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Humans have left approximately 400,000 pounds (181,000 kilograms) of "trash" on the lunar surface. That includes probes, rovers, landers, a metallic olive branch, a hammer and falcon feather (for a gravity experiment, image below), two golf balls, a javelin, a urine collection assembly (small), various rakes and hammer, a portrait of James Irwin, 100 $2 bills, flags, and so many more items. In fact, here is NASA's list of manmade objects on the moon, although it hasn't been updated in 6 years. From Space.com:
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Although many people might call the odds and ends humans have left on the moon "garbage" (what else would you call a used urine-collection assembly?), NASA takes a kinder view.
Researchers can study these objects to see how their materials weathered the radiation and vacuum of space over time, (NASA chief historian William) Barry said. Moreover, some of the objects on the moon are still being used, including a laser-range reflector left by the Apollo 11 crew. [What Does the Top of the Moon Look Like?]
Researchers on Earth can ping this reflector with lasers, which allows them to measure the distance between Earth and the moon, according to NASA. These experiments helped scientists realize that the moon is moving away from the Earth at a rate of 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) a year, NASA reported.
The so-called trash left on the moon also has archaeological merit, Barry said. Future lunar visitors may want to view the old Apollo sites and see gear from NASA, the European Space Agency, the Russian space agency Roscosmos and other countries, Barry said.
In Ankara, Turkey, one person's trash is literally another's treasure. Garbage collectors started saving books once destined for the landfill and opened a public library.
For months, the garbage men gathered forsaken books. As word of the collection spread, residents also began donating books directly.
Initially, the books were only for employees and their families to borrow. But as the collection grew and interest spread throughout the community, the library was eventually opened to the public in September of last year...
Today, the library has over 6,000 books ranging from literature to nonfiction. There is also a popular kid's section with comic books and an entire section for scientific research. Books in English and French are also available for bilingual visitors.
The library is housed in a previously vacant brick factory at the sanitation department headquarters...
The collection grew so large the library now loans the salvaged books to schools, educational programs, and even prisons.
A person in Virginia devised a strange-but-effective method to discourage bears from rummaging in the garbage cans. I'm sure the bears will have their revenge.
By the time Carla Squitieri of Chesterfield, Missouri realized she had accidentally dropped her $400,000 wedding ring in the trash, the garbage collectors had already come and gone. She and her husband convinced the trash company to diver the truck from its intended destination -- a radioactive (!?) dump -- to another dump where they could sort through the heap from 900 houses.
After just thirty minutes, Meridian Waste Services operations manager Joe Evans, who volunteered to help with the search, found the 12.5 karat ring in a garbage bag from Squitieri's home.
Olivia Coy reports on the stunning downfall of Neopets, a hugely-successful virtual pet community/game/toy line that was monetized so grossly and relentlessly it evaporated in a matter of hours after a site feature failed.
In retrospect, and despite all its juvenile provocations, the Neopets forum collapse looks like a digital-age, collective cri de coeur, a long-suffering community voicing its frustrations with all the rage it could muster.
It's under "new management," but the site still looks like a hacked PHPNuke forum from the 1990s. $160,000,000, dude.
A fisher on northern Brazil's remote Uriandeua river stumbled on a huge chunk of detritus dropped from a UK Space Agency satellite launch. "It is the launch vehicle payload shroud from the Alphasat launch last year," a UK Space Agency spokesperson told the BBC. "It probably landed in the Atlantic and then floated inland." Brazil has asked the UK to come collect their space garbage. Read the rest
"Tiny Worlds" is a delightful trilogy of short films about imaginary miniature city services dealing with the small trash littering the streets and sidewalks of London. The series was created by Rushes, a Soho video production house. Above is "Tiny Worlds: Bulldozer." Below, "Tiny Worlds: Submarine" and "Tiny Worlds" Logging Truck." (via Laughing Squid) Read the rest
For years, Robin Nagle was anthropologist-in-residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation. She's just published a book about trash and how we deal with it, or don't. It's titled Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City, and Collector's Weekly interviewed her about it.
(The department) was created as the Department of Street Cleaning in 1881, and renamed the Department of Sanitation in 1929. But it was actually made effective for the first time in 1895, in that the people who worked for the department actually collected garbage and swept the streets.
In its early days, the department didn’t really function at all. There are some photographs taken for Harper’s Weekly (above), before and after photos of street corners in New York in 1893 and then in 1895. And the before pictures are pretty astonishing, people were literally shin-high or knee-high in this muck that was a combination of street gunk, horse urine and manure, dead animals, food waste, and furniture crap.
"A Filthy History: When New Yorkers Lived Knee-Deep in Trash" (Collector's Weekly) Read the rest