978-0-7538-1366-9 / 9780753813669

Can Reindeer Fly?: The Science of Christmas





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About the book:

Roger Highfield, science editor of The Daily Telegraph and author of The Arrow of Time, takes an offbeat look at Christmas by examining it from a scientific perspective. Can Reindeer Fly? ranges across every field of science--from cloned Christmas trees and the genetic defect that makes Santa so plump, to warp-drive sleights and the physics of snow-flakes--and disentangles they myriad cultural influences that come together to make up our modern Christmas. What are the thermodynamics involved in cooking a turkey? Is the concept of a virgin birth scientifically feasible? What happens to us physically when we overindulge in alcohol? Do people really feel more depressed around Christmas? How does Santa manage to deliver all those presents in one night? (He has, in fact, little over two ten-thousandths of a second to get between each of the 842 million households he must visit.) With topics ranging from "The Decline and Fall of Virgin Births" to "Christmas Astrology"; from "Santa: The Hallucinogenic Connection" to "The Dreadful Sprout", Can Reindeer Fly will convince you that Christmas is for everyone-- even scientists.

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