Letter: Rudolph the toasted reindeer

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The Independent Online
Sir: Mr Kimber writes (letters 20 December) that Santa is as credible or incredible as the story of the Flood or that of Jonah and the whale. Perhaps he is unaware that there is a large amount of geological evidence for a major catastrophic flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates around the time that the Bible would date the Flood or that there are many stories of smaller animals surviving inside large whales.

Santa, on the other hand, is a little harder to get your head round. I have it on good authority that if each child receives no more than a medium-sized Lego kit then Santa's sleigh will have to carry 321,300 tonnes. Apparently this would require 214,200 reindeer. Assuming that he uses different time zones to his advantage then he has 31 hours in which to carry out his momentous task. As he doesn't seem to handle Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists that leaves 378 million children spread, according to the Population Reference Bureau, at a rate of 3.5 per household. That means he makes 91.8 million visits, in other words 822.6 per second. If we are generous and assume that the houses are equally spread (about .78 miles per household) then that makes a total trip of 75.5 million miles at 650 miles per second, not counting toilet breaks.

Those physicists I know assure me that 320,000 tonnes travelling at 650 million miles per seconds creates an enormous amount of air resistance (14.3 quintillion joules per reindeer to be precise). Rudolph would get toasted and I'd hate to be anywhere near the sonic boom.

Yours festively,

David Ould

London, NW1

20 December

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