James G. Harper

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James G. Harper

About Me

Writing Sample

Trash art, or wuyongyishu, was usually just a phase young artists went through, capturing the beauty inherent in the ugliness of an electronics graveyard or a woodland choked with plastics. Li had found a way to expand on the concept by photographing the trash most people forgot even existed: the Kessler belt.

Look up at the sky and it seemed as blue as any photograph from the past. But in truth humans had found a way to fill the sky with trash, tens of thousands of tons of it, orbiting the Earth with such speed that it shredded any satellite or spaceship that tried to pass through.

She took many photos of Kessler belt debris before she conceived of her award-winning photo. It had taken Li several months of telescope time and several more tracking orbits before she succeeded: an astronaut’s discarded glove, captured just as it was crossing the penumbra of a half-moon. The result had become an icon of Sansobal-Tiaga’s Kessler Clean Up campaign, almost as recognisable as the crescent-smirk bisecting Sansobal-Tiaga’s logo

Li had never had much interest in space; to her the Kessler belt had merely been another source of trash with hidden beauty. But that photo made her practically synonymous with Sansobal-Tiaga’s nascent space program, and now that the Kessler belt was no longer impassable, they had come to her. They needed another iconic image, one to symbolise the re-exploration of the solar system, and they wanted her to create it.

[from A Clean Start]

What I Write

Right now? Mostly short essays on the tax implications of converting from this retirement fund to that, the characteristic signatures industries leave on their financial statements, the merits of GAAP and IFRS and anything else my professors dream up.



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A Clean Start, Amazing Stories (free online here)

Write-a-thon Goals

Writing Goals

None. At least, none you’d be interested in. This fundraiser overlaps with my last six weeks of my Masters of Accountancy classes, and I’ll also be taking my Financial CPA exam in the middle of it. So right now any fun writing will have to take the form of haikus. Or limericks. (“There once was a student from Temple…”)

Fundraising Goals

Anything, really. It’s all for a good cause.