View Full Version : Is there really a Santa?

12th Apr 2006, 05:52
There are approximately two billion children in the world (under 18). However since santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu Jewish or Buddist religions, this reduces the workload on Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million.
At an average census rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each home.
Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the rotation of the earth and different time zones. This works out at 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to:
Park the sleigh
Hop out
Distribute presents
Eat whatever snaks have been left for him
Take the carrot left for Rudolf and his pals back up the chimney
Jump back on the sleigh and get on to the next house
Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed aroung the earth ( which of course it isn't but for the purposes of our calculations), we are talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of some 75.5 million miles, not counting loo stops or breaks. This means Santa is moving at 650 miles per second-3000 times the speed of sound. For the purpose of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulyesses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per second, and the conventional Mk1 Reindeer can only run at best 15mph.
The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each good child gets at most a medium sized lego set of 2lbs, the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself - who is by all accounts a rather portly gent.
On land a Mk1 Reindeer can pull no more than 300lbs. Even granting that the 'flying reindeer' could pull ten times the normal amount, the job cannot be done with eight or nine or even ten of them - Santa would require 360,000 of them! this increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, by another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth 2 ( the ship, not the monarch).
Aroung 600,000 tonnes travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - 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 ear deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire Reindeer team would be vaporised in 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 miles per second in 0.001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500g's. A 250lb Santa ( which seem ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015lbs of force, instantaneously crushing bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo!!

12th Apr 2006, 07:53
My brain hurts!! Now where did I put the wrapping paper?!! ;)

Little Lady
12th Apr 2006, 07:59
No worries here is Oz, we have our own Santa. He's usually dressed in a blue singlet, stubbies with thongs on his feet and an Akubra on his head... because he would melt under the Aussie sun if he wore anything more.

As for the mode of transportation, this would consist of either a Holden ute or 6 white boomers (kangaroos) :ok: :p

12th Apr 2006, 08:52
Every year around Christmas, "analyses" go out over the net purporting to show that Santa Claus cannot possibly exist, because of the extremely high speeds (and accelerations) required for him to make his rounds, absence of chimneys or other means of ingress, etc. These analyses merely confirm the prevalence of the classical mechanical mindset.

Consider the following:

Santa is never directly observed, but indirect evidence of him abounds.

If direct observation is attempted (say, by staying up all night with the lights on), not only is Santa not observed, but the indirect evidence of his presence does not appear either--only if no attempt is made to observe Santa do the stockings get filled.

Evidence of Santa appears in multiple locations simultaneously throughout the world. (The multiplicity of time zones does not substantially alter this argument, and will therefore be ignored.)

Evidence of Santa appears even in rooms that are separated from the rest of the universe by barriers (small or non-existent chimneys) that Santa cannot classically pass through.

It is obvious, then, that Santa can best be described by a quantum-mechanical wavefunction SC, which is nonzero at midnight on Christmas eve throughout the world. Like other quantum-mechanical wavefunctions, it is not confined to one spatial location, and can "tunnel" through classical barriers (house walls and roof), producing a potentially nonzero expectation value in (classically allowed) living rooms and apartments.

Children expect Santa to arrive; therefore, in living spaces with the child operator (closely related to the annihilation operator), the expectation value <SC*|C|SC> is small but finite, and a small but finite fraction of Santa's presents are deposited. However, if an attempt is made to observe Santa, the observation finds the Santa wavefunction in either a "not-Santa" (OC|SC> = |SC->) or "Santa" (OC|SC> = |SC+>) eigenstate. Because of the very small expectation value of the Santa function (approximately the reciprocal of the number of houses Santa visits, adjusted by local "naughty" and "nice" operators), the eigenstate is extremely likely to be "not-Santa" (|SC->)--no presents appear.

One cannot really blame these intrepid experimentalists, however: if one of them did suceed in finding Santa in the "Santa" (|SC+>) state, he or she would not only have unprecendented direct evidence of Santa Claus, but would find Santa's entire load of presents deposited in his or her living room.

12th Apr 2006, 08:59
Perhaps Santa is a derivation of G O D ?

got caught
12th Apr 2006, 09:02
Does he work for Ryanair?

12th Apr 2006, 09:26
Isn't that M O L ?

12th Apr 2006, 10:15
However since santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu Jewish or Buddist religions,Why? Is Santa a christian religion? Even if so, he is such a good bloke he wouldn't let non-christian kids miss out, would he?
BTW found this on Snopes,a perennial Christmas item which has circulated as netlore for several years, it merits inclusion here. It is believed to have originated with an article published in Spy magazine in 1990, although some people claim it appeared on the Internet prior to its publication in Spy:
A bit of a plagarist.....hmmmm
Try this link for rebuttals,
http: (http://web.archive.org/web/20041113092029/http://home.uchicago.edu/~rascalzo/arch/palace/library/humor-tech/santa-physics.html)

12th Apr 2006, 15:50
Have you heard the one about Santa's annual check ride?

Santa is on the ramp in Lapland on a pre-crimbo test flight when a CAA examiner walks up to him whilst doing his external checks.
"Right then Mr Claus, time for an impromtu check-ride"
"Oh", says Santa, " well if you insist".
So as Santa finishes his external checks and hops (not so sure about the hopping aspect) back into the sleigh, he can't help but notice that the examiner not only has a clipboard, but also a shot gun!
"Whats the shot gun for?" asks Santa.
"Well, i'm not supposed to give you the heads up on these checks, but you are going to have an engine failure after V1" :eek:

12th Apr 2006, 16:13

It's April and we're talking about Santa.

Give me strength.


Rick Storm
12th Apr 2006, 18:57
Santa is cool, It's Rudolf you have to lookout for......


12th Apr 2006, 19:31
Does he work for Ryanair?

If he worked for Ryanair all the presents will end up at the end of the street!

tall and tasty
12th Apr 2006, 23:35
t's April and we're talking about Santa.well yesterday we woke to snow in snowy EGKK!!!!! So it could have been the middle of winter with Santa on his way.

Of course there is a santa. I get my stockings filled each and every Christmas so there has to be one!! But my little ones have worked out that the Santas in the malls are all people who work for the real Santa who they met a couple of Christmases ago in a lovely grotto. He even had the white beard that had no joins they look for the tell tail wig and false beard) and played to his reindeer on a flute! So there. :p He also could converse in any language you wanted him to!Well the youngest tried to confuse him and got now where!


Now off to find the easter bunny, he must have hidden his choccie eggs somewhere special for me this year! :}

12th Apr 2006, 23:40
I like ORAC's theory - an intelligent and theoretical use of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Schroedinger's Cat thought experiment - it's all perfectly plausible.

I always wondered though why Father Christmas appeared to have the same taste in Malt Irish Whiskey and Chocolate Brazils as my father :confused:



13th Apr 2006, 00:23
A timeless piece.

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

About the Exchange
Francis P. Church’s editorial, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” was an immediate sensation, and went on to became one of the most famous editorials ever written. It first appeared in the The New York Sun in 1897, almost a hundred years ago, and was reprinted annually until 1949 when the paper went out of business.

Thirty-six years after her letter was printed, Virginia O’Hanlon recalled the events that prompted her letter:

“Quite naturally I believed in Santa Claus, for he had never disappointed me. But when less fortunate little boys and girls said there wasn’t any Santa Claus, I was filled with doubts. I asked my father, and he was a little evasive on the subject.

“It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came up as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical fact was in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in The Sun. Father would always say, ‘If you see it in the The Sun, it’s so,’ and that settled the matter.

“ ‘Well, I’m just going to write The Sun and find out the real truth,’ I said to father.

“He said, ‘Go ahead, Virginia. I’m sure The Sun will give you the right answer, as it always does.’ ”

And so Virginia sat down and wrote her parents’ favorite newspaper.

Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor, Francis P. Church. Son of a Baptist minister, Church had covered the Civil War for The New York Times and had worked on the The New York Sun for 20 years, more recently as an anonymous editorial writer. Church, a sardonic man, had for his personal motto, “Endeavour to clear your mind of cant.” When controversal subjects had to be tackled on the editorial page, especially those dealing with theology, the assignments were usually given to Church.

Now, he had in his hands a little girl’s letter on a most controversial matter, and he was burdened with the responsibility of answering it.

“Is there a Santa Claus?” the childish scrawl in the letter asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the question. He must answer, and he must answer truthfully. And so he turned to his desk, and he began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable editorials in newspaper history.

Church married shortly after the editorial appeared. He died in April, 1906, leaving no children.

Virginia O’Hanlon went on to graduate from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts degree at age 21. The following year she received her Master’s from Columbia, and in 1912 she began teaching in the New York City school system, later becoming a principal. After 47 years, she retired as an educator. Throughout her life she received a steady stream of mail about her Santa Claus letter, and to each reply she attached an attractive printed copy of the Church editorial. Virginia O’Hanlon Douglas died on May 13, 1971, at the age of 81, in a nursing home in Valatie, N.Y.

Lon More
13th Apr 2006, 09:53
Yes, it's me .
Just back from my holidays with the tooth fairy (we're just good friends) and starting preparations for this Christmas.

T'n'T - I'm sure your stockings are filled perfectly

13th Apr 2006, 10:39
con-pilot Many thanks for that post. Excellent stuff.

Lon More Down boy!! :}

DX Wombat
13th Apr 2006, 13:16
Of course there is a Santa. :* The powers that be at NORAD obviously think so and take it all very seriously. http://www.noradsanta.org/index.php

13th Apr 2006, 13:35
From the NORAD site:

"NORAD makes a point of checking the radar closely for indications of Santa Claus leaving the North Pole on Christmas Eve. The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off..."

Thats just not true. They have a man from US Customs or other enforcement agency who waits at the grotto. As Santa is about to board the sleigh he gets pulled over and asked myriad questions about who he is, where he is going, why he is visiting, or flying over, the US. Where he will be staying ("I'll be there and back in a night officer" - "Yeah, right, and you'll be telling me these Reindeer can fly next"). Then he will have to fill out one of those green visa waiver forms and declare he isn't a terrorist, communist or Nazi getting by on immoral earnings. He'll get his passport swiped and his name electronically recorded for all time then allowed on his way.

At this point the US official simply picks up the phone and tells NORAD that Santa is on his way.

13th Apr 2006, 13:42
Looks like rain, dear.

13th Apr 2006, 15:31
You just love that site, donchya DX :ok:

13th Apr 2006, 16:15
Does he work for Ryanair?

I bellive he doesnt.

He works for BA! :p

Of course there is a santa, there are lots and lots of them. Just look in your nearby warehouse around christmas, and you see at least one guy who are fat, white beard, sledge etc.

And you can buy yourself one, to have it in the window! (what a boring job.)

13th Apr 2006, 18:08
As a dyslexic agnostic, I can't believe there is a Santa, just as I can't believe that Dog exists.

DX Wombat
13th Apr 2006, 19:24
I certainly DO Jerricho:ok: :D It's lots of fun and great entertainment for children...........................of ALL ages :ok:
PS, is Canada beginning to warm up yet? :confused: