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

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Every home needs a copy of The Wizard of Oz.

Note: I have no commercial relationship to Apple’s iTunes store except to trash them are various times because iTunes software is only moderately reliable.

For the next few days, iTunes is selling the HD version of one of the five best movies ever made for $4.99. I’ve never seen a price like that for this movie before.

When I was a child I was TERRIFIED of the flying monkeys. Then I discovered coffee as a teenager and discovered that the Wicked Witch was actually a coffee salesperson in disguise (or vice versa). So the terror subsided at least unit I discovered the flying monkeys that work for the IRS.

Somewhere over the rainbow… there’s no place like home.

Historical note: When I was a child in the 1950s/60s, the Wizard of Oz was aired on TV only one time per year on Thanksgiving Weekend. Every year my peer group informally competed to be the first to be able to watch the whole terrifying movie. The flaming ball “wizard” got me every year until I was about 11 or so, and the damn flying monkeys used to get me right up into my early teens. Also, I never experienced the movie turn into color until about 1980s because I had always seen it on a black and white TV.


If you love the Wizard of Oz and have not seen the TV miniseries Tinman, you will probably be enchanted by the revisionist version. It is usually playing on Netflix or Hulu Plus. Spoiler alerts: The flying monkeys are even nastier in Tinman and I still close my eyes. The Scarecrow side story is much more interesting, although it was clearly pilfered from an early Star Trek episode featuring Mr Spock. And Dorothy and the Wicked Witch are much sexier in Tinman.

Living independently or semi-independently with cognitive impairment and early stage dementia is an admirable goal. Remember, however, that there are many cautions and possible problems that you, your caretaker, your family, and your doctors need to be aware of and monitor.

Plan to discuss these (and other) issues with your doctors and others on a regular basis. It is an important part of trying to stay as independent as possible.

Read the warnings. This is CRITICAL information.

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3Life with  Dementia  Cautions  and Warnings




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Yesterday I worked on my post about John Tukey and his contributions to statistics, data analysis, and my cell phone addiction.

As I did research to supplement my personal knowledge about Dr Turkey— near the end of his life, a good friend did work with him and one of my grad school professors (Bob Abelson) was one of his most influential students — I noticed the brevity of the bio in Wikipedia about him (less than a half a window on my computer) and contrasted this to the large number of screens of information available on the Kardashians, Justin Bieber, Rodrigo Borgia, Al Capone, and Richard Nixon. Even R2D2 has a much longer biographical entry.

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At many times the Internet is like ancient Rome (bread and circuses) or an episode of (un)reality television.

I dread to think how the aliens in the next galaxy are going to react when the television waves hit their planets. The two likely responses I forecast will be to either classify humans as a lower life form or to be delighted they have all the episodes of the Kardashians. I am betting on the latter (or probably both).

It makes me sad.


OK, the reality is that many of you are someday going to get the Big D (Dementia) or its precursor Cognitive Impairment, especially if you are fortunate enough to live to the age of 65. There are no effective treatments for the Big D. And that there are not a lot of proven medical symptom control methods available either.

Personally, I would have preferred to call this post “kicking dementia in the balls” but then it probably would not get as much attention.

Nonetheless, if you use your remaining cognitive resources well with the help of your friends, healthcare professionals, and your own conviction “not to go down without fighting,” you may be able to continue enjoying a good quality of life for quite a while, and certainly a lot longer than if get terrified by the Big D diagnosis and shut down.

Kick dementia in the balls.

A year or month or week or an hour of a great time with people you love is worth the effort. And they will be inspired by the fact that you are doing everything you can.

Kick dementia in the balls again and again. It will feel a lot better than watching unending re-runs of “I Love Lucy.”

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choices For those with COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT or EARLY dementia

screen_0089 screen_0088 screen_0087 screen_0086I consider John W. Tukey to be the King of Little Data. Give him a couple of colored pencils, the back of a used envelope, and some data and he could bring insight to what you were looking at by using graphic displays, eliminating “bad” data, weighting the findings, and providing charts that would allow you to explain what you were seeing to those who had never been trained in technical fields.

Tukey’s approach to “bad data” (outliers, miscodings, logical inconsistency) and downweighting data points which probably make little sense is what will save the Big Data Scientists from themselves by eliminating the likelihood that a few stupid datapoints (like those I enter into online survey databases when I want to screw them up to protect privacy) will strongly bias group findings. Medians are preferable to means most of the time; unit weighting is often to be preferred over seeing too much in the data and then using optimal (maximum likelihood, generalized least squares) data-fit weighting to further distort it.

Few remember that Tukey was also the King of Big Data. At the beginning of his career, Tukey developed a technique called the Fast Fourier Transform or FFT that permitted fairly slow computing equipment to extract key information from very complex analog data and then compress the information into a smaller digital form that would retain much of the information but not unnecessary detail. The ability to compress the data and then move it over a fairly primitive data transmission system (copper wires) made long distance telephone communications feasible. And later, the same method made cellular communications possible.

Hhmm. More than 50 years ago, Tukey pioneered the view that the way to use “sloppy” big data was to distill the necessary information from it in an imprecise but robust way rather than pretending the data were better because they were bigger and erroneously supported over-fitting statistical models.

Hopefully it will not take another 50 years for the Big Data folks to recognize that trillions of data points may hide the truth and that the solution is to pass out some red and blue pencils and used envelopes. Tukey knew that 50 years ago.

All it “costs” to adopt Tukey’s methods is a little commonsense.

Hhmm, maybe the Tukey approach is not so feasible. Big Data proponents at the current time seem to lack in aggregate the amount of commonsense necessary to implement Tukey’s methods.

Turn off the computers in third grade, pass out the pencils, and let’s teach the next generation not to worship Big Data and developing statistical models seemingly far more precise than the data.

John W Tukey