Scientific Inquiry as to the Existence of Santa

: Do not let anyone under the age of 50 read this ...

Question:Is There A Santa Claus? (The annual scientific inquiry

into the existence of Santa Claus)

Facts in Evidence:

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 Population Reference Bureau. At an

average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8

million homes. One assumes there is, on average, 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 would seem 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 stocking, 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. In a few countries (e.g., the Netherlands, where Saint Nick

distributes gifts on December 6th), Santa gets a head start, but the

overwhelming majority of those 91.8 million get their gifts on Chirstmas Eve. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenlydistributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false butfor the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are nowtalking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 millionmiles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least onceevery 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 pokey 27.4 miles per second--and a conventional reindeer can run at 15 miles per hour,tops.

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 that 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 214,000 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 ship--not the monarch...)

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous

air resistance--this will heat up the reindeer 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 flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and creating 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.

Conclusion: If there ever was a Santa Claus, he's dead now.