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Christmas 2011  Issue 108b

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  2010 Index   2011 Index


The Staff unanimously decided we had to do one more issue before the end of the year,

And this is to send you our warmest Christmas cheer,

And all the very best in the New Year.


It Is the Day Before Christmas

It was the day before Christmas,
And Santa was busy preparing his reindeer and sleigh,
Because he knew he would soon be on his way.

 Its Christmas Eve he said to his elves,
As they moved toys to the sleigh from the workshop shelves,

 And he grinned, chuckled, and winked a time or two, maybe three,
Knowing he soon would be squeezing into many a chimney,

 But to Santa that did not matter a twit,
Knowing the fireplaces would be cold and unlit.

It was more important that he stay on the course throughout the night,
Not wanting to give a poor child a toy-less Christmas morning fright.

 He knew it would be hard, and there might be places with lots of ice,
And then there are others where the weather might be quite nice.

 As he charted his Christmas Eve course, with one eye to the sky,
It was decided that he would first, to Akumal fly.

 The final preparations made, he gathered the elves and patted each head,
Saying, Its now time for you to rest and go to bed.

 Its now up to the reindeer and me,
We are heading off to Akumal and the Caribbean Sea.

The Akumal house roofs are large and flat and offer a good view,
But many are topped by a satellite dish or two,

No matter,  it would be rather mild, and he knew the perfect spot to land,
Hed swing around the palm trees and land on the sand.

 So, Santa would have to enter by the upstairs balcony,
But he needed to be aware of the Akumal police and private security.

 Then again Christmas is very, very near,
And if you listen quietly, you know what you can hear,

 A thousand voices singing out, Merry Christmas to All and a Very Happy New Year.



In case you do not get those presents from Santa you were hoping for, here's something to consider.

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 percentage of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau).  At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, and that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

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 (which seems logical).  This works out to 967.7 visits per second.  This is to say that for each Christian 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 or 3,000 times the speed of sound.  For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

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 the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous airresistance; this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering 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 thousandths 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 MPS in .001 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.

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


Merry Christmas, Ryan.

Here is our Akumal Christmas tree.



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