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7 Scientific Truths About Christmas, Santa, And Reindeer

(Article from Business Insider)

In honor of the holiday, we bring you this YouTube video from the science-minded folks at PBS Studios "It's Okay To Be Smart" in which they look into the age-old question: "Is Santa Real?"

We won't spoil the ending (and answer) for you, but we will point out several interesting holiday-related things we learned from the video.

  1. Thomas Edison introduced Christmas lights to the world in 1880. Before that, people put actual candles with flames on their trees.
  2. It's a law of the universe that your Christmas lights will tangle (entropy), no matter how carefully you packed them away the year before. Physicists have proven that for any cord longer than 2 meters, knots are almost mathematically guaranteed. That's because there's only one way for the string to be "untangled" but endless possibilities for it to get fouled up.
  3. Santa relies on girl power. Santa's sleigh is pulled by a team of reindeer in full antlers. Male reindeer shed their antlers in the winter. So unless every rendering of Santa's sleigh is wrong, Santa's reindeer are all female.
  4. Even if most reindeer can't fly, they do float in water. Their hair traps air, like a puffy jacket.
  5. Some reindeer really do have red noses, at least some of the time. It comes from lots of blood vessels in their noses which helps them regulate body temperature.
  6. Santa's sleigh would have to travel 1,300 miles per second for him deliver toys to every child on earth on Christmas Eve. If he were flying an ordinary object with no magic, it would burst into flames from the heat generated by air resistance. If he were a regular non-magical guy, there would be other detrimental effects to Santa himself, too.
  7. There are quantum mechanics theories as to how Santa works his magic. It's complicated. We'll let the smart guy in the video below explain it to you (at 4:50, if you want to skip ahead):

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