is a fax I received from my brother, who at the time
was a Captain in the Canadian Air Force.
If you have ever read Air Force manuals and
literature, keep it in mind.
Read it as if its an airforce analysis study.
Received from an Anonymous Source - 13 December 1995
IS THERE A SANTA CLAUS
As a result of an overwhilming lack of requests, and
with research help from that renowned
scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990) - I
am pleased to present the annual scientific
inquiry into Santa Clause.
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 Muslim,
Hindu, Jewish, and Buddhist children, that
reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378
million according to 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 million 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 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 car run, tops, 15 miles per
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
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. (the boat)
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 a 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 vapourized within
4.26 thousands 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.
If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve,
he's dead now.