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social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2017

Posts tagged Meaningfulness

I get in trouble when I make mind maps about Donald Trump. This is a mind map about processing repetitive TV cable news (on CNN and MSNBC and FOX) about the most televised story — Donald Tackles the USA and the World — at this point in late April 2017.

Mr Trump is just completing the first 100 days of his Presidency having accomplished less — according to the fact checkers from numerous news organizations — than any President since the index has been tracked from the beginning of Franklin Roosevelt’s Presidency in the 1930s. Mr Trump believes he has accomplished more than any president ever studied in his first 100 days.

I am a lover of news stories where the President gets bashed on TV. In the 1970s I watched (and read about) all the hearings focusing on Richard Nixon and Watergate. In the 1980s I watched huge amounts of TV about Reagan and Iran-Contragate. In the 1990s, I watched the hearings about Bill Clinton and the blue dress and impeachment and not inhaling. Nothing of a comparable nature occurred during either Bush presidency or that of Barack Obama. I almost didn’t know what to do with my spare time.

Now, I am watching numerous hours of TV/video on the major USA news channels (including CNN, MSNBC, Fox, CBS News online, New York Times, Washington Post, and of course the best news outlet for all news worldwide, BBC). And even ESPN has had a big Trump story about star players declining invitations to the White House to meet POTUS.

My dementia has been progressing at an ever increasing speed in a downward spiral during the past months. I remember (recall) less from current events and “work” and daily tasks. When I can retrieve information I do so very S—L—O—W—L—Y. Judgments are tougher, understanding sequences are harder, and writing down what I think is very slow as the length of my current journal entries (and al of the wurds nat spelled wrongly or too bigly) is increasing grately. Handwriting does not come with A spel chkr.

The current trend in cable TV news on MSNBC and CNN and others is to have one-hour shows where a moderator/commentator discusses all of the “important” news of the day with 2-5 different “self-styled” experts ranting from all political persuasions.

7 hours of liberal rantings about Trump is available on MSNBC and to a lesser degree on CNN; Fox News has 7 hours of conservative rantings about how terrible it is that the liberals are ranting about Trump.

I have repeatedly argued that inexpensive (or even free) visual thinking/mind modeling methods can help a person with dementia “rewrite the operating system” on that storage device we call the brain and think better, albeit in a different way.

As I was making the following mind model (AKA mind map) about Trump’s first 100 days yesterday, I was struck by how rapidly I could create this fairly complex model. I think it shows that the intrinsic interests and REPEATED exposures to structured, summary information can be well captured using visual thinking methods by a person who has lived with dementia for more than half a decade after diagnosis. While I understand that 40% of USA voters will find the content WRONG because it is very liberal rather than very conservative, I do propose the hypothesis that developing a fairly complex, fact-based mind map of current news shows the value of mind mapping for someone with dementia basing this conclusion only on my own experience. And it works no matter what you think about Trump.

I hope that as many conservatives as liberals will use these methods to study the facts of issues and their own conclusions and evaluate the completeness of what they know.

Examine your memories and conclusions in mind models. Political leanings and party do not matter because your mind model is for YOU as much as my mind model is for ME.

Should you find my political points to be in error, just use this as a template about what you would like to say about, for example, Hillary Clinton or a Democrat in Congress.

But remember that models like the one can be developed by a person living with dementia like me.

And most importantly, I hope that we — whether your political views are similar or dissimilar to mine — can come to an agreement that cognitive methods for supporting thinking for those with or at risk for dementia belong in the next version of ObamaCare or TrumpCare along with training, support, and respite services for unpaid dementia caregivers and especially COVERAGE OF COMPREHENSIVE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL AMERICANS.

Click on the image to expand it.

Oh … and let’s make sure that no President of any party ever uses the nuclear option. I hope we can all agree on that.

When I started this blog at the end of 2012, one of the first mind maps I presented my values in a coherent way. Of course two years have passed, values evolve, and mind map programs get better as do my skills in using them. When I look back on it, I find it pretty surprising that I was able to put several hundred personally meaningful mind maps on my blog site in only two years. I think that the way that mind maps engaged me over the past two years and (in my humble opinion) allowed me to explore creatively many issues points to the great value of the method of visual thinking.

Here is return visit to a slightly revised, prettier mind map created from that first published two years ago.

Click image to expand.

Some of  My Beliefs  Part 1  G J Huba

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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.

screen_0091 screen_0092

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.

 

Click on image to expand.

Drum roll please …

Mac Mind Map  App Ratings  June 2014  g j huba phd  ✮✮✮✮✮

 

Notes

  1. Most other web sites that rank mind map apps carry advertising from at least several different producers of these programs while I do not. This may or may not explain my greater willingness to differentiate sharply between the apps.
  2. Your idea of what a great mind map app should be may differ from mine resulting in different ratings. Mine are particularly relevant for scientific, health, education, and personal use rather than corporate outline formatting. In fact corporate outline formatting in “mind map” programs does not really produce true mind maps, but most corporate customers do not know the difference. Learn why Buzan-style mind maps will perform far better than the “formatted outline” maps produced by many of the best selling programs before committing to one model or the other.
  3. The programs continuously change (most copy each new version of iMindMap after its release) and my ratings change fairly often.
  4. I communicate with some of the app developers (as well as other independent reviewers) via email. I try not to let these interactions with nice people and arrogant people and people with crummy business models (and crummy customer support) and development geniuses color my ratings.
  5. These ratings apply only to Mac software. I do not use any of these programs on a PC. After 25 years of 40-80 hours of PC use per week, I switched to a real computer and use Macs exclusively.
  6. I will release separate ratings for iPad apps, but in general those programs that are especially good on the Mac tend to be especially good on the iPad. Note that while I do not believe that the Mac version of Inspiration is a particularly good app, I think that the iPad implementation is among the very best.
  7. The apps I review are full commercial versions. I have yet to find a free mind map app that is even close to the best paid apps in quality and usability.
  8. Virtually all of the paid apps have free evaluation periods. Most periods are 30 days which is plenty of time to form your own judgment. Make use of the opportunities provided by the developers and vendors.
  9. And yes, the three programs that I intend to use 90% of the time or more are iMindMap, iMindQ, and iThoughtsX. My use is about 85% iMindMap and 2.5% each of the others. I spread the other 10% of my usage around, often experimenting with other programs just to see if they better fit specific uses or types of users.

This mind map that follows is the same as that above reformatted for “3D” presentation.

Mac Mind Map  App Ratings  June 2014  g j huba phd  ✮✮✮✮✮ 3d

 

If you read this blog regularly you know that I experiment a lot with mind mapping methods and try to analyze how they might be best used to promote active visual learning.

It all really comes down to one conclusion — mind mapping methods help you think better. And active thinking is part of the “real” definition of mind mapping.

A few thoughts. Click on the image to expand.

Image

As of last week, iMindMap 6.2 was the best mind mapping program available from any vendor. As of this week iMindMap 7.0 has blown 6.2 away, making a huge leap forward. The gap between iMindMap and the other mind mapping programs on the market has widened considerably.

iMindMap 7 is much more than a mind mapping program but rather a visual thinking/teaching tool and environment, within which mind maps are a large, but certainly not the only, component. In addition to the best mind maps available, the program can produce flow diagrams, path diagrams, concept maps, visual notes (like sketch notes), and combinations of all of the above.

iMindMap 7 is a visual thinking tool for a complete visual thinking environment. The app expands upon the mind mapping theory of Buzan and presents a much more elaborated environment for visual thinking and visual concept development than has been available before. And, just as importantly, to use apply this theory and use the tools of iMindMap 7 you need not be a “computer wizard,” “a professional mind mapper,” or a long time user of earlier programs and visual thinking theories.

I see the release of this program as the beginning of a period in which visual thinking and visual communication becomes even more important and used. Tony Buzan and Chris Griffiths have done a spectacular job in getting the theory and implementation so far along this path already. I hope they release a new book shortly.

Click the image below to expand and see my formal review. Note that I probably used less than 60 percent of the features of the program in the review map, and there is a lot more to explore in subsequent posts with differing types of information.

iMindMap 7  initial review final

Oh, did I mention that iMindMap has a “presentation mode” which makes PowerPoint obsolete. Here is a video of the review above running in an automatic kiosk mode. There are a number of options for the presentations that can be applied depending upon the type of audience and the map content. And it can be presented in 3D which I chose to do. [For this example, a tiny file size with low resolution optimized for the web was used because the intent is simply to illustrate the feature, not crash the server. Note also that the low resolution does de-emphasize the 3D effect; 3D looks extremely good at HD resolutions. I also included a HD version which may give some servers trouble. Both presentations have the same content.] Click below to start the video (about 3 minutes).

low resolution

high resolution

If you don’t like the timing of the slides or the type of transition or the order, you can easily change these settings and reload the video.

[Footnote: I started programming mathematical algorithms in FORTRAN in 1970, published my first of several computer programs in peer-reviewed journals in 1973, and published an early mathematical algorithm and FORTRAN program in 1984 that was a precursor of what are now called concept maps (under the rubric in statistics of “path diagram” or “structural equations model”). Between 1977 and 1984 I published a large series of “visual mathematical models” of drug abuse etiologies and consequences using the LISREL programming environment. In comparison to all of my former experience with computer usage in real-world applications, this is the finest software application I have used in the 40+ years of my career. I am delighted I have the opportunity to use this app to explain some of my ideas and create new ones.]

THAT (clip from information sheet attached to prescription refill)

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OR THIS (pictures could be added, fonts could be changed, colors could be changed, style could be changed)? [I am NOT advocating any specific design without pilot testing although I tend to like some of the designs near the top and near the bottom better, especially since I believe they will communicate more effectively to all ages but note that this has not been proven. And, note that a professional designer could undoubtedly do a better job on the artistic elements and a neurocognitive specialist would be quite valuable as a reviewer to maximize impact.]

Click on any image to expand through several levels of zooming.

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possible  side effects simple

possible  side effects SIMPLEPIC

possible  side effects winter

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possible  side effectsBOXES

possible  side effectsSIMPLEPC

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These days I carry around a MacBook with a 15 inch retina screen and internal 768GB optical drive. Oh to think that I used to be sure I was in computing heaven a decade ago when I carried around a company state-of-the-art laptop (I always carried the top of the food chain machines as I owned the consulting firm and as the senior consultant was on the road a lot). The circa 2003 Lenovo probably had a 1600 by 1200 screen and probably about a 16GB internal drive.

So these days when I take the retina screen machine home with its enormous 768GB optical drive home, I immediately plug it into a Cinema Display and four external hard drives (2 3TB and a 4TB thunderbolt drives as well as a 2TB firewire 800 drive). 12 terabytes of external storage (the emails of a career and 100,000s of digital pics and many thousands of documents, gigabytes of statistical data and outputs, hundreds of older programs I no longer use, and of course a 100+ movies and 8000+ audio files). I often refer to the the external drives as my digital “brain” (although they do have the individual names of Groucho, Son of Groucho, Harpo, and Chico just like major brain structures have individual names). As I fire up the external drives, my “life” gets reattached to my digital “brain” and I can see many more things at once in multiple windows on the 27 inch screen than you can see on a 15 inch internal screen, even one with a retina (rating).

I note that after I plug in those mega-drives the room gets hotter and I sweat a little. And the noise level goes up many decibels. And I feel a little anxiety.

This week I forgot to plug in the 4 hard drives one evening and did not discover it until 5 hours later at midnight when I wanted to watch the most recent episode of Marvel Agents of Shield (*****, 2 thumbs and a big toe up) in iTunes which stores its files on an external drive. It had been silent in the room all evening (optical drives make no sound as compared to the diesel engines in external drives) and I wasn’t sweating and did not feel any anxiety at all. And since I and not used Aperture all evening to see the old photos of my successes and abject failures, I had not really missed the hard drives for anything that important.

Silence. Just data and information from the last year and the Internet. Silence (well almost since after a while I did stream music from the web a few hours into my sojurn). No big distractions. No multiple (distracting) windows open on the 15 inch monitor. A focus on today.

Hhhhhuuuuuummmmmmmm……..

I think I heard, saw, thought, and felt better that evening without having to confront my whole life in 7 windows all the time.

Digital Silence

A few thoughts about the importance of knowing the theories and prior studies in the content area of the modeling and data collection and data analysis and generation of conclusions.

You can’t model data without knowing what the data mean.

Click on mind map to expand.

Data Scientist

We have had many data science fields in the past 50 years. Among others, the fields include applied statistics, biostatistics, psychometrics, quantitative psychology, econometrics, sociometrics, epidemiology, and many others. The new emphasis on data science ignores content knowledge about the data and their limitations and the permissible conclusions.

We do not need to replace a round wheel with a square one.

See also previous post on Big Data/Data Science adopting the mistakes of Big Pharma.

a HubaMap™ by g j huba phd

Dec 13 2013: I have been experimenting with some formatting. This is the same map content as above, but using iMindMap 7 which was recently released.

Data Scientist sketch

This morning my friend Hans Buskes (@hansbuskes) who gets up six hours earlier than I do (he is six time zones away in the Netherlands) was tweeting about an ancient mind map is a language as yet undeciphered. He mentioned that some computer programs had been run on the ancient manuscript that confirmed that the symbols on it met the criteria for a formal language although the meaning had not yet been deciphered.

This sentence set off a flash in my recently coffee-enhanced brain.

Both I and Hans have been thinking about how to develop syntax and semantics for “writing” in the “language” of mind maps.

As an initial step, why not assemble 500-1000 mind maps that experts agree are exemplary ones from the Bigger Plate archival library and study how their semantic and syntax elements are similar? Scientists have been studying the syntax and semantics of languages for decades (if not centuries) using methods that could be adapted to studying excellent mind maps and developing some guidelines for “what communicates well.”

Coffee is a great thing. I prefer mine American style, in a huge mug, and without sugar or cream. Just turn on the creative juices. (American coffee works a lot better for opening the gates of creativity than that excellent tasting expresso I was drinking in Italy, Spain, and France last week.)

Structural equation models, popularized by Joreskog and Sorbom within their LISREL computer program that solved long-standing mathematical estimation issues, have been recognized by many as the most powerful (or one of few most powerful) statistical model(s) available within the social and health sciences. A combination of concept mapping and mind mapping can quite effectively be used as a direct visual (or theoretical) analog of complex mathematical structural equation models. Such maps can be a good way of communicating the results of the structural equation modeling or in developing the theoretical models that will be tested. And yes, you can test the fit (appropriateness) of the models (diagrams) in a statistically rigorous way.

Yup, you heard here first (although path-like or combined mind map/concept models have been around for at least 45 years and I published hundreds of these in the late 70s though the 1990s in peer-reviewed social science and methodology journals and others simultaneously and subsequently have done the same). I am going to blog a LOT on this in the next few months. Mind and concept maps can be directly and formally simultaneously assessed if there are appropriate data available. Of course, such data are hard to come by, but not as hard as many believe.

The best way to draw concurrent concept and mind maps models is #iMindMap (using the flow chart option along with a mind map for a hybrid model). In structural equation modeling, a mind map would represent the estimation of measurement model parameters while the concurrent concept map would represent the structural model.

Mind Maps + Concept Maps can be statistically and concurrently estimated from appropriate data by Structural Equation Models.

Really.

Needs a lot of data, though. Current Macs and PCs are finally fast enough to do the statistical calculations in a notebook computer.

This is Mind Mapping 3.0 at its very best.

Much more on this topic is coming including a lot of demonstrations that mind maps and concept maps can be easily developed as a consequence of very rigorous mathematical model. And tested for goodness-of-fit.

[aaaahhh what the hell … While I am tempted to add a lot of equations, numerical analysis, and map pictures to this post, I will not do so and not mix up the media and message. This is the pilot. The series is coming this summer.]

The following generic sample illustrates what the hybrid models look like.

Constructs are measured by indicators. Indicators are usually imperfect and can be corrected in the statistical modeling. The relationship between constructs and indicators is shown in the mind map.

The constructs themselves may be related in a causal or noncausal way. The concept map shows the relationships that are present as determined by the statistical modeling.

Click on image to increase size.

Topic (correlations among constructs)

A significant number of individuals are drawing mind maps with computer programs. Others still draw them by hand.

I think we need to start calling computerized mind mapping by the term computer-assisted mind mapping as in computer-ASSISTED-mind mapping or CAMM. Unless you let the computer randomly draw the mind map from a bank of words and pictures, the program is ASSISTING you.

People are responsible for designing effective mind maps from important, valid, reliable, valid information. A good program assists in formatting the ideas. The best of the programs give you many options about how to draw the map and then produced nice artistic results that you can use as the first approximation for drawing the map.

I find it quite interesting that in spite of Tony Buzan’s strong promotion of rules for effective mind mapping, his own company’s program (ThinkBuzan, iMindMap) allows you to draw maps that clearly violate his “rules” (really best practices). I believe that ThinkBuzan decision is an excellent one: mind mapping continues to evolve with technology and development techniques.

The emphasis should be on “computer-ASSISTED.” No matter what type of mind map you wish to draw, and with any content, you are the BOSS responsible for design, valid information, and concept. Your trustworthy assistant fills in colored lines, draws curves, can rearrange the branches for optimal white space, and can even check your spelling.

  • ARTIST + ASSISTANT
  • DEVELOPER + ASSISTANT
  • SCIENTIST + ASSISTANT
  • BOZO + ASSISTANT

The key concept here is computer-ASSISTED mind mapping.

Please click on the image to zoom.

camm

I’ve asked myself which of my skills were the most important in a senior role providing consulting and executive leadership of a small (<30 employees) consulting firm. We specialized in evaluating healthcare and socialcare programs for high need, disenfranchised groups who are often excluded from health services. I do think, however, that these are general skills which fit about every content area for a senior consultant expected to make significant creative contributions to the client organization.

It is important to know that the skills and technique specified are designed to optimize the value of the work and not to maximize profit to the consultant. There are other processes one might use to maximize profit.

After my mind map, I included some notes I made about the topic as I was thinking it through.

The five mind map diagrams start at the most abstract level and then each unveils part of the map showing the full detail of that section. The final map is fully unveiled.

I’ve gotten the reaction “you must be lying to me, it can’t be that simple” when I have provided conclusions and advice to others. All the while my business partner was sitting in the meeting alternating between having a panic attack because I was giving away the company secrets and falling off the chair laughing because the recipient of the information did not know to enough to realize that it was very hard to not over-think, cut through the distractions, and get to the bottom line when nobody (including you) knows the answer to the questions asked.

It’s simple. Just build the confidence that you can always fill a blank page with a great answer and implementation plan, build a safety net to avoid a major mistake, and use successive approximation in a resource-limited environment. It took me a long time to figure all of this out. It’s hard but do-able.

Live long and prosper (going where no-one has dared to go before).

Please click on the image to zoom.

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senior creative  consulting  2 skills and  1 technique

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Appendix: Notes (from iPad)

two skills

blank paper

safety net

feedback circle

Another reprint from my 2008-2010 blog. We’ll just change the title a little to that given for this post.

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… and, having planted that many wild flower seeds in 2009, there is no reason to plant any more; I just let the flowers reseed themselves naturally in the normal process of renewal and expansion.

FractalN4A

My meadow.

Lawley and Maxwell’s book on factor analysis legitimized the psychometric development of factor analysis as a “real” statistical model. Although most now praise them for their breakthrough in deriving maximum likelihood estimators for the model parameters, I think the following sequence of photos shows Lawley and Maxwell’s great insight and most important contribution, received at the time as general heresy by the high priests of factor analysis.

I read this book around 1975. The paragraph I underlined and typed on the cover is one that significantly altered my career: I learned then, and further in the early 1980s, that statistical theories of psychological processes, at their very best, are only weak approximations to reality. At the time lots of psychometricians were giving their professional lives to determine if one blindly empirical factor rotation method was better than another since after all they were different by 3 percent and everyone had just “discovered” Joreskog and Sorbom’s work on structural equation modeling. I never spent more than 50 percent of my research time between 1977 and 1984 on psychometrics and statistics — the rest of the time went into modeling adolescent drug abuse behaviors and their precursors. In 1984 it was time to move on to 90 percent of my work being devoted to real psychological and social issues.

As for statistical-psychology theories, the fact that

  • it’s new
  • it’s hot
  • you can publish it a lot

does not sway me anymore.

Please click on the pictures to zoom.

Image

lawley maxwell 3

NOT

mantra of the  failed  academic researcher

I guess it’s just me … I search Google for sites with “psychology mind maps” and I get lotsa pages returned. Of course very FEW of these pages let you know where the ideas, recommendations, and organization comes from. That makes me pretty pissed off.

I have a simple rule for evaluating psycho-pop, psycho-babble, psycho-art, and psycho-schmaltz: if the author (artist, developer) cannot prove to me that the information came from a credible source and is being communicated by a credible source, I assume it is psycho-fantasy and just walk (actually run) away.

Here’s a few things to ask about before you go ahead and change your job, spouse, running shoes, or haircut because somebody gives you some magic MBTI letters, a number on a test published in a self-magazine, or advice that must be right because it appears in a pretty mind map.

I love great psychology content conveyed in an easy to understand manner. I hope I produce some. Most do not produce anything except profits. Know what you are buying (and staking your life on) when you get information from a book, TV, the Internet, text, or a graphic.

Please click on the diagram to zoom in.

Don't Believe a Psychology (Self Help) Mind Map Unless it Tells You

Irv Oii is known to many international news organizations and researchers as a star data journalist. Being a home worker (although home may be the UK, Ohio, the Middle East, Central Africa, Hong Kong, or Antartica) and a fairly reclusive person, nobody seems to have met Irv. Some speculate that he might be a Jewish Asian-American. Others believe Irv is short for Irvelina, a Russian immigrant physician who went to Ohio (or was it Ojai, California) when the Soviet science programs collapsed and turned into the lower funded Russian collaborative efforts with the EU and USA. The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the closing of her laboratory in Minsk. Some even think Irv Oii is an acronym.

Irv is thus an enigma and no pictures of her/him seem to exist. An artist’s conception (mine) based on the writings and consultations of Irv Oii on healthcare breakthroughs is shown below. My belief is that a portrait of Irv should hang over the desk of every data journalist and researcher.

Please click the image to zoom.

Irv Oii

Click on mind map to expand.

academia and  healthcare  big data

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Please click on the graphics to zoom.

it's program evaluation,  not research, dummy

 

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evaluationmap

researchmap

Big data this, big data that. Wow. At the end we will have better ways to sell underwear, automobiles, and “next day” pills (although in the latter case politics and religion might actually trump Amazon and Google). Blind empiricism. Every time you click a key on the Internet it goes into some big database.

“Little data” — lovingly crafted to test theories and collected and analyzed with great care by highly trained professionals — has built our theories of personality, social interactions, the cosmos, and the behavioral economics of  buying or saving.

Big data drives marketing. Little data drives the future through generalizable theory.

Click on the figure below to zoom.

in praise of little data

If you can tell us something about each of the areas listed below (when relevant and if the information is available , your mind map is probably quite significant. Click map to zoom.

[Baker's Dozen of] Ways to Improve Mind Maps Purported to Present Expert Professional Content

The Program Evaluator's Tool Kit

This analysis, that analysis, yesterday’s analysis, tomorrow’s analysis, Uncle Izzy’s analysis … is there anything that is a not a form of analysis? Create your own bullshit anagram and bullshit detector. And then see how well it applies various politicians, political claims, the cable news stations, and others. You’re on your way to become a walking, human bullshit analyzer.

So without much further ado, a new form of analysis. And a make your own anagram template.

bullshit analysis

This is the first of a series of posts I am making about program-organizational (and individual) evaluation. Much of what I will discuss is not in the mainstream of traditional program evaluation methodology.

My approach is different. It works.

In this first section the point is — obviously — that evaluation is iterative and nonlinear. This led to my first model that EVALUATION IS DETECTIVE WORK several decades ago. [Perhaps that explains my current obsession with all versions of Sherlock Holmes, whether in the original, present London, present New York, or by Iron Man.] At any rate, it seems ELEMENTARY to me that instead of thinking of program evaluation as a linear research experiment with a fixed design (a metaphor that works at best imperfectly), it is more important to treat evaluation as detective work where good rules of evidence must be followed and the evaluator is at fault if all outcomes are not found.

My initial development of the Detective Model in 1992 came from my observation that in much traditional program evaluation the evaluator applies a flawed “research” experimental model and the insensitivity of this approach means that a program looks worse than it is because the evaluation methodology is in error. Who pays for this problem? The program, of course, since the evaluator walks away saying that the “program sucks” and not that the evaluator screwed up. In the Detective Model, applied iteratively and nonlinearly, the evaluator and the program are partners, and it is clear what the responsibilities and level of success each has.

Seems ELEMENTARY to me.

As usual click on the image to zoom.

Evaluation is an Iterative, Non-linear Process

We have sequestration and a US Congress that refuses to develop a realistic compromise US federal budget and long-term economic plan. Never one at loss for ideas, I propose that the US Congress initiate the following silent auction. As absurd as my proposal is, it seems no more absurd than the ideas expressed on cable news each night by our “striking” employees (the US Congress). Before starting this auction, I prefer that the Members of Congress and POTUS sit down once and for all and do their jobs in managing the economic future of the USA. Otherwise, they are going to have to conduct something like this auction (currently going on in a limited and inefficient manner through lobbyists and Cabinet Level administrators).

Click image to expand.

USA Auction

My lack of admiration for the inability of the US Congress and the President to resolve budget issues in a way that will preserve the economic recovery, provide needed services, and balance the budget should be fairly obvious.

What the current sequestration comes down to is that 535 individuals in Congress who make between $180,000 and $240,000 per year, have exceptional health and pension plans, and have $4,000,000 (tax-free) expense accounts that can be used as needed without audit, are simply not giving the tax payer a very going return for their generous salaries and perks.

This needs to stop. If these folks cannot do their job and pass a compromise budget that meets the goals of long-term economic recovery, high priority services, and debt reduction, we should fire and replace them in 2014. After all, the fact that discussions seem to have ended means that 535 well-compensated public employees have decided to thumb their nose as those who employ them and spend their energy appearing on cable news channels or working on their memoirs or using their expense accounts to get into trouble. No business would tolerate such behavior.

If Congress refuses to work on a compromise they should feel the pain. After all, 10s of millions of Americans are currently feeling it. Every day.

sequestration pain

Over 35 years I facilitated hundreds of professional groups from 6 to 200 in size.

Here’s a few things I learned. [I did not put “have a thick skin” in the formal presentation.]

Click diagram to expand.

facilitating professional groups

Why would 536 (POTUS + Congress) people (mostly white men) play Russian Roulette with world’s health-education-welfare-economy? [circle all that apply]

a) they are arrogant (specify “they” ____________)

b) they are stoopid (specify “they” ____________)

c) they are mean (specify “they” ____________)

d) they have no ability to imagine a harmonious future (specify “they” ____________)

e) they love their face time on cable TV news (specify “they” ____________)

f) John Boehner made them do it (specify “them” ____________)

g) POTUS made them do it (specify “them” ____________)

h) Palpatine made them do it (specify “them” ____________)

g) all of the above

h) what is sequestration?

i) other comments:___________________________________________________

*****

Or as Yoda would say — Jedi not are they

Palpatine

The annotations on the mind map below listing my contact information were made with Napkin for the Mac. a fairly inexpensive app quickly mastered. Easy to make just about any image (graph, chart, pdf, photograph) — whether created by you or another individual — communicate more effectively. After all, who hasn’t drawn on a napkin or the back of an envelope or a photograph or an illustration in a book? [I’m trying to help you refrain from marking up the expensive original of one of those Ed Tufte books or create some new content suitable for presenting or posting.]

Click on the image to zoom.

Napkin 4