THE FOLLOWING IS A BORED,
GOT-NOTHING-TO-DO-BUT-WASTE-TIME-ON-STUPID-CALCULATIONS-ENGINEER'S PERSPECTIVE
ON THE EXISTENCE OF SANTA CLAUSE.

An engineer's perspective on Santa and the Christmas Eve World
Tour.

I. 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 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, this comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there
is at least one good child in each.

II. Santa has about 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 (seems logical). This works out to
967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each 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 stockings, 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 on to 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---3,000 times the speed
of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man make 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.

III. 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 could pull ten 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 Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the
monarch).

IV. 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 reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair
of reindeer would absorb 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 thousandth
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 m.p.s., in .O01 seconds, would be
subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which
seems ludicrously slim) 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.

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