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Meet Denis Hope, the man who sells the moon

Photo: NY Times video caption


f someone tried to sell me the moon, I would dismiss them as con artists. So I was pretty surprised to learn about Denis Hope, a 65-year-old man from Gardnerville, Nevada, who runs a legit business selling land plots on the Moon, Mars, Venus, Io and Mercury. Of course, there's no legal backing to all this, but there's nobody stopping him either. As long as he's able to make people smile, he says he can do anything he wants. He's been in business since 1980. Hope is a former-ventriloquist, now in the business of space real-estate. Some people view his work as the selling of

'novelty items' such as pet rocks and certificates. Others argue that he's taking forth the age-old American tradition of land speculators selling plots of useless land. Hope admits that there are several others selling property in outer space, but the difference is that those people are criminal in their intent. He considers himself the legit owner of the Moon, so what he's doing is all right. How come he is so confident, you ask? Well, he says this is as real as any other property you can buy on Earth, and that's because he filed a declaration with the United Nations. Otherwise, Hope says he wouldn't be

Woman desperate to find a job sells herself on ebay


or sale - a willing and able permanent or temporary employee' - reads the eBay ad. It's quite unusual for the ecommerce website where merchants are more interested in selling goods. But 38-year-old Deborah Bowen had no other choice but to try and sell herself on eBay, having had no proper employment for over 2 years. She went from a ÂŁ33,000 per year role in sales, to looking for jobs where she's willing to do almost 'anything' for a living. In the last couple of years, Bowen has been sending out her resume to hundreds of recruiters and prospective employers. She

Deborah Bowen

didn't even leave out local plumber's merchants in the hope of receiving some sort of permanent employment. But all she could find was part-time work, sometimes paying as low as ÂŁ6.6 per hour. Bowen and her partner have been struggling to make mortgage repayments and are facing eviction from their home in Gloucester. With the next payment due in March, she is desperate to try anything and hence decided to try out eBay. The ad went up on the 17th of February. It goes on to say, "Sales Professional/BDM/W/house will do almost anything for work.

selling at all. So is Hope the real deal? Could he really get you ownership in outer space? He claims that honesty is a very integral part of his work ethic. "In 1980, I was going through a divorce and hadn't worked in almost a year, and I was almost out of money," he says. He thought if he had some property he could do something useful, and when he had that thought, he looked out of the window and saw the moon. "I thought to myself, there's a lot of property." That's when he remembered the 1967 Outer Space Treaty as well. According to article 2 of

that treaty, no nation by appropriation shall have sovereignty or control over any of the satellite bodies. But nowhere in the treaty did it mention anything about individuals, Hope realized. And he decided to grab on that loophole by filing a petition to ownership of the moon. Hope says he sent a note to the UN that if they had a legal problem with his claim to ownership of the moon, they should let him know. But he's never heard back from them, so he took that as a green signal to go ahead with his business. This isn't credible enough for many, though. Ram Jakhu from the Institute of Air and Space Law,

McGill University, says pretty simply, "Idon'tseealoophole."AccordingtoFrans von der Dunk, professor of Space Law at the University of Nebraska, "It's either a hollow claim or a fraud." That's not stopping Hope. So far, he's sold 600 million acres on the moon alone at the rate of about 200 properties per day. Regardless of the location of the property, each one costs $19.99. And that's not including the $1.51 lunar or planetary tax and the extra $2.50 to put the name on the document. Hope says he has over 5 million individual property owners in 193 countries on Earth. The most interesting aspect of Hope's work is how he selects the properties. When he has to choose the area of a planet to sell, he just covers his eyes and points his finger on a large map. Wherever his finger lands is what he ends up selling. But apart from just selling property, Hope has other ideas for development on the moon. He has plans and blueprints for a Lunar Embassy. His current idea is for a pyramid that will house embassies for every government on Earth. It all sounds pretty interesting until he mentions spaces for non-Earth based governments. That's when he seems a wee bit loony to me. He claims that these governments are 'here' and he is in touch with them. He started his own 'Moon government' in 2004 and says that they are now a fully recognized sovereign nation. It gets extremely bizarre when he mentions Rigley Pop who emailed him in 1999 claiming ownership of the Sun, asking for a charge of $30 million a year for all the energy put out for all the planetary bodies that Hope owns. Hope handled that pretty well, he just replied, "We don't want your energy, please turn it off." Sources: New York Times, National Geographic

Miami artist uses his own body fat to make soap


i a m i - b a s e d performance artist Orestes de la Paz has put his heart, soul and fat into 20 bars of special soap made with his liposuctioned blubber. The bars of human soap are available for purchase and priced at $1,000. Orestes de la Paz underwent a liposuction procedure in December of last year, and decided to turn the removed fat into soap to prevent it from going rancid. He came up with the idea for his art thesis after realizing that "clients are willing to try anything to feel and look beautiful, even to the extent of buying products with human elements in them (stem cells, placenta, semen; you name it, it's out there.)" Working as a hairstylist and make-up artist, Orestes loves combining the worlds of art and beauty together, so the unusual project sort of made sense to him. Apart from coconut oil, organic vegetable shortening, lavender and tree tea oils, as well as other cosmetics ingredients, his unique soap bars are 25% human fat, which apparently leaves the user's hands soft after washing. "There's always a certain amount of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into any artwork. I just make it more explicit," the artist said about his bizarre project. When he first got the idea to

The soap is being used in a hand-wash test organised by the initiator.. use fat from his liposuction in an art piece, he was going to turn into some kind of acrylic memoir, but his doctor told him that in order to keep it he would have to convert the blubber into something else. That's when all the extensive biology classes he took during college finally came in handy - he remembered soap is made with fat. "There's something about converting the notions about how we approach fat that can sometimes be seen as dirty or repulsive ‌ Being

able to convert it into something that is cleansing and also potentially healing reflects off of the phrase 'Cleanliness is next to godliness.' Cleaning the outside with stuff from the inside. Converting something that was dirty and putting it into something that was clean, and then putting that thing that I saw as dirty onto my body and reclaiming what I was ashamed of before, " de la Paz told the Miami New Times.

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 10, May, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 10, May, 2013 Edition

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 10, May, 2013  

Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 10, May, 2013 Edition