As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help   from  that renown scientific journal SPY magazine (January,1990) - I am   pleased  to  present 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 outflying 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 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 91.8million 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 to822.6 visits per second.  This is to say that for each Christian household with good children,   Santa  has 1/1000th of a second topark, 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 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 countingSanta, 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  spacecrafts 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.



Originally Posted On - a now defunct site. I moved the content here for posterity. The date of this post is the date that it was originally published on that site.