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In the Chronicle of Higher Education there is an interesting article about a professor who quit to study dumpster diving for several months.

"Instead of applying for academic positions right away, the former professor decided that he and his wife, Karen, would try living out of Dumpsters for a while. As a criminologist, Mr. Ferrell has long studied those on the margins of society -- graffiti artists, outlaw-radio-station operators, militant bicycle activists -- and he was aware of the subculture of people who manage to survive on what others throw away. He wanted to find out how they do it, where they look, and whether he could live that way, too. It was a big leap, especially without a campus gig to fall back on, but it was also a big relief. "I was so glad to be out of the academic machine," he says.
During his eight-month experiment, Mr. Ferrell rifled through garbage heaps here in suburban Fort Worth, his hometown, where he and his wife moved after his resignation. He hunted for clothes, furniture, dishes, books, photographs -- whatever was useful or interesting. He kept a detailed log of everything he found. Karen took a job as a cashier at a grocery store making $9.50 an hour, money they used to buy food and keep the lights on. Everything else came from the trash. "What I found was that I could be almost 100 percent dependent on what I scrounged except for food," he says. "
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