Archive for Field Trips

Xmas Maths Challenge!

Hello, Mysci! It has been a long time, but I’m back! Hooray! Anyhoo…
My new school asked me to complete an Xmas maths challenge, so here it is (minus footnotes and a table):

Xmas Maths Challenge


Every Christmas, Santa delivers presents to every good child in the world. If this were the case:

1) How many houses would he visit?

2) How far would he travel…assuming he’d like to keep it to a minimum?

3) How long could he spend at each house?

4) How fast would he travel if he only delivers between dusk and dawn?

5) If he has a piece of christmas cake and a glass of sherry at each home, how
much does he eat and drink altogether?

6) If he were breathalysed, how many times over-the-limit would he be?

7) Rudolph eats a carrot at each house. How much would he weigh at dawn?

Ext) If he delivers a single present to every child in a box measuring 50cm
x 30cm x 20cm, how much wrapping paper and sellotape would he need?


1) There are 1.9 billion kids in the world, but some of them are bad. If we assume that 1 billion of the 1.9 billion kids are good, and about 300 million of them live with another good kid, then Santa should visit about 700 million houses. These would be all over the world. Santa would probably need clones to cope with such a large amount of houses. This is a nail in the coffin for the Santa Claus theory. This text is basically going to totally disprove the existence of Santa.

2) This problem is related to the travelling salesman problem, which is VERY hard to solve. To maximise time, Santa should definitely start (and finish!) on the international date line. This would give him 36 hours at most, because if he starts at dusk (6pm) then by the time he has gone around the world, following the sun, it will be 6pm again. Now, he has another 12 hours, in total making 36 hours. Of course, since Santa lives at the North Pole, he should also start and finish there. However, if we assume the Australian view, that Santa lives at the South Pole, He should start and finish there instead. Santa can also skip the major unpopulated areas, such as Antarctica, the Sahara Desert and the Amazon Rainforest. Now if we assume it’s 2,200km to the nearest house on the IDL from whichever pole Santa starts at, and it is only 1m between houses in the same town and Santa visits all 3,000,000 towns in the world, and it’s at most 5km between each, and there are 233 houses per town, then Santa would travel 714,004,400km. This is, naturally, utterly ridiculous.

3) Assuming Santa set aside 18 of his 36 hours for visiting houses, that would be 64,800 seconds for houses. Divide this by 700 million and you get 0.0000925 seconds per house. Even if he set aside 24 hours for houses, he’d only be able to spend 0.00012 seconds per house. He would barely have time to drop a present in, let alone eat or drink any cake or sherry. He’d have to do it en route or something else similar. The theory that Santa goes down the chimney can, therefore, be disproved.

4) Assuming Santa set aside 18 hours for travel, or 64,800 seconds (I will keep throwing that data around!), then he’d have to travel 11,018.58 km/s or 11,018,580 m/s to make the entire 714,004,400km. For reference, the speed of light is 299,792,458 m/s and Santa’s speed is just over 1/27 of that. Humans still haven’t invented technology to go that fast! It’s even worse if Santa sets aside only 12 hours (43,200 seconds) he’d have to travel at 16527.87km/s or 16,527,870 m/s, or 1/18 of the speed of light. This, of course, is utterly ridiculous, ridiculous enough, in fact, that Special Relativity applies. However, for simplicity, I have left out that factor.

5) The average volume of a glass of an alcoholic beverage is 180ml, but they are usually only filled to 100ml. Assuming that each glass is filled only to the usual amount, and there was nothing but sherry offered, Santa would drink 70,000,000,000L of sherry. A bottle of sherry is 750ml, and it costs £10. Santa would drink 93,333,333,333 bottles of sherry and the public would spend £933,333,333,330. I am NOT paying for drinks. Following the same method, a piece of christmas cake’s mass is 60g, plus 10g for the icing and decoration. If every christmas cake in the world were the same, and Santa ate all 700 million slices, he’d have consumed 4,900,000kg of christmas cake in all. If each cake cost £10, and a cake had eight slices, then the public would end up spending £612,5000 on christmas cake. In total, Santa would eat 357,000,000kg of cake and drink 70,000,000,000L of sherry, and the public would spend £933,333,945,8330 on Santa. And don’t get me started on the cost of Rudolph’s carrots!

6) It is, unfortunately, illegal (and impossible) to breathalyse somebody who is dead, as Santa is likely to be, unless his metabolism is extremely quick-acting. Assuming the latter, Santa would only be around a million times over the limit, which is 0.08% (according to my source, Google), as opposed to around one million one thousand times assuming the former, which would mean certain death. All in all, it’s best to stick to the old milk-and-cookies approach, to be on the safe, not drunk side.

7) To solve this apparently simple question, I measured 10 carrots, and listed their weights (on earth!) on Table 1.The average of their weights was 1.041 Newtons. Multiply this by the number of houses (700 million), and then add the average weight of a reindeer. According to my sources (centrally Wikipedia), and assuming Rudolph is a Finnish forest reindeer (R. t. Fennicus), the average weight of a male reindeer is 1961 Newtons. If Rudolph is a female reindeer however, her weight (before the carrots) would be 980 Newtons. Assuming Rudolph is male, then after the carrots he’d weigh 728,701,961 Newtons, but if she’s a girl, then she’d be 728,700,980 Newtons. Add the extra weight for his/her glowing nose (0.05 Newtons), and he/she’d be 728,701,961.005 Newtons (or 728,700,980.005 Newtons if she’s a female) in total. However, in space (where no-one can hear you scream) he/she would weigh barely anything. Because you asked for weight, I have listed all weights in Newtons, the only proper weight measurement. Some of these values are simply ridiculous. Another nail in the coffin of the Santa Claus theory, then.

Ext) A piece of sellotape is 5 centimetres long. To use the minimum amount of wrapping paper, Santa would need 12 pieces per box, meaning that 60 centimetres of sellotape would be needed per box. In total, that’s 600,000,000 metres of sellotape. A roll of Scotch® tape is 33m long, so Santa would use 18,181,819 rolls of tape if he used Scotch®. If a roll costs him 75p, he would end up spending £13,636,364.30 for tape alone. Because the surface area of the box is 630 centimetres squared, to use the minimum amount of packaging, Santa would need two 50cm x 30cm panels, two 50cm x 20cm panels and two 30cm x 20cm panels. If every child gets one gift, then he would use 630,000,000,000cm squared of wrapping paper or 6,300,000,000m squared.

Therefore, THE ANSWER is… is… 42.

Snail Shells – Or Are They?

One day we were going to the local public library. On the way I picked up a snail shell that looked interesting. It was clear!

We picked up many of them. They were in the cracks in the sidewalk. And it had rained the day before or the day before that. I think the snails must have got into the cracks and then the rain stopped and so they dried out inside the cracks!

Snail Shells 1

This is all the shells we found. I think it was nearly all the shells in the cracks!

Snail Body

This is body of the creature that was in the shell. EWWWWWW!!!

Big Opaque Shell

This was the only opaque shell. And it was the biggest too!

Translucent Shell

This is my Mom holding one of the translucent shells up to the sun. But you don’t see the sun!

Peo’s Questions


  1. Why are the little shells clear but the big one opaque?
  2. Do you know what the body is a body of?
  3. If they hadn’t dried up in the sidewalk cracks, how did they get there?
  4. And how did the shells get made clear?

James Webb Space Telescope and space

Two days ago I went to South by Southwest (SXSW) and saw the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). It was only a model but while I was there I learned lots about outer space.

When I first arrived there I was going around looking for something to take notes of. I had a whole stack of colored pencils just in case I needed to draw something, three regular pencils, and a notepad that was supposed to be for summer break. Of course I actually used it as my notepad for this post. I was wearing my one and only labcoat!

Peo at the JWST

Well we’re here at the JWST!

While Mum was talking to Fraser Cain, after she finished talking he told me a little bit about Panspermia. The definition of Panspermia is that rocks from Earth get spouted into the air and land on Mars. This could happen when a big, big asteroid hits Earth! That means life on Mars could come from Earth. The rocks carry bacteria from Earth.

It’s helping me research for my paleo-exo-biologist job. Paleo-exo-biologist means a person who looks for prehistoric life on other planets. And I’m going to probably be the first one alongside two of my friends. One friend will take notes, the other will keep the rocket in shape, and I will dig up the prehistoric life! Because prehistoric dead life is awesome! Dinosaurs in space are better than anything else!

As said above, the life on Mars could come from Earth if there is life on Mars. So thank you Fraser Cain for helping me with my research!

Next I took a few pictures of all of the views of a small model of the JWST.

Small Model 1

This is the front view of a small model of the JWST.

Peo takes a photo

This a photo taken by Mum of me taking a photo! That’s so funnee (funny the way Fozzie bear says it)!

Next I wrote this in my notes about ISIM: “ISIM supports four Webb instruments and electronics.” I wrote only this down.

Peo taking notes

This is a picture of me taking notes (Mum took it).

We just did some research on ISIM because we didn’t really know what it was. We found a website about it and learned that it’s the Integrated Science Instrument Module. I just learned what module means: it’s like a piece of something that finds its way into something else. For example, in the Lego version of Fluffy McSharkah Khan the eyes and teeth are a module of the whole thing.

We saw a video about the ISM which basically showed that it’s JWST’s brain:

The ISIM has some infrared sensors because the JWST uses infrared to see space. They had an infrared camera and I got to test it out. Of course the thing they used for cold was uncomfortably cold! It was water with ice in it so you expect that, right?

Infra red screen

Brr! That water that made my hand purple on the infra red screen was uncomfortably cold!

In my notes I wrote, “I did an experiment with a heat sensor . The results are heat is white and cold is purple.”

Also inside the tent was an iPad thingy with lots of space information. It was a NASA iPad app. I tell you it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E awesome! I got most of my notes on there. The first thing I did was learn a little bit about one of Mars’ craters mapped by Curiosity which is actually a rover, not a crater! The crater is 96 miles in diameter. That means it could have water. It is three times the height of the Grand Canyon. It has a mountain inside. I wrote all that in my notes completely completely completely!

Peo taking notes at iPad 1

This it the first time I went to the iPad and just sat and took notes.

Later I came and took more notes. And this is a lot of notes. You’re going to see how many!

  • The solar cycle damages satellites and shuts down power.
  • Greenhouse gases can cause ice to melt.
  • Solar flares are a threat to satellites.
  • Some exoplanets are KOI-961, Kelper-1ob, and KOI-961b.
  • The things you need for life are carbon, atmosphere, magnetic fields, energy, and water.
  • The things used for preserving life are ice, minerals, and atmosphere and gases.
  • Evidence that there’s life on Mars is there was water in the past of Mars, there is water on Mars now, Mars has an atmosphere, Mars has magnetic fields, Mars has inorganic and organic compounds, and Mars has energy.

I don’t really understand what inorganic and organic compounds are. I hope somebody comes and tells me about that. If you are a scientist and you do know about that come and tell me about it please!

Peo taking notes 2

I was too concentrated to hear my Mum and the NASA people talking while I took these notes. I even got interviewed for a different blog and I was only mumbling because I was too concentrated!

Then we went back outside to the big model and took a video all the way around. It’ll be coming later in a different post. And also we made some measurements. I mean, we made only one because we weren’t really allowed to go that close to the JWST model. We measured the overhanging low frame:

JWST Frame

This was overhanging the barrier so we decided to measure how far off the ground it is.

I did some tricky math for the measurements. The holder part of the measuring tape is 2 3/4″. The holder basically was not only used for holding the measuring tape but also says how high it is! So whenever you measure, it’s plus that! The measuring tape said 79″. So we have to add 79″ plus 2 3/4″ and that equals 81 3/4″. So the the lowest part of JWST that we could reach by the barrier is 81 in. and three quarters from the ground.

Measuring the frame

I was making my only measurement in this photo.

I met some other people too. Like Scott Lewis. He made a good joke about Highlights Magazine. He’s my Mum’s friend and he’s the one who told us about this whole thing. When we got home we saw a picture of him kissing a chicken! It was a rubber chicken in a NASA suit. We didn’t get to meet the chicken but I hope we do sometime! Just because it’s funny! It’s awesome!

Some nice NASA people gave me a comic, a poster, a fortune teller, and a pin and some stickers. Thanks! Also, a I got a pin that nobody else got! I really amazed them by all my note taking so one of them gave me an extra pin. It instead has the NASA logo instead of just the JWST pin. Thanks!

I’m bringing extras of some stuff to my class. I really hope my classmates enjoy it, especially the comic. Here I am reading it:

Peo reading JWST comic

The comic was about the infrared light JWST uses. That comic was pretty good. In the Did You Know About the JWST parts, I wish there was more parts about the parts!

It was wonderful, I tell you, wonderful!

Peo’s Question From This Post

What does “inorganic compounds and organic compounds” mean?