Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Santa Claus. Reality or Illusion?

According to physical/mathematical proof put together by learned folks at the Sveucililista BoMin, Santa Claus does not exist. Well, at least the Croatian version of Santa, who goes by the name of Djed Mraz.
For the fortunate readers whose heads are not filled with thoughts transmitting in Croatian, a partial translation of the article/proof follows. If you have any kids under 12, keep them away from your screen. Wouldn't want them to have their hopes dashed. It's this kind of mathematical proof that leaves kids with a bad taste in their mouth about math! Why would you want to major in math in college if all it seems to be good for is to crush your idyllic childhood dreams.

Does Grandfather Frost Exist ?
In the world, there are about 2 billion children (people under the age of 18). Since Grandfather Frost doesn't visit Moslems, Hindus, Jews, & Buddhists, the amount of kids is reduced by 85% to 378 million. Based on an average of 3.5 kids/residence, that comes to 108 million homes to be visited. That's assuming that there's at least one good kid in each house (although it is customary to leave something in each kid's house, lumps of coal being the objet desiree in the house of "bad" kids).
Grandfather Frost has 31 hours at his disposal on Christmas, thanks to the different time-zones, the Earth’s rotation, and an estimated 12% of people having faulty clocks and timepieces. This means, he must visit 967.7 households per second. Given this quick turnaround, Grandfather Frost has 1/1000 of a second to visit every good Christian home where he must:
1) Stop and clamber off of the sled.
2) Take the gifts from the sled.
3) Jump down the chimney (assuming there is a recognizable one).
4) Leave the gifts under the tree.
5) Climb back up the chimney
6) Jump back on the sled and encourage movement of the reindeer
7) Set off for the next rooftop.

Taking the easy way out and assuming that all of the 108,000,000 households are evenly spaced around the world, we’re talking about, on average, 1.24 km distance between each household, or around 120,800,000 km of travel. Not taking into account Christmas meals/drink/visits to the WC, the speed of the Christmas sled should be about 1,080 km/second, which is roughly 3,200 times the speed of sound. As an indication of how advanced this sled is, the fastest man-made vehicle, the satellite Odyssey, chugs along at only 45 km/second. A "normal" reindeer plods along at 24 km/hr, or 0.0066 km/second.

The weight of the sled should also be investigated. Assuming that each of the 378,000,000 kids has been good enough to deserve one gift at Christmas, let’s see how much weight the sled should be able to shoulder. Let’s say each chilled gets a Legos gift pack weighing in at 860 grams each. This computes to a total of 500,000 tons. A normal reindeer can pull/carry about 138kg on the ground. Since the reindeer are flying, let’s say they can carry 10 times that much, or 1,380 kg each. Grandfather Frost would then have to be feeding about 360,000 flying reindeer. Myself, I stop counting after Donner, Blitzen, & Rudolph. How one memorizes the names of 360,000 reindeer is truly a feat beyond human capability. The total mass of the reindeer would come to about 54,000 tons, about 7 times the total mass of one "Queen Elizabeth" cruise-liner.

About 600,000 tons traveling at speeds exceeding 1,080 km/second would create sizable friction with the air, to the point that the lead reindeer would be torched at a temperature of 14,300,000,000 jeules. A kid peeking at his/her window would see the moon blackened by the size of this Christmas reindeer train, with a ball of fire coming form the front of the "train". The sheer mass/energy movement would cause all 360,000 reindeers to be enveloped in flames and completely burn up within 4.26 thousandth of a second, i.e., exactly at the time that Grandfather Frost arrives at the fifth (of 108,000,000) home.

With the high acceleration and deceleration rates of the sled, Grandfather Frost would go from 0 km/sec to 1,080 km/sec and then to 0 km/sec. This would result in his being thrown out at an acceleration g-force of 17,500. If Grandfather Frost weighs in at 115 kg (which is pretty small for Grnadfather Frost), the g-force acting on his body would result in a Newtonian force of 1,984,906.9 N. This would result in the instantaneous crushing of his bones and internal organs and a transformation of his body into a purple-reddish liquid.

From all of this analysis, we conclude that Grandfather Frost does not exist.

Now, Santa Claus is a whole different story. We are waiting funding for this study from FAO Schwartz and Wal-Mart. We expect our conclusions to be a bit different. The "bit" is a completely objective measurement. Well, in relation to the funding forthcoming, I mean.

It really is the mathematicians who go mad first! Bad news indeed...
Damned atheists and their constipated rationalism.

It's magic.
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