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US vs Non-US Last Logs (Part 2)


shellbadger
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This post is a continuation of the one of 26-Oct-21. In it I presented graphs of the last log locations (last-logs) of my trackables in the United States (US) versus locations outside the US, which are mostly Canada and the countries of Europe.  The present text is a discussion of the tabulated data from which those graphs were derived.

 

The methods for acquiring the information used here are described in the previous post, but let me state again that about 75% of the trackables under discussion have had no logs for at least three years (my criterion for missing) while about 25% are considered still active. The layout of both tables below is exactly the same, so one description will suffice.

 

The Location column is either countries or US states, depending on the table.  The Release (Rel) column is total trackables released in the respective locations.  The columns under Drop Intervals are counts of trackables having last logs that fall into the specified count category.  The values in the 5 column are the pool for drops five through nine, and for the 10 column, it is for drop ten through fourteen, and so on.

 

Both tables have 51 locations with at least one last-log. In the case of the US, it is all 50 states plus the District of Columbia (Washington DC).  Even Little Rhody has five. The states with the greatest numbers are California (101), Colorado (57), Florida (62) and Texas (146). These all have caches in leisure destinations, many of which, in my opinion, are frequently black holes for trackables, particularly if they are urban and not Premium Member Only.  That said, some Premium Members are well short of sainthood.  Thus, trackable longevity is more about luck and probability, rather than some cacher designation.

 

I would have expected Texas to have many more last-logs, given that more than 4,200 trackables have been released there.  Moreover, my definition of an old trackable is one having more than 25 drops (about five years old, on average).  Texas has none, ranking it below the 20 states do have old trackables. Granted, I want my trackables to move, and even leave the state, but something about this disparity is not quite logical. 

 

All trackables will eventually go missing, no matter where they are.  Nonetheless, I have believed for years that trackables in Europe move more frequently and last longer than here in the US. This, and future posts should begin to convince others.  In my previous report, I suggested the longevity two trackables at Drop 55 was aided by drops (not visits only) in Europe. I thought later to look at all entries at 25 drops and beyond. There are 37 total, with none past 60 drops.  The seven orange cells are those with earlier drops in Europe.  The four blue cells are those with drops in Canada. As is shown in the second table below, the Canadian profile fits best with those of European countries. Thus, I believe drops outside the US benefitted the longevity of 30 percent the old trackables in the US.  The 37 old trackables are 0.85 percent of the 4354 trackables in the US and 0.81 percent of all 4593 trackables.

 

It is said that if a trackable was to survive long enough, it would eventually land in Germany.  The second table below supports that statement. Without any releases in that country, it is the location of more last-logs (142) than any place outside the US, and more than any US state except Texas, where most of the trackables are released. The distant second place is a tie between Canada and the UK at 112.  Both countries should have some advantage over Germany…a long, shared US/Canada border and my semi-annual trackable trades with an Englishman that resulted in 158 releases, mostly in the UK.

 

Some of the lesser counts are in locations that spur this vicarious traveler to continue making and releasing trackables.  Included are the British Virgin Islands, the Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, the Seychelles, Turks & Caicos and the Ukraine. A recent visit to Antarctica by one of my trackables just missed being formally included in this report.

 

When this particular project started, there had been 239 trackable released in Canada (2) and Europe (237), yet 712 last logs were counted in the non-US collection, leaving 473 trackables taken there from the US.  Most of this movement must have been done before the C19 travel restrictions of the last two years, suggesting there could have been a larger total migration, under different circumstances.  

 

In the non-US sample, there are 167 old trackables of 25 drops or more.  This is 23 percent of the 712 trackables outside the US and 4 percent of all 4593 trackables. These percentages are embarrassingly high when compared to the US-only percentages of 0.83 and 0.81, respectively.  These data are why I regularly send trackables to a friend abroad, a few of my own and most of those discovered in my caches.

UStable.JPG

Non-UStable.JPG

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Another interesting read, thank you for taking the time to prepare and share this.

 

I hadn't heard about the "live long enough to land in Germany" phenomena. Though I had anecdotally encountered it, in looking through prior logs for TB's that I've come across I had noted that many of the ones that came to Darwin had come from Germany.

 

I would have thought the opposite to be true - more TB drops in the US rather than Europe, simply due to the language barrier. If I found a random box with trinkets by accident and couldn't read what was written on them, I might take one home to try and work out what it was - and then possibly find out and be unable to return it to the original location. Another reason to have "instructions to finders" on cache containers.

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It was about six years when I started getting serious about the illogical distribution of my trackables.  At the time I was more focused on documenting longevity.  Then, I noticed that Australia and New Zealand, on the other side of the world, had more of my trackables than any of the states bordering Texas (still true).  That improbable inequity caused me to check my search functions and formulae, which were correct.  Prior to that time, I had assumed trackables would move stepwise from my center, like the waves from a stone thrown in water.  Naturally, I also assumed the concentration of trackable would diminish with distance, in a clinal fashion. Not true!  I won't live long enough to understand a great deal about movement, there are just too many variables. 

 

I am curious, where do your Darwin-released trackable go?  Is there any predictable pattern?  I have had very few trackables even visit SE Asia or the Pacific islands (only Guam and Okinawa). 

 

I don't find language to be that much of a barrier, if one has patience and humility. Many Europeans can read, and also write in understandable English within the narrow context of a caching vocabulary.  For those who can't, there is Google Translate...I use it almost every day.  Just last week, I had a question about a TB photo taken in Denmark.  I fashioned a message in English, using simple declarative and interrogative sentences, and translated it to Danish.  The reply, in English, was to contact him in German, as he was a tourist.  I sent English and German to him and he sent German and English to me.  I had apologized for not being able to write German, despite my heritage.  Then, over a couple of days, we conversed about the history of the region of origin of my German-speaking paternal ancestors in Lithuania (then Prussia).

 

It may be a while before I generate another report.  I am working up a catalog of missing trackables only, complete with locations and histories.

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20 hours ago, shellbadger said:

I am curious, where do your Darwin-released trackable go?  Is there any predictable pattern?

 

My sample size (about 20 TB) is too small to generate a pattern; but my modus operandi is to use my TB to visit a few caches, add some photos and then release - either here in Darwin or somewhere else in Australia if I get the chance to travel.

 

My most-travelled TB is LEGO Plate, which I took with me to the south end of the country, was picked up by one cacher and they've had it with them ever since. Caurrently doing a counter-clockwise lap of Australia, so I assume that cacher is a retired person or on an extended holiday.

 

Interestingly, I only have one TB so far which I've marked as missing. I also dropped this one off down at the south end of the country at the end of 2020, it moved one jump to the left and then promptly vanished. I asked the CO if they could check their cache for it on their next maintenance run, and they confirmed it wasn't there. On the plus side, it was a proxy and I'm gearing up to re-release that one soon (I still have two more originals to do their initial release). I have two other TB's that I dropped off on the same trip, which have not moved since I dropped them. One hasn't been touched because nobody else has logged that cache since I visited, the other had one pick up and drop, into a Premium cache (which I can't see) and seems to have sat there since. I can't see how many people have visited that cache since it was dropped in there ten months ago, but it had a Hotwheels car as a hitch hiker, so I assume that one has gone MIA as well.

 

Of the ones that I've dropped here in Darwin, six are chilling in their respective caches, another five or so are in the hands of casual cachers (log a find once a month or less). Our TB movements here are hampered by the lack of tourists, due to that little global pandemic thingy. 

 

21 hours ago, shellbadger said:

I am working up a catalog of missing trackables only, complete with locations and histories.

 

That's something I'm looking forward to reading! There are so many variables, it's hard to pin down what can help a TB last and what is a bad idea. So much of the fates of TB's is down to just plain luck! 

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