Ho Ho Hole

December 11—time to drag out the old physics-of-Christmas stories.

My favorite explains how it’s impossible for Santa to get his job done:

There are about 2 billion children in the world and even at one toy each, we have something like 400,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second to get around world in one night.

A simple calculation shows that Santa has 1/1000th of a second to pull up on a roof, park his sleigh, hop out, climb down the chimney, figure out who’s naughty and nice, distribute the presents, eat a snack, and say Ho, Ho, Ho, all without waking the household. Then he goes back up the chimney, gets back into the sleigh, dusts off his suit, and moves on to the next house.

Even though there’s not a lot of sleigh traffic up there, it’s not a feasible trip. Not just exhausting, but physically impossible.

But wait!

The naysayers are way behind the times. Have they never heard of worm holes? Wormholes are features of space-time that allow a shortcut through the universe.

Imagine you’re standing in a long line at the post office. You’re at one end of the room and the clerk is at the other. Now imagine a piece of paper with a stick figure representing you at one corner, and a figure at the diagonally opposite corner to represent the clerk. Fold the paper so that your stick figure is on top of the clerk’s.

See? You’ve just taken a shortcut to the head of the line.

In another version of worm hole demonstration, dots are placed at opposite corners of a piece of paper, the paper is folded, having the dots touch, and the same effect is seen.

That’s what Santa does. With a little math and a dash of relativity theory we can show that, in fact, with every stop, Santa can come out of the chimney before he gets in!

No problem making all those stops.

So, yes, Virginia, relatively speaking, Santa can do it!

Now if only I could find the right wormhole to get me through Bay Area freeways.


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4 Responses to “Ho Ho Hole”

  1. Bob Olson says:

    You wormed your way out of that one!

  2. Nancy Roessner says:

    Wormholes, of course! Why didn’t I think of that. If we could apply it to our own lives, so much the better.

  3. Whew, thought you were going to ruin it and be Scrooge. haa!