For Immediate Release
North Pole – December 12, 2011 – Against advice from Mrs. Claus and 62% of the elves, Santa Claus today excoriated what he called the irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric of overeducated physicists with nothing better to do than employ fancy mathematical equations in an effort to deny children a sense of wonder.
I am beside myself, Santa said. Literally, I’m standing next to myself. How can the supposed brilliant and creative minds at Fermilab not only question my existence but proclaim it impossible? Here’s their proof:
Theorem: Santa does not exist.
a) Using simple math and statistics from the Population Reference Bureau on how many people celebrate X-mas, I need to visit 91.8 million homes.
b) I need to travel 75.5 million miles, assuming a uniform distribution of homes.
c) Reindeer can’t fly, but there are undiscovered species on Earth so flying reindeer aren’t inconceivable.
d) A reindeer can pull 300 pounds; a flying reindeer might be able to pull an order of magnitude more than an earthbound reindeer.
e) Taking advantage of time zones, I have 31 hours within which to deliver the gifts.
f) Each child gets a medium-sized Lego set, weighing 2 pounds.
1. I make 822.6 visits per second and have 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, slide down the chimney, drop off gifts, and scarf down some cookies.
2. My sleigh goes 650 miles per second (mps). For dramatic effect, they tell us the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, only goes 27.4 mps.
3. I have 321,300 tons of toys to deliver.
4. I need 214,200 flying reindeer to pull a sleigh with all those toys.
5. This payload traveling 650 mps would make the reindeer hotter ‘n a spacecraft re-entering earth’s atmosphere. They’d burst into flames before being vaporized in less than a second.
6. Due to forces 17,000 times greater than gravity, I would become flatter ‘n Flat Stanley.
What kind of cockamamie semantic-numerical proof is that?
First, let’s start with the assumptions. While it‘s conceivable that reindeer can fly, it is so improbable as to be considered utterly ridiculous. Even more ridiculous to think all kids would want a Lego set. Lego may be popular with the nerd set but according to market research firm, NPD Group (a subsidiary of Santa Enterprises), Cars, Disney Princess, Dora the Explorer, Star Wars, Thomas and Friends, and a bunch of other stuff all outsold Lego. BTW, a medium Lego set contains 300 bricks each weighing 6 grams, which is closer to 4 pounds, making my existence twice as ridiculous to the physics community.
Second, why in the world would I travel to everyone’s home? Santa Enterprises is not a goddamn distribution company. It’s an information company (and a very successful one at that). Our intellectual property (IP in the lingo) is The List. We collect and maintain data on what kids want and what kids deserve. Then we use our proprietary matching algorithm to reconcile the two.
We outsource distribution and payments to parents, grandparents, friends, and other assorted gift-givers. We outsource inventory to retailers. We outsource marketing to the Web. Our business model is a mash-up of Google, Amazon, PayPal, and Tupperware.
Screw the physicists. The economists should be trotting us out as a case study in the Harvard Business Review.
Want your proof, physicists?
You know that Higgs boson you so desperately want? I gave you the Large Hadron Collider last year after some good behavior, but it won’t deliver the God Particle. Stop messing with the kids if you want my algorithm to hook you up with the Higgs.
Not proof enough for you?
Go look for that picture of me and that beautiful boson flipping you the bird.