Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

Flowing Data is a “Data Visualization, Infographics, and Statistics” site that makes beautiful, fascinating pictures out of numbers. Want to see a visualization of “Where People Run” in a bunch of major cities (such as Chicago)? No problem. Want to see a poster with visualizations of famous movie quotes? No problem. Want to learn about how to make data visualizations or recognize liars or see some great ones? No problem. It’s all there.

Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is an occasional feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

It’s Olympics week, and this calendar of all the events is a marvel of design and information display is a bazillion times cooler than a TV Guide. It won’t tell you where and when you can watch what, though. But it’s a start…and its beautiful.

Cross Talk: Art Edition

Cross Talk is a regular feature, highlighting three to seven items on some discipline taught at the college. We should all know more about what our colleagues know, teach, and love. Lifelong learning, blah, blah, blah, and all that jazz.

#1) Be happy you don’t teach art. Apparently, it’s way more complicated than I ever gave it credit for being.

Check out this horrifying list of “Seemingly Innocuous Assignments That Will Lead to Improbable Calamities: Cautionary Notes for Teachers, Unfortunately Based on Personal Experiences.”

An example:

Make something ugly

Some twisted genius will stumble upon the ultimate solution to this art school chestnut: when it’s their turn to be critiqued they’ll just stand up and destroy the work of one of their classmates. An administrative shitstorm will ensue.

They get funnier (and more appalling) from there.

#2)  You should know about Kehinde Wiley.

#3) The teaching of art is changing, or so says this author, as the making of art has become radically democratized. From the Chronicle:

Art making has changed radically in recent years. Artists have become increasingly interested in crossing disciplinary boundaries—choreographers use video, sculpture, and text; photographers create “paintings” with repurposed textiles. New technologies enable new kinds of work, like interactive performances with both live and Web-based components. International collaboration has become de rigueur. Art and design pervade the culture—witness popular television programs like Top Design, Ink Master, and—the granddaddy of them all—Project Runway. And policy makers and businesspeople have embraced at least the idea of the so-called creative economy, with cities rushing to establish arts districts, and business schools collaborating with design schools.

Those developments are already affecting how the arts are taught: Curricula are becoming more flexible, with students encouraged to reach outside their departments to master whatever tools they need to make the art they want to make.

But there is another shift occurring that is more subtle and more destabilizing to art colleges: Suddenly, everyone is—or can be—an artist.

#4) No Flowers In the Psych Ward: If you can resist reading this piece after scrolling through the pictures, I’ll give you a dollar.

#5) Dave Hickey is an interesting dude and art critic, as you’ll see in this profile published last January in the Chronicle. A snippet:

Academics don’t understand how a serious intellectual could have spent so many years not doing academic work, instead snorting cocaine and jamming with the Nashville-based singer-songwriter Marshall Chapman. (They were “romantically involved,” Hickey says, and wrote songs together in the 70s; he also was her tour manager and, when needed, played rhythm guitar.) And academics certainly don’t like it that a man who spent so much time on different college faculties would have the gall to bash his academic colleagues and higher education in general.

Educated in what he refers to as “the liberating discourse of French Structuralism,” Hickey dismisses its American disciples as “misshapen offspring.” With his take-no-prisoners attitude, he writes in openly derisive terms about the watered-down, enfeebled American version of French thought: “Somehow, the delicate instrumentalities of continental thought had been transmuted by the American professoriate into a highfalutin, pseudo-progressive billy club with which to beat dissenters about the head and shoulders.”

Feeling Earthy

Did you know about the City’s “Sustainable Backyard” Rebate program?

Just in case you’re doing planning on doing some gardening this weekend (or month), you might want to check this out:

Sustainable Backyards Rebates

Rebate forms are available to Chicago residents for up to 50% off their next local purchase of:

TREES (up to $100 back)

NATIVE PLANTS (up to $60 back)

COMPOST BINS (up to $50 back)

RAIN BARRELS (up to $40 back)

Free money, baby–they’re giving it away! Click HERE for the full story, including information about the process.

Phriday Photo of the Week

Phriday Photo of the week will be a summer pheature where I’ll offer an image taken with my phantastical camera phone. The photos will range from phunny to thoughtphul with a sprinkle of phoolishness. A gift from me to you visual learners. Comments are welcomed.

Last one for the summer. It’s raised a lot of comments from the media. What do you think? Art? Homage? Obscenity? Too much? Not enough?

BTW, this is the last photo you’ll see for the summer. Thanks for viewing and commenting. It’s been a pleasure sharing. You may see more images here and there as time permits and experiences warrant.