HW 2 / phlegmatic

Your next homework assignment has been hanging around in the Assignments tab since the afternoon. It’s due Wednesday September 10th at the beginning of class. Very smooth.

If you’re an art critic and you want to become famous, first of all you need to slow down a second because, as Anton Ego notes in Ratatouille, “in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than [your] criticism designating it so“. If you look hard at yourself in the mirror and the itch remains, then what you need to do is find some unknown homie or homette (or group thereof) who is killing the game in new and exciting ways, start the hype locomotive and ride it all the way to Fametown, choo choo. You’ll be forever known as the critic who championed this great artist when he was just a neckbearded nobody weaving tapestries in his loft. (In this scenario your discovery is successful in bringing back tapestries as a thing people care about. Just go with it.)



HW 3 / exam grades posted / Eiffel 65

Your next homework assignment is now posted, as are your Exam I grades.

I’d write a big ol’ extra email section like usual but I’m kind of wiped out from grading exams so maybe I’ll just find an excuse to send out an email tomorrow or Friday. For now here’s a picture of Michelangelo, the chillest ninja turtle, that looks like a still from the music video for “Get Free” by Major Lazer:



Homework 2 / grapes

Yeah so the assignment is up it’s been up for a little while so maybe you’ve seen it already but maybe you haven’t but in any case it’s there in the Assignments tab right where it should be and the solutions to the first homework are up there too so have at it. 

Final grades posted / Ernie Banks

The semester is over, y’all. It’s in the past. Let us give thanks for what he have learned and how we grown over these past few months, and let us prepare ourselves for much merriment and well-earned festivities.

Your course grades are available on Solar. Take a peek when you feel like it.


Final exam thoughts / updated grade distribution / Reptar

The material on the final exam will be drawn from all parts of the course. For a review of which topics we covered, see the rundown I sent out before each test. Also recall that we studied mathematical induction, condition number, pseudoinverses, and vector spaces in class but those topics did not appear on any of your exams. It seems likely that at least one or two of those will be on the final. I mean, it just kind of makes sense, right? Just a guess. What do I know, though? I’m just the guy who writes the exam. Or should I say WROTE the exam! Just finished it. It’s gnarly like the King of Limbs — not that one, this one:


So sweet. The format of the final is like this: There are four sections of three questions each. Some of the questions have multiple parts. Each of the questions within a given section are worth the same amount. The first section is more conceptual problems, the next three basically correspond to the material from the first, second, and third in-class exams. You have to do two out of three problems in each section. You are allowed to bring a 3” x 5” index card (or a piece of paper cut to that size) as a cheat sheet. Anything on it must be handwritten by you — no printouts, no photocopying, no getting your friend with tiny handwriting to write one for you. You are not allowed to bring a calculator to the exam. Also, if you take the final and you decide you don’t want it to count, you can just put a big X through the front page and write “Don’t count this exam, dude! Too hard!” and we won’t grade it. If you hand it in to be graded, though, it will count.

There have been a few grade adjustments over the past week, so here is the updated distribution:

90th percentile 89.33
75th 83.99
65th 80.16
50th 75.13
35th 69.22
25th 62.75
15th 54.29
mean 70.37


HW 11 solutions / exam iii material / final exam note / archaeopteryx

The solution set to the Exam III review a.k.a. Homework 11 a.k.a. your favorite homework’s favorite homework is now up in the DOCUMENTS tab. (That was an accidental caps lock, but I’m leaving it.)

Exam III will cover all the material from the posted lecture notes, plus all the material from sections 4.2 and 5.3 in the textbook that we covered in class. If you weren’t in class, either get the lecture notes from someone or read all of each section to make sure you know everything you need to know.

You do NOT have to memorize the formulae for finding q and r in the regression model y = qx + r. Please don’t memorize them. That would be a colossal waste of time.

You should, however, know the formula for calculating q in the model y = qx, and also be able to derive it using the pseudoinverse.

I will hold my usual office hours tomorrow from 11-1 in my office. I will send out an email at some point with details about next week’s office hours.

If you do well on the final exam (i.e., better than your average for the first three exams), then it will count for 37% of your final grade (HW will be 20%, Exam I: 11%, Exam II: 16% and Exam III: 16%).


Review problems / chortles

Dear y’all,

I’ve posted some review problems in the Documentz tab. The solutions to hw 10 are also there. Also, I have posted a drawing of a giant squid battling a sperm whale, with a couple of sharks swimming about nearby. Do with that what you will.

I will go over some of the review problems on Tuesday, but bring any other questions or concerns you have about any of the material from this part of the course. If we have extra time I’ll probably just rap the first verse from “Get Down” by Nas, so come prepared to prevent that eventuality.


Lecture notes

I’ve added the lecture notes from yesterday’s class. They’re jpegs because the department closed early today and I didn’t get to the copy machine in time, but they look pretty good. There’s even a nice white border around each page. Pretty fancy. There’s also a bit of a grease mark on one of the pages because I dropped a piece of Gouda on the page when I was writing them up. You know how I do! My bad tho.

Probably like two or three of you were disappointed this morning to get the homework announcement with no added bonus supplementary extra nonsense with it. It was a bit late for me to write my customary ramble. In fact, if you check your email you’ll see that it was 4:48 a.m. when I sent that email; that time is significant because 4.48 Psychosis is the name of the last play that Sarah Kane wrote before she took her own life back in 1999. That play was named for the time when Kane, suffering from severe depression, often woke. To be honest, I’ve never actually read the play, but ever since I read about it after reading Kane’s more famous play Blasted a few years back, the name has stuck with me, and every time I happen to be awake at 4:48 a.m. I think about it. Blasted is a terrifying, disturbing, and profound play about war, sexual violence, and human interaction; it premiered in London to great controversy when Kane was just 23 years old, but is now generally recognized as a major work. The U.S. premiere was at Soho Rep. in 2008 and is one of those shows that it still pains me to have missed (others include Sweeney Todd with Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris and the recent Glass Menagerie with Cherry Jones). One evening I went down to the theater and waited in line for 90 minutes in the hope of getting tickets, but to no avail.

To get back to art about depression , it’s tough to broach that subject without mentioning David Foster Wallace. Two of his better short stories are “The Depressed Person“, from the collection Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and, especially, “Good Old Neon” from Oblivion. They each delve deeply into the complexities of human thought; the dangers of recursive, inwardly spiralling introspection; and the impossibility of language expressing anywhere near the scope of what goes on in any one person’s brain. If you’re a smarty-pants you should read “Good Old Neon”; it’s challenging in an interesting, engaging way, not the boring way of some of Wallace’s other stories (e.g. “Mister Squishy”) which mostly just annoy me.

Unfortunately, just as 4.48 Psychosis came from a very real place in Kane’s psyche, Wallace knew whereof he wrote. He was somewhat more successful in managing his depression, but in 2008 he, like Kane, hanged himself.

While I’m on the subject of tortured geniuses who hanged themselves, the 2011 exhibition Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrated the work of the English fashion designer Alexander McQueen.


Incidentally, that exhibition also falls within the “Big events that I missed” category. I went to the Met to see it one day, but the wait to get in was three hours! I was like “Umm chill dude that’s wilin”; on the plus side, the rest of the museum was less crowded than usual. There were some spectacular pieces on view, though.

mcq2  mcq3

Sorry this post was a bit of a downer. Let’s close by considering Yayoi Kusama, who is very much alive and whose work is super chill, though her persona is consistent with the theme of this post (she has a book called Manhattan Suicide Addict and apparently has suffered from intense suicidal thoughts for her whole life).


That’s her (and some of her famous polka dots) in a publicity picture from her big show at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York this past autumn that, you guessed it, I am really bummed about missing. I swear I sometimes actually do some of the things I want to do. I’m just modest so I talk about the stuff I miss. Would’ve been sweet to have gotten a selfie in the Infinity Mirrored Room, though, like all the cool kids did! Could’ve been a really original profile pic.


jk that ish is played dawg errybody did it.

“What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.”


New material / Exam 2 notes / cabbage sale

Last Thursday’s lecture notes are posted in the Documents tab. Perhaps you’ve seen them. Also posted are the solutions to your second exam. Your grades are up, too. If you want your test back you can get it from the box outside my office at any time. There are also a bunch of graded homeworks in there. 

Some statistics from the exam:

75th percentile:     84.25
Median:                  75
25th percentile:     62

Mean:                     70.12
Std. Dev.                19.08

Remember you have a homework assignment due Thursday; it covers material from last Thursday’s lecture. Office hours this week will be as 

If your textbook is like mine and has some sections omitted, you may seek supplementary material. Jim Hefferon has written a linear algebra textbook that is available for free here

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

– Dylan Thomas

Rembrandt knew a thing or two about being an old guy. Here’s a self-portrait of his that is in the Met: