F is for Wryday (80)

January 26, 2012

It’s that time again … that time when I become somwhat of a US election groupie. Not in the sense that Antony Green is a groupie … all stats and predictions and trends and stuff … no, more in awe of such an outrageous process spiced with fervent nationalism and righteous indignation and, even by politician’s standards, appalling amusing hypocrisy.

Newt Gingrich has reached such new heights in this regard that only a comedian can come close to making … er … sense of it: The Gingrich Who Stole South Carolina.

PS: I saw this video a few days ago and since then it has been steadily removed for copyright reasons, hopefully the link above will last. If not … well … the laugh will be on me.

F is for Wryday (79)

January 19, 2012

‘How do you know you’re God?’
‘Simple, when I pray to Him I find I’m talking to myself’

The unassailable logic of Peter O’Toole playing the hilariously mad Jack Gurney, 14th Earl of Gurney. Somehow this quote has followed me at different stages of my life and for completly different, sometimes contradictory reasons, made sense.

Beyond that, the film needs to have a place on Wryday.

F is for Wryday (78)

January 12, 2012

Mythbusters eat yer hearts out:


There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get onto the next house. Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second – 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tonnes, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the “flying” reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with eight or nine of them Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tonnes, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

600,000 tonnes travelling at 650 miles per second crates enormous air resistance this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporised within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g’s. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo

Therefore, if Santa did exist, he’s dead now!