Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 10:10:25 -0500
From: Matteo Schmill 
Subject: Coffee, Donuts, and Bagels

I doubt I need to remind anyone that Monday Morning Coffee has been
extended one more week to today, Monday, December 15th. Please join Sue
and Mike in the computer science lounge this morning for a

Members of the CS 611 community are especially encouraged to partake of
copious coffee to prevent nerve damage sometimes associated with 8am
monday morning finals.

Thanks to everyone who sent me the funny emails. This week, I've decided
to use the one Mike Chia sent me. It's so seasonal.



In the Late 1800s a little girl named Virginia asked the New York
Times if there was a Santa Clause. The reply is now famous.  Someone
thought it would be fun to ask the scientists at NASA the same

Here is their reply:

No known species of reindeer can fly. But there ARE 300,000 species of
living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are
insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer,
which only Santa has seen.

There are two billion children (under 18) in the world. But since
Santa doesn't appear to handle Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish
children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 138 million
or so. At an average rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8
million homes. One presumes there is at least one good child in each.

Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to time zones and
the rotation of the earth,assuming he travels east to west. This works
out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each household
with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of
the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the
remaining gifts under the tree, eat snacks, get back up the chimney,
get back into the sleigh, and move to the next house. Assuming that
each of these 91.8 million houses are distributed evenly (which we
know to be false but for the sake of these calculations we will
accept) we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household, a total
trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops. This means
that Santa's sleigh is traveling at 650 miles per second, 3000 times
the speed of sound. For comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the
Ulysses space probe moves at a poky 27.4 MPS. The average reindeer
runs at 15MPH.

The sleigh's payload adds another interesting element. Assuming that
each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (2 pounds),
the sleigh is carrying 321,300 TONS not counting Santa, who is
invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can
pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer"
(see first paragraph) could pull TEN TIMES the usual amount, we cannot
do the job with 8 or even 9.  We need 214,000 reindeer. This increases
the weight, not even counting the sleigh, to 353,430 tons. Again, for
comparison this is 4 times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth 2.

353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates an enormous air
resistance. This will heat the reindeer in the same manner as a
spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of
reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per
second. Each. In short, they will burst in flame almost
instantaneously, exposing the next pair of reindeer, and creating
deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire team will be vaporized
within 4.26 thousands of a second.

Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06
times the force of gravity. A 300 pound Santa would be pinned to the
back of his sleigh by 4,325,015 pounds of force.

CONCLUSION: There was a Santa, but he's dead now.