Santa’s in a time warp

It’s December. How did that happen? Good grief.

Oh, that’s right, November disappeared in a blur of self-imposed word-count goals. So far, December is disappearing in a fog of research into stem cell technology. I had no idea how much I didn’t know about biotechnology and genetics.

Today, as part of this ongoing self-education marathon, I opened up my Newswise daily press-release wire, and happened to see  this in the “most popular” column:

Researcher explains how Santa Delivers Presents in One Night


Under this provocative title, released at 7:35 am EST on December 6 (St. Nicolas’ day), the words Expert available were highlighted in red. How fortunate!

Larry Silverberg (above), a North Carolina State mehanical and aerospace engineering professor, is available to explain the “science and engineering principles” enabling Santa to do the seemingly impossible: deliver presents to millions of kids all over the world in only 24 hours. He participated in a visiting scholar’s program at Santa’s Workshop North Pole Labs (NPL) last year, and got the inside scoop.

[Santa] and his NPL staff have a lot going on under the funny-looking hats, Silverberg says. Their advanced knowledge of electromagnetic waves, the space/time continuum, nanotechnology, genetic engineering and computer science easily trumps the know-how of contemporary scientists.

Silverberg says that Santa has a personal pipeline to children’s thoughts – via a listening antenna that combines technologies currently used in cell phones and EKGs – which informs him that Mary in Miami hopes for a surfboard, while Michael from Minneapolis wants a snowboard. A sophisticated signal processing system filters the data, giving Santa clues on who wants what, where children live, and even who’s been bad or good. Later, all this information will be processed in an onboard sleigh guidance system, which will provide Santa with the most efficient delivery route.

Is it just me, or is that a little creepy?  Somebody at NC State is having fun with this. I’ll go along for the ride. What about the reindeer? And the sleigh? Sliverberg’s got that covered, too:

His reindeer – genetically bred to fly, balance on rooftops and see well in the dark – don’t actually pull a sleigh loaded down with toys. Instead, each house becomes Santa’s workshop as he utilizes his “magic bag of toys” – a nano-toymaker that is able to fabricate toys inside the children’s homes. The presents are grown on the spot, as the nano-toymaker creates – atom by atom – toys out of snow and soot, much like DNA can command the growth of organic material like tissues and body parts.

There’s that word – utilizes – that tells you that this is a bona fide press release. Otherwise they’d just say use. For me, it’s like fingernails on a blackboard. But I digress. There’s still a little logistics issue to deal with! The world’s a big place, after all.

Silverberg is not so naïve as to think that Santa and his reindeer can travel approximately 200 million square miles – making stops in some 80 million homes – in one night. Instead, he posits that Santa uses his knowledge of the space/time continuum to form what Silverberg calls “relativity clouds.”

Of course. Quantum physics.

I wonder if Silverberg also posits that 80 million homes is still a heck of a lot of work, no matter what time contiuum you’re in. I hope Santa remembers to put in for overtime.

This theory nicely clears up a little philosophical problem I’ve been having with this four-foot holographic lawn ornament. Obviously, if Santa’s traveling in a space/time continuum, then it makes perfect sense that he would stop off and pay his respects to baby Jesus. Nice going, Santa.