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Christmas Cheer

The Physics of Santa 172

Roland Piquepaille writes "If you don't believe that Santa Claus can deliver presents to millions of homes in a single night, Larry Silverberg, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU), explains that Santa's society of elves has an understanding of physics and engineering that exceeds our own. In fact, Santa Claus and his crew really can deliver presents in one night because of their advanced knowledge of electromagnetic waves, the space/time continuum, nanotechnology, genetic engineering and computer science. For example, he doesn't carry presents. He uses a nano-toymaker to fabricate toys grown atom by atom inside the children's homes. Very entertaining reading... Here is a link to additional details and pictures of Santa and his elves flying over New Zealand."
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The Physics of Santa

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 24, 2006 @03:08PM (#17354956)
    > The problem is the other parents. Try raising a child not to believe in Santa and you will be quickly ostracized by other parents.
    > Plus, you don't think any of those parents are going to let your kid play with theirs when the holidays roll around, do you?

  • by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Sunday December 24, 2006 @03:37PM (#17355114) Homepage
    Or would you rather tell your 6 year old that we live in a cold, godless, harsh world where evil and greed runs wild...I'll stick w/ Santa for now. When they find out, they'll get over it.

    No I'd rather tell a 6 year old that that people care about each other enough to give each other presents.. proving that greed doesn't have to run wild unless you let it.

    OTOH you can tell him about a guy in a red suit who gives children exactly what they want on demand, and turn them into greedy consumers before they're 8.

  • Dr. Who (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ksevio ( 865461 ) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @03:38PM (#17355120) Homepage
    Obviously Santa uses time lord technology to fly his sleigh around and store all the presents inside it. It's bigger on the inside than the outside.
  • by localman ( 111171 ) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @04:27PM (#17355372) Homepage
    Wow, that's a pretty harsh reaction. I'm not a fan of lying to kids either, but I think you're forgetting some of what it's like to be a kid. I sure didn't take it like you're describing.

    I don't actually recall my parents making a big story out of Santa; I think I learned most of the story from books like "The Night Before Christmas", various television specials, and talking with friends. Like most kids, fantasy blends with reality to a large degree and my world included lots of make believe. I didn't even really think about whether it was "real" or not until I was in the second grade. Up until that point Santa was in the same category to me as Big Bird on Sesame Street, my lego cars being real cars, and my teddy bear having feelings. These fantasies are all exploratory for a child, and I sure as heck wouldn't have wanted parents who blasted me with reality every time I brought them up. As it was they played along.

    When a friend finally told me that Santa wasn't real, I was skeptical, but also realized that he might be right. I went home to my parents and they told me the truth (as they understood it): there was no more Santa, but it was a tradition of giving that was started by some old fellow St. Nicholas, and that what was important was the spirit of Santa Claus. Not the mystical spirit, but the spirit of giving to each other, particularly those in need. My young mind thought about it, and I think it was a perfectly reasonable growing experience. I didn't have any resentment towards my parents.

    So I agree with you that lying to your kids is bad. But there is make believe play that is important for child development and Santa Claus seems a perfectly reasonable part of that. I've known people who had realistic and unplayful parents and they seem to have more resentment than I do. Think about it.

    Happy holidays.
  • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @04:27PM (#17355378) Homepage
    Seriously...at what point does someone think it's a good idea to lie to their children like this? Don't give me that shit about it being a good life experience for children to realize not everything is true. You can find a million other examples to show them, without perpetrating a huge falsehood on your own. It's wrong, you know it's wrong, and you will still try to justify it. Because you enjoy, in a sadistic way, the total power you exert over your children. You love playing the propaganda machine and dictator, and threatening them with retribution from a farce you concocted, and watching them squirm. Yet ten years later, you'll be so fucking ignorant as to why your children never listen to you, or trust that what you have to say might be good advice. Well...they may be right.

    Have issues with our parents, do we? I haven't heard such vitriol in quite some time. Power? Sadism? Please put down the broad brush you're painting with. It's filled with venom.

    It's not a lie - it's a fantasy. It's an opportunity to experience innocence before it is too quickly gone. I didn't lie to my kids - they knew early on that Santa wasn't a real person, but even after they knew, they still played along because it was fun. Fun for them, fun for us. How am I being a dictator doing that?

    I hope you can let go of some of your anger before you have your own kids, friend, lest they be immune to the spirit that St. Nick is supposed to represent - giving, sharing and caring for our fellow humans.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 24, 2006 @06:16PM (#17355948)
    >> Why do we think its cute and sweet to lie to children. Its not?

    I think is in preparation for Christianity. Hey Billy, Santa didn't fly in the air, but angels do... Dragons don't exist, except in Hell where the fire and dragon people are.

    >> There is no Santa Claus. No easter bunny. No unicorns, mermaids, dragons, fairies, space aliens we know of, etc...

    Sinterklaas/Sint Nikolaas was born in 280, and died in 342.

    The magic in the legend came from storytelling.

    All great legends probably started with some reality.

    There may have been someone that saved his family in a flood long ago, then story grew into the Noah legend saving the world from disaster.

    Though Sinterklaas was a bit more recent, so if you want, you can find some historic information of him if you wish.
  • by E++99 ( 880734 ) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @06:19PM (#17355962) Homepage
    Yes, these things have a real existence, in the sense an idea has a real existance in a patterning of electromagnetic fields and chemical connections inside the human mind.

    Oh boy, I hate to be the one... but when mommy and daddy told you that the human mind is just a patterning of electromagnetic fields and chemical connections... they were lying. Chemical connections and electromagnetic fields becoming self-aware holds up about as well as the Physics of Santa.
  • by Raist1280 ( 648040 ) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @07:20PM (#17356316) Homepage
    Okay, I don't know why people get so hung up on this, but I feel compelled to put my $0.02 into this discussion.

    First and foremost, telling your children that Santa Claus is real is not a lie, Santa is quite real, but it isn't the person that's real, it's the CONCEPT. Santa Claus is a personification of kindness and goodwill, of giving to others for all the right reasons. I realized from a rather young age that there was no person named Santa Claus who dropped down the chimney and left presents under the tree for me, but it's not about some random person, it's about the spirit of Christmas, it's something almost magical about people being selfless for no purpose other than to see the joy it's brings to those they love. Santa is a big part of what makes Christmas a beautiful holiday, and it doesn't seem right to me to deny my children (when I have them) that experience. Sure, they'll come to realize the fiction in the story, the same as I did, but they'll also come to understand the real message behind the story.
  • by WilliamSChips ( 793741 ) <full DOT infinity AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 25, 2006 @12:15AM (#17357664) Journal
    If we aren't chemical connections and electromagnetic fields, what are we? If you start getting into the metaphysical, you have to define it in a way that makes sense first.
  • by ggKimmieGal ( 982958 ) on Monday December 25, 2006 @09:22AM (#17359436)
    I highly recommend you read the Good News Bible. It is a protestant bible that gets to the point. Even though you don't believe in God, you should still read the bible at least once. It is the book that has shaped Western Civilization as we know it. By understanding it, you'll have a deeper understanding of most poems and literature. The book also provides evidence of God. :-P You cannot say there isn't any when there is a little bit; just about as much as Santa gets. I'm not saying I'm religious at all, but I do my research before I open my mouth.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll