Thursday, August 20, 2009

Camping, Contiguous 48, Novice Tracking

Nicholas Thompson, Evan's Editor, has a great article on how a tech novice, such as myself, join the hunt for finding Evan Ratliff. Article is here:

In this article, Nicholas says: "A few hours ago, I posted something that has what I think is a very useful piece of information in it that’s discoverable by anyone who reads carefully. It requires zero computer skill." I think this means a post on Twitter since he didn't post anything on on the Vanish site

Breaking development as I write this@finderofevan points out that Nicholas changed the sentence I quoted above to this: "Lots of clues can be figured out just by reading closely." I don't know if this is significant or not.

Looking at Nicholas' tweet from today what I find interesting is that he says Evan can use a tent, but not camp wilderness. To me that means he can"t set up stakes in the middle of no where, but doesn't preclude camp grounds, like KOA, or camp grounds in parks. Another thought I had about using a tent and not going off the grid is that I remember seeing a story about a high-end hotel in southern California, I think near Palm Spring or Palm Desert, that had rooms for about $29. The catch is that you had to bring your own tent and put it in the room that was stripped of lots of the basic amenities.

There has been some discussion on Twitter about whether or not Evan is restricted to the 48 contiguous states or can he go to any state including Hawaii and Alaska. Evan's original rules say 48 contiguous states. However, the final rules posted by Nicholas says he is limited to the US, no mention of whether it is only 48 contiguous or all 50.

A couple of people have mentioned possible clues they have found on Craig's List. Here is a tool to search all of Craig's List: Maybe Evan is leaving clues in the "missed connections" section or some other section. Another tool is to use this tweet analyzer,, for anyone wanting to analyze Evan's writing style. I haven't tried this site but I wanted to put it out there in case it could be useful.

Happy Hunting!


  1. Maybe Nick is referring to the original contest rules? I re-read them closely and only one thing jumped out at me. The original URL of the Wired Vanish blog: Any idea what TK could stand for?

    RE: The camping theory. Are there any multi-day summer music festivals going on that allow tents?

  2. Hi. nxthompson here. "tk" just means "to come." we didn't know what URL we'd put it at. So that's just the way it is in drafts.

    And, yes, you're right about the camping. He can't hang in the middle of nowhere. But a KOA on city outskirts is OK.

    And the slightly different language on the "how to" post is an innocent copyediting thing. Nothing important there.

  3. Thanks for the reply! Didn't know the publishing lingo. You learn something new every day!