# Data disputing Santa's existence

Wednesday, 16 December, 2009

No one has ever seen flying reindeers, except Santa, Mrs Claus and their elves, of course. However, since there are over 300,000 species of living organisms that are unclassified (though they are mostly insects and germs), we can give them benefit of doubt.

According to the Populations Reference Bureau, there are about 2 billion children (defined as under 15) in the world. Assuming that Santa caters to Christian children only and does not bother himself about children of other religions, he still has 15% of the above children population to think about.

15% of 2 billion means 300 million children, which is certainly an enormous workload, even for benevolent and kindly Santa.

Let's assume that there are about three children in each household and at least one of them is good. Thus, Santa has to visit 100 million homes during Christmas Eve.

Santa has 31 hours to finish his work - assuming Santa distributes gifts between 5 pm and midnight (which makes 7 hours) and since earth rotates and there is a difference of a full 24 hours overall due to different time zones. We can also assume that Santa works from east to west to use this time difference to his full advantage.

Visiting 100 million homes in 31 hours means that Santa has to visit 896 homes per second.

Thus, he has about 1/1000th of a second to do everything such as park his sleigh, look for the right gifts, climb down the sleigh and chimney, binge on snacks, fill the stockings, come up again and rush to his next stop.

Even if we assume that all households are distributed evenly throughout the earth for the convenience of Santa and he works non-stop for 31 hours (both of which are very big assumptions that are almost impossible!), Santa has to travel about 120 million kilometres in 31 hours and 1075 km/s (3000 times faster than the speed of sound).

Now the fastest man-made vehicle moves at 44 km/s and normally reindeers can run at the speed of 24 km/h.

On average, each toy for a child weighs about 1 kg; the sleigh has to carry over 321,000 tons plus the Santa with his big belly and his reindeers.

It is known reindeers can only pull 136 kg at once. If flying reindeers can pull up to 1360 kg, about 214,000 reindeers will be needed to pull Santa's sleigh, which means the sleigh must carry over 353,000 tons.

353,000 tons travelling at 1075 km/s in the air will create enormous friction and Santa, his reindeers and his sleigh will instantly burn to death, just like meteors that occasionally enter earth's atmosphere.

Thus, we can safely conclude that if Santa ever existed, he would have been dead after he attempted his seemingly impossible project for the first time.

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