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A TB Collection


shellbadger
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I have just published a series of pages on the activities and fates of 237 of my travel bugs released in 2010. There are no conclusions and there is no agenda beyond providing some real data on what happened to these travel bugs after they were released. I also hope some thoughtful discussion results from this effort.

 

I think I have provided enough transparency that the results can checked by interested parties. I hope there are no errors, but given my age, fragile memory and the briefest of attention spans, some may have occurred. Please report them here and I will correct them.

 

The site is http://shellbadgertbs.weebly.com/index.html

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Granted I gave your site a glance. How were your bugs released to give them the best chance for longevity? Did you follow Snoogans advice?

 

The TBs are as shown on the home page. More details are in the methods section, if you have the time. With a nod to Snoogans' advice, I respond yes and no. I have asked that the bugs be placed in rural or premium (PMO) caches. I prefer they not be dropped in urban caches or taken to events, both of which I believe are high-risk situations. There is no large, defacing hole. They are not breakable. Most of the reverse sides of the laminated items have information identifying them as travelers. I have no emotional attachment to them, although I admit to some regret when certain ones went went out of circulation. I elected to use the little ball-chain and super-glued the link to keep the chain from accidentally separating. Otherwise, no rivets or garage-door cables for ultra-secure attachments. In my opinion, side-cutters will defeat virtually all methods of attachment short of 1/4 inch chain. I accept that there is segment of the population bent on doing mischief, and any heroic effort to outsmart them will be taken as a challenge. I also accept that, when no one is watching, some of us yield to temptation. Finally, I accept that while some of the bugs may outlast me, they are all going to eventually disappear.

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I accept that there is segment of the population bent on doing mischief, and any heroic effort to outsmart them will be taken as a challenge. I also accept that, when no one is watching, some of us yield to temptation.

True. Probably the most common way TBs vanish is, they're retrieved and then forgotten. There are a couple of clicks to see a list of which TBs are still listed in a cacher's posession, which must be searched manually in the Inventory list. I've temporarily misplaced my own TBs, or arrive at a cache with the intention of dipping my TB and realize I left it at home. :anicute:

 

My most recent TBs were built up with a rock-solid u-nail embedded into the object. They were each grabbed and immediately went into stasis <_<. Now they're slowly reappearing in caches.

 

Your site is pretty cool. I'd like a to be able to crunch the numbers in various ways. Also, when a TB is listed in a cache or in the hands of a cacher, yet gone, there are tons of possibilities. It always means at least one incorrect log, and sometimes is in a different cache instead. So the it would be good to also somehow catalog the story of the TB as it dies. There were logs at some point "TB isn't in the cache", or "I'm taking a trip and will place this then". And I'd bet that the TBs still traveling fine, had many incorrect logs, so they are only a step or two from being considered "gone", yet they are still in play.

Edited by kunarion
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I accept that there is segment of the population bent on doing mischief, and any heroic effort to outsmart them will be taken as a challenge. I also accept that, when no one is watching, some of us yield to temptation.

True. Probably the most common way TBs vanish is, they're retrieved and then forgotten. There are a couple of clicks to see a list of which TBs are still listed in a cacher's posession, which must be searched manually in the Inventory list. I've temporarily misplaced my own TBs, or arrive at a cache with the intention of dipping my TB and realize I left it at home. :anicute:

 

My most recent TBs were built up with a rock-solid u-nail embedded into the object. They were each grabbed and immediately went into stasis <_<. Now they're slowly reappearing in caches.

 

Your site is pretty cool. I'd like a to be able to crunch the numbers in various ways. Also, when a TB is listed in a cache or in the hands of a cacher, yet gone, there are tons of possibilities. It always means at least one incorrect log, and sometimes is in a different cache instead. So the it would be good to also somehow catalog the story of the TB as it dies. There were logs at some point "TB isn't in the cache", or "I'm taking a trip and will place this then". And I'd bet that the TBs still traveling fine, had many incorrect logs, so they are only a step or two from being considered "gone", yet they are still in play.

 

I don't disagree with anything you say. Things happen despite good intentions. I traded vehicles recently and I am almost certain I left one of my new, unreleased TBs in the old glove box. Re the data, I just tried to take the information as it was recorded, with little or no interpretation. I think the only real exception was when someone logged a TB retrieval from a cache other than where it was dropped. I considered that a transaction (drop). As far as crunching the numbers goes, all the tables are printable and the TB ID numbers are provided. Do whatever you want with the information or check the logs yourself. Its all public record anyway.

Edited by shellbadger
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Wow, this is both interesting and depressing. Might be interesting to see some of this data in histogram form, but I'm too lazy to do it right now. Wonder if the tb rescue page could help to recover some of the ones that appear to be "stuck". It did seem that some of the worst offenders were premium members. It would be interesting to repeat this study in different countries to get a feel for the cultural differences in regards to TB's. Anecdotal reports would seem to indicate that disappearances of TB's is highest in the US. If someone worked it right, I bet they could get a sociology thesis out of it.

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Wow, this is both interesting and depressing. Might be interesting to see some of this data in histogram form, but I'm too lazy to do it right now. Wonder if the tb rescue page could help to recover some of the ones that appear to be "stuck". It did seem that some of the worst offenders were premium members. It would be interesting to repeat this study in different countries to get a feel for the cultural differences in regards to TB's. Anecdotal reports would seem to indicate that disappearances of TB's is highest in the US. If someone worked it right, I bet they could get a sociology thesis out of it.

 

Sorry about the extra entries, I was twice interrupted and both times lost track of what I was doing.

 

Anyway, I considered a number of options for presenting the information but since I was about to depart on a trip (on the road now) I just left it as it was. The drops data are in histogram form though. Another project is to email the long-term holders of bugs. Based on various threads here, I don't expect much of a response.

 

In terms of knowing who the worst offenders are, it is hard to know. Perhaps we have higher expectations of premium members so when one seems to fail, we feel a little more strongly about it. I also have the sense that many premium members are retirees and that demographic is subject to family and health issues that can quickly change priorities. I am well into my 70s and could easily vanish from the logs without notice.

 

I do follow my TBs abroad. There is abundant evidence that those in Europe move more quickly between caches and go missing less frequently than in this country. Germany may be an exception because more have gone missing there than elsewhere in Europe. However, that may be because so many more have found their way to that country. Why such a disproportinate number in Germany? I am not certain. I have encountered a great many Germans tourists in my own travels throughout the US and in the places I have visited in Europe, and they do cache. Also, there are large large numbers of US military personnel moving between the countries.

 

And by the way, back in the dim time I was a broadly-trained vertebrate biologist and I know about Desmognathus. I have even handled a few, but far more Plethodon.

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I guess if you look at the surviviorship curve for travel bugs as a species, you'd have to conclude that they were closer to "r-selected" than "k-selected". Hope the Plethodons you handled weren't members of the glutinosus complex. The slime they excrete upon handling can't be scrubbed off, you just have to let it wear off over time. I handled my share of these guys while doing field work in the southern Appalachians back in the day.

Edited by desmognathus
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