider

Posted December 20, 2002 - 01:43 PM


So thats whan an engineer does, thought they figured out how to built stuff. Now I wish I would have worked harder in Math class.

  • blue_beast_wins

Posted December 20, 2002 - 02:29 PM


So it's true then, brings a tear to a glass eye, new there was a reason i havn't ever got a new bike for christmas.

  • Fryboy

Posted December 21, 2002 - 03:56 AM



I want to personally thank you for this post. That is the most "en genious" thing I have read in quite a while (I should read more) I am still laughing.

Merry Christmas or is Happy Holidays the politically correct thing to say? Either way !


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  • Chaindrive

Posted December 21, 2002 - 08:19 AM


Like most things in this world that we adults overcomplicate, the best perspective is often that of a child:

"I wake up and the presents are there; so how can you say he doesn't exist?" :D

The most unlikely feats in the world are often accomplished by a child who has not yet been "taught" that it is "impossible"... The amazing power of the innocent and unshackled mind... :)

That IS a funny post, though, Yamaha.Dude! :D

  • Burnrider

Posted December 21, 2002 - 08:38 AM


How long would the post be for a birds and bees explanation? :)

  • sabin

Posted December 22, 2002 - 12:05 AM


How do you know if Santa is not using some third demension or something?

  • Motorod

Posted December 22, 2002 - 04:53 AM


I think he is the only one with a new WR450 :)

  • captain_S

Posted December 24, 2002 - 12:45 PM


It`s all to do with the isometric g-force`s of the moon!,and the gudgeon-pin that holds the gallavanting-shaft onto the giggling-wheel,yup that`s it!


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