Cheating Workers Out Healthcare Before It Was Cool

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Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

When most people think of a Hollywood production they think of Warner Bros. or Universal Studios equipped with the sound stages, lights, cameras, props, actors, and crew needed to make a movie. This image was true during the golden age of Hollywood but it has not been the case for decades. In fact, Hollywood has been a gig economy since the 1960s when television put the squeeze on the studios to be more cost efficient.

Today the sounds stages are simply real estate to be rented to any production giving the producers…


The Medieval Project Manager

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Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Garderobes are probably the most overlooked feature of any castle and yet their importance is undeniable. To see them you may have to crane your neck a bit as they are often found protruding from the high walls and ramparts of castles on corbels and are generally mistaken as for portals for archers. Nay, not archers, these holes expel not arrows but poop.


Mastery as an Essential Part of Mental Health

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Coffee Cup Art by the Author

It wasn’t so much the disinterest in everything around me as the anger and belligerence that came with it. Seemingly nothing was perfect and, though quick to forgive, I carried grudges like bandoliers of cartridges for my six shooters of snark.

Sure, I can write that memo for the boss. I’ll just turn off spell check.

This did not serve me well as you can imagine but the hardest part was the feeling of waste. The days slipping by always feeling like I wanted to be doing the next thing on the list instead of what was in front of…


Books change our brains in some surprising ways

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Neurological changes that occur while reading fiction suggest that reading fiction builds empathic thinking, and thus a shift in reading habits could help put the world on a path to peace.

In childhood, we learn a lot from books, but reading does more than moving information into memory. Neuroscience has shown reading changes the way the brain is wired, improving connections between the left and right hemispheres and shifting how facial recognition and holistic visual processing are handled in favor of better verbal memory. Reading increases your knowledge but also makes your brain work more efficiently.

These improvements to the…


Caught in the crossfire of chalk art copyright

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The author with BFF courtesy of the author

Life at Disney was always a bit surreal. Corporate events and team building were generally over the top at every division and Disney Consumer Products was no exception. A happy hour in the courtyard might feature Ratatouille themed Chardonnay, a visit from Mickey with a marching band in tow, or RZA playing DJ. My favorite though, was the sidewalk chalk event (circa 2008–2011).

As you can imagine, any division of Disney has an excellent stable of artists and I was not about the pass up an opportunity to rub chalk and elbows with Jeff Shelly, Rich Tuzon and Nalena Kumar


A call from Senator Harris’ office 2 weeks after Trump took office

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Photo by Gage Skidmore via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The panic and anxiety of the 2016 election took up permanent residence in our minds at the inauguration on January 20, 2017. A week later the Muslim Ban was handed down with chaos and protests erupting at the nation’s airports.

Looking back four years, the terror was real and the fear justified.

Those first days winnowed my friends and family by revealing who would be stepping up for the resistance and who would be silently complicit or worse. The sense of dread was immense but there were moments of doubt about how bad it could get. …


There’s now a helicopter on Mars but that’s not what dropped my jaw. NASA/JPL just successfully completed EDL (Entry, Descent, Landing) for Perseverance. A bright moment in the space program…


A simple word for soaring with eagles

The short, broad wings of the harpy eagle allow it to fly nearly vertical allowing it to attack prey from above and below after patiently waiting hours in the forest canopy. This deadly raptor uses incredibly strong talons to crush large monkeys and sloths.

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Photo by McGill Library on Unsplash

A recent discussion with my “space planning, park ranger, eco-consultant” friend revealed how she was able to see the threatened harpy eagles in their native habitat. I have only seen these amazing birds at the San Diego Zoo. My effort involved walking from the parking lot and paying for…


Pull Around, Asshat!

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Photo by Yuyeung Lau on Unsplash

Given that eventually, all vehicular traffic will eventually be autonomous it has me thinking about those pesky transition periods between technologies. Some are small annoyances like having to upgrade your USB cables, others are more serious and can even be life-threatening. Seriously, how long was it before hands-free phone calls became the norm?

When the horseless carriage first appeared people would shout “Get a horse!” as the puttering contraption left them in a cloud of dust. The two technologies were in conflict to share the same road but at different speeds. The inverse is about to happen when driverless cars…

Paul Coogan

Project Manager, Artist, and Data Visualization/Activist Geek

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