Occam’s Razor

Daniel DoertyAfter sitting on the Hot Abercrombie Chick story for a week, I still had an unsettling feeling that the story was unresolved. I decided to go back to my initial premonitions and check the IP addresses of the comments she posted to a few weblogs. Then I realized that I had been sitting on my own data the whole time, the IP addresses of sites added to Blogdex. Here’s what I’ve found:

   Date		    Source	     IP		  Owner
2004-02-11	Blogdex	swbell.net
2004-02-21	Anil Dash	swbell.net
2004-02-28	Undisclosed	swbell.net
2004-04-14	Blogdex	swbell.net
2004-04-02	Blogdex	swbell.net
2004-04-07	Blogdex	wustl.edu

All of these IP addresses originate from St. Louis, Missouri, one directly from Washington University where Daniel Zeigenbein transferred to after leaving Vassar (also compare this to Amanda Doerty’s profile on MSN). While many open questions remain (the motive of the author, the identity of the girl in the picture, etc.), this is enough evidence for me to close the case on this one.

I find a great deal of pleasure in doing research on the internet, especially when it involves unearthing information that is nonobvious or difficult to procure. It’s the same type of excitement that one gets watching Woodward and Bernstein slowly uncover the trail of leads that eventually finds Nixon. I never had any intention of defaming HAC or Daniel Zeigenbein, it was simply a mystery where the facts didn’t add up and the truth should exist somewhere, buried in the internet.

Justin has also posted a more in-depth analysis of the evidence.

10 thoughts on “Occam’s Razor

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  2. I can back up

    I got an e-mail from HAC on 4-17-2004 from that IP (Hotmail isn’t all that anonymous afterall) and I traced it to adsl-68-89-157-59.dsl.stlsmo.swbell.net

    DSL line in St. Louis, MO.

  3. So let me get this straight… You did a traceroute, nslookup, or dig to discover information about the IP in question and you are excited that you suddenly “find a great deal of pleasure in doing research on the internet”? And you say “especially when it involves unearthing information that is nonobvious or difficult to procure”?!? I know you are no fool but come now my friend, this is just absurd to say on a blog where many of your readers have technical backgrounds. Had you found out more and tapped into personal information that was verified through more difficult means then you would be credible. For some reason your choice of words and excitement bugged me…

  4. John,

    It wasn’t really the technology per se that made it interesting, it was more the extent to which the person behind HAC tried to hide their identity, and the social ties we had to work to get real IP addresses. This post was really a followup to the previous few where we had little information about the author.

    It’s not the traceroute, it’s the excitement behind the traceroute. I don’t get that sort of entertainment at a bash prompt very often. Perhaps I’m probably just easily amused 🙂

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