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(NPR)   Tired of the annual "how much would the twelve days of Christmas cost" stories? How about estimating the size of Santa's organization if he were a delivery company?   (npr.org) divider line 49
    More: Amusing, Santa Claus, Planet Money, flight plans  
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4662 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 Dec 2012 at 1:24 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-19 09:10:24 PM
If you are going to assume Santa's sleigh can carry 1.6 million pounds why not assume it can carry 760 million?
 
2012-12-19 09:14:29 PM
I imagine that it's slightly less cost-effective than Walter White's operation in Season 5.
 
2012-12-19 09:30:50 PM
"Mike from UPS can think through all those teams and all those workers, but there's still something that's a mystery for him: the sleigh. Not only does it have to move fast enough to deliver 9,000 presents a second, but estimating conservatively that each present weighs about a pound, Mike says it would have to haul 760 million pounds of cargo. Which would take nearly three hundred 747 planes to haul. Or perhaps just nine reindeer. "
 
I think that everyone is mission the obvious.  Santa is obviously a collection of clone symbiotes intent upon world domination through the commercialization of the major religions.
 
/It's obvious if you smoke a lot of pot.
 
2012-12-20 01:29:19 AM
So, Foxconn?
 
2012-12-20 01:36:21 AM
760 million pounds of cargo isn't unrealistic if you assume Santa's sleigh looks something like this:
1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-12-20 01:36:49 AM
Does it cover the cost of 24-hour covert surveillance on little boys and girls?
 
2012-12-20 01:40:01 AM
No wonder he only pays the elves in milk and cookies.
 
2012-12-20 01:43:24 AM

anfrind: 760 million pounds of cargo isn't unrealistic if you assume Santa's sleigh looks something like this:
[1.bp.blogspot.com image 608x345]


Mrs. Orange and I watched this the other night. We approve.

www.mbird.com
 
2012-12-20 01:43:52 AM

Precision Boobery: Does it cover the cost of 24-hour covert surveillance on little boys and girls?


1.725 billion

/Citation
 
2012-12-20 01:44:45 AM
Now let's calculate how much energy it would take to turn water into wine, or conjure bread and fish from thin air.
 
2012-12-20 01:51:08 AM
I'm tired of this story also...
 
2012-12-20 01:51:27 AM
Fun fact du jour:

If someone had asked you in the late '90s who had the biggest dial-up network in the world, you'd probably think AOL. You'd be off by a couple orders of magnitude.

Every day as 5:00pm washed over the planet, every loading dock everywhere dialed a 1-800 number to connect to an AS-400 server in New Jersey and dump their UPS pickup data.

I was working for UPS at the time, and helped them move towards doing things on the internet. Sadly, I was a mere contractor and didn't become an instant millionaire when they IPO'ed. One thing I did learn was to wear my contractor-logoed polo shirts every day in December, because they *will* throw you on a truck if not.
 
2012-12-20 02:00:55 AM
Commie plot! One world government!!!!...ok, I'll shut up. Presents to you.
 
2012-12-20 02:02:43 AM
So , santa's crew is about the same size as Haliburton?
 
2012-12-20 02:02:46 AM

GhostFish: Now let's calculate how much energy it would take to turn water into wine, or conjure bread and fish from thin air.


I have heard that it's possible to transmute metals such as iron and copper (but not necessarily lead) into gold using a particle accelerator, but the energy required to transmute even a gram of metal is off the charts (in nature it usually takes a star several times larger than our sun to create metal through fusion of hydrogen). You could probably use a similar technique to transmute hydrogen into carbon, nitrogen, etc., and then reassemble those atoms into the various molecules that make wine, but I think it's safe to assume that the energy required is just as "off the charts" as transmuting common metals into gold. Conjuring bread and fish from air would have all the same difficulties, plus the fact that you'd be assembling atoms into even more complex forms.

/why am I thinking about alchemy when I should be going to bed?
 
2012-12-20 02:04:31 AM

GhostFish: Now let's calculate how much energy it would take to turn water into wine, or conjure bread and fish from thin air.


We could just ask that dude Buddha how he did it.
 
2012-12-20 02:11:00 AM
I heard this interview on the air. I was impressed how they worked actual numbers
 
2012-12-20 02:25:16 AM

anfrind: GhostFish: Now let's calculate how much energy it would take to turn water into wine, or conjure bread and fish from thin air.

I have heard that it's possible to transmute metals such as iron and copper (but not necessarily lead) into gold using a particle accelerator, but the energy required to transmute even a gram of metal is off the charts (in nature it usually takes a star several times larger than our sun to create metal through fusion of hydrogen). You could probably use a similar technique to transmute hydrogen into carbon, nitrogen, etc., and then reassemble those atoms into the various molecules that make wine, but I think it's safe to assume that the energy required is just as "off the charts" as transmuting common metals into gold. Conjuring bread and fish from air would have all the same difficulties, plus the fact that you'd be assembling atoms into even more complex forms.

/why am I thinking about alchemy when I should be going to bed?


It's funny. The resurrection trick is small potatoes by comparison.
 
2012-12-20 02:26:19 AM
anfrind:

GhostFish: Now let's calculate how much energy it would take to turn water into wine, or conjure bread and fish from thin air.

I have heard that it's possible to transmute metals such as iron and copper (but not necessarily lead) into gold using a particle accelerator, but the energy required to transmute even a gram of metal is off the charts (in nature it usually takes a star several times larger than our sun to create metal through fusion of hydrogen). You could probably use a similar technique to transmute hydrogen into carbon, nitrogen, etc., and then reassemble those atoms into the various molecules that make wine, but I think it's safe to assume that the energy required is just as "off the charts" as transmuting common metals into gold. Conjuring bread and fish from air would have all the same difficulties, plus the fact that you'd be assembling atoms into even more complex forms.

/why am I thinking about alchemy when I should be going to bed?


You should probably be going to bed, but...

Actually, lead naturally transmutes into gold. Wait a while longer, and the gold will transmute into something lighter. Anything with a higher atomic number than iron will, if you wait long enough, drop a few protons.

Iron's actually at a sweet spot in the periodic table. It doesn't transmute into anything without a lot of coercing.
 
2012-12-20 02:29:54 AM
www.chooseomatic.com

GOOD NEWS, everyone!
 
2012-12-20 02:32:29 AM
12 million employees?
 
Well, this is obvious then.... Obama needs to make Santa come true.... imagine it, 12 million new jobs, and we all get something we wanted for free once a year!
 
I mean, why not, the GOP accuses Obama of winning because he "gives stuff" to people... might as well live up to it.
 
2012-12-20 02:38:15 AM

dletter: 12 million employees?

Well, this is obvious then.... Obama needs to make Santa come true.... imagine it, 12 million new jobs, and we all get something we wanted for free once a year!

I mean, why not, the GOP accuses Obama of winning because he "gives stuff" to people... might as well live up to it.


Really? you're asking Santa to outsource his jobs to US citizens? No enough mexicans coming in from down south? now you want 12 million elves sneaking across from Canada too?
 
2012-12-20 02:41:03 AM
I find this story hilarious mostly because it seems they just made up numbers as a way of saying, "It would take a lot of farking people to pull this off."

Also, it took TWO people to make this graphic:
www.npr.org

/hot
 
2012-12-20 02:50:53 AM

Precision Boobery: Does it cover the cost of 24-hour covert surveillance on little boys and girls?


He contracted that to Lower Merion School District and they're doing it for a nominal $1 as long as they can sell the personal data for commercial purposes.
 
2012-12-20 02:52:32 AM

maxheck: anfrind:

GhostFish: Now let's calculate how much energy it would take to turn water into wine, or conjure bread and fish from thin air.

I have heard that it's possible to transmute metals such as iron and copper (but not necessarily lead) into gold using a particle accelerator, but the energy required to transmute even a gram of metal is off the charts (in nature it usually takes a star several times larger than our sun to create metal through fusion of hydrogen). You could probably use a similar technique to transmute hydrogen into carbon, nitrogen, etc., and then reassemble those atoms into the various molecules that make wine, but I think it's safe to assume that the energy required is just as "off the charts" as transmuting common metals into gold. Conjuring bread and fish from air would have all the same difficulties, plus the fact that you'd be assembling atoms into even more complex forms.

/why am I thinking about alchemy when I should be going to bed?

You should probably be going to bed, but...

Actually, lead naturally transmutes into gold. Wait a while longer, and the gold will transmute into something lighter. Anything with a higher atomic number than iron will, if you wait long enough, drop a few protons.

Iron's actually at a sweet spot in the periodic table. It doesn't transmute into anything without a lot of coercing.


What, you have to threaten to beat up its wife and turn its kids gay?
 
2012-12-20 02:58:15 AM
Stupid article...
 
everyone knows the elves aren't a workforce, they're slave labor! They even have to pick the cotton they stuff into each doll!
 
2012-12-20 03:41:47 AM

FirstNationalBastard: Stupid article...

everyone knows the elves aren't a workforce, they're slave labor! They even have to pick the cotton they stuff into each doll!


img35.imageshack.us
 
2012-12-20 07:19:50 AM
Gyrfalcon:

maxheck: anfrind:

GhostFish: Now let's calculate how much energy it would take to turn water into wine, or conjure bread and fish from thin air.

I have heard that it's possible to transmute metals such as iron and copper (but not necessarily lead) into gold using a particle accelerator, but the energy required to transmute even a gram of metal is off the charts (in nature it usually takes a star several times larger than our sun to create metal through fusion of hydrogen). You could probably use a similar technique to transmute hydrogen into carbon, nitrogen, etc., and then reassemble those atoms into the various molecules that make wine, but I think it's safe to assume that the energy required is just as "off the charts" as transmuting common metals into gold. Conjuring bread and fish from air would have all the same difficulties, plus the fact that you'd be assembling atoms into even more complex forms.

/why am I thinking about alchemy when I should be going to bed?

You should probably be going to bed, but...

Actually, lead naturally transmutes into gold. Wait a while longer, and the gold will transmute into something lighter. Anything with a higher atomic number than iron will, if you wait long enough, drop a few protons.

Iron's actually at a sweet spot in the periodic table. It doesn't transmute into anything without a lot of coercing.

What, you have to threaten to beat up its wife and turn its kids gay?


And here nuclear physicists kept beating it up with neutrons when they could have taken the easier route!
Seriously though... If you want something to last for the rest of the universe's lifespan, make it out of iron and shoot it off into space where it won't rust. Unlike every heavier element, it's not going to spontaneously decay.
 
2012-12-20 07:20:54 AM
I wish more news stories would end with 'magic'
 
2012-12-20 07:37:01 AM
I cant picture Santa as a company because that would make him evil
 
2012-12-20 07:54:27 AM
Any reference to Santa services that fail to account for magic are factually inaccurate.
 
2012-12-20 08:27:42 AM

Onkel Buck: I cant picture Santa as a company because that would make him evil



Krampus is trying to take over the organization.
 
2012-12-20 09:41:48 AM

anfrind: 760 million pounds of cargo isn't unrealistic if you assume Santa's sleigh looks something like this:


Thats all under the presumption that there is only one sliegh and reindeer team.
There are actually several, set up regionaly with multiple supply depots.
 
2012-12-20 10:11:25 AM
RedEx?
 
2012-12-20 10:23:16 AM
Santa's Bag of Holding is an insanely valuable magical item. Capable of 1,000,000 ft^3 and only weighs a pound. Every adventurer on the planet would kill Santa for that piece of legendary loot.
 
2012-12-20 10:31:49 AM

EvilEgg: If you are going to assume Santa's sleigh can carry 1.6 million pounds why not assume it can carry 760 million?


Because that would be silly. Duh.
 
2012-12-20 10:36:42 AM
Linkthe physics of santa claus
 
2012-12-20 10:37:52 AM
i always screw this link thing up

http://www.jumbojoke.com/physics_of_santa_claus.html
 
2012-12-20 10:57:13 AM
Other things to consider.. there are many Santa's all over the world. Santa clause here in the US, Father christmas, cinterklaus, Hogfather. Culteral ignorance, and a little bigotry, makes people assume its the same guy, and other communities just apply thier own name to him.

Nope, all differnt guys, kinda like regional managers really.
 
2012-12-20 11:38:48 AM
Just leverage the minimum amount of cash, buy the minimum amount of shares to take over Santa Co., then sell off the assets for the maximum monetization. Oh sorry, were these Bain case study problems?
 
2012-12-20 01:06:53 PM
I prefer this old chestnut:
 
 
Santa Claus: An Engineers Perspective
 
I. There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau).
 
At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per house hold, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.
 
II. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house.
 
Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second --- 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.
 
III. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them--- Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).
 
IV. 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance --- this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake.
 
The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.
 
Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accellerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.
 
Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.
 
 
2012-12-20 01:09:48 PM

maxheck: Fun fact du jour:

If someone had asked you in the late '90s who had the biggest dial-up network in the world, you'd probably think AOL. You'd be off by a couple orders of magnitude.

Every day as 5:00pm washed over the planet, every loading dock everywhere dialed a 1-800 number to connect to an AS-400 server in New Jersey and dump their UPS pickup data.

I was working for UPS at the time, and helped them move towards doing things on the internet. Sadly, I was a mere contractor and didn't become an instant millionaire when they IPO'ed. One thing I did learn was to wear my contractor-logoed polo shirts every day in December, because they *will* throw you on a truck if not.


UPS was a may still be the largest user of the cell network in the world, those delivery boards are basically over sized smart phones.
 
2012-12-20 04:27:30 PM
That number is fairly inaccurate... let's take a look at an alternative way to see what Santa would have to do... (yes Math farkers, I know this isn't perfect, but humor me for Christmas will you?)

1. "Christmas" is celebrated by Christians That's 2,331,509,000 of the 6.9 Billion people in the world.
2. Of those Christians... How many are children? I couldn't find a good number, so let's make an assumption (not a great one). Child is defined as 12 or under. The average age of death is 78. If this was an even distribution (it isn't) that would mean that 12/78 (roughly 15%) of the Christian population would be considered a child. What's left with that figure? 358,693,692
3. Of those 358,693,692 children, how many are "good"? That's hard to define, but let's try.

a. Doing well with schoolwork would be considered a good indicator of how "good" a kid is. While there are kids who don't do well in school who are good, there are also smart kids who are bad. We'll assume they cancel each other out and say that grades mean that (on a 20% distributed bell curve), only 40% would be considered "good" by a school system. We're down to 143,477,476 kids now.
b. How many regularly attend church? Again, not a great indicator, but a "good" Christian kid should probably attend church a least once in a while. Some random internet stats say that 28% of people haven't attended church in the last 6 months... let's knock them out... 103,303,783
c. It's getting harder, but let's do this... 6.6% of the U.S. population will serve time in a prison during their lifetime (ouch)... let's assume they were bad kids too. 96,485,733
d. Santa is a charitable guy, and those kids should be too... turns out 75% of kids in a survey donated to charity, so let's knock out the other 25%. 72,364,300
e. Good kids need to make their bed. Turns out only about 71% of us do that... 51,378,653
f. Good kids should eat their fruits and vegetables...only about 32.5% of us get enough fruits and 26.3% of us enough vegetables, so let's double whammy this number (yes, bad math, I know). 4,391,590
g. Brush their teeth. Turns out 2/3 of us don't do it right... 1,463,863
h. Go to bed on time. Only about 1/3 of us get enough sleep. 487,954
i. Do their own homework. Turns out a lot of you do your kid's homework (46%)... naughty for you and naughty for them. 263,495
j. Good kids don't cheat in school either... Turns out up to 85% will have cheated by the time they graduate. 39,524
k. This article covers how many kids do chores (71.9%) and how many are whiny and think they have it harder than their parents (37.3% -using the higher number) 17,818
l. 44% of children don't believe in Santa. 9,978
m. 70% of kids watch too much TV. 2,993
n. 75% of kids don't get enough exercise...748

Even though I've gotten it down to 748, this number is still too high. There's a ton of other measurements and some of these areas probably overlap.

That being said.. this is only about 1 present every two minutes for Santa to deliver over a 24 hour period. With his magic sleigh, 8 tiny reindeer, and Rudolph... it's probably a breeze.
 
2012-12-20 05:10:03 PM

Gabrielmot: That number is fairly inaccurate... let's take a look at an alternative way to see what Santa would have to do... (yes Math farkers, I know this isn't perfect, but humor me for Christmas will you?)

1. "Christmas" is celebrated by Christians That's 2,331,509,000 of the 6.9 Billion people in the world.
2. Of those Christians... How many are children? I couldn't find a good number, so let's make an assumption (not a great one). Child is defined as 12 or under. The average age of death is 78. If this was an even distribution (it isn't) that would mean that 12/78 (roughly 15%) of the Christian population would be considered a child. What's left with that figure? 358,693,692
3. Of those 358,693,692 children, how many are "good"? That's hard to define, but let's try.

a. Doing well with schoolwork would be considered a good indicator of how "good" a kid is. While there are kids who don't do well in school who are good, there are also smart kids who are bad. We'll assume they cancel each other out and say that grades mean that (on a 20% distributed bell curve), only 40% would be considered "good" by a school system. We're down to 143,477,476 kids now.
b. How many regularly attend church? Again, not a great indicator, but a "good" Christian kid should probably attend church a least once in a while. Some random internet stats say that 28% of people haven't attended church in the last 6 months... let's knock them out... 103,303,783
c. It's getting harder, but let's do this... 6.6% of the U.S. population will serve time in a prison during their lifetime (ouch)... let's assume they were bad kids too. 96,485,733
d. Santa is a charitable guy, and those kids should be too... turns out 75% of kids in a survey donated to charity, so let's knock out the other 25%. 72,364,300
e. Good kids need to make their bed. Turns out only about 71% of us do that... 51,378,653
f. Good kids should eat their fruits and vegetables...only about 32.5% of us get enough fruits and 26.3% of us enough vege ...


redistribute that number a little...

presume that everyone on this list is a separate guy responsible for his on particular geographic and cultural region. as in the Santa Claus in the US is differnt guy from Father Christmas in the UK, papa Noel in Latin America, etc, etc etc...

with this in mind, the effort is redistributed amongst many.. Santa's. could you readjust your numbers please? maffs are hard
 
2012-12-20 05:11:29 PM
 
2012-12-20 08:28:53 PM
Everyone buys shiat from Walmart. Santa's organization needs to be the size of Walmart.

/where's my Ignoble prize?
 
2012-12-20 10:25:00 PM
Here, if interested, is a "what would it cost" story from 1968, the oldest I could find ($600, BTW):

Link
 
2012-12-21 12:10:28 AM

GrizzledVeteran: Here, if interested, is a "what would it cost" story from 1968, the oldest I could find ($600, BTW):

Link


Why does a London story use USD?
 
2012-12-21 12:48:22 AM

Gabrielmot: That number is fairly inaccurate... let's take a look at an alternative way to see what Santa would have to do... (yes Math farkers, I know this isn't perfect, but humor me for Christmas will you?)

(snip)

That is strangely reminiscent of the Drake equation.
 
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