Bizarre Auctions

NilesCalder

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Yes but is it art?

Hmmm... Where it a bucket full of urine the man would obviously be a p!ss artist...
 

Spookyangel

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Well if Bristol tap water is worth that much, I must have a goldmine downstairs in the kitchen. Devonian water must be worth more, right? ;)
 

Yithian

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If the charity involved auctioned the water and then got one of their members to bid on it they get lots of free publicity courtesy of the media. If someone else generously buys it things get better as they get £250 and the free publicity. That's my bet.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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OK I'll take your bucket of water and raise you 6 billion neurons:

He Thinks, Therefore He Sells

By Ryan Singel

02:00 AM Oct. 10, 2003 PT


During the Internet boom years, investors sank billions into the stillborn brainchildren of radical Bay Area entrepreneurs. Now, as new ideas and capital are scarce, a San Francisco artist is hoping to get investors to bypass the ideas and just buy his brain.

The idea is immortality.

Jonathon Keats, a 32-year-old conceptual artist and novelist, has announced plans to auction off futures contracts on 6 billion neurons in his brain, which he copyrighted this spring. The copyright, like all copyrights, lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years, thanks to an extension granted by 1998's controversial Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.

"I thought it would be nice to have immortality," said Keats. "I thought it was worth the copyright filing fee to have 70 years of immortality."

Keats registered his brain as a sculpture, the structure of which Keats claims to have created thought by thought.

At the IPO party at the Modernism gallery Oct. 23, an option to acquire a million neurons upon Keats' death will cost only . If Keats is able to sell off the rights to all 6 billion, he would raise ,000.

Keats said half of that will go to the gallery and the other half will be used to keep his brain fed so he can come up with new ideas in order to increase the worth of his brain.

The worth of Keats' brain already may have more value than most, since the artist has gained a measure of notoriety for earlier thought performances, which included an attempt to get the city of Berkeley, California, to pass an unbreakable law, A=A.

That law, which still is being considered, would mandate that all things in Berkeley be equal to themselves.

Even though the neuron sale scheme sounds like a way to fleece investors, Keats actually is trying to cheat something infinitely wilier: death itself.

"I have to keep thinking even after I'm dead, so I need a holding company," Keats said.

After his death, the futures contracts will come due, and the brain and the intellectual property rights to Keats' brain will be transferred to the Jonathon Keats Holding Company. Investors would then be able to exercise their options to buy a million neurons from the holding company for ,000.

Like any IPO, the sale of Keats' brain is preceded by a prospectus, which comes complete with twists on the usual declarations.

"While experts agree that Jonathon Keats's brain is currently in reasonable working order, past performance is no guarantee of future functionality," it says.

Keats' prospectus says that the millions raised after his death "will cover operating expenses while the Holding Company enters into licensing arrangements to keep Jonathon Keats's mind active for the duration of copyright."

"Corporations and individuals will be invited to lease his neural networks for purposes ranging from basic arithmetical calculation to advanced philosophical contemplation."

Keats' due diligence even included a trip to the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California at San Francisco. There Keats had functional MRIs done on his brain while he sat thinking about art, truth and beauty.

The 45 resulting pictures of Keats' brain will be on the walls of the gallery, in part to assure potential investors that they are making a solid financial decision.

"The MRIs are quite persuasive," Keats said. "They suggest my neurons are good, if you are up for buying neurons."

Whether Keats' sale is simply a bad idea (which means the brain might not be worth much) or whether it is a sophisticated argument against long copyright terms (meaning Keats might be smarter than renowned Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig) is a matter market forces will soon decide.

Keats may, however, find himself under intense pressure in the future from those same market forces when his shareholders start expecting him to increase the value of their investments.

-----------------

Could he be liable, after a night's drinking binge, for damage done to the corporate brand?

Keats said he has thought about these questions and worried about not being able to go out for a night of drinking.

"I certainly like doing that," said Keats, who said he made sure the futures contract's fine print indemnifies him from such lawsuits. "Thing is, though, if you get drunk enough, you can get lost and fall into the ocean and disappear, and then there is no brain. So the contract says you get a refund at full purchase price if the brain goes missing."

Once Keats started on the project, he realized the thicket of issues he was entering and even saw the Pentagon attempting a similar project with its aborted terrorism futures project.

"Suddenly the Pentagon was selling futures contracts on the death of Yasser Arafat," noted Keats. "Even the Department of Defense was beginning to behave like an artist."

Donna Wentworth, an intellectual-property activist who works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and is the mind behind the Copyfight blog, said Keats' project originally seemed to her like a "poorly conceived stunt."

On second thought, however, Wentworth suspected that Keats is onto something.

"It seems to me he's telling a story about the commodification of the intangible, by creating 'intellectual property' in a very concrete sense," wrote Wentworth in an e-mail. "With the way things are going, his brain may never fall into the public domain. It will be his property forever minus a day.

"Question is, does that keep his brain/ideas 'alive' or does it stop the ideas from living a larger life -- freely circulated, and part of our shared culture?" asked Wentworth.

Keats said he didn't mean specifically to bring up these issues, but the law of unintended consequences is what he loves about his work, which he says springs from a conscious attempt to misread everything.

"I'm always trying to misunderstand better," said Keats, who counts both Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp as influences. "The perfect misunderstanding would lead to the greatest of conceptual artwork."

Keats said his plan is not a joke and that the idea of having a holding company look after his brain after he is dead comforts him.

However, he is not sure yet who will actually sit on the company's board.

"You need people who will take this seriously, and people who take things seriously tend not to understand," Keats said.

God save us from conceptual artists.

Emps
 

littleblackduck

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Sono Bono Copyright Term Extension Act

So it was him!

Until now, I thought that the stupidest thing he ever did was ski into a tree.

Although there are arguments for letting Cher get away from him to become a Superstar with more spare parts than a junk yard dog.

Mind you, Senator Robert Dole made right-wing jokes about Sonny Bono, which is kind of like having Cher make jokes about the amount of body-work you've had done.

Copyright was invented to provide an honest livelihood for artists and inventors, not immortalize the profits of corporations at the expense of living artists and future inventors!

Eat mouse-droppings and die, you drones!

But back to topic ....
 

littleblackduck

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Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink

Reminds me of the prices paid for ancient glacial ice.

Also, of the clever lists the Chinese used to draw up to amuse themselves and their récerché mandarin friends:

Water may be of the following kinds:

ancient water
historic water
dog's water
dirty water
iced water
salt water
bottled spring water
canal water
artesinal water
soft water
water of dubious provenance
drips
water that is perfectly safe to drink despite the colour and the smell if you can believe the city water authority
tears.
 
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Anonymous

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There was a guy selling one of his chest hairs on ebay the other week, he'd had a bid of about 40p when I looked. And in September, there was someone selling Bezoar stones for £4500 each - funny, no bids on that one.
 
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Anonymous

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Water buckets?!? Chest hairs?!? yet another reason to hate e-bay.

off topic- I knew of a guy who sold bags of his own urine. He was drug free, he knew some folks who needed a clean urine test so he sold bags of his own fresh urine in this little plastic bladder thing. The price? $20 a bag!!! Clean pee is apparently a hot black market commodity these days. Yes some people will buy anything.

---'goblin
 

inkedmagiclady

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Originally posted by Emperor
During the Internet boom years, investors sank billions into the stillborn brainchildren of radical Bay Area entrepreneurs. Now, as new ideas and capital are scarce, a San Francisco artist is hoping to get investors to bypass the ideas and just buy his brain.

The embarrassment in California never ends. :( :blush:
 

Stormkhan

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It's situations like this that really put off the undercover aliens among us from letting the human race join the rest of The Galactic Intelligence!
;)

The Monty Python team summed it up perfectly in the lyrics from The Meaning of Life

"... You'd better pray there's intelligent life,
up there in the stars,
`coz there's bugger all down here on Earth!"
 

stu neville

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Niles Calder said:
Yes but is it art?
Quoth Groucho:
Well, art is art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.
Was saving that for the stonehenge dentistry thread, but it fits nicely here :madeyes:.
 

rynner2

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Once Keats started on the project, he realized the thicket of issues he was entering and even saw the Pentagon attempting a similar project with its aborted terrorism futures project.

"Suddenly the Pentagon was selling futures contracts on the death of Yasser Arafat," noted Keats. "Even the Department of Defense was beginning to behave like an artist."
By chance, I just came across this article which analyses how markets can actually be good predictors of the future.

It's a long article, but full of interesting snippets:
Economists have found, for instance, that orange juice futures predict the weather in Florida better than conventional weather forecasts do. And on the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, Wall Street traders correctly guessed within minutes of first hearing the news which of the four main suppliers had provided the faulty part, whereas a blue-ribbon panel of experts took months to come to the same conclusion.

Markets, such as the New York Stock Exchange, distill the collective wisdom of millions of individuals into a single statistic, and they do so with amazing efficiency. In contrast to other information-gathering institutions, such as committees and polls, markets require participants to put hard dollars behind their opinions. What's more, markets reward the people who are right, not those who lie convincingly or are loudest or most aggressive or who have the longest string of titles after their name.
 

escargot

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Yup Rynner, that's the purest distillation of the free market- the ability to predict the future in the cause of money. Capitalism's crystal ball- human intuition finely honed to resemble instant wisdom.

Erm, think it's time to walk my dogs now. Scaring myself.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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I suppose this requires some kind of nudity warning so:

Warning: The sites contain very poor quality, small images of generally flabby folk reflected in shiny surfaces ;)

There is now a site devoted to it:

http://www.reflectoporn.com

and even a Yahoo directory:

http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Sexuality/Activities_and_Practices/Reflectoporn/

LOL - checking out the directory above that I see that it has more 'entries' than Bukkake!!

Philospohical quetion of the day: If we spent the time we devote to freaky stuff like this to making the world a better place would it be a duller world??

Emps
 

SoundDust

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50p seems a little expensive for postage . . . can't he use an envelope?:D

(I was hoping it was going to be a plane)
 

Imperial_Call

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Damn, he'll only post to somewhere in the UK! Anyone willing to pick it up for me?
 
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Anonymous

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How can he guarantee there'll be NOTHING inside?!?!
What kind of technology goes into the making of jiffy bags that renders them impervious to bacteria, dust particles and air molecules? They just look like paper bags over bubble wrap to me.
 
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Anonymous

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I buy nothing almost everyday, much more cheaply, too.

That reminds me; I'm thinking of selling abook, but I want to get some idea of how much it'll get before I bother...do they have an online version of 'Antiques Roadshow'?
 

Yithian

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Inverurie Jones said:
I buy nothing almost everyday, much more cheaply, too.

That reminds me; I'm thinking of selling abook, but I want to get some idea of how much it'll get before I bother...do they have an online version of 'Antiques Roadshow'?

You can search for 'completed items' on ebay to see if similar volumes have been sold previously and what price they attained. If not http://www.abebooks.com will give you dealer's prices...
 
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Anonymous

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MacManus, M.J.:
Eamon de Valera.
Dublin: The Talbot Press,1944. Reprint. Illustrated, black and white frontis. Beige boards, linen backed. Very good. Bookseller Inventory #2339
Price: US$ 25.19


Do you think the fact that De Valera signed it might make a difference?

Just checked; it does a tad.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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eBay is notorious for odd/silly auctions (quite a few turn out to be jokes and a lot are pulled) a quick nose around found:

An aircraft carrier - link is playing up at the moment.

A 727 jumbo jet

and these people have lists of odd finds (selling nothing seems to be quite popular):

http://www.whattheheck.com/ebay/

http://www.dotcomscotland.co.uk/weirdsites/ebayauctions.htm

http://www.weird-websites.com/WeirdEbay.htm
http://www.weird-websites.com/WeirdEbay2.htm

http://www.whowouldbuythat.com

http://www.disturbingauctions.com

http://tadspot.typepad.com/tadspot/ebay_finds/

There is even a (although its not as good as the above):

http://www.weirdauctions.com

Emps
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Good finds - my 2 favourites are:

Pregnant Keychain

8 Farrah Fawcett Heads - this seems like the kind of thing Smithers (from the Simpsons) would put up for sale (or buy).

[edit: I should add that:

1. My uncle collects salt and pepper shakers and would kill for stuff like this.

2. My Dad has a 'grot collection' which is just a collection of the ugliest, nastiest things we could find and most of this stuff would fit right in. ]

Emps
 

Yithian

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After our lust filled two months are over, you can choose to break up with me any way you wish and I will write a final letter begging for you to take me back!

Muppets! There's loads of bids too. I honestly don't get it...
 

Kondoru

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I dont know about NOTHING....(no one has bidded as yet. Looks like its Mr Nobodys going to win!) I very often get good money for something that was worthless and that I found thown away.

Strange....
 
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