According to calculations apparently made at the Massachusetts institute of Technology, Santa has 91.8m homes to visit around the world each Christmas night, which, taking full advantage of the earth's rotation, works out as 822.6 visits per second.
That is to say, for every Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever delicacies have been left out for him, struggle back up the chimney, into the sleigh, and then move on to the next house.
The report continues: "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 argument will accept) we are now talking about .78 miles per household: a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops. "This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For the purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves a t a poky 27.4 miles per second; a conventional reindeer can run at 15 miles per hour."
The scientists calculate the weight of the sleigh, assuming that each deserving child gets a present weighing about as much as a medium-sized box of lego, 2lbs. This would add up to 321,300 tons, not counting Santa himself.
Assume that the flying reindeer are 10 times as strong as conventional, earthbound Rangifer Tarandus Tarandus; such a weight of presents would need 214,200 flying reindeer to pull at the necessary speed. That, in turn, increases the payload of the sleighto 353,430 tons (not counting Santa, who is always described as overweight).
And here the analysis reaches its tragic point. For 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second through the earth's atmosphere creates enormous air resistance. The reindeer will start to glow like a spacecraft or a meteor entering the earth's atmosphere. But they will not glow for long, for within fractions of a second they will burst into flame with a tremendous sonic boom, exposing the pair behind them, who in turn will vapourise in a flash, exposing the next pair in line - and within .00426 of asecond the whole team, the sleigh, and Santa too will have vanished in a tremendous flash and bang from contact with the earth's atmosphere.
a distinguished British nuclear physicist last night suggested that such an extraordinary phenomenon might have explained the meteorite which brought the reign of the dinosaurs to an end.
The original paper may be found on the internet at http:/www.mit.edu:8001/afs/athena.mit.edu/user/a/v/avondale/humor/ChristmasHumo /HTML/SantaAnalysis.html