Yes, Virginia Part II - A Scientific Take on an Age Old Question
Spy Magazine published a little ditty called the Scientific Evidence of Santa Claus. It was used in an English class where I teach to write a compare contrast piece on the realness of Santa Claus. The article makes five strong points against the existence of Santa.
1. No known species of reindeer can fly. However 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. However, since Santa doesn't appear to handle most Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average rate of 3.5 children per household (according to the census bureau), that makes 91.8 million homes. We'll presume that there is 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 rotaion of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. In other words, for each Christian household with good children Santa has 1/1000th of a second to: a)park, b)hop out of the sleigh, c)jump down the chimney, d)fill the stockings, e)distribute the remaining presents under the tree, f)eat whatever snacks have been left, g)get back up the chimney, h)get back into the sleigh, and i)move on the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course is false but for the purpose of our calculations we will accept), we are now talkinjg about .78 miles per household, a total trop of 75.5 million miles, not counting the stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, or 3000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man made vehicle ever invented, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per second. A conventional reindeer can only run 15 miles per hour, tops.
4. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothibng more than a mediumpsized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321, 399 tons, not counting Santa, who is already overweight ad stuffed by the end of the night with mild and cookies from 91.8 million homes. On land a conventional team of reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds Even granting the "flying reindeer" can pull ten times that amount, Santa needs 214,200 reindeer to do the job. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh itself - to 353,430 tons. Again, for purposes of comparison, this is four times the weight of the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth II.
5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance, which will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will each absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second, instantaneously bursting into glames, creating deafening sonic booms in their wake, and exposing the reindeer following them to the same forces. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousanddths of a second. Meanwhile, Santa will be subjected to acceleration forces over 17,500 times greater than gravity. A 250 pound Santa will be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force. The only sound conclusion from the above is, if Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he is now most certainly deceased. My take on this...is that Scientist really know how to take the fun and mystery out of a good tale. I mean come on....we evolved from apes....and now this.
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.