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Archive of posts filed under the Art category.

Columbia Data Science Institute art contest

This is a great idea! Unfortunately, only students at Columbia can submit. I encourage other institutions to do such contests too. We did something similar at Columbia, maybe 10 or 15 years ago? It went well, we just didn’t have the energy to do it again every year, as we’d initially planned. So I’m very […]

3 recent movies from the 50s and the 70s

I’ve been doing some flying, which gives me the opportunity to see various movies on that little seat-back screen. And some of these movies have been pretty good: Logan Lucky. Pure 70s. Kinda like how Stravinsky did those remakes of Tchaikovsky etc. that were cleaner than the original, so did Soderbergh in Logan Lucky, and […]

Old school

Maciej Cegłowski writes: About two years ago, the Lisp programmer and dot-com millionaire Paul Graham wrote an essay entitled Hackers and Painters, in which he argues that his approach to computer programming is better described by analogies to the visual arts than by the phrase “computer science”. When this essay came out, I was working […]

BD reviews

I read BD’s (bandes dessinées or, as we say in English, graphic literature or picture storybooks) to keep up with my French. Regular books are too difficult for me. When it comes to BDs, some of the classic kids strips and albums are charming, but the ones for adults, which are more like Hollywood movies, […]

X spotted in L’Aimant, par Lucas Harari

I have a long post in preparation with lots of B.D. reviews, but in the meantime I wanted to flag this one right now because (a) the book was excellent, with a solid story and beautiful art and design, and (b) one of the characters looks just like Christian Robert, in an appropriate mountainous setting. […]

Request for a cat picture

Could someone please send me a photo (that I’d have permission to share on this blog) that connects a cat to “heuristics and biases” or “behavioral economics”? Thanks. P.S. Javier Benítez points us to this page of free stock photos of cats. Cool! Still, if anyone has anything particularly appropriate to the topic above, just […]

Hey, could somebody please send me a photo of a cat reading a Raymond Carver story?

Thanks in advance! P.S. Jaime Ashander sent in a photo. Thanks, Jaime!

I’m with Errol: On flypaper, photography, science, and storytelling

[image of a cat going after an insect] I’ve been reading this amazing book, Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography, by Errol Morris, who, like John Waters, is a pathbreaking filmmaker who is also an excellent writer. I recommend this book, but what I want to talk about here is one particular […]

Scammed by spammers

I received an unsolicited email awhile ago claiming to come from some company, but I went back to it and looked more carefully and realized the links were all to some SEO scam. I’d unfairly criticized this company for spamming me, and it was rally some third party spammer that had been spoofing that company. […]

“There was this prevalent, incestuous, backslapping research culture. The idea that their work should be criticized at all was anathema to them. Let alone that some punk should do it.”

[image of a cat reading a comic book] How did the outsiders upend social psychology? CATRON: We used basic reporting techniques. We’d call up somebody and ask them about thus-and-so, and they’d mention so-and-so, so we’d call so-and-so, and ask about thus-and-so. I’d say, “OK, you’re saying this but the first guy said this other […]

Planet of the hominids? We wanna see this exposition.

It would be interesting if someone were to make an exhibit for a museum showing the timeline of humans and hominids, and under that showing children’s toys and literature, showing how these guys were represented in popular media. It probably already exists, right? P.S. I feel kinda bad that this bumped Dan’s more important, statistically-related […]

The fractal zealots

Paul Alper points to this news report by Ian Sample, which goes: Psychologists believe they can identify progressive changes in work of artists who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease The first subtle hints of cognitive decline may reveal themselves in an artist’s brush strokes many years before dementia is diagnosed, researchers believe. . . […]

Applying statistics in science will likely remain unreasonably difficult in my life time: but I have no intention of changing careers.

This post is by Keith. image   (Image from deviantart.com) There are a couple posts I have been struggling to put together, one is on what science is or should be (drawing on Charles Peirce). The other is on why a posterior is not a posterior is not a posterior: even if mathematically equivalent – they […]

What’s powdery and comes out of a metallic-green cardboard can?

This (by Jason Torchinsky, from Stay Free magazine, around 1998?) is just hilarious. We used to have both those shake-out-the-powder cans, Comet and that parmesan cheese, in our house when I was growing up.

I’m only adding new posts when they’re important . . . and this one’s really important.

Durf Humphries writes: I’m a fact-checker and digital researcher in Atlanta. Your blog has been quite useful to me this week. Your statistics and explanations are impressive, but the decision to ornament your articles with such handsome cats? That’s divine genius and it’s apparent that these are not random cats, but carefully curated critters that […]

It’s not about the snobbery, it’s all about reality: At last, I finally understand hatred of “middlebrow”

I remember reading Dwight Macdonald and others slamming “middlebrows” and thinking, what’s the point? The classic argument from the 1940s onward was to say that true art (James Joyce etc) was ok, and true mass culture (Mickey Mouse and detective stories) were cool, but anything in the middle (John Marquand, say) was middlebrow and deserved […]

Things that sound good but aren’t quite right: Art and research edition

There are a lot of things you can say that sound very sensible but, upon reflection, are missing something. For example consider this blog comment from Chris G: Years ago I heard someone suggest these three questions for assessing a work of art: 1. What was the artist attempting to do? 2. Were they successful? […]

What makes a mathematical formula beautiful?

Hiro Minato pointed me to this paper (hyped here) by Semir Zeki, John Romaya, Dionigi Benincasa, and Michael Atiyah on “The experience of mathematical beauty and its neural correlates,” who report: We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to image the activity in the brains of 15 mathematicians when they viewed mathematical formulae which they […]

Top 5 movies about scientists

In this NYT interview, Philip “Stanford Prison Experiment” Zimbardo gives his list: 1. “Madame Curie,” 1943 2. “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” 1976 3. “Awakenings,” 1990 4. “The Insider,” 1999 5. “The Imitation Game,” 2014. Not a very impressive list. But that’s the point, I guess: there haven’t been many good movies about scientists. I was racking […]

Plaig! (non-Wegman edition)

Mark Vallen writes (link from here): What initially disturbed me about the art of Shepard Fairey is that it displays none of the line, modeling and other idiosyncrasies that reveal an artist’s unique personal style. His imagery appears as though it’s xeroxed or run through some computer graphics program; that is to say, it is […]