Drug Dealers Vs. Software Engineers
(to help debug code)
The Physiscs of Christmas
I. 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 house hold, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.
II. 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, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to 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.
III. 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 tons, 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 even nine of them --- Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).
IV. 600,000 tons traveling 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 vaporized 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 650 m.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.
V. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.
VI. Merry Christmas!
The Top 12 Things You Don't Want to Hear From Tech Support
12 "Do you have a sledgehammer or a brick handy?"
11 "...that's right, not even McGyver could fix it."
10 "So -- what are you wearing?"
9 "Duuuuuude! Bummer!"
8 "Looks like you're gonna need some new dilythium crystals, Cap'n."
7 "Press 1 for Support. Press 2 if you're with 60 Minutes. Press 3 if you're with the FTC."
6 "We can fix this, but you're gonna need a butter knife, a roll of duct tape, and a car battery."
5 "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
4 "In layman's terms, we call that the Hindenburg Effect."
3 "Hold on a second... Mom! Timmy's hitting me!"
2 "Okay, turn to page 523 in your copy of Dianetics."
and the Number 1 Thing You Don't Want to Hear From Tech Support...
1 "Please hold for Mr. Gates' attorney."
The 12 Days of Christmas Re-Examined in Light of Competition
Global challenges require the North Pole to continue to take more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" subsidiary.
The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be the cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic plant, providing savings in maintenance costs.
The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during the working hours could not be condoned. The positions are, therefore, eliminated.
The three French hens will remain intact and we may actually expand the number of hens used. A recent time-motion-profitability study proved that using illegal migratory fowl is extremely profitable as it eliminates the company's need to provide employee benefits because the hens do not meet federal residency requirements.
The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked. Once this information is determined, the Accounting Department will deduct the costs of any inappropriate non-business calls from their final paycheck.
The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals as well as a mix of T-bills and high technology stocks appear to be in order.
The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day is an example of their decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by the Personnel Department will assure management that from now on every goose it gets will be a good one.
The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. Their function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes to better enhance their outplacement.
As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the work force is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring,or a-motoring.
Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps. Let me hasten to add that the company policy prohibits age discrimination. Should these individuals be asked to leave prior to their voluntary retirement, rest assured our Law Department will ensure an ironclad defense against an employee lawsuit.
Ten Lords-a-Leaping is overkill. The high costs of Lords plus the expense of international air travel prompted the ompensation Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, significant savings should result due to the number of congressmen left unemployed by the election.
Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new music and no uniforms will produce savings to the bottom line.
Though incomplete, studies by our latest consultant indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can
drop-ship in one day, service levels will be improved and we can expect a substantial reduction in the use of part-time personnel.
US Air Force Maintenance Complaints
Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews.
Problem: "Left inside main tire almost needs replacement."
Solution: "Almost replaced left inside main tire."
Problem: "Test flight OK, except autoland very rough."
Solution: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."
Problem: "The autopilot doesn't."
Signed off: "IT DOES NOW."
Problem: "Something loose in cockpit."
Solution: "Something tightened in cockpit."
Problem: "Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear."
Solution: "Evidence removed."
Problem: "DME volume unbelievably loud."
Solution: "Volume set to more believable level."
Problem: "Dead bugs on windshield."
Solution: "Live bugs on order."
Problem: "Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent."
Solution: "Cannot reproduce problem on ground."
Problem: "IFF inoperative."
Solution: "IFF inoperative in OFF mode."
Problem: "Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick."
Solution: "That's what they're there for."
Problem: "Number three engine missing."
Solution: "Engine found on right wing after brief search."