Virtual World History 101

Regarding the study of the history of *virtual worlds*,  Timothy writes,

… my habitual dissatisfaction with the tendency of anthropology to visit its own ethical obsessions on all discussions of ethnography as a method …

Phew!   I really do need to get back to academia so I can get the PhD and write stuff like that …
… and really MEAN it!

$350,000,000 for Hitwise? Wow, statistics don’t lie about … cash? Do they?

This Hitwise asking price sounded way too high at first, but Hitwise has about 1200 customers. I think their charges range from a minimum of about 1000 monthly to what would not be more than 5000 or so monthly (I’m guessing wildly here).

Any company that’s counting on the unreliable reporting of the big analytics firms should be ashamed of itself, but putting that aside let’s assume Hitwise is taking in an average of 2500 monthly from those 1200 clients. This is a cool 3 million per month or 36 million per year. For an established and growing internet company asking 9-10x annual revenues is not outrageous. I’m guessing they’ll be thrilled to get half that, but… I say rock on Hitwise dudes!

Mathew Ingram is seeing 2.0 bubbles and thinks I have a high threshhold for outrage

Kim Family search backing off Merlin Galice Bear Camp route ?

Update:   This report suggests Curry county authorities feel they’ve covered that county well and I’m hoping the quote in the CNET story just means they are focusing on the east rather than west side of the mountains rahter than assuming they took 42.   It’s possible but I think 42 is the wrong approach, rather they should comb the logging spurs off of the Merlin to Gold Beach route.   On the East side of the mountains this  would be mostly Josephine and Douglas county land.

This in from CNET suggests that Curry County authorities may stop searching the Bear Camp Route for the Kim Family. I don’t understand the logic here but I’m not privy to special info. The fact they were spotted in Roseburg suggests to me that the Bear Camp route is *very likely*, appearing on many maps and many online services as the shortest route to the TuTuTun lodge, the final destination of the Kims. Why would he have passed by Highway 38 and then taken 42? Also, 42 is much more travelled than Bear Camp and is not easy to get lost on.

I sure hope they search the Bear Camp area very thoroughly before giving up on that angle.

Earlier this year a family appeared to take that same route and wound up near Glendale via logging roads. They were stranded for 2 weeks under snow in an RV but survived thanks to provisions on board the RV.

Kim Family search update as of 1:30pm Saturday

Northwest news report as of Saturday afternoon.

A 1:27 report from local KTVL TV indicates the leads have not been of much help to the authorities, and searching continues in Bear Camp area.

Details from Oregonian

Here’s another item indicating the family was seen at a Roseburg, Oregon Denny’s restaurant. I’m not clear why this would suggest to the police a Highway 42 route more than strengthening the Bear Camp route likelihood. I’m not sure, but think it would not make sense for Kim to have passed by highway 38 and then take 42. If Kim was looking for a shortcut I think he would have (wrongly) tried Bear Camp road. I can’t see disappearing on 42 unless you went into the river where you can easily disappear up on Bear Camp road spurs without even making a serious miscalculation. [Sunday: I just ran several routes through Mapquest and it looks like they show the shortest distance as Roseburg to Powers to Agness to TuTuTun in Gold Beach.  It appears to be about 7 miles less than the Merlin route.   I’m not familiar with Powers route so I may be underestimating it, but my gut says if they reviewed a regular map they’d take the Merlin route].

Here’s a link to a Google map of the Merlin, Oregon to Gold Beach area. A hopeful scenario is that the Kim Family took the Merlin to Gold Beach route (aka Merlin Galice or Bear Camp Road) and got lost on a logging spur road and then stuck in snow and are surviving on meltwater and any food they had on board. They could be OK since temperatures have not dropped too low up there this past week. Several people are lost in thata area each year but most are found safe or find their way out. A worse possibility is that the car went over one of the steep dropoffs along this route and was then buried in the snow that has fallen in that region since last Saturday. This area is one of the most remote areas in the state and it’s full of steep slopes.


Our local Medford, Oregon newspaper websites are starting to have the most detailed updates I can find this Saturday morning about the Kim Family search here in Southern Oregon. Here’s a similar report from Gold Beach. They report that the search continues along major roads and the Bear Camp Road and in the remote and dangerous “shortcut” to the coast from Interstate five:

From the Medford Mail Tribune Website:

Search-and-rescue teams from Coos, Curry and Josephine counties combed remote roads known for their winter impassability. Jackson County searchers joined in with a private helicopter and could send a Sno-Cat to travel snow-covered forest roads, Sheriff Mike Winters said.

Curry County sheriff’s deputies used 4×4 vehicles and were able to reach about milepost 18 on Bear Camp Road where the snow and ice stopped their advance, OSP reported Friday night. Josephine County authorities called for their Sno-Cat to respond to search the remaining 20 miles of road.

The Coos County Sheriff’s Office sent 4×4 vehicles to the Agness Pass area, and also sent 4×4 vehicles into the Eden Valley as far as they could get past Mount

Bolivar. The U.S. Forest Service roads through the remote area intersect with each other.

The Oregon Army National Guard sent a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter from Salem to assist in the aerial search. California Highway Patrol and Coast Guard reportedly were assisting in the search, as well.

OSP, the agency coordinating Oregon search efforts and news releases, reported that relatives of the Kims have hired helicopter companies to fly the major roads from Interstate 5 to Highway 101, specifically Highway 42, Highway 38 and Highway 126.

Also note this new website supporting the Kim family. I don’t know who has created it but it appears to be legitimate and helpful.

HeadOn alternative remedy – Wal Mart Candles

ABC’s reporting on how successful Head On has been: Six million tubes of wax at $6-8 per tube. Since the product obviously has no medical value, is this a marketing miracle? You bet it is! There’s a HeadOn sucker born every minute!

Let’s do the math:
Wax sells at about $2 per pound I’m sure HeadOn paid less but that number will do for now. That amounts to 12.5 cents per Ounce of wax.

HeadOn tubes have .2 oz of wax and a few tiny amounts of other effectively worthless ingredients. Thus their cost for the HeadOn itself is no greater than 2.5 cents per tube of HeadOn. Packaging and production costs? Let’s assume it’s 5 times the product cost, or 12.5 cents per tube.

Therefore a tube of HeadOn costs HeadOn approximately 15 cents.

HeadOn tubes sell for about $8, though there are discounts so let’s use $7 as the average sale proceeds per tube.

$7 proceeds from a $0.15 investment in the product and packaging! This is a markup of 46.67 times. A “four thousand six hundred sixty seven percent” markup. Microsoft Xbox 360 eat your heart out.

Their largest cost is likely the advertising campaign, but you can spend a lot for ads when your product is marked up over 46x your cost. I’ll try to find out more about what they spend on advertising later.

ABC Report:

With no science to back it up the ad was changed to stop implying (something?), though it seemed to me HeadOn has always been careful not to claim much of anything.

Cooling sensation may distract people from the pain. A doctor at the headache center suggests.

HeadOn claims to act homeopathically, with the wax containing tiny amounts of some homeopathic extractions . Homeopathy is one of the silliest and most ridiculous approaches to medicine, based on the notion that water imbued with unmeasureable amounts of substances has it’s molecular structure changed into powerfully curative “extractions” (hey, is there one to stop me from gagging on pseudo-science?) Like any quack remedy you’ll get placebo effects which have “real” curative powers.

The debate over quack cures is clouded by this placebo effect. Unlike real medicines which generally have potential side effects and rarely work in all cases, placebos, which only need the gullible participation of the user, can offer real relief, especially from minor symptoms.

I’m confident that HeadOn does nothing medical, but that does not mean it’s worthless.

However, prudent shoppers will choose my alterative “even better than HeadOn” emedy – one of those short stubby 29 cent Wal Mart Candles used for religious offerings. This will save you over $7 AND give you a religious infusion (but only if if you BE-LEEEEEVE!).

Send the $7 you saved vs buying a “real” tube of HeadOn to the charity of your choice, and you’ll not only get the benefit of the placebo effect you’ll actually do some good.

Digg this?