"Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays 'Cause no matter how far away you roam If you want to be a happy in a million ways For the holidays, you can't beat home, sweet home" ~ Perry Como, Singer and Actor, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning Artist (most noted for his televised holiday specials)
As the weather here in the Northeast of the United States turns decidedly cold, and the snow falls, our minds begin to drift towards what we collectively call The Holidays. Granted, The Big Three, i.e. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa dominate a lot of the merriment and media. However, there are a plethora of other holidays that get celebrated around this time of year, such as (but not limited to):
Bodhi Day (December 8), a Buddhist holiday
Pancha Ganapati (December 21-25), a modern Hindu festival
HumanLight (December 23), a modern Humanist holiday
Yalda Night (December 21), a Pagan holiday celebrating the Winter Solstice
Boxing Day (December 26), a Secular holiday celebrated in the UK and in former British Empire nations
Plus, a whole host of other Winter Solstice Celebrations
And of course…Festivus (December 23), popularized on the television show Seinfeld as an alternative to Christmas
Whatever your traditionally celebrated holiday is, it is important to take time to reflect on all the good in the world, be kind and generous to our fellow human beings, care for our Earth and all the living creatures in it, and simply be grateful for one’s health and happiness.
The holidays remind us of all that and more.
So from the Digital Batman family, we wish all of you and your families a warm, happy, safe, and enjoyable holiday season!
Santa’s Magic Explained
Acclaimed science fiction author and visionary Issac Asimov once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
And that leads us to today’s article on The Science Behind Santa’s Christmas Magic.
Digital Batman has asked three noted experts in the field of Santa-ology, Felix Navidad (Seville’s Center for the Cosmic Arts), Noelle Reindeering (University of Massachusetts, Amherst – Asimov Magic & Physics Lab), and Christman McElf (from the Gaelic Druid Society), six of the most popular Yuletide Enchantment questions that have piqued humankind’s curiosity for centuries!
Digital Batman: Probably the most burning question that comes to mind is, ‘how does Santa Claus manage to deliver all those presents across the globe in one night?’
Felix Navidad: The answer to this question is a bit complicated because most people don’t think about the space-time continuum or Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity on a daily basis and how it relates to Christmas. But here it goes: As Santa’s sleigh speeds up close to the speed of light, time begins to take on strange properties. It actually slows down for Santa while from our perspective it speeds up. In other words, Santa is moving so fast that we can’t really perceive him but to him, it’s just a really long night of work. However, I think that he may also be generating a “warp bubble” around him so he’s still moving at near the speed of light while even going down the chimney, placing the presents under the tree, and eating the cookies and milk!
DB: Okay that leads me to my next question, ‘how does Santa manage to carry a planet’s worth of presents for billions of children on his one-person sleigh?’
Noelle Reindeering: Oh, I can answer that one! You see it also has to do with what Felix was talking about concerning the space-time continuum. The bag of toys is connected to the workshop back at the North Pole via a wormhole. How Santa manages to both get the power to keep this wormhole open and keep it connected to the bag is beyond me (and my colleagues at this time). Regardless, Santa’s bag is quite literally and endless supply of toys as he reaches in and pulls out what he needs for the kids that he’s giving presents to. Same goes for getting down the chimney as well.
DB: Okay, then, ‘how does he, and by extension the elves, keep the sheer volume of all those toys rolling along efficiently let alone actually manage to manufacture them?’
Christman McElf: That’s an easy one: The AIDDE! Formally known as The AI-Driven Difference Engine. Before The AIDDE, the elves had to keep their toy and gift production management operations organized through spreadsheets, and before that, hand-written ledgers! No amount of magic could handle the mass production and customization that Santa’s Workshop puts out on a global scale these days. If it weren’t for The AIDDE, and a whole bunch of subcontracts to companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Walmart, Hasbro, Wilson, Lego, and Justice to name a scant few, a lot of children would be sorely disappointed on Christmas morning.
DB: Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? Okay, next question, ‘How does Santa actually know if you’ve been naughty or nice?’
FN: The Internet! Seriously, before The Internet he had to rely solely on his Elves on the Shelves (along with some help from The Tooth Fairy and Mother Nature). Nowadays everyone’s lives is online in some way or another. People (especially kids) post the darndest things about themselves. It’s all out there, for good or ill. At least The Internet makes Santa’s job a lot easier—though he still uses the shelf elves for complimentary naughty or nice data.
DB: Wow! I better watch how much I spend on dog toys and carbs online! LOL! Seriously though, ‘is Santa immortal?’
NR: Nope! Santa, his workshop, the Elves, the North Pole, and delivering presents are all part of a family business that dates back thousands of years. There have been generations of Santa and Mrs. Claus (a.k.a. Kris and Jessica Kringle [their given elf names]) for time immemorial. There’s even talk that the new Santa will be female (about time), and her name is Noelle (like mine); I just saw the documentary on Disney+!
DB: I am so glad to hear that! I’m sure Noelle Kringle will do a great job and be a wonderful role model for young girls all over the world. And my final question is, ‘How do the reindeer fly?’
CM: I’ll take this one. You see, it’s all in the antlers. They generate an opposite gravimetric field that surrounds all eight or nine of them and the sleigh. This field, in turn, warps the local space-time continuum around them. This space warp (much like an Alcubierre Drive for faster-than-light space travel) can then generate massive amounts of thrust with zero inertia. Which in turn propels the sleigh at near the speed of light for those relativistic effects that Felix was talking about. How do the reindeer antlers actually accomplish this? Well, I can only say “by magic” for now. And, it should be noted that all of the reindeer are actually female because male reindeer shed their antlers in the winter while females keep them theirs all year long. Oh, and there’s a tenth reindeer named Olive. She’s mentioned in the song about Rudolph that goes, “Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names…” She’s since apologized to Rudolph for that and they have been best friends ever since.
And there you have it! The science behind Santa’s Christmas Magic somewhat thoroughly explained. It all still seems like magic to me anyway.
Some of my Favorite Christmas Tunes
Final Thoughts for 2020
2020 has been a very tumultuous year. Between the most hotly contested US Presidential Election in the nation’s history, a global pandemic that has taken millions of lives, a nation divided by racial inequality and strife, and the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression, one can only say, “Good Riddance to 2020!”
Well, there’s more to it than that. We have to also look at the good and see beyond our current turbulent times to better days ahead.
I know that it’s hard to see the good in all of this—especially when the casualty numbers rise ever higher and the nightly news is filled with violence against good people just trying to live a decent life. But we have to strive for a better nation, a better future, and to better ourselves.
I have had the opportunity to spend some great time with my family, whom I love very much. These are also special times that we need to cherish because sooner rather than later things will go back to normal. And when that happens, we will all think that trivial things like shopping and dining will be all too important rather than being with the ones we love.
So, keep your families together as long as you can, and enjoy this holiday season together, for one day your children will go their separate ways and you’ll miss them dearly—even if they’re only a FaceTime call away!