# Debunking Humor...

#### Landru

##### Moderator
Staff member
Is there a Santa Claus? - A physicist view 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.

The payload on 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 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds.

There are two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't appear to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and 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.

This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a 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.

Santa has 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 822.6 visits per second.

In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

#### FatPhil

##### Senior Member.
"55 Olympic sized swimming pools of sherry"
I was unable to find a "sign up" link, if you know the organisers, can you please pass on my email address.

#### NorCal Dave

##### Senior Member.
Is there a Santa Claus?

While there are a number of versions of 'ol Santa Claus, it's the claims of a certain Christopher Clement Moore that help to define our modern version of him. In an attempt to invent a wholesome family Christmas celebration in the face of Puritanical anti-Christmas sentiment that had carried over into early American society, Moore published an account of an encounter with Santa, originally called A Visit From St. Nickolas. The claim is more commonly referred to as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Medieval Christmas celebrations were often raucous affairs, such that in Cromwell's England, Christmas and the character of Father Christmas was frowned upon:

Many people, especially the more religious, came to frown upon this celebration of Christmas. They disliked all the waste, extravagance, disorder, sin and immorality of the Christmas celebrations, but they also saw Christmas (that is, Christ’s mass) as an unwelcome survival of the Roman Catholic faith, a popish festival with no biblical justification – nowhere had God called upon mankind to celebrate Christ’s nativity in this way, they said. What this group wanted was a much stricter observance of the Lord’s day (Sundays), but the abolition of the popish and often sinful celebration of Christmas, as well as of Easter, Whitsun and assorted other festivals and saints’ days.
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And was eventually outlawed:

The Directory made clear that Sundays were to be strictly observed as holy days, but that there were to be no other holy days – ‘festival days, vulgarly called Holy Days, having no warrant in the Word of God, are not to be continued’. Parliamentary legislation adopting the Directory of Public Worship therefore prohibited (on paper at least) the religious celebration of all other holy days, including Christmas.
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https://www1.chester.ac.uk/news/expert-explains…-myth-cromwell-abolished-christmas#:

While this was done away with after the Restoration, the Puritans that made their way to the New World kept many of the conventions:

The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings.

After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.
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https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas#

It was in the early 19th century that writers like Washington Irving started to create the American Family Home Christmas myth. An important contribution to this was the afore mentioned 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, by Christopher Clement Moore:
Moore is largely credited with creating the modern-day image of both Santa Claus as well as the domesticity associated with being home for the holidays, especially on Christmas Eve.
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https://parade.com/1136533/jessicasager/twas-the-night-before-christmas-words/

The claim in question seems to be the record of an eye-witness encounter with Santa Claus. With such an outsized roll in American Christmas lore and the codification of what we currently know as Santa Claus, I thought it best to give this claim a bit of Metabunk scrutiny. To wit:

Text of the "poem" claim can be found here: https://parade.com/1136533/jessicasager/twas-the-night-before-christmas-words/

'Twas The Night Before Christmas
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More accurately, it was originally titled A Visit or A Visit From St. Nickolas. The author originally tried to remain anonymous but was eventually found out. Giving some of the claims made here, one can understand why.

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
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It should be noted that, as Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, his actual birthdate is completely unknown. Dispensing here with a discussion of the facts of Jesus’s life and ignoring the possibility that he may have never existed as the only corroborating evidence for the Gospels is the limited writings of the somewhat unreliable Josephus, there is nothing in the known histories to confirm December 25 as his birthday. Not only is the exact day in question, but so is the year. Assuming, however, that Jesus lived and was born sometime during the reign of Augustus, this leaves us with a multi-year window. The idea that year 1 of Ano Domini was created by the church much later. The date of December 25 was adopted by Pope Julius 1 in the mid 4th century, so 300+ years after the event, and many believe it was to coopt various pagan traditions.

when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
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This seems highly unlikely. The common house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, is present in both Western Europe and North America and is nocturnal during most of its life. It’s very likely that if mice were present in the house of our witness, they would have been active after dark.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
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As this claimed story is from the early 19th century, a time when a large central fireplace was the sole source of heat in the house, hanging flammable socks at the hearth may not be the best idea.

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
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As will be seen later in this poem, St. Nicholas is claimed to be leading a team of Reindeer. As Eurasian reindeer, Rangifer tarandus are found largely near the artic Circle and Nicholas was a 4th century bishop in Lycia, present day Turkey, it seems highly unlikely that the two are in any way related.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
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There are numerous studies linking the intake of sugary foods with cavities, childhood obesity and early onset diabetes.

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
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Certainly, in the US, despite repeated droughts and the effects of climate change, there is a desire to maintain a lush green lawn in front of one’s home. One need only look at the current levels of Lake Mead and other western reservoirs to see the folly in this obsession.

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
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Presumably, were dealing with a full moon here, but as the exact date of this encounter is never giving, it’s unclear. The account appears to be on or around Christmas Eve, but at this point it’s pure speculation and therefore difficult to establish the exact phase of the moon.

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
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The exact size of the sleigh and supposed reindeer pulling it may be hard to determine giving that the observer is likely in a state of quasi-sleep having just been startled from his slumber and by his own admission, he is making his observation in the filtered moonlight.

With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
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How exactly a sleep deprived observer from the early 19th century can positively identify a 4th century monk in the moonlight is a bit unclear.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
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Aside from some great apes and mans best friend, Canis Familiaris, the notation that other animals respond to verbal commands tied to individual “names” that they recognize is dubious at best.

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
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Since the average roof construction has a designed dead load or static amount of weight, of around 10# per square foot and a live load, people walking around, of 30# psf, the notation that a concentrated load of 8 Cervids and the sleigh equivalent of a fully loaded FedEx truck could park on said roof for any length of time seems unlikely.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
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This maneuver would constitute breaking and entering in most parts of the world, or at least in the Western Christian dominated areas where Christmas myths are most prevalent. It would also seem to indicate that the fire had gone almost completely out, thus allowing for a safe landing. Giving that this event is supposed to be taking place in the dead of winter in some sort of Northern clime, one must question the witness’s memory of events. Unless this early 19th century homestead was equipped with central heat and air, highly unlikely, the fire is the only source of heat during the coldest part of the night. Not something to be left alone to burn out.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
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While this outfit may be somewhat consistent with the traditional dress of the reindeer herding Sami people of Northern Scandinavia, it is not the typical outfit of a 4th century Anatolian monk. Perhaps if said Monk were transplanted to Sapmi, formerly known by the now pejorative Lapland, to learn reindeer wrangling, he may have adopted the useful dress of his Sami hosts. We are still left with the incongruencies of a Byzantine monk learning skills practiced largely near or above the Artic circle and then showing up in the parlor of a 19th century American house.

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
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A clue to this whole strange encounter may be found here. St Nick is described as “smoking” something and apparently with enough vigor to create a substantial cloud. Now if this pipe were loaded with some sort of hallucinogenic substance, it may explain the witness’s dubious story. As someone from the western Asiatic steps, St. Nick may have had access to some very potent hashish. His ability to come down the chimney while simultaneously puffing on his hash pipe, may indicate his substantial chronic use of the substance. Put simply, he could work while high. This may not be the case for the homeowner witness. He makes no mention of using CBD or other benign sleep aids, let alone something more powerful to put him down for the night. In fact, as a pious Christian in early 19th century America, our witness may have been a complete teetotaler and completely unprepared for the effects of a large amount of secondhand hash smoke.

He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
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Once again, we are forced to question the witness’s memory of events. He never makes clear how it is that he is observing St. Nick in such fine detail and cataloging all his actions, while never being detected himself. Was he peeking through a cracked open door or hiding behind the couch? It’s just not clear. It is possible that St. Nick himself was so zonked from the copious amounts hash he was consuming, that he failed to notice the witness, but again it’s unclear.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
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Perhaps all the hash was slowing St. Nick down a bit as he tried the much more difficult task of climbing back up the chimney, so he put his finger to his nose and switched substances to something a bit more “uplifting”.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
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Taken as a whole, we have a witness describing a 4th century Byzantine monk, possibly suffering from dwarfism, with a trained troupe of supposedly flying artic reindeer breaking into his house, not to steal anything, but to leave gifts. The story strains credulity.

As there doesn’t appear to have been any criminal reports associated with the event, it’s plausible that a somewhat intoxicated reveler mistakenly stumbled into the witness’s house. In an attempt to investigate what was happening in his home, the witness inadvertently succumbed to the revelers intoxicant, thus clouding his memory of the event and producing the highly unlikely fable we are presented with.

Nevertheless, as is often the case, this dubious claim concerning two likely inebriated Christmas celebrants has woven its way into the mythology, such that it's now just taken as fact.

TL,DR: Hope everyone is having a great holiday season and a New Year to look forward too.

#### JMartJr

##### Senior Member
I notice you posted the day AFTER Christmas... presumably being insufficiently confident of your debunk to risk getting on the coal-and-switches list.

#### NorCal Dave

##### Senior Member.
I notice you posted the day AFTER Christmas... presumably being insufficiently confident of your debunk to risk getting on the coal-and-switches list.
Better safe than sorry.

#### Stewart Kay

##### Member
A payload to a 1600ltr Toyota Crorolla, 1300ltr 1400ltr i dont know.
(i used own one) Got a nice Caddy Now. Anyway over the above i didnt realise this so fun this can be done to the exaust pipe system, or to really get on your friends nerves as a hoax (Rubber cycle innertube with a C- clamp on exhaust pipe) The intake / ex must be ritch with 3 inch of pipe!

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieJUP9O9RG8

Old video, but they are still the best VHS anyone i have lol

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#### LilWabbit

##### Senior Member
A philosophy essay On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt from Princeton.

#### JMartJr

##### Senior Member
Riding, tumbone on a 50cc motorbike
echos out into the town lane
THE DOPPLER EFFECT IS FAKE!!! I KNEW IT!!!!!

#### obiwanbenobi

##### Active Member
Is there a Santa Claus? - A physicist view 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.
...

Whoever wrote that never saw _Elf_... That's all I got to say...

#### JMartJr

##### Senior Member
Whoever wrote that never saw _Elf_... That's all I got to say...
Lucky devil...
Anyway, unrelated to the above but hopefully useful to you all in your Internet arguiment, here, have this picture:

#### obiwanbenobi

##### Active Member
As coincidences go, we were gifted with an Elvis bobble head doll today. This is proof that Elvis has not left the building. AmIRite?

#### flarkey

##### Senior Member.
Staff member

Hmmm. Couldn't resist...

#### psikiwi

##### New Member
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
Your quote from "Twas the Night before Christmas" (see post #2247): sounds like Christopher Clement Moore is the first recorded eye-witness of Bigfoot, a la Patterson Gimlin...

More Corbell.

#### JMartJr

##### Senior Member
A Bear on Mars?
Have none of these folks seen a bear? If they said "Angry Bird" (tm) on Mars, I might buy it...

#### Ann K

##### Senior Member.
Is this our chinese spy balloon?

#### JMartJr

##### Senior Member
Mission to shoot down the Chinese weather balloon is GO!

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#### FatPhil

##### Senior Member.

1945? Not just 2 days after Pearl Harbor?

“About noon on December 9, 1941 we were steaming south on open seas when a plane was sighted. This was about high noon. All ships went to General Quarters and [were] ordered to fire. We opened fire at what we thought was the altitude of the plane. We had to estimate. We set a fuse to go off at an estimated altitude. We started out at 5,000 feet and could see that it was coming up short, so we raised to about 7,500 feet and could see that it was short, too. So, we raised it up to the maximum of 10,000 feet.

Pretty soon, word came down from the navigator. It was determined that this was the planet Venus. It turned out that we had fired 300 rounds at the planet Venus. Recently, I’ve seen satellite pictures of the planet Venus, and I noticed pockmarks so maybe we did hit our target.”
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-- https://www.pacificwarmuseum.org/ab...surviving-two-back-to-back-ship-sinkings-part

Is one of the tales made up? I'm sure the tiny probability of the US Navy repeating such a mistake is immeasurable.

#### JMartJr

##### Senior Member
Is one of the tales made up? I'm sure the tiny probability of the US Navy repeating such a mistake is immeasurable
I dunno... Venus seems to fool people over and over, year in and year out. Certainly recent leaked events would not add a lot if confidence to the argument that the Navy is not susceptible to confusion when it comes to identifying flying objects....

#### Ann K

##### Senior Member.
I dunno... Venus seems to fool people over and over, year in and year out. Certainly recent leaked events would not add a lot if confidence to the argument that the Navy is not susceptible to confusion when it comes to identifying flying objects....
This lighthearted article lists a number of items that have been reported as UFOs, from the moon to frozen urine! But Venus is one of the most popular ones:
There isn’t just one case of our planetary neighbor being mistaken for an unidentified flying object. According to experts, Venus is one of the most common explanations for UFO sightings. As Discover magazine reports, the book UFOs: An Insider’s View of the Official Quest for Evidenceincludes an account of Georgia police officers chasing an object moving quickly about 500 feet off the ground that turned out to be the planet. Venus is the brightest celestial body behind the sun and moon, and it appears close to the horizon—two factors that may contribute to the regular cases of mistaken identity.
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https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/641697/objects-mistaken-ufos

#### Mendel

##### Senior Member.
Is one of the tales made up?
Yours doesn't seem entirely factual: I don't believe Venus is visible at "high noon".

#### Ann K

##### Senior Member.
Yours doesn't seem entirely factual: I don't believe Venus is visible at "high noon".
I think you're probably right, as it was a ship at sea. But is it more likely that it would be visible from, say, a high mountain peak or a flight at high altitude? There would be less scattered light to obscure it in thinner atmosphere.

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#### derwoodii

##### Senior Member.
https://ahcwyo.org/2022/04/04/flying-saucers-for-real-the-papers-of-jack-d-pickett/
In 1967, as part of his duties as publisher of Air Force publications, Pickett explained that he was asked to create an issue of the “NCO Club News” that included a feature on experimental aircraft. While on the outskirts of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, he had seen an amazing sight. There, he professed, were four disc-shaped aircraft resembling flying saucers in the base’s salvage yard.

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Brutal...

#### JMartJr

##### Senior Member
Too soon?

Since it basically flew over my house, I think I have standing...
Chinese text says "No missiles," but something more like "How's the weather down there?" might be better

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