Subject: To the tech editor on Dumpster Diving (TechNews@MSNBC.com)
In this side article under "Ask The Technologist" Mr. Levy correctly states the term "Dumpster Diving" derives from "phone phreaking" days 'where outlaw geeks went through telephone companies garbage to get information about their systems.' TheFreeDictionary.com's first definition ( http://computing-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/dumpster+diving ) indeed indicates your statement to be fact. Although dumpster diving may indeed be a means to find discarded information to steal identities or credit card numbers, Wikipedia (first Google Search result) correctly states:
"Dumpster diving, or trashing, is the practice of rummaging through trash, whether commercial or residential, to find items of use that have been discarded. It takes advantage of the fact that as a whole, people and businesses are very wasteful. The term "Dumpster Diving" comes from the image of someone climbing into large rubbish bins, called "dumpsters", but the practice is actually more like fishing around than diving in. ..."
(link source)The second definition used on the Free Dictionary's Computing Dictionary << http://computing-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/dumpster+diving >> :
"The practice of raiding the dumpsters behind buildings where producers and/or consumers of high-tech equipment are located, with the expectation (usually justified) of finding discarded but still-valuable equipment to be nursed back to health in some hacker's den. Experienced dumpster-divers not infrequently accumulate basements full of moldering (but still potentially useful) cruft."
Please do not make such blanket statements when someone asks such a question. You not only misinform the public, you create a sense of distrust of the society of Dumpster Divers if you will, as evil or criminal. We are ethical, sharing and generally a genial bunch of people who enjoy saving money... differently.
I have been dumpster diving ever since before I was able to drive. I lived in rural Georgia and found lots of fun stuff in the local Dumpster. My Grandmother, God rest her soul called them "Dempsey dumpsters" way back as far as I can remember. We used to, heaven forbid, dump our garbage on the far side of our 700 acres of land. I remember being 7 years old and rummaging through this heap for treehouse building materials, iron and old bicycles for parts....
Please do not do the same to give Recycle, Reuse, Renew and ReSell Dumpster Divers a bad word. You can verify some of my statements by reading my personal Dumpster blog at http://nomasteryoda.blogspot.com/2004/10/dumpster-diving-log.html or doing some research on http://www.dumpster-world.com or even on alt.dumpster on Usenet. Topics discussed vary from the bizarre, latest finds, encounters with the police and legality of dumpster diving.
Many, if not most of us want to stop the waste. Sure we enjoy getting something for nothing as well as the added bonus of "purchasing" tax-free! Billions of tons of computers and assorted usable household appliances, toner cartridges, new blank CDs & DVDs, new DVD movies, new & used VHS tapes, newspapers, magazines, books, cell phones, building materials, even fresh frozen foods.... go into the dumpsters and then the landfills each year.
The list of useful items is endless and we (Ddivers) only see touch / see a tiny fraction due to the use of Wench-on Compactors. These evil devices allow stores to "secure" their "valuable" trash until it arrives at a landfill to be buried for THOUSANDS of years ( creative Ddivers know how to get to the landfill to sort through this goldmine).
The question we always ask is Why? Why is this stuff in the trash? If we knew the answer and society really cared, maybe we could make a change for the better. The practice of trash rummaging goes back to the dawn of man. It's human nature to seek free stuff.
Stores should give away returned items labeled "damaged merchandise" - bicycles, computers, sleeping bags, or other useful items to homeless and the needy just as many bakeries donate their day-old breads to local shelters and churches.
Amazing how one little Newsweek clipping from a co-worker can spawn such a firestorm.
Lets open dumpsters and make this world a better place.
nomasteryoda (aka Jeff Hatfield lives and Ddives in Middle Georgia, USA)
dumpsterdiver AT cox DOT net
[_]\An Open Dumpster is an Open Source! (Trademark signature)