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It’s Christmas and Santa Delivers


philip copyPhilip Bump, in an article published in The Atlantic in 2011, calculated whether it was possible for Santa (the real one) to deliver presents to all the Christian children in the world. He wrote,

“Over the course of one night, St. Nick has to stop by the home of every Christian child in the world. Of which there are a lot – an indeterminately large number of kids waiting for their gifts. I decided to figure out how many, how big a task Mr. Claus faces as he races west across the face of the globe, staying ahead of the sun. And I did. Or, anyway, I came up with a pretty solid estimate.

The equation is this: compare population of young people with density of Christianity and plot it on the globe. From that, you’ve got total population and the times at which Santa should hit them. I ignored the mechanics of distance between houses – after all, I can’t know how many houses have multiple children, what regions are more densely packed, etc. The math, it seemed, should be easy.santa

Should be. Isn’t. Before getting bogged down in the incredible nuance of the world’s religions and time zones that went into determining these numbers, I’ll share the end result.

There are just over 526,000,000 Christian kids under the age of 14 in the world who celebrate Christmas on December 25th. In other words, Santa has to deliver presents to almost 22 million kids an hour, every hour, on the night before Christmas. That’s about 365,000 kids a minute; about 6,100 a second. Totally doable. Especially when you consider the uneven distribution of kids in the world. If Santa starts at the International Date Line and heads west, the first four time zones he passes barely contain that many kids waiting for presents. He’s already got three hours in the bank. Until, you know, he gets to Europe, which kind of breaks his schedule.

Here’s what Santa’s night looks like. Read it from right to left; i.e., east to west.”

santa deliversWhat does all this prove?

santa_speedsThat Santa might get caught for speeding, as in this recent article, sourced from The New Zealand Herald:

“Santa Claus has admitted being in a bit too much of a rush after being caught speeding on his way to an old folks’ home.

“I’ve been a bit naughty – I ended up in too much of a hurry to deliver everything,” said the rogue Santa who talked on condition of anonymity. He had a lot to fit in before Christmas Day, he said…

Police pulled over the portly, jolly man on Friday in Cornwall St in Masterton. When the officer stopped him, she asked, “Hello, Santa, what were you in a hurry for?”

“I said I was off to the North Pole. I told them, ‘Merry Christmas’ and they said ‘Merry Christmas’ and gave me a ticket.”

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Post Support

10 x 9 x 8 + (7 + 6) x 5 x 4 x (3 + 2) x 1 = 2020

NCEA Level 2 Algebra Problem. Using the information given, the shaded area = 9, that is:
y(y-8) = 9 –> y.y – 8y – 9 =0
–> (y-9)(y+1) = 0, therefore y = 9 (can’t have a distance of – 1 for the other solution for y)
Using the top and bottom of the rectangle,
x = (y-8)(y+2) = (9-8)(9+2) = 11
but, the left side = (x-4) = 11-4 = 7, but rhs = y+? = 9+?, which is greater than the value of the opp. side??
[I think that the left had side was a mistake and should have read (x+4)?]

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