Wednesday, December 30, 2009


If you believe in Santa Claus, you might not want to read this posting.......  A recent article in Science Daily (December 16, 2009) has questioned whether Santa exists.  It is based on an unhealthy lifestyle, working conditions and the stress of having to deliver gifts to 152 million homes in 24 hours.  Furthermore, these researchers from the University of Gotenburg in Sweden feel that Santa could not live at the north pole because there is a lack of reindeer pasture at the north pole.   Because of Santa's big round belly and red face, the researchers feel he is at risk for both a heart attack and a stroke and he likely has high blood pressure.

These researchers figured out the number of children (based on religion) that Santa would have to visit - 380 million.  They used the average of 2.5 children per house and got 152 million home visits on Christmas Eve.   Over a 24 hour period, that equals 900 visits per second.  To park his sleigh, climb down the chimney, distribute the Christmas gifts, shove some cookies into his mouth, take a swig of milk and then leave the building, his sleigh needs to cruise at the speed of 90 km per second or about 265 times the speed of sound.   Furthermore, the acceleration needed to accomplish this requires a g-force of 14 million times Earth's gravity.  Fighter pilots become unconscious at 7g's.   A further challenge is how many reindeer are really required.  To pull all of these presents for the 380 million children and knowing that a reindeer can pull 200 kilos, Santa would need 1.9 million airborne reindeer to pull his sleigh.  Finally.... the estimated speed of Santa's travel would make him and his reindeer explode and burn up-up.

I think we all need a bit of magic in our lives, so whether or not you believe in Santa, it is good to dream and wish for things that are magical.   The above picture is a male partridge who along with his female mate, come for an afternoon feed of bird seed each day in our backyard.   They are magical to watch.

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