Sunday, 19 December 2010

santa claus north pole norad xmas physics stats update 2010

Santa passes Big Ben
Here's the 2010 link to the Santa tracking system created by NORAD.

An ideal last minute gift this year is, of course, the rashbre novel -The Triangle.

But for those of you who are more interested in the technology of Santa, NORAD's FAQs provide the following:
NORAD Sleigh technical data
Plenty of people have calculated Santa's speed to cover the world, famously Joel Potischman and Bruce Handy who did the physics of the speed and payload performance criteria for Santa's sleigh. Like most, I'm respectful of this but am also intrigued by some of the assumptions in the original calculation:

The most notable corrections to be applied are:

- Santa delivers no gifts to naughty children (not even coal)
- Naughty to nice ratio is 1:9
- As confirmed by NORAD, one Santa distributes all of the gifts.
- There is only one family per household.
- Santa bypasses non Santa belief system houses.
- Reindeer have recently eaten fresh magic acorns.

Calculation Assumptions:

- World population = 6 billion
- Children under 18 = 2 billion
- Global Santa based belief systems: 33%
- Max children requiring delivery therefore 667 million
- Children per household: 3.5 (may seem high?)
- Number of households requiring distribution 189 million
- Eastern orthodox using Jan 5 instead of Dec 25 = 16 Million
- Target Households = 173 million on Dec 25
- Target Households after naughty to nice = 156 million
- Estimated child bed time 21:00 (9pm) with 7 hours sleep.

(child sleep duration on Dec 24 may also require revision)

Gives circa 31 hours (24+7) for all deliveries
Time is 1860 mins or 111,600 seconds

Average number of homes to visit per second = circa 1400.
So average delivery per household is 715 microseconds, which is why Santa normally appears a bit blurry (I previously thought it was the sherry)

Land surface minus Antarctica is around 79 million square miles. Distribute destinations evenly = 0.7 miles between households creating a total distance of circa 110 million miles.

So 110 million miles in 31 hours = 3.6 million miles an hour or circa 1000 miles per second or Mach 4770 at a linear speed.

This explains Rudolph's red nose because of air resistance creating around 20 quintillion Joules of energy per second, which would convert a non reindeer nose to charcoal at such energy levels.

Luckily Santa has lots of special powers so these mere physics facts are no problem to such a superhero.

And ps. my list is in the chimney awaiting collection.

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