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

Posts tagged Quirky

I have been a HUGE fan of the Olympics since I was a very little kid. In 1984 I got to go to the Olympic events in Los Angeles every day for two weeks, on many days with my father. That was the year that the Soviet Union boycotted the games because the USA had boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Heck, I thought it was great — the USA and East Germany (who came) won all of the gold medals! Months earlier when local pundits in Los Angeles said Los Angelenos were too apathetic to purchase expensive Olympic tickets especially with the Soviets and most of the Eastern Bloc boycotting as it would not be a real sporting event, I had bought as many tickets for the “finals” as I could get my hands on. Later I sold the extra tickets as Los Angeles fell in love with the games. I made so much money that the expensive tickets I had bought for the entire family of 7 that we used ended up were effectively free since the profits covered the cost of the tickets we used. Street enterprise at its best. My tickets became worth more because the Soviets didn’t come as all Americans became Olympic fans the year we won all the golds.

Winning the race to live well with dementia is like running the 10K race at the Olympics. Everybody has to pace themselves at the beginning so that they can learn about their opponents. In the final stages of the race they speed up and sprint their fasted the last 200 meters.

A mind model of the dementia race strategy is shown below. Click the image to expand it.

I think I am winning my race to live life to its fullest while having dementia. I’m getting ready to claim that gold medal. You can win your race too. Think about what you are doing and strategize like a 10K runner. Learn all you can in the beginning and then speed up later as your new knowledge kicks in.







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.


Big Data (in service to the NSA) wants to be able to document what you do and when and where and with whom. All of the current databases that companies and public agencies maintain can now be tightly linked to get a pretty good profile of any individual.

But, these models of what people will do when you ask them to buy a DVD of Thor 2 or a suit from Brooks Brothers, are actually fairly dumb brute force computer algorithms that break down when certain types of problematic data are fed into them.

Hhhhmmm. Some thoughts below in the mind map. Click the image twice for a full expansion.


I drew this mind map in 2011 when I was disgusted with the lack of a organized process to develop a national consensus on what was needed for meaningful healthcare reform. I think this as true in 2013 as it was in 2011. Stylistically, I could redraw this map better now than in 2011. But everybody has to start somewhere, so I resisted that impulse.

I would note that some (all) of these scientist “types” are found in the US Congress (whether scientists or not).

Everybody in Congress wants the peanuts and bananas and too many act like King Kong.

Also note that I have been on consensus panels with all of these types.

Scientific Consensus Panel on Healthcare at the Zoo

Very useful for forms, templates, novelty, and kidz. Example done with #imindmap on an iPad. Click on image to enlarge.

Computer Assisted Mind Mapping with Handwritten Labels

Steps to hand label the parts of the mind map (in iMindMap)

  1. make a branch without a label
  2. click on the branch to open the drawing app
  3. write/print the word and click done
  4. when back to main mind map window, click drawing, make bigger, rotate as required
  5. tweak the branch by curling it around the handwritten label

Sept 9 2013: Since this was posted, Hans Buskes has also demonstrated the technique of using handwriting in his incomparable way. And he graciously dedicated the map about iOS 7 to me! [Now if only Dr Buskes’ endorsement would let me get on the Apple web site to download iOS 7!]



  • I sometimes use the words your kids hear hourly (partially, but only partially, concealed under the scratch sounds) on your local Pop/HipHop radio stations.
  • I sometimes discuss topics often portrayed but not named on Prime Time broadcast television.
  • I sometimes use the slang words for fornication and excrement (as applied to government, especially in the USA) that your children probably learned at home or in first grade. They probably learned to use these words to describe government from you.
  • I often use rare words and phrases like LEARN, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, READ, and NEWSPAPER. Your child might ask you what these words mean.
  • I make it clear that even if you don’t like it, you need to EAT VEGETABLES, GO TO COLLEGE AND GRAD SCHOOL, VOTE, RESPECT DIVERSITY, EXERCISE, and stop worrying about Kardashians, Bieber, and Miley. I frequently endorse Lady GaGa, Miles Davis, John Lennon, and the Swedish Millenium (Dragon Tatoo) Film series as well as Yo-Yo Ma and Chris Thile. And although I think Obamacare is flawed (in that it does not go far enough), I continue to strongly endorse it.
  • There may be discussion and pictures of the human breast, vagina, and penis was well as brain scans, tooth decay, politicians, the effects of smoking, the destruction of the environment, and income disparities and poverty. I avoid the use of words like boob (for politicians and the breast), prick (for politicians and the penis), and asshole (for politicians and the anus), although your children may be more familiar with the slang than the proper anatomical terms or politicians’ names and responsibilities.
  • I support all religions that respect diversity and humanity and do no try to harm or forcibly convert those who practice other faiths.
  • Research has “proven” that gender, sexual orientation, race-ethnicity, skin color, place of origin, and organized religious group are NOT correlated with human kindness, human intelligence, human ethics, human fairness, human acceptance of other viewpoints, the search for peace, and the willingness to experience new cultures, knowledge, and friendships. The only people I rant about are those in the US government because observation make it clear that many (but I hasten to add not all) US politicians do not aspire to the ideals of kindness, intelligence, ethics, fairness, diversity, and peace. I also scream about lack of healthcare, mental health services, food, safety, peace, education, and respect for all groups in all countries. And I believe that all abusers of children, elders, minorities, and women should be housed in a special corner of Hell next to those who build or use weapons of mass destruction against anyone and those leaders who have attempted “ethnic cleansing.”

Please plan accordingly.

I like to tell random stories under the assumption that at the end the lessons can all be tied together (after all I am telling all of the stories).

Here is a summary in visual form which is mainly how I think these days ..

Thoughts A Few Watts at a Time

reformatted June 2014 in iMindMap 7.1


Annually I used to give a presentation to graduate students in clinical psychology (the “I hate data, I hate statistics” crowd) at a famous psychology professional school about how to research and write a doctoral dissertation. The number one question everyone had was (nnoooo, not how to do good research or how to pick an important topic) how long it takes to write a doctoral dissertation. All of the dissertation advisors in the room with their students would wince and make rude sounds. I would respond “I know the exact answer and it is 1200 hours (30 hours a week for 40 weeks).” And the students would all have relieved smiles. Then I would say, “but you cannot count the hours you spend kvetching, bitching, whining, going out for coffee with your friends, or on the phone talking about your dissertation blues.” (This was in the days before Twitter and Facebook or I would have included those too.) I think this applies to all writing and other creative work; the “kvetch factor” determines how successful you are. Control kvetching and it is pretty easy.

People in most work situations often waste a lot of time going out for coffee and kvetching. In the company I owned, I purchased an $1800 “grind and freshly brew every cup of coffee machine,” unlimited bags of gourmet coffee, expensive tea bags, a small refrigerator stocked with every kind of soda available, a designer water cooler,  a microwave oven, unlimited popcorn to nuke, and fresh fruit on occasion when somebody complained that all theew was to eat was popcorn. All were available at no cost to the employees. The designer coffee machine paid for itself in a few weeks. Happier folks, more conversations among employees (good, they eventually lead to collaboration and creativity), more team building, more cross-fertilization of ideas and skills. Of course, you could still go out to Starbucks if you wanted to. Almost nobody did since we had all the Starbuck’s coffee you could drink in the office for free (the machine also made expresso, lattes, and all of the other trendy coffee drinks). Visiting clients liked the break room a lot too.

When employees, collaborators, clients, and others would call, email, or show up unannounced at my office door in a state of high agitation, anxiety, or general “lost in spaceness,” I found that reminding them that we were just social scientists and were not “building a nuclear weapon” almost immediately relieved tension and worry. Sadly, some folks are building and using weapons of mass destruction this week.

In the past 30 years, folks have always talked about innovation and creativity as coming from software and hardware. I always found that real advances  come from people-ware (which initially surprised a hi-tech guy like me). Social media is good, telephone calls are better, face-to-face meetings of stakeholders are best. And lots of time needs to be provided for a nonlinear process to occur, re-occur, and grow. Instead of teaching students and new employees how to better avoid people with technology reducing interactions and directives by email never checked to make sure it WAS actually received, we should be teaching them how to work effectively with other creative people by actually sitting down together and hammering out differences and developing new strategies for cooperation. It’s so retro 1960s that it could be the next trend.

Most people work hard to develop products that are so new and fancy that they are “bleeding edge” or so advanced they scary ordinary people. In our company, I never sought to be at the bleeding edge. Rather, any time new bleeding edge methods were developed, I would immediately try to develop the “12 months after the bleeding edge” products that people could use now and understand because of my explicit assumption that there is not an awful lot of use for methods that nobody can use! There is a lot of use for methods that somebody with a reputable track record had simplified (but NOT dumbed-down) and explained. Being at the bleeding edge often means your fingers get cut; simplification and training make the use of the tool a way to discover and communicate.

Office toys are a great thing. Over the years in my company we had a huge blow up clown you could kick when everything was not going perfectly (expressing verbally what had gone wrong and encouraging those within ear shot to suggest solutions). Games (the weekly contest on how many blue m&ms were in the packages being taken from the company chocolate stash; yes we had free chocolate some days, too) helped build communication. There was a talking and rockin’ parrot toy in my office often turned on during meetings.

We weren’t developing thermonuclear devices by email; we were counting and enjoying blue m&ms.

This afternoon I went to the local Panera and paid by credit card. My bank declined my charge of $4.82. I figured it was the magnetic strip on the card which had failed or that the new trainee using the cash register may have made a mistake. She ran the card three more times and it was rejected. Then I got four text messages from the bank saying that they are rejected my charges. To text me, they used my phone number.

I called. They had put a hold on my card because they had some questions about my charges from the prior few days. The red flag event was that I had made an earlier charge of $9.65 at Panera about eight hours before. Their computer program was not smart enough to figure out that it was not unreasonable for someone to have breakfast at 6:30am at a Panera in Durham and then walk into a Panera in Chapel Hill later in the day with 30 minutes to kill and had a coffee (and a Danish I probably should not have had) while I played with my iPad on their free wireless connection. The computer also questioned the $1 charge at a gas station this afternoon (which the human representative immediately recognized as the established practice of gas stations opening charge lines with their automated payment systems of $1 when you swipe your card and then next day putting a $92 charge on the card for filling the tank). I was also asked if the payment made on the account was one I had made (I asked the customer service rep if she thought that if someone had paid a bill for me that I would tell her it was an erroneous transaction and she laughed for a long time) as well as a $71 charge to a software company outside the US.

They had freaked out because they could not reach me by phone at three numbers that were old ones not active (I know they have my current number because they sent me texts at it and same bank sometimes calls about my other accounts at the cell phone I never turn off and which has a voice mailbox). Of course, if they did not have a no reply text address, I could have responded to the four texts they sent.

Predictive models have been around for a decade or more in banks as they attempt to identify fraud and protect themselves. The episodes I have with my bank about every 2-3 months illustrate what happens when somebody blindly runs predictive analytic programs through big datasets without using some commonsense to guide the modeling process. Just because anyone can buy a $100,000 program from IBM or others for developing predictive analytics does not mean that the model that comes out of the Big Data and expensive program makes any sense at all.

Or that the NSA or FBI or CIA or Google or Amazon models make much sense as they probe your private information.

If a computer predictive system is going to think that somebody is committing credit card fraud because they purchase two cups of coffee at the same national restaurant chain in a day, we are in big trouble.

The bottom line is that Big Data models are going to have to be regulated before some idiot accidentally turns on Sky Net.

Or maybe the problem is that the NSA or FBI or CIA or Google has done it already.


There have been several new “blank canvas” Mac apps released recently. The main three are Scapple (A+), Delineato Pro (A-) and Mindix (still in early development). These programs are not mind mapping ones. They are very simple ways of cutting and pasting snippets, links, pictures, paragraphs and other information onto a large canvas or sheet of paper like those we used to decorate the walls during meetings.

The mind map below shows features of the various blank canvas apps.

Scapple and Delineato are both highly recommended.

ADDITION March 2, 2014: Big Hairy Goal has recently been released for the Mac and is comparable to Mindix but much more highly developed. I consider Big Hairy Goal worth rating A.

blank canvas  apps not  mind maps



I wrote the original version of this post a few months ago, kind of tongue-in-cheek. Little did I realize that it would be the page/post most often accessed. (What do I know, I thought more people would rather look at pictures of my dog.)

These are the reformulated (actually reformatted) laws of mind mapping. All of this work, of course, falls within the more general framework of Tony Buzan, who made the seminal contributions to modern mind mapping.

I’ve now taken this whole business seriously and formulated my six laws as a real grown-up mind map. (I also took a few pictures of my dog off the web site.)

Drum roll please.

The first figure can be clicked a couple of times for various degrees of zooming.

huba's laws of  mind mapping
The next version of the mind map is annotated. Hover or click on the symbols to show comments about various portions of the map.

Appendix: Handwritten


Original Post

Ok, I know, kind of arrogant.

Yes and no. I do not care if you use circus colors, this year’s fashion colors, san serif fonts with kerning, cartoons, photographs, and one word per node.

More than anyone else I have ever encountered, I really give a damn about where the information in your mind map comes from. And data validity and reliability. And peer review of the map principles. And your smarts in putting together a valid and useful summary.

Wow. There needs to be an emperor, not just new clothes.

Without further ado, my self-named laws of mind mapping. It’s don’t mean a thing if the conclusions don’t swing. And, content IS Queen.

No, I haven’t lost “it” and this is not a science fiction movie.

With the unleashing of big data, big computing, big temptations, and big greed, it is going to be real tempting to develop a George Huba (or Bill Smith or Mary Doe or heaven forbid, a George Bush) computer model that can fairly accurately predict from my lifetime experiences whether I will buy a new car next year (and what type and in which cost range and maybe from which car dealer), purchase or sell a home, shift from converse to adidas sneakers, become emotionally distressed if I do not have chocolate, and purchase Apple stock. Or run a simulation of me as the CEO of a particular company to determine if I get the job. Or look at my medical history and determine whether it is likely that my grandchildren will have each of 20 expensive diseases that no insurer wants to touch.

Already the IRS runs programs to estimate the likelihood I cheated on my income taxes, Amazon runs programs to estimate the likelihood I will purchase certain books and socks before or after the December holidays, and my credit card company runs models to determine whether it is likely or not that I purchased shoes while on a business trip (yup, they once froze my credit card because their computer model says I only buy sneakers).

OK, so the accuracy of the big data scientists is only something like 20-50% now. What do you think it will be when your book purchasing history is integrated with your job history, income, ice cream purchases, pharmaceutical purchases, and BMI? And then fine tuned with the grade you got in college English, chemistry, or psychology; whether you had a hiking or a beach vacation; if you purchased (used) sunscreen and had a history of purchasing sun hats; the diseases that all four of your grandparents and parents had at different times in their lifetimes. And whether your car is more than 3 years old. And what do you think it will be when we create a generation of data scientists willing to capitalize on huge data to build such models for salaries that will approach those of professional athletes and rock stars?

Ten years from now, the computer models produced of selected individuals will make Mark Zuckerberg, the Google guys, and Jeff Bezos look like rank amateurs in profiling.

[Oh, and by the way while writing this post Google knows that I looked up Mark Zuckerberg’s name and the spelling of adidas.]

I want to tell anyone that wants to develop a mathematical, computer model of me (or my behavior, beliefs, attitudes, skills, history, and future intentions) to cease and desist. Or fuck off.

Which raises the questions … Do I own the copyright (patent, trademark) to my own life? [And if I do, what are the limits and will violations of those laws by a number of countries be ignored?]

This is not so far-fetched. I spent my whole life becoming the person I am. Does anybody have the right to take all of the big data about me and distill my life down to formulae and algorithms that will explain my past and current behavior and predict what I will do in the future? Should people be allowed to model individuals, I fear that the suicide rate will go up dramatically as people find out how much these models can be used to control them.

As a psychologist, I spent my career studying people so that we might better understand their fears and concerns, help them better use their full potential, become happier, control their own aggressive or violent tendencies, and generally become the people THEY WANTED to be. And I, and no other ethical psychologist, struck out with the intent to model the behaviors of others so well that the resulting models could be sold to governments and corporations.

Big and huge data, data scientists, companies, and governments need to be prohibited from violating the rights of individuals to “own” their individual lives. If we ever let others “own” our individual identities, we will have crossed into new territory from which there is no return. The technology is almost there to create such individual mathematical models.

I was endowed by my creator to own the copyright, patents, and trademarks of my own life… and to answer for what I chose to do with that intellectual property (free will). I choose not to sell my soul to the devil.

A few more thoughts are in the mind map below.

Click on the diagram to zoom.

copyright patent my life

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



Please click on the graphics to zoom.

it's program evaluation,  not research, dummy





A key part of the television science fiction series Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek are the machine “races” Cylons (“toasters” or robots in BSG who develop “human” bodies to house the electronics) and Borg (androids who assimilate new species and technology into their race in Star Trek series starting with New Generation).

People who want to be part machines (like the guy at the next table in the restaurant who can’t put the iPhone down from his ear long enough to acknowledge that his kids exist) are pretty common these days. Does the iPhone want to be partly human? By iPhone 9 it undoubtedly will be.

I write this as I get ready to hook up a blood pressure cuff and fitbit to my iPhone 5.

Veal in machine oil sauce. A cuisine whose time is coming.


There are a number of things that can be done to cut the cost of healthcare while, at the same time, freeing doctors and others to do their jobs better. These improvements cost almost nothing to implement [if all of the constituencies and politicians do not compete to be King Kong].

Visiting legislator who stumbled across this web page? Here’s your chance to act like a grown-up and represent the people of the world, not drug companies nor major research universities nor individual “researcher” egos and retirement funds.

Click on images to expand.[almost free] strategies to improve healthcare

Cartoon Rabbit - Giving A Thumbs Up




Sketchnote Example: My Predictions of Changes in the Field of Psychology Over The Next 20 Years


This is a review of Simple Diagrams 2 for the Mac. Incredible program, fairly priced. Mac only which is a problem since this program would be absolutely indispensable on an iPad or iPhone. I use this program a lot.

The following review was “written” in SimpleDiagrams2.

Click on the diagrams to expand.

advantages ok sketchnotes




sketch mind map

Introduction to Sketchnotes

Introduction to Sketchnotes

advantages ok sketchnotes

I always look forward to the release of many Apple app updates on Saturday morning with anticipation and fear. At times these updates (really bug-fixes of not-acknowledged problems that should have been initially discovered through enough testing before release) provide useful new methods. At times they introduce a whole new set of bugs to frustrate you, hone your work-around skills, and make you look forward to the next updates.

I guess developers who sell millions of copies of small apps that replicate all of the functionality of another developer’s apps do not feel the responsibility to release a bug-free product after a lot of beta testing. Perhaps this lack of regard for the customer is because a programmer who ignored doing sufficient beta testing therefore releasing buggy and bloated software that probably wasted a year of my professional life went on to become the richest person in the world and pretend that all he ever wanted to do was to solve those six world problems that are simple enough for him to understand.

The well publicized “generosity” of the Gates Foundation is really not that; Gates is simply repaying with no interest a few cents on each dollar taken from the world as excessive profits by a monopoly and the waste of the world’s resources in the loss of billions of hours. Bill Gates should be severely criticized, not lionized for his charitable work; it is a tiny distraction from a life of greed and shirking responsibility for the products you sell. I certainly hope the little guys who “only” make a few million dollars from simple apps will not look to Gates as a role model.

Software  Updates and  Bill Gates'  Legacy

Measure, Find Relationships, Communicate

image image

image image
Ask the Big Questions and Study How the Answers Relate to One Anotherimage

Decode Events and Naturally Occurring Data

image image

Examine in Detail



Find Patterns

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