Diana has posted an updated ranking list. You can see the times right here. After you get done reading those times I have some food for thought.
Terid posted a list of times from people on her buddy list, one of which is Neville from round 2 (Seattle). Click here to read that list. His time was 3:11:25. Our quickest time for round 4 was 3:13:39.
I'll remind you that our times for the Houston round were also about 2 minutes slow. Steeple Media is quicker than most, but we haven't quite hit the finalist mark, as far as I can tell at this point. We have hundreds of people collaborating on solutions and we can't seem to achieve faster times than individuals. Are we are own worst enemy? Probably not.
Assume there is an arbitrary Gold Rush player out there, who we will call Mr. N. How would this Mr. N go about achieving times 2 minutes quicker than most people complete the challenges? I'll give you a few possible scenarios and let you decide which is most probable.
1. Mr. N is super smart (Ken Jennings smart).
2. Mr. N is pretty smart and is working with several other pretty smart people.
3. Mr N. has found someone who has leaked him the questions to challenges 11 and 12, thereby allowing him to solve the first two challenges before the round starts and leaving plenty of time for the gold challenge.
4. Mr. N is decompiling the challenges each week allowing him to solve the 3 final challenges extremely quick.
Now 3 and 4 imply that Mr. N is breaking the rules that have been set forth by AOL. If I had to make a gander though, I would suggest #2 is probably the most likely choice for those Mr. N's out there who have been able to achieve super sonic times.
Of course there are certainly more than 4 possible scenarios, maybe Mr. N is just really lucky.