Scientific Considerations Regarding Santa Claus

I don't know where this was originally published or where but I thought it fitting considering...

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990) --here is the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3) Santa has 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 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 millions stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.

This means that 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 on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized LEGO set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force. In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now. Merry Christmas.


I'm With Stupid

Well, that is what the PSB song is about.

I'm pretty moderate in my political views. I voted for Bush because I'm one of those people that would have put John Kerry low in the like-ability polls. What other choice did I have? At this point I'm also one of the ones that feels the wave of evidence supports impeaching Bush for lying us into Iraq. But I digress, this is just one of those pics of the Prez that reminds me of the stuff Dave Letterman does about him.


Pre-Crime Photo

The current episode of Cranky Geeks featured this image when they were discussing the software program being made that will help predict someone's predisposition to commit a crime. Boy does that baby looked pissed.


Kabuki Still Popular

It looks like Gina Lolloabrigida is a HUGE fan of the Japanese Kabuki theater. I know of no other reason that someone would go into public looking like this. (I snagged this picture from Yahoo! News, I believe it's an AP photo)

Pearl Harbor

I just read this article at USAToday.com about the last reunion of Pearl Habor survivors. I doubt that anything I could type here would actually say much. I have the most profound respect for any WWII vet and even more so for those who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Is It True?

It's that time of year again. It appears that Anderson Cooper is coming out of the closet to confirm that, yes, he is Jewish and he's wearing a yarmulke to prove it. (I found this ad image in Yahoo! Mail)


American Express Promotion Or Just Self Promotion?

Many people are aware of the My Wish List Promotion that American Express has going on right now. They do this about twice a year. They offer some really cool stuff to the lucky few who can claim them. These are popular items offered at drastically reduced prices. A new twist added this time around is that some of the items can be claimed via text message from your cell phone.

Last Thursday the text message option seemed to be a good choice for me since they were offering a Microsoft Zune right at the same time that I was going to be at an appointment with the doctor. After trying to claim one of these via the web site it seemed like a good idea to try and send a few text messages in to be sure that at least one got through. At 10am (MDT) I sent about 15 or so messages. At 10:37am (according to my phone) I received a message back that I'd won one of the Zune's and that I'd be contacted within 2 hours to complete my claim. If AmEx couldn't reach me within two hours the Zune would become available to another card member for purchase.

I called a few times. First to find out what number they would call. Then to find out why they hadn't called, etc. The call center was in St. Louis which was hit with sever weather and I was told that they were behind and all after the bad weather and not to worry. This assurance was common Thursday and Friday. I gave them the weekend off since I was tired of worry about it and usually these things aren't dealt with on weekends.

I called this morning and this seemed to be the first they'd heard about this and they'd have a supervisor call me back in 24 to 48 hours. If I end up getting this I'll be happy if just a little less impressed with AmEx's ability to deal with their own promotions. If they try and let themselves off the hook for something I was promised I have a couple of ideas.

First, I know a guy who is related to a reporter on the local news. I might try to enlist his help to get me in contact with their consumer advocate reporter. He's done this for others so I'm hopeful this would help.

Second, I might consider taking it to small claims court if only for the fact that I'm sick of my concerns falling through the cracks of concern of large corporations.