Supercomputers at the Natural History Museum

In natural history museums, dinosaurs are usually displayed as skeletons, not as code scrolling down computer screens. Yet, this is just how a dozen students from various schools saw them after they created a ‘supercomputer’ as part of the American Museum of Natural History’s first conference examining the growing prominence of ‘parallel or cluster’ supercomputers.

The students, participating in the Museum’s Pre-College Science Collaborative, assembled 16 hard-drives into an eight-unit supercomputer to run a program called POI that would compute the relationship between dinosaurs and modern birds.
It’s amazing how fast they can go, said Jacqueline Kahan, a seventh-grader at the Beacon School referring to the supercomputer. While a home computer can compute 256 million calculations per second, a cluster computer can compute 80 billion. That’s a pretty amazing amount of math, said Jeff Oishi, the show presenter for the planetarium, who was working with the students.
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Art History-Final Critique Assignment

Final Assignment
Students are asked to choose their own “patron saint.” Students should use From Abacus to Zeus and other available resources to choose a saint.
Students should produce an image of the saint in a medieval or Byzantine art style.

Students must submit a 1-page document explaining why they chose the depicted saint, how they chose to represent him/her, and which style they imitated in their image.
Students may choose from any medieval or Byzantine art style, including manuscripts, mosaic, panel-work, tapestry, etc.
Descriptions should demonstrate an understanding of the saint him or herself, and an understanding of the different and diverse art-making traditions associated with western Europe in the medieval period and the art of the Byzantine empire.
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Art History – Take-Home Exam Questions

Students should answer the following five questions. Responses must be typed on a separate sheet of paper. Please include a copy of the questions with your final responses.
Exams should include examples from our discussions in class, must incorporate vocabulary words, and must also draw on relevant information from Beowulf.

Research from any additional sources must be accurately documented in a works cited page and must be correctly cited in-text; failure to cite correctly will result in a failing grade. Final exams are due Week 14. Late final exams will not be accepted for credit.
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Art History-Third Critique Assignment

Second assignment: the content of the assignment and some suggested questions are listed below. This assignment should be formatted as a formal paper; a list of questions and answers will not be accepted.
Choose an artifact from the Byzantine empire or from western Europe through the 9th century. Students are reminded to choose an art object, not a functional object our tool from the period, although architectural structures are acceptable. Students can reference any reputable websites; the library website has some useful links.

Write a 2-page critique discussing the object. Things you should consider when you are analyzing the object:
1. How is the object made? What materials are used? If the object is colored, what colors or pigments are used?
2. What basic shape does it have?
3. What is the size of the object?
4. What distinguishing features does the object have?
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Art History —Second Critique Assignment

The second short critique is due at the beginning of class on Tuesday, June 24. Second assignment: the content of the assignment and some suggested questions are listed below.
This assignment should be formatted as a formal paper; a list of questions and answers will not be accepted.

Choose an artifact from Greece through the Hellenistic period (Alexander), Rome through the 2nd century C.E., or from the Etruscans. Students can reference any reputable websites; the library website has some useful links.
Write a 3-page critique discussing the object. Things you should consider when you are analyzing the object:
1. How is the object made? What materials are used? If the object is colored, what colors or pigments are used?
2. What basic shape does it have?
3. What is the size of the object?
4. What distinguishing features does the object have?
5. Where was the object found? What else was found with it?
6. Where was the object originally located?
7. What was the object used for AND/OR why was it made?
8. Which society made this object? What information about the society does this object provide?
9. Who made OR who commissioned this object?
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Art history resources

This post contains many links to useful and informative websites, institutes of art, libraries, and links to numerous art museum websites listed by country. There also are resource categories by period and region included.

Web Directories:
Voice of the Shuttle
Humanities resources on the Web. The list of contents includes Art (Modern and Contemporary) and Art History.
Librarians’ Internet Index
“Websites you can trust,” evaluated and selected by librarians. Subtopics include Art by Region and Artists.
Intute: Arts and Humanities
Arts and humanities resources selected by subject specialists for lecturers, researchers, and students. Search for your topic or select Visual Arts under Browse by Subject.
General Resources:
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Visual Culture Resources


This page contains valuable links to websites related to internet-based resources useful in the academic study of media and communication, some websites are not necessarily a scholarly source, but a good resource for ideas and discussion about current topics in visual culture. Includes links to scholarly articles and useful web resources on advertising, photography, TV/radio, and more. It’s a very comprehensive collection of links, many related to visual communication. The collection of advertising-related links is particularly strong.
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Vocabulary List—Critical and Prehistoric terms

This post describes and explains the most common words and phrases used in discussions and descriptions of Prehistoric art and Critical Examination terms.

absolute dating: a method of assigning a precise historical date to periods and objects based on known and recorded events in the region as well as technically extracted physical evidence.
abstract, abstraction: any art that does not represent observable aspects of nature or transforms visible forms into a pattern resembling the original model; also the formal qualities of this process.
additive sculpture: the artist builds up the forms by adding more material as s/he works; for example, sculptures made of clay or bronze.
henge: a circular area enclosed by stones or wood posts set up by Neolithic peoples, usually bounded by a ditch and raised embankment.
medium: the material from which an artwork is made.
memory image: an image that relies on the generic shapes and relationships that readily spring to mind at the mention of an object.
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Vocabulary List—Egypt and Mesopotamia

This page is containing a listing and explanation of words, terms, and phrases that are used in descriptions of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia life and art.

basalt: a hard, durable, dark-colored stone used for sculpture in ancient Egypt and the Near East.
bronze: an alloy of copper (95-99%) and tin, sometimes with small quantities of lead and/or other metals than can be formed by casting. First produced by the second millennium BCE (Bronze Age) in Mesopotamia and China; the metal most often used for sculpture until the 20th century.
cuneiform: a script composed of nail-shaped wedges pressed into wet clay, the earliest known form of writing; developed in Sumerian Mesopotamia.
cylinder seal: a small, cylindrical stone decorated with incised patterns. When rolled across clay or wax, a raised relief pattern is made, which served in Mesopotamian cultures as an identifying signature.
diorite: a hard, compact, black or gray stone used for sculpture, notably in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.
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Vocabulary List—Etruscans and Ancient Rome

This article contains explanations and indications of phrases and terms that are applied for describing and discussing Etruscan and Ancient Roman life and art.

aisle: passage or open corridor of a building that parallels the main space, usually on both sides, and is delineated by a row or arcade of columns or piers. Called side aisles when they flank the nave of a church.
amphitheatre: an oval arena for athletic events and spectacles developed by ancient Roman architects from the idea of two theatres placed facing each other, with ascending tiers of seats for the audience.
apotheosis: deification of an individual.
aquaduct: irrigation or water-transport system characterized by a trough, usually supported by arches, which carries water through gravity.
arcade: a series of arches, carried by columns or piers and supporting a common wall or lintel.
arch: a curved structural element that spans an open space. Built from wedge-shaped stone blocks called voussoirs which form a space-spanning and weight-bearing unit.
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