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Christmas Cheer

Ho, Ho, Ho 346

neutron_p writes "Every Christmas, calculations circulate that cast doubt as to whether Santa Claus could possibly deliver gifts to all the world's good children - and still remain within the laws of physics. To deliver gifts to all who deserve them, they assert, Santa would need to move so fast that he would vaporise due to air resistance, be torn to pieces by gravitational forces or suffer other terrible fates we wouldn't wish for Santa Claus. Now a team of four top researchers looked into the case and concluded: Santa can do the job and Christmas is saved! They concluded that Santa has an ion-shield of charged particles, held together by a magnetic field to solve the heat problem and he probably travels in more than four dimensions." jgaynor writes "Inspired by an old slashdot article , I decided this year to create a 'christmas lights frontend' to our Network Management System. It came out well and has had a definite impact on response times. Videos of the results are here: WMV, AVI, REAL." Mrs. Claus writes "The NORAD Santa Tracker is up and running and ready to track the Big Guy on Christmas Eve. They've got photos of 50 years of catching Santa in the act." And if you didn't listen to the Blizzard Christmas tale we mentioned in the previous post, you're missing out.
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  • by js3 ( 319268 )
    or santa could just use human cloning and defeat the laws of physics
    • Santa is obviously a higher being and we should welcome him as our new overlord. For it is he who will defeat the machines of Skynet and their undead cohorts this Christmas. And bring the presents, too, lets not forget that.
    • Re:Clones! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fireboy1919 ( 257783 ) <.gro.llehseerf. .ta. .pytsur.> on Friday December 24, 2004 @06:54PM (#11178668) Homepage Journal
      Thousands and thousands of Santas.

      Where do they come from? The North pole river. Yeah, that's right. Each Christmas, Santas all swim upstream until reaching the North Pole. After spawning, old Santas lay eggs to produce more Santas. Along with nutrients and materials for growth, these Santa eggs also contain toys, which are molded and shaped in the egg as part of Santa's development process.

      Then on December 25th all the Santas begin swimming south in one mass migration - making a streak of red in the otherwise barren north (for this reason, the migration is often known as the yuletide).

      Flying reindeer then pick up these Santas to begin the symbiotic relationship - Santas are excellent trackers, capable of finding the incredibly rare forms of food that the reindeer can eat. In exchange, the reindeer carry the Santas to the homes of humans where they can get sustenence by eating milk and cookies.

      Most of the time, as a way of ensuring more milk and cookies, the Santas will leave behind their womb toys, or other ones created during the previous year. If frightened, however, the Santas will most often void their bowels, which thanks to a very efficient and unusual digestive system, contain a substance remarkably like coal.

      Santa is normally referred to as "he" because it is known that all Santa individuals actually comprise a single semi-intelligent collective being whose thoughts are communicated across the globe by high energy waves, and whose name is most closely pronounced "Santa" given a palate like ours. The Santa being, however, considers this word merely as a singular pronoun.

      Now you know how he does it, and what he is. Now let me tell you about the Easter Bunny...
  • Still up? (Score:4, Funny)

    by gimlix2 ( 451817 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @05:38PM (#11178300)
    Okay guys... what's up?

    Did Santa take away your Net connection or something?

    I'm pulling 115k/sec on the video downloads and 200k/sec from Blizzard's ftp site...
  • Everyone knows Santa has a time machine.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Not anymore. Dumbledore gave it to Hermione to save Sirius Black.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I saw a sad thing the other day while shopping at Wal-Mart. There was a dude in a Santa Suit sitting in a chair up front near the check-out stands, and _no one_ was paying him any attention. No mothers shoving their kids up to see Santa, nothing. He just sat there, watching the reality of it all: One goes to Wal-Mart, buys your Xmas stuff, and passes the Big Man right on by. No asking the dude if you were a good little boy or girl, and having him instantly call up your record, and relate that to your chance
  • Santa Bot (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 24, 2004 @05:39PM (#11178307)
    He knows when your are sleeping,
    He knows when you're on the can,
    He'll hunt you down and blast your ass from here to Pakistan.
    You better not breathe, you better not move,
    You're better off dead, I'm telling you, dude.
    Santa Claus is gunning you down!
  • by Frennzy ( 730093 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @05:40PM (#11178309) Homepage
    It's easy. There just aren't that many kids who deserve presents. Bah. humbug.
  • by jbfaninmo ( 540470 )
    Shouldn't our top physicists be working on something more important that Santa Claus? Can their Ion shield protect us against this [slashdot.org]?
    • "Shouldn't our top physicists be working on something more important that Santa Claus?"

      Our top physicists deserve a break, too.
      • In certain dialects of English, one difference between a geek and a non-geek is whether they can have a hobby that is also their job and enjoy both. These people are driven and we ought to all be thankful that they can be in a position to use their skills to positive effect - and hope that we can be as lucky.
    • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) *
      Shouldn't our top physicists be working on something more important that Santa Claus?

      Merry Christmas to you, too.

      Reading through all the linked stories in this article, the most amusing to me is the NORAD one. They've been doing it for half a century now, and it all started out because of a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper. After the first "mistake" year they took the ball and ran with it.

      If the guys who were watching for Soviet missiles in a time when such things were a distinct possibility
      • "To the guys at NORAD, and in the NOC, and sitting in the lab developing Santa's ion shield: Thanks for the Christmas cheer, and right back at you!"

        I hear ya....especially in this time where for some reason, people seem to want to ban Xmas from public celebration...even if you aren't Christian...and you are in the US....it is a Federal holiday...go ahead and enjoy it....and spread some peace, joy and goodwill towards man...

  • Argh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richie1984 ( 841487 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @05:40PM (#11178312)
    Look folks, can't we just let Santa be the exception where we don't bother applying rules of science! What's wrong with just believing in good ol' fashioned Xmas magic?!

    Well, I say the exception to the rule...I use the term 'magic' to explain to my parents how technology works.

    Oh, and merry holidays /.
    • Because after we ignore the fact a man has been living at the top of the earth for the past several hundred years with little more than old cookies to eat, and has somehow managed to build a toy-production empire that is undetectable by all means of searching, then, and only then, can we begin caring about how he makes his rounds.
    • ...I use the term 'magic' to explain to my parents how technology works.

      Just your parents? Hell I use that explination on my co-workers (:
    • Look folks, can't we just let people enjoy the mystery of Santa as they see fit? If some people like figuring out the science behind it, LET THEM! You enjoy your magic, nobody's telling you you can't. Don't criticize others though if they like to look at things differently than you do.

  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @05:40PM (#11178313) Journal
    Santa only delivers presents to kids who have been GOOD ALL YEAR.

    That brings it down to like 4 or 5, so he really isn't all that rushed.

    Santa really needs to consider selling that authoritative list of "naughty" girls. He could make a killing with that thing.
  • Okay not to be anti-Christmas, which I'm agnostic about being neither from America or a christian... But am I the only one who thinks this Santa thing might not be in the best interest of a child? I mean teaching them that gifts come from some magic guy instead of the parents? Or is Santa just a scapegoat so the parents don't get blamed when the kid doesn't get the more outlandish presents he asked for?
  • by JustinXB ( 756624 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @05:50PM (#11178355)
    Santa has been outsourced. We had to do it. For the price of one Santa we got 3 guys from India. The elves have been outsourced, too, from China. Which is actually a good thing. Now we'll all get electronics.
  • by Mr2cents ( 323101 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @05:51PM (#11178360)
    He's actually a Q.
  • Um...adults...there is no Santa...sorry.
  • Nondeterminism (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kinthelt ( 96845 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @06:04PM (#11178426) Homepage
    Am I the only one who figured that Santa probably uses nondeterminism? Any time he has a choice between two houses to deliver to, he delivers to both of them at the same time.
    • I think you mean duality - as in wave-particle duality. Or non-collapsed quantum states.

      So with the quantum argument (badly mangled), Santa is a wave function that allows him to be everywhere with a certain probability, and only when you look to see if you have a present or not do you collapse the wave function to detect whether or not Santa has actually visited you.
  • Sonic booms, etc. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake.
    The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile
  • I just hope he's well equiped for when Mars is colonised :)
  • The same article was published with pictures here! [www.vg.no]
  • by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @06:19PM (#11178514)
    Sorry, kids, but NORAD will not be tracking Santa this year. A suit filed in federal court on Tuesday by the ACLU and the People for the American Way alleges that any use of government computers to aid the fat man this year constitutes a clear violation of the separation of church and state.

    In a related filing, the ACLU and PFTAW are bringing a class-action lawsuit against Santa, citing numerous cases of unlawful entry, breaking and entering, trespassing, as well as a civil complaint alleging illegal operation of a flying craft without proper inspections, piloting without a license, and flying through restricted airspace without proper security clearance and prior authorization.

    Sorry, kids, Christmas is cancelled this year, and for the forseeable future. It looks like Santa will be spending the rest of his life in the pen, making big rocks into little rocks.
    • Whoah. Santa is related to religion? I just thought it was a cute story.

      I had no idea there was a religion that believed in small elves forced to build millions of toys to be delivered by a fat man in a red suit driving a sleigh pulled by magic reindeer.
    • "as well as a civil complaint alleging illegal operation of a flying craft without proper inspections"

      EEEEEEEEP! Gotcha on one thing... Santa already had his sleigh approved by the FAA on Dec 23. Observe:

      safety officials have given Santa the go-ahead to fly his sleigh on
      Christmas Eve.

      Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta says he knows how important the flight is to "good little girls and good little boys
      all around the world."

      Mineta says the government asked for
  • Rumor has is it that Saint Nick lives in a black hole so with the subtle maneuvering of his molecules he can come out anywhere in the galaxy delivering items stolen from Toys R Us. However, once in a while he goofs and pops out of a quasar. Dr. Who would be impressed.
  • We are more and more giving music, movies and software as gifts. In this age of digital content Santa simply delivers his gifts via Bittorrent. The Redhat ISO downloading tests certainly show that it is possible to deliver his presents to all children of the world who have suitable upstream bandwidth capabilities. Perhaps someone should re-brand Bittorrent as "SantaTorrent" and rename all the internal classes to "reindeer", "sleigh", "chimney", "jolly old elf", etc.
  • Well, taking in account Santa works at night, I think I can offer a easier explanation.

    This particularity makes possible a Quantum Physics explanation: actually Santa is very very small and travels so fast that what we have is a lot of different small Santa Claus, all of them working hard. Of course, no one can see him, the wave function does not collapse.

    Beware this behaviour could be destroyed by a foolish kid, hidden in the dark, watching Santa at work. This would collapse the wave function, rendering
  • It is really simple folks. Santa advances with the times and can well handle the increased number of children. He does this by actively refocusing his core competencies, and insuring that customer service does not suffer, especially to his best customers.

    The elves spend most of the year compiling data on all children. School records, criminal records, first hand surveillance and the like. It was becoming increasingly clear that no one was being good, and Santa was losing his primary asset, that of the

  • It is interesting to see how Santa Claus is becoming more and more a part of Christmas. He has become the icon of secular Christmas. Christmas has religious origins though the celebration of the birth of Jesus for many, if not most, Americans has been pushed aside to the place of irrelevance. The politically correct replacement has been Santa Claus. I find it to be a poor replacement.
    • It's only secular in a half-bastardized way that encourages wanton commercialism. I mean, jolly old saint nick, right? He's the patron saint of toy manufacturers and greeting card publishers.
    • I'm not sure how this is marked "Insightful". The parent has no obvious idea of the history of Christmas.

      Around 400AD, Christian church officials decided to celebrate the birth of Christ. Up to this point, the main holiday was Easter. The Pope at the time picked December 25th in attempt to sponge up the pagan celebrations that occured during the winter solstice.

      Christmas was initially a drunken celebration. People would go to church in the morning, then spend the day getting drunk and holding a party
  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@NOSpAM.nerdflat.com> on Friday December 24, 2004 @06:48PM (#11178645) Journal
    Reprinted here [bostonherald.com] this morning.
  • Remember people, Santa's payload and speed are nothing we haven't seen and debated at our bi-mon-sci-fi-cons before. These figures are quite close to those for the starship enterprise or a dozen other sci-fi show equilivilents entering the atmosphere. We've already debated these so I guess old St Nick is just a subset of these discussions.
    Replace Toys with Tritanium Hull and Reindeer with impluse engines and viola!
  • Go on then, determine the optimum Travelling Salesman problem for Santa Claus.
  • Circular arguments, hasty generalizations, straw-man arguments....it's a logical fallacy cornocopia!

    Wow. Who would have thought trying to prove that Santa can do all that he is proported to do could rest on logical fallacies. The article looks like something that you would have found in the 1980's Pravda. But I guess this is what you get when you have to prove something. Oh well.
  • by Thedalek ( 473015 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @07:39PM (#11178854)
    Santa gets the job done the same way most Slashdotters do: Through distributed networking.

    By that token, his personal existance is irrelevant, as the network continues to exist and operate without the central hub.
  • Okay, his ion shield explains how Santa doesn't get fried by air friction, and maybe it also protects him when he plops from the chimney in the furnice, which is going full blast on this cold night.

    But, how the heck does he get out of the furnice, and once he gets out of the basement, why doesn't he set off my motion detectors?

  • Fry: ...the important thing is we're all together for Xmas. And even though I'm surrounded by robots[1] and monsters and old people, I've never felt more at home.

    [1] This is disturbing to me somehow while contributing to Slashdot.
  • I really enjoyed this article [theregister.co.uk] from Scott McNealy (CEO of Sun Microsystems). Pokes fun at some of our favourite companies (IBM, Microsoft, HP, Red Hat, Intel) and the IT business in general.

    Good stuff. :)
  • History of Claus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Friday December 24, 2004 @08:20PM (#11179009) Homepage
    Just thought I'd share with you all one of the funniest Santa posts I've ever read on Slashdot. This is a repost [slashdot.org] of WankersRevenge. Thanks buddy.

    History of Santa Claus

    1689--Spanish-German explorer Santa Claus discovers the North Pole, and establishes a small base camp.

    1691--Because of harsh and meager living conditions, Claus' crew abandons him.

    1692--Claus is rescued by the Viking ship Hvorfor. He returns to Europe, bringing some items along with him from the North Pole. He finds he is able to sell them quite easily, making a small profit.

    1703--Claus saves up enough money to buy a small ship and crew, and returns to the North Pole. Upon arriving, he finds his base camp, half-buried but still intact.

    1704--Claus returns to Europe with a shipload of North Pole artifacts, and is successful in selling them. He makes enough profit to increase his crew, and buys building materials to expand his polar base.

    1705--Claus returns again to the North Pole, and builds quarters for him and his crew, and sets up the Polar Exports Company.

    1716--After six shiploads of exports, the European market is flooded with polar artifacts, as well as the phony ones making charlatans rich. Seeing this decline, Claus decides to invest his money by starting a toy company in his native Germany.

    1720--Claus Toys becomes the largest toy company in Germany, but only because of Claus' underhanded business dealings. (It was also rumored that Claus was dealing with enemy countries as well). Competitors urged government officials to begin an investigation.

    1721--Enough evidence is found, and charges are drawn up against the Claus Toys Company. Claus himself refuses to release his records.

    1722--The German Supreme Court finds Claus guilty of tax evasion and of treason. When news of this breaks, Claus' employees all turn against him and his company.

    1723--Claus is exiled to Sicily, and shortly before leaving, he absconds with all of the company's funds.

    1724--A search party is sent to the Mediterranean to recover the funds, however, Claus hears of this ahead of time, and he and his Sicilian wife flee for their lives. (Some say he went into Northern Africa, but it is generally assumed that this was only a ruse to lure the searchers off course. He is believed to have returned to his North Pole base).

    1725--Claus II is born en route to the North Pole.

    1725-1734--The Claus' lay low at the North Pole. Claus teaches his son the arts of toy making and business dealings.

    1735--Rumor has it that Claus has hired Scandinavian builders to construct a castle for him at the North Pole, making use of almost half of the company funds.

    1739--The castle is finished, and is one of the largest in the world. Claus II reaches his fifteenth birthday, and in the same year, Claus' wife dies, accidentally falling from a balcony in one of the castle's great halls.

    1740--Claus, mourning his wife, becomes increasingly ill.

    1745--Santa Claus II becomes of age, and begins taking care of the castle and of his sick father.

    1747--Using the remaining company funds, Claus II builds a small city around the castle to attract workers and craftsmen.

    1748--Word of the North Pole settlement reaches Europe. The Elves of Eastern Europe, quickly becoming political outcasts and striving for a better life, begin immigrating in waves to the North Pole.

    1753--All the elves have left Eastern Europe and have become firmly established at the North Pole. Claus II begins his father's toy company once again, with an estimated 30,000 elves employed. Claus I dies, at age 89.

    1755--The North Pole officially becomes a nation, and Claus II and his wife take the throne. The toy business continues to flourish, and the elves enjoy prosperity. Claus III is born.

    1757--The great stables are built, and scientists are secretly hired by Claus II to begin an ambitious

The trouble with money is it costs too much!