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Pictures | Wed Mar 7, 2012 | 8:20am EST

Life in Slab City

<p>Two men talk near a fire in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. A former military base that was closed after World War II, Slab City is a place on the fringe both geographically and philosophically and attracts a variety of people,  including jobless and financially struggling recession refugees who can no longer pay for food and housing. REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Two men talk near a fire in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. A former military base that was closed after World War II, Slab City is a place on the fringe both geographically and philosophically and attracts a variety of...more

Two men talk near a fire in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. A former military base that was closed after World War II, Slab City is a place on the fringe both geographically and philosophically and attracts a variety of people, including jobless and financially struggling recession refugees who can no longer pay for food and housing. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>(L-R) Timothy, Zack and Casey Spyder are seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

(L-R) Timothy, Zack and Casey Spyder are seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

(L-R) Timothy, Zack and Casey Spyder are seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Jeff sits at his trailer in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. Jeff said he counts the days with bottles, every day represented by an empty bottle of wine.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Jeff sits at his trailer in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. Jeff said he counts the days with bottles, every day represented by an empty bottle of wine. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Jeff sits at his trailer in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. Jeff said he counts the days with bottles, every day represented by an empty bottle of wine. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>"Princess Stephanie" (L) talks to another woman during a dinner at the Karma Kafe in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>

"Princess Stephanie" (L) talks to another woman during a dinner at the Karma Kafe in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

"Princess Stephanie" (L) talks to another woman during a dinner at the Karma Kafe in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>People are seen during dinner at the Karma Kafe in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

People are seen during dinner at the Karma Kafe in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

People are seen during dinner at the Karma Kafe in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>The first hole of the Gopher Flats golf course is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

The first hole of the Gopher Flats golf course is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

The first hole of the Gopher Flats golf course is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Ray smokes a cigarette in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012.   REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Ray smokes a cigarette in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Ray smokes a cigarette in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Mark, who said he spends half the year on Vancouver Island, sits in front of his motor home in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Mark, who said he spends half the year on Vancouver Island, sits in front of his motor home in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Mark, who said he spends half the year on Vancouver Island, sits in front of his motor home in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>An art installation is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012.   REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

An art installation is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

An art installation is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>The library is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

The library is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

The library is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>A man bathes in the hot springs in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

A man bathes in the hot springs in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

A man bathes in the hot springs in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Don (L) talks to Frank in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Don (L) talks to Frank in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Don (L) talks to Frank in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Randy Stevenson is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Randy Stevenson is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Randy Stevenson is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>People eat lunch in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012.    REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

People eat lunch in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

People eat lunch in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>A deputy with the Imperial County Sheriff talks to a man who was bathing nude at a hot spring in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012.   REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

A deputy with the Imperial County Sheriff talks to a man who was bathing nude at a hot spring in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

A deputy with the Imperial County Sheriff talks to a man who was bathing nude at a hot spring in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>A man shaves in a hot spring in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

A man shaves in a hot spring in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

A man shaves in a hot spring in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Tracy "Magenta" Ross, (L) another woman and Don are seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Tracy "Magenta" Ross, (L) another woman and Don are seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Tracy "Magenta" Ross, (L) another woman and Don are seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Frank (L) watches as a couple hook up their computer in his internet cafe in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Frank (L) watches as a couple hook up their computer in his internet cafe in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Frank (L) watches as a couple hook up their computer in his internet cafe in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>An old checkpoint, now painted as a welcome sign, is seen at a site locals call Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

An old checkpoint, now painted as a welcome sign, is seen at a site locals call Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

An old checkpoint, now painted as a welcome sign, is seen at a site locals call Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>A beer can is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

A beer can is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

A beer can is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Jack "Two Horses" (L) and "Purple" are seen at Jack's campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Jack "Two Horses" (L) and "Purple" are seen at Jack's campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Jack "Two Horses" (L) and "Purple" are seen at Jack's campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Mickel smokes a cigarette at a campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>

Mickel smokes a cigarette at a campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Mickel smokes a cigarette at a campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Jack "Two Horses" sits at his campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Jack "Two Horses" sits at his campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Jack "Two Horses" sits at his campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>An art installation is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

An art installation is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

An art installation is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>A sign for an art installation called East Jesus is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

A sign for an art installation called East Jesus is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

A sign for an art installation called East Jesus is seen in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Jack "Two Horses" stands at his campfire in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Jack "Two Horses" stands at his campfire in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Jack "Two Horses" stands at his campfire in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Tracy "Magenta" Moss hugs Frank, who runs the internet cafe, in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012.  REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Tracy "Magenta" Moss hugs Frank, who runs the internet cafe, in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Tracy "Magenta" Moss hugs Frank, who runs the internet cafe, in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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<p>Rob Walker (L) kisses Dayna Lambert as Walker's son Andy walks toward their campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer </p>

Rob Walker (L) kisses Dayna Lambert as Walker's son Andy walks toward their campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Rob Walker (L) kisses Dayna Lambert as Walker's son Andy walks toward their campsite in Slab City just outside Niland, California February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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