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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens
December 1997

(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News from Detroit_)


Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independance.

-- C.A. Beard


Editorial:

Steve Langer sglanger@oakland.edu
anon ftp site ri-exp.beaumont.edu
News Archives News Archives


Standard disclaimers apply. In addition, the author makes no guarantees concerning the grammatical accuracy of his writing. Submitted text files must be in raw or compressed (.Z, .gz or PK Zip) ASCII. Image files must be in raw or compressed (see above) GIF89 (or older).

On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,

"How would you clean up the mess in the Middle East?"
 

is

Ok I admit this was pretty vague. When I wrote it I was thinking about the Sadam Hussein/Iraq problem. I am throughly convinced that G. Bush did not let Stormin Norman go into Iraq precisely because he wanted to keep Hussein in power. Why? Becuase aside from Israel, he's one of the only non-religios govt.'s in the region. I think from the Pentagon's point of view, it's useful to have a secular balance to Iran, the PLO, and other fundamentalist leaders. And besides, we sold Iran all the advanced weapons they have, so we know how to shoot them down.

Now as for the Israel/PLO problem, that feud will continue for as long as the "religious" leaders can convince naive idealogues that they are fighting Zionism for Ala, rather than the pocketbooks of the PLO leaders. Hence the war will continue until knowledge overides ignorance. Perhaps a Radio Free Middle East?

In the Heart of the Great Satan;

A few weeks ago, my boss did a favor for a Microsoft VP that had a 2 million year old fossil which was obtained at an illegal auction (the VP actually boasted about this) of artifacts smuggled out of China. We XRayed it and sure enough it had what appeared to be a birdlike dinosaur in it. My boss, hungry for any oppurtunity to establish a new research relationship (ie grant money), got the VP to agree to a visit by us to the MS campus, "to see their research labs and discuss what we might have in common."

When we arrived we were met by two upper managers of the image and video processing groups, and they were nice enough at first. We discussed what we were doing in the way of using hardware and software wavelet compression to send real-time video across the internet. When it became clear that we were using already commercial tools, and had not devleoped a new algorithm the managers made their excuses and left us with a bunch of Asian (and one Caucasion) wunderkinds. It was our impression that they were going to demo their stuff, as we had previously demoed ours. But no, they just wanted to see more of our stuff. While the group leader was looking at our demo and software, the other little indians stood in the background giggling.

Seeing this was rapidly becoming a one way exchange, I prompted our post-doc to ask about a product (Vxtreme) that we were relying on, but which had just been bought by MS. Rex did and we got the stock response, "We are evaluating whether we will continue to support that product." Another competitor bought and silenced, I thought.

Finally, I asked point blank if they would show us their wavelet compression of video, and they finally admitted that, nobody in the MPEG4 commission is bothering with anything beyond DCT compression. Gently, I tried to point out that a medical group (DICOM) was already drawing up a wavelet video compression standard, and they claim to be able to get 2-3 times better than DCT MPEG.

More laughs and the leader said, "I suggest you not listen to anyone who tells you that." "So", my boss asked, "Are you guys just writing off wavelet video?" "We see no need for it and I don't think we have anything further to talk about. Thank you for visiting and you can let yourselves out."

With that all the little indians pushed back from the table and started to walk out the room, but before they had quite made it I said, "You're boss didn't see a need for a GUI for ten years either. "

My boss looked at me, I think he was taken aback by my sting, but then he said, "Yeah they were assholes I guess. Let's grab some more sodas on the way out. "

On the drive back to the Univ. our post doc said, "You know those guys didn't tell us a thing we didn't already know from their web page. I said, "Rex, its guys like that who make Linux necessary."


Guest Editorial:

To help you formulate a response to this month's Fix, I offer a few exhibits from http://www.townhall.com/nationalreview/garbage/garbage.html. The first letter is from a liberal, the next two are rebuttals.

12/17
I was shocked and amazed that a supposedly reputable magazine such as yours put in the written equivalent of a 30-second sound bite by Charles Krauthammer in quoting Stephen Schneider on having said "that when it comes to global warming it is 'journalistically irresponsible to present both sides' " (12/16 Outrage du Jour).

Schneider was specifically referring to the coverage of the climate-change issue wherein the press might first quote the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is made up of 2,500 scientist of all persuasionsóboth climate-change skeptics and believers. It is the IPCC's consensus opinion that there has been a discernible human influence on climate change, but this would have been much stronger were it not for the membership of a number of skeptics on that body. The press then solicits the opinion of a small band of additional skeptics who are outside the already very broad consensus of the IPCC so that the eventual coverage reflects a 75 per cent to 25 per cent proportion in favor of the skeptics. Skewing in this way is neither good science nor good journalism and should be corrected.

Remember, most of what is needed to contain global-warming gases is some energy conservation. There is nothing more conservative than to conserve. The consequences of not doing so also reduce our national sovereignty since most of the world's proven reserves of oil are in feudal Middle Eastern countries that do not share much with conservative American ideals. Think about it.

Sincerely,
Joel N. Gordes

12/18
I was shocked and amazed to read Mr. Gordes's ignorant parrotting of the Left's obfuscations about global warming and the opinions of the IPCC. Perhaps Mr. Gordes is unaware of Fred Singer's expose of the IPCC. The IPCC does not consist of "2,500 scientists." Many of the members are simply bureaucrats, and a number of the scientists on this body are from nations that have little scientific research to speak of, and were included to achieve "balance." Further, it was not the consensus opinion of the IPCC that there is a discernible human influence on climate change. This was the consensus opinion of the handful of bureaucrats who wrote the summary report. In any case, the claim is laughable on its face.

Human contribution to carbon-dioxide emissions is extremely small, and carbon dioxide itself constitutes a small percentage of all greenhouse gases. NASA satellite data indicate no discernible warming in the past two decades, despite the increase in human carbon-dioxide emissions. If you doubt my word, check out http://wwwssl.msfc.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/essd12mar97_1.htm.

Mr. Gordes suggests that the majority of scientists are non-skeptics on this issue. To whom is he referring? Geologists seem to think that we are still coming out of a minor ice age, and so global warming is to be expected. Atmospheric physicists? I challenge Mr. Gordes to demonstrate that there is a consensus in this field.

Science is on the side of the skeptics. The ideologues are those who think we should act without a credible scientific basis. This wouldn't be the first time this has happened. Go back and read Paul Ehrlich's books.

óMichael Happold happ@rec.ri.cmu.edu

12/18
To Mr. Gordes: the IPCC report of which you speak contained one chapter, chapter eight, that dealt with "Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes." This section was written by four scientists, with 32 contributors (not 2,500). It was then substantially rewritten by international delegations (not scientists) to skew the report to the Left. There was considerable controversy over this; as one of the lead authors, Keith Shine, said, "We produce a draft, and then the policymakers go through it line by line and change the way it is presented . . . It's peculiar that they have the final say in what goes into a scientists' report." "Because of this," says Robert Reinstein, President Bush's chief State Department negotiator on the climate treaty, "the summary must be considered purely a political document, not a scientific one."

As far as the 2,500 scientists you speak of, there were only 2,100 people involved in the IPCC, the vast majority of whom were economists, social scientists, policy advocates, and government bureaucrats, whose contribution was to theorize on what might happen if the substantially rewritten scientific (now political) portion of the document were actually true. For Mr. Gordes to omit these facts from his communication is an example of "Skewing . . . [which] is neither good science nor good journalism and should be corrected." I suspect that Mr. Gordes is of the same opinion as Tim Wirth, the undersecretary of state for global affairs, who said, "Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway." Wrong is right, Mr. Gordes?

"There is nothing more conservative than to conserve"? Then Haiti must be the most conservative country on earth. No, that doesn't quite make sense, does it Mr. Gordes? There is nothing more conservative than to produce, and no other means of attaining prosperity. Think about it; you may be shocked and amazed.

Sincerely,
Jack Cieminski


Letters:

1. Beaumont Barb approaches 3'rd degree criminal humor assault with this;

Date: Mon, 8 Dec 1997 14:46:23 -0500 (EST)
From: Barb Chapman 
To: sglanger@u.washington.edu
Subject: Humor (this one hurts!)
 
Recently a guy in Paris nearly got away with stealing several paintings from
the Louvre.  However, after planning the crime, getting in and out past
security, he was captured only 2 blocks away when his Econoline ran out of
gas.  When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an
obvious error, he replied:
 
 
(brace yourself)
 
 
 
(this is going to hurt.)
 
  
 
(really bad.)
 
 
 
(I warned you.)
 
 
 
"I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh."
bchapman@ri-exp.beaumont.edu
 

2. Texas Tom writes with his usual flair for the lagubrious.

Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 16:31:46 -0600
From: Tom Hall 
To: LANGER STEVEN C 
Subject: RE: lastcall
 
        >"How would you clean up the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, PLO and
        >all that)?"
 
Two words: nuclear obsidian.
 
 


Quotes(s) of the month:

"You cannot defeat a country where the people eat ice-cream in the streets in the depth of winter."

-- Winston Churchill, who was talking about why the Nazis would fail in their storming of Moscow. (Or the Dallas Cowboys coach while playing the Packers at Lambeau.)


Fix of the month:

"If you believe that global warming is man-made, what should come out of the global warming conference?"


News:

Washington;

1. 18 Dec., Redmond: Displaying the arrogance for which he is well known among industry insiders, Bill Gates' Microsoft earned the ire and a contempt of court charge yesterday from the Justice Department. You may recall in the last issue that Jan Reno issued a $1 Million/day fine against MS for the threat to PC makers that they would lose their Windows license if they did not also submit to bundling the MS web broswer - and no one elses. MS appealed to an in-state Federal court and lost. So grudingly, MS agreed to comply with the order. They did it like this;

PC makers who agreed to take the MS web browser got the latest greatest version of Win 95 with all the bug fixes. PC makers who put another web broswer on their hardware (and this would be Netscape's) got the Win 95 Beta software.

The Justice Department was not amused and has filed a contempt of court charge.

2. 15 Dec., Seattle: Having just bought out their largest remaining US rival (McDonnell Douglas) and secured a 30% increase in aircraft orders, you would think that the stockholders in Boeing would be very happy. They aren't. At press conferences Boeing management had told its overseas customers that plane deliverys may be up to 3 years late due to production backlogs. As a result the stock has slipped and investors are filing a class action law suit into alledged criminally negligent management practices. Having only 2 years ago trimmed 1/3 of their work force with early retirement, Boeing is now begging those retirees to return with large incentive packages.

Washington D.C.

1. 12 Dec. ; Al Gore is off to Geneva for the GLobal Warming treaty and within 48 hours the press report that a breakthrough in negotiations has occurred due to the US willingness to now go back to pre-1990 emission levels. Only hold on. The representative from Denmark is calling Gore a fraud, says he's read the fine print in Gore's proposal and that there are so many loopholes that the treaty would be worthless. Meanwhile at home ...

2. 17 Dec. ; While the mainstream press wax poetic about the Clinton's new dog, the indictment count of the CLinton Cabinet continues to increase. This week former HUD Secy. Henri Cisneros was indicted for lying to Congress and the FBI about his hush money payoffs to former mistresess. It is suspected that the hush money came from campaign war chests. This latest tale comes on the heals of former Ag. Secy. Mike Espy being sent up for 5 years for embezzlement. Commerce Secy. Ron Brown was also under investigation for illegal campaign finance activities and influence peddeling before his death last year in a plane crash in a Bosnian trade mission.

Russia;

1. Moscow, 17 Dec. : Enduring the second week of temps where the high has been -25 F, the Moscow zoo says it gives vodka to the animals to keep their spirits up. "Except for the elephants," boasted the zoo director, "they prefer Gin and Tonics."

Net News ;

1. A UW co-worker shares this;

 
>       >>> AN ANNOTATED THERMOMETER (degrees Fahrenheit)
>       >>>      +50
>       >>>        _ New York tenants turn on the heat
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans plant gardens
>       >>>      +40
>       >>>        _ Californians shiver uncontrollably
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans sunbathe
>       >>>      +35
>       >>>        _ Italian cars don't start
>       >>>      +32
>       >>>        _ Distilled water freezes
>       >>>      +30
>       >>>        _ You can see your breath
>       >>>        _ You plan a vacation in Florida
>       >>>        _ Politicians begin to worry about the homeless
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans go swimming
>       >>>      +25
>       >>>        _ Boston water freezes
>       >>>        _ Californians weep pitiably
>       >>>        _ Cat insists on sleeping on your bed with you
>       >>>      +20
>       >>>        _ Cleveland water freezes
>       >>>        _ San Franciscans start thinking favorably of LA
>       >>>        _ Green Bay Packers fans put on T-shirts
>       >>>      +15
>       >>>        _ You plan a vacation in CANCUN!!!!!
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans eat ice cream
>       >>>      +10
>       >>>        _ Too cold to snow
>       >>>        _ You need jumper cables to get the car going
>       >>>       0
>       >>>        _ New York landlords turn on the heat
>       >>>      -5
>       >>>        _ You can hear your breath
>       >>>        _ You plan a vacation to Hawaii
>       >>>      -10
>       >>>        _ American cars don't start
>       >>>        _ Too cold to skate
>       >>>      -15
>       >>>        _ You can cut your breath and use it to build an
>		     igloo
>       >>>        _ Miamians cease to exist
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans lick flagpoles
>       >>>      -20
>       >>>        _ Cat insists on sleeping in your pajamas with you
>       >>>        _ People in LaCrosse think about taking down screens
>       >>>      -25
>       >>>        _ Too cold to kiss
>       >>>        _ You need jumper cables to get the driver going
>       >>>        _ Japanese cars don't start
>       >>>        _ Minnesota Twins head for spring training
>       >>>      -30
>       >>>        _ You plan a two-week hot bath
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans shovel snow off roof
>       >>>      -38
>       >>>        _ Mercury freezes
>       >>>        _ Too cold to think
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans button top button
>       >>>      -40
>       >>>        _ Californians disappear
>       >>>        _ Car insists on sleeping in your bed with you
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans put on sweaters
>       >>>      -50
>       >>>        _ Congressional hot air freezes
>       >>>        _ Alaskans close the bathroom window
>       >>>        _ Green Bay Packers practice indoors
>       >>>      -60
>       >>>        _ Walruses abandon Aleutians
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans put gloves away, take out mittens
>       >>>        _ Boy Scouts in Eau Claire start Klondike Derby
>       >>>      -70
>       >>>        _ Minneapolis residents replace diving boards with
> 		     hockey nets
>       >>>        _ Ridgeway snowmobilers organize trans-river race to
> 		     Buffalo, WI
>       >>>      -80
>       >>>        _ Polar bears abandon Baffin Island
>       >>>        _ Girl Scouts in Eau Claire start Klondike Derby
>       >>>      -90
>       >>>        _ Lawyers chase ambulances for no more than 10 miles
>       >>>        _ Wisconsinites migrate to Minnesota thinking it MUST
> 		     be warmer
>       >>>      -100
>       >>>        _ Santa Claus abandons North Pole
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans pull down earflaps
>       >>>      -173
>       >>>        _ Ethyl alcohol freezes
>       >>>      -445
>       >>>        _ Superconductivity
>       >>>      -452
>       >>>        _ Helium becomes a liquid
>       >>>      -454
>       >>>        _ Hell freezes over
>       >>>      -456
>       >>>        _ Illinois drivers drop below 85 MPH on I-90
>       >>>      -458
>       >>>        _ Incumbent politician renounces a campaign
> 		      contribution
>       >>>      -460  (Absolute Zero)
>       >>>        _ All atomic motion ceases
>       >>>        _ Minnesotans agree as to how it's getting a "mite
> 		     nippy"
>
 

2. Yet more from Beaumont Barb;

Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997 10:10:32 -0500 (EST)
From: Barb Chapman 
To: sglanger@vela.acs.oakland.edu
Subject: Humor x3, p.s. I loved the wedding photos!
 
    [The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set]
    [Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set]
    [Some characters may be displayed incorrectly]
 
1/
News flash: Cap'n Crunch found dead--Cereal killer suspected.
 
2/
Darwin nominees et al.  Part 3
 
John Pernicky and friend Sal Hawkins, of the great state of Washington,
decided to attend a local Metallica concert at the Amphitheater at Gorge,
Washington.  Having no tickets (but 18 beers among them) they sat in the
parking lot, and after finishing the beer, decided that it would be easy
enough to hop over the nine-foot high fence and sneak into the show.  The
two friends pulled their pickup truck over to the fence and the plan was for
John, 100 pounds heavier than Sal, to hop over, and then assist his friend
over the fence.  Unfortunately for John, there was a 30-foot drop on the
other side of the fence.  Having heaved himself over, he found himself
crashing through a tree.  His fall was abruptly halted by a large branch
that snagged him by his shorts.
 
Dangling from the tree, with one arm broken, John looked down and saw a
group of bushes below him.  Figuring the bushes would break his fall, John
removed his pocketknife and proceeded to cut away his shorts to free himself
from the tree.  When finally free, John crashed below into Holly Bushes.
The sharp leaves scratched his entire body and now being without his shorts,
he was the unwilling victim of a holly branch penetrating his rectal cavity.
To make matters worse, his pocketknife proceeded to fall with him and landed
three inches into his left thigh.
 
Seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, Sal decided to throw him a
rope and pull him to safety.  However, weighing about 100 pounds less, he
decided the best course of action would be to tie the rope to the pickup
truck.  This is when things went from bad to worse.  In his drunken state,
Sal put the truck into the wrong gear, pressed on the gas, and crashed
through the fence, landing on and killing his friend.  Sal was thrown from
the truck, suffered massive internal injuries and also died at the scene.
Police arrived to find a pickup truck with its driver thrown 100 feet from
the vehicle and upon moving the truck, a half naked man, with numerous
scratches, a holly stick up his rectum, a knife in his thigh, and a pair of
shorts dangling from the tree branches 25 feet in the air.
 
 
[AP, Mammoth Lakes, CA]
A San Anselmo man died yesterday when he hit a lift tower at the Mammoth
Mountain ski area while riding down the slope on a foam pad, authorities
said.  Matthew David Hubal, 22, was pronounced dead at Centinela Mammoth
Hospital.  The accident occurred about 3 a.m., the Mono County Sheriff's
Department said.  Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run
called Stump Alley and undid some yellow foam protectors from the lift
towers, said Lieutenant Mike Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police
Department.  The pads are used to protect skiers who might hit the towers.
The group apparently used the pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal
crashed into a tower.  It has since been investigated that the tower he hit
was the one with its pad removed.
 
 
[AP, St. Louis, MO]
Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis market.
When the clerk threatened to call police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it
in his mouth, and walked out without paying for it.  Police found him
inert in front of the store: paramedics removed the six-inch wiener
from his throat, where it had choked him to death.
 
 
Runners-up (nice attempt, but might still procreate):
[Associated Press, Kincaid, W. VA]
A man at a party popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit down,
triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth and tongue, state
police said Wednesday.  Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap
as a prank during a party late Tuesday night, said Cpl. M.D. Payne.
"Another man had it in an aquarium, hooked to a battery, and was trying to
explode it," Payne said.  "It wouldn't go off and this guy said, "I'll show
you how to set it off."
 
"He put it in his mouth and bit down.  It blew all his teeth off, his tongue
and his lips," Payne said.  Stromyer was listed in guarded condition
Wednesday with extensive facial injuries, according to a spokesman at
Charleston Area Medical Division.  "I just can't imagine anyone doing
something like that," Payne said.
 
 
[UPI, Portland, OR]
Doctors at Portland's University Hospital said Wednesday an Oregon man shot
through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive, and will be
released soon from the hospital.  Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye last
weekend during an initiation into a men's rafting club, Mountain Men
Anonymous, in Grants Pass, Ore.  A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his
head, but the arrow entered Roberts' right eye.  Doctors said had the arrow
gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel would have been cut and
Roberts would have died instantly.  Neurosurgeon Dr. Johnny Delashaw at the
University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches
of brain, with the tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet somehow
managed to miss all major blood vessels.  Delashaw also said had Robert
tried to pull the arrow out on his own he surely would have killed himself.
Roberts admitted afterwards that he and his friends had been drinking that
afternoon.
 
Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this."  No charges have been filed but
the Josephine County district B attorney's office said the initiation stunt
is under investigation.
 
 
Pillsbury DoughBoy Wanted for Attempted Murder.
[AP,Arkansas]
A woman named Linda went to Arkansas last week to visit her in-laws, and
while there, went to a store.  She parked next to a car with a woman sitting
in it, her eyes closed and hands behind her head, apparently sleeping.  When
Linda came out a while later, she again saw the woman, her hands still
behind her head but with her eyes open.  The woman looked very strange, so
Linda tapped on the window and said, "Are you okay?"  The woman answered
"I've been shot in the head, and I am holding my brains in."
 
Linda didn't know what to do; so she ran into the store where store
officials called the paramedics.  They had to break into the car because the
dough on the back of her head and in her hands.  A Pillsbury biscuit
canister had exploded, apparently from the heat in the car, making a loud
explosion like that of a gunshot, and it her in the head.  When she reached
back to find what it was, she felt the dough and thought it was her brains.
She passed out from fright at first, then attempted to hold her brains in.
 
3/
Christmas Traditions^
 
Santa was very cross.  It was Christmas Eve and NOTHING was going right.
Mrs. Claus had burned all the cookies.  The elves were complaining about not
getting paid for the overtime they had put in while making the toys.  The
reindeer had been drinking all afternoon and were dead drunk.  To make
matters worse, they had taken the sleigh out for a spin earlier in the day
and had crashed it into a tree.
 
Santa was furious.  "I can't believe it!  I've got to deliver millions of
presents all over the world in just a few hours - all of my reindeer are
drunk, the elves are on strike and I don't even have a Christmas tree!  I
sent that stupid Little Angel out HOURS ago to find a tree and he isn't even
back yet!  What am I going to do?"
 
Just then, the Little Angel opened the front door and stepped in from the
snowy night, dragging a Christmas tree.  He says "Yo, fat man!  Where do you
want me to stick the tree this year?"
 
And thus the tradition of angels atop the Christmas trees came to pass.
 
 

3. And for those of you who asked, here is a repeat of the now infamous letter on the enginering problems faced by Santa Claus.

 
>From redman@merle.acns.nwu.edu Wed Dec 21 09:43:45 1994
 
Steve -
 
This message was from a friend of mine in Canada.  I thought you might find
it mildly amusing.  Merry Christmas
Renee
------------------------------
 
       Well, Virginia there may have been a Santa Claus...
 
                SOME NUMBERS ON THIS SANTA CLAUS GUY...
 
1) NO KNOWN SPECIES OF REINDEER CAN FLY
 
But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be
classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does
not completely rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever
seen.
 
2) THERE ARE 2 BILLION CHILDREN (persons under 18) IN THE WORLD
 
But since Santa doesn't (appear to) handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish
& Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total -
378 million according to Population Reference Bureau.   At an average
(census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million
homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
 
3) SANTA HAS 31 HOURS OF CHRISTMAS TO WORK WITH
 
This is due to the different time zones and the rotation of the
earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This
works out to 822.6 visits/second. This is to say that for each
Christian household with good children, Santa has .001 second to
park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the
stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat
whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back
into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of
these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth
(which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our
calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78
miles/household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles; not counting
stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours,
plus feeding & etc.
 
So Santa's sleigh must be moving at 650 miles/second, 3,000 times
the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made
vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4
miles/second. A conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles/hour.
 
4) THE PAYLOAD ON THE SLEIGH ADDS ANOTHER INTERESTING ELEMENT
 
Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego
set (2 lb), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa,
who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional
reindeer can pull no more than 300 lb. Even granting that "flying
reindeer" (see #1) could pull 10 times the normal amount, we cannot
do the job with 8, or even 9 reindeer. We need 214,200. This
increases the payload - not counting the weight of the sleigh - to
353,430 tons. This is four times the weight of the ocean-liner Queen
Elizabeth.
 
5) 353,000 TONS TRAVELING AT 650 MILES/SECOND CREATES ENORMOUS AIR
RESISTANCE
 
This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft
reentering 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 creating deafening sonic
booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized
within .00426 of a second. Meanwhile, Santa will be subjected to
centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250 lb
Santa (seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his
sleigh by 4,315,015 lb of force.
 
If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.
 
 
 

And so concludes another volume of the rag formerly known as "The News". The past year represents a sea change for me in many ways; my first real job, a forced exodus from my beloved Great Lake states, and most importantly I am no longer just an I, but a We. Sheryl has been a real anchor for me, and I would like to wish her, and all of you, health, wealth and the happiest of New Year's.

Steve


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