From the Greek meaning 'heavy with wine'
A blog devoted to science and reason
Written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa Claus Science - Part 1

How does Santa do it?  Deliver all those presents to the children of the world.  Let's consider what his task entails.

There are 6.79 billion people in the world, 1.855 billion are children.  Sad as it may seem to some, but I don't think Santa visits all the good children of the Earth.  Santa only visits Christians.  Since Christians are 32% of the Earth's population, it seems reasonable to assume Santa has to visit 594 million youngsters under the age of 15.

Suppose each child gets one present, and that present has a mass of 1 kg.  (2.2 lb.s of weight for you non-SI people).  Santa gets to lug around 564,000 tonnes of toys.  Reindeer can pull up to twice its weight.  The jolly one then has to harness over 3 million reindeer to his sleigh. 

Speaking of the sleigh - let's assume each present fits in a cubic box 15 centimeters (6 inches) on a side.  With 594,000,000 presents to deliver, Santa is going to need a large sled.  He needs to haul 2 million cubic meters of presents.  Since the world's largest supertanker has a capacity of 670,000 cubic meters, the rotund one will need three of them and an additional 8 million reindeer.

11 million reindeer.   Imagine all that poop.

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