Bursts of logic grace me from time-to-time. Blondes can handle logic, donchaknow! With holiday shopping complete and cards are their way via USPS, I had a few idle moments to contemplate today. I trolled our calendar, scoped the bookshelves, and ravaged the refrigerator. I had a rollicking good time.
In all of this bounce-about-the-house, a couple of thoughts knit together, one of them hitting me hard: of the past 90 days, we’d traveled 1/3 of them. Blondes can handle suitcases, too – especially wheeled blue ones. (no wonder I was hungry; no wonder I was bored at my desk: I recognized adventure-addiction!)
Rummaging led to ruminating and soon I was thinking about Santa, who circumnavigates the globe: 25,000 miles overnight to deliver Christmas gifts – now that is traveling, albeit not away from home for long! He didn’t have to – couldn’t pack a suitcase…there’d be no room in a sleigh filled with toys.
Consider this list regarding Santa’s impending flight, recalling it all – with all of the possibilities and pitfalls – if you didn’t receive just the right ingredients for happiness for Christmas this year. In case that dirty SOB leaves you a lump of coal…
Here’s two dozen steps of logic regarding the Physics of Christmas. Yes, I had three semester of Physics in college – how about you? Get yourself a cup of java or joe to aid your rumination. I’ll wait for you – go!
2. There are about 2 billion children in the world.
3. Santa doesn’t need to deliver to Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and Buddhist children.
4. This reduces the workload to 15% of the total – 300 million kids.
5. On average, there are 3.5 children per household.
6. That’s 85.7 million homes.
7. One presumes there’s at least one good child in each. It was always me in the Jackson household!
8. Thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work his delivery system. Bonus!
9. This works out to 768 visits per second.
10. This means Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh, and travel to the next house. Can you imagine a fat man being jolly after that repetitive work-out?
12. This is not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least thrice every 31 hours (refer to my post about Con-foods-ion as refresher course).
13. This means that Santa’s sleigh is moving at 677 miles/second.
14. That is 3,385 times the speed of sound. Whew!
15. The fastest man-made vehicle is the Helios 2 (launched April 17, 1976) space probe which moves at 41.7 miles/second. (yes, faster than the Juno Mission to Jupiter, which was 25 miles/second)
16. A conventional reindeer can run 15 miles/hour. Ask our nephews who hunt them in Indiana to verify – reindeer are not faster than a speeding bullet.
17. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than an iPad, the sleigh is carrying 150,000 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight.
18. On land, conventional reindeer can pull 300 pounds,so Santa + 1 ton of toys are covered. But, children of the world need more than a ton of toys, based upon what I’ve seen in my family. Assuming that “flying reindeer” could pull 10X the normal amount; we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine deer.
19. We need 100,000 reindeer. This increases the payload – not even counting the weight of the sleigh to 176,065 tons.
21. Each lead pair of reindeer will absorb 7.2 x 1018 joules of energy per second.
22. In short, they will burst into flames almost instantaneously creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized in under a second, hypothetically like the cow who jumped over the moon (my favorite nursery rhyme. Even in the midst of logic, I digress) – and all the children in the world would be awakened!
23. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500 times greater than gravity. He’d be pinned to the back of his sleigh… becoming Flat Santa, rather than Fat, not good for a 550 year-old man!
24. Hence your lump of coal. Any questions?
Adapted from a book that I read and understood fifteen years ago – yes, blondes can do that, too. Now it’s your turn to try to comprehend:The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey Paperback