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Friday, December 24, 2010
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Your neighbor bought a new car. Your friend went on a Caribbean cruise. Your officemate had her house remodeled. Your ex-boyfriend opened a new business. All of the people you know seem to be having the best of what the world could possibly offer while you are there, stuck in your room, wondering how to pay your monthly bills. You begin to wonder why luck is always on their side. You begin to think what they have that you do not. Have you ever thought that they might have a second job where they get extra income? If you also want to have the luxuries that they are experiencing, you must consider looking for ways to earn extra on the internet. Here are some possible ways on how to start making money online.
First, you should try selling products on auction websites. There are many of these websites on the net so you will not have problems connecting with one. Earning by selling products on these sites is easy. Since bidding is done, there is a big potential for you to earn really big. You can earn more money than what you initially projected. But you can always make your earnings even bigger. A good way would be to look for hard to find items like special basketball cards or limited editions of other things. Since these products are not readily available, once you put them up for bidding, diehards will try to outbid each other. You can also look for products that have not yet been released in the market. If you have contacts from the manufacturers or from cities or countries where they first came out, ask them if you can avail of the products so you will be the first one to sell them in your area.
Another way on how to start making money online is by creating a website directory. A website directory is a website that lists other websites about a specific topic. What you should do is to offer website owners with an opportunity to have their websites included in your website directory. You can offer spaces for free. Just try to earn from advertisement. But you can also offer premium spaces for a fee. There are website owners who will be willing to pay just to be put on top of the list.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Would you have paid £27,000 for your degree? Students are rebelling on the streets over the potential tripling
Students are rebelling on the streets over the potential tripling in university tuition fees to up to £9,000 a year from 2012. But will there be a silent revolt as many more choose not to go on to higher education, deciding that the fees and living costs are unaffordable? We asked recent and some well-known graduatesabout their time at university and whether they thought that going to university was worth it financially. Would they have been prepared to pay £9,000 a year for the experience? And what advice would they share with the next generation of would-be students?
A L Kennedy
Novelist, Costa Book of the Year winner 2007, and comedian. Studied at Warwick University "I couldn't have gone to university if I had had to pay anything, or go into debt. I wouldn't be doing my job, paying tax. I wouldn't have the life I enjoy.
"I'd say to students, keep protesting. Try to think ahead of the police – they want you to be violent, because then they get more powers and the focus of the debate moves. They will kettle you to provoke and then offer releases into areas where they want you to do damage – try to keep control. Keep reminding them they're next for the cuts. Keep the focus on the real issues – the destruction of our future and our becoming a third world country. In third world countries people rely on charities to send their kids to school. That's what's next for us. And thanks for reminding voters of the power they can have. If I'd done more when I was a student, you wouldn't have to be doing this. For which I apologise."
Novelist. Studied at Keele University, University of York and King's College, London "My parents were quite poor, and having that debt would have been a worry. After my degree (at Keele), I did an MA (at York) and started a PhD (at King's College, London). I worked as a waitress, picked strawberries, helped make a film, taught mainly part-time in adult education classes, the Open University and various schools and colleges, worked for a local authority and did freelance work for Age Concern and Mencap, became a mother, and wrote poetry, plays and various novels. If I'd had a debt of £27,000 to pay off, I'd have probably gone straight to work in a bank or something like that."
Her advice for students today? "Go to university, continue to protest peacefully but imaginatively against the fees, and fight for your own vision for higher education through a positive and winnable campaign. Then get to work on society as a whole."
Television and radio historian (Battlefield Britain, Norman Walks). Studied at Balliol, Oxford "I would have spent twice that on my university education. It has been beyond a shadow of doubt the best investment I have ever made. Everything I have today, my entire way of life, is built on foundations laid at university.
"I didn't have to start paying back the £9,000 until I was in a decent job and through my early 20s it meant a few less pints a week, delayed my entry to the housing market by a couple of years and prevented me from buying a nice car. Hardly a sacrifice. I am also very conscious that by paying it I was allowing the university to build up funds to admit people from poorer backgrounds.
"Friends of mine have spent 10 times that on awful one-bedroom flats which have then tumbled in value. A good university education is inalienable; it is my most precious possession."
Stand-up comedian and guest on Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. Studied at Manchester "I wouldn't have been able to afford the mind-boggling sum of £27,000. I wanted to go to Manchester University because it was a brilliant course in English language and literature and tragically, because it was where the Stone Roses were from. The cost of it wasn't an issue.
"Now students will have to be frugal at university. Drink is where the majority of my money went when I was a student. So students are going to have to start home brewing and baking.
"These are lean times. University education is the most fabulous thing that money can buy now. University shaped my life and is the basis for what I do now.
"I am terrified now about my daughter Emily's university education.She is 12 weeks old and I should have started saving up before she was conceived!"
Journalist and television presenter, and a regular on BBC 2's Newsnight.Studied at Stirling and Edinburgh "I went to Stirling University for a year then Edinburgh University, and graduated in 1976 when I was 21. It would have been a huge thought to take on such debt. I think students will need much more detailed information about what each university is offering when the new tuition fees kick in – guarantees on contact time, academic team, size of tutorials, profile of director of studies, more on pastoral care, study facilities and so on."
David Williams, 28
University: Middlesex University, Hendon Business College
Degree: Business and Marketing
Would you have paid £27,000 for your degree? "No, definitely not. For that sort of money there would need to have been more cast-iron guarantees from my university about what jobs there would be at the end of it. More importantly, they'd have to introduce students to more potential employers, open their contacts book and help out with the transition between the study-bubble and the world of work."
What will be the impact of higher fees on tomorrow's students? "I definitely think more people will cut costs by staying at home. I think this could have a negative effect on people's social development. I stayed at home and I envied friends who went away to university. It's a time when you're supposed to find yourself, test out your character, realise your capabilities – it's hard work doing that when every day at 5 o'clock you go back to your Mum."
Advice for would-be students? "If you're going to spend £9,000 a year at university, you've got to make it work. A good degree is important, sure. But what's more important is a good classification at the end of it. If you're not academic, don't go through university, pay £27,000 and end up with a 2:2. It's just not worth the drama. Or the debt."
Aram Balakjian, 27
University: Bournemouth University
Job: MD web design company
Degree: Computer Visualisation and Animation
Would you have paid £27,000 for your degree? "In my case, yes. The knowledge of computer-programming I picked up has served me well as a web developer. But I don't think anybody should judge a degree by the price-tag. Ask yourself – is this degree worth doing for me? Can I excel in this field? I'm sure in a lot of situations the answer is 'yes'. In the ones where students say 'no', don't waste your time doing something that doesn't pass this litmus test."
How important a part has your degree played in your career so far? "If I'd been certain of what I wanted to do, then a short course outside of university, specifically tailored towards web design, would have been a quicker, more cost-effective path to success. Saying that, as a 17-year-old lad I only had a general interest in the area of programming, so university was probably the right step for me. It gave me breathing space and a chance to figure out exactly what my skill set was."
Advice for would-be students? "I'd say it's important to choose your degree wisely. If you can, think carefully about the future and try to work in tandem with the economy's wants and desires. Even more so now, with that whopping price tag attached. If a sector of the economy is growing, it's more likely there will be a job at the end of it. Five years ago this wasn't so important – lots of people studied what they wanted to, then came out and fell into a career."
Bex Cunnah, 25
University: Manchester University
Job: Account manager for an ad agency
Degree: American Studies
Would you have paid £27,000 for your degree? "When you look at the nitty-gritty of it – the units, the tutor time, the amount of lectures – it wouldn't be worth that amount of money. Saying that, I would still have taken American Studies just for the life experience it gave me. There's a growing idea that doing a degree is all about the job, salary and position you land at the end of it. But university is about getting an education. Education is enriching in its own right. It's invaluable really."
Do you think there are enough alternative career paths for those unable to afford a degree? "I think government should be offering tax breaks and incentives which encourage the big industries to start more apprenticeship schemes. There were hardly any around when I was at school and there were zero media apprenticeships. Businesses will really need to pick up the slack by offering young people a credible, alternative way to pursue their choice of career and they need government support to make it happen. Otherwise we could see a generation of wasted talent."
Advice for would-be students? "Don't invest in a degree expecting a job at the end of it. There is absolutely no guarantee of employment. I bagged my job with an ad agency because of the year of work experience I did at the Commonwealth Film Festival. In the end, this proved more important than my degree. This country is so overpopulated with graduates and so much is governed by the extra-curricular experience you have – that's what sets you apart. So I'd say this: choose your degree based on what you're passionate about, not on what you want to be earning in five years' time."
Dan Cantorna, 26
University: Bristol University
Job: Business systems analyst
Degree: Chemical Physics
Would you have paid £27,000 for your degree? "Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have paid a penny more for my degree – certainly not £27,000. Based on the number of hours of contact time I had at university and the proposed cost of the new degrees, I would have paid more per hour of education than I earn per hour today. That doesn't offer value for money in my opinion. Plus, most of my graduate knowledge is never applied. Atom-splitting, scientific equations, none of it is relevant in my day-to-day job. It's only really the soft-skills – the ability to use my time effectively, the ability to pitch – these are the things that matter. You can acquire these in cheaper ways, I'm sure of it."
Would facts and figures on the earning potential of a course make choosing a degree any easier? "I'd question whether that's to do with the course itself or the calibre of the people who are attracted to the course. In my experience, the people I knew reading law would have had success regardless of their subject choice because they were highly motivated, competitive people. For that reason I'd advise students to be cautious of assigning too much significance to any stats like these."
Advice for would-be students? "With the higher fees, I'd say, think very carefully about it. Ask yourself: is this degree what I really want to do? Many people in our generation ended up dropping out of their degrees. Doing that with £3,000 of debt is tolerable. Doing it with £10,000 or £20,000 could be life-changing."
X Factor star Wagner Carrilho has claimed he will "make the most money" out of this year finalists, according to reports.
The Brazilian-born singer was entertaining crowds with his trademark bongo-playing at a Southampton nightclub.
He is reported by The Sun as saying: "Time will tell where we will all be next year.
"But I will be the most popular and most famous person who has ever been on the show."
Wagner is convinced that he will be able to forge a lucrative career as an entertainer.
He added: "Matt [Cardle] has done very well but, at the end of the day, I will make more money."
The newspaper reports that the singer spent the evening surrounded by women.
One admirer allegedly said: "I don't know what it is, but there's something about Wagner that's very sexy."
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Friday, December 10, 2010
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Thursday, December 9, 2010
- Stepfather described him as a "sharp kid who always fought for the underdog"
- Assange's mother bought him his first computer when he is 13
- He became an expert hacker, keen on network security issues
- In 2006, he created WikiLeaks, which posts leaked intelligence papers
(CNN) -- Controversial whistleblower Julian Assange was "a very bright boy with a keen sense of right and wrong" when he was growing up, according to his stepfather.
The young Assange grew up constantly on the move, the son of parents who were in the theater business in Australia.
Brett Assange, who now lives alone in Sydney, was Julian's first real dad, raising him from the age of one and giving him his surname.
In an exclusive interview with CNN affiliate Seven News, he described his stepson as a "sharp kid who always fought for the underdog."
He added: "Strangely enough I always thought he would do something like this. He was always very independent. And he certainly wouldn't take no for an answer.
"He always stood up for the underdog. I remember that, like with his school friends. He was always very angry about people ganging up on other people. He had a really good sense of equality and equity."
Now age 39, Julian Assange faces his toughest challenge yet, as he sits in a British jail fighting Swedish attempts to extradite him in relation to a sex crimes investigation.
This comes as his Web site, WikiLeaks, has been releasing reams of classified U.S. intelligence, prompting politicians and power-players the world over to call for his arrest for exposing sensitive documents. Supporters contend Assange represents free speech at its finest. They say he is a man and an organization committed to outing injustices.
Yet despite unrelenting global media attention, Assange has remained an enigmatic figure. Perhaps that's because he learned as a child to cope with living a solitary life.
Assange has been described by his mother, Christine, as "highly intelligent."
He was just 16 when she bought him a Commodore 64 computer. It was 1987, and there were no Web sites. Assange attached a modem to his computer and began his journey through the growing world of computer networks.
"It's like chess," he told New Yorker magazine. "Chess is very austere in that you don't have many rules, there is no randomness and the problem is very hard."
Though his mother raised him without any religious influence, she sensed that from a tender age, her son was led by a strong desire to do what he perceived as just.
"He was a lovely boy, very sensitive, good with animals, quiet and has a wicked sense of humor," she told the Melbourne, Australia, Herald Sun newspaper Wednesday.
He would go on to study mathematics and physics at the University of Melbourne.
In interviews, his scientific precision shines through. He speaks in a baritone voice, in measured pace, choosing each word carefully. He can be charming yet cagey about his private life and is rarely shaken by discussions of even the most controversial revelations on WikiLeaks.
He's the kind of person who, he says, can hack into the most sophisticated computer system. But he can forget to show up for an interview. Or cancel at the last minute.
When he talks, he displays an astonishing breadth of interests: from computers to literature to his travels in Africa.
Even when he walked out of a CNN interview in October after refusing to answer questions about the sex charges in Sweden, Assange remained cool and collected. He projected a stately demeanor helped by his profusion of gray hair -- which grew at an early age -- and an equally steely facial expression.
After his initial foray into computers, Assange delved into computer encryption and grew keen on computer security. He once relayed a story about how he set up an encryption puzzle based on the manipulation of prime numbers.
The New Yorker article, published earlier this year, described how in 1991, Assange hacked into the master terminal of the telecom company Nortel, after which he developed a growing fear of arrest.
He had married and fathered a child when he was only 18 but the relationship fell apart and his wife left him with their infant son.
He was charged with 31 counts of hacking in Australia but in the end paid only a small sum in damages, according to the New Yorker.
The young hacker began to focus his attention away from network flaws to what he perceived as wrongdoings of governments.
In a 2007 blog post on IQ.org, he wrote:
"The whole universe or the structure that perceives it is a worthy opponent, but try as I may I can not escape the sound of suffering. Perhaps as an old man I will take great comfort in pottering around in a lab and gently talking to students in the summer evening and will accept suffering with insouciance. But not now; men in their prime, if they have convictions are tasked to act on them."
IQ.org is believed to be a blog created by Assange and is registered under the name "JA" by the same U.S. domain company as WikiLeaks. Its Australian postal address is also the same as a submissions address for WikiLeaks.
Among myriad topics addressed in the blog, Assange discusses mathematics versus philosophy, the death of author Kurt Vonnegut, censorship in Iran and the corporation as a nation state.
Driven by the conviction of an activist and the curiosity of a journalist, Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006. He slept little and sometimes forgot to eat. He hired staff and enlisted the help of volunteers.
Always, he protected his sources, never discussing where information came from.
"People should understand that WikiLeaks has proven to be arguably the most trustworthy new source that exists, because we publish primary source material and analysis based on that primary source material," Assange told CNN. "Other organizations, with some exceptions, simply are not trustworthy."
The Web site skyrocketed to notoriety in July when it published 90,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan. It was considered the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history.
WikiLeaks followed in October with classified documents about the Iraq war. And then this week, it began posting 250,000 cables revealing a trove of secret diplomatic information.
Some praised WikiLeaks as a beacon of free speech. But others, including outraged Pentagon and White House officials, consider it irresponsible and want WikiLeaks silenced for what they call irreparable damage to global security.
Assange, the elusive public face of WikiLeaks, catapulted to celebrity status.
The image of the lean, lanky, leather jacket-clad figure with the pale skin and mop of white hair was splashed on television screens and websites. Everyone wanted to know how the editor in chief of WikiLeaks had pulled it off.
Time magazine has nominated him for its Person of the Year, calling him a "new kind of whistle-blower ... for the digital age."
But Assange's notoriety did not stop there. Shortly after the Afghan war releases, he became the subject of a sex crime case in Sweden.
The Stockholm Criminal Court issued an international arrest warrant for Assange two weeks ago on probable cause in that case, saying he is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force in separate incidents in August. He could be sentenced to two years in prison if convicted.
Interpol issued a high alert for Assange on Wednesday at the request of Sweden.
Assange has maintained his innocence and called the charges in Sweden a smear campaign. He has also dismissed reports of internal strife within WikiLeaks.
Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a longtime volunteer and spokesman for WikiLeaks who recently quit his job, told CNN that Assange's personality was distracting from the group's original mission: to publish small leaks, not just huge, splashy ones like the Afghan War Diary.
Assange took issue.
"It is my role to be the lightning rod," Assange said. "That is a difficult role. On the other hand, I get undue credit."
Assange's mother said Wednesday that she feared her son had become "too smart for himself."
"I'm concerned it's gotten too big and the forces that he's challenging are too big," Christine Assange told the Herald Sun.
She did not comment on the sex crimes charges in Sweden. But she said lately, Assange had distanced himself from his family to protect them.
Assange, too, declined to address the charges in the October interview with CNN in London.
"This interview is about something else. I will have to walk if you are ... going to contaminate this extremely serious interview with questions about my personal life," he said.
Then, he pulled off his mic, said sorry, and walked away.
CNN's Mia Aquino, Atika Shubert, Ashley Fantz, Moni Basu and Paul Armstrong contributed to this report.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Virgin of the Immaculate Conception
Probably after a design by:
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680)
Bronze and silver, partly gilt and polychrome.
30 x 14 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. (76.2 x 36.2 x 24.1 cm)
Wrightsman Fund, 1992
Friday, December 3, 2010
Luanda/Angop – The Total E&P Angola oil firm Friday in Luanda pledged to reduce HIV/AIDS among the Angolans, through the promotion of periodical awareness campaign in the communities’ work place.
The Total E&P Angola is available to join the national campaign promoted by the National Institute of AIDS combat, focussed on prevention, counselling, voluntary test and treatment with antiretroviral, said the oil company's assistant director-general, Jorge de Abreu.
The official of Total E&P Angola was speaking to Angop on the fringes of a lecture, in the light of the celebration of the World AIDS Day (1 December).
Jorge de Abreu stated that the Total E&P, under its social responsibilities, has been promoting counselling, voluntary and prevention test, through the Youth Action Centre “CAJ”, ANASO and the National Institute of AIDS combat (INLS).
The irresistibly hypnotic pulse at the heart of this collection of recently unearthed Angolan dance nuggets is rooted in the hip shaking, pounding percussion. Semba, merengue, rebita, kazucuta are joined by loosely picked surf guitar styles pinched from across the Atlantic by a host of long forgotten guitar heroes. But this is no aloha, this is Angola, and Angola Soundtrack is one big party from start to finish, capturing the sound of Luanda in those eight years.
The music emerged during a period of political upheaval in Angola. An anti-colonial war had been fought by liberation groups against the Portuguese army after a revolt in 1961. By the time independence was finally declared in November 1975, the Angolan people had already begun the process of rebuilding their collective identity. This "golden era" of revolutionary music was a big part of that.
The cocksure strut of 'Ilha Virgem' by Jovens Do Prenda slips and slides along a slinky winding surf guitar riff, over an unusual but deadly rhythm. It could be south-central Africa's answer to instrumental classics 'Telstar' or 'Walk Don't Run', as with the clean walking guitar lines of 'Pica O Dedo' by Africa Ritmos, filtered with echo into real far out space sounds. Imagine 'Miserlou' recorded in Africa by Joe Meek at his most experimentally adventurous, and you are nearly there. It's something else. Originally called 'Olha A Rata' (Look At The Pussy), the band, perhaps wisely, relented to pressure from their producer to go with the less controversial, 'Poke The Finger'. Angolans in search of their own "new sound" in the early 1970s found it here.
The instrumentals are matched by the soulful and energetic delivery of the singers. From the carefree whoops and ululations throughout the upbeat 'Pachanga Maria' by Os Bongos and the call and response of Santos Júnior's 'N'Gui Banza Mama' to Jovens Do Prenda's 'Farra Na Madrugada' ('Party At Dawn'), a title you can take literally to picture the hazily lit vibes. The only time the tempo slows down is on 'Africa Show''s pleading organ driven closing lament 'Massanga Mama'.
The bass guitar was not a common feature in Angolan bands at the end of the 1960s, and that in part explains the prominence of those complex rhythms. Guitars and percussion are at the forefront of these songs, with additional farfisa organs and traditional Angolan instruments dikanza and kissanje. A DIY approach got many of these musicians started as they sought to find their own sounds. Some were making their own instruments, such as guitars with a fishing line for strings, and congas made from emptied wine barrels.
A vibrant scene created the "unique sound" of Luanda, and a competitive, but friendly, rivalry built up between groups as they played together at carnivals and clubs. The young musicians learned from their elders, but also took in imported sounds from the Congo along with Latin influence ('Ulungu Wami' by Zé Da Lua) and Caribbean merengue ('Tira Sapato' by Dimba Diangola), which were mixed with psychedelic American and European pop and rock. These styles were embraced as tightly as Portuguese folk ideas were discarded in order to further distance them from their former colonial rulers. As was the language, with groups favouring a mixture of native languages.
Opener 'Rei Do Palhetino' ('King of Palhetino') reinforces the nationalist spirit. Palhetino being the "no good" imported Portuguese wine, the song urges the drinker of the title to "become one of us" and sup the decent local brews. But the political climate had quickly changed, and civil war broke soon after independence as nationalist groups turned on each other. The subversive political message of David Zé's lyrics made the authorities worried. By 1977 his records had been banned, and he was mysteriously murdered. Unfortunately this led to many fearing that listening to the music could lead to a similar fate for them, and perhaps explains why so little of this has been heard, until now.
But these sounds have not been forgotten in Angola. Originally released on obscure Angolan labels, and almost certainly hard to come by until now, this is a fascinating document that we can only be glad has reached the light of day.
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Cbeyond (www.cbeyond.net), a leading provider of IT and communications services to small businesses across the country, announced today a complimentary webinar, “Four Tips to Make Money by Going Mobile.” This educational segment will help small business owners understand how mobile customers browse and shop, and how to implement marketing tactics to effectively target them to win sales. The webinar is taking place Wednesday, December 8, 2010, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EST and registration is available here:http://www.cbeyond.net/webinar.
Kim T. Gordon, author and Entrepreneur.com columnist will provide insights to small businesses on how they can position themselves to target mobile shoppers. "With more than 100 million Americans shopping via mobile devices this holiday season and into 2011, it's critical to have a mobile marketing strategy. If you want to learn the best ways to win sales from these active buyers, you can't afford to miss this webinar," said Gordon.
Vince Zappa, Cbeyond's Mobile General Manager will join Gordon to deliver tips on how to leverage mobile to improve productivity and the bottom line. Below is a preview of the topics that will be highlighted:
• How to create a “mobile-friendly” website
• How to get the most out of your smartphone
• What social media practices work best and why they are key to a mobile strategy
• How to manage calendars and contacts on-the-go to maximize productivity
“Mobile has changed the way we conduct business, and it is important for small businesses to understand innovative ways to communicate to their customers. Through this webinar, we hope small businesses gain valuable information to help grow revenue,” said Zappa.
For more than 10 years, Cbeyond, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBEY) has provided small businesses with leading IT and communications solutions. Serving customers throughout the U.S., Cbeyond offers more than 30 productivity-enhancing applications including local and long-distance voice, broadband Internet, mobile, BlackBerry(R), voicemail, email, web hosting, fax-to-email, data backup, file-sharing, virtual private networking and cloud services. Winning over 50 awards for product innovation, growth and providing a quality customer experience, Cbeyond continues to focus on helping small businesses succeed and grow through high-performance technology, superior services and world-class support. For more information on Cbeyond, visit www.cbeyond.net and follow Cbeyond on Twitter:www.Twitter.com/Cbeyondinc.
Last night, A&E debuted Storage Wars, a new series about professional garbage pickers who forage through abandoned storage units hoping to find treasure. Only in America do we have so much crap that sifting through it deserves a TV show.
I'm fascinated by this show, which follows four storage unit buying fiends in California as they travel around the state bidding on unseen piles of crap and hoping to extract some serious cash out of it. I didn't even know storage unit auctions even existed! Apparently at storage unit warehouses, if you haven't paid your bill in three months they sell off the contents of your whole unit to the highest bidder. On the show they open up a locker, everyone gets to look inside from the doorway and figure out if the want to bid on the contents or not. Sometimes it's obvious it's a winner, other times it's clear it might be stuffed with shit, but you never know just what you might find tucked away in there. It's likeHoarders with a payout!
Barry, one of the "characters" on the show, bought this unit half full of boxes (and flies) that no one else wanted for $850 because he saw something under a tarp. It could have been a stack of mirrors. It could have been a fake Christmas tree. It could have been anything. But it was a rare vintage BMW micro-car! What the hell? He ends up selling the car for almost $4K, making a tidy profit. He also bought several boxes without seeing the contents at rap impresario Suge Knight's storage sale. They contained the star's custom made clothes, which he made about $5,000 selling.
The biggest sale of the first two episodes, which aired back-to-back, was a unit containing all the appliances of what must have been a closed down restaurant, which a speculator bought for $2,000 and sold for $19,000. Pretty easy money.
But it's easy to see an industrial refrigerator and know it's worth something. The more exciting finds come when you uncover a bag that is full of thousands of dollars in rare baseball cards, as someone did last night. And that is the real fascinating thing about this show. We now have so much shit that we need to buy places to put our shit, and when we forget about it, then other people come in and buy our shit and then they sell that shit to other people so that they can have even more shit that one day they'll forget about too. Round and round, people just buying, forgetting about, and reselling the same old junk. This is the ultimate extension of our rabid consumerism: the shit economy.
And as quintessentially American as consumerism is, so are the people hunting through these units. They are prospectors, just like the ones from the Gold Rush, but instead of kneeling in freezing water sifting for gold, they're knee-deep in the mountains of our cast-offs. They are entrepreneurs, blue collar folk trying to make their fortune with a little bit of hard work and luck. It's classic rags to riches, but the riches, in this case, are also rags.
Still the show's biggest problem is they're trying to make the people into personalities, like the much more flamboyant family behind Pawn Stars. I don't really see that working, and the strain is showing. However, they should focus on what is really fascinating—the people who leave these things behind. How do they get to a place where they have to squirrel all their possessions away in a metal box and then abandon them. Who buys a rare BMW and then just leaves it there. Who does that? Who are these people that have so much, have such abundance, that they leave it all behind? That's the real gem of this show, trying to figure out how and why each and every one of us got to the point of over-saturation of shit.