November 13, 1998


December 18, 1998

Happy Holidays!

The end of the year is almost here. As we look back on 1998, SENH has been very active with meetings, programs and committee work on the National and State level for its membership. All members should look forward to this same level, if not an increasing level of activity in 1999. Read on in this newsletter to find out more about what your organization has been up to and what we plan in the near future.

January, 1999 Membership Meeting

The next membership meeting will be held on January 12th in Concord, NH. The meeting is being sponsored by the Professional Development Committee. A representative from Simpson Strong Tie will make a presentation on their timber connection products.  This should be a very informative meeting for anyone who has to specify or design timber structures and connection products.  More information on this meeting, including time, place and reservations, is included in this mailing.

November 10th Meeting

Our November Meeting was held in Tilton at Mulligan's Restaurant at the Lochmere Golf Course. This meeting was sponsored by the Business Practice Committee and also was our Annual North Country Membership Meeting. Ms. Astrid Stevens Daly, Esquire, gave a very informative presentation on the CASE (Council of American Structure Engineers) Contract Documents. CASE Document No. 3 (design professional/structural engineer agreement) was specifically reviewed and the pros and cons of each section of the agreement was discussed. A very engaging question and answer period followed in which Ms. Daly responded to questions and offered opinions on such contract issues as oral agreements, limitation of liability clauses, signed vs. unsigned agreements, and collection costs. Many members said this was one of the most informative meetings SENH has had in recent memory. A summary of this meetings activities is provided in the meeting minutes which are enclosed.

NCSEA Update

The new president of NCSEA (National Council of Structural Engineering Associations) is our own SENH member Emile Troup, PE! Emile is asking for continued support for all member organizations, including SENH, for the great work that NCSEA has been doing for structural engineers on the national level. He is specifically requesting that SENH members become involved on NCSEA committees, submit articles for publication in Structure Magazine, provide news items and updates for publication in the Monthly Moments Newsletter, etc. Since SENH is one of the more organized and active member organizations, Emile is looking to us for assistance as he fills his duties as president of NCSEA. Please contact Emile directly if you can serve on any of the NCSEA committees or wish to submit articles, news items, bulletins or, in general, can provide assistance.

NCSEA Monthly Moments

The September issue of the Monthly Moments Newsletter is enclosed for your review.

1999 Dues

With January almost upon us, it is time for your annual dues. The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that there will be no increase in dues for 1999 over last year. Enclosed is an invoice for your dues for the coming year. Please complete and return the lower portion of the invoice with your payment as soon as possible so that SENH can meet its financial obligations.

1999 Budget

Enclosed you will find a copy of the 1999 SENH operating budget approved by the Board of Directors. If you have any questions concerning this budget, please feel free to contact Fred Emanuel, Treasurer.

National Engineers Week

The 49th Annual National Engineers Week celebration will be held in February from 2/21 to 2/27. Sponsors of the celebration are looking for assistance with the many activities. If you can assist, enclosed is more information on Engineers Week and whom to contact.

The Engineer Reflects - Is There a Santa Clause?

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.

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, or 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that is 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

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 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding, 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 manmade 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.

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 353,420 tons. Again, for comparison: this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

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 G-forces of 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 of Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

I hope you all have a happy holidays and a wonderful New Year. I will see you at our January 12th meeting!




Robert H. Durfee, P.E.

bdurfee_sig.gif (876 bytes)

President - SENH