133: How to Be a Wizard

How to Be a Wizard

"In geocaching parlance, people who don't geocache are called "muggles," a reference from the Harry Potter novels to people who don't use magic. It's an apt allusion. The ability to walk into the woods and, in a matter of minutes, find a capsule no larger than your thumb must involve magic. And if you adhere to Clarke's law that advanced technology effectively is magic, then geocachers, tracking hidden objects using satellite locators, really are wizards."

Russ Pitts looks for tiny objects hidden in the woods, using only his wits, a sturdy pair of shoes and a GPS locator.

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)
English physicist & science fiction author (1917 - )

Just thought I'd point that out.

citation from http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/776.html

What a really cool article. Just wanted to point that out. ; )

Thanks for the adventurous read. : )

Edit to add: it will be interesting to see how long it takes for someone to make an MMO out of this...

What a great story! I want to be a Wizard now!

Geocaching is one of the most addicting games I've ever played. And with over 3200 caches within 50 miles of Crabtree Valley Mall, Russ will never run out of little boxes to find.

Whoops. Never let it be said pedantism doesn't have it's place. The law I quoted is actually Clarke's as a few folks have now informed me. I was confusing it with the inverse ("Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology."), which is also called "Niven's Law."

Looks like I'll never be a wizard now :(

"Never let it be said pedantism doesn't have its place."

And to be completely self-referential, it's "pedantry"!

-- A Pedant

You know, for whatever reason, your writing style just draws me in like a fly to an electric lamp (because moth to a flame is not sufficiently technologically advanced to be indistinguisable from magic. Or is it the other way around? =3).

Allen Varney:
"Never let it be said pedantism doesn't have its place."

And to be completely self-referential, it's "pedantry"!

-- A Pedant

That was a trap I laid especially for you Allen. Glad you're still around even when you're not.

Bullets don't kill people, Magic Missiles do.

Great article.
It accurately describes the mystique around geocaching and it reminds me of my first cache find. I especially liked the "invisible thread" imagery... how true!

....are you serious? I want to do this now D:

Maybe when that PSP accessory comes out...

This seems like great fun. I wanna be a Wizard to.

Byuuu. This actually sounds like something I'd really enjoy.
>_> What are my chances of finding geocaches in Australia though?

Niccolo:
Byuuu. This actually sounds like something I'd really enjoy.
>_> What are my chances of finding geocaches in Australia though?

I thought that about where i lived, but i checked out the website and there were plenty! It seems like everyone has been doing this for ages, and they've hidden it from us Muggles rather well

Been geocaching for almost 2 years. This hobby has introduced me to more places than I would have ever imagined. It has taken me down countless dirt roads in the Jersey Pine Barrens, on top of a skyscraper in New Orleans , in rock formations on beautiful beaches in Bermuda, a buried schooner, hidden corners of old San Juan, covered bridges, a burning town in Pennsylvania, and more.

For me, there is no greater adventure than geocaching.

(EDIT: If you'd like to review some of the above caches, my username on geocaching.com is demethos)

devilondemand:

Niccolo:
Byuuu. This actually sounds like something I'd really enjoy.
>_> What are my chances of finding geocaches in Australia though?

I thought that about where i lived, but i checked out the website and there were plenty! It seems like everyone has been doing this for ages, and they've hidden it from us Muggles rather well

even in Perth? you know, the tiny remote city miles from civilisation

Yes even in Perth. I just did a search on geocaching.com and it found 478 caches in and around Perth, Australia.

The press page of geocaching.com has picked up Pitts' article. Too bad they accidentally linked to page #2.
http://www.geocaching.com/press/

Damn. Now Russ has given me a new hobby. Nice job, jerk.

Hey, there's one near my old primary school! I could get into this.

623S:
Damn. Now Russ has given me a new hobby. Nice job, jerk.

I didn't plan it. I just thought I'd borrow a GPS, search for some caches to research the story then forget about it. Whoops. Turns out to have been way more fun than I expected.

Amazing article! I actually found my 100th cache this month. It made me feel warm inside to read about geocaching on a site like this!

Pirate Brahm - Are you referring to Centralia?

aethyrmaster:
Pirate Brahm - Are you referring to Centralia?

Yes, that's the 'burning town' I was talking about. There's a few caches up that way if you you follow RT. 61.

Yeah, it kind of figures there would be with the history of the place. I live relatively near there, and as soon as I saw what you wrote, had to ask. I hope you found "backwoods Pennsylvania" to be hospitable!

Ahoy! I enjoyed seeing the article and was surprised when it first snagged my attention: "What? Geocaching? Who here would be aware of that!?"

I've been involved in 'caching for a few years myself and wanted to share my first experience with y'all. It was a dark and stormy night... Okay, no it was a steamy-hot Georgia day, we were on a camping trip to Lake Conesauga and had hiked 2 miles to a ranger tower. Days prior, at home, we had learned that somewhere atop this rise there was a cache hidden. So...WITH NO GPS RECEIVER yet in our possession we searched the area around the ranger tower - I FOUND THE CACHE! (yay!) Took us about 30 minutes of searching, but we found it. I >ahem< hadn't thought of a trade item to bring, so >ahem< I removed my boxers >ahem< and left them inside the cache-box! Magic Eight-Ball boxers in fact! (a printed pattern of magic 8-balls on the fabric you pervs) And so, my first find DID involve MAGIC of a sort. >snicker<
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Those are some great stories. This has HIGHLY intrigued me.

All your articles are a blast =].

Wow, this sounds like fun... too bad I live in center of Toronto, doubt anyone would hide something in a city =(

Still, better dig up my old GPS thingie and check.

Good article, very interesting and without it I'd never hear about this.

 

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