social, health, political imagery through the lens of G J Huba PhD © 2012-2021

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The majority of the posts on this blog are about using visual thinking methods — of which I think that by far the best is #Buzan-style organic mind mapping — to understand, explain, evaluate, and communicate about healthcare. A lot of my own thinking has focused on using visual thinking techniques to potentially improve the quality of life of those with cognitive impairment and dementia.

Tony Buzan and Chris Griffiths and their colleagues and staff at ThinkBuzan have done a very comprehensive job at getting many of Buzan’s ideas embedded into a general purpose computer program (iMindMap) which provides a general visual thinking environment, of which mind mapping is a special part. There are many computer assisted mind mapping programs, but I have concluded that iMindMap is by far the best for creative visual thinking and communication, in no small part because it fully incorporates Buzan’s theory and theoretical implementation.

Like scientists and management consultants and educators and healthcare providers and patients and patient caregivers and students and many others, illustrators struggle with how to best use visual representations to support better thinking and communications.

Which brings up this beautifully conceived and executed little book that I have found to be mind expanding and liberating in how to develop and use a series of illustration techniques and “tricks” to look at things differently when trying to make creative breakthroughs.

Whitney Sherman is the author of the book “Playing with Sketches” which provides 50 exercises which collectively will change the way you think about creating images to understand and communicate ideas.While Ms. Sherman wrote the book for designers and artists, the techniques will be just as useful for visual thinkers in science, education, medicine, industry, and other fields. The beauty of Ms Sherman’s exercises is that in showing you fairly simple ways to make hugely informative and well designed images, the tools will themselves suggest many applications to visual thinkers of all types.

And, I have found that Ms. Sherman’s techniques can be used by the severely artistically challenged (of which I am one); the techniques are ones for Visual THINKERS, not necessarily artists and designers.

I have mentioned this book before in much less detail, but in the months I have used the methods, I have found that they WORK very well to facilitate creative visual thinking. For me they have promoted a breakthrough in how I see the visual thinking canvas.

Get the book, try some of the techniques (pick a random one here and there to start), discover that great artistic talent or aptitude is not required, and see how the techniques fit the information you study in search for better healthcare or disease prevention or decision making or facilitating creative group processes.

In partnership with Tony Buzan’s techniques for organic #mindmapping and Mike Rohde’s framework for #sketchnoting, the techniques codified by Whitney Sherman provide very powerful visual thinking tools.

Ms. Sherman’s website is She tweets at @Whitney_Sherman. The book is available from major online book sellers.




I will be posting some examples of using the sketching techniques of Ms. Sherman to developing assistance and communication techniques for those with cognitive impairment or early-mid stages of dementia.





Surely you jest.

I prefer to do no mind mapping on the iPhone, even though most iPad apps are “universal” ones that also run on an iPhone without extra cost.

According to, the phrase “Surely you jest” originated in the earliest 1960s sitcom “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” I remember watching the show as a tween (before the phrase tween was used) and the actor (Bob Denver) who later played Gilligan in the famous sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” was Dobie Gillis’ foil (a model for Richie and the Fonz in Happy Days). The line was frequently uttered by the character Chamber Chatsworth Osbourne, Jr. From my childhood I think the phrase was used often by one of the Hanna-Barbera characters (probably Yogi Bear) but I can find no reference to that on the Internet. I do have a complete collection of Yogi Bear cartoons on my computer but I am not going to watch them just for the purpose of showing that I can still remember my childhood even if I have forgotten what I watched on television this morning.

“Surely you jest and don’t call me Shirley” is from the 1980 movie “Airplane.”

Are you out of your mind?

Perhaps you could use a mind map program on the iPhone or an Android phone if you have the eyesight of Superwoman or Superman or the suit of Ironman. Otherwise go out and buy a FULL-sized iPad or Android tablet. Or even better, use your Mac with a huge desk monitor attached.

Seriously, there are two programs which may work ok for you to draw very simple mind maps on the iPhone. I am quite sure that iMindMap is the best on the iPhone and that iThoughts is acceptable, although not as close to iMindMap in overall usefulness on this platform as on the iPad. Do note that if you choose to purchase either of these apps for an iPad, it is an universal app and will also work on your iPhone without extra cost.

I actually do use an iPhone at times to make mind maps, but in that I case I limit the development to the main ideas of maps. When I get within sniffing distance of a real computer (Mac or iPad), I can mail myself the draft map setup and open it in the corresponding mind map program on one of the big-screen machines in order to further develop and format the map.

iPhone Mind Map  App Ratings  July 2014  g j huba phd  ✮✮✮✮✮


“and don’t call me Shirley.”

These comments were made based on my experience with the iPhone 5. With either of the new iPhone 6 models, the usefulness of the two “best” programs is marginally better.



A little icon tweaking, a little bigger screen front, a few new icons. A few new option controls for nested files of information. >2 hours to download the 5GB program file. 30 minutes to install it.

Much Ado About Nothing (anyone really cares about).

[Apple: Of course, you did screw up my iCloud account, cause some of my apps to malfunction, and a few other things that were not advertised as being part of the update package. BUT — whether related to Yosemite or not — my iTunes database is performing much better.]

Undoubtedly I left off dozens of license-required professions. But the left portion of the mind map below makes the point obvious.

Of course, perhaps data science does not to be regulated.

After all, the practitioners of this arcane art form only publish information about your health care, medical needs, medical care, desire to buy unproven vitamins and supplements, insurability, credit worthiness, belief the US should bomb the Arab Countries back to the Stone Age, respect for Obama and Putin, willingness to provide adequate financial support to the elderly and disabled, odds of voting for Emperor Trump if it rains on election day, and input to decision makers who want to make better decisions from all of the data floating around. They probably also have access to everything that was on Hillary’s server before her staff started erasing emails.

And who needs to be licensed to operate a broom, regulate temperature in a caldron, prepare lizard skins and frog feet, speak in a language only spoken by other data scientists, and pronounce you worth of a new credit card, likely to vote for Trump if the weather is summer-like, able to afford a new car, liberal or conservative, and reaching the age that you will probably purchase death benefits insurance? At the current time, apparently no one.

Click on the mind map to expand it.




minimal ethics, and absolutely inexperienced and greedy analysts. Geeks run amok.

Data scientists need to pass licensure tests and be subject to regulatory bodies before we trust them with the world’s sensitive personal data.



Walmart today eliminated health insurance coverage for 30,000 workers who work less than 30 hours per week. Trader Joe’s, Target, and Home Depot had already done the same.

What do you think a low wage employee at Walmart or Target or Trader Joe’s or Home Depot would do if their employer offered them the opportunity to work 31 hours per week instead of 29?

I smell a rat that the Republicans are calling Obamacare and I would call the GOP (Non-)Insurance Plan. Either way, many US workers are screwed by the actions of these big employers.

And who works for Walmart and Target and Home Depot and Trader Joe’s? When you shop there do you conclude it is the elderly who still need to work in their 70s because they never worked at companies that ensured that they would have enough funds in their retirement or high school dropouts (often single moms) or the disabled or recovering drug abusers or those with mental health issues or an over-representation of minority workers, many of whom are recent immigrants? I do.

So these big box stores are basically selecting an unempowered, vulnerable group of workers who can be paid minimum wage (or close to it), denied healthcare plans, and work under what often appear to be draconian conditions. Who pays to fix this? You and I pay taxes to provide Medicaid (and Medicare Disability) benefits to those who have nowhere else to go, and of course you and I also provide additional services to dependent children in the families of these Walmart and Target and Home Depot and Trader Joe’s employees. All of the money you and I pay to fix the Walmart mess is  so that billions of dollars more can go to benefit a half dozen of the wealthiest Americans holed up in Arkansas.

We need to get this fixed. It is very clear that neither American political party has the acumen, motivation, humanity, and pure “guts” needed to right this situation once and for all.

Walmart and Home Depot and Trader Joe’s and Target will notice it if their sales come down 10 percent as a consequence of the poor treatment of their employees. Heck, they would notice if the sales came down 1 percent.

This is not a Democrat or Republican or Independent or “I don’t vote because it doesn’t matter” issue. This is not a minority issue nor is it an elderly issue nor is it an immigrant issue. The issue is quite simply that it is not right to tell a worker who goes into a fairly hostile work environment, works hard while there, and wants to continue to work instead of being dependent on public programs that they cannot work more than 29 hours a week because the company can make a lot more money by employing lots of “almost full-time” workers rather than full-time workers because it can deny workplace worker benefits.

These companies are causing their workers great pain and suffering by not paying living wages and providing enough hours to workers so that they can qualify for benefits and keep their families out of public programs. After all, the American dream is that working hard 40 hours a week will permit your family to enjoy at least a moderately comfortable life and provide your children with a good education and you with adequate healthcare and savings for retirement.

Your elected officials aren’t going to do anything. YOU can find other retailers that treat their workers fairly and buy your dog food, clothes, medications, motor oil, music and video disks, garden supplies, vacuum cleaners, condoms and lube, aspirin, watches, and cameras there. And I am sure there is a humane company who will sell you all of the power tools you want at the same price as Home Depot and also provide its workers with health insurance.

Make a loud enough noise and some alternate vendors are going to come out and show that they do pay their workers fairly and they would be glad to sell you the same goods you can buy at Walmart or Target or Home Depot or Trader Joe’s at the same or better prices. The free market is a powerful force for good as well as having a potentially dark side.

Capitalism is a great thing. Give your business to a humane company that will sell you the same stuff as the big box stores while also making the lives of their workers better and you will be practicing Humane Capitalism that rewards businesses for having great prices AND good conditions of employment.

My dog is not going to be eating Walmart food any longer. Hopefully your dog will not be eating it either. And I am no longer searching through those big bins of $3.99 DVDs in search of a movie with lots of plane, train, and automobile crashes.

After all, Walmart is already the worse kind of a train wreck imaginable.