Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
A Scientific Analysis of Santa
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 pokey 27.4 miles per second; a conventional reindeer can run, 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 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 dead.
40 years ago, humans saw the first earthrise.
sadly, this breathtaking view of the isolation in space of our home planet has not reduced our capacity to kill each other, eradicate poverty and easily preventable diseases.
nor has our new view of the world we live in lessened our ability to treat this planet like we have somewhere else to go...
perhaps we need to see another snaphot, but this time when the polar ice caps have melted...
Friday, December 19, 2008
been to sears lately?
had to go to the one in falls church, VA to pick up something i ordered over the 'phone, and it took over half an hour to not recognise my gmail print out confirmation number, the credit card used in the transaction, or even to acknowledge i was even in their system.
the merchandise pick-up area was staffed by a machine that spat out instructions too loud, but failed to provide a working system, a screen that told me my order was completed in 3:53 secs despite us being there for 45 mins, and lobotomized employees.
sears, rearranged reads Arses...
much more appropriate.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday night abandoned efforts to fashion a government rescue of the American automobile industry, as Senate Republicans refused to support a bill endorsed by the White House and Congressional Democrats.
it's somewhat strange that we didn't hear anything from them with regard to wage & other concessions from Wall St. when they voted to approve a wide-sweeping financial bailout of the nation's banks and investment houses to the tune of $700 billion.
i like the way that they're blaming the UAW for their vote against the bill. i didn't know that the UAW had a vote in the senate.
.. of course, we'll have to wait and see if george bush met with any republican members of congress letting them know he would support use of the TARP money, in order to allow the republicans to publicly stick it to the UAW, vote against the measure, all the while knowing that a bailout would be approved without them having to vote for it.
i mean, it seems crazy to apply any Troubled Asset Relief Program money to manufacturing industry.
shouldn't it only be available to Wall St.?
or am i just cynical?
wall st. is under there somewhere.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
here's an image took a while back - not quite the same as an orbiting space telescope...
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
climateprediction.net current credits: 500,877.24
USA Rank: 129
i just want to say a big "thankyou" to John.C.Flood, Inc. for arranging to come out between 1pm-5pm, and the 'phone call i received at 4:58pm letting me know they were running late (this was after we 'phoned them just before around 3:45pm and were told we were their next job)
my response was to tell the caller that unless someone showed up at my door in the next two minutes, i was canceling the job and would find someone else.
when it comes to contractors, you DO NOT have to take it up the 'ain.
speaking of which, gives me plenty of time to read 'joe the plumber's next great literary work...
it includes advice on 15 mins of fame, fashion, not paying your taxes, and lying.
perhaps they should change the title to encourage readership among all the far-right republicans...something along the lines of:
Cunt, I am
bugger me! (metaphorically speaking)
even nutty (not a large woman) weighs less than that.
don't bother reading the book.
it just tells you to eat, eat, don't exercise, try & look fabulous so more people you don't know can love you more, eat, eat, eat...
...and don't forget to eat and not exercise.
Monday, December 08, 2008
sure, Detroit's Automakers deserve to die, but the truth is the country can't afford to let them.
what is less clear is exactly why congress is grilling all these CEO's without mercy, making them beg, when they just handed out vastly bigger sums of taxpayer cash to the financial industry (without any concessions or talk about business models).
i didn't hear much about what citigroup had to give up for its $45 billion it has received from the government...
or as the Citi ad says:
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
anyone looking up at the night sky yesterday managed to see a rare conjunction of the moon, venus, & jupiter.
venus is the brighter of the two points of light (jupiter is hugely bigger, but venus is close to the sun).
for those who missed it, you'll get another chance to see it in 2013.
although the three objects appear close together, appearances in astronomy are deceiving.
the Moon is only 252,000 miles away, less far than you may have driven in your lifetime.
right now Venus is 370 times farther away, at 94 million miles. and Jupiter, at 540 million miles, is nearly six times farther than Venus.