Give ’em a break – it’s not as easy as it looks


After waking up to the most anticlimatic Penn alert text at 5 in the morning, everyone was treated to a day where each class began with some slipshod remark about the non-existant blizzard and how bad meteorologists are at their job. While I was as disappointed as the next student while I day-dreamed in class about what I would be doing instead of class that day, this Fivethirtyeight article is a good reminder that predicting the weather is extremely hard.

Grading Studio Art and Design


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“I am interested in what is interesting,” Ed Ruscha

How do you evaluate—grade?— art and design work?

Here are two articles for your reference.

Achievement and Quality: Higher Education in the Arts
Grading Art

The criteria and issues that stand out for me are:

1. skill to describe/articulate and frame a design question or problem verbally, visually or via some other form

2. participation in the studio and contribution to the studio culture

3. ability to transform ideas and rough concepts; to develop, refine, and successfully express or communicate

4. curiosity and willingness to experiment/explore/discover and to distill knowledge from this process

5. mastery of materials and craft in completing project (to the level required)

6. synthesis and aesthetics – create forms and relationships – to put things together with a level of completeness and in an engaging manner appropriate to the project

7.  production of a body of work that demonstrates your design  process and  expresses what is interesting about the work by embedding meaning (your point of view, argument, interests, questions) in the work itself

Street Names and Home Values

Last week, we talked about how sometimes the data visualizations that draw us in the most are the ones that we can interact with.  In this NYTimes graphic/toy/time killer, you can insert your street name and find out if the value of homes on that street all over the country is greater or less than the average home value.

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Click here to play.

Movies right now are TERRIBLE and there’s a reason why

When do people go to the movies?

If you’ve been extending cinematic purview outside the realm of Netflix, you may have noticed something even more depressing about the winter than unawarded snow days: how horrible movies are at this time of the year.

Film studios are reluctant to release films for a range of reasons: hazardous weathers keeping people indoors, the stealing of the spotlight by award ceremonies, and also simply because people are accustomed to expecting bad movies during the winter. Historically speaking, the FiveThirtyEight article aptly describes the winter as the “boneyard of abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores.” (Although, personally speaking and anecdotally confirmed by my fellow film lovers, IMDB scores are a much more reliable way of predicting whether or not you will like the movie.)

Film Revenue by Month

And even though Michael Bay likes to remind us now and then that box office revenue does not mean a better movie, film studios are much more willing to release movies between May through July where historically speaking movies are much more profitable.

Click here for the FiveThirtyEight article!