Scientific Inquiry into Santa Claus

I love the internet.  This is from an old email that was in circulation in the early nineties; I did a random search for it and gladly found it.  It is full of Christmas awesomeness, and science awesomeness.  I share this now with you:

Scientific Inquiry into Santa Claus

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help
from that renown scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990) – I am
pleased to present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.

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.

2) There are 2 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.

3) 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. 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. Assuming that each of these 91.8
million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we
know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept),
we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2
million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least
once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.

This means that 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 on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per
second – a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming
that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 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. Even granting that “flying reindeer” (see point #1) could
pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even
nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload – not even
counting the weight of the sleigh – to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison
– – – this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air
resistance – this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer
will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. 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 (which seems ludicrously slim) would be
pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion – If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he’s
dead now.


Irish Bread Pudding

During Holidays, and especially Christmas, I like to do things like plan a good steelhead fishing trip, listen to some good Christmas music on the radio, drive around and look at lights, all that stuff.  I also like to eat.  There’s nothing I like more than satisfying my family with good eats.  Sure, I like to spend time with my immediate family, but I especially like to do things for them.  It’s just my nature.

My favorite pièce de résistance is Irish Bread Pudding.  Everyone lights up when they hear I’m making it, and I enjoy making it.  They especially light up when they dig into that first bite.  Now here is my recipe, and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do:

Irish Bread Pudding

2 French bread baguette (I use this recipe, but feel free to use baguettes made at your local bakery), cut into 1 inch thick slices
1/2 c raisins
1/4 c Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 3/4 c 2% milk
1 3/4 c heavy cream
1 c sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Brush melted butter on one side of French bread slices, place on baking sheet butter side up, baking at 350 for 10 min or until lightly toasted.  Cut into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside.  Combine raisins and whiskey in a small bowl; cover and let stand 10 minutes or until soft (do not drain).  It is important to cover the whiskey and not let it stand for more than 10 minutes or you’ll lose the flavor, as alcohol evaporates.  While you’re at it pour a shot for yourself and enjoy it as you go.

Combine milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and eggs; mix well with a whisk until smooth.  Add the bread cubes and raisin mixture, pressing gently to moisten; let stand 15 minutes.  Spoon bread mixture into a 13×9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon topping and sprinkle over your pudding.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until set.  I like to cook it until there is a nice crust on top–it shouldn’t be a moist crust, but rather firm.  Serve warm and top with Custard Sauce:

Custard Sauce:

1/2 c heavy cream
1 c 2% milk
5 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
3 T Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 tsp good vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, combine the cream and milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat, but do not let the milk boil (this will prevent the milk from separating).  In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until smooth.  Gradually whisk the hot milk into the yolks.  Return to the pan and stir constantly over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon, but make sure the custard does not boil.  Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the whiskey and vanilla.  Serve.

A Piper’s Christmas Fruitcake Recipe

A Piper’s  Christmas Fruitcake Recipe

1 cup water
1 cup of sugar
2 Tsp flour
4 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
lemon juice
1 bottle whiskey

1.Sample whiskey to check for quality.
2.Take a large bowl.
3.Check the whiskey again to be sure it’s of the highest quality. Pour one level cup and drink. Repeat.
4.Sit down. Play your pipes until reed settles in.
5.Turn on the electric mixer; beat 1 cup butter in the large looking, fluffy bowl. Add 1tbsp of sugar and beat again.
6.Make sure the whiskey is still OK. Cry another tup.
7.Turn off mixer.
8.Break 2 legs into bowl. Chuck in cup of dried fruit.
Add 2 tablespoons. flour in. mix on turner.
9.Let set for a time. Play the pipes some more.
10.If fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry loose with a drewscriver.
11.Sample whiskey to check for tonsisticity.
12.Next, sift 2 cups salt. Add one tbsp of coke (soda).
13.Check whiskey again.
14.Sift lemon juice and chop your nuts. Add one table. spoon. of sugar or something.
15.Grease oven. Repeat. Turn cake tin around 360 deg.
16.Don’t forget to beat the turner off.
17.Throw bowl out the window.
18.Check whiskey again and finish off.

Go to bed. Who the hell likes fruitcake anyway?

Too Cool not to Share: Lindsey Stirling- Crystallize

Exploring Filters

While working on some experiments on synthesis, I’ve come to learn that a lot of a good synth’s power lay within its filters for shaping the overall sound.  While looking at my own filter design in Csound (and I don’t call it necessarily “mine” as in “I wrote it”, just as in the sense that it is mine because I’m using it . . . I can’t remember where I pulled the code from), I find it works well to suit what I need it for.  I would, however, like to learn a little bit more about the internals of filter design and how it shapes the tone, so I can be more intentional about how I want a synthesized tone to sound.

;-12dB cutoff
aout1     butterlp     amix1, ifrq+<cutoff1>
aout2    butterlp    amix2, ifrq+<cutoff1>

;bandpass -6dB cutoff for resonance
ares1    butterbp     aout1, ifrq+<cutoff1>, ifrq+<cutoff1>*<bw>
ares2     butterbp     aout2, ifrq+<cutoff1>, ifrq+<cutoff1>*<bw>
ares1     balance     ares1, aout1
ares2     balance     ares2, aout2

Part of my research involves actually listening to filters at work.  I found this nice example of the Moog Ladder Filter below, in which the filter is used to filter the unique aspects of instruments in a song, making the tones really jump out of the song:

In a way, I am reminded of using my Carvin Quad-X guitar preamp as a tube preamp for vocals, which I find really make the mids in vocals really stand out and sound really crisp.  I was using the tubes in the preamp as a filter!  Not only that, but I was using other aspects of the preamp as a unified vocal filter.  With that in mind, it gives me a foundation of what to keep in mind as I research:  the filters are to shape the tone, so a quality filter will help in shaping a quality tone.

Rock n Roll Induction

Q:  Where is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

A:  Cleveland, OH

Q:  Where is the 2013 Induction Ceremony being held?

A:  Los Angeles, CA

Q:  Where is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?