Santa Claus is Coming to Town...
December 24, 2008 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Since 1955 NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) has been tracking Santa's Christmas trek around the globe by way of radar, satellites, fighter jets and now Santa Cams. In addition to tracking via Google Maps, you can also follow his journey in 3D via Google Earth. Also, be sure to check the Santa Cams which capture video of the places he's already visited on his trip.
"Last year, NORAD's Santa tracking center answered 94,000 calls and responded to 10,000 e-mails. About 10.6 million visitors went to the Web site, which can be viewed in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese and Chinese." *
[Previously - 1, 2 , 3, 4.]
posted by ericb (27 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love this story so much. Every year.
posted by Skorgu at 8:11 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.
I guess in the days before real-time audio encryption, a phone phreaker could have social engineered quite the nuclear catastrophe.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:19 AM on December 24, 2008


Aw. This gives me the warm fuzzies.
posted by flipyourwig at 8:20 AM on December 24, 2008


I think it's sort of creepy to take something that's supposed to be shrouded in myth and secrecy and make it plainly visible. I'm sure Santa would like some privacy... it's only a matter of time before we catch him cutting corners or committing some sort of scandalous error.

Also, the whole thing about lying to your kids about Santa seems even blurrier to me when you trot out Science-y looking technological affirmations of the ruse.

(NOT SANTA-IST)
posted by hermitosis at 8:39 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


This crap gets more tired with every passing year.

The facility that protect North America from nuclear attack by promising Mutually Assured Destruction of the entire human race salutes the Prince of Peace by spuriously "tracking" (a fraud apparent to ever adult, a fraud perpetuated by parents on their own children) an icon invented by ad-men to promote crass materialistic consumption for the profit of department stores (stores that have long since gone under due to the decay of our city centers and white-flight to safe, sterile, cookie-cutter suburbs).

In one tired cliche, this sums up the hypocrisy of the Military-Industrial Complex, American Christianity, Consumer Capitalism, and he United States of America.

Merry Christmas, suckers.
posted by orthogonality at 8:41 AM on December 24, 2008 [31 favorites]


You can't spell Christmas without orthogonality.
posted by kbanas at 8:47 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


In one tired cliche, this sums up the hypocrisy of the Military-Industrial Complex, American Christianity, Consumer Capitalism, and he United States of America.

You win at the Internets.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:57 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Orthogonality, between here and the Apollo 8 thread, you are hellbent on spreading holiday cheer (and hand-wringing).
posted by proj at 8:59 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's not a fraud, it's a valuable life lesson. As is pretending to still believe in the hope of getting extra presents from "Santa."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:15 AM on December 24, 2008


Enough with this fcuking Norad thing... bah humbug.
posted by Webbster at 9:16 AM on December 24, 2008


Not to derail, but I have a terrible ear infection; I've been in incredible pain the last several days until this morning, when my ear got so swollen it closed. Now it's discharging pus and (a little) blood and thick fibrous organic god-knows-what 9the remains of my eardrum, perhaps?), and I'm feeling a little queasy and nauseated, probably as my vestibular system becomes affected. I've canceled my holiday plans because of it, and I can't get a doctor for the antibiotics and steroids. So yeah, jolly I'm not. Oh fuck, now it's getting painful again. Like an icpickk to the ear. It's either closed and disorienting or it's semi-opening and painful. Yeah, I'm miserable here.
posted by orthogonality at 9:17 AM on December 24, 2008


The facility that protect North America from nuclear attack by promising Mutually Assured Destruction of the entire human race salutes the Prince of Peace...

I think you're completely ignoring the fact that Santa gained his place of power only by military force of his own over Jesus. By glossing over that fact you're just reinforcing the "peaceful" stereotypes of this Santa character. (I don't even have the stomach to retell the story of what Santa did to Frosty...)
posted by inigo2 at 9:18 AM on December 24, 2008


Also track Santa in Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D.
posted by ericb at 9:18 AM on December 24, 2008


Yeah, I'm miserable here.

You should print this thread and bring it to your doctor. Eventually.
posted by inigo2 at 9:18 AM on December 24, 2008


Santa gained his place of power only by military force of his own over Jesus.

Santa vs. Jesus.
posted by ericb at 9:25 AM on December 24, 2008


This NORAD thing would be cool if it was actually NORAD like in the old days, and not "Analytical Graphics, Inc." of Exton, Pennsylvania. I cringe every year when someone posts this website.
posted by crapmatic at 9:55 AM on December 24, 2008


I manned the phones for this last year, but only got through one phone call. They had a new phone system which didn't work at all, I could hear everyone else's conversations. I ended up babysitting a bunch of the volunteers' cranky kids instead.
My in-laws are there right now, but there is no way you could drag me back. Nope. Give me the internet and some eggnog. That's Christmas.
posted by idiotfactory at 11:07 AM on December 24, 2008


In one tired cliche, this sums up the hypocrisy of the Military-Industrial Complex, American Christianity, Consumer Capitalism, and he United States of America.

Your favorite holiday sucks!
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:41 AM on December 24, 2008


orthogonality writes "a fraud apparent to ever adult, a fraud perpetuated by parents on their own children"

Wait, dude. You're missing something here: deceiving children for your amusement is the whole point of having kids.
posted by mullingitover at 12:50 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


This year Cheney orders a shoot-down.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:05 PM on December 24, 2008


I have it on good authority that this is the year; They've been monitoring this unauthorized bogie's illegal entry into our airspace every year for over half a century and they are finally going to take that fucker out.

Rudolph may have a bright blowing red nose, but unless that sleigh can dispense chaff, Santa is going to discover that it's difficult to out-maneuver a guided missile in a runner-driven winter conveyance, flying or otherwise.

I'm hoping to be a part of the crash recovery team. I figure that after it digs itself a crater, the wreckage area is going to be covered in presents.

This is gonna be way easier than that whole "be good for goodness sake" shit.
posted by quin at 1:06 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


In one tired cliche, this sums up the hypocrisy of the Military-Industrial Complex, American Christianity, Consumer Capitalism, and he United States of America.

If I wanted to read Howard Zinn, goddamn it, I'd read Howard Zinn!
posted by ford and the prefects at 2:04 PM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dudes. Be mellow.

I just showed that NORAD site to my eight year old and now she's practically doing handsprings because Santa's really, truly on his way.

Also, she now knows where Cote D'Ivoire and Senegal are, which I'm fairly sure she didn't know before, because that's where he was when we looked at the site. I also learned about the existance of a few islands off the coast of Asia and Africa that I never knew were there.

In short, teh Internets are still fuckin' awesome and I love that this is here.

I know youse guys are all enjoying your Grinchiness. Have fun with it. I'll save you a plate of roast beast and Who pudding--come on by if you feel like celebrating later on. Merry Christmas.

PS. Orthogonality, I hope your ear problem goes away ASAP. Sounds miserable.
posted by Sublimity at 3:58 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sounds miserable.

Heh!

And here's to all eight year olds (and children plus "children-at-heart") this Christmas Eve.
posted by ericb at 4:04 PM on December 24, 2008


Not to derail, but I have a terrible ear infection....

You weren't hoping for eardrops from Santa, were you?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:21 PM on December 24, 2008


Oh Oh! Santa just visited Toronto, Ontario, United States!

Damn Yankees.
posted by arse_hat at 8:43 PM on December 24, 2008


-Kelly Mullen wrote:

When did you invade?

Toronto, Ontario, United States?

-NORAD Tracks Santa Team wrote:

Kelly,

Our invasion attempt was thwarted! :-)

Thanks for catching that error. It's fixed now. Refresh your browser to see.


Less then 2 minutes! These folks are great.
posted by arse_hat at 9:59 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


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