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Creative Routines

“We all have the same 24 hours that Beyoncé has” and its various iterations took the web by storm in late 2013 as the megastar became the figurehead of not only having it all, but being able to somehow do it all too.

How do creatives – composers, painters, writers, scientists, philosophers – find the time to produce their opus? Mason Currey investigated the rigid Daily Rituals that hundreds of creatives practiced in order to carve out time, every day, to work their READ MORE

Stacking Up Best Pictures

Nine films are in the running to win best picture at the 86th Academy Awards – and they could be compared in many ways. They all feature incredible stories, great acting, and, well, it gets pretty subjective very fast.

Let us let the masses duke it out: here are the the nine nominees for best picture with their Tomatometer scores (both all critics and audience), box office gross as of mid-January, and their total number of nominations.

2014 Oscars Infographic

The gaps between the critics and the rest of us is pretty interesting. Some films (Dallas Buyers Club, Captain Phillips) have READ MORE

Disney Characters

Steve Jobs counseled Disney CEO Bob Iger to think in terms of brand deposits and brand withdrawals. Since 1937’s Snow White, enduring film characters have been Disney’s biggest brand deposits, and their success is most fantastically expressed with a dedicated theme park attraction in Florida at Walt Disney World. Track our favorite magic-maker’s Characters by the Numbers:

click for a higher resolution version

Story Points
Several plot points about Disney’s evolution can be inferred from READ MORE

USS Constitution: War of 1812

The USS Constitution set itself apart from her sister frigates in the War of 1812 – sailing under three captains through adventures which  have forever since made “Old Ironsides” famous. Whether they be heroic victories against HMS Guerriere and HMS Java, or daring escapes, The War of 1812 made the ship the legend we love today.

Follow the Constitution through each major event and port of call – from her return to America in 1812 to the war’s end in 1815.

Constitution_War-of-1812

Design
The timeline of action the ship saw is read from left to right. READ MORE

Horror Monsters and Ngrams

Google Ngrams provide a fascinating peak at trending topics over time by allowing us to compare the popularity of expressions in published books. For Halloween this week I whipped up the following sketch of some of Hollywood’s favorite monsters:

Ngram Monsters Infographic

Thoughts

  • Popular vampire movies since the ’90s (Interview with a Vampire, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Twilight, etc.) helped catapult our leading ghoul. READ MORE

USS Constitution: 1794-1802

Before the USS Constitution was the oldest commissioned warship still afloat, and even before it was nicknamed Old Ironsides it was a squadron flagship in our mostly forgotten “Quasi-War” with France at the end of the 18th century. Learn more about the construction and first cruises of the Constitution in the first installment of a series that pay tribute to her glory.

USS Constitution Infographic

The design
Telling a story across geography and time on a static plane is difficult because it requires three dimensions – time, latitude, and longitude – when there are only two dimensions available. READ MORE

Government shutdown: a brief history

The United States is currently in a partial government shutdown, but this isn’t the first time. There have been 17 other government shutdowns – or spending gaps – since modern congressional budgeting processes began in 1976. They have always occurred in the fall and stemmed from disagreements  about spending within Congress or between Congress and the President. Many (1977, 1984, 1995) have resulted because the temporary solutions of previous shutdowns could not be bridged to stable long term ones. Learn more about the opponents and issues that have managed to shutdown our government:

Government Shutdown poster READ MORE

Navigating MIT Course 15

Perhaps it was the chemistry icons of Breaking Bad that drove me to organize the classes of MIT’s Course 15 into a handy table. Or maybe it was just reflection on the incredibly knowledge-rich environment of MIT Sloan. For students still taking classes, alumni combing through old notes, and the public digging through MIT’s fabulous open courseware (where over 170 management titles are available to all for free), navigate your way though the finest graduate business curriculum around using the Periodic Table of Course 15:

Periodic-Table-of-Course-15_poster2

MIT and class names
For the unfamiliar, numbers rule at MIT, and classes are no exception. READ MORE