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'just pretend you're Santa.'

Since 1955 NORAD has been tracking Santa Claus on his annual trek around the world delivering presents (previously), but do you know why and how a grim, uber serious military organisation like NORAD, at the height of the Cold War started doing this? It turns out it's all because Sears used the wrong phone number in a Christmas advert and the officer on duty at NORAD had the presence of mind to play along.
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 25, 2013 - 24 comments

 

You may now evacuate in your pants

On the morning of Saturday, February 20, 1971, Wayland S. Eberhardt, a civilian teletype operator, was going about his routine duties at the National Emergency Warning Center at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, when he made a minor error in mounting a tape. What happened next became the Great EBS Scare of 1971.
posted by pjern on Feb 20, 2013 - 42 comments

He's over Namibia. Now, you can ask your parents where that is.

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY TO CHILDREN WHILE TRACKING SANTA WITH NORAD Every year NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) helps track Santa Claus's movement around the globe [previously]. The transcript of First Lady Michelle Obama's conversations with kids on Christmas as she watches the radar, sent to the White House press list last night, is absolutely adorable. Much more at the Norad Santa headquarters, and an interview with the head researcher at the Department of Energy tasked with tracking St Nick.
posted by jtajta on Dec 25, 2010 - 42 comments

Santa Claus is Coming to Town...

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. [more inside]
posted by ericb on Dec 24, 2008 - 27 comments

Santa visits some interesting places

Ho, ho, ho! Santa visits Iraq. Seen via NORAD. [more inside]
posted by zerobyproxy on Dec 24, 2007 - 20 comments

How about global thermonuclear war?

Cheyenne Mountain base on phased retirement. The Cheyenne Mountain headquarters of NORAD (etc.), hardened to survive multiple thermonuclear impacts, is being all but abandoned for a nearby facility that's cheaper to maintain. My prediction: apocalyptic war movies are going to lose a lot of visual oomph. [via Schneier]
posted by grobstein on Oct 25, 2006 - 24 comments

"The truth, however, is all on tape."

"The real story is actually better than the one we told." A Vanity Fair recounting of NORAD's response to the September 11 attacks, based on "30 hours of never-before-released tapes from the control room," isn't quite the same as what the Pentagon told the 9/11 Commission. Commission staffers "thought that e-mails and other evidence provided enough probable cause to believe that military and aviation officials violated the law by making false statements to Congress and to the commission."
posted by kirkaracha on Aug 2, 2006 - 126 comments

Government assisted myth perpetuation

Of course santa is real, even NORAD tracks him. With large corporate sponsors and a long list of b-class celebrities (except for Mickey Rooney), how could any child doubt that santa exists. How can mass societal lies be any good for children? Does it teach them that everyone lies and is it the reason that most adults do?
posted by Mr_Zero on Dec 25, 2005 - 142 comments

Santa!

Watch the sky! He's coming soon! With fighter escort!
posted by arse_hat on Dec 23, 2004 - 15 comments

he's coming! look out!

The world's most wanted man has embarked on his annual breaking-and-entering spree! Stop him before he reaches your house, using the power of NORAD. Track him as he wends his way around the world...(see! Missile-defense technology IS good for something!)
posted by amberglow on Dec 24, 2002 - 14 comments

Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and the US Military is watching him.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and the US Military is watching him. It's NORAD's annual "Santa Tracking" PR campaign, reporting that Father Xmas appears to be flight testing his reindeer earlier this year (a prudent move, if you've seen "Olive, the Other Reindeer", my new favorite Holiday TV trifle). No Grinch sightings, however (he's gotten enough publicity, thank you). Now, the only unanswered question is: Will W.'s proposed Missile Defense System (TM) pose a risk to the Clausman? (And are Rogue Countries (TM) making missiles shaped like sleighs?)
posted by wendell on Dec 21, 2000 - 2 comments

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