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Dispatches From The North Pole: The Science of Santa’s List

Santa going over some recent research results at the NPL.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of occasional dispatches from Dr. Larry Silverberg, a researcher at NC State who is leading a visiting scholars program at Santa’s Workshop-North Pole Labs (NPL). Dr. Silverberg is an expert in unified field theory and is accompanied by four other mechanical and aerospace engineers: Drs. Mohammad Zikry (novel materials), Greg Buckner (medical robotics), Fred DeJarnette (space travel), and Herb Eckerlin (energy conservation).

Greetings from the North Pole! It is extremely cold at NPL this morning (and every morning), but it’s the busy season here and the hustle and bustle of the researchers in the workshop is invigorating. We’ve spent an exciting few weeks here so far, and have learned a lot  about Santa’s pioneering use of science and technology. The man is a genius, and we’re beginning to learn some of the techniques he uses – which should put a damper on many of the Santa skeptics out there.

It is no overstatement to say that Santa knows when children have been bad or good. He knows much else besides. The information stems from a personal pipeline Santa has to children’s thoughts via a listening antenna that combines technologies currently used in cell phones and EKGs. A sophisticated signal processing system filters the data, giving Santa clues on who wants what, where children live, and even who has been bad or good. Effectively, it gives him advanced neuroimaging capabilities that tell him that Mary in Miami hopes for a surfboard, Michael from Minneapolis wants a snowboard, etc. Later, all this information is processed in an onboard sleigh guidance system, which provides Santa with the most efficient delivery route.

The system serves as a fail-safe backstop to the letters Santa receives via snail mail from around the globe.

One thing I’ve definitely learned so far is that children shouldn’t put too much credence in the opinions of those who say it’s not possible to deliver presents all over the world in one night. It is possible, and it’s based on plausible science. More on that soon.

I’ve got to run – we’re  attending a sleigh symposium later this morning.

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  1. Oh, how I love this!!
    Thank you, Dr Silverberg, for braving the NPL and Matt Shipman for reporting this important story.
    And thank you for keeping the magic alive.

  2. That’s funny.I personally stoped beliving in Santa around my 6,but is always nice see my childs’s eyes when Santa’s time is comming.Thanks for this post,is old but still great.

  3. So, Dr. Silverberg, this is the reason I have not seen you at the NCSU basketball games. You have been too busy with the essential North Pole Workshop!
    Thanks for keeping us informed!
    Go Wolfpack!!


  4. Good questions and comments regarding computing power and energy needs. I’m not clear on the specifics for either, but I think the combination of cold fusion and elfin magic are key to meeting Santa’s energy needs. Paul, you raise some good points about the elements of the NPL computing system. I’ll ask Dr. Silverberg to get more information from his colleagues in Santa’s Workshop for next year. Happy new year to all!

  5. OK, I’ve had just about enough of this NONSENSE!

    To suggest that the computing power necessary to optimize Santa’s route is sleigh-mounted is ridiculous! Even with Santa’s technological advances, that equipment would be too bulky and add too much weight to be on the sleigh.

    There must be a ground-based system that is updating at least daily throughout the year, tapping into government and marketing databases around the globe to keep track of all the little girls and boys around the world. Real-time updating would probably be necessary during the month of December, so the optimal route could be calculated. Then input from the laser sensors on the sleigh would be applied, also in real-time, to make minor adjustments to the flightplan.

    Processing all the information through an onboard sleigh guidance system indeed! Don’t be silly!

  6. Excellent! I hope you will someday reveal the energy required for Santa to accomplish all this. I read or heard somewhere that a thermodynamic calculation estimated that Santa’s toy delivery system required all the energy available in our Milky Way galaxy. Maybe it was the universe….I can’t be sure. Please adivise.

  7. Just received word from Dr. Silverberg. Things are busy at the NPL, but he’s hoping to have a second post for us on Monday.