Consumption and Computer Landfills

A couple of weeks ago I was walking in the alleyway behind my house after work. As I’m coming up to my driveway I watch a dude walk over to my trash can (it was a pick up day) and dump a bag and soda bottle in it. Here’s how the conversation went:

me: “Hey dude, that’s my trash.”
dude: “So?”
me: “So there’s a public dumpster right over there…I have to pay for this.”
dude: “What, would you rather me throw it on the fuckin ground!?”
me: mumble something

He had a good point. I only said something because it was my first reaction, had I thought it through I might have just kept my mouth shut. But at the same time, it felt like an invasion of my privacy, and if someone had said the same thing to me I would have probably replied “Oh, sorry.” Anyway, he was right, I would rather him throw it in my trash can than on the fuckin ground. My house is off of a main road so we get quite a bit of garbage in our yard. It’s pretty disgusting how much shit people will just throw on the ground.

The other day I was emptying the trash on my computer and I realized that there’s a huge disconnect with this analogy. I’m sure this has been discussed before: when you empty your computer trash it magically disappears, but real trash actually has to go somewhere. The problem is that most people don’t concern themselves with where the trash is going and instead think of real trash as disappearing like computer trash.

So here was my first idea: an application that once downloaded to your computer keeps track of all of your trash and compiles it into a computer landfill. This computer landfill works much like a real landfill, it fills up according to the size and quantity of trash. So the bigger the k size the more space it takes up. I imagine that it would start off as a small little pile in the corner of your screen, and would eventually cover over your entire wallpaper. Just think about all of that stuff you’ve thrown away, and now it’s sitting there staring back at you. Best of all it’s rotting and decomposing into what would unfortunately turn out to be a beautiful design.


  1. I can certainly agree that it would turn out to be a beautiful design! A proper tribute to rejected ideas – rather like the mess that is the human mind. 🙂

    - alazanto (Nov 20, 2005)

  2. you still have some crazy ideas, rett.

    - Mark Sier (Dec 12, 2005)

  3. MARK! good to hear from you.

    remember when we ran up the side of the mcnamara alumni center building? that was a pretty crazy idea.

    - rett (Dec 13, 2005)

  4. yeah, that was; remember when we tossed the barrels off the bridge? that whole night was kind of crazy.

    - mark sier (Jan 19, 2006)

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