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I have recently received a number of distinctly unfestive emails pointing out the impossibility of Santa Claus delivering presents to all the children in the world in just one night.

We are all aware of the flaws in the conventional Santa Claus theory, but seem to accept it quite readily. Children are not quite so gullible and require a more rigorous proof of his existence. The answer to this problem lies in quantum theory.

Consider this: On Christmas night, Santa is in a superposition of quantum states, smeared out all the way around the planet, and each quantum state delivers presents to a single child. This explains why is is so important that children are asleep, because if just one child sees Santa, he immediately collapses into a single state, in accordance with Heisenberg. This would mean that no other children would receive presents that Christmas. This theory elegantly avoids all the flaws in the conventional theory. The only problem is that you will have to explain quantum theory to your children before you tell them about Santa.

Sean Smeltzer, Croydon, Surrey, New Scientist, January 16, 1999

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