I. There are approximately 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the

world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu,

Jewish, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Buddist religions, this reduces the

workload on 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.

II. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with,

thanks to the different time zones and 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 at least one good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to

park the sleigh, jump out, go 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 in the sleigh,

and move on to the next house. (That’s why it’s really pointless to

stay up and wait for him….)

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 breaks. This means that Santa’s sleigh is

moving at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For the

purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space

probe, moves at a pokey 75.4 miles per second, and a conventional

reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

III. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting

element. Assuming that each child has 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

nothing more than 300 pounds. Even granted that “flying” reindeer could

pull ten times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with eight or

nine of them; Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the

payload, not counting the sleigh itself, another 54,000 tons, or

roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizibeth (the ship, not

the monarch).

IV. 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second

creates enormous air resistance; this would heat up the reindeer in the

same fasion 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 causing

deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be

vaporized within 4.2 thousandths of a second, or right about the time

Santa reaches the fifth house on his trip. Not that it matters,

however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to

650 miles per second in .001

seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 G’s. A 250

pound Santa (which seem ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back

of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pound of force, instantly crushing his bones

and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

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

*Note: I did not write this, I merely found it in a forum and posted it here for reference*

on December 26, 2006 at 4:30 pm |JFeltDude, Santa IS real, he just has helper Santas in every neighborhood to do the work.

DUH!

Plus, Christmas is full of MAGIC, not physics.

Lame-o.

Merry Christmas!