a Lovely story inside a Lovely story…

December 1, 2007

Lovely story number one:

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) is a joint organization of the United States and Canada, founded in 1958, that provides aerospace warning and control for North America. So basically it’s the people (and machines) watching radar screens for anything heading towards America that might be ‘bad’.

norad-santa However, NORAD’s most public work is to track Santa on Christmas eve – because, who else would have enough radar coverage to spot a sleigh?According to Wikipedia (so it must be true):

“In 1955, a Colorado Springs-based Sears store ran an advertisement encouraging children to call Santa Claus on a special telephone hotline. Due to a printing error, the phone number that was printed was the hotline for the Director of Operations at the Continental Air Defense (CONAD). Colonel Harry Shoup took the first Santa call on Christmas Eve of 1955 from a six-year old boy who began reciting his Christmas list. Shoup didn’t find the call funny, but after asking the mother of the second caller what was happening, then realizing the mistake that occurred, he instructed his staff to give Santa’s position to any child who called in.”

Now, with the growth of the Interwebsupercyberway this has become a fairly elaborate month long count down to the day itself with children all over the world able to watch ‘live’ exactly where Santa is as he circles the globe. Lovely :-)

Lovely story number two:

google earth Google is joining the ehh ‘effort’ of letting the world know where Santa is.  “This holiday season, NORAD has partnered with Google to use technology including Google Maps, Google Earth, iGoogle and YouTube to track Santa  …   You can download Google Earth and add the NORAD Tracks Santa iGoogle gadget to your iGoogle page anytime, but make sure to come back to noradsanta.org on December 24th to download the special Santa Tracking file for an enhanced 3D Santa-tracking experience.”

Which is all very lovely…  however what makes it a ‘Lovely story inside a Lovely story’ is that the announcement of this on the official Google blog by Carrie Farrell says:

“It just so happens that Colonel Shoup is my grandfather, which is why I’m so excited that, 52 years later, Google is joining the effort …. I can remember tracking Santa with my grandfather as a child, and I’m so proud to see my company carry on his vision of doing something this special for kids around the world.”

Full announcement – with lovely photo