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Christmas Cheer Businesses Google The Internet

Use Google Earth To Track Santa 298

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the keeping-tabs-on-the-big-man dept.
Kickboy12 writes "Google Earth can be used to track Santa Claus, beginning at 2pm GMT December 24th. From the article: 'While we didn't work a deal for Naughty or Nice data layers, we did negotiate the rights to track this user on his big trip. If you've already got Google Earth, you can too.' So, if you have Google Earth, track Santa!"
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Use Google Earth To Track Santa

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  • Aaargh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:52AM (#14332119)
    It's Santa Claus ffs! There is no "e" on the end of it!
    • Re:Aaargh (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Damn those uber-queer Disney-spawn Tim Allen movies!!
    • It's Santa Claus ffs! There is no "e" on the end of it!

      Perhaps they're referring to DVD shipments of that Tim Allen movie? [imdb.com]
    • Re:Aaargh (Score:5, Funny)

      by kae_verens (523642) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:01AM (#14332159) Homepage
      While we're on the subject of pedanticism, I'd like to point out that there is no Santa, superfluous 'e' or not.

      Oh - and there should have been a comma before 'ffs' in the parent's post.
    • Re:Aaargh (Score:2, Funny)

      by Rich Klein (699591)
      For crying out loud, the original article spells "Claus" correctly. Where'd the extraneous "e" come from? :P
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      It's Santa Claus ffs! There is no "e" on the end of it!

      "I say potato you say potatoe", said Dan Quayle.

      How about tracking Syrianta [sfgate.com]?

      Putting the Mona Lisa Smile technology to use [sfgate.com].

    • Santa Claus: An Engineer's Perspective

      I. There are approximately 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Jehovah's Witnesses, or Buddist religions, this reduces the workload on Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

      II. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with at least one good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, jump out, go down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump in the sleigh, and move on to the next house. (That's why it's really pointless to stay up and wait for him....)

      Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom breaks. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For the purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 75.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

      III. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child has nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull nothing more than 300 pounds. Even granted that "flying" reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or nine of them; Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the sleigh itself, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizibeth (the ship, not the monarch).

      IV. 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance; this would heat up the reindeer in the same fasion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and causing deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.2 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reaches the fifth house on his trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 miles per second in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 G's. A 250 pound Santa (which seem ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pound of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

      V. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.
      • I think that engineer is getting coal in his stocking!
      • ...Santa is magic, you insensitive clod. Normal rules of spacetime don't apply to him. Off with you and your lump of coal, Scrooge...
      • Man your physics is so 70's.

        * Since Santa's momentum vector is known, then his location cannot be precisely known, according to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Santa and his sleigh are actually "smeared out" over the earth, in a similar way to an electron "smeared out" around the nucleus of an atom. He can actually be everywhere at once.

        * Also, the extremely high velocities the reindeer can reach make relativistic effects possible. Santa could ev
    • Oddly enough, I watched Santa Clause [imdb.com] on TV just last night.
  • by tomas.bjornerback (411702) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:53AM (#14332126) Homepage
    To all of you!
    • Damn, that's some cold harted mods.
      Well, might as well join below the zero...
      Merry X-mas!
    • Just to join in,

      Merry Christmas! May your presents be covered in blue LEDs!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:54AM (#14332128)
    there's no mention of this in the bible, google earth is just a theory of atheist scientists
    • by User 956 (568564) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:06AM (#14332172) Homepage
      there's no mention of this in the bible, google earth is just a theory of atheist scientists

      Santa himself is an atheist invention-- real Christians refer to the phenomenon as "intelligent burglary".
      • by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:17AM (#14332207) Homepage Journal

        Santa himself is an atheist invention

        Santa is only called Santa because the Christian Church has recognized Nicholas of Myra [wikipedia.org], the first Santa Claus, as a saint. (The current Santa is allegedly Tim Allen.)

        • by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:39AM (#14332275) Homepage
          Interestingly enough, St. Nicholas is the patron saint against imprisonment, robberies and robbers.

          Also the patron saint of (deep breath) apothecaries; Apulia, Italy; bakers; Bari, Italy; barrel makers; boatmen; boot blacks; boys; brewers; brides; captives; children; coopers; dock workers; druggists; Duronia, Italy; fishermen; Fossalto, Italy; Greece; Greek Catholic Church in America; Greek Catholic Unionl grooms; judges; lawsuits lost unjustly; Limerick, Ireland; longshoremen; Lorraine; maidens; mariners; merchants; murderers; Naples, Italy; newlyweds; old maids; parish clerks; paupers; pawnbrokers; perfumeries; perfumers; pharmacists; pilgrims; poor people; Portsmouth, England; prisoners; Russia; sailors; Sassari, Italy; scholars; schoolchildren; shoe shiners; Sicily; spinsters; students; thieves; travellers; University of Paris; unmarried girls; watermen.

          Points of interest are thives, murderers, children and maidens. Surely not a good combination.

          Source: http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintn01.htm
          • Let's see...

            Brides and grooms.
            Boys and unmarried girls.
            Judges and murderers.
            Thieves and travellers.
            Brewers and the Greek Catholic Church.
            Against imprisonment and for prisoners.
            Against robberies and for thieves.
            Judges and lawsuits lost unfairly.
            Russia.

            Forget giving out presents. This is a full-time job right here.
        • Well, Santa Claus may have originated as a Christian saint, but his current legend surely has a pagan look to it. I mean elves, flying reindeer? But that's all a commercial creation that has nothing to do with religion, Christian or pagan. During the 19th century, the growing industrial/commercial sector took the quaint custom of giving anonymous gifts on Christmas (originally done on Saint Nicholas's feast day, December 6) and pumped it up into the current December consumption binge. Naturally, Santa was u
          • BZZZT.

            From Snopes [snopes.com]:
            The Santa Claus figure, although not yet standardized, was ubiquitous by the late 19th century. Santa was portrayed as both large and small; he was usually round but sometimes of normal or slight build; and he dressed in furs (like Belsnickle) or cloth suits of red, blue, green, or purple. A Boston printer named Louis Prang introduced the English custom of Christmas cards to America, and in 1885 he issued a card featuring a red-suited Santa. The chubby Santa with a red suit (like an "overw

        • And the red suited modern version was/is an advertisement from Coca-Cola.

          Who would have ever thought about the commercialization of the holiday?

      • Santa himself is an atheist invention--

        My dyslexic friends wait for Satan Claws each Xmas, and I think that guy is mentioned in the Bible...

        • 20 minutes into the future, he'll be replaced by Sanity Claus. He breaks into your house in the middle of the night and tests your children for nonconformist thought. Any deviation from the norm results in abduction for "re-education".
    • I don't believe in google earth either. I run linux.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @10:54AM (#14332130) Homepage
    the Norad Santa site is http://www.noradsanta.org/ [noradsanta.org]
    • In fact, NORAD has been tracking Santa for ages.

      This makes me wonder - is the Google Santa positioning the same as NORAD's ? And if not - why not ?
      Yes, I know.. it's Santa... he can be in two places at one time. Still, it would be nice if they could keep these consistent :)
    • And NORAD was good enough for me when I was a kid, and it should be good enough for the kids today.

      I mean, what is Google going to do if Santa starts leaving WMD for one of the few small Eastern European countries that does not already have them. Ask the UN for a non binding resolution?

      Disclaimer: I love Santa. Santa has always been very good to me, but that is not the reason I love him. I love him just becuase. I never want to see anything happen to him, so I dearly hope the Norad tracking is for

    • You can see a quaint movie of Santa over India and the Tag Mahal. And if you look REALLY closely you'll see over 800 Million people looking up wondering what the hell a Christian symbol is doing flying overhead. Because afterall, its not like 98% of the population is Non-Christian or anything.
    • ...everyone knows that Santa [santa.gl] comes from Greenland [guardian.co.uk], not Lapland!
  • sedaris (Score:2, Funny)

    by BushCheney08 (917605)
    Any mention of the 6 to 8 black men that accompany him? And does he really go back to Spain when the whole thing is through?
  • wish I could.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Eternal_Flame (822984) <Flame232@Gmail.com> on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:00AM (#14332153)
    However, due to the lack of an OS X and/or linux version, of Google Earth, I can't.
    Yes, I have heard of the OS X beta, but if I cant access it, it doesnt do me any good. Google's always been in favor of alternate OSs, yet here they only support MS. I hope this changes soon;
    I don't wanna miss santa's route next year too..
  • Mwahaha. (Score:5, Funny)

    by CosmeticLobotamy (155360) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:12AM (#14332191)
    Fools! You've led us right to him!

    Go get him, boys. The War on Christmas ends tonight.

    -Kefka, Supreme Commander Anti-Christmas Forces, Europe.
  • by Venik (915777) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:21AM (#14332214)
    Been hearing alot 'bout it on TV lately...
  • by noamt (317240) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:32AM (#14332251) Homepage Journal
    When I tried using a 5-char username (to match my /. username) for a Gmail account, I got this message:

        Sorry, your username must be between 6 and 30 characters long.

    Why do they let this "S. Claus <claus@gmail.com>" dude have it?
  • I just saw Santa crash! Presents went everywhere and I think Rudolf has a broken leg. Someone was talking about putting him down.

  • Darn things (Score:3, Funny)

    by Joe U (443617) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:34AM (#14332259) Homepage Journal
    to track Santa Clause

    My life insurance policy has a Santa clause, something to do with being trampled by reindeer...

    (ok, that's bad)
  • by Meltir (891449) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:35AM (#14332262) Homepage
    This is all nice, but unfortunatly the linux users out there are left out of the fun.
    No such thing as google earth for linux :(
    Its just strange to me that a company that bases most of its products on oss (servers and what not) doesnt have a version of an application that works on the second (maybe third if you count the mac's) most used desktop os on the planet.
    I seem to remember that one of google's assets is that its products work on most operating systems (just the task of making ajax applications such as gmail is a lot of work).
    Does anyone here know of a replacement, maybe something that uses some hidden google api - that would allow me to play around with this toy ?

    How will i ever know if santa is close ? ;)
    • "Maybe third if you count the mac's?"

      Why, exactly, would you have any reason to NOT count the macs? OS X is sure as hell more of a desktop OS than linux.
    • Agreed. Actually, what I find most annoying is that there seems to be some sort of lockout that actively prevents google earth running on Wine. I've tried installing it with plain ol' wine, crossover office and Cedega and each time the installer pops-up and complains that I'm not running on a Windows OS and promptly closes.
      You'd think a company that sponsors things like the Summer of Code would at least let people TRY to get their product running under something like Wine. (Incidentally, how do they eve
  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:35AM (#14332265) Homepage
    Santa's legal team is said to be working on getting an anti-stalking injunction against Google Inc. "They may not be evil, but they sure are naughty! No toys for them!" said chief lawyer Binky.
  • Thanks Google, Merry Christmas!
  • by TERdON (862570) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @11:45AM (#14332287) Homepage

    beginning at 2pm GMT December 24th

    In Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia, christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve, not on Christmas day. Even though normally santa won't come until the afternoon or evening (and visit the children in person so they can get really scared so they, hopefully, behave the next year), there still probably are plenty of families who Santa already left earlier than five hours ago from now...

  • Microsoft has announced a competitive service : X-Claus.net. This service will be integrated into "Vista", the next generation Windows operating system, which is due for release "real soon now" according to a representative for the Redmond company. There are no plans to release an XP version of the X-Claus.net service. MS also plans an online, multiplayer game "Naughty/Nice Xtreme" for the XBox-360. This game will allow the combatant to play as Santa, one of his elves, or the evil Dr. Evil, intent on kidnapping Santa and turning Christmas into a mostly commercial occasion. Playing as Santa, you will have your choice of weapons, including gingerbread particle weapons, fruitcake bazooka, raindeer dropping carpet bombing, and hyper-velocity elf snot.
  • by twigles (756194) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @12:48PM (#14332507)
    We regret to inform you, but the ability to track Santa Claus has been deemed an unacceptable security risk and will not be allowed.*

    No constitutional amendments were harmed (or consulted) in the making of this decision.
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @01:03PM (#14332555) Journal
    Now I am starting to wonder about other information I find on the Internet.

    People can just make stuff up!

    ;-)

  • by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Saturday December 24, 2005 @01:13PM (#14332583)
    Today they track Santa, tommorow it'll be Easter Bunny!

    Wake up people, fight for your rights!
  • Want to sell me services? How about supporting Mac or Linux. Meantime the kids will be monitoring Norad tonight. http://www.santanorad.com/ [santanorad.com]

    Enjoy.
  • Stockings hung by the tree, a fire in the fireplace, Christmas carols in the air, and Santa Claus misspelled on Slashdot.

  • This is.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by rasty (212471)
    This is the most stupid thing ever. I'll definitely use it all day!!!!!

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