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Microsoft Employee sleeps homeless as an Experiment

Whilst catching up on my blog feeds, a post by David Dehghan caught my eye. He decided to try a night sleeping rough to help him get a better understanding of life for homeless people. I have to say I admire his guts but its not something I’d be willing to do.

His account is currently split into two parts (Part One and Part Two), with a third coming soon. As he says its not a realistic experience of being homeless because after all, he has a home to go to. But I am curious to see what he has to say and perhaps more reasons as to what prompted him to do it.

David’s experiment reminded me that last weeks Economist had a very interesting article about the homeless in Moscow. Its pretty hard hitting:

On the wall of Andrei Pentukhov’s office is a large map of Moscow. Black marks are scattered across it, clustering especially around the railway stations to the north-east of the city centre. Each black spot represents a person found dead of hypothermia in the streets. Mr Pentukhov, who works for the municipal social-services department, explains that hypothermic corpses turn up even in August, after drunks tumble into puddles. Most of the black spots, however, appear on the map during the winter. Muscovites have a name for the bodies that emerge when the snow thaws; they call them “snowdrops”.

It goes on to mention that a large source of the homeless in Moscow are migrants looking for work. One particularly sad story is of an migrant worker who was clearing snow off the roof of a building. Unfortunately he fell off the building because there was no safety equipment. The Police turned up to see what had happened. They decided it was best to leave him to bleed to death in the snow. 40 minutes later an ambulance turned up. Whether he survived or not is unknown.

It makes you realise how lucky we are, by virtue of the fact I’m writing this and you’re reading it means we have access to a computer and so must be well off. Definitely food for thought.

Edit: It appears the Economist article needs a subscription to view, so here it is as a text file.

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