Look, we think Michelle Obama is pretty cool
, but if you asked us whose visit any Christmas-celebrating child would have on their mind on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, she wouldn't make the top of our list. The top of our list would be Santa. Not so for Anthony of Fort Worth, Texas. How do we know this?
Well, because of the NORAD Santa Tracker, kind of.
For years, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has used Google Maps to operate its vaunted Santa-tracking software
, a holiday tradition for nerds of all stripes, as well as their often equally nerdy kids. This year, though, NORAD unexpectedly bailed on Google, switching to Bing to help it map Santa's trek
around the world and ensure he doesn't get up to any shenanigans while he's in American airspace. Not to be outdone, the spurned tech giant has launched its own platform for keeping tabs on St. Nick's travels.
These dueling platforms, though, leave us with a dilemma -- which tracker is showing us the real Santa?
And perhaps more importantly -- what is that impostor Claus up to? Nothing good, you can be sure of that.
I Guess I Can't Argue With That
Unless you've been living under a rock (or, well, don't ever go online or watch the news), you probably know about how NORAD
(the North American Aerospace Defense Command -- don't ask, we know it doesn't match). But I'll bet you had no idea how or why NORAD
started tracking the insanely improbable gift-giving route of our favorite jolly old elf, Santa Claus. Well, it all started with a Sears advertisement and a total misunderstanding.
It's that time of year again, folks, when the world celebrates a guy that certain detractors think was created by a soda company, and when NORAD spends its time monitoring Santa Claus, because, I mean, the North American Aerospace Defense Command has to monitor suspicious objects flying around in the sky for our safety. What's more suspicious than a fat guy in a red suit riding around in a flying sleigh drawn by flying reindeer, who also happens to break into a bunch of houses throughout the night? NORAD tracks his current location and how many gifts he has delivered, so you can see the true workhorse that is Santa Claus.
NORAD's Santa Tracker, which tracks Saint Nick's flight around the world in real time using "warp-speed GPS technology," is back for 2010, and once again, NORAD has teamed up with Google for Santa visualization in Google Maps and Google Earth. There's also a NORAD Santa Facebook page and Twitter page.
Why is NORAD [North American Aerospace Defence Command] involved in any of this, by the way? Back in 1955, the Sears catalog ran an advertisement for a Santa hotline which accidentally sent callers-in to the NORAD commander-in-chief's line; NORAD ran with it and it became a yearly tradition.