Who owns my garbage?

Ooh, I get the opportunity to start a column thread.

About 20 minutes before this column came up, I saw this article, relevant to Alex’s last sentence. It happens semifrequently. I like how the claimer needs to have serial numbers to claim the cash. Who keeps that on hand besides the fed and launderers? Is there any other way someone can claim these?

Why does Cecil respect somebody for physically assaulting someone?

This time he doesn’t have the out of saying he was joking.

Of course he does. At least, it was obvous to me.

Gfactor is quite correct in saying “it all depends.” While the US Supreme Court has found no Fourth Amendment protection with garbage deposited outside of one’s curtilage, certain states like New Jersey have proudly enlarged that Constitutional protection and warrants are needed for police or their agents to examine such otherwise-abandoned refuse. Aren’t we in NJ just so lucky?

I think New Jersey is ahead of the curve.

At one time, your garbage didn’t prove anything except that you liked apples or ate a steak last night. Now, your garbage can easily be used against you in a court of law without the police obtaining a warrant. The police can gather my DNA evidence, search my trash for possible non-tax compliance, and other alleged crime without one bit of suspicion.

Many people in the U.S. claim that this is okay, because if you didn’t do anything wrong, why would you object? But, that’s not what our Constitution says.

This is why we require warrants: We don’t want the government (and other individuals) to search our homes for possible crimes because they don’t like us and want to blackmail us. We insist that the police can only invade our privacy and conduct a search only if they have strong suspicion that we might of actually committed a specific crime.

Here’s a situation: You’re a politician and someone decides to search your garbage for something embarrassing. They find a beer can of the beer (DNA evidence!) and a condom (more DNA evidence!). What if that person could show that the DNA on the condom doesn’t match the DNA of you or your spouse? Would they be able to blackmail you?

Is my only alternative to protect my privacy is to keep my garbage a la the Collyer Brothers?

New Jersey has the right approach: My garbage is private, and people should stay out, and police need a search warrant if they want to take a peek.

I know the number on the currency I print, it’s my birthday and street address

How could the police even use evidence found in a curbside garbage can? Say they find drug residue in my garbage can. How would they possibly prove that that came from me, and wasn’t deposited there by one of the scores of people that walk by my house every day? Even if they watched me carry a bag of garbage out of the house, place it in the garbage can, and move the can to the curb, how would they prove who had been responsible for it? There have been 8 people in my house in the last week, and probably 25 in the last month.

They’d probably rely on the garbage evidence to get a search warrant for your home. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=486&invol=35

Also, in many cases they find a pipe or some other object with drug residue and DNA.


The relevant Canadian case:

thelurkinghorror said:

The article states that knowing the serial numbers would be best but is unlikely. One must give some information that can be corroborated. What kind of information? Well, if you made a transaction at your bank and pulled $1,000 in $100 bills, you probably have a receipt, and even if you don’t, your bank can certainly corroborate that transaction.

I think you all are missing the point of the article: radioactive pigs. Inquiring minds (well, mine, at least) need more detailed information on that tossed-off anecdote.

I doubt its true. I’ll believe it when pigs autofluoresce out of my butt.

Does anyone remember that scene in The Burbs with Tom Hanks and crew digging through the garbage, and Dick Miller and Robert Picardo as the garbage men …
They were throwing the garbage all over the street behind the garbage truck looking for a body!

I know! Wouldn’t it have been simpler to have run the geiger counter over the dump, without a middleman–uh, middlepig? Do pigs seek out radium, confusing it with truffles? Or is this just a ploy for the hospital to get free-bacon?

Here is an article that discusses the practice, and offers a possible explanation.


and two more:



The article I found is titled: “$3,000 Vial of Radium Recovered from Pig.” The New York Times, 27 Aug. 1935.

So apparently they didn’t send the pigs to hunt for the radium, but instead had to find the radium after the pig ate it.

It was equally obvious to me he was not joking. And I agree with him. Stalkers need to be assaulted. Sometimes the law does not let you do the right thing without legal exposure, but it is still the right thing. Stalking is physical violence and as much starting a fight as insulting your mother, which would protect you.

Are you saying that beating up someone for insulting your mother would mean you couldn’t be charged with assault? Where?

PS Your mother wears army boots.

Ya know, there are actual courses in Garbology at accredited universities though the anthropology departments. Garbage is considered to be a conglomeration of relics capable of assisting anthropologists in reconstructing the lifeways of those discarding it, just as garbage pits from the Stone Age, Iron Age, etc., etc. have enlightened archaeologists (specialized anthropologists) as to what our distant ancestors did by cataloging their refuse. Mind you, this is VERY different from what the guy poking through Dylan’s garbage was doing. That’s scavenging for e-bay, akin to pot-hunting, a pretty way of saying STEALING to turn a profit and make a name for oneself.

Oh, and BTW, I live a few miles from Rancho Mirage and I can’t imagine ANYONE in RM touching their own garbage much less sorting it and bringing it to a private recycler. They don’t put garbage out on the curb. That’s way gauche. It disappears from their indoor garbage cans, never to be thought of again. They don’t have toilets either. Don’t need them.

I was surprised that the article didn’t mention dumpster diving’s greatest “treasure”: phishing treasure. I’[m hard pressed to find the article, but I recently read an IT article about the risk of identity theft attached to ordinary trash. Apparently, a strong-willed research team found that 1/3 of all trashbins contained information that would significantly assist a “phishing” attack / identity theft: personal data such as banking details, birthdays, addresses, and so on.

A google search for “identity theft” trash garbage provides plenty of links of the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” variety: