Staff Picks: Photoshop Your Dreams, Particle Physics, Harper Lee and the Noose | Rock Candy

Friday, March 20, 2015

Staff Picks: Photoshop Your Dreams, Particle Physics, Harper Lee and the Noose

Posted By , , and on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 5:07 PM

click to enlarge Happy 100th Birthday to the great Arkansas native Sister Rosetta Tharpe
  • Happy 100th Birthday to the great Arkansas native Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Arkansas Times Recommends is a weekly series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.

For whatever reason — lagging enthusiasm for the middle school literary canon; the opposite of nostalgia for middle school itself — I haven't been able to get too worked up over the forthcoming, possibly exploitive publication of Harper Lee's lost first novel, a draft of which was apparently recently discovered by her attorney (who, to an almost comical extent, doesn't seem trustworthy). On the other hand, I am pretty excited by the prospect of a lost Harper Lee true crime book, a nonfiction account of a series of murders committed by an Alabama priest in the 1970s, which Lee apparently spent several months researching and writing before presumably abandoning the project. (“I have accumulated enough rumor, fantasy, dreams, conjecture, and outright lies for a volume the length of the Old Testament,” Lee once said of the book to another writer.) Casey N. Cep wrote a great article about this whole thing for the New Yorker's website, which I encourage you to read; it's all that's left of the book, for now. — Will Stephenson

Being a food writer doesn't require more than a basic grasp of physics, but I always try to learn more. And since I am lazy, I learn more by watching videos on YouTube. If you've ever wondered about how things behave as they approach absolute zero — or theories on what might happen if you stuck your hand into the beam of CERN's Large Hadron Collider, you've got to check out Sixty Symbols, a channel operated by the University of Nottingham. From particle physics all the way up to the behavior of galaxies, this channel covers it all. It gets over my head relatively often, but I keep watching for the sheer entertainment factor. You should, too. — Michael Roberts

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Trip out on this idea: When the folks at Adobe were in the final nearly-sleepless days of programming Photoshop before it’s big initial release, did they dream during their numerous power naps? And if they did, what would a “26 year-old French girl based in Berlin” have made of them? I’m talking about Photoshop Your Dreams wherein Margaux, said 26 year-old girl, literally photoshops your dreams! For real! I find this recent interpretation quite funny and I recommend going to check out the rest. — Bryan Moats

Nooses are all the rage in 2015. Clothing maker Tavik has manufactured a t-shirt with the image of a noose and the words "Hang Loose." It has been widely distributed by T.J. Maxx and has gained media attention after a photo from a shopper went viral. Having been removed from shelves and a formal apology issued from both companies the question remains, why was that ever approved for manufacture and distribution? T.J. Maxx, are you that desperate for business? You've resorted to selling culturally and historically insensitive clothing? According to the statement offered by T.J. Maxx, there was a lapse in screening that allowed for the product to be sold in stores, and the apology offered by Tavik ended with the assertion that the shirt was solely related to surfing. What? The noose is widely recognized as a long standing symbol of racial violence and prejudice against African Americans in the United States. Secondarily, it is has been recognized as an apparatus used to facilitate suicide. In no way, shape or form is a noose related to surfing. The broader community has been victimized by this irresponsible shirt and reminded of the short amount of time that has passed since the height of lynching in the United States.

This week a man was found in Mississippi hung from a tree by a noose fashioned from a bed sheet. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi are investigating the death as well as the local police. In 2015 nooses are making an ugly appearance, reminding us of our not so distant past and our deeply troubled present. In light of these investigations, the claim of Tavik in the nature of the shirt is outlandish and disrespectful to the intelligence of consumers. It has become very clear to me that we do not live in a "post- racial" society and anyone that believes we do obviously has not visited T.J. Maxx or recently watched the news. I recommend you keep your dollars in your pocket and your eyes on the news, or you'll miss something important and pay for it in the end. — Kaya Herron

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