Six years ago, one of my faithful readers asked me to investigate a question she had about Santa Claus.
Jessica wrote “Does Santa use a computer?”
She also asked if I could provide the answer before Christmas Day.
Being not one to disappoint, I emailed my entire list of elf contacts at the North Pole, hoping one would get back to me before this newspaper’s holiday deadline.
To my surprise, one game elf did reply.
And who was this accommodating gnome?
As some of you may remember, his name was Finarfin Elendil.
The following is what I wrote (with present-day revisions) to Jessica.
Dear Jessica, Santa Claus does indeed use a computer.
In fact, the smiling, well-nourished, red-cheeked, jolly old man with the white beard, is extremely computer-savvy.
During the Christmas off-season, the elves, along with Santa, attend computer training classes.
Don’t tell anyone, but one of Santa’s elves, Finarfin Elendil, provided me with the inside scoop about the computer and advanced technology Santa uses.
Santa’s main computer is known as the “Santa Claus Super Computer” (SCSC).
It is located near the North Pole’s largest toy-making factory.
The SCSC is the world’s most powerful (and very top-secret) computer.
The building where Santa’s computer is located is made of special metals, rendering it undetectable from all earth-orbiting satellites, high-altitude surveillance aircraft, and even the omnidirectional camera’s used atop Google Maps Street View cars.
Finarfin Elendil described to me how Santa’s computer’s digital data-stream is algorithmically encrypted, using advanced transmission control protocol signaling techniques processed through an optical-fiber bus star topology within the North Pole’s local area computing network.
Santa rarely mentions this computer when he’s out in public.
Not far from where Santa’s main computer is located is Sleigh Hangar Bay One, which houses Santa’s top-secret, high-tech sleigh he sometimes uses for delivering Christmas presents when he’s in a hurry.
This special sleigh is called Sleigh One.
I learned Sleigh One is not your average wooden snow toboggan.
Indeed, Sleigh One is a fully computerized, low-earth orbiting bobsled using advanced stealth technology, and is made of special space-age materials known only to Santa and NASA.
Sleigh One is spacious; offering Santa, the reindeer, and the elves plenty of leg room.
Its on-board guidance computer receives in-flight coordinates from earth-orbiting satellites using enhanced global positioning system technology.
The MPR (miles per reindeer), is conveniently displayed on Sleigh One’s digital instrumentation panel.
Santa was said to have chuckled when he discovered the elves had installed self-refilling eggnog cups next to their seats on Sleigh One.
Sleigh One receives updated “toy-inventory-remaining” Twitter telemetry and “who’s-naughty-or-nice” text-messaging reports from the air-traffic controller elves broadcasting from Santa’s headquarters at the North Pole.
Sleigh One is said to communicate with the North Pole using encrypted radio frequency uplinks somewhere in the 26.5GHz to 40 GHz Ka spectrum range.
Elf rumor has it Santa may be installing a new mobile communications network using 5G broadband transceivers by 2020.
Not long ago, a few of Santa’s circuit design engineering elves developed and manufactured the classified E1 (Elf-1) Virtual Unlimited-iCore Super-Fast processor chip.
The E1 can process information at a speed of one centillion (1 followed by 303 zeros) FLOPS (floating operations per second).
Finarfin Elendil boasted how circuit design engineers from major computer chip-making companies are constantly calling the North Pole and asking the elves for advice.
Santa uses the E1’s incredible processing speed to instantly map the exact coordinates of every rooftop and chimney throughout the world.
If a particular home has no chimney, the E1 will automatically execute and upload to Sleigh One, a special “backdoor” software program which provides an alternate entry solution so Santa can get the Christmas presents delivered.
Finarfin Elendil confirmed this year’s Christmas Eve reindeer sleigh team will be comprised of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blixen.
Because of his extremely shiny red nose, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has once again been chosen by Santa to guide the mighty reindeer sleigh team around the world on Christmas Eve.
In the event of a navigational emergency, Sleigh One has a reliable, guidance program on standby.
It’s called the Automatic Assistance Reindeer Pilot (AARP).
Sleigh One can also travel at the speed of light.
Rudolph originally wanted Sleigh One to fly faster than the speed of light, so he could show off in front of the other reindeer, but Santa nixed the idea.
Santa explained going faster than the speed of light would cause the bright, fog-piercing, red beam of light extending from Rudolph’s nose to bend and shine behind the sleigh, instead of in front of it.
Santa revealed this would cause a reverse time-line anomaly, triggering a space-time continuum vortex; causing children’s Christmas presents to be delivered years before they were born.
Rest assured Jessica, your Christmas presents will be delivered in a sleigh traveling well within our space-time continuum’s speed of light safety limits.
I hope Jessica (and all of you) enjoyed reading this story as much as I did writing it.
And let’s remember, the word “Christmas” comes from the very old phrase, “Cristes maesse” which means “Christ’s Mass.”
Dec. 25, Christmas Day, is when Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
I wish all of my readers (and especially to you, mom) a very Merry Christmas.
Original column subject matter published Dec. 22, 2008.