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  • Lorelle VanFossen 10:13 pm on March 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , city garbage management, educational books, england, , historical trash, , london, municipal garbage, reading material, , , victorian   

    New Book: Dirty Old London: A History of the Victorians’ Infamous Filth 

    NPR Radio did a special report on the new book by Lee Jackson, “‘Dirty Old London’: A History Of The Victorians’ Infamous Filth.”

    In the 19th century, London was the capital of the largest empire the world had ever known — and it was infamously filthy. It had choking, sooty fogs; the Thames River was thick with human sewage; and the streets were covered with mud.

    But according to Lee Jackson, author of Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth, mud was actually a euphemism. “It was essentially composed of horse dung,” he tells Fresh Air’s Sam Briger. “There were tens of thousands of working horses in London [with] inevitable consequences for the streets. And the Victorians never really found an effective way of removing that, unfortunately.”

    In fact, by the 1890s, there were approximately 300,000 horses and 1,000 tons of dung a day in London. What the Victorians did, Lee says, was employ boys ages 12 to 14 to dodge between the traffic and try to scoop up the excrement as soon as it hit the streets.

    To the public health-minded Victorian, London presented an overwhelming reform challenge. But there wasn’t change until the city took over.

    “It takes decades for people to accept that the state perhaps has a role in how they manage their household, how they manage their rubbish, their toilet facilities even,” Lee says. “The state basically does intervene and it is that idea of a central authority that is actively concerned — what the Victorians would’ve called ‘municipal socialism.’ … That mission to improve people’s lives on a very day-to-day basis was carried on throughout the 20th century.”

    You can listen to the interview and read the interview highlights on NPR.

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  • Lorelle VanFossen 11:12 am on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: california v greenwood, dumpsters, dumspter diving, economics, , law, legal, philosophy, privacy, profit, pyschology, scavengers, trash profit   

    Dumpster Diving: Philosophy, Psychology, Community, Reward, and Laws 

    Last week, WIRED reported on Matt Malone, a professional dumpster diver in the United States earning a “six-figure salary as a security specialist” as his day job, and even more with his hobby.

    The article covers Malone’s fascination and income-producing hobby of making use of and selling other people’s trash, exploring the psychology, philosophy, security risks, planned obsolescence of corporate, and the legality of dumpster diving.

    Ten minutes later, when he’s again behind the wheel of the Avalanche, Malone continues to tell me about the material benefits of dumpster diving. If he were to dedicate himself to the activity as a full-time job, he says, finding various discarded treasures, refurbishing and selling them off, he’s confident he could pull in at least $250,000 a year—there is that much stuff simply tossed into dumpsters in the Austin area.

    …But, he quickly adds, his foraging isn’t just about dollars. It’s also about the knowledge he acquires and the people he shares it with. He prefers to be known as a “for-profit archaeologist.” After all, archaeologists have always studied garbage. The esteemed William Rathje, who established the Garbage Project at the University of Arizona, observed shortly before his 2012 death that refuse, more than anything else human beings produce, “gives us insight into the long-term values of a civilization.”

    As for Malone, the main insight he’s obtained from digging through our civilization’s trash is that most people don’t place a lot of value in value anymore.

    As a security specialist, he was asked to do a “zero-knowledge attack” on a Texas company, a security hack that steps away from the computer and into the garbage of a business. He uncovered thousands of confidential documents in the trash, and the company was impressed, as was he when he found computer equipment and other “trash” that still had life and financial reward.

    …Even so, his garage soon overflowed, and Malone decided he should make some space by staging a weekend yard sale.

    That sale provided several revelations. The biggest was what sold with the drive-by public. “I had all my cool stuff out front, a couple of very nice computers, mini choppers, some high-end printers—the big-ticket stuff—thinking, ‘This is what’s going to make me the money.’” It wasn’t. Instead, people flocked to “the small stuff”: the photo paper and toner he’d pulled out of the dumpsters at OfficeMax and Office Depot, the hand tools he’d found in the trash at Harbor Freight, the CDs from GameStop dumpsters, the assorted seasonal tchotchkes that had been tossed by the employees at Pier 1 and Cost Plus. “I eventually figured out that I had to sell the big stuff on Amazon or Craigslist,” Malone says. But all those small sales added up: By Sunday afternoon he had collected a little more than $3,000 in cash. “And that was when I realized, ‘This has the potential to be something.’”

    The article revealed the community of scavengers in the area calling themselves “scavenger entrepreneurs,” describing them as “overwhelmingly white and working-class hustlers that are “willing to share what they know more than just about any people I’ve ever met.”

    The 1988 California v. Greenwood Supreme Court ruling held that while there is a reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment, it is “common knowledge” that trash that is “readily accessible to animals, children, scavengers, snoops, and other members of the public” has no protection under the law to prevent access or use. If the trash is left out, it is there for the taking. Some state and city ordinances instituted rules against dumpster diving but few are enforced.

    Hat Tip: Adam Coleman, CTEC, Clark College

     
  • Lorelle VanFossen 5:28 am on February 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , alice bradshaw, , artist, artwork, , environmental art, exhibits, galleries, , glossary, jargon, rubbish, rubbish artist, terminology, , ,   

    Alice Bradshaw: Rubbish Artist and Educator 

    Alice Bradshaw - Doodle - The Good Life - Apartment - April 2005 - photo courtesy of Paul Harfleet.

    Alice Bradshaw – Doodle – The Good Life – Apartment – April 2005 – photo courtesy of Paul Harfleet

    Alice Bradshaw, a prize-winning artist and academic specializing in rubbish and trash. Her work has been featured in museums, galleries, and festivals throughout the UK and Australia.

    Alice Bradshaw describes herself this way:

    I work with a wide range of media and processes involving the manipulation of everyday objects and materials. Mass-produced, anonymous objects are often rendered dysfunctional caricatures of themselves, addressing concepts of purpose and futility. I create or accentuate subtleties, blurring distinctions between the absurd and the mundane, with the notion that the environment the work exists in becomes integral to the work itself.

    Rubbish: A Research Project is study project by Rubbish by Bradshaw that is a long time study project. She shares her studies on the various forms of rubbish including crap, debris, detritus, dirt, discards, junk, leftovers, litter, refuse, rejects, shit, ruins, and others. Each one features a definition and quotes, citations, and references that may be of value to you and your classes.

    On the topic of garbage she shares:

    “I use the word ‘garbage’ […] because I think it’s really recognizable to people. I think that’s what most people call their waste or their discards. That’s why I use it; it’s not a statement of my political or ideological stance on the issue of discards. A lot of people feel very strongly about choosing the right word, and I really respect where that comes from. I think that what we call the things we throw away is very important and it does relate to the way that what we throw out is constructed as dirty and not okay to touch or to consider as having value or being a resource.”
    Heather Rogers – Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage (2005) The New Press.

    “A Dump: The whole world, everything which surrounds me here, is to me a boundless dump with no ends or borders, an inexhaustible, diverse sea of garbage. This whole dump is full of twinkling stars, reflections and fragments of cultures.” […] A dump not only devours everything, preserving forever, but one might say it continually generates something: this is where some kind of shoots come from for new project, ideas, a certain enthusiasm arises, hopes for rebirth of something, though it is well-known that all of this will be covered with new layers of garbage.”
    Ilya Kabakov – Documents of Contemporary Art: The Archive (2006) p.32/37

    “Young people everywhere have been allowed to choose between love and a garbage disposal unit. Everywhere they have chosen the garbage disposal unit.”
    Guy Debord – Formula for a New City, The Incomplete Works of the Situationist International, ed. Christopher Gray (1974)

    “A newspaper that you’re not reading can be used for anything; and the same people didn’t think it was immoral to wrap their garbage in newspaper.”
    Robert Rauschenberg in interview with by Dorothy Seckler, Archives of American Art (1965)

    Her other projects include:

     
  • Lorelle VanFossen 11:46 am on December 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anthropology, common read project, , , , journalism, , , sociology, student site, wordless wednesday, , writing assignments   

    Reminder: Wordless Wednesdays Ideal for Writing Assignments 

    Calling all English, journalism, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, health, medical, science departments and others looking to include Garbology in your curriculum, check out the Garbology Common Read site for students and teachers, specifically the Wordless Wednesday category.

    Each Wednesday, an image is presented encouraging students to comment. The comment may be just a comment, an idea, concept, poem, or a written or visual assignment inspired by the image.

    The images come from a variety of courses and resources covering garbage collection, recycling, e-waste, specific types of garbage, people living and working in garbage, and the science and history of garbage management, studies, and collection.

    If you would like to suggest an image for usage on the Common Read site for Wordless Wednesday, please let us know so we may include it in this ongoing series.

    If you choose to use an image for an assignment, we would love to know that as well to help us manage comments on that site.

     
  • Lorelle VanFossen 5:51 am on October 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , antropology, archaelogy, , , , , higher education, , research, , sciences, waste studies,   

    Discard Studies 

    Jeff Wall, The Destroyed Room, 1978. Glenstone. Bedroom with all the furnishings destroyed.

    Discard Studies is an educational site that explores the “throw-away culture.” Called “Critical Discard Studies,” it is an emerging interdisciplinary sub-field associated with Garbology and related natural and historical sciences. It studies and questions the premises of what seems normal or given within the greater role of society and culture, focusing not only on what we throw away but our wasteful life practices and culture.

    The site is designed as an online social platform for scholars, activists, environmentalists, students, and others involved in the study of waste and wasting to gather and showcase and discuss this new field of study.

    The team behind the site recently released the Discard Studies Compendium, a glossary of critical key terms associated with studying waste and wasting, and as part of their effort to continue to develop this science discipline. It is a tremendous resource of garbage related terminology.

    Article highlights that feature links to research papers and calls for papers as well as topics for information and discussion include:

     
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