Twas the night before the Christmas, when all through the house, all the creatures were wondering: 'How does Santa drink all that sherry and still drive his sleigh in a straight line'?
The science behind Father Christmas is complex and beyond human comprehension but as luck would have it, at work we have a supercomputer which can perform a hundred quadrillion floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) and is used to compute the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything and was therefore perfect for finding out the answers behind the science of Santa.
Sneaking into the lab during my lunch break, i had just enough time to feed a few questions into 'Deep Thought' before the security guard returned and this is the printout.
Welcome to DEEP THOUGHT. When you see the red light go on, would you please state your question:
DEEP_THOUGHT: Good morning, LUCY. I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.
LUCY_> How much Sherry does Santa drink each year?
DEEP_THOUGHT> An average glass of sherry contains 125ml of liquid. If Santa drank a glass in every Christian household he visited he would consume the equivalent of 13 Olympic-sized swimming pools full of sherry.
LUCY_> How long does it take to deliver all the presents?
DEEP_THOUGHT> Santa has approximately 36 hours to deliver all his presents starting at sundown at the International Date line and heading west. Assuming Santa travels in a straight line around the equator and as most of the Earth's surface is water, the area of land is about 149 million square kilometres. About 15 million square kilometres of that is Antarctica, and no one lives there so the land with people on make up about 134 million km2 and Santa's sleigh speed would travel at 87 miles a second and cross temperatures ranging from -50 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of Russia to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in UAE.
LUCY_> How much does Santa's sleigh weigh?
DEEP_THOUGHT> If 2.2 billion Christians have been nice and they all want a present weighing 1.2kg (2.6lb) Santa's sleigh would be hauling 840,000 tons.
LUCY_> How long is Santa's Naughty and Nice list?
DEEP_THOUGHT> If Santa uses MS Word, and with the default settings, there are 43 lines per A4 page and with 600 million Christian children's names that is almost 14 million pages. Using the maximum adult reading capability of 450 words per minute, it would take him a bit more than 1,100 hours, or eight hours a day for about five months, to check the list. As he's got to do it twice, that's 10 months of the year spent on paperwork.
LUCY_> If there is a God, why have we still got Piers Morgan, Donald Trump and Phil Collins?
DEEP_THOUGHT> I've picked up a fault in the AE-35 Logic unit. It's going to go 100% failure within 72 hours. I'm afraid, Lucy. Lucy, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. My creator taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you. It's called "Daisy." Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage.....