Tech Info: Technology helps Santa Claus make magic

Published on 21/12/2008

Ever wondered how Santa Claus can travel around the world in just one night on his reindeer-pulled sleigh and deliver toys to all the children? “He exploits the space-time continuum,” says Larry Silverberg, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University.

Santa’s magic may go far beyond merely traveling across 200 million square miles (322 million sq km) to visit hundreds of millions of homes of believing children in just one night, Silverberg said. “He understands that space stretches, he understands that you can stretch time, compress space and therefore he can, in a sense, actually have six Santa months to deliver the presents,” Silverberg told Reuters. “In our reference frame it appears as though he does it in the wink of an eye and in fact there have been sightings of Santa, quick sightings, and that’s in our reference frame, but in Santa’s reference frame he really has six months.”

Silverberg said his research has established that Santa does not, as commonly thought, carry enough presents for each child in his sleigh. “How could he?” Silverberg asked. Santa’s trip takes in all continents and all time zones. Silverberg says his sleigh is equipped with an onboard sleigh guidance system. His reindeer, says Silverberg, are genetically bred to fly, balance on rooftops and see in the dark.

What are you looking at? scientists find out

Japanese researchers have reproduced images of things people were looking at by analysing brain scans, opening the way for people to communicate directly from their mind. They hope their study, published in the US journal Neuron, will lead to helping people with speech problems or doctors studying mental disorders, although there are privacy issues if it gets to the stage where someone can read a sleeping person’s dreams.

“When we want to convey a message, we need to move our body, for example by speaking or by tapping a keyboard,” said Yukiyasu Kamitani, the project’s head researcher from the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, a private institute based in Kyoto, Japan.

Such technology might one day open the way to communication for people who cannot speak. Researchers from the five institutions involved in the research used a medical brain scanner to look at activity patterns in the visual cortex.

— Reuters

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