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Tag Archive: norad

The Pentagon/North Pole Connection


silhouette of Santa's sleigh over a radar scopeThere's recently been a lot of discussion about government secrecy: how much of it is desirable, and how and when that secrecy must be violated in service of the greater good. Unfortunately, we now found ourselves in the position of having to make such a disclosure.

Many of you may be familiar with NORAD's Santa Tracker. As the story goes, back in the late fifties a typo on an ad for a hotline to Santa misrouted calls to the predecessor of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. The colonel on duty instructed the men answering the phones to report Santa's position to the children who called, and a new tradition was born. It's grown from there: there's a Twitter feed, an iGoogle gadget, Google Earth functionality, a mobile site and even an SMS interface. It's all a charming way for a defense agency with a very serious mission to get in the holiday spirit. Or is it?

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