Sunday, December 30, 2007

santa impossible

thanks to kevin smith from my local astronomy club, NOVAC for posting this on our message board:


According to a number of references, the world's current population stands at something just over 6 billion. For this analysis assume only Christians believe in Santa and he, therefore, only visits Christian households on Christmas Eve. Several census and survey reports put Christianity at about 33% of the world's population, or roughly 2 billion people. Figuring 4.5
people per household, there are approximately 445 million Christian households distributed around the globe.

Thanks to different time zones and the earth's rotation, traveling east to west Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with. With 31 hours to visit 445 million homes, Santa must visit
3,987 homes per second. So for each Christian household with good children, Santa has about 2/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, back into the sleigh, and move on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 445 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about 0.17 miles per household, or a total trip of about 75.5 million miles. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, or 3000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a miserably slow 27.4 miles per second; a conventional reindeer can run, at tops, 15 miles per hour.

The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium size 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" could pull ten times the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine reindeer. No, we need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload-not even counting the weight of the sleigh-to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison, this is four times the weight of the ocean liner, the Queen Elizabeth.

353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance, which will heat the reindeer, sleigh, gifts and Santa in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will each absorb 14.3 QUINTRILLION joules of energy.per second! In short, they will burst into flame instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them to the same fate. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths (0.00426) of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500 times gravity. A 250 pound Santa, which seems ludicrously slim, would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,375,000 pounds of force per square inch just before, like his reindeer, he too is vaporized.

In conclusion, if Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas, he's now very, very dead.

Friday, December 28, 2007

back to reality - but not if you're cnn...

so daisy and were heading back to dc yesterday from a 4-day stay over christmas in orlando, with my brother and his family, who have been living in spain for the past 15 years. we're waiting for a connecting flight to dc at atlanta when daisy tells me to look up at the tv monitor at the departure gate. "Bhutto Assasinated" scrawls the Breaking News headline.

apart from us, i can see only ONE other person, a man in his thirties paying any attention whatsoever to the news. this is in a crowded airport lounge with some 200 people in our vicinity.
if ever i needed to see at first hand that the majority of americans don't get, don't care, or just aren't interested in world affairs, this was surely it. i'm sure if the breaking news story was about brittney spears there would have been a lot more attention paid...

as i'm taking in this bombshell, they put the audio on and pretty much the only commentary and obvious focus from cnn is on how this will affect america and its relationship with pakistan on the, you've guessed it, "war on terror". never mind how the country of pakistan and its people & military rule government will react, the immediate outlook for democracy, and the destabilization & rioting that will surely ensue and how many people will die as a result.

no. as i'm waiting to get on a plane back to washington, d.c, cnn wants to tell america how bhutto's assasination affects america and the endles fucking war on fucking terror!

CNN - Crap News Network. are you guys owned by FOX News?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Green Light for Institute on Creation in Texas

HOUSTON — A Texas higher education panel has recommended allowing a Bible-based group called the Institute for Creation Research to offer online master’s degrees in science education.

The action comes weeks after the Texas Education Agency’s director of science, Christine Castillo Comer, lost her job after superiors accused her of displaying bias against creationism and failing to be “neutral” over the teaching of evolution.

…“Where the difference is, we provide both sides of the story,” Mr. Morris said. On its Web site, the institute declares, “All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the creation week” and says it “equips believers with evidences of the Bible’s accuracy and authority through scientific research, educational programs, and media presentations, all conducted within a thoroughly biblical framework.”

…no mr. morris. where the difference is, you present not both sides of the story, as if the story of creation and evolution somehow merited the same weight, but state your own unsubstantiated outrageous claims of a virgin birth and a star that never existed, according to all records. an earth that could not possibly have geologically formed, offering no means of independent verification, and accept no criticism of a book, your only record of this event. i ask you mr. morris, have YOU ever seen the sun stand still in the sky? come on!

you discredit what mankind has achieved through his intellect through the ages, everyone else being wrong apart from you, ignoring what you see before you with your own two eyes, even as you and your kind type away on computers operating on the principles of science, not faith. science has had an unhappy habit of peeling away the pillars of mysticism from the church.

there was a time when people believed that flowers used to bloom because god made them so. then some clever scientist discovered that it wasn't god after all, but photosynthesis.

in short, you'd all be a lot happier if scientists and the rest of us 'normal, well-adjusted' people just went away wouldn't you? because then there wouldn't be all these uncomfortable challenges to your ridiculous claims of a virgin birth, the son of god, creator of the universe, who is so great that he needs worshiping on a daily basis, or else he's going to kill everyone by sending them to hell.

very reasonable!

at best, you are a bunch of brain-washing hypocrites.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Huckabee Draws Support of Home-School Families

DES MOINES — Christine and Chuck Hurley have raised and home-schooled their 10 children here, and five of those children will be eligible to vote in the Iowa caucus on Jan. 3.

If Mr. and Mrs. Hurley have anything to say about it — and they do, being evangelical Christians who have imbued their children with the mandates of the Ten Commandments, not least the one about honoring thy father and mother — those will be five votes for Mike Huckabee.

…“We are about the pillar issues of our faith — family, marriage and abortion,” she said. “Home schooling is just part of it.”

In political terms, she said, “family and marriage” are expressed in opposition to same-sex marriage laws, opposition to broader rights for gay men and lesbians, and support for covenant marriage laws like the one signed by Mr. Huckabee as governor in 2001.

…obviously poverty, healthcare, education, & protection of the environment, and foreign affairs figure very highly on that evangelical christian list.

if i ever have a child all i want is for that child to grow up with a healthy intellect and an open mind. isn't freedom of thought one of the very best gifts a parent can give a child, Christine and Chuck Hurley? or rather did you just want 10 versions of your selfish selves, perfect that you undoubtedly are?

what fine intellectual preparation for the world outside of iowa you have given your 10 children.

we go to school not just to learn geography and biology, etc. but also how to interact with people with whom we share different views. we play, we fight, we learn to get along. it's called an education.

no. i'll tell you what the problem is. christine & chuck hurley, along with all the other home-schooling evangelicals don't want their kids exposed to any other views other than their own. it's their faith that is weak!

if their faith was strong, and they are right, they shouldn't have anything to worry about. after all, because when they are all dead, they are all going to be one big, happy, jesus-loving family in the kingdom of heaven. right?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

oh no! Celine Dion ends five-year Vegas stint

Singer Celine Dion has played her final show at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas after nearly five years of doing the same show 717 times.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

the nonesense in bali
anyone who thinks that the headlines of:

The "Bali roadmap" initiates a two-year process of negotiations designed to agree a new set of emissions targets to replace those in the Kyoto Protocol.

will do anything dramatically meaningful is living in a dreamworld. scientists aren't calling for negotiations, they are calling for emissions cuts. period. mandatory cuts are the ONLY way we are ever going to do something about limiting carbon emissions in a serious way in the short term. it's a little like speeding in a car. why do you think we have speed limits that are enforced by the police? why don't we just ask everyone to slow down? you have to have some mechanism in place by which you enforce rules, regulations, laws, etc. or else those rules will simply not be observed. in other words, if you think you can
get away with it, you will.

the united states, the world's biggest polluter had complained that language on reducing their emissions was too strong, and would commit them to measures that could retard their economic development. THAT'S THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT! you cannot keep cramming cake after cake into your fat mouth and not get fat as a result of your actions. global climate change isn't ONLY concerned about a farmer in iowa, or how he will vote.

in the end, the choice is simple. adopt a strategy and invest. give up a little now for rewards in the future or face the inevitable.

one more thing. how's that credit crisis looking, george? economic development-at-all-costs, just like everyone else's will have naturally occurring ups and downs irrespective of what you do to protect the planet. i understand that liquidity, the main driving force behind economic development is still sending shockwaves throughout the entire financial system. how many hundreds of thousands of homeowners will end up losing their homes as a result in part of their own greed and ignorance but also of this banking greed and" look the other way while we're making billions" lack of regulation during this administration, despite dire warnings that this nightmare could happen? they are the professionals. they knew better.

how could setting targets reducing carbon emissions possibly be any worse for these same homeowners?

surely it's time for the united states to stop being the biggest polluter, AND the biggest asshole on the planet.

well done al gore for saying what he did.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I have decided to remove this post and wish topdjgear all the success in the future.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Chimps beat humans in memory test

Bush 'cannot recall' CIA videos

The president "did not remember" being told of the tapes prior to Thursday, she said.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Flatulence ban for club pensioner

A social club in Devon has banned a 77-year-old man from breaking wind while indoors.

Maurice Fox received a letter from Kirkham Street Sports and Social Club in Paignton asking him to consider his actions, which "disgusted" members.

"I am a loud farter, but there is no smell"
Maurice Fox

...yes, mate.

Monday, December 03, 2007

freezing the kicker. nice one, 'king' joe...

nutty says:

1. it's completely unsportsmanlike.

2. it says you've spent the rest of the game trying to beat the other team but haven't found a way to do so, so now you try this desperate move involving none of your own players...

3. if you're going to allow it, make it a compulsory 15-yard penalty for doing so.

4. nobody wants to end a game this way.

5. if you're going to lose, do so with some fucking dignity. all the tributes to sean taylor yesterday and you decide to end the game like this?

pure class...

in rugby, the losing side stands and applauds the victor off the field for beating them fair and square, joe.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

wait for the outpouring of cheese...

Bills take on grieving Redskins.

one thing is for sure as regards victims of gun crime in this country. if you're not famous, and/or you're not in school/college, and/or you don't die, nobody in the media gives a fuck.

hey fred smoot, next time you blow a cover and allow a touchdown pass, please raise your finger and point to heaven. life is also about our failures, not just cherry picking our successes.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

daredevil Evel Knievel dies

Legendary US daredevil Evel Knievel has died at the age of 69.

...if you are a male aged somewhere between 40 and 60, you probably did what i did as a kid and watched him on tv, attempting the impossible.

you then went outside, set up small ramps in the garden and jumped them on your bicycle (often coming off) pretending to be him. he was your daredevil hero.

very few ever get to have that sort of impact.

when i had my really big motorcycle accident, i always joked that unlike evel knieval, i couldn't even clear one car...