Is this the year NORAD shoots down Santa? With Martin Pfeiffer
My Nuclear LifeDecember 24, 2022
00:32:0573.42 MB

Is this the year NORAD shoots down Santa? With Martin Pfeiffer

Martin Pfeiffer aka @nuclearanthro joins Shelly to discuss the origin story of NORAD Tracks Santa and why it matters. Not suitable for children and may contain foul language. Visit us at: Patreon:
Shelly LesherShelly LesherHost
Martin PfeifferMartin PfeifferGuest

Uncover the mysterious origins of NORAD Santa Tracking and find out why it's been an annual tradition since 1955!

"If we want warm, happy fuzzies about Santa, let's switch it over to the air traffic control network or over to NOAA e, because I think that that's a much better fit for me in terms of normalizing and domesticating nuclear warfare." - Martin Pfeiffer<o:p></o:p>

Martin Pfeiffer is a nuclear weapons expert and an advocate for the transfer of the Santa Tracker from NORAD to the FAA.<o:p></o:p>

When a child misdialed the number in a newspaper ad and called the number for the Continental Air Defense Command (now known as NORAD), Colonel Schupe answered the phone. Initially annoyed, Colonel Schupe decided to play along when the child started to cry and asked for his mother. Soon after, the command center was inundated with calls from children. To handle the influx, the colonel phoned a local radio station to report an "unidentified flying object". This was the start of the NORAD Santa Tracker. This myth was used as a way to domesticate nuclear warfare, normalize the militarization of USA airspace, and create public awareness of NORAD. Today, the NORAD Santa Tracker continues to provide a way for children to have warm, fuzzy feelings about Santa Claus.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. The true origin story of the NORAD Santa Tracker - was it really a misdialed phone call in 1955?

2. How US airspace is defended against potential nuclear attacks and the role of the NORAD in the process.

3. The implications of a military institution being associated with a 'warm, fuzzy' holiday tradition - does it normalize nuclear warfare?

Production costs for this episode were provided through National Science Foundation Grant PHY-2011267.