For an immediate infusion of Holiday spirit, the Google Blog has directed attention to a somewhat magical invention that takes advantage of the strengths of our current Internet. Possibly counter to a reader's intuition, it is brought to us by a military agency. The NORAD Santa Tracker features a live countdown to Christmas Eve, whereupon the agency will track St. Nick on "his magical flight around the world!" But until then, the site includes activities to pass the time with the Kids' Countdown page and a different game every day. Today, out of North Pole International Airport, features "Santa's Sleigh Radar," a coloured quadrant memory game that is essentially a festive "Simon." Other features include Santa biographical information, including a dedicated "Is He Real?" page and the history of NORAD and its Yuletide-tracking. The information provided in the latter is informative as well as amusing.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command is a US/Canadian organization that monitors man-made objects in space and other aerospace control responsibilities for the upper North American continent. With charge of air sovereignty ensurement and foreign object validation, Santa Claus-movement monitoring is obviously in its jurisdiction.
NORAD keeps last year's Santa Cams highlights, action-shots of a reindeer-drawn sleigh swooping past global landmarks, but they will stay off until December 24th. As for the rendering quality, let's just hope that they will be broadcasting in high-definition this year.