Wednesday, 24 December 2014
Santa speed calculations, NORAD tracking and links to Xmas games
Time also for this year's update of the Santa Calculations, which I first published back in 2006 and then updated in 2010. I'm using 7 billion as the world population.
Firstly, here's the link to the Santa tracking system created by NORAD. I noticed it being publicised at Heathrow airport yesterday, too.
And my usual reminder that an ideal last minute gift is, of course, the rashbre novel - The Triangle, now also available as a Kindle download for less than a couple of quid.
For those of you who are more interested in the technology of Santa, NORAD's FAQs provide the following:
I've again used the Joel Potischman and Bruce Handy calculations as the basis for the speed calculations, with my own adaptations:
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 (2014):
- World population = 7.06 billion
- Children under 18 = 2.353 billion (Hmm may be higher)
- Global Santa based belief systems: 33%
- Max children requiring delivery therefore 784 million
- Children per household: 3.5 (may seem high?)
- Number of households requiring distribution 224 million
- Naughty to nice factor applied but not many all naughty households
- Remove all naughty households (25% 0f 10%) = 5.6 million
- Eastern orthodox using Jan 5 instead of Dec 25 = 16 Million
- Target Households = 202 million on Dec 25
- 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 1810.
So average delivery per household is 552 milliseconds, 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. I think the acceleration and deceleration per household may also need some examination.
Luckily Santa has lots of special powers so these mere physics facts are no problem to such a superhero.