Santa and technology

By: Alex P. Vidal

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.” -George Carlin

It all looks so effortless.

An innocent child would swallow the propaganda fantasy peddled by generations of Christmas cards to divert attention away from what is, undoubtedly, the most spectacular research and development outfit this planet has ever seen.

Roger Highfield, in the Physics of Christmas, differed on the view that, apart from the occasional slip-up with drunken reindeer, narrow chimneys, and blizzards, Santa manages to deliver millions of gifts on Christmas Eve, maintaining his smile and composure all the while.

Santa’s support team: a few reindeer and a handful of diligent elves.

“I have good reason to believe that Santa has drawn on the benefits of centuries of inventions and insights generated by a scientific effort that would make the likes of Albert Einstein weep with admiration,” Highfield asserts.

Somewhere in the North Pole, or perhaps buried in a vast complex under Gemiler Island, original home of Saint Nicholas, Highfield said there must be an army of scientists experimenting with the latest in high-temperature materials, genetic computing technologies, and warped space-time geometries, all united by a single purpose: making millions of children happy each and every Christmas.

“Put yourself in Santa’s boots,” Highfield suggests: “How does he know where children live and what gifts they want? How can he fly in any weather, circle the globe overnight, carry millions of pounds of cargo, and make silent rooftop landings with pinpoint accuracy?

Some years ago Spy magazine examined these issues in an article that has since proliferated across the Internet.

The piece concluded that Santa required 214,200 reindeer and, with his huge mass of presents, encountered “enormous air resistance, heating the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.”

In short, the article concluded, the reindeer “will burst into flame almost instantaneously, creating deafening sonic booms in their wake.”

The article continued: “The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity…If Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he’s dead now.”

The point is that Santa is now dead.

He delivers presents every Christmas Eve, as reliably as Rudolf’s nose is red.

And he overcomes the kinds of problems outlined above with the aid of out-of-this-world technology.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)