Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Supersonic Santa's Science-Fiction Trip

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Supersonic Santa's Science-Fiction Trip

Article excerpt

Byline: Belinda Scott belinda.scott@coffscoastadvocate.com.au

LYING alongside young Harry Rowe one evening last week - in a vain attempt to get him to go to sleep - I was astounded by a question about Christmas and Santa.

"Dad," asked Harry, inquisitively, "does Santa go to every boy and girl in the world on Christmas Eve?"

My response was swift: "Of course, every boy and girl who has been good."

The retort got his brain thinking.

"But there are millions of boys and girls in the world, Dad. Rudolph must be very tired."

And that was where it started: The hunt to find out how may households Santa will actually visit tomorrow night.

There are approximately two billion children in the world, at the last count.

But Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, does he?

A few who like to party at any opportunity perhaps. But if this figure is correct the workload is reduced for Christmas night to 15 per cent of the total, or 378 million.

At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming, of course, there is at least one good child in each home.

Now let's get a bit technical here for a minute.

Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the myriad of time zones and, of course, the rotation of the earth.

Take into account the fact we hope he will travel from east to west.

The mathematics tells me he will make 967.7 visits per second.

Amazing stuff, because if this maths is correct Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the presents under the tree, eat the snacks that have been left for him, drink the beer or if he's lucky, a shot of whisky, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house. …

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