11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

Summary: We start our run of holiday hacks with rockets and end with actual nukes. Plus, there's Shatner. You gotta see this!

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Thanks to YouTube, we've got a chance to delve deeper into the holiday geek psyche than ever before. In our first annual "Completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks" article special, we don't hold back. Oh no. There's actually more than 11 wacky hacks, but we batched a few together just for fun (and editorial purity).

We start our run of holiday hacks with rockets and end with actual nukes.

All told, this promises to be one of the most tasteful (heh!) rundowns of holiday tech ever documented. There's a little Shatner, a little Disney, some total thermo-nuclear destruction, some lights, dogs barking, and -- of course -- rockets.

Good times. Good times.

Hack #1: Christmas tree rocketry: the art and science of holiday recycling

Nothing truly says Christmas like rocketry. In this first of three rocket-related videos (hey, these are hard to resist), we present holiday recycling.

Next: More rockets »

« Previous: Rockets

Hack #2: Another Christmas tree rocket

This launch isn't quite as impressive as the last, but when the whole thing ends, well, you'll see...

Hack #3: When Christmas trees attack

For some reason, I can't seem to resist the rocket-propelled trees. But this raises the stakes considerably. The trees are smaller, and yes, I said "trees" -- plural. Watch for yourself:

Hack #4: RC Christmas present

This next hack isn't quite as exciting as the rockets, but it's twisted in its own right.

Keep clicking, because you haven't fully lived until you've seen the rest of these hacks.

Next: Lotsa lights »

« Previous: Rockets

Hack #5: The obligatory Christmas house (and car) lights videos

We know you've all seen the synchronized music and lights houses, but we're going to show you a few videos that are sure to make you ask, "Don't these people have anything better to do?" Here's the first:

And just because you think you've seen them all, here's synchronized Christmas lights to the song "Star Trekkin'". We'll have more Shatner later in our story.

Why, you might ask, do we keep promising more Shatner? Because, Dear Readers, because we can.

We'll take one more run at lights with this car video. It turns out the first 20 seconds or so are dominated by a sponsorship notice by some local community group, but the car itself is worth the wait.

Hack #6: Pitiful Santa on a wire hack (in German)

It's time for a quiet palate cleanser, to help us prepare for Disney, Shatner and assorted nukes. In the following video, some Germans apparently decided to fly Santa on a wire, very, very, very slowly. Now, this guy could use some rockets:

For the record, we tried to find fast holiday sleighs, but this is about the best we could find. I want to see rocket sleds! Someone out there, please make it so.

Next: Shatner (need we say more?) »

« Previous: Lotsa lights

Hack #7: William Shatner Blues Explosion - Dogs Barking Jingle Bells

So, this is disturbing at every level. I haven't entirely figured out why this thing is called "The William Shatner Blues Explosion" since Captain Kirk isn't anywhere in evidence. Even so, the woman in the video has apparently decided to, well, heck, watch it and you'll see. Weird.

And, hey, since we're talking disturbing, here's Bill going where no Shatner should go again (some minor profanity):

Next: Disney and NORAD »

« Previous: Shatner (need we say more?)

Hack #8: Disney Castle Christmas lights

I live about an hour away from Orlando, and if there's one simple truth about Central Florida, it's this: there's nothing, nothing at all magical about this place. It's flat and almost incomprehensibly boring.

Even so, those crazy cats at Disney World have managed to create a fake castle in the middle of Florida, and right around the holiday, they slather the thing with more than 200,000 LED lights and 18 miles of cable. Here, let's let one of the Disney faithful explain the hack:

Hack #9: NORAD tracking Santa's Sleigh

Strangely enough, nukes seem to keep showing up in our holiday hacks special. We're kicking off the nuke discussion with NORAD's annual tracking of Santa's Sleigh. Although it seems a disturbing use of tax dollars, most of the NORAD staff volunteer their time for this silly excursion.

There is something slightly weird, though, merging our nation's leading early-warning attack monitoring facility with the whole Santa fantasy. After all, since NORAD exists to warn the U.S. and Canada of an impending air strike, what does that say about Santa Clause? I've always felt that the holidays can do more damage than good.

In any case, this whole thing is Sears' fault. Back in 1955, they misprinted a phone number for Santa in an advertisement and calls started flooding into NORAD instead of the local Colorado store. Good thing them Russkies were quiet that night or we would have been in world of hurt.

Anyway, without further ado, I bring you CBS interviewing the NORAD commander. So, what's a little surreal among friends?

Hack #10: Ginormous gingerbread house

Those guys at Disney World are nothing if not industrious. They create an illusion for the tourists that keeps the visitors coming back. If you want to be completely disturbed, the following video demonstrates what 1050 pounds of honey, 800 pounds of flour, 600 pounds of chocolate, fueled by the desperate dreams of millions of gullible visitors can produce:

Next: Let there be nukes! »

« Previous: Disney and NORAD

Hack #11: Christmas Island nukes

For those of you wondering why something like holiday hacks would wind up in a government blog, I have one word for you: nukes. Nothing says Christmas like nuclear detonations near Christmas Island, so to end our list of 10 completely crazy, over-the-top holiday hacks, I present to you two big booms. Here's the first, from 1946's Operation Crossroads:

And, for those of you who constantly claim I don't provide enough international joy, I present to you a 1957 explosion by the British, also near Christmas Island:

Ah, Christmas Island. Better look away or you'll definitely shoot your eye out!

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy belated-Hanukkah, fabulous Kwanzaa, and rockin' New Year! TalkBack below. For the best reading experience, click View All Expanded.

Topic: Social Enterprise

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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23 comments
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  • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

    dfdsfsd
    jkhfdshfkjh
    • keymapping hack

      @jkhfdshfkjh

      Ahh this is my favorite hack / joke to play on co-workers who leave their PC's unlocked and unattended. Please set your screensaver for 5 min max with password protection!
      ~doolittle~
  • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

    Sooo, where is the hack in any of this?
    Sabotaged
    • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

      @Sabotaged Did you not witness rockets launching trees? Rockets under trees is the definiition of hack. I could have given you LEDs spinning to look like a tree or some sort of music synchronization schematic, but that just couldn't stand up next to the Real Shatner.

      And, for the record, nuking an island is a heck of a hack. Just sayin'.
      David Gewirtz
  • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

    "You keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means."
    jmwells21
    • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

      @jmwells21 You question David's understanding of the word "Hack"? I find that ... inconceivable!
      kenosha77a
      • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

        oh my, do I sense a "battle of wits"?!?!?
        swivelheadd
      • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

        @swivelheadd

        Well, half of one, anyway.
        fairportfan
    • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

      @jmwells21

      Obtaining unauthorized access to a computer or network is NOT the only definition of "Hack." :-)
      ITOdeed
  • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

    Trees and rockets are not hacks !!
    rrogacki@...
    • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

      @rrogacki@... Sure they are. This is the sort of thing the world's ultimate hackers--the Mythbusters--would do.
      NathanBridger
  • Hack as originally defined

    A 'hack' was originally used to describe a creative bit of engineering. Using the tools and materials you have in an unexpected way. It was usually, but not always, applied to computer hardware and software.

    When the popular press got hold of the term it was degraded into the form we see today, which has mostly negative aspects.
    lars626
    • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

      @lars626 You're quite right. The media uses the term "hack, " incorrectly, to mean a malicious attack of some sort. This is really "cracking," akin to "safe-cracking," not "hacking."

      Hacking is when, for instance, you interface your car's remote starter to your PCI bus so your computer can make sure your car is nice and toasty when you get in to go to work...you know...that's not a bad idea...
      NathanBridger
  • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

    Update to Hack #9
    FAA Certifies Santa?s NextGen-Equipped Sleigh for Christmas Eve
    December 20, 2010 ?


    Santa-watchers young and old will be able to track Saint Nick's progress on Christmas Eve by accessing the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site.

    FAA safety inspectors earlier today certified Santa One, the reindeer-powered sleigh piloted by Santa Claus, for its Christmas Eve, round-the-world delivery mission.

    Santa One will be aided by new satellite-based NextGen technology, which will allow Santa to deliver more toys to more children with improved safety and efficiency.

    ?Children around the world will get their gifts on time, regardless of the weather, thanks to NextGen,? said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. ?We're proud to say NextGen is bringing Santa Claus to town.?

    Warpdriver :)
    Warpdriver
    • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

      @Warpdriver
      Until new safety regulations are met, complied with and certified, Santa 0ne will be grounded. These new regulations cover rollover protection, stability control, airbags, traction control, GPS and satelite tracking, certification should be completed by Feb.2011 given sufficient funding.
      Signed Transport Administration Head - The Grinch.
      I Hate Malware
    • Not so sure, Warpdriver

      but I read on the wikileaks site, one of the documents with more proof the government lies to us: There's a document claiming all this Santa tracking stuff is...made up!

      Would you believe it! ;)
      John Zern
  • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

    Except for #2, these were amazingly boring. If this is all you have, why not just skip a day in your blog?
    randmart
    • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

      randmart --

      You're really not into the spirit of this whole thing, are you?
      Churlish
  • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

    Actually in the hobby they are defined as odd-rocs and I personally fly a porta-potty
    newtons3rd
  • RE: 11 completely crazy, totally twisted, deeply disturbing, over-the-top holiday hacks

    Too much time on your hands.
    james347