Feb 012015

Several sites are covering the story of deflate-gate with infographics. The gist of these stories is that in 2007 an NFL rule change went into effect that allowed each team to bring their own balls to games, both home and away. Prior to this rule the home team supplied the balls for both sides. Coincidentally, several stories go on to quote, Tom Brady was a big advocate of this rule change.

Assuming for the moment that Deflate-gate is true then might the pre vs post rule change data reveal the truth? The data collected came in two forms, both involved “touches per fumble”. If this metric confuses you, it might be easier to imagine “plays per fumble” where “stickier balls” would be fumbled less frequently. But plays vary widely in their ball-handling characteristics so “touches per fumble” is a better metric.

One metric merely compiled the “touches per fumble” into two buckets… before the 2007 rule change and afterward. The other metric was showed “touches per fumble” per year, so you could see each year leading up to and then after the 2007 rule change.

I find the per-year stats to be the easier to understand so it is the first I’ll show:

KIGFumblesThis image links to a colleague’s website KillerInfographics.com. It’s a small portion of a much larger infographic they have on this. One feature of this additional information is shown at the bottom… Killer Infographics summarizes the effect with additional stats like “increased points per game”. Essentially answering the latent question “sure they fumbled less, but did this result in increased scores/wins?”.

Oddly this exact same infographic is available from the Slate magazine article on this subject, but their version of the above infographic doesn’t appear until page 2 (yea, you gotta click to get to page 2 on Slate). Slate instead leads with the more complicated looking (IMO) infographic comparing (2000-2006) in one side and (2007-2014) on the other, shown at the right. The years are important, because 7 in both so in a perfect world they’d be the same, but the red arrow shows that the Patriots touches-per-fumble before the rule change was average while their touches-per-fumble after was crazy high. Additionally from an infographic design POV the chart Slate lead with has “useless” information on the vertical axis… the heights of the bars means how many other teams had that same statistic (eg the Patriots were one of 4 teams that averaged 42 touches per fumble from 2000-2006). Not really relevant to our interests.



Both infographics were pulled together from SharpFootballAnalysis.com. Killer Infographics leads with the simpler chart so kudos to them.

However, I would love to see (but do not have time to compile myself) a chart like the first one above that shows ALL the teams INDIVIDUALLY instead of averaged together. For one, there may be a few more teams hiding their own “deflate-gate” in there. Additionally, the average touches per fumble seem to be slowly increasing, with the average being noticeably higher in 2014 than in 2006. This might be a natural consequence of  teams being able to use their own balls because of comfort and familiarity or tweaks to the footballs within the allowable range. Or it could be that teams over time have slowly started to adopt their own version of “deflate-gate”.

But it is odd how, right after the rule change, the Patriots fumble rate went from about 40 touches per fumble to about 80 touches per fumble… it’s as if they had plans in place for that rule change. Go Hawks.

Feb 012015
To find out more about the London Rothschild Hours, take a look at our post A Calendar Page for January 2015. Calendar page for February, with decorative border comprising a Zodiac sign, four roundels and bas-de-page scene, from the London Rothschild Hours, Southern Netherlands (?Ghent), c. 1500, Add MS 35313,...

What Could Make Ivanhoe ‘Special’?

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Feb 012015

Last semester was not bad for our Praxis team. Our achievements were modest but considerable: a charter, a team with a common interest in any activity concerning food, plus a vibrant debate on redesigning the website for our common project – Ivanhoe. While we failed in meeting certain deadlines and charter objectives, i.e. having tangible visible results, I want to emphasize how productive the process has been for us in my view.

We had an exemplary meeting as a team to decide on a tagline for Ivanhoe. It was a successful meeting because we had a limited amount of time, a very specific well-defined task and an agreed process of making decisions. The most significant element of this meeting for me was free brainstorming and discussion of the logic behind our preferences and choice of words. The task in front of us seemed small -what is a tagline after all: put five-six words together and you’re done. But we did not underestimate the importance of this task. We considered carefully each and every word of the tagline, making sure that it reflected the ideas that gave rise to Ivanhoe at the first place as well as our vision as a team about its future.

Look at our notepad!
Within an hour of conversation, we decided to call Ivanhoe: ‘A Gateway to Collaborative Textual Play’. The key concepts we built this phrase on were: fluidity, interpretation, reflection, performativity, and collaboration. Our tagline draws a vision of Ivanhoe not just as a space with pre-established boundaries – a platform or a place of some kind – but a space that enables the emergence of boundaries, actors and places through play. That is why we chose the term ‘gateway’ and followed it with the preposition ‘to': to indicate its initial purpose as an enabling environment for learning. As Jeniffer’s last post seems to conclude, Ivanhoe can enable learning through play. In the current version, Ivanhoe enables learning through the ‘role’ and ‘role journal’ features. These features require players to reflect on their moves/interpretations – before and after they complete them.

While I agree that Ivanhoe is a learning environment, I want to argue that this is not enough to define it and that we need to specify further the kind of learning this environment enables that other environments do not.

The existing version of Ivanhoe seems to emphasize one kind of learning – learning that results from reflection on one’s individual actions and thoughts. One might argue that this kind of learning through such self-reflection can happen everywhere and does not need a facilitating enabling environment like Ivanhoe. For example, commenting to a Facebook status or a WordPress blogpost also requires self-reflection – you have to think about yourself, your words and interpretation of a particular text – a photo, or music video, or quote from somebody’s book, etc. This is similar to what you can do in Ivanhoe.

I want to suggest that one way to make Ivanhoe ‘special’ i.e. to define its use as a learning environment, could be to create a feature that makes it enable another kind of learning – learning from others through reflection on the trajectory of play and the relationships among players’ interpretations. This feature could be incorporated within the existing ‘role’ and ‘role journal’ features. It would require players not only to reflect on their own individual moves before and during play, but also to reflect on the moves of others and the way in which the relationships between players’ moves shape the process of play and its end-result – an ‘Ivanhoe game’. The aim of such feature in Ivanhoe would be to enable a kind of learning that is difficult to achieve in other environments – WordPress, Facebook, a museum, or even a classroom: learning about others and how one’s interactions with others shape cultural objects or texts of common interest. This kind of learning could be achieved by requiring reflection in a journal – before, during and/or after play – about the set of relationships that contribute to the emergence of the text of common interest and define its form. I argue that Ivanhoe can become special if it is able to promote reflection about other players’ interpretations of a text and the interaction between interpretations that give a particular form to that text. I am looking forward to our team’s discussion of this option and the implementation of such idea into a well-designed Ivanhoe feature.

We have a tagline and we agreed that for us it is not just a statement about what Ivanhoe does in its current state, but more of an expression of our aspirations about what Ivanhoe can do. The conversation that led to the tagline creation helped us as a team consolidate our ideas about Ivanhoe and what we wanted it to be. However, we need to continue the debate on what Ivanhoe does and what can make it special as it will shape our future work this spring semester. I hope that the time we take learning new skills- html, css, php, etc.- will not be seen separate from the time we give to talking and reaching an agreement about the use and purpose of Ivanhoe – or how to make it special. I am looking foreword to more successful meetings this new year.

Jan 312015

Thanks to the Andrew D. Mellon Foundation, The Mellon Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, digital works produced by my classmates and me in Fall 2014 will see the light of day at John Hartell Gallery, Sibley Dome. 

Exhibition Feb 2-13 2015

M-F 8a.m-5p.m.

Read more about it here: 


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Jan 312015

Today, as I was waiting to cross a very busy intersection, a man jaywalked through. He was probably indigent, maybe homeless, mentally disabled, muttering loudly to himself. He was a bit out of control but clearly harmless. He was wearing high tops with both shoe laces untied. He kept tripping over them, almost falling. A man standing next to me saw this and leapt forward, shouting, "Hey buddy!" in the nicest tone of voice, and he gently took the man's arm and guided him to a bench by the bus stop.

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Feminine Nature of AI

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Jan 312015

I'm currently compiling sources and examples of female gendered artificial intelligence units in both real life and science fiction. I'm looking at this information with ideas about representations of female characters in an unseen form, the uncanny valley effect of softwares such as Amelia, and a possible connection between the tendency towards feminine voices and characters and cultural norms surrounding real women and their bodies.

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Just Plain Raw.

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Jan 302015

Raw picture
Experimental, intellectual, punk, global, highbrow artsy, lowbrow fartsy, just plain raw—from 1980 to 1991, this “graphix magazine” was it all.  The brainchild of spouses Françoise Mouly (publisher and co-editor) and legendary cartoonist Art Spiegelman (co-editor and oft-contributor), Raw served as the premiere publication of alternative comics during that genre’s early heyday. It was envisioned as an art forum for adult-oriented (high-concept and thematically risqué) comics for a brainier readership, perhaps unfamiliar with the edgy, visceral comics of the waning underground scene. In this regard, it was highly successful, publishing over time some of the most seminal works in comics, including Spiegelman’s Pulitzer-prize winning opus, Maus.

Pictured above is the premiere issue, which, besides containing some stellar comics works inside, features this fantastic Spiegelman-illustrated cover. Like many of the earlier issues, the magazine was hand-assembled by friends of Spiegelman and Mouly; in fact, the color window on the cover is partly glued on stock paper, hiding what looks like a black-and-white image underneath. 

                The entire run of Raw is available in Special Collections. 

The post was written by Oscar Chavez 

 Posted by on January 30, 2015