Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wed Dec 23. 2009

Major Mike Humphreys - NORAD NORTH CONTROL
For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa's Christmas Eve flight. The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born. In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa. Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends have selflessly volunteered their time to personally respond to Christmas Eve phone calls and emails from children. In addition, we now track Santa using the internet. Last year, millions of people who wanted to know Santa's whereabouts visited the NORAD Tracks Santa website. Finally, media from all over the world rely on NORAD as a trusted source to provide Christmas Eve updates on Santa's journey.

Jacob Ward  "Popular Science's Top 100"
Innovation manifests itself in myriad ways: groundbreaking, revolutionary bursts we'd never before imagined possible, or in more nuanced but no less brilliant refinements of existing technology. And while this year's list contains plenty of instances of the former, in compiling it we've noticed one thing: 2009 is the year of stealth innovation.  Here's what I love about the elegantly functional stethoscope that is the recipient of our 2009 Innovation of the Year award: It looks exactly like a stethoscope. Jointed arms connect earpieces to a black rubber tube that leads to a circular amplifier—you've seen one every time you've visited your doctor since you were born. It takes an observant eye to notice that on this one, there's a tiny screen on the back of that amplifier, and telltale + and – signs and a small power button that signify electronics in action. The creators of this high-tech medical tool have taken an instrument that's been central to medical diagnostics for 190 years and supercharged it, adding sophisticated hardware and software that record, transmit, and analyze vital data, dramatically improving doctors' ability to detect truly dangerous heart murmurs while eliminating the need for thousands of pricey echocardiograms a year. But from a design standpoint, I'm pleased to see that the stethoscope's reinventors have decided that it ain't broke, so don't fix it. Thus they've come up with a device that still carries all the Norman Rockwell–style reassurance of its predecessors.

Hotmail: Free, trusted and rich email service. Get it now.

No comments:

Post a Comment