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Christmas Cheer

Is There A Santa Claus? 129

Posted by Cliff
from the old-seasonal-favorites dept.
d_force asks: "Is there a Santa Claus? - an oldie but favorite during the holidays. =)" It was done back in 1991 and attempts to address the question scientifically. It's a humorous look at jolly old St. Nick, but I'm wondering if you readers out there can come up with something better. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, a joyous Kwanzaa and Eid Mubarak: Seasons greetings to you all and Peace and Good Will to You and Yours. (michael: And have a happy Atheist-Children-Get-Presents Day, too.)
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Is There A Santa Claus?

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  • by Chacham (981)

    Who said Santa is one man anyway? There's at least one Santa for every hundred stores. That would bring down the amount of visits considerably, per santa. Besides, look at all the places that do their own delivery. I'd bet Santa hires UPS or the like just to ease the load.

  • I never have mod points to give out when they're truly deserved.
  • Atheist children celebrate the New Year's eve

    Do they? Why? The origins of New Year celebration are thoroughly pagan, which most Atheists seem to have forgotten is as much anathema to them as Christianity, Islam or Judaism.

    ...and a bit of chronology, just to stir the pot: 25Dec is definitely not associated with the birth of Jesus Christ, since any shepherd watching their flocks by night would be watching them die of hypothermia and certainly wouldn't be seated on the cold ground (although, given that the hypothetical shepherd is stupid enough to freeze his lamb chops before butchering, he may also be stupid enough to not know that his rear was going cryogenic).

    However, after a bit of close reading of a certain large collection of texts containing frighteningly accurate history and prophecy, you will discover that Jesus Christ was born on or about 29Sep. Backtracking 40 weeks to conception (argue about the suitability of that word on your own time) gives about 22Dec (depends on leap years, and 40 weeks is approximate), close to the winter solstice and only a few days away from most retailers' reason for living.
  • Soemtime in the 200-400 AD range (don't remember), a Christian convert Emperor of the Roman Empire wanted to spread Christianity

    The emperor Constantine was not a Christian in the sense of one who believed in the historical Jesus Christ as the son of God. His Christianity was mostly political in nature (he captured the hearts and minds, or at least votes, of the growing Christian segement of his community, plus a many others who thought that the persecution of Christians had gone on for long enough). For example, he ``converted'' and ``baptised'' his entire army by the economical expedient of marching them through a river and pronouncing them Christians.

    In 321AD, the emperor Constantine ordained that Sunday (Dies Solaris) should be the weekly day of rest (his next directive organised effective soothsaying in regard to lightning-struck buildings). All atheists take note: you can snub both Christian and Pagan traditions at once by working on Sundays. His mum Helen is also responsible for the mis-identification of countless ancient artefacts, most notably Mount Sinai, which is actually in Saudi Arabia - find it on maps under the name ``Jebel el Laws.''

    so led the combination of the Roman Sun celebration (right after the Winter Solstice (sic?)) with Jesus' "birthday"

    You're absolutely right, but Christmas was only one of many casualties of his reign.
  • of course he exists...he brought me lincoln logs this year.

    mind you, his handwriting looks suspiciously like my mother's...but so long as he keeps bringing the loot, who cares what his penmanship looks like.
  • The biggest flaw in this whole document is that the 378 million Christian children are evenly distributed across the earth. Only what, 40% of Earth's surface is land, and only 10% of that is habitable. Even so, Santa has manipulated society so that as the population has grown it actually becomes more centrally located (i.e. cities). Also, his job is made easier by the fact that the Christian cities themselves are clumped together. Therefore, Santa only has to go about 20m between each house in suburbia (less for apartments) in each millisecond. Luckily, with constant acceleration between major cities, this time is relatively short compared to the large number of short hops between each house.
  • Can you imagine a world without Trees ?
    Or a world without water ?
    a world without Cellphones ?
    Or how about a world world in darkness ?

    Can there be a world without Hope ?
    Or a world without GOD ?
    Wouldn't people just get crushed ?
    That they know we are all in 'The Matrix' ?

    Shhh... don't even think about it,
    Santa is the best kept secret in this world,
    on which hopes depend on..
    bringing gifts to kids.. and sanity to older folks.

    long live santa... and my gift list.

  • I think they must have been cooking the presents.

    ~My favorite christmas memory was when my 90-year-old grandmother gave me a meat cleaver. Gift-wrapped and everything. I was 10.

    Everybody got a different kitchen utensil that year. Unfortunately, my mom wouldn't let me keep my present.

    domc
  • I like it when those miniature twins sing to make Mithra come and fight Godzilla....
  • So, your email server being down in secondary. This just makes you a dumb ass.

    LK
  • Thats what it was.. It's long sence been mutated into a Christan holiday... ohh But more recently it mutated again...
    Now it's a capitalist holiday...
    You really think pagans of long ago had to deal with "Only 365 shopping days left..."....

    And the most holy of days are December 23 where shoppers scramble at the last second to buy whatever crap is left on the shelfs at inflated prices and December 26 when everyone takes stuff BACK...
    December 23 is all about supply and demand.. once the gifts are down to a few people will pay anything for anything,...
    December 26 is the reminder of quality service and costummer care.. You should do your best to make sure the costummer gets the gift right (correct size etc) or the costumer takes the gift back.

    24 is abount patence... 25 is about GIVING.. (thats presevred) and the rest of the month is about human madness.... and accually the holiday spreads accrost the year.. the other 11 months are about planning ahead for next year....
  • The Jewish aren't christan and don't celibrate Christmass...
    your right.. why would someone inslaved.. and nearly killed off.. want anything to do with freedom?
    But don't confuse the two groups just becouse one uses the other as it's base...
    I firmly believe if Christ were walking the earth today and saw what was done in his name he'd be very very ill...

    The christan religion preaches against such deeds... but far to many "folowers" are frauds...
  • >Can you imagine a world without Trees ?
    Air.. need air.. can't breath....

    >Or a world without water ?
    I'm thursty....
    >a world without Cellphones ?
    This is Santa we are talking about... not Satan :)
    >Or how about a world world in darkness ?
    Yeah.. it's called being blind (I'm not... I have 20/20 vision... and I'm greatful for it)
    >Can there be a world without Hope ?
    I have days, and weeks like that... some people have LIFES like that... I'm lucky I guess :)
    >Or a world without GOD ?
    Mathmaticly it's posable...
    But thinking about it makes my brain hurt..
    The question for me is not "is there a god" but "whos god" and I come to the conclusion that we are all wrong and that God really dosn't need folowers... Just an occasional messanger...
    >Wouldn't people just get crushed ?
    Mathmaticly speaking.. no
    >That they know we are all in 'The Matrix' ?

    We are all batterys...... Well you know occasionally in the morning the sky flickers like a monitor.. (optic effect... I don't know what causes this... But it sure dose look like a digital cage...)
  • Ahh your a talk show host...
  • Why are you watching TV on Christmas day?
    They air crap becouse nobody watches and it would look bad to investors to just shut down for the day....
  • I'm dead sereous... check [sluggy.com] for yourself
    And behold [sluggy.com] the true face of santa..
  • Anything that isn't exactly like my mirror image is pathetic..
    Excluding wemen.. wemen aren't pathetic :)
    But everyone else who isn't exactly like me is..

    and if I really belived that... then I truely would be pathetic..
  • Here's a response to this article that my brother wrote on some BBS many moons ago:

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/menu/student_media/MAG-NET/Ch ristmas/santa2.html [uea.ac.uk]

    Thank you, quantum physics.
  • "Oh tidings of discomfort and joy, discomfort and joy, O-oh tidings of discomfort and joy!"

    --
  • Are you new to Unix? It all depends on the shell. Might even be his own shell (fosh? :) since he never stated which...
  • did these guys ACTUALLY do calculations of the forces and everything? some of this sounds really off. have any of you guys done the calculations? not that it really matters...

  • When I was a small child, I believed in Santa Claus -- no questions. He was magic. (He is an elf, after all.) This is phase 1.

    When I grew up a bit (and became a smart ass), I figured much of those numbers and realized Santa must fly near the speed of light to get it all done. At this time, I also realized Rudolph was retired in favor of radar, FLIR and GPS. This is phase 2.

    When I grew up more, I realized the "truth", that there was no Santa Claus. Phase 3.

    Now, married with children, I know the real truth. Santa only delivers presents to children who have been good ALL YEAR LONG! On a good year, this narrows it down to 2 or 3 kids worldwide. On a slow year, he only has to make stops in hospitals for kids who've been in a coma for a whole year! This is the final phase.

    P.S. -- Check it out. Santa owns a good chunk of FedEx and UPS. The sleigh is only for promotional events!
  • P.S. I'm not a coward..my email server is down

    i'm not sure i understand how this prevents you from logging in to /.?

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • i guess you are assuming batman perez is an american.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • Whatever happened to Spy Magazine? They had some funny articles. :)

    siri

  • I've had it on my site [getyourassingear.com] since about 1993. I remember finding a rebuttal, but I didn't post it back then, so it's long lost.
    --
  • That's what the holiday needs...so we wrote one, a year ago, available here! [unquietmind.com]

    Enjoy.

  • I redid them, converting to SI units, probably with some random mistakes of my own thrown in. This came up during the poll (Tis the season to...). Anyway, here's a link [slashdot.org]. And I didn't have to look up a single formula, then again, I've been studying for my AP Physics (C) midterm.
  • CHRIST:Jewish. CHRISTMAS:Christs birthday.
    Right, but the Jews don't recognize Jesus as the son of God and they don't celebrate Christmas. They celebrate Hannukah which isn't really related to Christmas. On top of that Christmas isn't really Christ's birthday. The day was originally a pagan holiday but the Pope moved the celebration of Christ's birthday to the same day as the pagan holiday to help with the acceptance of Christianity. Jesus' birthday was actually several months away from the date of Christmas that we celebrate today.
  • "Not some ancient festival devised in a country which values neither freedom, or individuality." Would that be Israel..where CHRIST was born?
    Let's see. Israel: Jewish. Christmas: Christian holiday (not Jewish!) Try again AC.
  • Don't you mean sapient life? Sentience (feeling) does not imply sapience (thinking).

  • Actually, someone has written a very good book entitled The Physics of Christmas [barnesandnoble.com] which describes, among other things, how Santa could use warp technology to have all of the time he needs and move at whatever speed is required without vaporizing himself in the process. You can read a quick summary of some of the ideas here [nytimes.com].
  • Of the dyslexic child on Christmas, waiting for Satan to come down the chimney...
    Take a look at this comic:
    http://www.downtoearthcomic.com/d/20001222.html [downtoearthcomic.com]
  • what am I going to get Person X? What about Person Y?
    Mostly, I see alot of "What is Person X going to get for me? What about Person Y?
  • Dude, just google for "science jokes", press "I'm feeling lucky" and go to the physics proofs section (2.8) on the page that comes up. There are a lot of hilarious refutes to that proof too, including the quantum mechanical interpretation of Santa. That took me 30 seconds to find.

  • Festiva?

    Don't you mean Festivus for the rest'v Us!

  • Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, a joyous Kwanzaa and Eid Mubarak: Seasons greetings to you all and Peace and Good Will to You and Yours. (michael: And have a happy Atheist-Children-Get-Presents Day, too.)

    And Festivus for the rest'v Us?

  • Soemtime in the 200-400 AD range (don't remember), a Christian convert Emperor of the Roman Empire wanted to spread Christianity and so led the combination of the Roman Sun celebration (right after the Winter Solstice (sic?)) with Jesus' "birthday". Hence the formation of the holiday known today as Christmas.

    To be more precise, this religion is called Mithraism, and it was the most wide-spread religion among Roman soldiers before emperor Constantine instituted the Christian faith, and thus signed the death warrant to Mithraism. The religion of Mithra comes from ancient Persia, and is a monotheistic religion based on assumption that Mithra is the Sun-god.

    To make a transition from Mithraism to Christianity more smooth, Constantine borrowed a lot of things from the Sun-god religion. Thus, Mithra's birthday, December 25th, was instituted as Jesus of Nazareth's birthday, and the Mithraist holy day, SUNday, was made the Christian holy day, which was an outrage in itself, since it contradicted one of the commandments about keeping the Sixth's day (Sabbath) the holy day.

    Nevertheless, these changes were adopted by Christianity and Mithraism was later in the 4th century nearly wiped out by repressive actions of Theodosius.

    And this, kids, is why we celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December.. :)

  • Atheist children celebrate the New Year's eve, so it's 6 more days. :) At least Russian atheist children.

    Also, an Eastern Orthodox Christian Christmas is on the 7th of January, since there was no way in hell they were switching to a gregorian calendar, instituted by some Pope guy. :)))

    So, now Russians celebrate Catholic Christmas on the 25th (sorta), then New Year's eve on the 31st (the big one), then Orthodox Christmas on the 7th of January (pushed by the 'back-to the roots' pro-orthodox circles), and the "Old New Year" on the 13th, since it's the 1st by the old style calendar.

    Overall, Russians start celebrating on the 25th and go on till the 13th. If you want any work done, you need to make sure it's either before or after that span. :)

  • Any "ism" is pathetic, unless you happen to be the follower of that particular "ism". That's called subjectivity and personal bias. Everyone has it, even those who deny that they are biased against anything.

  • Looks like someone finally did something about that big red guy that breaks into everyone's homes:

    http://www.attrition.org/gallery/other/xmas/noxmas .jpg [attrition.org]

  • Who am I to say now that no such "Santa Claus" ever existed? I don't know the names of every human being ever to have lived. I don't know that mythological gods and goddesses existed or not, either. Such a thing can never be proven.

    But that's not the point. A man referred to as "Saint Nicholas" certainly existed about 1600 years ago (roughly), and I'm sure a Kris Kringle and his many other aliases existed as well. Perhaps, then, the question should not be whether or not Santa Claus exists, but how the hell he's acquired so many names!? I mean com'on, even Superman only has one "secret" identity.

  • Maybe grep command history for bad || good instead© Very good otherwise!
  • I remember when I was six and I woke up to the sound of pots and pans clanging. Turns out my folks were cleaning up after they wrapped all the presents. Twas a sad realization that there was no such thing as Santa Claus, since it was always fun to sit on the fat guys lap and honk his nose.

    NAS
  • This study is full of errors!
    The author hasn't accounted for all the Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Norweigian children actually get to meet Santa Claus!
    He comes on Christmas Eve and gives them presents in person.
    He thinks American children are to fat and smelly so he doesn't tries to avoid them. He sneak in at night hoping the little brats won't wake up.
  • blah blah chirstmas, blah blah pagan
    Boy you sure are smart for posting something EVERYBODY knows. Are you such a insecure person that you must show how"intellectual" you are by posting this?
    We have a festival you mention, It's called the 4th of July! perhaps you've heard of it?
    it is not a rehash.Chistmas was blantently put there so the Church could focus the pagans toward there belief.
  • When I was a young child, I believed in Santa. As I became "wiser" and "smarter" I thought He as a lie created by our parents. As I became more cynical I thought he was a creation of corporations to shove merchendise down our throats.
    But recently I was thinking "What is Santa?" well, santa is the bringer of Joy. Children Find joy in a new tow, or even the box the toy came in.
    When my 2 year old son opened a present and said "WOW!" with a big smile on his face and his eyes twinkling, It occurred to me, yes there is a Santa, and he just gave me the best in the world!
  • The criminal mastermind "Godfather Christmas" (alias "Santa Clause" alias "Kris Kringle" alias "Saint Nick") was arested the night of the 24th during a home invasion robery. He had boken into the house through the chimney and after eating a some of the homeowner's food (posibly cookies and milk) he was discovered heading toward the presents under the tree with a large sack, obviously intending to steal them.

    Mr. Kringle was also charged with several violations of the endangered species act when it was found that he had several reindeer chained to a sleigh. Further proof of abuse was found when opon the examination of the reindeer the lead one was found to have a nose reddened by infection.

    There is also an ongoing investigation into aligations of the stalking of children. By his own admission he saw them when they are sleeping and knew when they were awake. The police found a list of names on Mr. Kringle's person and will be checking and rechecking the list for posible witnesses. Mr. Kringle is also under suspicion for his habit of getting children to sit on his lap by promissing them presesnts.

    Mr. Kringle is also under investigation for operating a swet shop in the far north. Investigators will check if these "elf like" workers are realy children working in violation of child labor laws.

    Mr Kringle is being held without bail pending a phychological evaluation. Other charges under consideration include smuggeling toys and flying without a pilots licence. When asked to comment why he broke into the house Mr. Kringle relied that he was there for the "good little children."

  • It's not "Atheist-Children-Get-Presents Day", it's Happy Capitalistic Market Economy Day. As such, the correct phrase is not "merry xmas", but instead it is "I hope you exceed 3rd Quarter earnings estimates". (I actually wrote that in the Kwanza card I gave out today)
  • Thanks, I'm getting old. I did not remember all of that ;-).....
  • We've trampled over the Constitution in incredible ways. That celebration is in July, however, while I have great respect for the Const., I believe our government violated it starting in 1861.

    The beauty is that, *maybe*, the new Star Wars trilogy will be instructive to most Americans who don't understand their history or how Republics become Empires.

    I believe Christmas, despite its partial pagan origins, is a much better holiday. Much more festive and real.....

    BTW, I'm mostly French, then German, then part Irish and Native American. If I recall, those French "European asses" saved ours twice! 1781 and 1812-15 (Napolean, nonetheless).
  • Go study German history 1900-45. Or various eras in Roman history. Lucas' theories are not strong social science but may be instructive to many who *don't* take the time to read real history.

    BTW, I have expereinced "living history" at War for Southern Independence re-enactments with some of those people (both sides) far up the scale on American history knowledge.
  • Jesus Christ was born in the Roman Empire. I do not believe that province was called "Israel" at the time. I believe it was Judea.
  • Pressed submit too soon. Sorry.

    BTW, there are War for Sourthern Ind. era re-enactments or campouts is a better word to duplicate the Christmas season at that time. Santa Claus was a relatively new concept and was not the main focus. The religious part of Christmas was far more important to far more Americans (%-wise) than today. These events tend to be private and small.
  • Don't know about Santa as much....seems to me, if I recall, a late 18th century or early 19th century legend.

    However, Christmas even as currently defined is a combination Christian and Pagan (and perhaps Atheist?) holiday. Jesus, best scholars know was born somewhere between 6BC and 2BC, probably in the early Spring (the shepherds would not have kept their sheep in the fields at night in December). And please don't ask me for proof, this is from memory.

    Soemtime in the 200-400 AD range (don't remember), a Christian convert Emperor of the Roman Empire wanted to spread Christianity and so led the combination of the Roman Sun celebration (right after the Winter Solstice (sic?)) with Jesus' "birthday". Hence the formation of the holiday known today as Christmas.
  • Doesn't everyone know this already? Santa Claus is a multinational corparation who subsidizes gift-giving to children's parents. Santa gives the responsibility of giving presents to the parents. C'mon, have all of you been living under a rock?
  • Technically, the meanings are:

    sentient -- endowed with consciousness or self-awareness.

    sapient -- having great insight or wisdom.

    Which do you think he meant? Usually, "sentient" is the adjective used, not "sapient", although I have heard "sapient" used before. But after looking it up on dictionary.com (and in my old-fasioned paper dictionary), I don't know why anyone would use "sapient" to describe an intelligent being.

    So, couldn't a human being be sentient or "self-aware" without being sapient? Do you need to be wise/insightful to be generous? I think he's saying you need to be sentient or self-aware to be generous (assuming you don't have an English dictionary that says something completely different).
  • You are going to have differing opinions depending on if you are older than 5 years old or not. I answer your question with: Are you younger than 5?

    Tell me what makes you so afraid
    Of all those people you say you hate

  • Not to sound like an advertisement, but my site (url below) has this story plus 2 rebuttals, one of them even has statements from scientists to help prove that Santa exists.
    D

    Mad Scientists with too much time on thier hands
  • one more...:) ojrsd.com [ojrsd.com] this one is pretty funny. :)

  • Happy Festivus!


    aztek: the ultimate man
  • Or even 88,357 tons. Blah.
  • Santa as an evil information gathering dark conspericy: "He's making a list and checking it twice.. gona find out whos naughty and nice" [and sell the information? Think those presents are free?]
    Just think of the privacy considerations!

    That's got to be a Slashdot story all by itself.
  • Santa?

    Sure I know the dude... I coded with him.

    Doesn't even use a compiler. Hex editor is all he needs. Used to code in binary, but found it wore out his keyboard too fast.

    Santa's one hoopy frood!

    Robert
  • Belive or not, I have been looking for this for a LONG time. I couldn't remeber who published it, since the last time I saw it was on a BBS. Anyway, thanks /. for posting this!


    until (succeed) try { again(); }

  • I think mstone's post is a parallel dimension event... evidenced by the paragraphs composed of only one sentence, where each includes one or more ellipsis manifested in a slightly different manner than in this dimension: ". ." rather than "..."
    ________________________________________________ __
  • Happy Festiva!!
  • by Aldurn (187315)
    This was actually posted in the poll (Read Here [slashdot.org].) Seeing as this is slashdot, you can't expect the facts in that document to go unchallenged.
  • As a parent, I will anonymously step forward and end this hoax now.

    My wife and I bought extra presents for our two children this year. After coaxing them to sleep with the usual stories and bedtime reading of "The Night Before Christmas", we checked on them to make sure they were really asleep, took out the extra presents (a radio-controlled Rockenbock construction set - very cool, and a set of the Bandai 6" Sailor Moon action figures; it's GREAT to have a daughter that's into Anime, she's only 4), then we filled the stockings with chocolates, pez dispensers, toothbrushes, etc, and set up the toys by the tree. The Rockenbock set took 2 hours in the dark. (they work with Lego! VERY cool!), I put the finishing touches on the fireplace, by opening the screen and spilling some ashes out onto the hearth, making it look like a clumsy elf had accidentally kicked some out whilst carrying his load.

    I then ate the cookies and carrots, and wife and I went upstairs to bed for some Christmas Eve nookie. (by then it was 2am).

    Next morning, our son woke up, and was amazed at how Santa had assembled the Rockenbock - and had remembered without writing it down. He said he remembers waking up in the middle of the night hearing some snapping noises coming from the living room, but didn't get out of bed. Now THERE'S blind obedience to a myth of authority. He heard Santa, and KNEW that if he got out of bed, he'd blow everything.

    I often wonder about the morality of this whole thing. I mean, when (not if) my kids learn "the awful truth", will it teach them that they can't trust their parents? Will it teach them that the authority they respected was not really there? Will it make them secure in the bathroom that there isn't a bearded old man peering into his crystal ball and seeing their pee pee? I mean, if Santa isn't real, what about this whole Baby Jesus thing, and God? Can they believe anything?

    I got a telescope for Christmas, and for the FIRST time in my geek life, I saw, first hand, with my own two eyes (well, actually, only the right one), Jupiter's moons, and I saw what Galileo saw 400 years ago, that the universe does not orbit around the Earth, as the authorities of the day had everyone believing, and that though I had taken for granted what people had told me about Jupiter's moons, SEEING them really made a big difference. Seeing Jupiter as something other than a bright point of light in the sky made a big difference. I got my son out of bed last night, and had him look, and as he looked (and spotted one of the moons I missed), I wondered if he really knew, and was playing along for my sake, or how he'd react if he ever learned the awful truth.

    Then I realized, I don't remember when I found out that there was no Santa. The Hoax was a family tradition when I was growing up. There was no trauma, no distrust of authority that I didn't learn much later in life, (which I hope I can pass on to my kids). But I do remember, one Christmas, laying in bed on my Uncle's farm in Iowa, hearing what later turned out to be the grown ups outside, with a set of jingle bells, and a ladder, risking their lives to walk across an icy sloped roof, ringing the bells, all to perpetuate this hoax, and I can remember the exitement I felt, and the fun the next morning.

    Our brains tell us that that spot in the retina of our eyes that doesn't contain rods or cones, is actually seeing. Our entire existence is built from sensory data, massaged into a plausible reality by our brains. And it continues on to higher levels. Believing a beautiful lie is often an integral part of being alive.
  • Well Santa always lives in North Pole...
    When in the end he will open his South Pole branch? The place is as cold as the North, it is much wider, so he can build huge warehouses. It's much more peaceful. No matter he expeditions, Santa does not have to trouble with thousands of airplanes flying around. The place is still living many remains of Cold War. Even NORAD follows him up by the second... (Hope they never miss him for something else). And how many tourists, expeditions, aventurers wlak around?

    Going to South Pole may help him a lot. Specially on automatising his work. That place is filled with thousands of free OS stuff, btw...
  • You've always been the pedantic fuck who nobody else wanted to sit by, haven't you?

    Just the women, that's why you haven't seen many posts by me recently.

    LK
  • what about voodoo day?! i'm tired of being left out! why can't anyone wish my a happy voodoo day? i can't even get anyone to help me bleed this chicken!
  • Hang on a sec here. The earth is a sphere. Ok, not really a sphere, but it is pretty ball shaped. So the paths from house to house are going to be curved. Especially ocean crossing ones. So shouldn't Santa's sleigh travel upside down to prevent him from being flung into deep space as well as being crushed to jelly and vaporised?

    Not really. At the speeds he'd supposedly be going, you can pretty much assume that Earth's gravity is irrelevant to the discussion.

    Besides, what would he be flung *by*? I thought Santa was in control of his flight?

    It'd be a good idea not to fly in a completely straight line though.

    Simon
  • Well, I'm sad enough to have done the calculations, and I think they're at least a factor of 1000 off on their estimate of the force that Santa would experience.

    Not to mention that using 'centrifugal' force in this in any way at all is just plain wrong. The only way you should be calculating it is given the time between houses, and the distance between them, what acceleration is needed. To do this, you half the time and the distance, so it gives him time to slow down without completely destroying himself. (You decelerate at the halfway point).

    Either way, when I worked it out, it was something like 51 million times normal gravity -- and about 90% the speed of light at the half-way point.

    Any scientist who uses the term 'centrifugal force' when working on anything other than (a) a washing machine, (b) a centrifuge, or (c) press releases, deserves to be beaten repeatedly with their own brain.

    Simon
  • The SF-favorite Cryptonomicon features an excellent discussion on the nature of gods, about how certain patterns of human existance repeat throughout different cultures:

    "If you think of the Greek gods as real supernatural beings who lived on Mount Olympus, no. But if you think of them as being in the same class of entities as the Root Rep [a mental representation or model of the person Enoch Root], which is to say, patterns of neurological activity that the mind uses to represent things that it sees, or thinks it sees, in the outside world, then yes. Suddenly, Greek gods can be just as interesting and relevant as real people. Why? Because, in the same way as you might encounter another person with his own Root Rep so, if you were to have a conversation with an ancient Greek person, and he started talking about Zeus, you might - once you got over your initial feelings of superiority - discover that you had some mental representations inside your own mind that, though you didn't name them Zeus and didn't think of them as a big hairy thunderbolt-hurling son of a Titan, nonetheless had been generated as a result of interactions with entities in the outside world that are the same as the ones that cause the Zeus Representation to appear in the Greek's mind. And here we could talk about the Plato's Cave thing for a while - the Veg-O-Matic of metaphors - it slices! it dices!"

    Just put Santa in the same class with Zeus.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • Growing up in NZ (the first place in the world Santa hits on his big night out) I got used to seeing the 'santa radar' on the xmas eve news .... flying up from the SOUTH pole .... I mean we just had those news reports about open water at the North Pole if that's true then he's toast and I know for certain he dropped goodies off with my kids just last night .... so either it's the South Pole .... or a scam .... you decide
  • If he's going to be breaking into your house and doesn't want to use the windows, why not just use the door? ;)
    Because that would be far too easy for a 'leet Linux user.
    ---
  • Yes, d_force, there is a Santa Claus. (Virginia?)
  • There are many misconceptions about the intelligent race commonly known as `elves.' Elves are the descendants of Adam and Eve before they ate the apple. Though they are often depicted as midgets, elves are not midgets. They are as tall as human beings, and the only apparent difference to the `man on the street' is that elves have pointier ears. However, they age 140 to 150 times slower than humans do. After going to school off-and-on between the ages of 600 and 700 years and learning several professions, they often land a job working at the North Pole Inc. warehouses around the world.

    `Santa's helpers' have incredible job security; they generally hold their jobs until age 2,000. They then work at various human jobs for 30 years each, retire, and route the pensions back through the school system and North Pole Inc. until death at around age 11,000. (Yes, like all other creatures, elves die.)

    When I questioned my adoptive parents (who happen to be my bio-grandparents) about elves and Santa Claus, I made sure that my teachers agreed that it was plausible. I stopped believing when I set up a homemade burglar alarm around the tree one Christmas in hopes that Santa would trigger it. Nothing happened. After seeing the Disney movie The Santa Clause, I began to form this alternative version of the Santa myth:

    It would be physically impossible for one Santa Claus to deliver toys to all the children in the whole world in 31 hours, even considering Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and others who do not celebrate Yule holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah (or is it Chanukah?). The current CEO and Santa Claus, named Tim Allen, has numerous helpers of both races.

    Regional North Pole offices and warehouses employ quite a few elves and one human Santa. The Santa hits the shopping malls and tabulates kids' wish lists. Elves then purchase toys in megabulk from the big manufacturers (Hasbro, Mattel, Nintendo, Sony, Tyco, etc.) with (among other income sources) the fines paid by the families of naughty juvenile delinquents, wrap up the toys, and distribute them by truck or train (the cars say North Pole Express, or `Norpolex') to other regional offices. The mall Santa then handles toy delivery in each town.

    Now isn't that a bit more plausible than what your parents probably told you?

    (Soon to be a write-up on [E2] [everything2.com].)
    Tetris on drugs, NES music, and GNOME vs. KDE Bingo [pineight.com].
  • I mean, if NORAD is tracking the big guy [noradsanta.org], you know he exists!

    Besides, it's not like the government to waste tax dollars you know *knocks on wood* :)

    --
  • Saint Nicholas actually lived and walked around, and at christmastime is said to have given money and food to prostitutes (not solicitting them, by the way). Anyways, he was a good guy, and the tradition kept building into... whatever it is today.

  • Regional North Pole offices and warehouses employ quite a few elves and one human Santa. The Santa hits the shopping malls and tabulates kids' wish lists. Elves then purchase toys in megabulk from the big manufacturers (Hasbro, Mattel, Nintendo, Sony, Tyco, etc.) with (among other income sources) the fines paid by the families of naughty juvenile delinquents, wrap up the toys, and distribute them by truck or train (the cars say North Pole Express, or `Norpolex') to other regional offices. The mall Santa then handles toy delivery in each town.

    In other news, North Pole, Inc., recently lost a lot of its market cap in the stock market when investors realized that it had a business plan like a dot-com: give stuff away and get nothing back.

    In fact, in one day, Santa's holdings in the company went from well over $12 billion dollars to a little over $35.20.

    North Pole, Inc. (listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol SNTA) is currently trading for under a dollar and is in danger of being delisted. Rumors abound that Lycos may be looking into purchasing the company.
  • I am sure that having his sled pulled by horny penguins would give him much more speed and force then some silly reindeer.

  • Yes..there are actually several rebuttals. The major one that I have would be that the reason santa lives in the north pole is that he needs to precool all of the reindeer so that they can withstand the extreme temperatures. Another rebuttal is located at tiac.net [tiac.net] and there are some more besides that as well. Another good rebuttal is located Here. [santas-factory.com] Some other points that these articles look over is that many Christian households do not believe in Santa, thus he would skip them. In fact, a huge quantity of people do not believe in him, therefore the parents buy the gifts. This causes santa to have MANY less stops.

    Some more info on santa claus is located Here [aol.com] and some radar and video coverage of last night's trip is located noradsanta.com [noradsanta.com] I think that after looking over all of this evidence, it proves that these people have absolutely no lives, and I am going to look pretty silly posting a defense for santa. :)

  • by andyh1978 (173377)
    Just had a look through the linked article, and this sentence caught my eye... I misread it at a glance.
    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.
    Oi! Lay off Queen Elizabeth, she may be part of the superfluous monarchy but she doesn't weigh 35,343 tons!

    Oh, you mean the boat.
  • This doesn't mention the kilosanta or the megasanta, which makes Santa possible. Now this one [zophar.net] does.
  • In the page [ctnews3d.com] referenced in the previous story [slashdot.org], you can see a very interesting photo if you scroll down to the bottom.

    You can see it here [ctnews3d.com].

    This explains the reason what there is now no Santa. It is a very good reason.

    ;-)

  • The US government just categorically denied the existence of Santa Clause. http://www.salon.com/people/feature/2000/12/22/san ta/index.html
  • by jafac (1449) on Tuesday December 26, 2000 @11:12AM (#540548) Homepage
    Penguins only recently gained the ability to run two per sleigh. A bit later, 4-way sleighs were added, but still can't do 8-way sleighs.
  • by jd (1658) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .kapimi.> on Monday December 25, 2000 @10:36AM (#540549) Homepage Journal
    This is a difficult question, which should really be broken down into a number of sub-questions:

    1. What defines "Santa"?
    2. What deliniates "exist"?
    3. Who Is CowboyNeil?

    Let's take these one at a time.

    1) What defines "Santa"?

    If "Santa" is that which gives presents at Christmas, then every parent and child is "Santa".

    If "Santa" must be an individual, then St Nick, Robin Hood, etc, must all be candidates.

    2) What deliniates "exists"?

    If Santa is a concept of goodwill, and that concept exists, then Santa must exist.

  • by Felinoid (16872) on Monday December 25, 2000 @11:39AM (#540550) Homepage Journal
    Santa as a mem: The idea of good will past down from generation to generation vea a holiday
    Santa as a religious icon: Saint Nick...
    Santa as a pagan god [cswnet.com]: "But very few people realize that history clearly shows that Woden was renamed St. Nick or Santa Claus,"
    Santa as a spelling error: Could it be Satan?
    Santa as a perl module: Santa.pm [Gives gifts to good little varables].
    Santa as a Slashdot troll: "First Gift"
    Santa as a Linux user: RedHat...
    Santa as an evil information gathering dark conspericy: "He's making a list and checking it twice.. gona find out whos naughty and nice" [and sell the information? Think those presents are free?]
  • If you want to have something to celebrate today, remember it's Isaac Newtons Birthday [clara.net]! So celebrate by hanging a red apple on your tree...
    Isaac Newton's birthday comes but once a year,

    And when it does it brings good cheer,
    For if it hadn't come at all,
    What would make the apple fall?

    --
  • by citizenc (60589) <cary.glidedesign@ca> on Monday December 25, 2000 @12:27PM (#540552) Journal
    .. is that there actually WAS a real 'Santa Claus' at one point. No flying reindeer, and he worked on a MUCH smaller scale -- that is, he made toys for the children in his town. And, while it may sound kinda cheesy, I think that the spirit of Santa lives on in everybody. Just look at how (most) of you act around the holidays -- what am I going to get Person X? What about Person Y? Generosity exists in most, if not all sentient life. Cheers.

    ------------
    CitizenC
  • by cruise (111380) on Monday December 25, 2000 @02:36PM (#540553) Homepage
    this is where the major flaw is in their calculations. Children are terribly cruel. I highly doubt that 1 good child per household is a proper base point. Perhaps we could go by the bible's 144,000 people who will be "called home" during the rapture. Considering only 10% of those people are children, this leaves us with only 14,400 stops. Add some asbestos sheilding to the reigndeer and I think he could do it. Not to mention most of those 14,400 kids are going to be in the same orphanges.


    They are a threat to free speech and must be silenced! - Andrea Chen
  • by jhines (82154) <john@jhines.org> on Monday December 25, 2000 @10:33AM (#540554) Homepage
    Santa switched to quantum mechanics a few years ago, and as long as no one observes him directly, he is everywhere at once.

    The list of "bad girls" is what keeps him so jolly.
  • by bero-rh (98815) <bero&redhat,com> on Monday December 25, 2000 @10:58AM (#540555) Homepage
    We've all seen numerous pictures [bero.org]... And since he's wearing a Red Hat(tm) in each of them, we even know what OS he's running. ;)
  • by mstone (8523) on Monday December 25, 2000 @11:22AM (#540556)
    forget the physical explanations.. Santa is a macroscopic quantum event.

    Santa is the observational manifestation of the Christmas spirit, and all the stockings by the chimney and presents under the tree are really just Schrodinger boxes that contain the superimposed waveforms of both a gift and a lump of coal. . that waveform collapses as soon as you look in the box, and since everyone knows in their heart whether they've been naughty or nice, the fact that you're expecting a particular outcome determines what the contents will be.

    this model is strengthened by the fact that Santa takes advantage of the time constraints of a relative universe:

    Santa can appear in any number of living rooms at precisely the stroke of midnight, because in a relative universe, you can't prove that the stroke of midnight happens in any two houses at exactly the same time. . each house represents an isolated frame of reference whose time scale can only be measured relative to any other frame of reference, so being able to see Santa in your own living room means that you are fundamentally unable to prove that he was anywhere else at exactly the same time.

    any connection between two frames of reference that contain Santa is subject to (at minimum) speed-of-light constraints (or more likely, putting-on-slippers- and-a-coat-and-running-next-door- yelling-hey-guess-what-i-saw- whoa-how-did-YOU- get-here constraints), so if either you or the information can get from one frame of reference to another, Santa can get there, too.

    the model is further strengthened by the fact that Santa exhibits uncertainty effects:

    you might be looking at Santa, or you might just be looking at some guy in a red suit. . the real Santa is simply the locus of minimal uncertainty (or maximal belief) that you honestly are looking at Santa. . the effect can be demonstrated with a simple thought-experiment:

    assume that you're walking down a street that has one Santa on each corner. . the position of the real Santa travels along with your point of observation.

    when you're right next to the first Santa, you can be highly confident (assuming you're an optimist) that this one really is Santa. . the one at the other corner is too far away to observe, so the locus of maximal belief occurs at the Santa closest to you.

    as you walk down the street toward the next Santa, you lose certainty that the one you just left is still the real Santa, and gain certainty that the one you're approaching is the real Santa. . at the point precisely half way between the two Santas, the locus of maximal belief is equally distributed between both. . thus, as far as you can prove from that position, either one *could* be Santa, and that's all you can say.

    as you continue to walk toward the second Santa, you become more confident that this really is the one, until you arrive at the same position as this new Santa, only to discover that this is the real one, too.

    the model works just as well for a skeptic, except that the real Santa is always the one on the *other* corner.

  • by iapetus (24050) on Monday December 25, 2000 @11:40AM (#540557) Homepage

    But of course. I thought it was a well-known fact that Santa's a Linux zealot. Why else would he enter houses through the chimney simply in order to avoid using the Windows?

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday December 25, 2000 @10:56AM (#540558) Homepage Journal
    Of the dyslexic child on Christmas, waiting for Satan to come down the chimney...
  • by fosh (106184) on Monday December 25, 2000 @10:45AM (#540559) Journal
    Don't forgett:

    better !pout !cry
    better watchout
    lpr why
    santa claus < north pole > town

    cat /etc/passwd > list
    ncheck list
    ncheck list
    cat list | grep naughty > nogiftlist
    cat list | grep nice > giftlist
    santa claus < north pole > town

    who | grep sleeping
    who | grep awake
    who | grep bad || good
    for (goodness sake) {
    be good
    }

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