Urban planning community | #theplannerlife

# Thread: Leave it up to an engineer to ruin Christmas

1. ## Leave it up to an engineer to ruin Christmas

Ever wonder how Santa gets to every house in one night? This was sent to me from an engineer.
There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the population reference bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming there is at least one good child in each. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to west (which seems logical).

This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get onto the next house. Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second or 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized LEGO set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer can pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them - Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

A mass of nearly 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would adsorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.

Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 miles per second in .001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,000 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim considering all the high calorie snacks he must have consumed over the years) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.

Merry Christmas, ho, ho, ho....

2. That just got sent to every engineer in my address book. Pretty funny!

3. So, t'is you first Christmas on the internet, eh?

4. Originally posted by jordanb
So, t'is you first Christmas on the internet, eh?
That one has somehow avoided me.

5. Originally posted by jordanb
So, t'is you first Christmas on the internet, eh?
Let me guess, this has been on the Internet for the last eight years that I've been online, and somehow this never made it to my inbox. I must not have well-connected friends...

Burb Fixer sulks away...

6. Originally posted by jordanb
So, t'is you first Christmas on the internet, eh?
Leave it to JordanB...

I too sent this to every engineer. I must have been under a rock--or not spending enough time "nerding" online as I have not seen this...

7. This is the first time I've seen as well and I have several aunts and a sister that forward just about everything that comes accross the net.

8. Originally posted by jordanb
So, t'is you first Christmas on the internet, eh?
I am not spending Christmas on the internet, I have parties to go to and gifts to buy.

9. I think this was created by a physicist not an engineer.

I talked to an engineer I work with and he said that it fails to take into account einstiens theory of relativity which states that time slows down as objects travel faster - and also that obviously Santa's location in the north pole was obviously strategic in that it allows santa to pre-cool his reindeer before launching at the speed of light- and thus preventing them from bursting into flames.

10. Originally posted by imaplanner
I think this was created by a physicist not an engineer.

I talked to an engineer I work with and he said that it fails to take into account einstiens theory of relativity which states that time slows down as objects travel faster - and also that obviously Santa's location in the north pole was obviously strategic in that it allows santa to pre-cool his reindeer before launching at the speed of light- and thus preventing them from bursting into flames.
An engineer isn't doing his job unless he finds fault in someone elses work. But there may be some merit to these points. Distribution systems work more efficiently with a centralized hub, this is how Fed-Ex works. The north pole is the most centralized location to most of his stops. At the speeds he is traveling, time may slow enough to make many trips, therefore drastically reducing the weight of the sleigh. With the lighter sleigh, he can travel even faster, I'm starting to think he can pull it off.

What about the pink goo thing?

11. Related topic. A very civil [engineered] Christmas.

12. Originally posted by Chet
Related topic. A very civil [engineered] Christmas.
You could never get this permitted. You can't hang stockings from a working fireplace. Fire marshall will eat you alive.

13. Our engineers liked it!

14. OT: If you live in the city, do you need a building permit to build a gingerbread house? Does it have to be to code and inspected?

15. ## Santa is magical!

Therefore, don't limit his abilities! Where is your childlike faith in these kinds of matters?

16. I sent to the response to one of the Civil Engineers who works here at the City and this was his response...
At those speeds Newtonian physics do not apply thus many of the time/distance relationships described below would be inaccurate, making the conclusion quenstionable at best . Even Einstein's theory of relativity would be pushed beyond it's limits making the energy calculation simply null and void. Steven Hawkin's latest works have addressed some of the issues raised with sufficient data to lead many of us in the engineering profession to still believe in Santa Claus. Try as you may ... you will not dampen my spirits.