New Bookmarks
Year 2002 Quarter 2:  April 1-June 30 Additions to Bob Jensen's Bookmarks
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

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Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
This search engine may get you some hits from other professors at Trinity University included with Bob Jensen's documents, but this may be to your benefit.

For date and time, try The Aggie Digital Clock ---

You can read about our August 13 all-day workshop (accounting education technologies and online learning) from Dennis Beresford, Amy Dunbar, Nancy Keeshan, Susan Spencer, and Bob Jensen at .  To this list of speakers, Susan Spencer has been added.  She will talk about her experiences designing learning alternatives for hearing and sight impaired students in her online economics courses.

You can read about our August 14 half-day workshop (Accounting for Intangibles and Internet Reporting: Teaching Modules That Can Be Plugged Into Accounting Courses, Auditing Courses, and Electronic Commerce Courses) from Gerald Trites and Bob Jensen at 

Bob Jensen's Dance Card
Some of My Planned Workshops and Presentations --- 

The August 13 and 14 CPE courses of the American Accounting Association have been posted at 

If you are coming to San Antonio, you may be interested in my welcome links at 

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Choose a Date Below for Additions to the Bookmarks File

June 30, 2002     June 04, 2002     

May 15, 2002     May 10, 2002      

April 30, 2002     April 22, 2002     April 10, 2002    


June 30, 2002

 Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on June 30, 2002
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

If you are coming to San Antonio, you may be interested in my welcome links at

Quotes of the Week

Is there an analogy between atomic bomb scientist Werner Heisenberg (Germany in 1940) and CPA Joe Berardino (Arthur Andersen CEO in 2001)?
(See the John Lienhard quoted passage below.)

One nation, under greed, with stock options and tax shelters for all.
Proposed revision of the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance

An IRS study released this week shows a growing gap between figures reported to investors and figures reported for tax income. With all the scrutiny on accounting practices these days, the question is being asked - are corporations telling the truth to the IRS? To investors? To anyone?

There are corporate executives so poor that they only have money.

The accounting profession's self-regulatory system was caught in the cross-hairs of a GAO report issued this week at the request of Representative John Dingell. Limitations were highlighted in the report of "a system that is fragmented, is not well-coordinated, and has a disciplinary function that is widely perceived to be ineffective." 

It's not always egg-heads that do well on IQ tests. Allegedly Marilyn Monroe had a higher IQ than Einstein! But what is it that makes us intelligent? Are we 'dumbing down' or getting 'brainier'? Find out in ‘the science of intelligence’.
The Science of Intelligence from the BBC (See Below)

Many states identify administrators and professors at public colleges as state employees, potentially exposing their letters, documents, and e-mail to public scrutiny under freedom-of-information laws. Some institutions have begun to update policies to safeguard personal e-mail or warn professors to be careful what they write. Open-records laws don't specify clearly whether professors' research notes, lecture notes, or regular mail would qualify as public records, but most states assume that state employees' e-mail messages are public records, even when the law is ambiguous. Employees at private colleges can be exposed as well, although not through open-records laws; a person would need to obtain a court order or a subpoena, requiring involvement in litigation against the college. 

Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 June 2002 (sub. req'd)  (The quotation was forwarded by Jagdish Gangolly)

There is no road to freedom, freedom is the road.
Mahatma Gandhi

A Quote from FAS 123 History (1993)
Dennis R. Beresford and James J. Leisenring came to the Red Lion Inn on a hot August morning with a simple goal: to explain a change in an accounting rule. Before it was over they were lucky to have escaped the first lynching in San Jose in a half-century. Measuring out the rope were 300 seriously pissed off Silicon Valley CEOs and other senior execs who could see the ruin of their lives' work because some glorified bean counters in Washington had decided to count sacrifice flies as home runs.
Michael S. Malone, Upside Today, November 1, 1993 --- 
You can attend a live performance by Dennis Beresford in San Antonio on August 13, 2002 ---  

A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.
Fred Allen

A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the word you first thought of.
Burt Bacharach

Bidding!  Bargains!  Feedback!  Why 50 million people are hooked on the Internet's Hottest Marketplace (EBAY)
Newsweek Cover Story, June 17, 2002.  The EBAY homepage is at 

Making Enron's $600 million restated financial statements look like a mistake in a child's allowance, the U.S. Treasury has admitted an accounting error and a resulting loss of $17.3 billion.
A billion here, a billion there!  Yawn!

IN THE AFTERMATH of Enron, the tarnished auditing profession has mounted what might be called the "complexity defense." This involves frowning seriously, intoning a few befuddling sentences, then sighing that audits involve close-call judgments that reasonable experts could debate. According to this defense, it isn't fair to beat up on auditors as they wrestle with the finer points of derivatives or lease receivables -- if they make calls that are questionable, that's because the material is so difficult. Heck, it's not as though auditors stand by dumbly while something obviously bad happens, such as money being siphoned off for the boss's condo or golf course.
Washington Post Editorial,
June 1, 2002 --- 

The big [firms] in the audit world and the Wall Street firms have obviously been lobbying intensively for months to prevent effective action in these areas. We know that some of those people have met with Chairman Pitt. I believe that he has strongly held views about a number of these issues that predate his arrival as chairman at the SEC.
Damon Silvers (See below)

What are the three main problems facing the accountancy profession at the present time?  See my WorldCom, Enron, and Andersen scandal updates at 

One of the best sites that I have encountered regarding news and issues in corporate governance is maintained by Robert Monks at 
The site should also be of great interest to those interested in ethics, environmental, and social responsibility.  Robert Monks is a veteran director of over a dozen large corporations.  At best he is only cautiously optimistic about reforms that might emerge from the current scandals like Enron, WorldCom, and Andersen.  He most certainly thinks that members of the audit committees and boards of directors are ineffective in controlling corporate graft, because they do not have access to company resources needed for such a task   Robert Monks  is featured on Page 35 of the June 2002 issue of Financial Executive --- 

I organized an all-day distance education and learning technologies workshop for August 13, 2002 in the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel in San Antonio.  The original slate of speakers included the following:

To this list, I have added the following speaker:

The workshop is explained in greater detail at 

Workshop Title
What Critical Factors Determine Pedagogical Success vs. Failure? The Highly Successful Online M.B.A. Courses at Duke University and the University of Connecticut and How Material Provided to Students in Classrooms Should Be Revised for Online Students

Here's a quick tour of features you'll want your campus machine to have and some you can overlook 

Some of you may have missed the following entry in the June 21 edition of Double Entries

William R. Kinney, Jr. was recently named by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) as the 2002 recipient of its Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award. The annual award recognizes full-time college accounting educators for excellence in teaching and national prominence in the accounting profession. Kinney received his award at the spring meeting of the Institute's Governing Council held in Savannah, Georgia. See our full article at  for more details.

For me this is good news and bad news.

Good News
Bill was one of my doctoral students years ago. Everything he learned he learned from me!

Bad News
Bill was one of my doctoral students years ago. I must have only been 10 years old at the time. Either that or he was 50 years old when he earned his Ph.D.

In any case, Bill has been a dedicated researcher --- as dedicated to our craft as any student and professor that I have ever met.

Congratulations Bill!

Measuring the Business Value of Stakeholder Relationships – all about social capital and how high-trust relationships affect the bottom line. Plus a new measurement tool for benchmarking the quality of stakeholder relationships --- 

Trust, shared values and strong relationships aren't typical financial indicators but perhaps they should be. A joint study by CIM and the Schulich School of Business is examining the link between high trust stakeholder relationships and business value creation. The study is sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA).

The research team is looking at how social capital can be applied to business. The aim of this project is to better understand corporate social capital, measure the quality of relationships, and provide the business community with ways to improve those relationships and in turn improve their bottom line.

Because stakeholder relationships all have common features, direct comparisons of the quality of relationships can be made across diverse stakeholder groups, companies and industries.

Social capital is “the stock of active connections among people; the trust, mutual understanding, and shared values and behaviors that bind the members of human networks and communities and make cooperative action possible” (Cohen and Prusak, 2000).

So far the research suggests that trust, a cooperative spirit and shared understanding between a company and its stakeholders creates greater coherence of action, better knowledge sharing, lower transaction costs, lower turnover rates and organizational stability. In the bigger picture, social capital appears to minimize shareholder risk, promote innovation, enhance reputation and deepen brand loyalty.

Preliminary results show that high levels of social capital in a relationship can build upon themselves. For example, as a company builds reputation among its peers for fair dealing and reliability in keeping promises, that reputation itself becomes a prized asset useful for sustaining its current alliances and forming future ones.

The first phase of the research is now complete and the study moves into its second phase involving detailed case studies with six companies that have earned a competitive business advantage through their stakeholder relationships. Click here for a full report

Bob Jensen's discussion of valuation and aggregation issues can be found at 
Also see 

Teaching Ethics -- Bill Christie once helped bust Nasdaq price fixers. Now, he's Vanderbilt's B-school dean -- and bringing those lessons to MBAs 

Read it and Weep

From Business Week Online as Reproduced by SmartPros (May 30, 2002) ---- 

Still Hoping for More From Harvey Pitt

May 30, 2002 (Business Week Online) — Earlier this month, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt convened the first "Investor Summit" to listen and respond to investor complaints. (You can hear a replay of the May 10 discussion on the SEC Web site.) It was, at times, spirited.


Pitt and fellow Commissioners Isaac Hunt and Cynthia Glassman got earfuls -- both from investors at large and from a group of six panelists. Some of the sharpest criticism of the SEC's performance in the current crisis of confidence in Wall Street came from panelist Damon Silvers. He's an associate general counsel with the AFL-CIO, which is the umbrella organization for some 13 million members of different unions, who are beneficiaries of an estimated $5 trillion in pension assets.

After Silvers spoke at the conference, I reached him by phone at his Washington (D.C.) office and asked him to elaborate on the remarks he made and the questions he asked. Edited excerpts of our discussion follow:

Q: At the Investor Summit, you said that the ball is being dropped on reforming "issue after issue." What are those issues?

A: Well, I'll just do a short list for you.

Q: Shoot.

A: The first is the issues surrounding auditors, and in particular the issue of auditor independence and the creation of a public oversight board. The AFL-CIO put a rule-making petition into the [SEC] in December on auditor independence. As far as we can tell, the commission hasn't really done anything in that area. Everyone knows about the mess that auditor-oversight process turned into at the commission, and clearly it hasn't taken any steps to do the minimum in this area that was outlined by [former SEC Chairman] Arthur Levitt in his testimony in the Senate.

Q: Which was?

A: Creating a body that has a majority of nonaccounting industry people, with full enforcement powers and independent financing.

Q: What else?

A: The commission has missed an opportunity to deal with the problem of analysts' conflicts on Wall Street by failing to really do anything meaningful to regulate the power that investment bankers have developed over the analysts in the major Wall Street firms. The SEC also hasn't acted on the problems related to the independence of boards of directors at public companies.

Q: Such as?

A: Both in requiring meaningful independence of audit committee and compensation committee members and in disclosure. Those are the key issues where the commission has failed to act or has acted in a manner that is inadequate.

Q: Pitt wouldn't agree with that, and it's only fair to note that the reforms are a work in progress. In your view, why has the commission dropped the ball?

A: I wish I knew. The big [firms] in the audit world and the Wall Street firms have obviously been lobbying intensively for months to prevent effective action in these areas. We know that some of those people have met with Chairman Pitt. I believe that he has strongly held views about a number of these issues that predate his arrival as chairman at the SEC.

Q: How much of this is a result of there not being a full commission -- two of the five seats remain vacant.

A: I think that is underappreciated in the coverage of these issues. The Commission is, after all, designed to be a deliberative body. And there are currently only three commissioners, one of whom is clearly planning to depart.

Q: Commissioner Isaac Hunt?

A: Right.... There's a need for more diverse perspectives on the commission. I continue to believe that Chairman Pitt has the potential to do the right thing here. And the addition of commissioners with a more diverse set of views would help steer the SEC in that direction.

Q: So you're not in the group of people who think that Pitt no longer has the credibility to remain at the SEC?

A: There are people who have called for him to resign. Common Cause did so on the day of the Investor Summit.... We are critical of Chairman Pitt's performance here, on many levels, severely critical in fact. However, we're not ready to say that there's no hope here and that he's incapable of doing the right thing. If I believed that, I'm not sure that I would have participated in the summit.

Q: Some suspected the summit was 100% public relations -- nothing substantive. What's your view?

A: It might have been designed to be that way. I don't think that's what it was. I think we had substantial exchanges about a number of important issues -- ones in which, prior to the summit, no one really knew what Chairman Pitt's views were.

Q: Such as?

A: Mutual-fund disclosure and "aiding and abetting" liability. That being said, I think the question now is, "What's the follow-up?"

Q: You mentioned the "aiding and abetting" issue, which is a fairly technical set of legal precedents, but a very interesting one and one that's potentially important to investors. Also, I think that you got from Pitt a commitment to work with you on that.

A: Yes, that's right.

Q: Can you explain please what this "aiding and abetting" issue is?

A: This is really an outrageous situation in our securities law. The Supreme Court said in the early '90s, in a case called Central Bank of Denver, that despite the fact that everybody for decades had proceeded on the basis that the securities laws gave investors the right to sue and recover damages from people and institutions that aided and abetted securities fraud.... The Supreme Court found that there was actually no basis for that kind of claim in the statute.

Therefore, investors -- the people who were actually wronged by securities fraud -- could not sue those who aided and abetted.

Q: So?

A: This is important because the typical securities fraud is a product not just of a company that is the actual institution doing the disclosure but of the people who work with that company.

Q: Such as?

A: Investment banks, lawyers, and accountants. In most situations, the investment banks, the lawyers, and the accountants don't interact directly with the shareholder. They do so through the company. Making aiding and abetting no longer recognizable in the courts as something an investor can recover on, they basically made it impossible for investors to go after those folks.

Q: I see.

A: By the way, if you look at the defenses that have been raised by Arthur Andersen and others in the Enron cases, they all rest on this. They all say, basically, even if we did all of these things, even if we did everything you accuse us of doing, it's just aiding and abetting, and you have no right to sue for it.

Q: So what's the upshot for the individual wronged in the Enron case?

A: You're out of luck. If the aiding and abetting case defense holds in the context of Enron, where Enron is bankrupt, unsecured creditors like the investors who got defrauded are unlikely to get hardly anything.

Q: Given that, do the investors need to look to Congress for a fix?

A: Yes, you have to have a congressional fix here. The SEC can't fix it by itself. But what the SEC can do, which is what I was challenging Chairman Pitt to work with us on, the SEC can send a clear message to Congress that this needs to be fixed, and that would be very important.

-- Robert Barker, Business Week Online

And the bottom line is that reform efforts are stalled in Congress and will most likely die in hands of committees that held all of these “spectator” hearings!  There will, however, be some really neat new TV commercials for re-election, commercials paid for by the lobbyists.

"Bad Boys Club" by Allan Sloan, Newsweek, July 1, 2002, pp. 44-46 --- 
After a wave of scandals, corporate America is under pressure to clean up its act. But will anything really change?

July 1 issue — The stock market is tanking and the business world is soured by scandal, but there is some good news. We’ve got a new growth industry: reforming corporate America. More than a dozen proposals from big-name sponsors—ranging from Goldman Sachs and the New York Stock Exchange to President Bush and the Senate Finance Committee—have appeared since Enron became widely recognized as a poster child for dysfunctional capitalism. A Reform of the Month Club, as it were. With so much attention from such influential quarters, something significant is bound to change, right?

THE ANSWER, I’M afraid, is no. At least not yet. And I’m not being some cynical newsie. It’s just that you usually don’t get reform until the people who need to be reformed recognize that there’s a problem. Despite all the pronouncements and blue-ribbon commissions—many of which have worthy suggestions—they don’t remotely represent the views of the people who are truly in a position to make change: America’s chief executive officers.

Our M.B.A. president doesn’t seem to think much is wrong. Bush said Friday that “95 percent or some... huge percentage of the business community are honest and reveal all their assets, got compensation programs that are balanced, but there are some bad apples.He even opposes a key reform that resident sages like Warren Buffett and Alan Greenspan consider vital to producing honest corporate numbers: treating stock options as an expense on earnings statements. The fact that options value isn’t subtracted from profits has led corporations to give loads of them to CEOs, who make huge profits when the stock rises, but lose nothing when it falls. Standard & Poor’s, not exactly a hotbed of radical activity, is now counting options as an expense when computing profit figures for the influential S&P 500 Index. Vice President Cheney, a former CEO himself, has been noticeably silent on issues of reforming the way corporate America keeps its books. One possible reason is that the company he once ran, Halliburton, is now being investigated for accounting changes adopted during his tenure.

For all the talk from business organizations, we haven’t heard much from working CEOs themselves. But there are exceptions, like Henry Paulson Jr. of Goldman Sachs and Dick Grasso of the New York Stock Exchange. Paulson was especially outspoken. “American business has never been under such scrutiny. To be blunt, much of it is deserved,” he said at the National Press Club in Washington recently. These guys deserve big credit for guts, because they’re risking the wrath of their peers, alienating customers and inviting scrutiny of their institutions, which, they readily admit, are far from perfect. In separate NEWSWEEK interviews, Grasso and Paulson said they have plenty of support among corporate chieftains. But when pressed for specifics, Paulson provided none, and Grasso produced just one: a laudatory letter from John Dillon, CEO of International Paper. But Dillon is head of the Business Roundtable, which already has proposed reforms. Here’s why the CEO silence matters. When the market was going great guns during the ’90s, corporate America proclaimed that the market’s performance was proof that companies were doing the right thing, and that critics of huge executive pay packages and boards cozying up to CEOs were just cranks. Now that the market’s down, CEOs are hiding under their boardroom tables. What will it take to get business to change? Even more bad stock-market news. And we’ve already got plenty. At Friday’s close the S&P 500, a proxy for the broad stock market, was down 35 percent from its high in March of 2000. If you make the very generous assumption that the market will rise 10 percent a year compounded, it would take until the end of 2006 for the S&P to regain the ground it’s lost. So the market would have gone nowhere for almost seven years. If the market’s a report card, that’s a pretty lousy grade. A failing one, in fact.

"System Failure:  Corporate America:  We Have a Crisis," Fortune Magazine Cover Story, June 24, 2002 --- 

Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson is not a touchy-feely guy. Even by Wall Street standards, he's fairly buttoned down. But the daily drumbeat of news about horrifying corporate behavior would get to anyone--and it's clearly getting to Paulson. "In my lifetime, American business has never been under such scrutiny, and to be blunt, much of it deserved,'' he said in a recent speech. To FORTUNE he added, "You pick up the paper, and you want to cry.''

You sure do. Every day, it seems, a new scandal bursts into public view. Bankrupt Kmart is under SEC investigation for allegedly cooking the books. Adelphia's founding family is forced to resign in disgrace after it's revealed that members used the company as their own personal piggy bank, dipping into corporate funds to subsidize the Buffalo Sabres hockey team, among other things. Former telecom behemoths WorldCom, Qwest, and Global Crossing are all being investigated. Edison Schools gets spanked by the SEC for booking revenues that the company never actually saw. Dynegy CEO Chuck Watson denies that his company used special-purpose entities to disguise debt a la Enron--until the Wall Street Journal reports that, lo and behold, the company does have one, called Project Alpha. (Watson has just stepped down.) Most recently, of course, Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski resigns after informing his board that he is under investigation for evading sales tax on expensive artwork he purchased. Kozlowski has since been indicted--but even before the most recent disclosures, Tyco's stock was pummeled by the widespread suspicion that it used accounting tricks to boost revenues (a claim the company has consistently denied).

Phony earnings, inflated revenues, conflicted Wall Street analysts, directors asleep at the switch--this isn't just a few bad apples we're talking about here. This, my friends, is a systemic breakdown. Nearly every known check on corporate behavior--moral, regulatory, you name it--fell by the wayside, replaced by the stupendous greed that marked the end of the bubble. And that has created a crisis of investor confidence the likes of which hasn't been seen since--well, since the Great Depression.

Even Harvey Pitt and Bill Lerach, who are poles apart on most issues, agree on this point. "I'm really afraid that investor psychology in this country has suffered a very serious blow," says the controversial Lerach, the plaintiffs attorney best known as the lead counsel representing Enron's beleaguered shareholders. SEC Chairman Pitt, who made his name defending big corporations, concurs: "It would be hard to overstate the need to remedy the loss of confidence,'' he said at a recent conference at Stanford Law School. "Restoring public confidence is the No. 1 goal on our agenda."

Declining investor confidence is not the only reason the stock market is hurting, of course. (The S&P 500 is down 10% so far this year, while the Nasdaq has fallen 20%.) For one thing, the world is an unsettling place right now, with Pakistan and India busy saber rattling, the Mideast in turmoil--and the threat of more terrorist attacks on U.S. soil very much in the air. For another, stocks remain high by historical standards: Even with a 20% drop since its peak in March 2000, the price/earnings ratio for the S&P 500 is still 29, compared with the norm of 16.

Despite the constant reports of misconduct, investors can't cast all the blame for the market's troubles on the actions of CEOs and Wall Street analysts--much as they might like to. There was a time not too long ago when everyone, it seemed, was day trading during lunch breaks. As Gail Dudack, chief strategist for SunGard Institutional Brokerage, puts it, "A stock market bubble requires the cooperation of everyone."

Still, the unending revelations--and the high likelihood that there are more to come--have underscored the extent to which the system has gone awry. That has taken a toll on investors' psyches. According to a Pew Forum survey conducted in late March, Americans now think more highly of Washington politicians than they do of business executives. (Yes, it's that bad.) A monthly survey of "investor optimism" conducted by UBS and Gallup shows that the mood among investors today is almost as grim as it was after Sept. 11--and has sunk by nearly half since the giddy days of late 1999 and early 2000. Similarly, the average daily trading volume at Charles Schwab & Co.--another good barometer of investor confidence--is down 54% from the height of the bull market. "People deeply believed, as an article of faith, in the integrity of the system and the markets," Morgan Stanley strategist Barton Biggs wrote recently. "Sure, it may at times have seemed like a casino, but at least it was an honest casino. Now many people are questioning that basic assumption. Are they players in a loser's game?" Investing, notes Vanguard founder John C. Bogle, "is an act of faith." Without that faith--that reported numbers reflect reality, that companies are being run honestly, that Wall Street is playing it straight, and that investors aren't being hoodwinked--our capital markets simply can't function.

Throughout history, bubbles have been followed by crashes--which in turn have been followed by new laws and new rules designed to curb the excesses of the era just ended. After the South Sea bubble in 1720, points out Columbia University law professor John Coffee, the formation of new corporations was banned for more than 100 years. In the wake of the 1929 Crash--and the subsequent discovery that insiders had used their positions to skim millions from the market--dramatic reforms were enacted, including the creation of the SEC, the passage of the Glass-Steagall Act separating banks from investment houses, and the outlawing of short-selling by corporate officers.

Is the situation today as dire as it was in 1929? Of course not. But it is serious--serious enough that real reform is once again needed to restore confidence in the system. Already there has been a flood of proposals, which range from the good to the not-so-good. For instance, the New York Stock Exchange's recently announced plan to strengthen boards of directors has been widely lauded--praise, we believe, that is quite deserved (see item 5). If enacted, the NYSE reforms will help prod boards to finally act in the interest of shareholders--which, after all, is supposed to be their job. Similarly, the SEC's decision to crack down on Edison Schools sends an enormously important signal. Money that was going to pay, say, teachers' salaries was being booked by the company as revenue--even though the money never actually flowed through Edison. Believe it or not, Edison's accounting abided by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP. In going after Edison, the SEC was saying that simply staying within GAAP is no longer good enough--not if the spirit of the rules is being violated, as was clearly the case with Edison.

Continued at 

The above article discusses accounting tricks played by corporations.  I have commenced a summary document on accounting tricks at 

The past six months have featured a parade of corporate leaders who were irresponsible stewards of other people's money and trust. They were apparently so consumed by greed that they never dreamed of getting caught, ruining companies, and shaming themselves. In so doing, they have created what Al Vicere, a professor of strategic leadership at Pennsylvania State University's Smeal College of Business, calls a CEO "credibility crisis." All of which raises the question: Why? What is it about the character of today's corporate chieftains that has led them into CEO-gate -- which at times prompts them to indulge in behavior more reminiscent of fallen TV ministers than of upstanding community leaders?


Microsoft Gets Slapped for Having Bill Gate's Hands in the Cookie Jar

From on June 3, 2002

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) agreed to stop using an accounting practice that allegedly understated revenues and misled investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission said on Monday.

However, the world's largest software maker will not have to change any previous earnings reports.

Microsoft consented to a cease-and-desist order but did not admit or deny charges that from 1995 through 1998 it maintained seven reserve accounts containing a total of $200 million to$900 million in unsupported and undisclosed reserves.

A significant amount of the reserves did not comply with generally accepted accounting principles, which resulted in inaccuracies in filings that Microsoft made with the commission, it was alleged.

Microsoft shares were down 79 cents to $50.12 in pre-afternoon trading on Nasdaq. The company was not fined. In addition, Microsoft said the settlement will not require restatement of any reported financial results.

"The company is pleased to resolve these matters with the SEC and looks forward to an open and constructive relationship with the SEC on important accounting issues affecting the software industry," a company spokesman said.

The SEC has been aggressive in probing accounting irregularities involving overstatement of revenues. The Microsoft probe was unusual because it involved allegations of deliberately understating revenues.

For more than two years, the SEC had been looking at Microsoft's alleged practice of taking reserves that can be used to pad revenues during lean times, commonly known as "cookie jar accounting."

"Companies must properly document the bases for their reserves and other accounting entries so that they and their auditors can verify that the accounting is proper," enforcement chief Stephen Cutler in a statement announcing the settlement.

"This case emphasizes that the commission will act against a public company that issues financial statements with material inaccuracies, even in the absence of fraud charges," he added.

The Controversy Over Revenue Reporting 

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Review on May 23, 2002

TITLE: SEC Broadens Investigation Into Revenue-Boosting Tricks; Fearing Bogus Numbers Are Widespread, Agency Probes Lucent and Others 
REPORTER: Susan Pulliam and Rebecca Blumenstein 
DATE: May 16, 2002 
TOPICS: Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis

SUMMARY: "Securities and Exchange Commission officials, concerned about an explosion of transactions that falsely created the impression of booming business across many industries, are conducting a sweeping investigation into a host of practices that pump up revenue."

1.) "Probing revenue promises to be a much broader inquiry than the earlier investigations of Enron and other companies accused of using accounting tricks to boost their profits." What is the difference between inflating profits vs. revenues?

2.) What are the ways in which accounting information is used (both in general and in ways specifically cited in this article)? What are the concerns about using accounting information that has been manipulated to increase revenues? To increase profits?

3.) Describe the specific techniques that may be used to inflate revenues that are enumerated in this article and the related one. Why would a practice of inflating revenues be of particular concern during the ".com boom"?

4.) "[L90 Inc.] L90 lopped $8.3 million, or just over 10%, off revenue previously reported for 2000 and 2001, while booking the $250,000 [net difference in the amount of wire transfers that had been used in one of these transactions] as 'other income' rather than revenue." What is the difference between revenues and other income? Where might these items be found in a multi-step income statement? In a single-step income statement?

5.) What are "vendor allowances"? How might these allowances be used to inflate revenues? Consider the case of Lucent Technologies described in the article. Might their techniques also have been used to boost profits?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island 
Reviewed By: Benson Wier, Virginia Commonwealth University 
Reviewed By: Kimberly Dunn, Florida Atlantic University

TITLE: CMS Energy Admits Questionable Trades Inflated Its Volume 
REPORTER: Chip Cummins and Jonathan Friedland 
ISSUE: May 16, 2002 


Bob Jensen's threads on revenue reporting are at 

June 19 message from Roselyn E. Morris [

The AAA Teaching and Curriculum Section is pleased to announce that the Spring 2002 edition of The Accounting Educator, the Section Newsletter, is available on the T&C web site at: 

Please share this information with your colleagues.

Wow Free Site of the Week --- Public Library of Science (includes common-language commentaries so that non-scientists can follow the articles) ---

Featured in Newsweek, July 1, 2002, Page 9)
Wouldn't this be great if accounting standard setters worldwide could see their way clear to do the same for accountancy and auditing standards? What do you say to the idea that we work toward a Public Library of Accountancy?

The Public Library of Science is a non-profit organization of scientists committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature freely accessible to scientists and to the public around the world, for the benefit of scientific progress, education and the public good.

We are working for the establishment of international online public libraries of science that will archive and distribute the complete contents of published scientific articles, and foster the development of new ways to search, interlink and integrate the information that is currently partitioned into millions of separate reports and segregated into thousands of different journals, each with its own restrictions on access.

As a step toward these goals, scientists around the world have been circulating an open letter urging publishers to allow the research reports that have appeared in their journals to be distributed freely by independent, online public libraries of science. The response from the international scientific community to this initiative has been remarkable, and overwhelmingly positive. The open letter has now been signed by 30203 of your colleagues from 177 countries.

Our initiative has prompted some significant and welcome steps by many scientific publishers towards freer access to published research, but in general these steps have fallen short of the reasonable policies we have advocated. We must make every effort to publish our work in, and give our full support to, those journals that have adopted the policy proposed in the open letter (see our journal policies page for a list of journals that have answered your call).

It is now clear, however, that if we really want to change the publication of scientific research, we must do the publishing ourselves. It is time for us to work together to create the journals we have called for. We have established a non-profit scientific publisher under the banner of Public Library of Science, operated by scientists, for the benefit of science and the public, and will begin publishing journals in early 2003 that fully realize the principles of this movement. With your participation, vision and energy we can establish a new model for scientific publishing. Please join us in this effort.

The following is a list of journals that satisfy, in whole or in part, the criteria outlined in the PLoS Open Letter. The earlier on the list, the more compliant the journal. The information provided below is correct, to the best of our knowledge, as of June 1, 2002.


The following journals have adopted the policy that all the original research reports that they publish can be freely distributed online by PubMed Central or any other public distributor, and have provided all current and archival content for distribution by PubMed Central:

Journal of Biology Genome Biology A diverse collection of over 70 online journals published by BioMed Central

These are the only biomedical journals that currently provide immediate free and open access to all of the primary research articles they publish, and we urge you to publish in these journals whenever possible and to support them with your readership.


The following journals have committed to allowing all the material that they publish to be distributed freely by any legitimate non-commercial institutions, including PubMed Central, within 6 months after publication:

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (6 month delay)


The following journals have committed to allowing the research reports that they publish to be distributed freely by PubMed Central within the indicated interval after publication:

Arthritis Research (no delay) Breast Cancer Research (no delay) British Medical Journal (no delay) Bulletin of the Medical Library Association (no delay) Canadian Medical Association Journal (6 month delay) Cell Stress and Chaperones (6 month delay) Critical Care (no delay) Current Controlled Trials in Cardiovascular Medicine (no delay) Journal of the Americal Medical Informatics Association (6 month delay) Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology (1 year delay) Journal of the Medical Library Association (no delay) Journal of Medical Entomology (1 year delay) Plant Cell (1 year delay) Plant Physiology (1 year delay) Molecular Biology of the Cell (2 month delay) Respiratory Research (no delay)


The following journals have agreed to provide their contents to PubMed Central while restricting the display of the full text of its articles to the journal's own site. The full text of the articles provided in this manner will be archived and searchable at the PubMed Central site, and freely viewable at (and only at) the publisher's own website. More details are available at PubMed Central.

American Journal of Human Genetics (delay interval unknown) Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (6 months delay) Applied and Environmental Microbiology (6 months delay) Biochemical Journal (delay interval unknown) Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology (6 months delay) Clinical Microbiology Reviews (1 year delay) Cold Spring Harbor Press Journals (delay interval unknown) EMBO Journal (1 year delay) Genetics (delay interval unknown) Infection and Immunity (6 months delay) Journal of Bacteriology (6 months delay) Journal of Clinical Microbiology (6 months delay) Journal of Virology (6 months delay) Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews (1 year delay) Molecular and Cellular Biology (6 months delay) Nucleic Acids Research (6 month delay)


Many journals currently provide recent contents for free following a delay after publication, but only through their own Web sites. (Please read our statement as to why we think this is not sufficient).

List of free full-text articles available through HighWire Press.


Additional sources of information:

PubMed Central maintains an up-to-date list of journals that are, or will be, providing full-text copies of published research reports for online distribution by PMC.


The publishers of scientific journals are part of our scientific community and we welcome and encourage constructive dialog with them. If you wish to contact the editors or publishers of any of these journals to inquire about their policies, or to encourage them to adopt the policy advocated in the open letter, we encourage you to do so.

If you are a publisher or can update us on the editorial policy of any journal, or correct any erroneous information in this listing, please contact us at 

Do depressed people cry more than those who are not depressed? Not necessarily, according to a new study led by Jonathan Rottenberg, a fifth-year graduate student in psychology. In showing how the emotions of depressed people become blunted, the findings could lead to more effective ways to treat an illness that afflicts one in five people during the course of a lifetime. 

A fee-based window to 75,000 providers of over 700,000 scholarships --- 

Revised Student Loan Site from the U.S. Department of Education Gets a Lot of Hits (50% increase in the first month of operation) --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on other funding alternatives and college locators can be found at 

Bob Jensen's education bookmarks are at 

Army University Access Online --- 
This five-year $453 million initiative was completed by the consulting division of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).  Twenty-four colleges are delivering training and education courses online through the U.S. Army's e-learning portal.  There are programs for varying levels of accomplishment, including specialty certificates, associates degrees, bachelor's degrees, and masters degrees.  All courses are free to soldiers.  By 2003, there is planned capacity is for 80,000 online students.  The PwC Program Director is Jill Kidwell --- 

Army Online University attracted 12,000 students during its first year of operation.  It plans to double its capacity and add 10,000 more students in 2002.  It is funded by the U.S. Army for all full time soldiers to take non-credit and credit courses from selected major universities.  The consulting arm of the accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers manages the entire system. 

See earmyU at

Bob Jensen's threads on this and other governmental training and education alternatives are at 

From Syllabus News on June 7, 2002

Army Signs Up for Online Skills-Testing Program

The U.S. Army has enlisted the Princeton Review, which provides test preparation and admissions services, to develop an online testing skills prep program for Army personnel pursuing post-secondary educational plans. The contract, worth over $1.5 million in the first year, calls for delivery of a customized online training program to be provided via a partnership with Resource Consultants Inc., Vienna, Va., a professional services company. The Army program will contain over 30 hours of interactive online lessons, practice tests and drills to help students refine their skills. It uses the same technology and instructional design as Princeton Review's SAT, GRE, GMAT, and LSAT Online courses, which are accessed by over 100,000 students a year either through stand-alone online courses or as a integrated supplements to classroom instruction.

In light of new online learning technologies, Harvard University is evaluating its residency requirement with the intent of adapting to lifestyle changes of "mid-career professionals" according to Harvard University President Laurence H. Summers, EDUCAUSE Review, May/June 2002, Page 4.

National Technological University fell on hard times with poor timing to create a for-profit company for engineering training courses.  It has phased out its own for-profit company and has been acquired by Sylvan Learning Systems.  It will continue to offer engineering courses for SLS --- 

Sylvan is one of the leading providers of training programs and also offers over 300 testing sites that can be utilized for its own and other training and education programs.  Its homepage is at 

Bob Jensen's threads on global training and education alternatives are at 

For every triumph, other wonders of tomorrow never take off, and Harvard's Clayton Christensen say it's not just luck that separates them 

Ah, the miracle of high-definition television. Starting nearly a decade ago, TV makers, broadcast networks, even the U.S. Congress vowed that HDTV would provide crystal-clear, 3-D-like pictures that would change the way Americans view the tube. The new technology was expected to spark billions of dollars in sales of new TVs and a raft of enhanced services, including interactive shopping.

Today, it seems as though it'll be a stretch to get a standard digital TV in every U.S. household before 2010, much less one that's high definition. Meantime, HDTV sets still cost more than $3,000 -- and one bought today could be obsolete as early as next year.

The failed promise of HDTV has as much to do with bureaucratic bungling as with the technology itself. But it's far from an isolated example of a can't-miss innovation that has yet to emerge. Remember cold fusion? It was supposed to deliver a limitless supply of energy from water -- and no, not hydropower. And what about the myriad promises of the e-biz revolution? Have you used any e-cash lately?

LEARNING THE RULES. The lesson is obvious: Hot emerging technologies often feature more hype than heft. Which raises the questions: What determines whether a technology will come to market eventually? And will the technologies now on many experts' list of future winners really make the grade?

Traditionally, technologists and entrepreneurs have contended that realizing the promise of an emerging technology -- one that may be in products within a couple of years -- is more art than science. But Harvard Business School professor and author Clayton Christensen argues that commercially successful innovation isn't the crap shoot that it's sometimes made out to be. Innovation has rules, he argues, just as guidelines exist for producing quality products or for being a good manager.

"Innovation isn't random," Christensen told a packed conference of young innovators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on May 23. "We're at the same place the quality movement was 20 years ago. We need to learn to understand and manage innovation so that we can maximize the chances that a new technology will succeed."

FINDING FERTILE GROUND. One of the most important rules of successful innovation is to develop technologies for new markets where industry stalwarts have no status quo to protect -- and no need to steal someone else's customer to succeed. In management-speak, this is called "taking root in disruption."

One example Christensen points to is the rise of the personal computer. The original Apple II computer was targeted at kids -- the only customers willing to play around with such a dorky machine. But as PCs improved, parents started paying attention. By listening to these new customers, Apple and rival PC makers were able ultimately to unseat the computing incumbents, who were still focused on mainframes and other large, professional computers.

According to Christensen, a company with a new technology has only a 6% chance of success if it tries to make a similar but better product than an incumbent and sell it to the same customers. By contrast, he says, the chances of success for a "disruptive strategy" are 33%.

MAJOR MISTAKES. Equally important is the principle that new technologies should disrupt competitors, not customers. Too often, new technologies try to make customers change the way they do things. Instead, Christensen says, innovation should help customers do things they already do more easily, conveniently, and for less money.

Take the music business. Before the Internet, when customers bought a Bob Dylan CD, they could do pretty much what they wanted with it. They could listen to it in the car or at home, or make a copy (a tape, back then) for a friend. The rise of Web-based peer-to-peer file-sharing technology à la Napster has made it easier, faster, and cheaper for customers to do what they always did -- and ultimately, that probably will disrupt CD retailers and distributors.

The problem is, it has also threatened the status quo that music labels and artists have an interest in protecting -- and have sued to preserve. So in this case, innovation has disrupted the wrong people -- the mortal enemies of trying something new.

However, the incumbents are making a similar mistake as they try to make the latest innovations work for them. The Web subscription services created by the music industry -- called PressPlay and MusicNet -- try to dictate more stringently than ever before just where and how the industry's paying customers can listen to music. But their rules are so restrictive as to annoy customers. And the music-buying public in turn largely shuns the Establishment sites in favor of whatever file-sharing service has found a chink in the industry's armor.

Continued at 

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To consumers, cost is the figure printed on the price tag. For manufacturers and retailers, it is a rather different calculation 

Wiley Interscience: Scientific and Technical Acronyms, Symbols, and Abbreviations --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on glossaries are at 

Colleges are usually struggling for new ideas about how to better serve alumni.  The Web offers some great opportunities for innovation.

Some Ideas from Online Newsletter of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University


In the Classroom This new section of the Lifelong Learning Web site allows you to sit in the "Virtual Skydeck" and see and hear classroom speakers, catch a Brown Bag Lunch, or listen to student panels discuss the GSB and other topics of importance to them. Watch a video of former 49er quarterback, Steve Young, discussing player agents in Professor Foster's Sports and Business Management class. 

Access Online GSB Library Databases Wish you had more research tools available? Sign up for year-long access to 4 research databases. 

Sign-Up to Be a Frequent Learner: Did you know you could receive early notification of Lifelong Learning events & new services? Sign up to be a Frequent Learner. 

And in the news, I offer my highest congratulations to my good friend Bill Beaver (Accounting Professor at Stanford University)

William Beaver, the Joan E. Horngren Professor of Accounting, was awarded an honorary doctorate from Athens University of Economics and Business at a May 14 ceremony in Athens. May 2002

From the June 6, 2002 Online Newsletter of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University

Stanford Executive Education ranks 5 overall, up from 6 last year, in the 2002 Financial Times annual ranking of executive education programs. Stanford ranked 4 in custom programs and 5 in open enrollment programs. Financial Times, May 28, 2002 (subscription required to view article). 

The Enron scandal may be viewed as "the neutron bomb of accounting," but even without fraud, financial statements can be misleading, says Professor James Van Horne. Pro forma earnings, abuses of revenue recognition, and even playing games with the calendar can make it difficult to get a true picture. May 2002 

Actually this is a great video on much, much more than Viagra!  Would you believe that Phizer spends $100 million per week on research?  Listen for the modules about a school bus driver, glassware washers, and leadership.

Drug marketing has an unexpected positive side effect says Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell. McKinnell recently visited the school as a guest speaker in the View from the Top series. May 2002 Video File, 28:27 minutes (RealPlayer® format) May 2002 

But what went unsaid in the alumni newsletter is a quotation from Harvey Korman that says "taking Viagra is like putting a new flagpole on a condemned building."

From Syllabus News on June 7, 2002

Online Master's Seeks Business Pros for the Aged

The University of Southern California said it would offer physicians and health care executives needing to broaden their business skills a specialized master's degree that will be delivered completely online and accessible via the Internet anywhere in the world. The USC School of Gerontology, School of Policy Planning and Development, and Marshall School of Business have jointly developed the Master of Arts in Long-Term Care Administration in response to increasing demands on managed care providers as the U.S. population continues to age. The two- to three-year degree program consists of seven 16-week courses in human resources management, finance, accounting, counseling older adults and families, normal changes with aging, and other gerontological issues. Enrollees complete 28 credit hours at $891 per unit.

For more information, visit: 

Online Apps Soared During Last Academic Season

Almost three times as many students applied online to undergraduate programs during the 2001-2002 admissions season compared to the previous year, according to a survey by ApplyYourself, an Internet-based college recruitment and enrollment company. The number of professional school and graduate applications processed also increased 345 percent and 233 percent respectively. The increases support findings from the third annual 'Internet as an Admission Tool - 2001' study by ApplyYourself that found that students are turning to the Web as their primary resource for researching and applying to college. Other highlights from 2001-2002 admissions season include:

-- Over three-quarters (77%) of students chose to pay their application fees with a credit card when electronic payment was presented as an option. -- Online applications are an effective communications, branding and workflow tool for institutions during the entire recruiting process. -- Students access their online applications an average of 6.5 times before submitting it and institutions are using these opportunities to communicate and build relationships. -- Forty-three percent (43%) of undergraduate applications started online were eventually submitted compared to the typical percentage of paper applications.

For more information, visit: 

Texas Christian University picked the eCollege platform to support its online degree programs for distance students, and online course supplements for all of its on-campus students. eCollege currently supports two online master's programs for TCU. TCU's online Master's of Liberal Arts and Master's of Science in Nursing/Clinical Nurse Specialist degree programs secure about 250 student enrollments per year. The school plans to offer additional online degree and professional development programs through the eCollege platform, and will also make online course supplements available to all of its 400 faculty who serve 8,000 full-time on-campus students

"HarperCollins Private Reserve Houses E-Books," T.H.E. Journal, April 2002, Page 26 --- 

Book publisher HarperCollins and OverDrive have created HarperCollins Private Reserve, a digital warehouse for HarperCollins e-books worldwide. Using OverDrive servers and technology, HarperCollins Private Reserve allows the publishing company's divisions in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand to manage and distribute e-book titles and marketing information directly.

The warehouse supplies online retailers with e-book catalog information, and fulfills e-book purchases to their customers in Microsoft Reader and Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader formats. In addition, OverDrive's technology allows HarperCollins to use its growing e-book library to promote the sale of both print and electronic titles. For example, HarperCollins can now offer electronic review copies or e-books bundled with print titles. The initiative includes HarperCollins' e-book imprint, PerfectBound, and e-books from its Christian publishing group, Zondervan. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY, .

Bob Jensen's threads on eBooks can be found at 

Bob Jensen's links to eLibraries can be found at 

I don't know how many of you saw the June 19 message from Joel Demski.

Craig Polhemus did a magnificent job bringing the American Accounting Association into the 21st Century, especially in the area of technology services. In spite of very limited budgets, Craig did a wonderful job in hiring a great staff and in serving our academic community.

If you are reading this message Craig, I want to commend you on an A+ level of service.

Others who want to read and/or listen to Craig's last address to the American Accounting Association on August 15, 2001, go to 

We're really going to miss Craig Polhemus!

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Joel S. Demski []  
Sent: Wednesday, June 19, 2002 9:33 AM To: American Accounting Association Members 
Subject: American Accounting Association Announcement

Effective June 19, Executive Director Craig Polhemus has left the American Accounting Association. We thank Craig for his 7 years of service at the AAA, and wish him well in future endeavors. We hope to announce an interim Executive Director in the near future.

Joel S. Demski President, American Accounting Association


From InternetWeek Newsbreak on June 19, 2002

Who doesn't love Google? Most people I know use it incessantly. The Google toolbar has been a godsend. The company's recent geek experiment with a public SOAP interface was the talk of the Web for a few (slow) days. In today's Leading Off, we talk with several enterprise users who have been using the new rack-mounted Google Search Appliance. They have interesting stories to tell. They like its relative low cost and ease of use. More intriguing is the fact that they are finding -- or contemplating -- ways to go under the covers of their Google boxes and work all sorts of magic on its XML data feeds. The earlier excitement about the public SOAP interface into Google was tempered by the fact that no instant killer app emerged (outside of so-called Google boxes that popped up on now-ubiquitous Weblogs). Look for enterprises to find even better ways to interact with their Google search results internally, blending Web services and knowledge management in intriguing new ways.

Google Takes Aim At The Enterprise By focusing on what it does best -- search -- Google is winning IT converts with its new search appliance. The flexibility of open standards and XML data feeds is just icing on the cake. -- Richard Karpinski 

Plus: Google Rolls Out Updated Search Appliance 

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at 

"Improving Student Performance in Distance Learning Courses," by Judy A. Serwatka, T.H.E. Journal, April 2002, pp. 46-51 --- 

The tests were particularly problematic. Quizzes were not given for the on-campus course since it was an introductory course, and the students seemed to keep up well with the material. But I discovered the online students were not studying the appropriate material for the tests. To address this, online quizzes were introduced to the course Web site for the students to take as many times as they wanted. The scores are not recorded and the questions are in the same format as on the actual tests, although they are not exactly the same. Ten questions are chosen randomly from a bank of 20 for each quiz. In addition, each chapter has its own quiz. Students say they have found these quizzes to be invaluable.

The tests have been developed in a manner similar to the quizzes. Each 100-point test is created from a 200-question test bank. As each student logs in their test is created randomly from the test bank. This makes cheating extremely difficult because each test contains different questions. Even if the questions are the same, they are randomized so they do not appear in the same order. And although the test is open book, the students are admonished to study, because the questions are in random order and they do not have time to look up the answers to each question. The tests are timed and automatically submitted at the end of the time limit. The addition of these practice quizzes has dramatically improved performance on the tests.

A point about testing that should be made is that many educators are concerned about students finding someone else to take tests for them. I agree with the statement made by Palloff and Pratt (1999): "Cheating is irrelevant in this process because the participant would be cheating only him- or herself." Although attempts are made to minimize the threat, educators should not let this prevent them from teaching online. Tech-nology will allow educators to verify the identity of students taking online tests in the future, so educators must trust students for now.

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment can be found at 

June 17 message from Jim Morrison

"The University is Dead! Long Live the University!" is the title of a presentation that I am giving at the forthcoming World Future Society ( meeting July 19-23, 2002 in Philadelphia. It is a takeoff on the words used by town criers in historic England upon the death of the king and the forthcoming crowning of a new king, representing the change of reigns. My theses for the presentation is that the forces of demographics, globalization, economic restructuring, and information technology are rapidly changing the landscape of higher education and are leading us into new conceptions of institutional markets, how we teach, and what we teach. There will be a question and answer session after the presentation.

This session will be Webcast courtesy of ULiveandLearn ( ) on Sunday, July 21, 2002, at 11:00 AM EST. If you cannot attend the WFS meeting in person, you are invited to attend this presentation via the Webcast. Please go to  to signup for the Webcast and receive instructions as to how you can participate. “Seats” are limited and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

BTW, if you are attending the conference, please consider joining me in a pre-conference seminar titled, “’Futurizing’ Your Organization.” The seminar objectives, readings, and program are described on our conference page at 

Many thanks.

Jim ---- 
James L. Morrison 
Editor-in-Chief The Technology Source http://ts/  
Home Page: 


The 2002 CWRL Colloquium (Computers, Writing, Research, and Learning) --- 

In this issue
The CWRL Colloquium: A Window into the World of Computer-enhanced Teaching and Learning
by M. A. Syverson, CWRL Director

Teaching with technology
Collaborative Teaching in the Computer Classroom
by Alexandra Barron

Comparing Traditional and Computer-assisted Composition Classrooms
by Sarah R. Wakefield

Converting to the Computer Classroom: Technology, Anxiety, and Web-based Autobiography Assignments
by Miriam Schacht

Multimedia development, multi-user domains, and role-playing
Hell Wasn't Built in a Day: Taking the Long View on Multimedia Development
by Olin R. Bjork

Virtual Spaces, Actual Practices: MOO Pedagogy in the CWRL
by Aimee Kendall and Doug Norman

Playing Doctors, Playing Patients: Multi-user Domains and the "Teaching" of Illness
by Lee Rumbarger

Role-playing Situations Improve Writing
by M. A. Syverson

Interpreting languages; imagining disability
Towards a Hermeneutic Understanding of Programming Languages
by Clay Spinuzzi

The Imagination Gap: Making Web-based Instructional Resources Accessible to Students and Colleagues with Disabilities
by John Slatin

There are also links to archived issues!

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at 

"Interactive Media in Education: An Interview with Chris Dede," Syllabus Magazine, June 2002 --- 

S: You've said that new interactive media are not necessarily being used in the best ways possible. There's a lot of amazing new technology out there, but what do you see as the areas we should be concerned about, in terms of how it is used?
CD: A lot of people—including myself—are disturbed by what we see happening in the current educational "reform" movement. There's a tremendous amount of testing for accountability at the pre-college level, and there's also an increasing emphasis on this type of evaluation for learning in college. Mandating superficial coverage of large amounts of low-level information and procedures creates pressure to use technology merely to deliver content—a sort of "teaching by telling" and "learning by listening." But if learning via technology is all presentation, or even all simulation, then it's not very powerful because this is passive assimilation rather than active construction of knowledge. And while many people are claiming that streaming lectures via Web casts and downloading presentational materials from archives somehow makes learning much better, we have many reasons to believe that's just not true.

S: Okay, so there's just presenting information and then testing on it—that's like rote and drill. Is the need for accountability driving this?
While I think accountability is a very good idea, often it's expressed in a way that brings out the worst in teaching rather than the best. Students can do okay on a test as long as we give the test right away rather than a year later. Presentation as a primary method of teaching has a number of problems associated with it, in terms of motivation, what students can comprehend, how long they remember the material, and whether or not they can transfer and generalize it. And yet, when we look at the uses of technology in education today, a tremendous number of them are presentational—coating data with multimedia so that it slips into people's minds more easily, then using automated testing systems to quickly pull it back out again so that we can document that "learning" has taken place.

S: I think most people would agree that there are more interesting applications than that.
What's frustrating about all this is that the technology is really capable of quite a bit more. And we are facing a time in which the limits of presentational instruction are highlighted by the challenges that we have in preparing students for the 21st century. You know, as a member of the Leave It to Beaver generation, I was brought up in a very different time. I was prepared for what people thought would be a mature industrial economy. As a result of that missed forecast, I learned a bunch of things in school that are obsolete now.

S: For example?
For example, I learned a kind of decision-making that I never use. I learned that, to solve problems, you study the situation until you understand it thoroughly, go to your repertoire of standard problem-solving techniques, pull out the right mixture, and then apply some kind of a synthesis of those solutions and your problem is solved. Of course, today you and I face a very different kind of work life. We're constantly faced with novel situations that nobody has ever seen before. If we wait until we understand them thoroughly, it's much too late to act, because the challenge has already "morphed," changed into something else. The pace of the world is so fast that we don't have the luxury of completely understanding what we're facing, and we have to act on the basis of incomplete information.
S: That's true!
It's going to be true for this whole next generation of students who are facing a 21st century world driven by information technologies, and increasingly biotechnologies, moving things forward very rapidly. Another thing I learned in my education was individual competition. That's certainly still very valuable, but I didn't learn teamwork and collaboration. And yet group efforts are at the heart of a lot of the modern workplace, as you know.

S: And what about skills for the information age?
Well, yes, I learned how to find information when I went to school. Of course, today in 15 seconds on the Web either of us can find 200 things we could probably use. But we've only got the time and energy to deal with five or six. So now we've got to filter instead of find—a very different and more complex set of skills. And, in contrast to the kind of education reform that we're living through, the point that I want to make is: It isn't just achieving traditional educational outcomes better, it's giving students a whole different set of knowledge and skills. We can't say to ourselves, well, if we can just raise everybody's test scores 100 points, we'll be fine. Because the fact of the matter is, there is an entire set of higher-order cognitive and affective and social skills that has never been as important before in human history as now, and this is central in preparing learners for the 21st century.

S: So I hope you are going to tell me now that new interactive media do indeed apply here?
We're facing the biggest gap between yesterday's workplace and tomorrow's that any group of educators have faced since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution a couple of centuries ago. And yet the very technologies that are creating this challenge are also providing an opportunity to meet it. In contrast to simply automating presentation, there's a lot that interactive learning technologies can do to address more powerful forms of pedagogy—based on learning by doing, collaborative learning, and mentoring via apprenticeships. All these instructional approaches let students act rather than listen, do things inside the technology world that are impossible in the real world, and link to outside resources and communities of practice. So yes, new interactive media give us a kind of opportunity that educational technologies have not had until now—a chance to change our pedagogy in ways that really open up powerful content to students.

S: What is it about new interactive media that will give us this chance—what is the characteristic of these media that is most important?
What is a medium? Partly, it's a channel, and that's what everyone is excited about. That's what all the hype is about. People are tremendously excited about the fact that we can reach almost anybody, anyplace, anytime. But what we miss about media is that they are also representational containers—that is, they shape not only whom we can reach, but what we can say. A simple example is that we say a picture is worth a thousand words. What that means is that some kinds of representations are better at conveying a particular type of meaning than other kinds of representations. I can try to describe my office to you and spend 15 or 20 minutes painting a verbal picture. Or I can show you an image and, in about three seconds, you'll have a sense of what my office looks like—much better than the verbal pictures could convey.

S: Will we be communicating new types of information that can only be expressed with the new media—so in a sense our conversation would be limited or nonexistent in certain areas if we didn't have these media?
Representations shape what we can think and what we can do. In his novel 1984, George Orwell wrote about a ruling class that was simplifying the language by removing words like freedom. Because, if you don't have a way to articulate a concept to yourself or express it to others, it becomes much harder to find a way to act on it. What the new media are doing is the opposite of what happened in 1984. By adding new kinds of representations, they are unobtrusively widening the range of messages and meanings that we communicate with our students.

S: And what about the role of the Internet and the new types of interactions going on there?
Well, even the metaphor of the channel is falling apart because the channels are so big now that we ourselves are inside them. There's a place called cyberspace where many of us spend a little time, and some of our students spend a great deal of their time, in contrast to real-world settings. Understanding what those virtual settings are like and what they're good for is extremely important. Isaac Asimov once said that the important thing to forecast is not the television, but the soap opera. In the same way, the important thing to forecast is not the channels, it's not the boxes and wires and switches, but instead it's the way that we can now sense and act and learn almost magically across distance and time, and what that means for our human capabilities in terms of teaching and learning.

Continued at 

Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at 

"Needed:  Creative Teaching and Commitment," Phillip D. Long, EDUCAUSE Review, May/June 2002 --- 

The next several years will mark a transition in the format of teaching, a transition marked less by revolutionary changes in technology and more by an exploitation of the potential that current technology developments afford to support learning in more heterogeneous settings. Computing power will continue to grow enormously. In fact, it appears that Moore’s law was conservative. Even without the radical chip-fabrication breakthroughs that loom on the horizon, processor speeds of 10 GHz are already being produced in test quantities.1 Yet the sheer power of computation does not link closely with changes in teaching. Today’s laptops can present extraordinary visualizations of electromagnetic force fields, for example, but this graphic power does not necessarily improve students’ conceptual understanding of physics. It takes someone—some faculty member—to integrate this capability appropriately into an instructionally meaningful classroom experience. 

Phillip D. Long is Senior Strategist for the Academic Computing Enterprise at MIT.

"Why Companies Fail," Fortune Magazine, May 27, 2002Cover Story, pp. 50-64 ---



Slave to Wall Street


See no evil


Overdosing on risk


Dysfunctional board


Softened by success














Arthur Andersen









Global Crossing*






















































































































Strategy du jour


Acquisition lust


Fearing the boss


Dangerous culture


Death spiral












Arthur Andersen









Global Crossing*





























































































Sharing Accounting Professor of the Week

Thank you Shyam Sunder at Yale University --- 
Shyam (pronounced Shawum) is one of the leading accounting/economics researchers and philosophers of the world.  He is one of the few leading researchers who shares his working papers on the Web.

"SOME THOUGHTS ON THE INTELLECTUAL FOUNDATIONS OF ACCOUNTING A Commentary," by Joel S. Demski John Fellingham Yuji Ijiri Shyam Sunder, February 2002 --- 

We report on a panel discussion at the 2001 CMU Accounting Mini-conference under the title “Intellectual Foundations of Accounting.” We provide a background and the motivation for the discussion and present the remarks by the four panelists. A number of perspectives are taken. Sunder emphasizes dualities in accounting. Demski stresses the endogeneity of accounting measurement activities. Fellingham examines the core and superstructure of accounting. Ijiri observes the microcosmos in accounting and its philosophical connection. We also argue that accounting’s intellectual foundations are far from settled and an on-going discussion is likely to help reinvigorate accounting scholarship.

You can also find related comments in Joel Demski's August 15, 2001 Presidential Address to the American Accounting Association --- 

Wow Database Site of the Week

UN Atlas of the Oceans 

The Atlas is an information system designed for use by policy makers who need to become familiar with ocean issues and by scientists, students and resource managers who need access to underlying data bases and approaches to sustainability 

Wow Intelligence Testing Site of the Week (From the BBC)  --- 

It's not always egg-heads that do well on IQ tests. Allegedly Marilyn Monroe had a higher IQ than Einstein! But what is it that makes us intelligent? Are we 'dumbing down' or getting 'brainier'? Find out in ‘the science of intelligence’.

Helper Site of the Week --- This Works for Me!

LookWAYup: Translating Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Search Tool . 

LookWAYup is a dictionary and a search tool embedded right into web pages.

LookWAYup is also a browser add-on that combines dictionary, thesaurus, translation, and advanced search tool. With a double-click you can look-up the meaning of a word, or a phrase, search it on the page or the whole Web using your favorite search engine, check whether books have been written on the subject, and more! All that without leaving the Web page. New version just released! Free trial of full version with translation en français; auf Deutsch; en español; in Nederlands; em português. Install the Personal Version using this link, then upgrade by selecting "Full version, try it free", or click here

How does it work?

Try it out for yourself

Sample pages that have been enabled, no installation required! –

FREE No software to install or download

FREE Install it on your browser

You can use LookWAYUp not only on pages that have been enabled with it, but on other pages on the Web. Follow this link: Make LookWAYup part of your browser

FREE Use it on your WAP device

If you have a cell phone with a microbrowser or another WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) device, point it to . Note: this URL won't work with a regular browser.

For your wireless Palm device
Download (English) Version Française Some wireless PDAs need the wap version (above) or this generic version for handheld devices

Is LookWAYup's search better?

 LookWAYUp uses your favourite search engine. You can just pick AltaVista, Google, GoTo, or Lycos/HotBot. LookWAYUp creates a query with one click that is probably right on the mark. You can search just the site that you're on even if the site doesn't have a search feature. You can also search the entire Web. LookWAYup's search is contextual. It doesn't just look up a word, it looks it up in the context in which it is being used on the page that you'e reading.

For example, search Altavista for the term "Diet" Click here to do this  You will find mostly weight loss diets. When you are on the Wellness web "Heart Disease and Diet" page, double-click the word "diet" then press "Search the Web". and you will find pages about nutrition, particularly in the context of heart disease.

Dictionary and search engines work together

Double-click on the term "propranolol" to select it, then press the LookWAYup Quick Launch button below. Pressing on "More..." will find the trade name "Inderal" and the terms "beta blocker" and beta-adrenergic blocking agent". Pressing "Extended Search" will add these terms to the search and look this up on the web, even if the original term is not there.

Blogging, a latter-day home page for some and a place to pretend you're a journalist for others, is now part of a major university's J-school curriculum ---,1383,52992,00.html 

Bob Jensen's threads on blogging/Webcasting are at 

The International Federation of Accountants (IFA) issues a paper, E-Business and the Accountant: Risk Management for Accounting Systems in an E-Business Environment ---

Bob Jensen risk e-Business threads are at 

The International Federation of Accountants (IFA) issues a, Auditing Fair Value Measurements And Disclosures --- 

The Council of Institutional Investors decides to support including the cost of stock options as an expense on businesses’ reported income statements—a reversal of its long-standing opposition to the practice 

Bob Jensen's threads on employee stock options are at 

From the Scout Report on June 21, 2002

Usability and privacy: a study of Kazaa P2P file-sharing 

Published on the Hewlett Packard (HP) Web site, this report finds that a large percentage of Kazaa users have either accidentally or unknowingly shared their private files with everyone who has access to the Kazaa network. Conducted by Nathaniel S. Good of HP Labs and Aaron Krekelberg of the University of Minnesota, this study discloses shortcomings in the Kazaa software, which in turn, poses a serious threat to computer privacy. Using various experiments to analyze the usability of the Kazaa file sharing interface, the researchers discovered that the majority of the users in the study were unable to tell what files they were sharing, and in certain cases, were not even aware they were sharing files at all. The researchers also created dummy files on a server and discovered in a 24-hour period that the files had been accessed and downloaded several times by unique visitors. Available in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), this nine page report, on the whole, is primarily for those affiliated with P2P file sharing systems.

Bob Jensen's P2P threads are at 

E-Library of Literature 

E-Library of Literature, a part of the Arts and Letters Web site, contains a modest selection of e-book essays, poetry, dramas, and translations. Selections are arranged in seven categories --- English, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, and Multi-languages --- and primarily pertain to literary criticism and theory. Available in either Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), or html formats, the materials on this site would be of value to certain literature students, educators, and/or researchers.

Bob Jensen's e-Library  threads are at 

The Transition to Digital Television [.pdf]

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association has prepared this document that summarizes the transition to digital television (DTV) in the U.S. The report, delivered in April 2002, assesses the countrys progress toward greater digital coverage and more widespread DTV programming. After a brief introduction to the technology, the report gives some background on the broadcast industrys efforts to hasten the transition and the challenges that remain. Then the changes in the cable industry are examined, including upgrades and the carriage of digital signals. Lastly, the report covers consumer response -- the sales trends of DTV sets show steady growth for the technology, but the overall transition is not proceeding as quickly as some speculated. This site is also reviewed in the June 21, 2002 NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology.

Glucose WeatherPop 

Have you ever been at work starring into a computer wondering what the weather was like outside? Or flipping through the Yellow Pages looking for the "time" number to find out your local temperature? For Mac OS X only, Glucose has developed the WeatherPop Advance, which keeps you in contact with the current weather conditions and temperature in your area. Merely type in the name of the city where you live, and the weather condition and temperature will update every fifteen minutes in your menu bar. For this nifty product, Internet users can download the advance version for a 14-day demo trial (after which a small fee is required), or download the older version for free.

 VBirthday 2.0: Vasilenok's Birthday Notifier 

Forgot another birthday or anniversary? Well, Vbirthday 2.0 has come to the rescue. Compatible with all PocketPC/PocketPC2002 devices, Vbirthday informs you of upcoming birthdays or anniversaries. The software scans your contact book for birthdays and anniversaries, sorts the information, and then notifies you of upcoming dates. Best of all, its absolutely free.


Investment Helper Site from the National Association of Securities Dealers --- 

Teach Your Children to Invest --- 

Bob Jensen's helpers for finding investments and investment advisors --- 

Macromedia - Flash Technotes: Web Sites Devoted to Macromedia Flash and Flash Developers 

Bob Jensen's threads on resources are given at 

First Research, Inc. Publishes seven- to fourteen-page targeted Industry Profiles on over 100 industries. 

From the Pros:  Animation Blast (History and State of the Art) --- 

Music Sites of the Week 

Bound for Glory: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie --- 

Smithsonian Jazz --- 

From Syllabus News on May 31, 2002

Notre Dame Signs on with Campus Pipeline

The University of Notre Dame Wednesday announced it will streamline the creation of its campus Web content, personalize communication, and manage the Notre Dame brand with the Campus Pipeline Luminis Content Management Suite. Notre Dame is also joining Campus Pipeline's Pillar Institutions Program, a collaborative product development program. The university began evaluating content management options in 2000, when the accelerated adoption of Web technologies by campus constituents made it a challenge to keep Web content current, accurate, complete, and reliably accessible. Staff from Notre Dame's IT department, the Mendoza College of Business, the University Library, and the Office of Human Resources will work together with the Campus Pipeline Services group to apply the Luminis Recommended Success Formula program, developed to ensure rapid and successful implementation and deployment of the technology. Notre Dame plans to launch the initial content management phase of its digital campus at the end of 2002. For more information, visit 


SCT Selected by Hudson County CC

Hudson County Community College in New Jersey has signed a five-year, $7.5 million outsourcing agreement with SCT global education solutions. Under terms of the agreement, SCT will provide on-site staff and management to implement and support the College's SCT Plus administrative solution, including student information, financial aid, human resources, and financial records applications. Hudson County Community College has been using SCT Plus since 1999. The College selected SCT for outsourcing services after a collaborative decision- making process involving members of the board of trustees, administrators, and end users. For more information, visit 


From InformationWeek News on May 31, 2002

It's not often anymore that a company raises $61 million in capital, but that's exactly what divine Inc. has done with a round of equity financing led by Oak Investment Partners.

Execs at the software and services company say they don't want customers doubting divine's future, so they've made it a priority to build a hefty cash reserve. "In this marketplace, even IBM and Cisco are being questioned about their viability," says divine CEO Andrew "Flip" Filipowski. The financing, along with cuts that have slashed $85 million in annual costs this year, will make the firm profitable by year's end, he says.

The company was in danger of being delisted from the Nasdaq earlier this year, prompting a 1-for-25 reverse stock split two weeks ago. Growth through acquisition has been Filipowski's modus operandi--divine has bought more than 30 companies in the past 18 months. In doing so, it gouged its reserves--down from $140 million in December to $80 million in March, says Robert Lerner, an analyst with Current Analysis. Rather than continue the shopping spree, divine needs to focus on integrating its acquisitions. Says Lerner, "Right now, they're just a jumble of pieces." - Tony Kontzer and Sandra Swanson

For more background on divine, read: Divine To Acquire Viant 

Divine Expands Reach As Content-Management Vendor 


Innovation Site of the Week

TextArc: An Alternate Way to View a Text 

TextArc is a visual represention of a text—the entire text (twice!) on a single page. Some funny combination of an index, concordance, and summary, it uses the viewer's eye to help uncover meaning. A more detailed overview is available.

Rarely do value, aesthetics and innovation come together so effectively. It shows what can happen when designers go beyond thinking about displays as just electronic paper. —Bill Buxton Chief Scientist, Alias|Wavefront & SGI [TextArc] frees you to see the text in a nonlinear way, and to make connections that you would not have otherwise made. It makes a text richer and more interpretable. —Bruce Ferguson Dean, Columbia University School of the Arts

TextArc evolves from an academic tool into a full-fledged work of digital art. ... This is the reading process made visible. As the eye arrives at each word, it glows in the mind while generating a skein of other associations, similar to what happens when one reads a book. Then it lingers a bit before receding from consciousness. And all the while, the greater whole of the story is present in the imagination and beautifully vivid on the screen. (Here's the whole article.) —Matthew Mirapaul Arts Columnist, The New York Times

Really enjoyed hearing your ideas and seeing your work. Your multivalent approach is rare and welcome. I look forward to seeing more anytime. —Larry Rinder Curator, The Whitney Biennial & Bitstreams

TextArc is just taking its first steps with the site launch on Monday, April 15. There are major new releases just around the corner, including the ability to search for word associations in any text, some real-world applications, and fine art prints that make it possible for you to live with what's been called a "mindprint" of your favorite work. Please drop a note to and we'll keep you informed. (This list will never be sold or used for purposes unrelated to TextArc; and the e-mail update is free, of course.)

Wow Information Systems Site of the Week

May 28, 2002 Message from Todd Boyle


Compiere ERP + CRM Business Solution is a large J2EE Java product requiring Oracle database). I test drove it. This is a serious, deep, extensive functionality, reflecting quite an extensive information model. I am frankly, not competent to review it from a big-picture perspective and I'm worried whether the object hierarchies and conceptual models in Compiere are good or bad.

Are there any ERP professionals out there, who have reviewed this, who can provide a whole, big-picture perspective?

After the Compiere code is ported to PostGreSQL database, isn't this something smaller businesses should consider installing a subset from?

Anything that accumulates a large enough user base, creates the possibility of a de-facto standard syntax and vocabulary that everybody else can use, as well, to send and receive orders, invoices, payments and other data over the internet. Commercial vendors are more dedicated than ever to avoiding standardization of transaction formats so, it can only come from something like Compiere. Even standards like ebXML, OAGIS or UBL are relatively useless without software to run them, i.e., they will be usable by SMEs only at the discretion of Sage, Intuit, Microsoft, and other vendors.

Todd Todd Boyle CPA 
9745-128th Ave NE 
Kirkland WA  

Bob Jensen's threads on ERP are at 

From Syllabus News on May 28, 2002

Blackboard Announces Adoption Strategy for 'OKI' Specifications

Blackboard recently announced a broad strategy to adopt industry standard API's (Application Program Interfaces) from the MIT Open Knowledge Initiative within the Blackboard e-Education Suite. Blackboard's Building Blocks open architecture will base future releases on key OKI specifications, enabling a broader variety of third party applications to work with Blackboard. The announcement is expected to help accelerate OKI's status as an industry standard in the higher education market. Through their relationship as common mem- bers of the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Blackboard and OKI institutional partners are working together with other IMS members to help define the next generation of interoperability standards for educational technology. For more information on the MIT Open Knowledge Initiative, visit 

Bob Jensen's threads on OKI are at 

Digital Video Publishing Software

Pinnacle Systems recently announced the availability of Pinnacle Edition, a professional video editing and DVD authoring software. The software product provides a complete solution for educators and others who want high quality and comprehensive content creation capabilities. Pinnacle Edition includes Pinnacle's new non-linear editing software application along with Hollywood FX software for special effects, TitleDeko RT software for graphics and Pinnacle's Impression application for DVD authoring. For more information, visit .

Bob Jensen has this on a new Pinnacle DV500 system on a new computer operating under Windows XP.  I am having problems with this system, but it could just be that I am so new at operating the system.  Installation is tricky, and I still can't capture video --- Sigh!

Applications to MBA programs are at record levels--up 40% and more at many schools. Multimillion-dollar facilities will open on several campuses, including Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, where a $62 million Frank Gehry building was just completed. All signs of health. But as B-schools close the books on the academic year, financially it's looking like one of the toughest ever. The reason: Corporate America is penny-pinching. As part of their attack on spending in the face of weak profits, companies are slashing training budgets. And that has reverberated across B-school campuses. How so? Even the most prestigious schools get about 30% of revenues from executive-education programs, which cater to corporate clients. Now, B-schools are reeling from 15%-to-25% declines in exec-ed revenue. They're retrenching by cutting staff and course selections and scaling back marketing and administration. And when that's not sufficient, they're resorting to tuition hikes--as high as 12%--bumping tuition to as much as $34,000 a year. 

Note that the SEC has some new ways to search for filings of companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  All filings can now be downloaded free according to a May 30, 2002 press release by Harvey Pitt, current Chairman of the SEC.

General-Purpose EDGAR Searches --- 
(Note that the first two options below are new to EDGAR.)

Search Companies and Filings --- 
Find companies and associated filings

Show Latest Filings --- 

List filings as they are processed by SEC

Quick Forms Lookup --- 

Find specific forms for a particular company

Search the Historical EDGAR Archives --- 


The Sad State of Accounting for Stock Options

"Show Me the Money (All of It)," by Allan Sloan, Newsweek, May 20, 2002, Page 49

The accounting first.  As things stand now, options are a free lunch for companies--employees place a high value on them, but companies can issue as many as they want without  hurting corporate profits.  That's because companies don't have to count options' value as an expense.  With reform in the air because of Enron, old-math types like Warren Buffett and Alan Greenspan are pushing to change accounting rules to force companies to count the value of stock options as an expense in their profit-and-loss statements.  Accounting rulemakers proposed this a decade ago, but back down under political pressure generated by corporations, especially in options-happy Silicon Valley.

Then there's a second, little-known aspect of the options-accounting debate.  If companies have to count the value of options as an expense, they would come under huge pressure to report their value as compensation to the CEO, and to members of the board.  Under current rules, a company has to show shareholders a table that includes how much it gave the CEO in salary, bonus, long-term compensation and other benefits.  But the table has to show only the number of options granted to the CEO, not their economic value.  To find that, you have to hunt on other pages--and you may not find it all if the company opts to report a different way.  "The original idea was to have the value of options in the table, not the number of options," says Graef Crystal, a compensation expert who worked on the disclosure rules.  But, he says, the SEC backed down after companies objected.

It's easy to see why companies would have been upset at having to count options as compensation.  In most pay filings I see these days, the economic value of CEO and directors' options exceeds their cash payments.  So counting options would more than double the typical package.

To see how this works, let's look at Dell Computer and Knight Ridder, two companies I just happen to have looked at recently.  Dell's most recent statement shows that Michael Dell, its billionaire owner and founder, earned $2.6 million in salary and bonus.  Not starvation wages, but not much for a big-time CEO.  On a different page, you see that he got options the company valued at $26 million.  That's major moolah.  Dell directors were paid a $40,000 annual retainer fee, but also got options on $850,000 worth of stock.  The options' economic value: around $300,000.  Note that I'm not accusing Dell of hiding anything--it's following the rules.

Discount retailer Kmart is under investigation for irregular accounting practices. In January an anonymous letter initiated an internal probe of the company's accounting practices. Now, the Detroit News has obtained a copy of the letter that contains allegations pointing to senior Kmart officials as purposely violating accounting principles with the knowledge of the company's auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers. 

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting fraud are at 

June 11 message from Lisa Young at Ernst & Young

Maintaining our valued campus relationships is something that we refuse to lose sight of at Ernst & Young-despite the many distractions in the industry. In order to communication with you on topics that may be of interest to accounting educators, we have created the Ernst & Young Faculty Connection-an electronic newsletter.

We believe that a fresh influx of talent-and free and open dialog between you and the big firms-is crucially important to the professional accounting business-probably more so now than at any time in our history. Maintaining a supply of bright, prepared people is a year-round job for you and for us.

We invite you to launch your first issue by simply clicking the link below, or copying and pasting the link in your browser: 

Accentuate the Positive
One of the early contributors to the new E&Y Newsletter was Dennis Beresford from the University of Georgia (and former Chairman of the FASB)

In this section each issue we will invite one of your colleagues to write an editorial. For the first issue, we thank Denny Beresford, Executive Professor from the University of Georgia, for his insightful words on the profession during this very unique time.

"Twenty-six years at E&Y, ten years at the FASB, and five years at the University of Georgia should have prepared me for the extraordinary events of the past six months. Yet the meltdowns of both Enron and Andersen have made this period quite different than any other in my professional lifetime. Hardly a day has passed without my receiving at least a couple of calls from reporters, versus only a few calls a month while at the FASB. And the opportunities to testify to Congress, appear on national television, and make numerous other presentations have made this a truly exciting period. But, rather than focusing on these personal activities, I try to keep the professional big picture in mind.

At least some changes in accounting standards, regulation of auditing, and corporate governance are needed and will occur. These changes no doubt will influence the content of many accounting courses. I know that some accounting professors already are including some of the Enron/Andersen lessons into their classes, and other will have to do so soon.

Beyond those subject matter challenges, however, is the overall impression of accounting as a vocation. It is here, I believe, where educators have the greatest opportunity to make a positive contribution.

I've already seen evidence of some professors making a very pessimistic assessment. They note that Enron/Andersen "proves" that the accounting profession is fundamentally flawed with too many unethical practitioners. This kind of cynical attitude will almost certainly reinforce concerns about accounting as a career choice in the minds of current and potential accounting majors.

I prefer to take a more optimistic view. I believe the current situation demonstrates that high-quality financial reporting and high-quality auditing are critical to our capital markets and overall economy. The market can extract huge penalties for inadequate performance, and it also can reward those who do the right thing. With the recent supply of accounting graduates declining, and the tremendous opportunities for well-educated individuals in the profession, this is a great time to be entering the profession.

A very old song made a lasting impression on my life. It said we should "accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative." Current events show that we'll never be 100% successful with the latter. However, if we remember to "accentuate the positive" in all of our communications with students, we'll help ensure an even better profession in the future."

Continued at 

Eliminate the Negative

Among the many things I admire about Denny Beresford is that he was willing to stand up to the powerful industrial/government complex on many issues while he was Chairman of the FASB, most notably the FAS 123 fight. When he stresses "accentuate the positive," he does not mean "eliminate the negative" by always agreeing with the corporate lobbyists. He does, however, want to eliminate the negatives in bad accounting and financial reporting. I repeat an earlier quotation concern Denny:

A Quote from FAS 123 History (1993):

 Dennis R. Beresford and James J. Leisenring came to the Red Lion Inn on a hot August morning with a simple goal: to explain a change in an accounting rule. Before it was over they were lucky to have escaped the first lynching in San Jose in a half-century. Measuring out the rope were 300 seriously pissed off Silicon Valley CEOs and other senior execs who could see the ruin of their lives' work because some glorified bean counters in Washington had decided to count sacrifice flies as home runs. Michael S. Malone, Upside Today, November 1, 1993 --- 

You can attend a live performance by Dennis Beresford in San Antonio on August 13, 2002 --- 


CensusScope ---

Bob Jensen's links to statistical data can be found at 

In a decision dated May 14, a court of appeals denied KPMG's request for a reconsideration of an independence action brought against the firm by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The court's decision to back the SEC was especially significant because the American Institute of CPAs supported KPMG's position. 

"Will the Blogs Kill Old Media?" by Steven Levy, Newsweek, May 20, 2002, Page 52

A year ago, Glenn Reynolds hardly qualified as plankton on the punditry food chain.  The 41-year-old law professor at the University of Tennessee would pen the occasional op-ed for the L.A. Times, but his name was unfamiliar to even the most fanatical news junkie.  All that began to change on Aug. 5 of last year, when Reynolds acquired the software to create a "Weblog," or "blog."  A blog is an easily updated Web site that works as an online daybook, consisting of links to interesting items on the Web, spur-of-the-moment observations and real-time reports on whatever captures the blogger's attention.  Reynold's original goal was to post witty observations on news events, but after September 11, he began providing links to fascinating articles and accounts of the crisis, and soon his site, called InstaPundit, drew thousands of readers--and kept growing.  He now gets more than 70,000 page views a day (he figures this means 23,000 real people).  Working at his two-year-old $400 computer, he posts dozens of items and links a day, and answers hundreds of e-mails.  PR flacks call him to cadge coverage.  And he's living a pundit's dream by being frequently cited--not just by fellow bloggers, but by media bigfeet.  He's blogged his way into the game.

Some say the game itself has changed.  InstaPundit is a pivotal site in what is known as the Blogosphere, a burgeoning samizdat of self-starters who attempt to provide in the aggregate an alternate media universe.  The putative advantage is that this one is run not by editors paid by corporate giants, but unbespoken outsiders--impassioned lefties and righties, fine-print-reading wonks, indignant cranks and salt-'o-the-earth eyewitnesses to the "real" life that the self-absorbed media often miss.  Hard-core bloggers, with a giddy fever not heard of since the Internet bubble popped, are even predicting that the Blogosphere is on a trajectory to eclipse the death-star-like dome of Big Media.  One blog avatar, Dave Winer (who probably would be saying this even if he didn't run a company that sold blogging software), has formally wagered that by 2007, more readers will get news from blogs than from The New York Times.  Taking him up on the bet is Martin Nisenholtz, head of the  Time's digital operations.

My guess is that Nisenholtz wins.  Blogs are a terrific addition to the media universe.  But they pose no threat to the established order.

Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs are at 

PDN Photo Annual 2002 (Various Business Categories Including Advertising)--- 

A New Paradox:  The IRS Versus the SEC

The IRS is about to make history if it is successful with its plan to make incentive stock options (ISOs) and employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs) vulnerable to Social Security, Medicare, and other payroll taxes. 

And just how are firms to record payroll tax expenses on payroll "expenses" that are never booked (i.e., only two of the 500 Fortune 500 companies book stock options as expenses under the permissive FAS 123 standard)?  Bob Jensen's threads on stock option accounting are at 

"E Is for E-Book Murder Mystery," by M.J. Rose, Wired News, June 4, 2002 ---,1284,52929,00.html 

Is the book dead? That's the mystery that the trAce Online Writing Centre's interactive collaborative Web drama, "M is for Nottingham?," hopes to solve.

Created by Marjorie Coverley Luesebrink, M is for Nottingham? unfolds in real time.

The project hopes to trace the lines of continuity between the book, electronic hypertext and live drama. And it hopes to explore how writers can work together on the Web, how interactive drama can be structured, and what elements of collaborative Web stories can be carried over into live drama.

Writers are invited to create a persona, to find clues on the Web and in the virtual haunts of Nottingham, as well as to write segments of the mystery story. Anyone can participate.

At the Incubation 2 Conference in July, attendees will be invited to help perform the denouement of the drama as it has developed online -- costumes optional.

Luesebrink said the mystery was inspired by Robert Coover's now-legendary article, "The End of Books," (New York Times Book Review, 1992), in which he asked if hypertext would mean the end of books.

M is for Nottingham? shows an ongoing debt to the written word in all its forms: stone, paper and digital. In addition, the mystery itself draws upon the literary heritage of England, and Nottingham in particular, to suggest story outlines.

One clue site is Newstead Abbey, once home to Lord Byron and his library; another is the garden where D.H. Lawrence set his love scene in Sons and Lovers. The whole idea of the "tea cozy" mystery (one in which the body is not evident) is a British mystery novel genre.

TrAce believes that books are here to stay, but that the electronic medium will encourage more readership. "The notion that the printed word has to be confined to print on paper is to disregard all of the other important forms of storytelling -- from oral tales told around a fire to Egyptian tomb paintings to manuscripts on vellum to radio broadcasts," Luesebrink said.

Horror for sale:, an online-only bookstore focusing on small-press horror books, magazines and artwork, launched May 22 and took in $10,000 in its first week.

Unlike most other genre stores that concentrate primarily on out-of-print or rare items -- which generally list their inventory on sources such as is one of the few to focus almost all of its energy on in-print and new books.

Owner Matt Schwartz said he is keeping overhead practically nonexistent by using the inexpensive Yahoo Store backend and focusing on viral marketing within newsgroups, message boards and e-mail groups.

"The store was essentially created out of what I felt the horror industry was missing," said Schwartz, who previously created and maintained the original, a hub of websites designed to promote horror fiction.

Better book browsing: Trying to replicate the in-store browsing experience, has introduced a new search option. Bookbrowser lists titles by subject, author, format, price range, prize winners, recommended books and bestsellers. Search results can be listed by price, publication date, alphabetical listing or sales rank.

Continued at,1284,52929,00.html 

Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses from 1790 to 2000 --- 

Museum of Musical Instruments 

I happened upon an interesting research paper on corporate governance. This paper also has a nice glossary.

"Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," by Paul A. Gompers, et al. July 2002 --- 

The power-sharing relationship between investors and managers is defined by the rules of corporate governance. In the United States, these rules are given in corporate legal documents and in state and federal laws. There is significant variation in these rules across different firms, resulting in large differences in the balance of power between investors and managers. Using a sample of about 1,500 firms per year and 24 corporate-governance provisions during the 1990s, we build a Governance Index, denoted as "G", to proxy for the balance of power between managers and shareholders in each firm. We then analyze the empirical relationship of this index to stock returns, firm value, operating measures, capital expenditure, and acquisition activity.

We find that corporate governance is strongly correlated with stock returns during the 1990s: an investment strategy that purchased shares in the firms with the lowest G (strongest shareholder rights), and sold short firms with the highest G (weakest shareholder rights), earned abnormal returns of 8.5 percent per year. At the beginning of the sample, there is already a significant relationship between valuation and governance: each one-point increase in G is associated with a 2.4 percentage point lower value for Tobin's Q. By the end of the decade, this difference has increased significantly, with a one-point increase in G associated with an 8.9 percentage point lower value for Tobin's Q.

Continued at 

Bob Jensen's threads on business and accounting glossaries are at 

Bob Jensen's Technology Glossary is at 

From Infobits on May 31, 2002


The idea that "everything is on the Web and it's free" is a student belief that faculty and librarians have long had to contend with when trying to steer students to traditional information sources. Now a study of over 6,000 knowledge workers confirms that this impression is also prevalent in business with 62% believing "any information is on the Web." The study showed that, just as in the scholarly arena, there is no factual basis for this belief: "more than two-thirds of publications used most often by knowledge workers either do not have Web sites or do not offer their material on the Web for free." And, in cases where there is no fee for the Web-based information, it still isn't free. The study estimated that it costs $30 per hour of worker time spent in searching for and evaluating information, translating into an annual cost to business of $107 billion.

The study's white paper, "Free, Fee-Based and Value-Added Information Services," was conducted by Outsell, Inc. and commissioned by Factiva, Dialog, and KPMG. You can read the complete report on the Web at

Outsell, Inc. is a research and advisory service dedicated to the information content industry. For more information, see

Factiva is a Dow Jones & Reuters Company that provides global news and business information. For more information, see

Dialog is the world's first online information retrieval system, providing online-based information services in such fields as business, science, engineering, finance, and law. For more information, see


"Recommended Reading" lists items that have been recommended to me or that Infobits readers have found particularly interesting and/or useful, including books, articles, and websites published by Infobits subscribers. Send your recommendations to for possible inclusion in this column.

Co-author (and Infobits subscriber) Craig A. Cunningham recommends this new book:

CURRICULUM WEBS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WEAVING THE WEB INTO TEACHING AND LEARNING By Craig A. Cunningham, Center for School Improvement (CSI) at the University of Chicago, and Marty Billingsley, The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2002

ISBN: 0-205-33659-0

More information:,4096,0205336590,00.html

"A 'curriculum web' is a website designed to support a sustained process of teaching and learning. The book describes the process of building a curriculum web as a holistic, iterative process in which curriculum planning and web design inform one another. It takes the reader through the complete process of planning a curriculum unit and building a web site to support that unit, from setting learning objectives, to selecting learning activities, to finding and evaluation web-based materials. A set of Hands-On Lessons on the companion web site ( give the specific step-by-step instructions for using Dreamweaver, GoLive, FrontPage, or Composer to create the curriculum web. The companion website also includes hundreds of links to existing resources on the web."

Is there an analogy between atomic bomb scientist Werner Heisenberg (Germany, 1940) and CPA Joe Berardino (Arthur Andersen CEO in 2001)?

When should research be banned?  Related to it is the question of when researchers should be denied the privilege of free and open publication.

Years ago I spent a year in a think-tank (The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences) at a time when some of the "fellows" (so-called because they received "fellowships" rather than because of their gender) considered the topic of what kinds of research should be banned and/or suppressed from publication.  For example, one of the fellows was a Nobel Prize winner who, over 30 years ago, was looking directly into this philosophical and moral debate in terms of the dangers of allowing more research on cloning.  

A documentary on the History Channel renewed my interest in this debate several weeks ago.  The documentary focused upon a 1939 discovery at the University of Birmingham that is briefly described by John Lienhard at .  Also see 

Physicist Jonothan Logan tells a strange tale that begins in 1946, soon after Germany surrendered. Fifteen of Germany's greatest physicists have been taken to an English country house and asked to write an account of German science during the war.

Suddenly, a radio announcement: The BBC says an atomic bomb has fallen on Hiroshima with a blast equal to 2000 ten-ton bombs.

Werner Heisenberg, of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle fame, is there. He doesn't know the English have hidden microphones in the room. He blurts out that such a bomb would be impossible. No one had enough uranium to do the job. Some dilettante in America, who knows very little about it, has bluffed them, he grumbles.

The transcripts of those conversations were only declassified in 1992. As we listen in, a half-century later, we learn the real reason why Germany never produced an atom bomb.

The idea of an atomic bomb had been born seven years before -- in February, 1939. That's when Lisa Meitner published a paper with her nephew Otto Frisch explaining the release of energy by the fission of uranium. Seven months later Germany invaded Poland and full war began. Meanwhile, both Meitner and Frisch got out of Germany.

Meitner wanted nothing to do with bombs. She wanted to create peaceful nuclear power. But in 1940, Frisch wrote the English military to tell them it'd take only one kilogram of uranium 235 to make a bomb. U-235 is a hard-to-separate isotope that makes up less than one percent of natural uranium. Frisch underestimated how much of it we'd need, but only by a factor of ten. Heisenberg also made the calculation and got 13,000 kilograms. The huge difference in estimates has to do with the way chain reactions work:

A neutron is so tiny and fast moving that it travels a long distance in uranium before it chances to hit an atom and knock more neutrons loose. If it has to travel, say, a full meter, you need a huge chunk of U-235 to get a chain reaction. If it only has to travel, say, one centimeter, then a small block of U-235 will do the trick.

Heisenberg, brilliant theoretician, overestimated the path of travel. Experimentalists Meitner and Frisch did far better; and Frisch's note sent America on the way to building a bomb. Heisenberg's estimate so discouraged the German High Command that they never did undertake serious bomb-building.

Back in that English country house, Heisenberg heard about the second bomb over Nagasaki. So he quickly figured out how his calculation should've gone in the first place. Then he told the English he could've built a bomb all along, but he and his colleagues had been anti-Nazi. They'd kept Germany from bomb building and steered her into a slow program of nuclear power development.

That was the story for the next forty-six years. Then we finally opened those hidden microphone records -- and history changed.

I'm John Lienhard, at the University of Houston, where we're interested in the way inventive minds work.

The History Channel show questioned what Werner Heisenberg would really have done had he truly known about about the "one kilogram" discovery of Otto Frisch.  In other words, what if Heisenberg had discovered in 1940 that, armed with the research findings of Frisch or his own similar discovery,  German engineers could have been the first to build an atomic bomb and, in so doing, could have prevented Germany's loss of World War II?  The general conclusion of the History Channel documentary was that Heisenberg would probably have used this research finding to aid Germany in building an atomic bomb.  What Heisenberg did or would have done remains a mystery in history that will most likely never will be solved.  

What is interesting is the fact that a single research discovery or derivation can, on rare occasion, play such a vital role in the course of evolution of life and death on earth.  

On a much smaller scale, auditors may on rare occasion be faced with the dilemma of deciding how to deal with a discovery that can have the same impact on a corporation as if it were hit with an enormous atomic bomb.  Suppose that the whistle blowing letter from Enron executive Sherron Watkins to Andersen auditors revealed for the first time (to Andersen auditors) that something in Enron's financial statements that was so bad it would destroy Enron overnight if revealed immediately to the public.  Should the auditors glorify truth and honesty to such a degree that they immediately yell "fire" and make public revision of financial statement revisions?  Or should auditors work behind the scenes with the Board of Directors to make amends more slowly in a way that prevents immediate implosion?  Perhaps the SEC and the Justice Department should have special procedures for such dangerous discoveries such that executives of the company, auditors, and law enforcement can seek a more orderly and controlled solution to the problem that will not cause devastating panic but will allow for restoration for damages over the long run.  

In the case of Watkin's letter, it appears that Andersen executives did nothing except run to their lawyers who, in turn, advised not to disclose any of Watkin's revelations to the public or to Enron's Audit Committee or Board of Directors.  It is also not clear that Andersen did not already know about each item revealed in Watkin's whistle blowing letter. 

In any case, researchers and auditors have some major problems in common.  Some of these entail debate over classification of knowledge and suppression of discoveries from the media!  There appear to be no easy answers when life and livelihoods of innocent people are at stake.

The New York Stock Exchange has drafted proposed rules and recommendations designed to guide the markets past a crisis of confidence that NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso calls "moments of madness" in the days following the Enron collapse. Some of the NYSE's points have already proven controversial within the business community, but Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt hails them as "a significant step in addressing major concerns raised by the investing public." 

"Sizing Up the Browsers," by Steve Mulder, Webmonkey, May 7, 2002 --- 

When you're creating a Web page, size matters. There's limited space to work with, and page elements take up certain amounts of space. It's a land of constraints, and you've got to know the rules before you get started.

Unfortunately, the browser makers have been naughty, so the rules aren't simple. Each Web browser has its own playing field with its own quirks. If we don't get to know every one of these playing fields, then our pages might very well look crappy in some browser.

The purpose of this quick reference is to collect everything you need to know about the spatial aspects of the major browsers.

Here's what we'll be looking at:

After reviewing some recent (and free!) browser stats at and elsewhere, I decided to focus on the following browsers:

Continued at  

Global Forest Watch

Slates, Sliderules, and Software: Teaching Math in America (History, Mathematics)  

Hi Clay,

I'm afraid I can't help you much on impairment issues. I do have a few documents that are available at my site that touch on impairment, but these are not what you are seeking. 

You will have better results if you go to Paul Pacter's great site at  
Then enter key terms like "Impairment" in his search box. Be patient, searching takes a bit of time, but you will get a lot of hits.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Clay []  
Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 7:42 PM 
Subject: intangilble flangibles...(sorry 'bout that, could think of anything)

g'day bob, not a bad site you have here, with fantastic links... anyhow, just wondering if you hade any links to, or info already on impairment of assets. Most of your articles seem to be on valuation of intangibles, etc.

I'm also interested in the inconsistencies b/n acc'g Standards (within individual countries), for the application/treatment of measurements, valuation, impairment, etc. For example, (keeping it simple here) if they're all assets, should thy all be treated the same? Why should some assets be amortised and others not, why put finite useful lives on intangibles, etc

It'd be great to here back from THE MAN, 

thanks again, /
VU Melbourne, Australia

Accounting Theory Controversies

Hi Clay,

I read about the new Australian SGARA standard at 

Probably the most important change in accounting standards, as far as Earth Sanctuaries is concerned is Accounting Standard AASB1037- Self-Generating and Regenerating Assets.

For some time, we complained very bitterly about our main assets, wildlife, not having a real value as far as our balance sheet and profitability were concerned. This has been rectified by this new Australian accounting standard.

The complete standard can be obtained from the Australian Accounting Standards Board. We give below those parts of it which specifically concern ESL. All the quotes below are directly from Accounting Standard AASB 1037 unless stated. Parts left out do not seem to effect us in any way.

The Standard (a) applies to all self-generating and regenerating assets (SGARAs) (including wheat crops or apple trees) other than those held for "non-commercial" purposes (b) requires SGARAs to be measured at net market value (c) requires increments (decrements) in the net market values of SGARAs to be recognised as revenues (expenses) in the profit and loss statement in the financial year in which the increments (decrements) occur… (d) … (e) requires SGARAs to be presented separately in the balance sheet (f) requires specific disclosures in relation to SGARAs.

The issue of a SGARA standard (fair market value accounting for growing assets such as timber and wild animals) actually ties into the age old debate of exit value accounting versus historical cost accounting.  Suppose the asset in question is growing timber.  Exit value accounting would report this asset (possibly under as timber or possibly as land) at net realizable value each accounting period.  Historical cost accounting would treat this like like "inventory" where the only thing that can be capitalized is investment in the inventory.  Historical cost accounting would report no profit until the date of sale, whereas exit value accounting allows companies to report unrealized earnings due to exit value changes.

I actually am not a strong believer in exit value reporting for going concerns.  My arguments are summarized in the following two sites: 

SGARA accounting is even more complicated than say accounting for derivative instruments, because the time lag between the valuation date and the ultimate sale of the SGARA assets may be several decades, over which the incremental value increases in a short period of time such as a month or a year are very difficult to measure.

With respect to your other question regarding socio-economic accounting, you will find my writings many years ago on this topic tended to be negative due to enormous measurement errors and subjectivity.  However, in the U.S., a firm's potential liabilities for fines and lawsuits have become so severe that we must face up to those enormous challenges.  My current attention has been elsewhere, but I think that there is a tremendous need for a new type of measurement and risk analysis in these areas.  Two of my older monographs that you might dust off in your library are as follows:

PHANTASMAGORIC ACCOUNTING: Research and Analysis of Economic, Social and Environmental Impact of Corporate Business (Sarasota, FL: The American Accounting Association, 1977).

Review of Forecasts: Scaling and Analysis of Expert Judgments Regarding Cross-Impacts of Assumptions of Business Forecasts and Accounting Measures, (Sarasota, FL: American Accounting Association, 1983).

Please let me know what you think along these lines.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Clay []  
Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2002 10:44 PM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: i'll leave u alone after this i promise...

hey there bob, 
thanx for the info, it'l come in handy.

Just wondering if you had any thoughts/ threads on contempary issues such as SGARAs, or social/enviro accounting. My professors at VU are up there as leaders in this field in australia, and it's taken me 2 1/2 years to expand my thoughts beyond historical cost.

i was wondering if you subscibed to those theories?

thanks for getting back last time, /


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"Making PDFs with PHP, PDQ," by Paul Adams, Webmonkey, May 16, 2002 --- 

PDF is the Portable Document Format developed by Adobe. It's an open standard (watch out, that's a 9MB link to the spec), implemented by Adobe in their Acrobat series of software, but implementable and extensible by anybody who's got the time, inclination, and knack. One trick that's got a lot of potential is using PHP to dynamically generate PDF files and serve them via the Web.

PHP can do a lot for your Web operation. You can generate nice-looking printable receipts, invoices, and brochures. Disc-Cover has a test site that looks up info about a CD automatically and then generates a PDF label for the CD box that you can print, cut out, and use. And there are literally one billion other possible uses for dynamically generated PDFs.

So what are you waiting for?

You have a variety of PDF-generation options. The standard, classic way of doing it is with PDFlib. Because it's so widely used and well-integrated into PHP, that's the library I'll go over today. But it's by no means the only way of doing things. PDFlib is source-available, but not free. The license specifies that PDFlib can be used and redistributed without charge for non-commercial projects, but commercial use starts at $500.

Continued at 

Bob Jensen's threads on PDF files can be found at 

Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry (History, Music) 

Nature Picture Library (Photography, Science) 

Unlike other online versions of Macbeth, in which hyperlinks might annotate Shakespeare's work, dlsan's hyperlinks might change the shape, size and color of a phrase.
(I personally think HyperMacbeth is a loser.)

"Sound and Fury of HyperMacbeth," by Chloe Veltman, Wired News, May 29, 2002 ---,1284,52761,00.html 

A new treatment of Macbeth on the Internet probably won't impress Shakespeare purists. In fact, codpieces, ghosts and daggers are unmistakably absent from HyperMacbeth, the latest Net artwork by Italian new media artist dlsan.

In an attempt to "render Macbeth into a new medium," in the spirit of experimentation and by way of tribute to the Bard, dlsan's HyperMacbeth combines looping electronic music and garish graphic strips with dislocated mouthfuls of text from Shakespeare's play. Adding insult to injury for those who like their Shakespeare as close to the original as possible, dlsan not only hacks Shakespeare's hallowed speeches into pieces, but presents them simultaneously on the screen in Italian and English.

Unlike the original play, which follows a relentless path from Macbeth's encounter with the witches to his blatant disregard for their prophesies, HyperMacbeth is somewhat less predictable. As the user navigates through a selection of the play's speeches by clicking on hyperlinks, random combinations of graphics, text and music invade the screen. Clicking on the line, "The queen, my lord, is dead," carries the audience in any number of directions, from a capitalized "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow," stark against a flashing purple background, to the Italian equivalent, "Domani, e domani, e domani," enveloped in a throbbing sound-scape and flickering crimson graphics.

Although the use of hypertext and graphics is quite basic, the effect is very busy -- a screen cluttered with undulating shards of text, colors and music. "It is full of 'sound and fury,'" said Laurie Osborne, an associate professor of English at Colby College, Maine, who specializes in Hypertext Shakespeare. "But I suspect that 'signifying nothing' is not quite what is going on."

The "sound and fury" is the artist's way of capturing something of the experience of going to the theater. "In theater, every performance is different. People may know the text and the story, and maybe the actors and director, but they don't know how the performers will act," said dlsan, who goes by the automatically generated nickname ascribed to him by his first Internet provider in 1998. "I've tried to recreate this experience with the combination of colors, images, text and music."

There are vast numbers of websites devoted to Shakespeare's work -- typing his name into Google's search engine retrieves more than three million entries -- but dlsan's HyperMacbeth doesn't fit the typical format of such annotated hypertextual editions as Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet, and Shakespeare Online.

In fact, HyperMacbeth works as a kind of pastiche on the conventions of annotating Shakespeare on the Web. Whereas in scholarly Internet editions of The Complete Works, following a link will lead the reader to an explanation of an obscure Elizabethan word, dlsan's hyperlinks might change the shape, size and color of a phrase, lead your eye to a new line in another part of the screen or morph into a completely new speech.

Continued at,1284,52761,00.html 

Men and Heart Disease: An Atlas of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mortality

VeriSign Faces Second Aggressive Marketing Lawsuit A class action suit comes on the heels of a controversial direct marketing campaign.,,10789_1146641,00.html 

On May 28, 2002, the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued GASB Statement No. 39. A major change introduced by the new standard is that many state and local governments will soon be required to include the financial activities of their fundraising foundations through a "discrete presentation." 

Globastat: Country Rankings and World Statistics 

Bob Jensen's threads on macro statistics are at 

vi Har'El's Jules Verne Collection (Literature, Art) 

Status of Technology and Digitization in the Nation's Museums and Libraries 2002 Report 

CRM = Customer Relations Management
Trading Places, Part 2 If the CRM software craze is over, what's next? The second of a three-part series on the future of CRM applications. 

Listen to the Audience Which online ads turn consumers off, and which turn them on? Ask some and find out for yourself. 

Study: Catalogers Excel in E-mail UPDATE: Catalogers' click-through and pass-along rates are almost twice those of the online direct marketing from B2B and other industries.,,10789_1299271,00.html 

Bob Jensen's advertising and marketing threads are at 

May 29, 2002 message from the FEI Research Foundation


Repricing "Underwater" Stock Options

QUESTION: What are some recent articles on companies that have repriced outstanding stock options that are well underwater?

FEI RESEARCHER: Technology stock prices have spiraled downward significantly in the past two years, and employee stock options provide little incentive when they are "underwater" (when the option's exercise price exceeds the current market price).

Our search led us to the following helpful and informative articles on this subject:

* "Dealing with Underwater Stock Options," overview by Barbara Baksa of E*Trade, published by the Foundation for Economic Development:

* A related article from, dated May 15, 2001, describes "6&1" - an alternative to repricing The "6&1" method offers employees the chance to exchange underwater options with new grants six months and one day later. The company benefits in that it does not have to use variable-plan accounting to recognize compensation expense, under FASB Interpretation No. 44.

* also provided a table of companies that had announced "6&1" programs as of April 1, 2001

* "Underwater Stock Options" is an article from the December 2001 issue of "Strategic Finance"

Note: The FEI Research Foundation cannot issue an authoritative opinion on tax, legal, or financial matters. Suggested websites are believed to be authoritative. However, the FEI Research Foundation cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of information within those Web sites.



Newsletters are now available in HTML format or regular e-mail. To check or change your newsletter preferences, go to To read the latest online newsletters, including the newest TechKnowledge, go to:


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The American Experience: Fly Girls 
WASPs --- Women Air Force Service Pilots (History, Military)

California in the 20's (History, Photographs) 

BRIGHTER STARS IN THE EAST. Who are all those Asian companies at the top of this year's list? Here's who. 

When nurse Sherri Stoddard finishes her shift at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif., she's routinely wracked with anxiety. Stoddard has so many patients in the maternity ward to look after that she often doesn't immediately notice when a fetal heart rate has slowed or an expectant mother has requested more pain medication. "It's a horrible feeling," she says. Registered nurses such as Stoddard are finding their jobs so difficult that they're bailing out in droves. The current 26% turnover rate among nurses is the highest in decades. Some hospitals have resorted to offering sign-on bonuses up to $15,000 and finders' fees of $5,000. The dissatisfaction among nurses could spiral into a crisis.


CPAnet Updates on May 29, 2002

C P A n e t F i n d s ==========================================================

Every so often you come across a site or article that makes you stop and take notice...

Capital Markets


Capitalism and Its Troubles -

Crisis? What Crisis? -

New Dangers -

Unexploded Bombs -

The Regulator Who Isn't There -

Bubble Trouble -

Think of a Number -

Is Greed Good? -

Better Than the Alternatives -

Digital Forensics


Digital Forensic Articles -

Digital Media Forensics -

Digital Forensics Explained -

Digital Signature Legislation -

The Information Warfare Site -

Primer on Computer Forensics -

CCIPS - Federal Guidelines -

Forensic Preparation (pdf) -

U Texas' Cybercrime Institute -

Reporting Security Breaches -

Retirement Planning


Monte Carlo Retirement Planning -

Financial Planning Fantasyland -

Retirement Calculator from Hell -

Reinventing Retirement Income -

Understanding the Roth IRA -

The 401(k) Defined-Chaos Plan -

The Roth IRA Web Site -

Knowledge Management Research


Knowledge Research Institute -

Case Against KM -

Managing Information -

USC's Organizational Knowledge -

WWW Virtual Library on KM -

KM Advantage Repository -

KM Certification -

Denham Grey Collaborative KM -

Knowledge Innovation Resources -

Stock Valuation Basics


Earnings-Based Valuation -

Modern Portfolio Theory -

How Much are Stocks Worth? -

William F. Sharpe's Site -

Indexed Investing -

MoneyChimp Financial Glossary -

How Finance Works -

Map of the Market -

Software firm Peregrine has fired its Big Five auditor. Again. The San Diego-based firm fired Andersen less than two months ago - one of more than 500 firms that has done so this spring. KPMG was hired to replace Andersen, but now that firm too has been fired. PricewaterhouseCoopers is now the auditor of choice, but PwC's future with Peregrine is not at all certain. 

PaPa iNk: The International Gallery of Children's Art 

From InformationWeek Daily on May 24, 2002

The FBI says an honest mistake led to its capturing of E-mail that the bureau wasn't authorized to intercept. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil-liberties research organization, obtained FBI documents that it says show how in March 2000 the Carnivore Internet-surveillance system collected the E-mail of people without a judge's approval, a violation of federal wiretap law.

The action happened while agents were eavesdropping legally on another suspect, according to Epic, which used to the Freedom of Information Act to get access to the documents. An April 5, 2000, E-mail message sent to Spike Bowman, associate general counsel for National Security Affairs, recounts how the Carnivore "did not work correctly," according to Epic.

An FBI spokesman says miscommunication between an ISP and the FBI about how to configure an Internet link led to the problem. The mistake was discovered and resolved in days, the spokesman says. He adds, "It was an honest mistake." - Eric Chabrow

For more on Carnivore, read: Hungry For Your E-Mail 


The Presidents of the United States (American History) 

Rulers (History, Leaders of Nations) --- 

National Association of Counties (American Government) 

Designers are turning out video games with darker themes than ever before. Some lawmakers are not amused ---,2101,52661,00.html 

Hi Richard,

I agree to a point. However, from the beginning Toolbook has also billed itself as a course management system as well as a content system. On the course management side of things, WebCT and Blackboard far surpassed ToolBook's early lead in this area, especially in the area of interfacing with the Registrar's databases. For example, Blackboard users no longer have to type in each student's name, student number, and email address into our Blackboard course rosters. The Registrar automatically fills our Blackboard course rosters and allows us to input these into Excel spreadsheets if we prefer Excel.

I lost interest in ToolBook when Click2Learn stopped developing OpenScript that allowed wonderful customized content authoring. I lost interest in ToolBook given the years of struggle that I had with bugs in the ToolBook software. I also lost interest in sinking more time and money into a product that has never made a profit. How long can ToolBook keep going now that billionaire Paul Allen is not propping it up? I do, however, find the recent surge in ToolBook's revenues somewhat encouraging even if there still are no profits.

I appreciate the news that Camtasia can be integrated in ToolBook.

From your message, I gather that your ToolBook users must install uncommon software on their machines (e.g., Camtasia Codecs). On most college campuses, neither students nor faculty can install anything on lab computers. At Trinity University we are out of luck unless we can convince the Computer Center in August that something is important enough to install of every lab machine on campus and on every student's personal computer. Your process of "silently" installing software just would not work on our lab computers. On our campus, the Czar of Software Installation decides once each year about what gets installed on lab and classroom computers in addition to Microsoft Office software, RealMedia players, and other commonly used software across campus.

Can your multimedia ToolBooks now be run without installing readers (like Camtasia Codecs) that are not typically installed on most lab computers? Or will a Czar have to install special readers on each machine? Will off-campus students have to install readers on their machines or can you "silently" install all readers like you "silently" install the Camtasia Codec. Buy the way, no software should be "silently" installed unless it is "silently uninstalled" when you leave the program. (Of course, it is OK if you tell users that you are installing something that will remain on their systems as long as you tell them how big it is, what it might do to the system, and how to get rid of it. But that means installation is no longer "silent.")

Also, can ToolBooks now have active links to the Web?

Also can ToolBooks be run out of WebCT and Blackboard systems? It would seem that if ToolBook is to really be a useful piece of the puzzle, then ToolBooks should run within the course management systems now used by most college campuses. I am now speaking for faculty who do not rely upon multimedia. Blackboard and WebCT are troublesome for multimedia for reasons I mention below.

Can ToolBook tests be automatically placed in WebCT or Blackboard grade books or will instructors still have to hand code each student's score on each test into their WebCT or Blackboard systems?

If instructors elected to manage their courses with ToolBook rather than WebCT or Blackboard, can students access their grades and test outcomes from the Web while they are off campus?

Can students now communicate with instructors, other students, and forums within the ToolBook system, or will Blackboard or WebCT still be needed to communicate with and automatically thread student communications.

If you are supplying heavy duty Camtasia and other multimedia, you must have enormous hard drives other than relying on CDs like we used to rely upon for our ToolBooks in the "good" old CD days. There is just not enough capacity for heavy-duty multimedia on CDs. For example, I can deliver gigabytes of Camtasia video via Internet Explorer from massive space on a hard drive accessed at 

Although I use Blackboard to management my courses, I don't put multimedia learning materials into Blackboard, because Trinity University will just not give me gigabytes of space on our Blackboard Server. I do have gigabytes of space on a Computer Science Department server, but students cannot access that space from Blackboard. Would I have the same problem using ToolBook lessons?

If I transferred my course modules into ToolBooks, could people worldwide access my videos and other data files on a remote hard drive, or would users have to exit the ToolBooks and shift into their IE or other browser software? Shifting back and forth between lesson software becomes very confusing to students.

I guess my main point is that the software you mention, including ToolBooks, can be run via Internet Explorer (although special readers still need to be installed for such software as Camtasia videos and RealMedia videos).

With respect to your question about interactive Excel files, running them has nothing to do with Blackboard. You can shift into Excel from Blackboard, but Excel must be on the system and users take risks that there are unknown macro viruses in the Excel files. However, Internet Explorer allows you to safely run your interactive Excel files without having Excel on the system (although IE will not run any of Excel's macros). Authors can save interactive Excel files as htm files that allow for such things as viewing changes in answers and graphs with user-chosen changes in inputs. Students may also fill in answers in Excel files saved as htm files. I demo this process in a tutorial at  (By the way, when saved as an htm file rather than an xls file, an Excel spreadsheet can be run from within Blackboard itself in the same way that all htm files can be stored and run from the Blackboard server.)

I also have video showing how to save an Excel file as an htm file in the ExcelDHTML.rm file at  T
his video requires a RealMedia player, and the first few minutes of the video will have black screen.

Lastly, it saves huge amounts of space to transform your Camtasia avi files into RealMedia rm files using the software provided in the Camtasia authoring system. Doing so would relieve you of having to "silently install" a Camtasia Codec on each user's computer since most computers have RealMedia players but not a Camtasia Codec. My question for you becomes whether rm Camtasia files work from within ToolBooks since you apparently have not tried to save space by transforming Camtasia avi files into Camtasia rm files?


Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Richard Campbell [mailto:campbell@RIO.EDU]  
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2002 10:35 PM 
Subject: In defense of Toolbook

Bob Jensen: 

Although I share your concern with click2learn's profitability, it really isn't fair to compare Toolbook (a content authoring system) with WebCt or Blackboard (a learning management system).

IMHO, Toolbook is the finest authoring system for the Windows platform on the market. And quite frankly, it is only one of the many pieces of the multimedia development puzzle. Toolbook can integrate Flash, Camtasia, ActiveX controls and Office apps. In my forthcoming "Financial Accounting 2003", I silently install the Techsmith codec and the Camtasia Player, and show accounting movies in the Camtasia Player. I scripted a button in Toolbook which searches the student's hard drive for Excel. If Excel is found, a problem set is opened up and students solve a multi-step problem. The answer is placed in a fill-in-the-blank field and students can get feedback on the answer. Can Blackboard do that? Probably not.

The major competition for Toolbook may come from Microsoft, with learning object extensions to Visual Basic.

For those professors using Blackboard, you should be careful about maintaining intellectual property rights to all your work that are resident on university servers.

Richard J. Campbell www.VirtualPublishing.NET 

Hi Amy,

Can students actually access your video files in WebCT or do they merely trigger video playback software (outside the WebCT server) that accesses the REAL server? In other words, can you safely hide the video files from the public using your WebCT or Blackboard password? We cannot do this at Trinity University.

This is similar to the question of whether any htm files are stored on the Blackboard server versus being stored on a Web server. You can always have your students access the Web server using a browser such as IE. However, if you want your files to remain hidden behind a Blackboard password, the htm files (along with all accompanying graphics and multimedia files) have to be transferred to the Blackboard server. This is what I meant by not having enough space allocated on the Blackboard server to serve up huge multimedia files directly from the Blackboard server.

Perhaps you can hide your REAL video files from the world using separate passwords for the REAL server. Or perhaps your REAL server lurks behind your WebCT server. I am not familiar with a REAL server since Trinity University does not yet have such a server.

Most of us cannot safely hide files from the world on a Web server (apart from our WebCT or Blackboard servers). Once files are on a Web server, it does not take a clever intruder long to find them.

One of the main advantages of Blackboard, WebCT, and ToolBook is the ability to block intruders from copyrighted material, homework answers, and other "secret" or limited access files. Anyone who tries to do the same thing on a Web server does so at great risk.

If I had gigabytes of space on the Blackboard server, I could make restricted video files available to my students, along with other files that I do not make available to the world. However, since the only gigabytes that I am given at Trinity University are on a Web server, I must be willing to share them with the world. I could try to control access with Javascript, but anyone who trusts Javascript for such purposes is naïve.

It might be possible to use more sophisticated access controls on a Web server, but Trinity University will not allow us to use sophisticated access controls on Web servers apart from our Blackboard server or a LAN drive (I do have my own LAN drive, but it is too small for much multimedia).

I am certain that the persons who attend your parts of our August 13 workshop will be very interested in how you combine your WebCT and REAL servers in your distance education courses at the University of Connecticut --- 


Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Amy Dunbar [mailto:ADunbar@SBA.UCONN.EDU]  
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 12:31 PM 
Subject: Re: In defense of Toolbook

Hi Bob,

You wrote: "Although I use Blackboard to management my courses, I don't put multimedia learning materials into Blackboard, because Trinity University will just not give me gigabytes of space on our Blackboard Server. I do have gigabytes of space on a Computer Science Department server, but students cannot access that space from Blackboard."

Why can't students access that space? My links in WebCT to material on our school of business server and our Real server work just fine. I store material on three servers with no problem. Am I misunderstanding what you wrote?

Amy Dunbar 

Reply from Amy Dunbar

Bob Jensen wrote: "Can students actually access your video files in WebCT or do they merely trigger video playback software (outside the WebCT server) that accesses the REAL server? In other words, can you safely hide the video files from the public using your WebCT or Blackboard password? We cannot do this at Trinity University."

Ah, I see the issue. I hadn't thought about a search engine finding files on another server because they aren't password protected. You are right that my students merely trigger video playback software that accesses the files on another server. Hmm, I will have to check with our techies to see what they say about the protection of the files.

Thanks for your clarification, Bob.

Amy Dunbar 

Reply from Richard Campbell

Bob: See replies below: 

I agree to a point. However, from the beginning Toolbook has also billed itself as a course management system as well as a content system. On the course management side of things, WebCT and Blackboard far surpassed ToolBook's early lead in this area, especially in the area of interfacing with the Registrar's databases. For example, Blackboard users no longer have to type in each student's name, student number, and email address into our Blackboard course rosters. The Registrar automatically fills our Blackboard course rosters and allows us to input these into Excel spreadsheets if we prefer Excel. 

Click3learn has a new version of its Learning Management System (LMS) called Aspen 2.0. I will learn more about it at the annual Toolbook conference at the end of this month. The standards that need to be followed so that LMSs can "talk" to authoring products are AICC and SCORM. If both a content authoring system (like Toolbook) and an LMS (like Aspen and Blackboard) are standards compliant, there is no reason why they can not interoperate.

I lost interest in ToolBook when Click2Learn stopped developing OpenScript that allowed wonderful customized content authoring. I lost interest in ToolBook given the years of struggle that I had with bugs in the ToolBook software. I also lost interest in sinking more time and money into a product that has never made a profit. How long can ToolBook keep going now that billionaire Paul Allen is not propping it up? I do, however, find the recent surge in ToolBook's revenues somewhat encouraging even if there still are no profits.

Toolbook just released Version 8.5, and version 9.0 is under development (release date early next year), which will be a 32 bit program. NO program is ever clear of bugs. Why does Microsoft have an update site for patches. Jagdish will say it is because they write lousy programs. I doubt things would be better if Steve Jobs won the computer wars. Toolbook continues to support Openscript. 

From your message, I gather that your ToolBook users must install uncommon software on their machines (e.g., Camtasia Codecs). On most college campuses, neither students nor faculty can install anything on lab computers. At Trinity University we are out of luck unless we can convince the Computer Center in August that something is important enough to install of every lab machine on campus and on every student's personal computer. Your process of "silently" installing software just would not work on our lab computers. On our campus, the Czar of Software Installation decides once each year about what gets installed on lab and classroom computers in addition to Microsoft Office software, RealMedia players, and other commonly used software across campus.

On our campus, the Czar is called "the computer god" - and that is self-titled. I'll be gentle here, he's probably reading this email as I type. I understand the reluctance to protect the university from malicious computer mischief, but not allowing faculty to install software on lab machines is a misguided policy. 

Can your multimedia ToolBooks now be run without installing readers (like Camtasia Codecs) that are not typically installed on most lab computers? Or will a Czar have to install special readers on each machine? Will off-campus students have to install readers on their machines or can you "silently" install all readers like you "silently" install the Camtasia Codec. Buy the way, no software should be "silently" installed unless it is "silently uninstalled" when you leave the program. (Of course, it is OK if you tell users that you are installing something that will remain on their systems as long as you tell them how big it is, what it might do to the system, and how to get rid of it. But that means installation is no longer "silent.")

My installation program tests for the operating system, and if that system requires administrative rights, checks for authorization to install. If installation is unauthorized, the setup aborts. 

Can ToolBook tests be automatically placed in WebCT or Blackboard grade books or will instructors still have to hand code each student's score on each test into their WebCT or Blackboard systems?

If the Toolbook app is properly set up to allow score tracking, and the LMS is AICC and SCORM compliant, it should not be a problem.

If instructors elected to manage their courses with ToolBook rather than WebCT or Blackboard, can students access their grades and test outcomes from the Web while they are off campus?

Just about all web based LMSs allow this.

Can students now communicate with instructors, other students, and forums within the ToolBook system, or will Blackboard or WebCT still be needed to communicate with and automatically thread student communications.

Not within Toolbook; you need an LMS for this. 

If you are supplying heavy duty Camtasia and other multimedia, you must have enormous hard drives other than relying on CDs like we used to rely upon for our ToolBooks in the "good" old CD days. There is just not enough capacity for heavy-duty multimedia on CDs. For example, I can deliver gigabytes of Camtasia video via Internet Explorer from massive space on a hard drive accessed at 

CDs are not designed with heavy duty multimedia in mind; DVDs are. In respect to movies, there are a number of factors that have an impact on file size: 1. Screen size (Sometimes a movie at 320x 240 pixels will deliver the same impact as a 640x480 movie at half the file size.) 2. Screen depth at capture. If you capture at High-Color as opposed to 256 colors, you dramatically increase the file size. 3. The more movement in the movie, the bigger the file size. The higher the frame rate the higher the movie. 4. The higher the audio sampling rate, the bigger the movie.

Although I use Blackboard to management my courses, I don't put multimedia learning materials into Blackboard, because Trinity University will just not give me gigabytes of space on our Blackboard Server. I do have gigabytes of space on a Computer Science Department server, but students cannot access that space from Blackboard. Would I have the same problem using ToolBook lessons? If I transferred my course modules into ToolBooks, could people worldwide access my videos and other data files on a remote hard drive, or would users have to exit the ToolBooks and shift into their IE or other browser software? Shifting back and forth between lesson software becomes very confusing to students.

Students don't really care what authoring software is used. You need to remember that Toolbook has three primary delivery modes: 1. Native Toolbook 2. DHTML - Viewable preferably is MSIE Version 5 or higher. 3. Hybrid. Deliverable on CD with web links. 

I guess my main point is that the software you mention, including ToolBooks, can be run via Internet Explorer (although special readers still need to be installed for such software as Camtasia videos and RealMedia videos).

Well part of the business model of a RealNetworks or Microsoft or Adobe is to provide free reader software and to charge the content creators for the authoring software. The network administrator can choose to not install the software, but that is a shortsighted policy.

With respect to your question about interactive Excel files, running them has nothing to do with Blackboard. You can shift into Excel from Blackboard, but Excel must be on the system and users take risks that there are unknown macro viruses in the Excel files. However, Internet Explorer allows you to safely run your interactive Excel files without having Excel on the system (although IE will not run any of Excel's macros). Authors can save interactive Excel files as htm files that allow for such things as viewing changes in answers and graphs with user-chosen changes in inputs. Students may also fill in answers in Excel files saved as htm files. I demo this process in a tutorial at  (By the way, when saved as an htm file rather than an xls file, an Excel spreadsheet can be run from within Blackboard itself in the same way that all htm files can be stored and run from the Blackboard server.)

In my case, I use Excel to solve a multi-step problem and have the answer (in a specific cell location), tested for accuracy in a Toolbook fill-in-the-blank field.

I also have video showing how to save an Excel file as an htm file in the ExcelDHTML.rm file at  
This video requires a RealMedia player, and the first few minutes of the video will have black screen.

The black screen sounds like a Windows hardware acceleration problem. This problem can be remedied by looking at the techsmith support site. 

Lastly, it saves huge amounts of space to transform your Camtasia avi files into RealMedia rm files using the software provided in the Camtasia authoring system. Doing so would relieve you of having to "silently install" a Camtasia Codec on each user's computer since most computers have RealMedia players but not a Camtasia Codec. My question for you becomes whether rm Camtasia files work from within ToolBooks since you apparently have not tried to save space by transforming Camtasia avi files into Camtasia rm files?

I prefer the Windows Media Player route instead of Realmedia. Essentially, Microsoft is giving away the Server software for the Windows Media Player. So any web host does not need to send bucks to Microsoft, contrary to RealNetworks, which charges significant money for its RealServer. HOWEVER, Windows Media Player Version 7.0 is a significant step BACKWARD from Version 6.4. On the following page, you can see why. The new (7.0) media player degrades the screen resolution of Camtasia-created .wmv files. I have instructions on the page on how to switch back to v6.4 from 7.0. www.VirtualPublishing.NET/fa2003.htm 

A little known issue for BOTH the Media Player and RealPlayer, is that by installing them you are carrying advertising for their "Channel Partners", those web sites who try to lure your traffic and your Internet spending dollars. Just notice the SIZE of Media Player 7.0. Microsoft has degraded the product so that its marketing affiliates can benefit.

Bye for now. 
Richard J. Campbell

Thanks again Richard.

On Learning Material Storage and Distribution: 
We probably disagree on the distribution of learning materials via optical disks. Distributions of courses via CDs or DVDs are too cumbersome in the age of the Internet. Every time the instructor wants to customize, update, or otherwise change the course material, new optical disks must be generated for all users. In electronic books and courses, we need much more flexible and cheap means of distribution from network servers. Optical disks still have various important uses, but they are on the decline for distribution of electronic books and entire courses.

And there is the problem of capacity. I distribute hours and hours of video from a Web server at   To do the same thing via optical disks would entail burning of many disks and than mailing these disks to users around the world. It is so much easier to serve them up from a Web server. Users can then download and store them on their own hard drive, CD-R, or CD-RW disks, but it is up to them if and how they store my videos. I don't have to become involved in that, and I can easily add or revise tutorial videos available on my Web server.


On ToolBook's Links to the Web: 
It is doubtful that ToolBook really solved the Internet linking problem.  I ran into troubles with my older (Version 7) authoring package of ToolBook. The manual said you could have Web links that activated the user's Web browser, but this is a very difficult problem given that user's have a wide choice of browsers on hard drives having different drive letters. Also, it is difficult to deal with the many file extensions on the Web (htm, asp, xml, and some that are really weird). I found that ToolBook could not always find the user's browser, thereby creating dead links in the ToolBooks.  It would be far better if ToolBook itself had Web browser capabilities.

Please keep us informed about Toolbook and Aspen. I think WebCT and Blackboard are too entrenched in colleges, and Aspen will probably cut into this market only if it is truly innovative in terms of features not available in WebCT or Blackboard.  To the contrary, I think Click2Learn has too many financial troubles to even build in the many features into Aspen that are already available in WebCT and Blackboard. But I'm all for competition, so I hope Click2Learn can get its act together.


Robert (Bob) Jensen Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Trinity University San Antonio, TX 78212-7200 Email: Homepage:

-----Original Message----- 
From: Richard Campbell []  
Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2002 7:01 PM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: RE: In defense of Toolbook

Bob: See replies below:

Does this mean that your intended course distributions are on DVDs or are you intending to serve them up from some network server (perhaps a REAL server)? In the latter case, is ToolBook a good course authoring system for video modules? As I recall from earlier versions of ToolBook, ToolBook did not deal well with media files that were located in remote servers.

As far as delivery mode, my CD will install the main Toolbook executables to the user's hard drive, with all the avis residing on the CD. My installation program mandates that the CD remain in the hard drive. So, I can fill up the CD with about 45 minutes of accounting movies. With a DVD version (2003) I can have a couple of hours of movies at least. As far as quality and performance of media, I have found nothing superior to creating movies in Camtasia, and playing them in the Camtasia Player with the techsmith codec. Playing media files either locally or remotely should not be an issue with Toolbook. However, if you try to stream media from a vanilla http server, you have significant performance degradation issues. Streaming media should only be attempted if you have either a Realserver or Windows Media Server. 

Also, I was wondering if ToolBook now has active (live) links to the Web?  Earlier versions did not allow such links since ToolBook was not really a Web browser.

Most certainly. Links are possible and easy to implement in both native Toolbook as well as the DHTML version. 

I worry a bit about Aspen as being a viable alternative to WebCT and Blackboard in colleges and universities. Firstly, Aspen is another evolution in the series of failures of Click2Learn's course management software (remember Librarian and its demise?). Secondly, to really compete with WebCT and Blackboard, Aspen will have to interface with our Registrar databases (ours is in Datatel), and I doubt that Aspen will get that far unless it demonstrates enormous advantages over WebCT and Blackboard in terms of other features. What could the features possibly be for 10,000 colleges to shift from WebCT or Blackboard into Aspen?

Well, for one, Aspen has a synchronous webcasting feature integrated into its platform. I'm not sure what technology they use (Placeware, Webex, Interwise) or some other. Database integration should not be an issue either. I'll know more at the end of the month. I'm getting a demonstration of Aspen in Colorado Springs. 

Richard J. Campbell mailto:campbell@VirtualPublishing.NET


Having a bad hair day or are you having a no hair day?

Combovers --- 

What five words are uttered by most Texas Aggies before they die?

"Bet you can't do this!"

Forwarded by Dick Haar


For those of us getting on in years, I thought I would let you, my friends, in on a little secret I've found for building my arm and shoulder muscles. You might wish to adopt this regimen - 3 days a week works well.

I start by standing outside the house and, with a 5 pound potato sack in each hand, extend my arms straight out to my sides and hold them there a long as I can. After a few weeks I moved up to 10 pound potato sacks, then 50 pound potato sacks and finally I got to where I could lift a 100 pound potato sack in each hand and hold my arms straight out for more than a full minute.

Next, I started putting a few potatoes in the sacks, but I would caution you not to overdo it at this level.

Forwarded by Bob Overn

In the cafeteria of a Catholic school, the children were lined up for lunch.

At the head of the line was a large pile of apples.

The nun made a note and had placed it in front of the apples.

The note read: "Take only one, God is watching."


Further down the cafeteria line was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies... One of the boys had written a note of his own.

The note he placed in front of the cookies read:

"Take all you want, God is watching the apples."


Forwarded by a friend on the opposite side of the globe.

This week, our phones went dead and I had to contact the  telephone repair people. They promised  to be out between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00p.m.  When I asked if they could give me a smaller time frame the pleasant gentleman asked, "Would you like us to call you before we come?" 

  I replied that I didn't see how he would be able to do that since our phones weren't working. He also requested that we report future outages by email (Does YOUR  email work without a telephone line?).   

I was signing the receipt for my credit card purchase when the  clerk noticed I had never signed my  name on the back of the credit card. She informed me that she  could not complete the transaction  unless the card was signed. When I asked why, she explained  that it was necessary to  compare the signature I had just signed on the receipt. So I  signed the credit card in front of her. She carefully compared the signature to the one I had just signed  on the receipt.  As luck would have it, they matched.   

I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbour  call the local township administrative  office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: too many deer  were being hit by cars and she didn't want them to cross there  anymore.  

My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for "minimal lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg .  

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport  employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?" To which I replied, If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?"  She smiled knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask."  

The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street. I was crossing with a coworker  of mine when she asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people  when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, "What on earth are blind people doing driving?"  

At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker ! ! who is leaving the company due to  "downsizing," our manager commented cheerfully, "This is fun. We should do this more often." Not a word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that  deer-in-the-headlights stare.  

I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the life of her couldn't understand why her system would not turn on.  

When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to  pick up our car, we were told the  keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working  feverishly to unlock the driver's side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked.< BR "I announced to the technician, "it's open!" To which he replied, "I know - I already got that side."  

Now don't you feel better.

Forwarded by Professor Venkateswar

A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. This new element has been tentatively named "Administratium".

Administratium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 111 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by a force called  morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Administratium has no electrons, it is inert.  However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete when it would normally take less than a second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of 3 years; it does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization, in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons and assistant deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Administratium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization causes some morons to become neutrons forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Administratium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration.

This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass."

You will know it when you see it...


Forwarded by Dick Haar

A good test to for creativity.

You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night. You pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus:

1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die. 
2. An old friend who once saved your life. 
3. The perfect man (or) woman you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car. Think before you continue reading.

This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.

You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first; or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back.

However, you may never be able to find your perfect dream lover again.

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer. 


He simply answered: "I would give the car keys to my old friend, and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the woman of my dreams."

Don't forget to "Think Outside of the Box."

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

In the bathroom, an accountant, a lawyer and a farmer were standing using the urinal.

The accountant finished, zipped up and started washing and literally scrubbing up to his elbows....he used about 20 paper towels before he finished. He turned to the other two men and commented, "I graduated from Ohio State and they taught us to be sanitary."

The lawyer finished, zipped up and quickly wet the tips of his fingers, grabbed one paper towel and commented, "I graduated from the Wayne State University with a Law degree and they taught us to be environmentally conscious."

The farmer zipped up and as he was walking out the door said, "I graduated from the University of Tennessee... and they taught us not to pee on our hands.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev


Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle. 

"I wish I could play my normal game...just once." 

"Golf is harder than baseball. In golf, you have to play your foul balls." 

If you find you do not mind playing golf in the rain, the snow, even during a hurricane, here's a valuable tip: your life is in trouble. 

Golfers who try to make everything perfect before taking the shot rarely make a perfect shot. 

The term "mulligan" is really a contraction of the phrase "maul it again." 

 "gimme" can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers...neither of whom can putt very well. 

An interesting thing about golf is that no matter how badly you play; it is always possible to get worse. 

Golf's a hard game to figure. One day you'll go out and slice it and shank it, hit into all the traps and miss every green. The next day you go out and for no reason at all you really stink.  I play in the low 80s. If it's any hotter than that, I won't play. 

If your best shots are the practice swing and the "gimme Putt", you might wish to reconsider this game. 

Achieving a certain level of success in golf is only important if you can finally enjoy the level you've reached after you've reached it. 

Golf is the only sport where the most feared opponent is you. 

Golf is like marriage: If you take yourself too seriously it won't work... and both are expensive. 

The best wood in most amateurs' bags is the pencil. 

To some golfers, the greatest handicap is the ability to add correctly. 

In golf, some people tend to get confused with all the numbers... they shoot a "six," yell "fore" and write "five." 

Swing easy. Hit hard. 

If you find yourself pleased that you locate more balls in the rough than you actually have lost, your focus is totally wrong and your personality might not be right for is also just a matter of time before the IRS investigates your business. 

Why is it twice as difficult to hit a ball over water than sand? 

Golf! You hit down to make the ball go up. You swing left and the ball goes right. The lowest score wins. And on top of that, the winner buys the drinks


And that's the way it was on June 30, 2002 with a little help from my friends.


In March 2000, Forbes named as the Best Website on the Web ---
Some top accountancy links ---


For accounting news, I prefer AccountingWeb at 


Another leading accounting site is at 


Paul Pacter maintains the best international accounting standards and news Website at


How stuff works --- 


Bob Jensen's video helpers for MS Excel, MS Access, and other helper videos are at 
Accompanying documentation can be found at and 


Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  

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June 4, 2002

 Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on June 4, 2002
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

I will be lecturing at the University of Augsburg and a research conference in Rothenburg, Germany.  My wife and I will be out of the country June 7-24.  Please try to delay your email messages and phone messages to me during that time.  My other planned trips to date are listed at

Quotes of the Week

Derivatives cannot hedge derivatives for accounting purposes -- now or under FASB 133," Bass said. "Does Dave [Duncan] think his accounting works even under FASB 133? No way."
Carl Bass, Andersen Auditor in 1999 who asked to be removed from Enron's audit review responsibilities ---
The main reasons are given in FAS Paragraph 405.  FAS 133 Paragraph 21(2)(c) disallows hedged items to be derivative financial instruments for accounting purposes, because derivative instruments are carried at fair value and cannot therefore be hedged items in fair value hedges.  Also see Paragraphs 405-407.  Paragraph 472 prohibits derivatives from being designated hedged items any type of hedge, including cash flow, fair value, and foreign exchange hedges.  The reason is that derivatives under FAS 133 must be adjusted to fair value with the offset going to current earnings.  This is tantamount to the "equity method" referred to in Paragraph 472.  More importantly from the standpoint of Enron transactions, Paragraphs 230 and 432  prohibit a firm's own equity shares from being hedged items for accounting purposes.  Whenever a firm hedges the value of its own shares, FAS 133 does not allow hedge accounting treatment.  What good is an expert like Carl Bass if the system is designed to ignore his expertise?

What Does 1% Mean To Your Business? "What's the difference between water and steam? At 99 degrees water is merely hot, at 100 degrees it turns to steam and can move locomotives. Just one degree-a one percent change-makes the difference." This is a great metaphor for business. It is always the little things, the small improvements that get the big results. In this article and the accompanying software we look at the impact that small improvements in the key drivers of profitability have on the bottom line.
Ric Payne --- 

"In Search Of the Last Honest Analyst," by David Rynecki, Fortune, June 10, 2002 ---

During the boom the analyst's job was to cozy up to the company brass, not to question them. Or so the evidence would suggest. Recent disclosures of Merrill Lynch e-mails, in which allegedly independent researchers hyped stocks to the public while privately trashing them, are only the latest exhibits. The pumped-up stocks--no surprise--were those of companies with which Merrill had a lucrative investment-banking relationship. In a settlement with New York State's attorney general, the securities firm has agreed to pay a $100 million civil penalty, reform its analyst-compensation system, and apologize for failing to address the obvious conflicts of interest. But as FORTUNE and others have pointed out, the numbers have long illustrated the failure of Wall Street research. Last June, during the height of the recession--when even the most optimistic CEOs were unable to hide the bad news--investment analysts couldn't find a stock they couldn't tout. Of 26,451 buy, hold, and sell recommendations, only 213 were sells

Concerning the Self-Regulation Record of State Boards of Accountancy:  Don't Kick Them Really Hard Until They Are Already Dying
Andersen's failure to comply with professional standards was not the result of the actions on one 'rogue' partner or 'out-of-control' office, but resulted from Andersen's organizational structure and corporate climate that created a lack of independence, integrity and objectivity.
Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, May 24, 2002
"Texas Acts to Punish Arthur Andersen," San Antonio Express News, May 24, 2002, Page 1.
At the time of this news article, the Texas State Board announced that it was recommending revoking Arthur Andersen LLP's accounting license in Texas and seeking $1,000,000 in fines and penalties.
Bob Jensen's threads on the Enron/Andersen scandals are at 

Concerning the Self-Regulation Record of the National Association of Securities Dealers:  Build the Profession's Shield Around the Bad Guys
"We tell all our clients now, as a matter of policy, 'Do not complain to NASD enforcement,' " says Pat Sadler, a lawyer in Georgia who serves on the NASD's national arbitration and mediation committee. He adds, "Our cooperation with the NASD cannot help our customer. It can only hurt them."
USA Today,
May 24, 2002, Editorial Page
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at 

Fed chairman Alan Greenspan believes risk managers are now overtaking loan officers in the decision-making hierarchy at financial institutions. Greenspan said new quantitative risk management techniques were a key factor behind this transition. Meanwhile, energy risk officers in the US plan to set up a CRO Committee to promote best practice in the industry.
Christopher Jeffery, Risk Waters Group [] ---  
Related Item 

You go round and round and when you stop, you fall to the ground.
Bene Carmelo

It is easier to fight for your beliefs than live up to them.
Alfred Adler

The trouble with this country is that there are too many politicians who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that you can fool all the people all the time.
Franklin Pierce Adams

The worldwide economy is today a gigantic casino.
Fidel Castro
I disagree!  A casino always knows who wins big in the long run --- the casino.  In the worldwide economy, ultimate winners and losers are unknowns!  Look at the current stock prices of huge multinational corporations who once seemed like sure winners.  Look at the economies of leading global nations that are now perched on precarious cliffs --- Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, etc.

Think Globally, Skip Tax Locally 
Getting accounting firms to change their ways is like trying to get teenagers to clean up their act in return for the keys to the family car

Allan Sloan, Newsweek, June 3, 2002 (See Below)

May 30, 2001 message from Phil Livingston, President of Financial Executives International (FEI)

There is a lot going on in the financial reporting arena, not much of it good, frankly. The Senate Banking Committee postponed its action on their Enron accounting and governance reforms. The passage of an actual bill is very much in doubt at this point. The accounting firms continue to get pounded with audit failures, with Adelphia apparently the latest problem. The leaders of the Final Four accounting firms have been too quiet and need to speak up. Serious reform of their audit quality processes is demanded by the marketplace. I keep hearing from CFOs on this score. Industry uses audited financial statements more than anyone - for operating our companies, dealing with vendors and in M&A.

The marketplace is demanding higher-quality audits and the Final Four need to focus on revising their procedures to produce the needed assurance. I've said over and over again, it starts with us, financial management on the front line, but the auditors play a huge role, too. They have to catch most of the bad apples, and they need to address the situation fast. The silence is further damaging the system.

I am on the way to the USC financial reporting conference to give the lunch address. I'll try to issue an update of the action there soon. Am also speaking to the state boards of accountancy next week and looking forward to that opportunity at this challenging time.

May 30, 2001 message from Phil Livingston, President of Financial Executives International (FEI)

Sad State of Accounting Standards 
If you ever wonder why the accounting standard-setting process is in so much trouble, read the following quote and story about the Chairman of the IASB. Sir David Tweedie says flat out that he isn't open and isn't going to listen. It demonstrates the continuing need for Congressional oversight and increased SEC participation in the standard setting process.

"In recent weeks, Sir David, a naval-history buff, has been reading about the World War I Battle of Jutland, in which the British lost more ships and men than the German fleet -- but their blockade remained unbroken. He says he views the U.S.-led attack on the new share-options rule the same way. "The fleet didn't disappear in the first dive-bomber attacks," says Sir David, in his office across from St. Paul's Cathedral in central London. "We are still afloat." He likens his fight for global accounting standards to another British naval hero. "Our battle is more Nelsonian," Sir David says. "More like Copenhagen, where Nelson was told he can't do this and he can't do that. And he put his telescope to his blind eye and he kept going. He didn't see the signals."

What's than you say?

In general, men's hearing heads downhill faster than women's," says Arthur Winfiedl, Professor of cognitive science at the Bolen National Center for Complex Systems at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.:  "But that decline goes beyond the auditory system or cognitive function.  Men just don't last as long as women."
"The New Gender Gap," by Dorothy Foltz-Gray, Readers Digest, June 2002, Page 91


Bob Jensen's June 4, 2002 updates on the Enron/Andersen scandals are at 

Ultimate Insult: a 'Nay' from Andersen ---  

May 15, 2002 (FT World Media Abstracts via Comtex) — Arthur Andersen LLP recently raised doubts about some of its clients' chances of continuing as going concerns. These clients include PSC Inc., Metawave Communications Corp., Navidec Inc., Marex Inc., Razorfish Inc. and Learn2Corp

The next big (law) thing: class-action suits against investment banks. 
Bob Jensen's threads on investment banking and security analysis scandals are at 

Hi K,

I apologize for the delay in responding. I just returned from a trip to Iowa and Wisconsin and will be leaving for Germany on June 7.

I will be glad to help you in any way that I can be of help. However, I think you should make direct contact with more veteran online instructors. The two people that I recommend most highly are actually participating with me in a live all-day CEP workshop on August 13 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio (two days prior to the start of the American Accounting Association Annual meetings) --- 

The two educators that I am referring to are Dennis Beresford (University of Georgia) and Amy Dunbar (University of Connecticut).

Both are successful online accounting instructors. Denny will probably suggest that you partition your difficulties into two parts. The first part contains problems with teaching MBA accounting onsite or online, (i.e., problems of teaching the subject matter itself to MBA students in modern times where finance and marketing seem to be more of interest to the students). The second part has to do with problems particular with online delivery. These include such problems as dealing with very busy students with outside job commitments that cut into their study time. All of Denny's students are concurrently working in various PwC Consulting offices. These students have engineering and computer degrees, and PwC is paying for them to get an MBA degree on a part-time basis.

Amy Dunbar will probably tell you that one key to success, albeit painful, is direct messaging or something else close to immediate feedback while students are studying alone or in teams. With part time students, this means being available online during evening hours and on weekends (not exactly popular times for instructors). I suggest that you read more about Amy's great success story at 

The major problem with online teaching is that to do it well often entails instructor burn out. Avoiding burn out may mean doing it less well, although there are tricks of the trade that are being discovered in these early years on online education.  My trick of the trade is Camtasia.  I will discuss how to use Camtasia in our August 13 workshop.  I have demos available at 

You might also consider posing questions on the AECM. There are many successful and failed online courses that AECM subscribers are willing to discuss in public and/or in private. The AECM (free) subscriber page is at 

I think you might get a lot out of the Beresford, Dunbar, Jensen, and Keeshan workshop on August 13 --- 

You can sign up for the August 13 workshop at 

Robert (Bob) Jensen 
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business 
Trinity University San Antonio, TX 78212-7200 

-----Original Message----- 
From: K. XXXXX 
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2002 10:49 AM 
Subject: teaching on-line

Dear Dr. Jensen: 

I had the privilege of speaking with you at a meeting in Ft. Lauderdale for department chairs, held last year.

I have been trying to teach our basic accounting for MBA's on-line and it has not been successful. Can you possibly meet with me and help me with this class? I can come to San Antonio on a Thursday or Friday or early any morning. I am at a loss as to how to make this class successful on-line.

Thank you for any help you can give me.



Hi Sally,

Yes, I used Camtasia.

My free Camtasia tutorials are linked at 

One of the tutorials is on how to use Camtasia.

I love Camtasia.

Bob Jensen 

-----Original Message----- 
From: Adams, Sally []  
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 3:36 PM 
To: '
Subject: Camtasia software discussion


Last July there was a series of comments on the AECM@LISTSERV.LOYOLA.EDU  that my husband (Steve Adams) shared with me re: Camtasia, Lotus Screen Cam etc.

As a result of those discussions, you allowed people to access one of your files (I think) from a website. I downloaded the file at that time. The file was a presentation by you of PSExercise03-07r and is about 14 megs.

My question is this: What software did you use to create this? Was it Camtasia? I noted that it is played using real player- How do students access your file- is it on a CD or do they have to download it from a website?


Sally Adams 
Dept. of Accounting and MIS 
California State University, 
530 891-1980

A New Paradox:  The IRS Versus the SEC

The IRS is about to make history if it is successful with its plan to make incentive stock options (ISOs) and employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs) vulnerable to Social Security, Medicare, and other payroll taxes. 

And just how are firms to record payroll tax expenses on payroll "expenses" that are never booked (i.e., only two of the 500 Fortune 500 companies book stock options as expenses under the permissive FAS 123 standard)?  Bob Jensen's threads on stock option accounting are at 

What is "laddering?"

See "Breaking the Banks," by Shawn Tully, Fortune, June 10, 2002, Page 26  --- 

But the Spitzer investigation will do far more than, say, separate analysts' pay from investment banking deals; it could also vastly increase the financial damages Wall Street faces. That has investors worried: Since Spitzer released the damning e-mails on April 8, Merrill Lynch stock has tumbled 23%. The six leading U.S. banks have since shed $48 billion, one-tenth of their market capitalization.

The threats against Wall Street lurk in two corners. First, the settlements with New York and other states over corrupt research will be costly, especially for Merrill. Spitzer is demanding around $100 million in fines. But dozens of other states and their chagrined Merrill clients will likely win lesser amounts. David Trone of Prudential Securities reckons that Merrill will have to pay between $500 million and $1 billion. Spitzer is now examining Salomon Smith Barney, Goldman Sachs, and other firms. If e-mails show that their analysts purposely misled investors, they may face Merrill-sized payments too.

Perhaps more damaging, however, is that Spitzer's investigation could add momentum to civil suits over Wall Street's handling of IPOs. A Who's Who of class-action attorneys, from Fred Isquith to Mel Weiss, have filed 310 lawsuits against 45 underwriters and the flimsy startups they brought public, demanding $50 billion to $60 billion in damages. Investors are mostly ignoring these suits, given the precedent (Credit Suisse First Boston settled a similar case last year with the SEC for a modest $100 million). "The market underestimated the financial threat to the other firms when the SEC and the Justice Department failed to file more serious charges against CSFB for market manipulation," says John Coffee, a securities-law professor at Columbia University. An aggressive SEC investigation could immensely strengthen the civil lawsuits.

And the SEC, clearly embarrassed by Spitzer's crusade, is anxious to show renewed zeal in punishing wrongdoing on Wall Street. The agency is now pursuing a charge far more serious than inflated commissions, a practice known as "laddering." Under laddering, an underwriter agrees to give fund managers IPO shares only if they agree to buy even more shares at higher prices after the stock goes public. Laddering inflates the prices that small investors then pay and is "blatantly illegal market manipulation," says Coffee.

FORTUNE has learned that the SEC may have found a smoking gun. On April 29, the SEC's New York office summoned Nicholas Maier, the former syndicate manager for hedge fund Cramer & Co. and author of the recent Trading With the Enemy, to testify. Maier confirmed that firms he dealt with regularly engaged in the practice. The SEC lawyers then showed Maier a document, known in the trade as an IPO "book," from a leading Wall Street firm for a 2000 offering. The lawyers made it clear that they believe the sheet demonstrates laddering by showing the amounts and share prices at which the funds promised to buy a stock before it opened for trading. Typically, the banks dumped the shares shortly thereafter.

If the SEC can prove laddering, it could collect several hundred million from each of the guilty firms, according to legal experts. Then the chance that investors will win their civil suits improves dramatically, as plaintiffs could use the same evidence the SEC did. Those settlements might reach well over $1 billion, says litigation consultant James Newman. That's 10% of what U.S. banks earned last year. Should that happen, Poseidon's initial blast may look like a small tremor.


What is the difference between "Pump and Dump" versus ""Short and Distort" stock market scams?

See "New Market Trend: Short, Distort," by Joanna Glasner, Wired News, June 3, 2002 ---,1367,52785,00.html 

In the bull market of the late 1990s, that buzzword was "pump and dump." Predicated on the relentless optimism of the times, the scam involved promoting the hell out of some worthless company, boosting its stock to unsustainable heights, and then selling quickly before it fell apart.

So long as investors were willing to believe good things about obscure companies with businesses they didn't understand, the strategy worked.

Now that investors are loath to believe anything good about a public company, con artists are finding that a new tactic -- the "short and distort" scam –- is working better. With this strategy, scammers profit by selling short –- or placing a bet that a stock will decline -– and subsequently forcing shares down by spreading nasty rumors about the company.

Investment advisers say the technique is particularly effective for tech stocks and other so-called new economy companies that have borne the brunt of the market downturn.

"In a bear market, no one's going to believe that Amazon's going to go to $100. It's easier to say they've got some accounting problems, and the stock goes down in a heartbeat," said Rick Wayman, a financial advisor and co-founder of

A recent case in point was the arrest in late May of Anthony Elgindy, a well known short-seller and publisher of now-defunct, a website with a history of warning of regulatory troubles at small- and mid-sized firms.

The federal government charged that Elgindy conspired with FBI agents to illegally obtain information about publicly traded companies under investigation. Elgindy would profit from the knowledge by short selling shares of the company -– a transaction that involves borrowing stock and selling it on the open market. He would later profit by unloading borrowed shares after the investigation became public knowledge and the stock declined.

Elgindy's case wasn't a classic short-and-distort scam, because much of the information he published, although illegally obtained, was in fact accurate. However, the high-profile arrest did draw attention to a trend that Wayman believes has been largely overlooked by regulators: the booming trade in spreading bad news.

While most traders have learned to cast suspicion on overly positive corporate press releases or puffy analyst reports, market psychologists say investors are less aware of the threat of negative rumormongering. Post-Enron skittishness exacerbates the situation.

"The psychological biases that are strong right now would help these scams," said John Nofsinger, a finance professor at Washington State University and author of Investment Madness: How Psychology Affects Your Investing.

Nofsinger says a consistent bias among investors is to expect whatever happened in the recent past to repeat itself. Because they've lost money recently on tech stocks and firms caught in accounting scandals, investors naturally believe there's more bad news ahead.

Wayman says short-and-distort tactics work best with smaller companies, since their stocks prices tend to be more volatile. Companies hit by short-sellers say it's generally difficult to fight back, given the speed at which rumors can be disseminated online.

Continued at,1367,52785,00.html 

Top 10 e-mail scams exposed, BBC News, May 22, 2002 --- 

The top 10 internet frauds reported to the NCL last year were:

See also:

17 May 02 | Business
Software pirate gets jail sentence
05 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Online voting fraud warning
23 Nov 01 | Europe
New net crime accord
20 Feb 01 | Business
Credit card fraud rises by 50%


You can get more information about a car mechanic online than a doctor with malpractice history, says a patient who backs a bill to force physicians to make full disclosures ---,1286,52605,00.html 

Bob Jensen's advice about protecting against fraud can be found at 

Hypertext Study of the Week

"Using Hypertext in Instructional Material:  Helping Students Link Accounting Concept Knowledge to Case Applications," by Dickie Crandall and Fred Phillips, Issues in Accounting Education, May 2002, pp. 163-184 --- 

We studied whether instructional material that connects accounting concept discussions with sample case applications through hypertext links would enable students to better understand how concepts are to be applied to practical case situations. Results from a laboratory experiment indicated that students who learned from such hypertext-enriched instructional material were better able to apply concepts to new accounting cases than those who learned from instructional material that contained identical content but lacked the concept-case application hyperlinks.  Results also indicated that the learning benefits of concept-case application hyperlinks in instructional material were greater when the hyperlinks were self-generated by the students rather than inherited from instructors, but only when students had generated appropriate links.  When students generated inappropriate concept-case application hyperlinks in the instructional material, the application of concepts to new cases was similar to that of other students who learned from the instructional material that lacked hyperlinks.

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at 

Multimedia Site of the Week

Voices of the Colorado Plateau (History, Literature) --- 

Voices of the Colorado Plateau is an online multimedia museum collection featuring oral history recordings and historic photographs that document life on the Colorado Plateau. The collection is divided into three sections: People, Places, and Topics. The site is designed to increase viewer's understanding and appreciation of oral history, the Colorado Plateau and the American west. These first person accounts make history come alive in an immediate way that is powerful and compelling.

What is Bob Jensen's long-time favorite multimedia site?

My long-time favorite multimedia site is the Oyez Multimedia Database.  Years ago I made the Wow Site of the Week the Oyez site at Northwestern University.  Under funding from the U.S. Government, the Oyez site enabled anyone in the world to download the audio of actual oral arguments of lawyers standing before the U.S. Supreme Court ---

Innovation of the Week

"Stringless violin to bring feeling to computer music," New Scientist, May 16, 2002 --- 

A stringless violin is set to bring emotion and pathos to that most soulless of art forms: computerised music.

Electronic musicians like to play their instruments into a computer using a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) system, which lets them record the notes and how loud they are played. Once that data has been recorded on a hard drive, it can be played back through any MIDI compatible electronic instrument.

Sounds good. Except it doesn't. Composers agree that music created in this way often sounds dead and unemotional, because the system cannot pick up all the complex qualities that give the sampled instrument its characteristic timbre. Another reason is that the composer is denied useful tactile feedback from the instrument while editing and manipulating the music on screen.

Enter Charles Nichols of Stanford University in California. A violinist who developed an interest in computer music, he became frustrated by current technology. Taking data directly from the strings of a normal violin didn't work, he says. Microphones or pickups couldn't translate the subtleties of the instrument's tone.

That's because key aspects of a violin's sound comes from the way it is bowed. So Nichols has developed a device that tells a computer everything about a bow's motion, allowing it to generate a more realistic, emotional sound.

Continued at  

Interesting Article of the Week (with history going back to ancient times)
There are various implications for management and consulting.

"10 Technology Disasters," by Eric Scigliano, MIT's Technology Review June 2002 --- 

Related Articles
Science Goes Medieval
The Rules of Innovation
They Make the Future Happen
How the Technology Works


Five universities put their collective computing heads together in a project that represents the next step in the advancing field of distributed computing ---,1282,52909,00.html 

Sharing News of the Week from Jed Deppmann at Trinity University

Grants in Economics and Business Administration
Business and International Education Program (Department of Education)
Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society. (Hagley Museum and Library)
Center for Ethics and the Professions (Harvard.)
Century Foundation
Department of Labor (Grants for Research on private employment based pension, health and other benefits.)
Employment Benefit Research Institute
Fulbright Scholar
KPMG Foundation
Macarthur Foundation   (Economic Access Research)
Market Mechanisms and Incentives for Environmental Management (Environmental Protection Agency.)
Marketing Science Institute (Research)
National Endowment for Financial Education
National Science Foundation - Social and Economic Sciences or Decision, Risk, and Management Sciences
Packard Foundation (Research on Organizational Effectiveness)
Poverty and Race Research Action Council
RGK Foundation
Russell Sage Grants in Behavioral Economics
Sloan Foundation (Standard of Living and Economic Performance Program)
Smith Richardson Foundation (Including Major Grants for Junior Faculty.)
Social Science Research Council (Corporation as Society Program)
Society for Human Resource Management
Steven H. Sandell Grant Program (Center for Retirement Research.)
Upjohn Institute (Research on Employment issues.)

To this list I might add the Guggenheim Foundation.  Business Administration grants are not common at the Guggenheim, but I got one 18 years ago.

Teaching Tips From Some Veteran Accounting Educators

We continue to have great experiences with the approach designed by two of our faculty members and described at 

Ed Scribner 
New Mexico State University 
E. Scribner [escribne@NMSU.EDU

The other day, an MBA student (one of the brighter ones), who took a Managerial Accounting course from me last Summer, dropped by my office and we got talking about the course.

He told me that an episode which the class really appreciated was when I made some paper boats in class. There was an illustration of a boat producer in the class text to illustrate manufacturing and job order costing and I thought I could provide a visual illustration by folding papers into boats as I used to in early grade school.

The plane white sheets represented direct material and I provided the direct labour. Some papers were partially folded (work in process) and others completely folded in boats (finished goods). I had a small bottle of glue, scotch tape and some paper clips as illustrations of possible overhead costs. I "sold" some of the finished products to the students and removed the boats "sold" as cost of goods sold, from my inventory of finished goods. The whole exercise took 5 mins or less. According to the student, he and the other students got a good understanding of the various manufacturing costs from that exercise.

I was debating whether I should try little "projects" like the above in class. This was an MBA class and I was afraid that some of the students may perceive such exercises as too "simplistic" or "antics" of the professor they have to bear.

We had a discussion on the list-serve a year or so ago about "low-tech" teaching aids in accounting and was wondering whether anyone has any recent experience (good, bad or neutral) using some of these teaching aids.

George Lan 
University of Windsor

I use golf balls to illustrate the LIFO, FIFO, and average cost methods. I bring a sleeve (3 balls) of balls with the number 1, one with 2, and one with 3 on them. Then I show how they are interchangeable but if there acquisition cost was different, you have to make some assumptions about which ones were sold and which ones are still in the ending inventory. This works much better than examples on the while board, etc. and I wish I could think of more of them.

Denny Beresford
University of Georgia

I have used different color blocks and tinkertoys. Again it helps the students to visualize the components of a product, and I can create different works cells etc. While not wanting to admit it the students love being able to use (play with) with blocks. They remember the relationships later. I have also used putting the blocks together to help develop standards, and what a time standard can mean.

Exercises like these take a couple of minutes to make a lasting impression.

Stokes, Len

Ed Scribner provided a link to this tremendous set of accounting teacher helpers --- 

Bob Jensen's helpers for educators are at 

An Excellent Teaching Case on Accounting for Software Development

", Inc., by Michael F. Peters, KennethW. Shaw, and Robert B. Thompson, Issues in Accounting Education, May 2002, pp. 197-210 --- 

This case, based on the activities of a fictional online grocery shopping and delivery service startup, introduces beginning M.B.A. students to financial accounting.  The case write-up provides cash inflows and outflows and other detailed information about the firm's first three years of operations, which include sizable expenditures to develop customer order-entry software.  Using this information, you are required to prepare comparative accrual-basis financial statements and to explore the impact of alternative accounting treatments on these financial statements for software development expenditures.  The purpose of this case is to provide you with an appreciation for financial statements as a device for communicating the firm's financial position and performance, to illustrate some of the problems and ambiguities that arise in implementing accrual accounting, to expose you to the interpretation of actual accounting standards, and to introduce you to the use of historical financial statements in predicting future earnings.

Bob Jensen's treads on accounting for eCommerce and eBusiness are at 

Important Site of the Week

"The Future of Mind Control, The Economist, May 23, 2002 --- 

People already worry about genetics. They should worry about brain science too

In an attempt to treat depression, neuroscientists once carried out a simple experiment. Using electrodes, they stimulated the brains of women in ways that caused pleasurable feelings. The subjects came to no harm—indeed their symptoms appeared to evaporate, at least temporarily—but they quickly fell in love with their experimenters.

Such a procedure (and there have been worse in the history of neuroscience) poses far more of a threat to human dignity and autonomy than does cloning. Cloning is the subject of fierce debate, with proposals for wholesale bans. Yet when it comes to neuroscience, no government or treaty stops anything. For decades, admittedly, no neuroscientist has been known to repeat the love experiment. A scientist who used a similar technique to create remote-controlled rats seemed not even to have entertained the possibility. “Humans? Who said anything about humans?” he said, in genuine shock, when questioned. “We work on rats.”

Ignoring a possibility does not, however, make it go away. If asked to guess which group of scientists is most likely to be responsible, one day, for overturning the essential nature of humanity, most people might suggest geneticists. In fact neurotechnology poses a greater threat—and also a more immediate one. Moreover, it is a challenge that is largely ignored by regulators and the public, who seem unduly obsessed by gruesome fantasies of genetic dystopias.

A person's genetic make-up certainly has something important to do with his subsequent behaviour. But genes exert their effects through the brain. If you want to predict and control a person's behaviour, the brain is the place to start. Over the course of the next decade, scientists may be able to predict, by examining a scan of a person's brain, not only whether he will tend to mental sickness or health, but also whether he will tend to depression or violence. Neural implants may within a few years be able to increase intelligence or to speed up reflexes. Drug companies are hunting for molecules to assuage brain-related ills, from paralysis to shyness (see article).

A public debate over the ethical limits to such neuroscience is long overdue. It may be hard to shift public attention away from genetics, which has so clearly shown its sinister side in the past. The spectre of eugenics, which reached its culmination in Nazi Germany, haunts both politicians and public. The fear that the ability to monitor and select for desirable characteristics will lead to the subjugation of the undesirable—or the merely unfashionable—is well-founded.

Not so long ago neuroscientists, too, were guilty of victimising the mentally ill and the imprisoned in the name of science. Their sins are now largely forgotten, thanks in part to the intractable controversy over the moral status of embryos. Anti-abortion lobbyists, who find stem-cell research and cloning repugnant, keep the ethics of genetic technology high on the political agenda. But for all its importance, the quarrel over abortion and embryos distorts public discussion of bioethics; it is a wonder that people in the field can discuss anything else.

Continued at  

From Syllabus News on May 22, 2002

E-Learning: After all the hype, is it over?

Jack Wilson, CEO and Founder of UMass Online, brings perspective to what he calls the "present turmoil in the e-learning space," addressing its successes as well as its challenges, at the ninth annual Syllabus Conference on Education Technology, July 27-31 in Santa Clara, CA. Wilson, the featured keynote speaker on July 31, is a national distance learning innovator with more than 30 years experience as an educator. He believes distance learning is undergoing a natural process in the evolution of a new paradigm for education. Find out what Wilson thinks is next for e-learning by signing up today for Syllabus2002. Take advantage of the many specialized tracks, workshops and seminars offered each day. For complete details on all the speakers and sessions, go to

Register by May 31 and receive a 15% early bird discount!

$125 Million Business School for University of Chicago

The University of Chicago recently broke ground for a $125 million Graduate School of Business building on its main campus in Hyde Park. When the structure is complete in 2004, it will house classes now held in four other buildings. The current buildings are so crowded, students sit on the floor and in stairwells. Edward Snyder, dean of the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, says, "Business schools are among the first to employ technological advances in classrooms, but it's difficult to bring new technology into a 100-year-old building. The new building will feature the latest tools of the wired classroom."

For more information, visit: 

Carnegie Mellon Forms Consortium for "Sustainable Computing"

For the first time, a consortium has been created that aims to protect the nation's computing infrastructure and improve the reliability of its information technology systems. Carnegie Mellon University and a coalition of leading global businesses, world-class software developers, and federal agencies have formed the Sustainable Computing Consortium (SCC), a new collaborative initiative. This is the first time such a broad-based group will address issues relating to software dependability, quality, and security. In 2001, software defects cost global business an estimated $175 billion. The mission of the SCC will be to drive new developments in information technology.

For more information, visit: 


From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Review on May 23, 2002

TITLE: SEC Broadens Investigation Into Revenue-Boosting Tricks; Fearing Bogus Numbers Are Widespread, Agency Probes Lucent and Others 
REPORTER: Susan Pulliam and Rebecca Blumenstein 
DATE: May 16, 2002 
TOPICS: Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis

SUMMARY: "Securities and Exchange Commission officials, concerned about an explosion of transactions that falsely created the impression of booming business across many industries, are conducting a sweeping investigation into a host of practices that pump up revenue."

1.) "Probing revenue promises to be a much broader inquiry than the earlier investigations of Enron and other companies accused of using accounting tricks to boost their profits." What is the difference between inflating profits vs. revenues?

2.) What are the ways in which accounting information is used (both in general and in ways specifically cited in this article)? What are the concerns about using accounting information that has been manipulated to increase revenues? To increase profits?

3.) Describe the specific techniques that may be used to inflate revenues that are enumerated in this article and the related one. Why would a practice of inflating revenues be of particular concern during the ".com boom"?

4.) "[L90 Inc.] L90 lopped $8.3 million, or just over 10%, off revenue previously reported for 2000 and 2001, while booking the $250,000 [net difference in the amount of wire transfers that had been used in one of these transactions] as 'other income' rather than revenue." What is the difference between revenues and other income? Where might these items be found in a multi-step income statement? In a single-step income statement?

5.) What are "vendor allowances"? How might these allowances be used to inflate revenues? Consider the case of Lucent Technologies described in the article. Might their techniques also have been used to boost profits?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island 
Reviewed By: Benson Wier, Virginia Commonwealth University 
Reviewed By: Kimberly Dunn, Florida Atlantic University

TITLE: CMS Energy Admits Questionable Trades Inflated Its Volume 
REPORTER: Chip Cummins and Jonathan Friedland 
ISSUE: May 16, 2002 

Bob Jensen's threads on revenue reporting issues are at 

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at 

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting fraud are at 

It's a Big World

When you open it, it starts with a look at our galaxy from the edges of the known universe, and then the image progresses in by powers of ten until you get to innermost atoms of a plant on earth. You are then able to navigate backwards or forwards on your own.

It was designed by the scientists Florida State University.  They're called 'Noles Scientists. 

Do you suppose we could do the same thing with business valuation and risk sites?

Reply from George Lan, glan@UWINDSOR.CA 

Hi Bob,

The " Big World" reminds me of a story about St Augustine ( if my memory is correct), I had heard many years ago in high school. He was trying to figure out the mystery of the universe and one day as he was walking by the beach, he saw a small boy repeatedly filling his bucket with water and pouring it in a hole in the sand. Puzzled, St Augustine, asked him what he was trying to do. " I am trying to put the ocean water in the hole ", said the boy. St Augustine finally realised what he was trying to do-- his brain is too small to comprehend the universe. Science have made tremendous progress since the times of St Augustine but despite all their achievements, there are still a lot they have not figured out.

As fascinating and mind-boggling as what the Florida State Univ. "Noles" scientists have designed, I believe that it will be even harder for accountants to do the same thing with business valuation and risk sites. At least the scientists can agree what a tree and its branches and leaves are and can measure them with a high degree of accuracy. Because of the many esrimates and subjectivity involved in business valuation, it is daunting just to figure business valuation to the zero power of 10, let alone to the various powers of 10. But perhaps, I am missing the big picture.

My infinitely small contribution,

George Lan 
University of Windsor


Business and Economic History
The Magpie Sings the Great Depression --- 

With a student body numbering over ten thousand boys, the Bronx's DeWitt Clinton High School produced more than its share of writers and artists, many of whom were published in The Magpie, the school's literary magazine. This website presents 195 poems, articles, and short stories and 295 graphics and photographs from The Magpie, encompassing the years 1929 to 1942. Taken together, they comprise a portrait of student life in New York City during the years of the Great Depression.

Charles Schwab is waging war against Wall Street. He's launching a major campaign to capture midmarket customers--with nearly $11 trillion in investments--from white-shoe rivals rocked by scandal. The lure? Squeaky-clean financial advice from a firm with no investment banking arm. Pummeled by a big drop in revenues since the tech bust, Schwab badly needs to win this bet. For BW subscribers :  

For all as of (May 28, 2002) : 

Today, nearly 80% of the women in a recent study indicate they have a greater knowledge of investing than they did just five years ago. More than 50% know how mutual funds work, and 63% are involved in the family finances. 

From Syllabus News on May 24, 2002

Texas Christian Selects eCollege Texas Christian University recently announced its choice of eCollege, a provider of technology and services for online higher education programs, as the enterprise-wide eLearning solution for its distance and on-campus programs. eCollege currently powers two online master's programs for TCU. Through this extended partnership, eCollege will support additional online degree programs for TCU's distance students, as well as provide online course supplements to all of TCU's on-campus students. TCU's online Master's of Liberal Arts and Master's of Science in Nursing/Clinical Nurse Specialist degree programs currently secure approximately 250 student enrollments per year. TCU plans to offer additional online degree and professional development programs through the eCollege platform in the future; and will also make online course supplements available to all of its 400 faculty who serve 8,000 full-time on-campus students. 
For more information on the online programs, visit  .

SUNY Selects SCT for Multi-Million-Dollar Agreement State University of New York (SUNY), comprised of 64 institutions serving 388,000 students, has entered into an agreement with SCT that will encourage further migration by those campuses currently not using SCT Banner or SCT Plus software platforms to SCT products, it was announced recently by SCT. Thirty SUNY institutions currently use SCT Banner software, and increased standardization is a System priority. 
For more information, visit


Think Globally, Skip Tax Locally 
Getting accounting firms to change their ways is like trying to get teenagers to clean up their act in return for the keys to the family car

Allan Sloan, Newsweek, June 3, 2002, Page 38 --- 

Getting big accounting firms to change their willful ways is like trying to get teenagers to clean up their act in return for the keys to the family car. They’ll promise anything but will revert to form at every opportunity. Just look at the much-ballyhooed proposals to “reform” accounting by separating auditing business from consulting. That’s designed to remove temptation for firms to go easy on auditing clients in hope of attracting lucrative consulting work.

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS, ONE OF the Final Four accounting firms, is doing just such a split. But don’t cheer yet. Because PwC is splitting up in an antisocial way. It’s pulling a maneuver reminiscent of companies like Stanley Works, which want to be considered American but also want to move offshore to avoid paying U.S. income taxes.

The new PwC Consulting will minimize—maybe even totally avoid—U.S. income taxes by swapping national identities at will. And get this. Even as the firm is adopting foreign nationalities of convenience, it has registered with the American government as a lobbyist on its own behalf to hustle consulting contracts with the Office of Homeland Security. You’ve got to love it. PwC Consulting doesn’t want to pay taxes to Uncle Sam, but it’s sure eager to take our tax money to help protect us from evildoers. To be fair, PwC Consulting isn’t any more tacky than its rival Accenture, the former Andersen Consulting, which is also based in Bermuda. Among its contracts: running the Internal Revenue Service Web site. We should probably be grateful the IRS site doesn’t have a Bermudan tax-avoidance link. PwC’s setup is undoubtedly legal. But is it right? When the United States is at war and President Bush is invoking patriotism, is it right to set up in Bermuda for tax purposes while keeping your headquarters in the United States and benefiting from a society you’ve decided you don’t want to pay taxes for? Accenture says my take on its behavior is wrong, because the firm, created only recently, has never been a U.S.-based corporation. A spokeswoman says Accenture considers itself a worldwide company that’s based in Bermuda for convenience. PwC Consulting says it can’t talk to me about any of this because it’s in the process of registering a stock offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. So my analysis of PwC Consulting’s strategy is based on its SEC filings, supplemented with background information.

Here’s the deal. PwC Consulting will be based in the United States, where it does more than half its business, and its stock will trade on the New York Stock Exchange. It will look like a U.S. corporation, but will actually be a Luxembourg corporation owned by a Bermuda corporation. Now, watch. Part of this game involves using tax treaties that the United States has negotiated with various countries. Under these deals, the countries provide favorable treatment to each other’s taxpayers. So, to give you an example, PwC Consulting will be American when it comes to paying Luxembourgian taxes, but will be Luxembourgian (or whatever nationality works best) when it comes to paying U.S. taxes. Most American companies that have been moving their nominal headquarters offshore—or that, like Accenture or PwC Consulting, set up offshore when they separated from their corporate parent—say they want to avoid paying U.S. income tax on profits earned elsewhere. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Call me suspicious, but PwC’s structure seems designed not only to solve that supposed problem, but also to let the firm suck taxable profits out of the United States into no-tax or low-tax places like Bermuda. As a bonus, this structure seems capable of foiling proposals by enraged senators and representatives to close the going-offshore loophole. If you believe in efficiency, you have to admire how the consulting industry gets three bites at the going-offshore apple. First, it gets fees for helping American companies move offshore. Second, it gets paid for lobbying against congressional efforts to close this loophole. And third, it moves offshore itself. The way PwC sticks its finger in our eye in the name of “reform” is an example of why we should be skeptical about any lasting good coming from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s attempts to reform Wall Street. He’s done a great job at shaming Merrill Lynch, which richly deserves it. Merrill has offered to pay states $100 million to buy its way out of all this embarrassment. Salomon Smith Barney will probably make a similar deal with Spitzer soon. And, like Merrill, it will likely begin reverting to form about one nanosecond after the pressure ceases. So when you hear companies promise “reform,” hold onto your wallet. And your car keys.

Bob Jensen's threads on tax frauds can be found at 

From Business Week Online on May 17, 2002


In her book Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children, economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett gives a nuanced picture of what life is like in the U.S. for career women, based on extensive research. The headline-grabbing finding? That 49% of women over 40 who earn more than $100,000 a year are childless. That compares with 19% of men in the same category. And lest you assume that these women chose the life they're living, only 14% said they had not wanted children. Hewlett reveals an uncomfortable reality, one that is not getting much attention from the commentators who see this as strictly a woman's problem, or fault. A primary reason so many career women don't have children is that they don't have spouses. Only 57% of the high-achieving women over 40 in corporate jobs are married, compared with 83% of male achievers. Overall, high-achieving women either marry early or not at all. Just 10% of the women surveyed got married for the first time after age 30, and 1% after age 35.



First it was the Old Economy, then the New Economy, then the Internet Economy. And whatever you do, don't forget the Information Economy. What's next? The Customer Economy. Yes, after steadily gaining influence for the better part of a decade, the customer is now firmly in control. The question corporate leaders are starting to ask themselves is: How do we win under the new rules? The answer, which has nothing to do with cash flow, is ETDBW, meaning companies must be "easy to do business with."


From Syllabus News on May 16, 2002

Online College Features Choice, Online Mentoring

The College of the Humanities and Sciences, a Tempe, Ariz.-based distance learning college, has re-branded its image in order to promote a shift in focus toward curriculum flexibility and online instructional mentoring. The school has launched a new web site to reflect its change in educational approach. "Although distance learning is not a new concept, we believe our mentorship philosophy, coupled with the student's freedom to design his or her own learning program sets our college apart from other distance learning institutions," said Kathleen Mirabile, Associate Director of Education. "Ultimately, this allows students and their mentors to individually set high standards to maximize their learning experience." The college offers associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as a diploma program in the humanities.

For more information, visit: 

Red Hat Offers Free Access to Open Source

Open source and Linux provider Red Hat, Inc. launched Red Hat Network Education Channels to give students and educators access to the Red Hat Linux 7.3 operating system via the Red Hat Network. Red Hat Linux 7.3 is a configurable operating system designed to deliver Internet-based computing. The channels are designed to accelerate the adoption of open source software within the education community nationwide. The company will offer two channels: an Educational Channel for teachers and IS administrators, as well as high school and university students; and a K-12 Linux Terminal Server Project Channel to enable K-12 teachers and IS administrators to set up computer science labs with an open lab architecture. Both channels provide free Red Hat Network access for one machine.

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Review on May 23, 2002

TITLE: Pitt Faces New Questions on CEO Meetings 
REPORTER: Michael Schroeder and James Bandler 
DATE: May 20, 2002 
TOPICS: Accounting, Auditing, Regulation, Securities and Exchange Commission

SUMMARY: Harvey Pitt, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is being scrutinized for meeting with executives of companies being investigated by the SEC. Questions focus on the role of the SEC and the implications of the meetings held by Mr. Pitt.

1.) What is the role of the SEC in accounting standard setting and accounting regulation? Why does the SEC have this power?

2.) Why is Mr. Pitt being criticized? Do you think Mr. Pitt's behavior was inappropriate? Support your answer.

3.) Describe Mr. Pitt's professional activities before becoming Chairman of the SEC. According to government ethics rules, for how long should Mr. Pitt not participate in matters related to companies that he represented prior to his appointment at the SEC? What do you perceive as the purpose of this rule? Do you think that this rule is necessary? Do you think that this rule accomplishes its intended purpose(s)? Support your answers.

4.) Given the credibility issues facing the accounting profession, is it important the public have confidence in the SEC? Support your answer. If the public loses confidence in the SEC, what are potential implications for accounting?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island 
Reviewed By: Benson Wier, Virginia Commonwealth University 
Reviewed By: Kimberly Dunn, Florida Atlantic University

A comprehensive survey concluded in May 2002 by AccountingWEB, Inc. shows that accounting students are still very optimistic about the accounting profession, and shows that traditional values, integrity and honesty are paramount in their decisions of which firms to work for. Most significantly, "reputation" and "culture" have overtaken salary and benefits as the main factors influencing their career decisions. Find out more today. 

SmartPros 2002 (Accounting) Career Guide --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting careers are at 

Linux is gaining momentum in nearly all corners of computing, and more and better programs now run on it. But will a real business model ever evolve? 

Two recent federal court rulings in Hollywood's favor could undermine consumers' historical rights to use the content they buy 

To hear the entertainment industry tell it, a wave of digital piracy threatens to destroy the future of movies, records, and other media. While the danger of piracy is real, the other side of the story is that Hollywood has been on a remarkable legislative and legal winning streak in its campaign to win increased protections (see BW Online, 4/18/02, "High Tech vs. Hollywood on Capitol Hill"). Along the way, some long-established consumer rights may disappear. And the message from the courts so far seems to be "Get used to it." 

The invention of digital media has made it possible for people without any special skills or equipment to make copies that are essentially indistinguishable from the originals. It has also given the creators of media the technical means not only to prevent copies from being made but to limit the ways consumers use products they have purchased, for example, by blocking the playing of U.S. DVD movies in Europe or preventing certain music CDs from being played in computers.

Copyright law has always tried to strike a delicate balance between the rights of content creators to be compensated for their work and the rights of consumers to use what they have paid for. But the development of digital media and Big Media's attempt to completely control it have destroyed the delicate equilibrium that is copyright law.

UNDER ASSAULT.  Two legal doctrines, called "first sale" and "fair use" are threatened by these technical changes. Under first sale, the buyers of copyrighted works in the U.S. may dispose of their purchases as they see fit (this isn't true in all countries). If you own a book, record, or DVD, you can sell it, lend it, or give it away. Fair use is a broader and vaguer concept, but it covers such things as quoting from a book in a review, copying part of a work for classroom use, or, most relevantly, making a copy of a music recording for personal use.

Both doctrines are now under assault. The most recent blow came in a May 8 ruling by U.S. District Judge Ronald M. Whyte in San Jose, Calif., in which he upheld the constitutionality of key provisions of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

This criminal case, U.S. v. Elcom Ltd., is a curious one. It began last July when FBI agents, acting on a complaint from software maker Adobe Systems, arrested Elcom employee Dmitry Skylarov at a hackers conference in Las Vegas. He was charged with "trafficking" in software designed to circumvent copy protections in Adobe's eBook Reader software, a criminal violation of the DMCA. The case against Skylarov were eventually dropped, and he returned to Russia, but the charges against Elcom are moving forward.

Continued at 


Bob Jensen's fair use threads are at 

May 23, 2002 message from John Dallair (Mathematics)

Greetings Dr. J.

Found a neat site that might be useful to new students and others. It goes over much of the basics of alpha-numeric mathematics and also provides diversions to keep the old brain cells in motion. 

God Bless. j


Welcome to, the fastest growing online source for help with algebra. We use some of the latest technology to help you learn and understand algebra. Our website features lessons to learn or refresh old skills, calculators that show you how to solve problems step-by-step, and interactive worksheets to test your skills.

May 23 message from Michael Platt, AccountingWEB [MTPlatt@AOL.COM

I'd like to make everyone aware of a survey recently concluded by AccountingWEB on student perspectives on the Accounting profession. 550 Beta Alpha Psi students participated in the survey which measured their employment perspectives, what influences and motivates them in their career decisions, and what benefits packages are important to them and which aren't. You may find the results of interest . 

Mike Platt 

May 22 message from Richard Campbell

You can see a web application (a conference self-scheduler) written in VB.NET by going to:   and clicking on the "Schedule" button. This is a brilliant piece of programming by two of the best multimedia programmers in the world - Jeff Rhodes and Chris Bell of 

It is probably advisable to set your display at 1024x768 to see the navigation buttons at the bottom right hand side of the screen.

So if you have ever asked yourself why is Bill Gates hyping the .NET initiative, you will see why after looking at what VB.NET can do in the hands of a skilled programmer. I am glad I am scheduled to attend this conference.

Richard J. Campbell 


Messages from Phil Livingston on May 14, 2002

Look for an opinion piece I submitted to The Financial Times in Wednesday's U.S. edition (May 15), challenging the views of some, like Warren Buffet, on stock option accounting. The issue is really about corporate governance, and if changes need to be made, that's where the focus ought to be, not on reopening the debate on how they are accounted for.
Bob Jensen's counter arguments can be found at

NASDAQ held Governance Summits on both coasts in the last week. Excellent dialogue among the participants (CFOs and General Counsels) after a morning of presentations, including mine on the FEI Recommendations for post-Enron reform. Shareholder approval of stock option plans was discussed at length and is inevitable in some form. The establishment of a "lead independent director," where the CEO is also chairman was a concept that got favorable discussion. Tougher independence rules for directors are coming, and CPE for directors seems like an idea that will emerge, too. Company and financial officer codes of conduct, which FEI has much pressed for, are being considered. The NASDAQ and NYSE will be reporting out their reports/results in the next month.

Replace EPS With EVA To Drive Share Value And Create A Culture Of Ownership
Check out "Enron Signals the End of the Earnings Management Game" and the companion white paper "How to Structure Incentive Plans That Work" for an understanding of pitfalls in managing for earnings-per-share goals and how to use EVA® (economic value added) in bonus plans that encourage managers and employees to think and act like owners. Download the articles from Stern Stewart --- 

Phil Livingston
President of the Financial Executives International (FEI)

Bob Jensen's counter arguments can be found at 

Last year, 257 public companies with $258 billion in assets declared bankruptcy--hurting employees and families, and making shareholders furious. CEOs offer every excuse but the right one: their own errors. Here are ten mistakes to avoid and three quick fixes to make.

You thought Eliot Spitzer was tough on Merrill Lynch? Wall Street's about to get a real run for its money. The New York attorney general's investigation could add momentum to civil suits over Wall Street's handling of IPOs. 

Critics have accused Fannie Mae of being too big and having outsized ambition. Alan Greenspan has criticized the company's derivatives portfolio. But the nation's largest mortgage outfit has a solid foundation. 

The IASB has published an exposure draft of proposed improvements to International Accounting Standards, which is now available generally.
Press Release
Exposure Draft

I was once a ToolBook enthusiast and developed all my courses around CDs that I created in ToolBook.  ToolBook was a long-time main product of Asymetrix Corporation that later became part of Click-to-Learn --- 

ToolBook and Authorware were leading products for interactive CD learning technologies and course management systems.  Both had huge learning curves for course authors, but the capabilities for interactive learning were leading edge until networked learning became common place.  Authors had to learn how to code using either OpenScript for ToolBook or Lingo for Authorware.  Although both products had free readers that could be installed on computers, these never worked really well and learning modules were just too large and complicated for Internet Delivery.  ToolBook abandoned further development of OpenScript and resorted to DHTML templates that are more efficient for delivery of courses on the Internet, but eliminate creative authoring that was possible in OpenScript.

Both Click-to-Learn (for ToolBook) and Macromedia (for Authorware and Dreamweaver) missed the boat in terms of capturing the academic market.  WebCT and Blackboard upstarts from Cornell University (Blackboard) and the University of British Columbia (WebCT) went commercial and virtually captured the market on college campuses around the world.

Belatedly, Click-to-Learn is making a desperation pricing move to get a wedge in the college market.  On May 24, 2002, Click-to-Learn sent the following message to potential customers:

Advances in e-learning are transforming the way we think about education. Learning is now a lifelong process and necessity, requiring that courses are available to people "anytime, anyplace, at any pace."

ToolBook Instructor enables educators to easily create engaging, highly interactive courses to accelerate the learning process. It walks you step-by-step through both content creation and the most effective method to deliver finished courses using the Internet or CD-ROM.

ToolBook enables you to: Quickly design Web-ready curriculum, quizzes, and exams using built-in templates, catalogs, and wizards. Enable your students to see and hear what you are teaching them using streaming media. Create "show-me" and "try-me" simulations and custom functions using the Actions Editor, a visual programming tool.

Special Offer!
Place your order by August 30, 2002, we'll give you a renewable campus-wide site license for only $2,599 a year. ToolBook Instructor normally retails for $2,599 per individual copy, but if you act now you will enjoy this same low price but receive this site license for your entire campus to use!

You will receive:

Order today by calling 1.800.471.5184 ext 1541 or send email to

Best Regards,
Click2learn, Inc.

This move is probably too little too late.  WebCT and Blackboard are too entrenched and have features not available in TookBook.  Most notably, WebCT and Blackboard have database interface features that allow student information from the Registrar's Office (course enrollments, email addresses, etc.) to be automatically posted for every course on campus.  For example, at Trinity University our student and financial database from Datatel interfaces with our Blackboard system.

Another risk from investing financial and intellectual capital in ToolBook is that ToolBook has never been profitable to Click-to-Learn.  Even on a pro-forma basis that puts the company in the best possible light, net earnings are increasingly negative.  The company lost $0.86 per share in 2000 and $0.60 per share in 2001.  The trend is upward, but desperation pricings such as the deal offered above do not send out promising signals for the long-term future of ToolBook.

To me this is very sad since I invested so much of my time and money learning to use ToolBook.  This is yet another example of an educational software company that did not understand what is known as cost-profit-volume (CPV) analysis in managerial accounting.  Companies that price very high for a niche market (in ToolBook's case training software for large and wealthy companies) and price themselves out of the mass market (in this case colleges, universities and K-12 schools) find themselves left high and dry when their niche market falters.  Companies like Microsoft, WebCT, BlackBoard, and JASC understood that when it comes to software it is better to either give products away for free or price them extremely cheap until individuals and organizations get hooked on using them.  Then price the upgrades low enough to keep them hooked and continue to hold millions (or in the case of Microsoft billions) of customers.  Than is what CPV analysis is all about.

WebCT and Blackboard now hold virtually all the college and university market plus the majority portion of the enormous primary and secondary K-12 school market.  ToolBook and Authorware adopted failed marketing and product development strategies for the education market.  Along a similar vein, Lotus, Netscape, and Apple had failed marketing and product development strategies that allowed Bill Gates to become the wealthiest man in the world instead of being a used car salesman.  Bill Gates, more than any other CEO in the world, understands CPV analysis.  Click-to-Learn is catching on too late with a product that can no longer compete.

Bob Jensen's threads on the history of course authoring and management systems can be found at 

Hi Vanessa,

I am not sure there is a concise definition of behavioral accounting, although I'm certain you can find several tries in the glossaries at 

The term appeared when academic researchers commenced to link research in the behavioral sciences with managerial/cost accounting issues. In particular, research commenced to focus upon how accounting impacts upon managerial behavior, particularly decision making behaviors. For example, some of the early "protocol" studies asked decision makers to think out loud while making actual decisions or in simulation experiments. Attempts were then made to determine how accounting information was used in conjunction with other information in actual and/or simulated decision settings.

The term eventually evolved into external reporting areas such as the study of how investors make portfolio decisions and the way in which accounting information is detected and processed in human cognition and or metacognition.

Top named researchers to search for in this process are Robert Libby (Cornell), Jacob Birnberg (Pittsburgh), Robert Ashton (Duke), and many others.

Much of the research has shifted from individual behavior to organizational behavior. See  

One criticism raised about behavioral research is that it has been too academic and too artificial to have had much impact upon the real world. Indeed it is difficult to find where such research has led to changes in practice. Problems include artificial experimental settings and the study of persons and organizations out of context in terms of real-world complexities. The counter argument is that this area is so important that researchers had to start somewhere and are doing their best to make small steps toward more relevant studies. At the moment, however, I'm afraid that the real world (e.g., standard setters and corporate management) remain pretty ignorant about behavioral accounting research and its implications for practice. When confronted with research findings, the response is often that these results are intuitive without so much rigor.

Another criticism is that the behavioral research findings have a short life. For example, once persons discover that a model predicts their behavior, it is often tempting for them to change behavior just to prove the model is wrong or too simplistic. It is sometimes said that physical scientists stole all the easy problems (where discovery does not change behavior), leaving the hard problems to behavioral and social scientists (where the subjects under investigation can change as a result of the discoveries by researchers). Of course, both of these assertions oversimplify the real world. Research findings in quantum physics can change behavior, and some people cannot or will not change behavior just because you understand why they are behaving in a certain way.

A real criticism of behavioral accounting research is that it has often been more concerned with research methodology than with the findings themselves. But this criticism applies to nearly all academic accounting research. Unlike research in science, the world is not eagerly awaiting the latest findings of academic accounting researchers.

As far as links go, the world is your oyster at 

Hope this helps!

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Vanessa Smyth []  
Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2002 8:28 PM 
To: Subject: Behavioral Accounting Theory Question

G'day mate,

Sorry to bother you, my name is Vanessa and I go to university in Sydney Australia. I found your email address over the internet and was wondering if you might please be able to help me if you have any expertise in this area or forward this email on to someone who does? If you don't have time to do either that's fine because I understand how busy you must be in your job position.

I'm doing a school assignment and was wondering if you could tell me anything you know about what behavioral accounting is and how is the behavioral approach used in accounting theory formulation?

I would appreciate it if you would please let me know if you have any ideas on how to answer my questions or if you could point me to any links on the internet where I may seek the answers I desire.

Thank you 


The three-day shutdown of domestic air travel in the United States following the terrorist attacks allowed meteorologists to study what they've long suspected: Airplane condensation trails may affect the weather ---,1282,52512,00.html 

American Museum of Photography 

May 15, 2002 message from Fathom

Dear Fathom member,

If you're looking to develop new skills for the classroom, earn continuing education credits, and advance your teaching career, visit Fathom today to enroll in an online course this summer. As a special offer for Fathom members, you can save 25% if you enroll by June 15! 

Just choose one of the following topics to see all courses currently available for enrollment: Curriculum & Teaching * Primary Education * Secondary Education * Education Technology * Language Education

Courses on Fathom are evaluated by the Educational Media Evaluation Group at Teachers College, Columbia University, and meet the highest standards for instructional quality and design. Learn more: 

News Release from the Financial Accounting Standards Board on May 13, 2002

FASB Publishes Exposure Draft, Acquisitions of Certain Financial Institutions, That Amends Statements 72, 144 and Interpretation 9

Norwalk, CT, May 13, 2002—The FASB has issued an Exposure Draft, Acquisitions of Certain Financial Institutions, that amends two existing accounting standards and an Interpretation to increase consistency of financial reporting. The proposed change would require that all financial institution acquisitions, except for those between two or more mutual enterprises, be accounted for under Statements No. 141, Business Combinations and 142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets. A copy of the Exposure Draft is available on the FASB’s website at . The comment period concludes on June 24, 2002.

The Exposure Draft would amend Statement No. 72, Accounting for Certain Acquisitions of Banking or Thrift Institutions, and Interpretation No. 9, Applying APB Opinions No. 16 and 17 When a Savings and Loan Association or a Similar Institution Is Acquired in a Business Combination, to remove from their scope all financial institution acquisitions, except for transactions between two or more mutual enterprises. Those transactions would be accounted for under FASB Statements 141 and 142, prospectively. In addition, the proposed Statement would amend Statement No. 144, Accounting for the Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets, to include certain long-term customer relationship intangible assets, such as depositor- and borrower-relationship assets, and credit-cardholder intangible assets.

The amendments to Statement 72 and Interpretation 9 would be effective for transactions completed after a final Statement is issued. The amendment to Statement 144 would be effective upon issuance of a final Statement.

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday released a cumulative patch that fixes six new vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer ---,3658,s=712&a=27020,00.asp 

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday released a cumulative patch that fixes six new vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. Two of the flaws could enable an attacker to read files on a user's machine, although there are several mitigating factors that make such an attack quite difficult.

Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., has rated the new vulnerabilities as critical. The new patch also contains fixes for all previously discovered flaws in IE 5.01, 5.5 and 6.0.

The first of the two so-called information disclosure vulnerabilities lies in the way that an HTML object supports Cascading Style Sheets. An attacker could create a Web page or HTML mail message to exploit the vulnerability, but he would need to know the exact name and location of the file he wanted to read on the user's machine. Further, the file must contain one particular ASCII character and the attacker could not add or delete any information in the file, according to Microsoft's advisory.

The second such flaw allows an attacker to build a cookie that would enable him to read the information contained in other sites' cookies stored on a user's machine. But, again, the attacker would need to know the exact name of the cookie he wanted to read.

There is also a cross-site scripting flaw in one of the local HTML files that ship with IE. A successful exploit of the vulnerability would give an attacker the ability to execute scripts on the user's machine in the Local Computer zone, which has fewer restrictions than scripts executed in other IE zones.

A similar flaw could allow attackers to run pages on users' machines in the Intranet zone.

The final two vulnerabilities are variants of the content disposition problem in IE for which Microsoft issued a patch last year. They enable an attacker to construct special headers in executable files that trick IE into believing that the file is safe to download and run automatically.

The two new flaws require that the user's machine be running an application that passes the malformed content back to the operating system instead of generating an error message.

Microsoft was urged to figure out ways to undermine competitors who pushed the alternative operating system, according to a memo ---,1551,52520,00.html 

Napster, the company that changed the way people use their computers, is no more. But what it accomplished in its short, brilliant life will likely influence how people use the Web for years to come. That is Shawn Fanning's legacy ---,1285,52540,00.html  

Bob Jensen's threads on Napster are at 

From The Scout Report on May 17, 2002

Towards a Sexually Healthy America: Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs that Try to Keep Our Youth "Scared Chaste" [.pdf] 

In response to last week's review of the Heritage Foundation's report on abstinence programs, the following study was turned in for our consideration by way of counterpoint. Offered by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank, both the message and the messenger stress knowledge over ignorance and better living through education. Not knocking abstinence as a tenable choice, the authors of the report simply argue that, if exercised, abstinence should be one among a young person's considered options, rather than the only sure path to survival. Backed by many studies and a lot of hard science supported by the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) and other governmental agencies, the report is interesting and carefully crafted. [WH]

Creating a Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections 

In the fall of 2001, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) published the "Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections" on their Web site. The report, which was done in collaboration with participants from the National Science Foundation's Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library program, highlights "digitization collection practices that facilitate integration and aggregation of digital information resources developed by museums, libraries, and similar institutions." Comments and responses to the Framework were solicited from the digital library community through May 1, 2002. In response to this solicitation, Timothy W. Cole presented "Creating a Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections" at the Web- Wise 2002 conference held in March. Cole's paper illustrates the context and development of IMLS's Framework, briefly depicts the essential ideas articulated in the Framework, and concludes with remarks regarding the immediate impacts of the work accomplished by the IMLS Digital Library Forum and a call for the continued development and maintenance of the Framework. The paper consists of 8 sections -- Introduction, Starting Premise, Framework Scope and Organization, Principles for Good Digital Collections, Principles for Good Digital Objects, Principles for Good Metadata, Principles for Good Digitization Projects, and Concluding Remarks -- and is valuable to those particularly interested in the digitization of primary source materials. [MG]

Silicon Valley Cultures Project Website: What We Are Finding [.pdf] 

The Silicon Valley Cultures Project from the Anthropology Department at San Jose State University (last mentioned in the June 1, 2000 issue of the _Scout Report for Business & Economics_) has recently published a book excerpt, along with three newly released reports and articles, on their Web site. The book excerpt is from _Cultures@SiliconValley_ by J.A. English- Lueck, and it provides a 16-page abstract of the book. The first new report "Creating Culture in Dual Career Families" by C. N. Darrah, J. A. English- Lueck, and J. M. Freeman (all from the Department of Anthropology at San Jose State University) is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted with fourteen different families between 1998-2000. The second report, "Success and Survival in Silicon Valley: An Ethnography of Learning Networks" by J.A. English-Lueck, Sabrina Valade, Sheri Swiger, and Guillermo Narvaez, was presented to the Center for Educational Planning's Santa Clara County Office of Education on March 21, 2002. This report takes an ethnographic look at the lives of students, teachers, and workers as they find their way through the maze of de facto education. The last newly released report, "Students, Technology and Everyday Life" by Dr. Chuck Darrah, was prepared for the Junior Achievement of Santa Clara County and the Institute for the Future, and explores how the incorporation of information technology in the lives of middle and high school students can best prepare them for careers in the Silicon Valley region. This paper elicits potential questions for further investigation and, therefore, does not provide definitive answers to complex and emerging issues. All of the reports can be easily viewed and printed in Adobe Acrobat

Virtual Sky  (Photography, Astronomy, Science)

The Virtual Sky Viewer is sponsored by The Center for Advanced Computing Research at the California Institute of Technology and the Microsoft Corporation. The Web site allows users to view "stunning, seamless images of the night sky; not just an album of popular places, but the entire northern sky at high resolution". Although reading the help link before attempting to use the viewer is recommend, the powerful application gives fascinating and unique views of the sky that most people have never seen. This site is also reviewed in the May 17, 2002 _NSDL Physical Sciences Report_. [JAB]

The Future of the E-Wireless Revolution Watch out, Asia and North America! Europe is defining message-delivery models for the years to come and quite possibly could become the e-wireless leader. 

Many web marketers are looking at the wireless web frenzy, wondering how they can jump aboard the hype train. 

Bob Jensen's threads on wireless communications are at 

Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive (History) ---'s network of more than 160 Web sites is organized into 16 channels:

Internet Technology


Web Developer

Windows Internet Technology

Linux/Open Source

Internet Resources

ISP Resources

Internet Lists



Internet News

Internet Investing

ASP Resources

Wireless Internet

Career Resources


May 23, 2002 message from Ric Payne [

Please take a moment to review the attached PowerPoint presentation to learn more about the value you'll receive from participating in the world's first GamePlan seminar. You'll see in detail what you'll learn at the program and also preview your take-home resources (yours to use at no extra cost). We have just 35 places left for GamePlan; Caesars Palace, Las Vegas - so please return your registration form this week to secure your place.

You can learn more about all of these materials by visiting the 'what's new' page on The Consulting Accountant: 

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created the first realistic videos of people saying things they never said - a scientific leap that raises unsettling questions about falsifying the moving image
The Boston Globe, May `5, 2002 --- 

After years of failing to capitalize on its globally recognizable name, Christie Hefner's company may have finally found a formula
"Playboy's Synergizer Bunny?" Business Week Online, May 24, 2002 --- 

Media synergy may be out of fashion, as investors punish AOL Time Warner (AOL ) and Vivendi Universal (V ) for too much promising and too little delivering by management. But try telling that to Christie Hefner, the indefatigable CEO of Playboy Enterprises (PLA ). "Media synergy can be achieved if there's a strong relationship between your brand and consumers, and you can use the brand to sell new products to new customers in print, on TV, or on the Internet," she says. "I think that's what we've done."

Those are bold words -- especially coming from a chief exec whose company continues to lose money. In 2001, Playboy reported an operating loss of $12.2 million, or $1.20 a share, on revenues of just $291 million, due to losses in its Internet business. Try as she might, Hefner has so far been unable to make good on vows to turn the $390 million market-cap Playboy Enterprises into a billion-dollar company.

But as the Playboy name revs up to turn 50 years old in 2003, Hefner, who took operational control in 1988 from her legendary father, Hugh, insists she has figured out how to make synergy work.

"ABILITY TO STRETCH." "Playboy is a true brand. And that makes us very different from a company with a group of disparate assets. Time Warner can't say because somebody reads Sports Illustrated, [that reader] automatically would be interested in being an AOL subscriber," she says. "So while we have a sense of modesty about what we do in scale compared to an AOL Time Warner or Disney (DIS ), we also have a lot of pride in the strength of the brand and its ability to stretch into consumer products, television, and online."

Sound familiar? It has actually been Playboy's strategy ever since Hef first donned his pajamas and smoking jacket. In the last half-century, Playboy has tried repeatedly to capitalize on its brand. (Remember Playboy Bunny air fresheners?)

Still, some analysts finally see a shift in strategy that could bolster the bottom line. After years of steering clear of sexually explicit material in favor of the frisky but softer content favored by patriarch Hugh Hefner, Playboy has embraced hard-core pay-per-view programming on TV.

INTO THE BLACK? Shares are trading at around $15, down from a 52-week high of $19.75. But some analysts still think this could finally be a breakthrough year. "The numbers tell the story. Playboy is going to further increase market share in men's lifestyle and entertainment, resulting in tremendous profit gains," says Jeffrey Hoskins of Gerard Klauer Mattison. Hoskins expects Playboy to swing into the black, earning profits of $14.5 million in 2002 and $36 million to 2003. His 12-month target share price: $21, which would be a smart 40% gain.

The main driver of Playboy's growth is cable TV. It now owns six cable networks: Playboy TV, Spice, Spice 2, Hot, Hotzone, and Vivid. The additional networks were purchased last July, make Playboy's entertainment division its largest and fastest growing. And the division has fat margins of 26%. Compare that to Playboy's flagship publishing business, which had puny margins of 2% in 2001.

Continued at

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Toronto releases a CD-ROM compilation of intolerance on the Web.

"Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate," by Charles Mandel, Wired News, May 22, 2002 ---,1367,52697,00.html 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center released a CD-ROM in Toronto today titled Digital Hate 2002. The disc collects more than 200 websites containing animated hate games, online enrollment for suicide bombers, and "other examples of transnational hate and promotion of terror after the 9/11 terrorist attacks."

Now in its fourth year, the disc is an outgrowth of the Los Angeles center that uses Internet experts there and in Toronto, New York, Buenos Aires, Paris and Jerusalem to examine about 25,000 websites monthly.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center's associate director, says the disc contains some disturbing new trends. Animated hate games are upping the stakes in violence -- with the most "notorious" being a new one called Kaboom.

Kaboom has shown up on an Internet game-creation site and features a suicide bomber. Dressed in a jacket, the bomber walks down the street until the player double-clicks on him. Then he opens the jacket and explodes. The score is tallied depending on how many men, women and children are around him and whom he maims or kills.

The other, more serious trend is transnational hate, according to Cooper. He says that interest in William Pierce, the head of the extremist right group the National Alliance in West Virginia, is showing up in Iran, while the essays of white supremacist David Duke are being invoked on Pakistani websites.

"In effect, now you've got people who before the Internet wouldn't have known of each other's existence," Cooper says. "Now you can go to any search engine, put in your terms and find out who your enemy's enemy is."

The disc is sent out to law enforcement and public officials, educators, parents and the news media to help them better understand the scope of digital hate. But could it unwittingly also become a "greatest hits" compilation among those it deplores?

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, calls the CD-ROM a service. "Those of us who monitor this type of activity have a duty to alert the public as to what's out there, because the only way to really eliminate this kind of material is through the disinfectant of sunlight."

Michael Geist, an expert on Internet law at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, agrees. He says it is a concern that some people who might get the wrong message could get the CD-ROM. "But to try and turn a blind eye to this out of fear is far riskier than not trying to get out this material in an aggressive educational fashion."

The Wiesenthal Center actually made some changes this year to the disc to prevent people from misusing it. It has dropped live Web links and site addresses, something the disc previously contained.

Continued at,1367,52697,00.html  


The one-two punch of the recession and the Enron implosion wrought dramatic changes in the composition of the BW 50. Drugmakers, home builders, and utilities are in, high tech is out. One thing the Class of '02 has proven: It can shine in good times and bad.


The Ranking

(Drum Roll...) And the winners are... Profiles of the BW50.


BW50/S&P 500 Interactive Scoreboard

An online exclusive! Rank and rerank 'em according to a variety of criteria.


The Strong, Silent Type of Stocks

The best time to buy probably isn't when a company is making news -- good or bad. It's better to get in before the buzz


Street Wise

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Fear Not

The recent hysteria about worst-case scenarios ignores the solid business principles that support both institutions


Plus, plenty more on the Best Performers!



"Ready to lead instead of follow? Consider it Solved."



From Business Week Magazine

Try these suggestions for identifying growth stocks


Gurus of Growth
We've chosen six experts who have stood the test of bull and bear markets


Mid-Cap Stars
Video games, car auctions, biotech, and housing are some stalwarts in this group


Small-Cap Stars
Small caps have been whupping the big guys for two years now--and they'll probably keep it up

Stained Glass Photography (Art, Religion) --- 

Photoshop Contest (Have critics evaluate your skills at using Adobe Photoshop) --- 

Welcome to!!! Here you can take a pre-chosen image, alter it how ever you like and post it for others to view, vote, comment and submit their own versions. The images that we select for editing can come from anywhere, such as news, sports, a random keyword search, anything! Check out the Featured Pic to the right or choose from the list of recent contests below:

Bob Claus
Blue Angel
Chili Cookoff
Presidential Wave

The art of creating small pictures 
Two Fifty --- 

A distant relative started up a unique medical supply company with his own patented products (he's a medic with the Grand Island, Nebraska Fire Department) (Ray)
Cath-Wrap, Inc, Toll Free at 877-362-4916 --- 

Gord Goble from CNET gave After Shot Premium Edition 8 out of 10 stars. Goble called After Shot, ". . . a multipurpose, straightforward photo-management system that's best for amateur digital shutterbugs who need to import, store, organize, and share digital pics." --- 

While looking at the following diet guides, it dawned on me that perhaps accounting reports should be more like food labeling and comparison tables/charts rather than the traditional bottom line reporting.  The problem with accounting is bottom-line reporting of selective and ill-conceived aggregates such as earnings-per-share or debt/equity.  Suppose spinach has an e.p.s. of 4.67 in comparison to 5.62 for Kale.  The aggregations all depend upon how components are measured, how they are weighted (e.g., Vitamin A versus Folate weighting coefficients), and what components are included/excluded (e.g., Vitamin A is included below, but Vitamin B components are ignored).  The same is true of e.p.s. in financial reporting.  The "bottom line" depends in a complex way upon how components are measured and weighted as well as upon what components are included/excluded.  

Scientists just seem to know that bottom-line aggregations for foods are too arbitrary to report to the public.  Why can't we admit this in accounting and financial reporting?

Online Diet Guides (Food, Medicine, Health, Nutrition)

eDiets (Take a free diet analysis) --- ($59.95 for onsite and online) --- 

Nutricise ($99 for three months, including a personal nutritionist via email) --- 

Take a look at how your favorite greens stack up in the chart below:

Green (Raw - per 100 g serving) Vitamin A Vitamin C Fiber Folate Calories
Arugula 2,373 IU 15 mg 1 g 97 mcg 25
Chicory 4,000 IU 24 mg 4 g 109.5 mg 23
Collards 3,824 IU 35.3 mg 3 g 166 mcg 30
Endive 2,050 IU 6.5 mg 3 g 142 mcg 17
Kale 8,900 IU 120 mg 2 g 29.3 mcg 50
Butterhead (includes Boston and Bibb) 970 IU 8 mg 1 g 73.3 mcg 13
Romaine 2,600 IU 24 mg 1 g 135.7 mcg 14
Iceberg 330 IU 3.9 mg 1 g 56 mcg 12
Loose leaf (red, green) 1,900 IU 18 mg 1 g 49.8 mcg 18
Radicchio 27 IU 8 mg 0 g 60 mcg 23
Spinach 6,715 IU 28.1 mg 2 g 194.4 mcg 22
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1999

While nutritional content is important, quality and freshness are of equal significance. So what should you look for when you buy salad greens? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests the following guidelines: For iceberg and romaine, select crisp leaves. Other lettuce types such as bib and Boston will have a softer feel. And look for bright color: in most varieties, medium to light green. Of course, some have naturally red leaves, too. For spinach, chicory and other greens, the USDA recommends looking for leaves that are fresh, tender, devoid of spots and sporting a distinct, strong color.

What happens if you can't give up that iceberg? Helm suggests mixing it with darker greens or adding nutrient-rich veggies, such as grated carrots. "If you're at a salad bar and use iceberg, tomatoes and cucumbers then add some creamy dressing, it's not the best choice you can make," she says. "Instead, toss in some spinach leaves or at least add romaine. You get that same kind of crunchy texture from romaine as you do with iceberg, but with better nutritional value."

Bring on the burgers, fajitas, and pizzas!  These may add to your "bottom" line, but it's so much more fun to lounge in the bar than the pool.  I control myself by never taking a swimming suit on a trip.

Really stupid bottom-line aggregations
whatsbetter?com ---

An example of common bottom line rankings that suffer from the same rankings as Spinach and Kale.

Forbes Magazine and Milken Institute have joined forces to offer their third annual Best Places Ranking, highlighting the top 200 U.S. cities in which to do business or advance a career. 

Now you can have a virtual pet without a pooper scooper (watch your baby grow over time) 
Metapet --- 

Projections: A Futurist at the Movies (A analysis of the predictions) 

Book Recommendation from the Accounting Web on May 27, 2002

Leading At The Edge, Leadership Lessons From The Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Expeditio

Perkins' book provides a unique and fascinating angle on a subject of pivotal concern. Ernest Shackleton's remarkable Antarctic survival saga can, ultimately, only be understood as evidence of outstanding leadership abilities. The book examines Shackleton's actions and decisions and extracts 10 key leadership lessons that can be applied by anyone faced with the challenge of leading and influencing others in these turbulent times. 

May 27, 2002 message from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM

I'm taking a few weeks off, and am thinking of reading some novels. A Google search on "accountant & movies" reveals the following. Can anyone recommend any of these books? I am purposefully bypassing the accountant books written by a professor for students. -- Dave Albrecht (Bowling Green State University)

David Dodge wrote four novels starring a San Francisco tax accountant James “Whit” Whitney, who becomes a reluctant detective. They are: 

Paul Anthony wrote Old Accountants Never Die

John Grisham wrote Skipping Christmas

Paul Bennett (crime thriller author) - Nick Shannon is an accountant who investigates fraud Due Diligence Collateral Damage False Profits The Money Race

Mike Resnick wrote: Eros Ascending: Book 1 of Tales of the Velvet Comet

Bob Jensen's threads about authors who try to educate by using novels can be found at 

My Crib
2:00 a.m.

Seen on a baby's T-shirt, Susan Loomis, Readers Digest, June 2002, Page 87

I go where I'm towed.
Seen on the back of a two-year old in a supermarket.

When I was in the Algona Greenhouse up in Iowa buying Memorial Day grave decorations for my parents, I read the following item pinned to the cash register:

Do you carrot all for me?
My heart beets for you.
With your radish cheeks
And turnip hose

You are a peach.
We would make a great pear.
Since we cantaloupe,
Lettuce marry.

Come in!  Let us shock, tire, break, and exhaust you.
Sign in front of a service station

Chronicles of George --- 
Warning:  Portions of this Computer Help Desk Site Should Be Rated X.  
However, it did manage to make the Yahoo's Top 10 Picks of the Week on May 20, 2002.  You'll likely laugh out loud at George's unflagging commitment to ineptitude and his utter disregard for his job.

Welcome to the Chronicles of George. This web site is a collection of helpdesk tickets gleaned from the support database of my previous job. I was employed there for twenty months, and during that time I had the misfortune of encountering an individual whom I will call George. George is, quite simply, the worst helpdesk technician ever.

His grasp on the written word is shakier than a canoe full of epileptics. His knowledge of computers is thinner than a Vegas dancer's chiffon underpants. He is, by all standards of intelligence, a rock.

While we worked together, George was responsible for turning out some of the most mangled, garbled, and just plain screwed up help desk tickets ever before seen by mortal man. I have taken these tickets and collected them, and I present them to you as a cathartic expression, a venting of fourteen months' pain and frustration (George's employ and my own overlapped by that amount of time).

Mean? Perhaps. Spiteful? Probably. Funny? Oh, most definitely.

Use the sidebar at your left to navigate to different parts of the site. Click on "What is this site?" for a bit more detail about the web site and its background. The FAQ contains a list of questions I am commonly asked, and might save you the sending of an e-mail. The navigation page displays a site map, and if you'd prefer to jump right in, the link below that sends you to the first page of George's tickets. The link labeled "George Forums" will send you to the Chronicles of George discussion boards, where you can talk about how screwed up George is, or vent some of your own tech support frustrations with a crowd of like-minded people. Finally, the link labeled "Keeper's Blog" will transport you to keeper's tail, my weblog.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev (I don't think this actually happened on the Johnny Carson Show)

Johnny said, "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima ... and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and were severely wounded."

And you know how Lee was ... "Yeah, yeah ... I got shot square in the ass and they gave me the cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi ... Bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys gettin' shot hauling you down. But Johnny at Iwo I served under the bravest man I ever knew ... We both got the Cross the same day but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. The dumb bastard actually stood up on Red Beach and directed his troops to move forward and get the hell off the beach. That Sergeant and I have been life long friends. "When they brought me off Suribachi we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me lying on my belly on the litter ..."

"Where'd they get you Lee?"... 

"Well Bob ... if you make it home before me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse."....."

Johnny, I'm not lying ...Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever Knew...

Sergeant Keesahn later became better known on television as Captain Kangaroo."

Reply From: Brian & Lauren Eggleston

To  Auntie Bev,

A hard lesson learned is that much of what gets forwarded around on the Internet is fabricated. There is a website that works towards confirming or debunking such items: 

Take for example the recent e-mail you forwarded me on Lee Marvin and Bob Keeshan (Capt. Kangaroo). It seemed true enough as I remembered the Lee Marvin was indeed a Marine who had served in the Pacific in WWII. However, it seems someone has embellished the truth (for whatever their own reason) and now that e-mail is making the rounds: 

Another one I thought was true following 9/11 was the one about the Budweiser delivery truck removing its beer from the shelves of a mini-market in which the middle eastern owner/employees were celebrating the 9/11 attacks. I never questioned the e-mail because it seemed so true. I was to learn months later that this was a complete fabrication, although I'm sure celebrations like this probably occurred. The point is that someone created the e-mail to stir up patriotic fervor. No matter the intention, it just goes to show that you can't take what you receive on the Internet for granted. It pays to check it out, and this website serves as a good source. By the way, here's the answer to the Budweiser item: 

On the other hand, here are a few that are confirmed to be true and make for good reading: 




Bob Jensen's threads on "urban legends" and other Internet frauds are at 

Two delicate blossoms of Southern femininity, one from Mississippi and the other from Texas, were conversing on the porch swing of a large white-pillared mansion. The Mississippian said, "When my first child was born, my husband built this beautiful mansion for me."

The Texan lady commented, "Well, isn't that nice?"

The lady from Mississippi continued, "When my second child was born, my husband bought me that fine Cadillac automobile you see parked in the drive."

Again, the Texas lady commented, "Well, isn't that nice?"

The first woman boasted, "Then, when my third child was born, my husband bought me this exquisite diamond bracelet."

Yet again, the Texas lady commented, "Well, isn't that nice?"

The first woman then asked her companion, "What did your husband buy for you when you had your first child?"

The Texas lady replied, "My husband sent me to charm school."

"Charm school!" the first woman cried. "Land sakes, child, what on Earth for?"

The Texas lady responded, "So that instead of saying, 'Who gives a S _ _ _,' I learned to say, 'Well, isn't that nice?'"

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

01. The closest I ever got to a 4.0 in college was my blood alcohol content.

02. Marriage changes passion...suddenly you're in bed with a relative.

03. I live in my own little world. But it's OK . . . they know me here.

04. I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with 'Guess' on it. I said, "Implants?"

05. I don't do drugs anymore 'cause I find I get the same effect just standing up really fast.

06. Sign In Chinese Pet Store: "Buy one dog, get one flea..."

07. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

08. I got a sweater for Christmas...I wanted a screamer or a moaner.

09. If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

10. I don't approve of political jokes...I've seen too many of them get elected.

11. The most precious thing we have is life. Yet it has absolutely no trade-in value.

12. There are two sides to every divorce: Yours and s _ _ _ head's.

13. If life deals you lemons, make lemonade; if it deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Mary's. But if it deals you a truckload of hand THAT'S a message!!

14. I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

15. Shopping tip: You can get shoes for 85 cents at the bowling alley.

16. I am a nobody, and nobody is perfect; therefore I am perfect.

17. I married my wife for her looks ... but not the ones she's been giving me lately!

18. Everyday I beat my own previous record for number of consecutive days I've stayed alive.

19. Isn't it funny how the mood can be ruined so quickly by just one busted condom?

20. If carrots are so good for the eyes, how come I see so many dead rabbits on the highway?

21. Welcome To Shit Creek ~ Sorry, We're Out of Paddles!

22. How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

23. Isn't having a smoking section in a restaurant like having a peeing section in a swimming pool?

24. Why is it that most nudists are people you don't want to see naked?

25. The next time you feel like complaining remember: Your garbage disposal probably eats better than thirty percent of the people in this world.

26. Snowmen fall from Heaven unassembled.

27. Every time I walk into a singles bar I can hear Mom's wise words: "Don't pick that up, you don't know where it's been!"

You live in California when . . .
1.You make over $250,000 and you still can't afford to buy a house.
2.The high school quarterback calls a time-out to answer his cell phone.
3.The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
4.You know how to eat an artichoke.
5.You drive to your neighborhood block party.
6.When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.

You live in New York when . . .
1.You say "the city" and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.
2.You have never been to the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building.
3.You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus
Circle to Battery Park, but can't find Wisconsin on a map.
4.You think Central Park is "nature."
5.You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multilingual.
6.You've worn out a car horn.
7.You think eye contact is an act of aggression.

You live in Alaska when . . .
1.You only have four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup and Tabasco.
2.Halloween costumes fit over parkas.
3.You have more than one recipe for moose.
4.Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
5.The four seasons are: winter, still winter, almost winter, and construction.

You live in the Deep South when . . .
1.You get a movie and bait in the same store.
2."ya'll" is singular and "all ya'll" is plural.
3.After five years you still hear, "You ain't from 'round here, are ya?"
4."He needed killin' " is a valid defense.
5.Everyone has 2 first names: Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Mary Sue, Betty Jean,etc.

You live in Colorado when . . .
1.You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.
2.You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home and he stops at the day care center.
3.A pass does not involve a football or dating.
4.The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.

You live in the Midwest when . . .
1.You've never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.
2.Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor.
3.You have had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" on the same day.
4.You end sentences with a preposition: "Where's my coat at?"
5.When asked how your trip was to any exotic place, you say, "It was different!"

You live in Florida when...
1.You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.
2. All purchases include a coupon of some kind-even houses and cars.
3. Everyone can recommend an excellent dermatologist.
4. Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.
5. Cars in front of you are often driven by  headless people.
6. There are only GIANT doctors in Florida (Every person's doctor is "The Biggest" in his field)

Forwarded by Dick Haar

Let me see if I've got this right ...

You want me to go into that room with all those kids and fill their every waking moment with love for learning. Not only that, I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, behaviorally modify disruptive behavior, and observe them for signs of abuse and T-shirt messages.

I am to fight the war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for guns, and raise their self esteem.

I'm to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, and fair play, how and where to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook, and how to apply for a job.

I am to check their heads occasionally for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of potential antisocial behavior, offer advice, write letters of recommendation for student employment and scholarships, encourage respect for the cultural diversity of others, and, oh yeah, always make sure that I give the girls in my class 50 percent of my attention.

I'm required by my contract to be working on my own time summer and evenings at my own expense toward advance certification and a master's degree, and after school, I am to attend committee and faculty meetings and participate in staff development training to maintain my employment status.

I am to be a paragon of virtue larger than life, such that my very presence will awe my students into being obedient and respectful of authority.

I am to pledge allegiance to supporting family values, a return to the basics, and to my current administration. I am to incorporate technology into the learning, and monitor all Web sites while providing a personal relationship with each student. I am to decide who might be potentially dangerous and/or liable to commit crimes in school or who is possibly being abused, and I can be sent to jail for not mentioning these suspicions.

I am to make sure all students pass the state and federally mandated testing and all classes, whether or not they attend school on a regular basis or complete any of the work assigned. Plus, I am expected to make sure that all of the students with handicaps are guaranteed a free and equal education, regardless of their mental or physical handicap.

I am to communicate frequently with each student's parent by letter, phone, newsletter, and grade card. I'm to do all of this with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a 45 minute more-or-less plan time, and a big smile, all on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps in many states. Is that all?

And you want me to do all of this, and you expect me NOT TO PRAY?


And that's the way it was on June 4, 2002 with a little help from my friends.


In March 2000, Forbes named as the Best Website on the Web ---
Some top accountancy links ---


For accounting news, I prefer AccountingWeb at 


Another leading accounting site is at 


Paul Pacter maintains the best international accounting standards and news Website at


How stuff works --- 


Bob Jensen's video helpers for MS Excel, MS Access, and other helper videos are at 
Accompanying documentation can be found at and 


Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  

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May 15, 2002

I will be up in Iowa and Wisconsin May 16-23.  Have pity on my email mail box and telephone answering machine.

Quotes of the Week

An editor is someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff.
Stevenson Adlai

The only way to have a life is to commit to it like crazy.

The talk you hear about adapting to change is not only stupid, it's dangerous.  The only way you can manage change is to create it.
Peter Drucker

It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose your own.
Harry Truman

Note the 1995 Year Below
The accountants at Arthur Andersen knew Enron was a high-risk client who pushed them to do things they weren’t comfortable doing. Testifying in court in May, partner James Hecker said he wrote a parody to that effect in 1995. The Financial Times of London reported: "To the tune of the Eagles hit song ‘Hotel California,’ Mr. Hecker wrote lines such as: ‘They livin’ it up at the Hotel Cram-It-Down-Ya, When the [law]suits arrive, Bring your alibis.’"
Business Ethics [] on May 15, 2002.  The full set of lyrics can be found at 

The only thing experience teaches us is that experience teaches us nothing.
Maurois André

Quotation from an article by Jack Wilson (See Below)

New Definitions from Old Principles
We know that the laws and customs for the new world of digital content will be hammered out in court cases, union negotiations, and faculty senate deliberations over the coming years. If we want to find a safe way through this it would be helpful to remember a few principles:

• The value of a university learning experience, online or traditional, is far more than the value of the content.
• Content-based intellectual property is more valuable to the faculty than it is to the university.
• Development of digital materials will require some sharing of ownership between faculty and the university with minimal restrictions on reuse by either and proportional compensation to each for their contributions.
• No one can or should own courses, syllabi, pedagogies, or ideas.

Defining intellectual property rights and sorting out digital content management issues will undoubtedly be a long and tedious process, but attention to the underlying principles may help us through.

I'd like to propose an annual award that will simply be called the Enron. The award--and the accompanying trophy, a gold statuette of Enron ex-Chairman Kenneth L. Lay--will go to the company whose actions did the most to undermine capitalism and free markets in the preceding year. In its inaugural year, the Enron Award, to be nicknamed the "Kenny Boy," will go, of course, to Enron.
Business Week, May 20, 2002 --- 

A video about how to navigate Bob Jensen's Website --- 
If your computer can playback RealMedia video and you have some troubles navigating my Website, you may want to view JensenWebsiteOverview.rm

Other free video tutorials are linked at 

"Step Right Up! Come See the New Features in Windows," by Peter Galli, eWeek, May 13, 2002 ---,3658,s=701&a=26893,00.asp 

As Microsoft Corp. starts to reveal its hand and give details about the upcoming technologies it wants to ship in the next version of Windows—including a new graphics architecture, hot-swapping technologies and a richer storage system—IT managers, administrators and consultants are giving these developing technologies a tentative thumbs up.

Many also are pleased with the Redmond, Wash., company's promise of a longer release cycle for Longhorn, the code name for the next version of Windows. Jim Allchin, Microsoft's group vice president of platforms, recently said the company wants to make Longhorn "a very significant release. We are going to have a reasonable development cycle for this version, which means a lot of innovation can take place.

"Often, we try to spin things too fast, and we spend all our time just getting the beta feedback and not enough innovation as I would have wanted," Allchin said, adding that this means Longhorn will probably not be released before 2004.

Users and IT professionals have mostly welcomed the longer release cycle, saying it should give Microsoft time to carefully build a useful product. John Persinger, an internal network administrator for Source4 Inc., in Roanoke, Va., said any additional time Microsoft spends on Longhorn will be beneficial. "As Microsoft's products find their way into every segment of our networks, the more carefully they build them, the better," Persinger said.

Tim Sagstetter, president of Kernel Software Inc., in Wausau, Wis., agreed, saying customers perceived poor value when upgrade cycles were short. "Things of higher value typically last longer," Sagstetter said.

Continued at,3658,s=701&a=26893,00.asp 

IRS Opens New Site on Tax Fraud and Scams (Tax) --- 

Tax Fraud Alerts

"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!" Seek expert advice before you subscribe to any scheme that offers instant wealth or exemption from your obligation as a United States Citizen to pay taxes.  Buying into a tax evasion scheme can be very costly.

IRS Wants You To Know About Schemes, Scams and Cons:

     Department of Justice and IRS Civil and Criminal Actions Against Promoters of Schemes, Scams and Cons
    IRS News Releases, Fact Sheets, and Tax Tips on Schemes, Scams and Cons
    Prepared Testimony of IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti Before the Senate Finance Committee; Schemes, Scams and Cons; April 11, 2002

Slavery Reparation Scam
News Release IR-2002-08,Slavery Reparation Scams Surge, IRS Urges Taxpayers Not to File False Claims, January 24, 2002
Fact Sheet FS-2002-08 Reparation Scams Carry a Price, January 24, 2002
On Behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus: Congresswoman Johnson Responds to Slave Reparation Refund Fraud, January 23, 2002
Press Release IR-2000-69 -- IRS Urges African-Americans to Beware of Tax Refund Scams

Abusive Trust Schemes
Summary of Abusive Trust Schemes
Fraudulent Trusts
Should Your Financial Portfolio Include 'Too Good To Be True Trusts?' Trusts; Publication 2193 (PDF format)

Nonfiler Enforcement Program
Nonfiler Enforcement Program
Why Do I Have to Pay Taxes? Publication 2105  (PDF format)
The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments (PDF Format)

Employment Tax Fraud
Employment Tax Enforcement Program

Abusive Return Preparers
Return Preparer Enforcement Program

Social Security Refund Hoax
Press Release IR-1999-21 -- IRS Warns of Social Security Refund Hoax 


Hundreds Disclose Questionable Tax Shelters --- 


May 14 reply from Andrew Priest [a.priest@ECU.EDU.AU

In a similar style Australia's corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has what it calls its "Gull Award" (true stories) which is awarded for "unbelievable" investment scams. Further details at  and scroll down for the Gull Awards at  .

Regards Andrew Priest

Bob Jensen's threads on frauds are at 

Bob Jensen's taxation bookmarks are at 


UMassOnlne, the virtual university for the University of Massachusetts  --- 


With UMassOnline, time and distance are no longer barriers to the courses, degree programs, certificates, and professional and corporate education opportunities that you need, both to earn a living and to live.

Register Now for Summer Online Courses!
Taking courses this summer? Take them online! UMassOnline gives you a choice of 170 online summer courses from UMass Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell!

Is an online program right for you?
If you are considering online education, here are some of the questions you’ll want to ask!

Confessions of an Online Professor
Dr. David Patterson, Professor of Music at UMass Boston for nearly 30 years, writes about teaching his first online class.

UMass is Featured in US News & World Report
Programs offered by the UMass campuses through UMassOnline are featured in US News & World Report's October 15, 2001, ''Best of the Online Grad Programs'' issue

Summer 2002
In addition to the course views shown below, you can also now customize how you would like to view the course listings.

View Courses by Campus

View Courses by Subject Area

Bob Jensen's threads on worldwide distance education courses are at 

Jack Wilson is one of the early pioneers in education technologies and learning.  He is now CEO and founder of UMass Online (see above).  You can read the following at 

Dr. Wilson, also known as an entrepreneur, was the Founder (along with Degerhan Usluel and Mark Bernstein), first President, and only Chairman of LearnLinc Corporation (now Mentergy), a supplier of software systems for corporate training to Fortune 1000 Corporations.  In early 2000. LearnLinc merged with Gilat Communications, (GICOF) which also acquired Allen Communication from the Times Mirror group.  The Gilat-Allen-LearnLinc combination forms a powerful "one stop shopping" resource for E*Learning that is now the Mentergy unit of Gilat Communications.  (The LearnLinc Story).

Dr Wilson was the J. Erik Jonsson '22 Distinguished Professor of Physics, Engineering Science, Information Technology, and Management and the Co-director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer.  After coming to Rensselaer in 1990, he served as the 

In these roles, Wilson led a campus wide process of interactive learning and restructuring of the educational program, known for the design of the Studio Classrooms, the growth of the Distributed Learning Program, the creation of the Faculty of Information Technology, and the initiation of the student mobile computing (universal networked laptop) initiative

The Studio Classrooms at Rensselaer replaced large sized core courses taught by traditional lecture pedagogy with student teams responsible largely for teaching themselves using computer-aided and interactive course materials --- 

Welcome To Interactive Learning
Roll up your sleeves and take a seat in the Rensselaer studio classroom. Classes of about 60 students are engaged at wired workstations - utilizing cutting edge tools like Web-based technologies, full-motion video, computer simulation, and other laboratory resources. An instructor and teaching assistant move from workstation to workstation observing and coaching. Notes are taken with a simple mouse click, as students download files and class materials onto their required laptops. It's an innovative blend of discussion and skill-building, high-tech inquiry and problem-solving - preparing scholars to succeed in the new business world. It's all part of Interactive Learning at Rensselaer.

More Studios Than Hollywood
Interactive Learning is more than just a concept at Rensselaer; it's a working reality. The approach has been infused throughout all of our undergraduate disciplines in more than 25 studio classrooms with more being built all the time. In the LITEC studio classroom, students build remote-controlled cars in a project-based, team environment. In the Circuits Studio, students develop and test their own circuits. The Collaborative Classroom, funded by the National Science Foundation, serves as a testbed for using computer technology to collaborate on design projects. At Rensselaer, knowledge and application are seamlessly intertwined.

Teaching How We Teach
Rensselaer's revolutionary model for education has been talked about, honored, and emulated. We earned the first Pew Charitable Trust Award for the Renewal of Undergraduate Education and the first Boeing Outstanding Educator Award, among others. Last year, we were named to administer an $8.8 million Pew-funded program to bring educational innovation to other universities in this country: The Center for Academic Transformation. Literally hundreds of institutions have visited Rensselaer to learn how we teach.

No Stopping Now
Of course, the very thinking that enabled Rensselaer to initiate Interactive Learning is the same mindset that keeps us pressing forward. Rensselaer's Anderson Center for Innovation in Undergraduate Education was founded 11 years ago with the continuing mission of making Rensselaer a leader in innovative pedagogy. More recently, the Rensselaer Academy of Electronic Media has become the spawning ground for highly creative visualization software that enables students to learn scientific and engineering principles in ways never before possible. We continue to look for new and better methods to evolve education - meeting the present and future needs of our students, professors, and global businesses. Because solving real-world challenges is our mission and our passion.

Why not change the world?

Important Article of the Week --- by Jack Wilson (See part of his resume above.)

"More than Digital Content: Long Live Your Course," by Jack M Wilson, Syllabus, May 2002, pp. 12-14 --- 

It all used to be so easy. As far as a university administrator was concerned, content came in two forms: written materials and patents. Over the centuries, a very simple way of dealing with these was developed: Faculty were left the ownership of the text materials, and the university got custody of the patents. The university benefited from publication of the texts because the fame of the professor accrued to the institution, which was always recognized on the article or textbook. The faculty benefited from the patent because it could be included in the promotion and tenure process, and they would also share in the profits through a pre-negotiated percentage of the royalties.
Then the world changed. As the bumper sticker says: "IT happened." Information Technology, that is. Being digital. What was clear became obscure. What was known became perplexing. Content now became digital, and it could be copied, altered, stolen, distributed, and sold at rates never before imagined. When greed and paranoia are added to sudden change, it is a recipe for trouble, and that is exactly what we have.
Trouble in the Kingdom
Perhaps greed struck first. The media decreed that "Content is King," and corporations moved to lock up as much content as they could and then worked to develop the digital distribution systems to capitalize on that content. Universities, seeing dollars in digital content, began to promulgate policies to assert their intellectual property rights. Faculty were not much wiser. They began to think that their content was so valuable that they were going to be able to make big money by digitizing and selling it. Very few did. Content providers, the companies formerly known as "publishers," moved to take advantage of their ownership of the content.

Every publisher had a strategy
to capitalize on its content in the digital world. For example: Harcourt Higher Education was launched as a college in 2000 and confidently predicted "50,000 to 100,000 enrollments within five years." Unfortunately, by late 2001, the Harcourt effort was gone after enrolling a total of 32 students.
I am not suggesting that faculty and universities do not have the right to be compensated for their intellectual property. I believe they do. I am suggesting that a foolishly inflated sense of the value of their property (read: greed) leads to foolish and counterproductive policies and actions.
So much for the greed. What about the paranoia? While serving as provost and dean at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, I had to adjudicate many disputes between faculty and the university legal counsel over the ownership of digital materials. At one point, the counsel asserted that "anything on the university servers becomes the property of the university." That got the faculty excited. It also created havoc in our education programs as faculty threatened to remove materials from our Web sites. With a lot of work and reference to tradition and legal precedent, we were able to craft a policy that was acceptable but far from perfect.
As part of several national projects, I have had the opportunity to work with faculty and administrators from all over the country. Many faculty seriously fear that their work will be digitized, their lectures put in digital video, and then there will be no more need for them. I was once on a panel where another panelist suggested that we were moving toward a day when Paul Samuelson would teach all the introductory economics courses and Jack Wilson would teach all the introductory physics courses. I stood up and said, "I object!" This is a serious misconception that seems to equate the role of the professor with the presentation of content. I have often said that any faculty member that could be replaced by a videotape, CD, or Web site should be replaced—as soon as possible. I don’t expect many to be replaced. Teaching is not presenting. Watching is not learning.

What’s Wrong with This Question?
It has become popular, in the past few years, to ask the question: "Who owns courses?" I think that is a question that comes from confusion between courses and course materials. I also think it is a profoundly dangerous question. Merely asking the question presumes that someone actually "owns" courses. That contravenes centuries of traditions of freedom of speech and academic freedom. In some sense, academic disciplinary communities take ownership of courses though defining a general community understanding of a course’s content. Usually this definition is arrived at informally and over a period of time. It is always under discussion and revision.
At times, a community makes a more formal effort to define a course. This definition of ownership is acceptable because it is community-generated, permissive, non-restrictive, and non-coercive. For this reason, the syllabi of particular courses (in mathematics, history, economics, art, and so forth) look pretty much the same wherever they are taught. Not identical, but very similar. One can own course materials, but one cannot own courses, syllabi, pedagogies, or ideas. Those are in the collective custody of various communities who are charged with their stewardship, but without the prerogatives of ownership. We do not want to allow the necessary dialogue over ownership of "materials" to in any way alter this essential freedom.

The Least Valuable
What have we learned over the past few years? Teaching is not about content. That does not mean that content is not important. I have taught physics (and other subjects) for 33 years. The content is very important. It is just that it is a commodity in most cases. The introductory courses that I have taught use pretty much the same content as those taught by nearly every other professor in the world. In fact, the content found in the introductory physics courses of the 1980s was substantially the same as that found in the courses of the 1940s.

When MIT announced that it was providing free access to the materials from all of its courses, I was immediately called by several reporters all asking variations of the question: "If MIT is giving away their courses for free, why would anyone pay for courses from UMassOnline?" I would ask the reporter if MIT was giving away access to their classes, their academic credit, their faculty, their students, their campus, their library, or any other aspect of their educational environment. The answer was always no. MIT is planning to give away free access to some or maybe even most of their content. That is all. Of the entire value chain of higher education, content is the least valuable part.

It All Adds Up
Another way to look at this is to point out that more than 170 students paid more than $3,000 each to be in my "live-on-line" graduate class last academic year at RPI. All of the content of that class was available for free on the Web or available for roughly $50 in a text. If so, why were students so eager to pay the $3,000 tuition that I had to raise the course enrollment limit four times? These students were certainly interested in the content, but they were far more interested in the holistic educational experience, which included "live-on-line," or live interaction with a faculty member, stimulating interactions with other bright and experienced students, team-generated case studies, academic credit from a well-respected university, and the experience of being part of an academic community.
Looking at it from another angle: UNext, through its Cardean University offspring, planned to acquire content from five leading universities in the United States and Europe and then use that to offer degrees from Cardean. They spent amounts up to $700,000 per course to massage that content into very well-produced online courses. Unfortunately, the expected market has yet to materialize. Students want access to Chicago, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, and Stanford degrees; to faculty, fellow students, and classes; and not to their content.

Harcourt officials stumbled over the content issue in a different way. As a leading content provider, they assumed that they had a leg up on the competition with their extensive library of content. To their credit, they quickly realized the need for the rest of the value chain and set about building it from scratch. Still, it is hard to build the kind of reputation in a few months that took universities more than a century to acquire.
Publishers make a business by aggregating this content value over a large number of providers. It may be true that the content is worth only $50 out of a course that costs $3,000 per student to deliver, but this 1.7 percent adds up when spread over hundreds of thousands of students in thousands of universities. Content is worth more to the publisher than it is to the university. For a few faculty members—the authors—the content is worth more to them than it is to the university.

Continued at  

The conclusion of the article reads as follows:

New Definitions from Old Principles
We know that the laws and customs for the new world of digital content will be hammered out in court cases, union negotiations, and faculty senate deliberations over the coming years. If we want to find a safe way through this it would be helpful to remember a few principles:

• The value of a university learning experience, online or traditional, is far more than the value of the content.
• Content-based intellectual property is more valuable to the faculty than it is to the university.
• Development of digital materials will require some sharing of ownership between faculty and the university with minimal restrictions on reuse by either and proportional compensation to each for their contributions.
• No one can or should own courses, syllabi, pedagogies, or ideas.

Defining intellectual property rights and sorting out digital content management issues will undoubtedly be a long and tedious process, but attention to the underlying principles may help us through.

From customer to analyst to investor, the consensus is that E-learning still has a few things of its own to learn. Until last month, the online-training sector wasn't as hard hit by the IT spending slump as most of the tech industry because it lets companies with tight travel and training budgets train workers inexpensively. But all that's changed. 

"E-Learning Struggles To Make The Grade," by Elisabeth Goodridge, Information, May 13, 2002 --- 

From customer to analyst to investor, the consensus is that E-learning still has a few things of its own to learn. It's a technology that's being re-evaluated across the board. There are plenty of problems, as early adopters discovered. "Many people have been burned," Meta Group analyst Jennifer Vollmer says. "And they're advising others to hold off if it isn't necessary."

Some of the stumbling blocks that trip up users of E-learning technologies are integration and interoperability problems among elements of E-learning systems; product limitations; inadequate support services; and vendors' financial woes.

But until last month, the online-training sector wasn't as hard-hit by the IT-spending slump as most of the technology industry. What E-learning had going for it was an ability to let companies with tight travel and training budgets train workers inexpensively.

For about a year and a half, many providers saw double-digit revenue growth, and several quickly became leaders in a field of hundreds. Docent, Plateau Systems, and Saba Software emerged as top developers of learning-management systems. Centra Software and Interwise became known for live-collaboration software, and NetG, SmartForce, and SkillSoft gained popularity as course-content designers.

Now, weakening demand is evident. Centra, SmartForce, and learning-management system makers Click2learn and DigitalThink warned in April of revenue shortfalls. On Wall Street, many suppliers' shares have lost more than 50% of their value since January.

Still, E-learning has a future; what it lacks is maturity. So, while there are businesses seeking the E-learning advantage, many are taking their time doing so. Before investing in these systems, they want to make sure they fully understand their own training needs, what works and doesn't in an E-learning format, and their product options. "People are slowing down on jumping into E-learning with both feet," says Larry Carlile, E-learning manager at consulting firm A.T. Kearney. "From cost savings to effectiveness, there's a better analysis these days."

Companies know that E-learning is no longer just about immediate cost savings but about increasing worker productivity, driving operational efficiencies, and streamlining corporate training. "With all of these benefits, E-learning is going to work, but we haven't found the best way to go about it," says Giga Information Group analyst Claire Schooley.

A number of deals in recent weeks show that many companies still believe they can make E-learning work. The American Red Cross and learning-management system supplier Plateau Systems cut a seven-year deal worth more than $10 million; Pathlore Software Corp. implemented a system for Delta Air Lines Inc.; and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. said last month that its use of the Vuepoint Learning System to consolidate training departments will save the automaker more than $11.9 million in five years.

Continued at  

Bob Jensen's threads on the "dark side" issues of e-Learning are at 

Cost-effective Training Programs --- 

THE FUTURE OF E-BUSINESS Judging from the history of previous technological revolutions, e-commerce will likely thrive in the long run 

Bob Jensen's threads on e-Business are at 

Innovation of the Week --- Online Live Consultants From Google

Google Answers 

Google is operating as a broker between the questioner and researcher, taking commissions in return for providing an information service much like eBay offers for items and collectibles.  In order to get a question answered, users must pay a price that they deem sufficient (between $4 and $50), with 75 percent going to the researcher and 25 percent going to Google. Google also provides online facilities for researchers to get paid answering questions. 

Want to answer a question? Become a paid Researcher.
Questions currently being asked   
Software Engineering and Maths
school song
Medical: Spinal Block vs General Anethesia
software development pda's
making secret decoder rings
right index finger knuckle
Customers who bought... programming in PHP
Federal government R&D opportunities

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at 

From Syllabus, May 2002, pp. 41-42 --- 

Linking to Mexico: Connectivity Without Borders

Like  other members of the Internet2 initiative, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) wanted to enhance its research and educational power by joining the consortium of U.S. universities linked to the ultra-high-speed network. But as a major university just miles from the Mexican border, it also wanted to play a role in linking Internet2 to a similar effort in Mexico and, from there, to Central America.
      UTEP is one of only 30 Internet2 gigaPOP sites, which allows it to serve as an Internet2 host for other institutions. To encourage scholarly and cultural exchanges with Mexico, as well as to provide access to the latest technology in both countries, UTEP built a high-speed, point-to-point wireless network. The network spans about five miles from El Paso to Mexico’s Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez (UACJ). UACJ is a member of a Mexican initiative to develop a high-speed network compatible with Internet2.

Continued at 

Learning-challenged students in Ohio are using wearable computers that are helping the kids be more independent and confident.

"A Wearable Aid for Special Kids," by Katie Dean, Wired News, May 10, 2002 ---,1383,52148,00.html 

Jeremy Rossiter was not able to speak when he first entered Lisa Zverloff's class for the multiple-handicapped. The third-grader, who is autistic, communicated by hitting and biting. But with the help of a wearable computer, Jeremy learned to mimic, then utter, words and small phrases.

His success story propelled Xybernaut, the manufacturer of the wearable computer, into a new market.

Xybernaut is more known for supplying computers to telecommunications companies and the military. The devices are used for maintenance purposes in locations where carrying a laptop is not possible, such as manholes and the tops of telephone poles.

Credit Zverloff, a teacher at Erwine Middle School in Akron, Ohio, with bringing wearables into the classroom. Her experience led to the product launch of the XyberKids wearable computers in March.

Zverloff says the durable, touch-screen portable computers have made her students more independent and confident. Some kids use it all day; others use it for specific activities. Several students are able to fully participate in mainstream classrooms while using the devices.

It all started with a cold call to Xybernaut.

Zverloff's fiance, Eric Van Raepenbusch, a special education teacher at Turkeyfoot Elementary, owned stock in the company and suggested she call them.

On the phone, she convinced a nearby sales representative to meet with her and Jeremy -- even though the company's initial response was along the lines of, "But ma'am, we don't use (the computers) for people with disabilities," Zverloff said.

Jeremy eventually tried the device and "he wouldn't put it down," Zverloff said. "That's the only proof I need. He didn't bite me, scratch me, pinch me –- this is a positive thing."

The device cost $9,000, but the company agreed to loan the device to Zverloff, a first-year teacher at the time, to see how Jeremy progressed.

She replaced the belt –- made for an adult -- with a bookbag so Jeremy would be able to carry the 6-pound, 8.4-inch touch screen, hard drive and battery. The device runs on the Windows operating system.

When Jeremy touched different pictures on the screen, a computer-generated voice dictated what the item was. He responded better to the digitized voice because the output is the same volume and tone every time, she said.

"After repeated mimicking of the computer, he then started mimicking the teacher, then he started putting utterances together," Zverloff said. "A three-word utterance is an amazing thing for someone who's only been speaking for two months."

Zverloff also discovered that Jeremy was learning to spell and read.

When she showed him pictures of different animals, he started typing the words and used the voice output. He regularly took the wearable to lunch and on field trips to help him communicate outside the classroom.

"At the end of the year, he was reading words and sentences on a first-grade level," she said.

Researchers are developing similar devices at Stanford University's Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI).

Continued at,1383,52148,00.html  

From Syllabus, May 2002, Page 40 --- 

Yale Tracks Access to Scanned Images

In 2000, Yale University's administration underwent a major renovation with the goal of creating a comfortable student services center where students could come in and ask any question related to finances—from an outstanding library fine to a request for a Pell Grant. The university used SCT Banner, enterprise software that gave the center's staff access to student data housed in the administrative system. However, staff members still need to make a trip to the second floor of the student services center to view and retrieve hard-copy documents of those records. But soon, hard copies will be accessible to the staff from their desktop computers on the first floor. "There are two pieces to information access," says Ernst Huff, associate vice president of student financial and administrative services at Yale. "Banner gives us access to the electronic data housed within its database. The [SCT Banner] XtenderSolutions will provide us with the second piece—the ability to access hard-copy documents from a user's desktop. Together, the solutions will give our service providers the tools for quick and immediate access to the information they need to answer students' questions." The solutions are the outcome of an alliance between SCT and OTG Software Inc., a provider of imaging, document management, and content management software. SCT Banner XtenderSolutions give SCT Banner users immediate access to scanned images, word processing documents, spreadsheets, reports, PDF files, voice, video, sound, and other file types. Using the software, authorized Yale staff can pull up all imaged documents associated with a student's record. These can include financial aid worksheets and grant applications. That access will be critical to providing students with quality service. The key to that is the software's tracking capabilities, Huff says. The interface between the OTG and Banner software allows the system to take advantage of Banner's tracking capabilities. When an imaged document is indexed to a student record, the software automatically and simultaneously updates a related document tracking record. "The real value is from the interface," Huff says. "It gives us the capability to do document tracking along with indexing, all in one step. Finding and updating document tracking simultaneously will minimize the time we spend now on filing and tracking. It also will minimize the possibility of loss. Financial Aid deals with thousands of pieces of paper. During peak times, we rely on students and temporary help. Sometimes they don't all update the tracking file. Our hope is that the imaging solutions will minimize these issues. We'll have more timely processing and less handling of documents." Huff adds, "The integration is key. Without it, this solution would not have been as attractive to us. The interface is not something we would want to do ourselves."


From Syllabus News on May 10, 2002

U. San Francisco to Build Digital Campus

The University of San Francisco said it intends to unify its existing technologies and form a service-oriented digital campus for its faculty, staff and 8,000 students. The school purchased a license via SCT to use the Campus Pipeline Web Platform as the software platform for the project. "We spent about two years researching possible platforms and evaluating our needs," said USF's E-Campus Director Tracy Schroeder. "We needed to ensure compatibility with our existing SCT systems, as well as the ability to integrate access to other systems across the campus. We offer our students many services, and we wanted to be able to tie them all together." Beginning in the fall of 2002, the school will provide users with single sign-on, Web-based access to services, including campus Web-based e-mail; personal, course, and group calendars; tools for creating campus organization Web sites, course management tools and course Web sites; personalized university announcements; and online registration and grade checking systems.

For more information, visit: 

eCollege Bullish on First Quarter Financial Results

eCollege, the online courseware developer, reported a significant financial improvement in the last quarter. Revenue for the first quarter increased 33 percent to $5.6 million, from $4.2 million for the first quarter of 2001. Net loss for the first quarter was $1.8 million, compared to a net loss of $4.9 million for the same period last year. "We expect 50 percent growth in distance student enrollments this semester," said eCollege chief Oakleigh Thorne, "and believe this will help drive continued revenue growth and anticipated profitability later this year." In the first quarter, the company launched eCollege AUSM, which provides tools and access for the disabled. Total student enrollments for the spring academic term was expected to be more than 120,000, compared to 65,000 for the 2001 spring term. More than 85,000 of the spring 2002 enrollments represent distance students, up from 59,000 distance enrollments last spring. eCollege also signed 10 new customers, bringing its total to 257.

For more information, visit 

It's For the Birds

Cornell University probably has the leading Lab of of Ornithology Website in the world (Science, Biology) --- 

From the Smithsonian:  July 1942: United We Stand --- 

During July 1942, seven months after the United States entered World War II, magazines nationwide featured the American flag on their covers. Adopting the slogan United We Stand, some five hundred publications waved the stars and stripes to promote national unity, rally support for the war, and celebrate Independence Day.

For magazine publishers, displaying the flag was a way to prove their loyalty and value to the war effort. For the U.S. government, the campaign was an opportunity to sell bonds and boost morale. The magazines brought home a message of patriotism and ideals worth fighting for.

The National Museum of American History presents this exhibition to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the United We Stand campaign. We hope you enjoy touring the virtual exhibit, and we also invite you to visit the Museum, where nearly one hundred original flag covers will be on view from March 22 to October 27, 2002.

Today, in light of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the flag and the slogan United We Stand have a renewed meaning for many Americans. As the home of the Star-Spangled Banner, the National Museum of American History is a place to explore the history of our national symbol and the ideals for which it stands.

From Syllabus, May 2002, pp. 46-47 --- 

As digital rights management matures as an industry, delivering secure electronic content is becoming more than a virtual reality for intellectual property owners. Publishers, who for years were reluctant to venture into online content distribution for fear of losing control of their assets, are beginning to partner with content delivery vendors to sell course materials online.

     Such companies secure content by using encryption keys or some other means of control. They then package the text content with a variety of value-added features, such as hypertext functions that appeal to students used to finding information on the World Wide Web.
     Publishers offering these e-enabled texts are beginning to promote them to potential adopters. Professors who have tried e-enabled textbooks point to several unique advantages. For one, e-books can be updated continuously, ensuring that content is current. A printed textbook, on the other hand, must go through a long publishing cycle—writing, producing, printing, and distribution—before reaching student hands. So by their very nature, printed books are a year old before they leave the warehouse.
In disciplines where new information becomes available all the time, e-books have a decided advantage. Likewise, because publishers can update e-books at any time, mistakes can also be corrected soon after publication, rather than lingering until the book is revised three to five years later.

From Randal Larson, who teaches computer networking courses at Estrella Mountain Community College near Phoenix, up-to-date content was absolutely critical. "In my opinion, technology textbooks are a waste of natural resources," he says. "They're out of date the moment they're published. Because of their short shelf life, students don't even want to hold on to them."

     Larson uses Course Technology textbooks and recommends that students buy a version produced by Rovia Inc., which offers a secure, Web-based application—the RovReader—that enables users to view documents while complying with copyright law. Students and professors download the RovReader for free, then open the e-enabled textbook within it. Larson likes the fact that RovReader textbooks are updated often, so students get timely content without having to rely on a publisher's Web site for corrections and additions.

      Rovia's customers include such major publishers as Houghton Mifflin Co., Thomson Learning, and Pearson Education. Course books are available in 23 disciplines. Typically, a RovReader-enabled electronic textbook costs about 30 percent less than a printed textbook. What it may lack in tactile satisfaction and, ultimately, portability it attempts to make up for with added functions.

      First of all, e-textbooks look the same as the printed books in terms of layout, design, and pagination. With the electronic pages, however, students can click on links to visit related Web sites, or see test banks, flash cards, audio, video, and other multimedia tools referenced in the text. Both students and professors can highlight sections of the text, take notes, and bookmark pages. Users can also search the entire text by keyword.
      Finally, Rovia has made strides in rivaling printed books' portability: Not only can users access their text from any Internet connection, but they can also "check out" chapters to read off-line. Downloading the day's assignment gives students the flexibility to read it at a convenient time and location, not necessarily when he or she is online in the crowded and noisy computer lab.

     Larson takes advantage of all the RovReader's functions. In class, his lectures are accompanied by large screen images of the text pages. Although he doesn't lecture from the book, he does rely on the e-enabled version as support for his lectures. So, even though fewer than 50 percent of his students have opted to purchase the RovReader version of the text, they all benefit from it in the classroom. And because Rovia's Create Page Link tool allows Rovia-enabled textbooks to be integrated with any Web-based application, Larson can import the text material into Blackboard for his presentations.

     Besides saving paper, reducing waste, and facilitating constant revision, e-books offer another benefit, Larson says. Auditory learners and students for whom English is their second language can use the spoken word function to have the book read aloud to them, replacing or reinforcing their own reading of the text.

     Larson wishes more than half of his students would take advantage of the RovReader-enabled text option, but he is heartened to see more students each semester opting for e-books. "My students tease me because everything in my class is electronic. There's no paper," he says. "But I think they are beginning to see the benefits."

Continued at 

Top Year 2002 Technologies as Rated by the AICPA --- 

Top 10 Techs
Top 10 Techs Categories
TopTechs provide information about cutting edge technologies that could impact your ability to compete effectively in the e-world.
TopTechs are presented in four categories:
  • Issues -- situations that result from technology  implementation
  • Applications -- business opportunities/objectives using  one or more technologies
  • Technologies -- end products (hardware, software, or   standard)
  • Emerging Technologies -- new developments currently under review
Certainly database technology has been around for a while. It made the list of top ten technologies ... [ Article ] Full Story
Technologies: Security Technologies
In the past year, nine out of 10 organizations experienced security breaches, according to a recent ... [ Article ] Full Story
Technologies: XML (Extensible Markup Language)
"Your tax dollars at work" could be the subtitle for this section, assuming you waited 20 years and ... [ Article ] Full Story
Technologies: Communications Technologies - Bandwidth
Here's a riddle for you: What doubles in demand every three to four months, but drops in price over ... [ Article ] Full Story
Technologies: Mobile Technologies
Convenience, Efficiencies are Hallmarks of Mobile Technologies What would Benjamin Franklin think o ... [ Article ] Full Story
Technologies: Wireless Technologies (includes wireless networks)
Are you on the cutting edge of wireless technology? If your first thoughts were of your beloved PDA ... [ Article ] Full Story
Technologies: Electronic Authorization
In a workflow system, documents move from one user to another as they are electronically processed. ... [ Article ] Full Story
Technologies: Encryption
We've come a long way from the "magical" times of the 17th century where works about ciphers and cry ... [ Article ] Full Story
Technologies: Remote Connectivity Tools
The information you need is in one place; you are in another place. Traditional solutions to remote ... [ Article ] Full Story
Technologies: Electronic Authentication
Are you who you say you are? That is, in fact, the question of authentication, which is one aspect o ... [ Article ] Full Story

Bob Jensen's threads on e-Commerce and related technologies are at 

Intuit Endorses The Sleeter Group's QuickBooks(R) Seminars For Accounting Professionals --- 

Top Download list from eNewsletter for the latest accounting software trials and downloads 

Other news itesm:

Cougar Mountain Software Celebrates 20 Years in Business. Cougar Mountain Software, a leader in mid-range accounting software, specializing in fund accounting, general accounting and point-of-sale software products, as well as hardware solutions, celebrates their 20th anniversary in the software industry.'s network of more than 160 Web sites is organized into 16 channels:

Internet Technology


Web Developer

Windows Internet Technology

Linux/Open Source

Internet Resources

ISP Resources

Internet Lists



Internet News

Internet Investing

ASP Resources

Wireless Internet

Career Resources


The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) issued its Year 2001 Distance Learning Awards ---

A few of the award recipients are listed below:

The University of Texas @ Austin Excellence in Distance Teaching Higher Education

Dr. Paul E. Resta holds the Ruth Knight Millikan Centennial Professorship in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and is Director of the Learning Technology Center in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin. He teaches advanced graduate courses in instructional technology including instructional design, technology planning, and computer-supported collaborative learning.

Dr. Resta conducts research on a variety of topics and heads several large research projects. His work currently focuses on web-based learning environments, computer-supported collaborative learning, the infusion of technology into teacher education and the use of telecommunications and multimedia technologies to enhance learning opportunities for students in isolated rural areas.

Technology Leadership Academy
Dr. Resta directs the Technology Leadership Academy, a coalition of 100 institutions of higher education in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kansas which stimulates the infusion of technology into teacher education. The project is funded by the U. S. Department of Education and is part of the Technology Leadership Institute, a collaborative partnership between the University of North Texas, the Learning Technology Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Center for Educational Technology, Texas State Board for Educator Certification, Texas Education Agency, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Dr. Resta is the recipient of two of the most prestigious awards for quality of instructional design and development: US Distance Learning Association Award for Outstanding Achievements in Higher Education (April 2001) and University Continuing Education Association National Distance Learning Course Award (April 2001)



Melodee Mercer
Department of Veterans Affairs Excellence in Distance Teaching Government

Melodee Mercer is a 19-year employee of the federal government. Because of her skills as a satellite instructor, and producer of satellite programs, she is currently working simultaneously for both Veterans Benefits Administration (since September1982) and the IRS (since June 2001). Prior to working at VA, Ms. Mercer was a production-coordinator on a local Philadelphia TV show, wrote press releases for civic groups, and was a performer on stage – both as a singer and emcee. But, no matter what job she has held, her duties have always led her back to teaching. She has a teaching degree from Temple University in Music Education.

In 1997, Ms. Mercer was detailed to the former Vice-President Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government office (NPR), where she worked with V-Tel equipment as a member of the former Vice-President’s TV crew. Additionally, she wrote the letter-writing guidance for NPR’s Plain Language website (The website continues and is supported by the current administration.) During her detail she began her work with IRS. This past year, IRS asked her to adapt the VBA satellite course for their audience and teach their pilot class. IRS’160-student pilot was so successful that they have asked her to continue as their lead instructor for their quarterly classes. The final “No Gobbledygook” awards were presented on Friday December 22, 2000.  There has been a plain language prize every month since the award was established in June 1998 for a total of 27 awards. Then Vice President Gore created the award to recognize federal employees who use plain language in innovative ways. In November Melodee Mercer was one of the foes of gobbledygook who rewrote a form telling taxpayers how to obtain a refund check.

A recipient of two prestigious honors in 2001: IRS’ Deputy Commissioner’s Award (the highest honor the Deputy Commissioner can personally bestow), and the USDLA Outstanding Instructor in Government Award; Melodee lives in Bucks County Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia – though she spends a good amount of her time in Washington DC where both VBA and IRS’s studios are located.

Recognized leaders in the field of distance learning judged 84 nominations submitted to USDLA. Judges worked in teams of three to review and evaluate submissions in each of the 5 categories. Higher Education, K-12 Education, Government, Corporate/Business and Telemedicine/Healthcare. One of the  judges for 2002 was Melodee Mercer.



Mary S. Ellsworth
Model Secondary School for the Deaf, Gallaudet University, Excellence in Distance Teaching K-12 Education

The SOAR-High Project

The SOAR-High Project is an exploration of distance learning as a collaboration. Students and teachers in distant classes are working together to study Earth System Science. Students learn do science as scientists do it - a process which involves reading, learning, experimenting, analyzing, writing, collaboration and sharing information.

Earth System Science is a holistic approach to the study of the Earth. Students investigate the interactions among the Earth's components in order to understand earth dynamics and global change. In this technology intensive course students will work together in collaborative teams to investigate various aspects of the Earth as a system.

Students will conduct background research, develop a question and a testable hypothesis, model aspects of the Earth system, create visualizations of data, and publish their findings on the Internet. The classes will exchange electronically each other as part of the SOAR-High Earth System Science community.



MBA Online
The University of Texas System Excellence in Distance Learning Programming Higher Education

The UT TeleCampus (UTTC) is the support center for online learning within the University of Texas System’s fifteen component campuses. Our online courses and degree programs can be completed entirely at a distance and meet the same high-quality academic standards as their onsite equivalents. The UT TeleCampus provides everything you need to participate, including admission applications, registration and financial aid information, classrooms and academic resources.

AUSTIN - An online MBA degree program offered by eight business schools in the University of Texas System has been named the best such program in the nation by the U.S. Distance Learning Association.

The association awarded first place for Excellence in Distance Education Programming to the UT TeleCampus, the U.T. System's centralized support center that facilitates the collaborative degree program.

The MBA Online is available from eight U.T. campuses, with students selecting which partner university they wish to apply to, and ultimately graduate from. Over the course of the degree program, students will take courses from all eight partner campuses and will receive exposure to a larger, more diverse selection of expert faculty than any one campus could provide.

The goal of the TeleCampus in placing programs online was the creation of collaborative degrees, utilizing the best resources in faculty expertise from all campuses. This model was defined in the first programs offered via the UT TeleCampus: the MBA Online and the M.Ed. in Educational Technology. Both launched in the Fall of 1999, the MBA Online degree is conferred from any one of seven participating campuses, with all eight contributing courses to the degree plan. The M.Ed. degree is conferred from UT Brownsville, with UT El Paso and UT Austin, UT Permian Basin and UTMB Galveston also providing courses toward the degree plan. This collaborative model continues to be utilized in many of the programs offered via the UT TeleCampus since opening the doors to the virtual classrooms of the U.T. System.



Defense Acquisition University
Fort Belvoir, Virginia Excellence in Distance Learning Programming Government

We are an organization established by Congress in 1990 to consolidate and integrate education and training for more than 110,000 people in the Defense Acquisition Workforce. Our consortium member schools provide more than 85 acquisition courses to entry, intermediate, and senior level civilian and uniformed personnel to allow them to attain certification in one or more of the 11 defense acquisition career fields. Courses are developed and delivered by 12 DoD educational institutions and by contractors to DAU.

The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) provides mandatory, assignment-specific, and continuing education courses for military and civilian acquisition personnel within the Department of Defense. Its mission is to provide the acquisition community with the right learning products and services to make smart business decisions. Authorized by 10 U.S.C. 1746 and chartered by DoD Directive 5000.57.

DAU's mission is "to provide the acquisition community with the right learning products and services to make smart business decisions."

Washington, D.C. April 10 - The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) today presented it 2002 Distance Learning Awards at a ceremony held in conjunction with the 2002 e-Learning Conference and Expo, the premier conference and exposition for the distance learning industry. Eleven (11) awards were presented to distance learning professionals, organizations, companies and institutions for excellence in teaching, excellence in programming and outstanding individual achievements.

(This is the second consecutive year that they have received this award.)



NASA Connect
Office of Education NASA Langley Research Center Excellence in Distance Learning

NASA CONNECT is an annual series of FREE integrated mathematics, science, and technology instructional distance-learning programs for students in grades 5-8. Each program consists of three components: (1) a 30-minute video; (2) an interactive Web activity, which provides educators an opportunity to integrate technology into the classroom setting; and (3) a lesson guide including a hands-on activity.

NASA Connect is integrated mathematics, science, and technology instructional distance learning program for students in grades 6-8. Each program has three components: (1) a 30-minute television broadcast, which can be viewed live or taped for later use; (2) an interactive web activity which provides educators an opportunity to use technology in the classroom setting; and (3) a lesson guide describing a hands-on activity. These three components — television broadcast, web activity, and lesson guide — are designed as an integrated instructional package. These programs are from the 2000-2001 series.

Series Web Site

Program Descriptions

1. Measurement, Ratios, and Graphing:  3, 2, 1…. Crash! 
Crashing planes, skidding tires, and blasting water, NASA engineers work to improve airplane performance and safety. 

2. Geometry and Algebra: Glow with the Flow 
NASA aerospace engineers use scale models to see how air flows and why materials glow under wind tunnel conditions.

3. Patterns, Functions, and Algebra: Wired for Space 
NASA researchers develop new ways to propel a spacecraft already in orbit without the aid of fuel. 

4. Data Analysis and Measurement: Ahead, Above the Clouds 
Predicting severe weather, tracking clouds, and monitoring pollutants in the air, NASA engineers and scientists are developing technologies to collect data that will help them better understand Earth’s climate. 

5. Functions and Statistics: International Space Station: Up to Us 
Ground research + space research = true science as international researchers anticipate working together onboard the International Space Station.



IntuMed Excellence in Distance Learning Programming Healthcare and Telemedicine

BeST Wins the USDLA Award
Joint Venture Awarded for Excellence in Healthcare and Telemedicine
Distance Learning Programming

Dublin, Ireland -- IntuMed, the medical e-learning joint venture between the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Harvard Medical International and e-learning developer, Intuition, was recently awarded a 2001 Excellence in Distance Learning Award by the United States Distance Learning Association. The USDLA awards acknowledge major accomplishments in distance learning and highlight professionals and organizations that have achieved excellence in distance learning programming. The awards were presented at the 2001 e-Learning Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C., the premier conference and exposition for the distance learning industry.

IntuMed won the Excellence in Distance Learning Award in the Healthcare and Telemedicine category for BeST. BeST, or Basic electronic Surgical Training, provides students with a complete interactive and fully integrated educational program in basic surgery. It has the distinction of being the world's first online surgical training program that breaks the physical boundaries of education to enable trainee surgeons, wherever they are, to benefit from top-quality educational content. The program employs the latest e-learning technology to deliver a user-focused flexible learning experience, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

BeST, or Basic electronic Surgical Training, is the world's first comprehensive online program in basic surgical training. It is a ground-breaking product that services the entire needs of resident surgeons and also offers surgeons a superb reference and continuing education resource.

Using the latest e-learning technologies and an award-winning learning science, BeST delivers a user-focused, flexible e-learning experience, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Residents benefit from professionally moderated core content, visual and interactive learning, realistic case studies, challenging simulations, tests and personalized feedback.

Surgeons in training have hectic schedules and finding time to study can be an added challenge. IntuMed's e-learning solution brings interactive material to the surgeons' fingertips via the Internet, 24/7. This program is geared for PGY1 and PGY2 surgical residents focusing on clinical surgery and basic science using multimedia and engaging content to promote learning by doing.

Using an award-winning adult e-learning methodology called OCCE, IntuMed, along with its strategic partners, brings BeST (basic electronic surgical training) to today's busy surgical residents.


IntuMed is a joint venture targeting the professional training requirements of health care professionals worldwide.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) (
The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland was founded by Royal Charter in 1784, Today, the RCSI operates as an international surgical college and has the largest undergraduate medical school in Ireland. The RCSI is also a leader in medical research and healthcare management, and has been at the forefront of technological applications in education.

Harvard Medical International (HMI) (
Established in late 1994 by the Dean of Harvard Medical School, HMI is a self-supporting, non-profit subsidiary of Harvard University, and is guided by the philosophy that every citizen of the world should have easy access to high-quality health care. HMI creates unique partnerships with a network of organizations internationally to promote excellence in health care, medical education, and medical research.

Intuition (
Intuition provides web-based training, virtual classrooms and collaborative learning environments to mission-critical professionals in corporate learning markets. Established in 1985, Intuition has progressed from being an interactive training company to a 100% e-learning company. Intuition's products are found on 500,000 desktops worldwide, with 150 clients in more than 50 countries. Intuition has global relationships with some of the world's most respected corporations and financial institutions. Headquartered in Dublin, Intuition has a global presence with offices in
London, New York, Frankfurt and Hong Kong.



Pensare Knowledge Community
Excellence in Distance Learning Programming Corporate/Business

Pensare, a leading eLearning company, uses the Internet to create business knowledge communities that offer content from renowned business and academic thought leaders. Within the communities, professionals share best practices, leverage practical tools and engage in strategic discussions to solve immediate, critical business problems.



Aurum Technology (targets Financial Services Sector)
Excellence in Distance Learning Programming Corporate/Business

PLANO, Texas (May 2, 2001) - Aurum Technology Inc., the Plano, Texas-based provider of information technology services to the financial industry, has been awarded a 2001 Excellence in Distance Learning Award by the United States Distance Learning Association. The USDLA awards program was created to acknowledge major accomplishments in distance learning and to highlight professionals, organizations, and companies who have achieved excellence in distance learning programming. Awards were presented April 19, 2001, at the 2001 e-Learning Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C., the premier conference and exposition for the distance learning industry.

As part of its overall customer education program, Aurum's MISER division has developed a live and interactive, multimedia videoconference-based training program. MISER customers across the United States can now attend training courses without incurring the time and expense associated with traveling to regional facilities. Through MISER's distance learning service, customers can now attend courses at Kinko's videoconferencing centers nationwide. Aurum's distance learning service has helped to decrease education costs and increase customer convenience and usability.

Aurum Technology is a leading provider of information technology products and services to the financial services industry. Aurum's solutions include core systems and services, ATM processing, image-based item processing, and eBusiness services.

Aurum Technology, based in Plano, Texas, is a leading provider of information technology products and services to more than 625 community-based and mid-tier financial institutions across the United States. Aurum is a single source for IT, with service offerings that include core software development and licensing, core processing, ATM processing, and image-based item processing. Aurum also provides solutions for branch automation, data warehousing, Internet banking, network management, and third-party systems integration.



J. Stephen Lytle
University of Central Florida Most Outstanding Achievement by an Individual Higher Education

Steve Lytle has 20 years experience working with computers and technology in the healthcare industry. He has made presentations to a variety of groups regarding the planning, development and implementation of computer systems. Steve's expertise is in personal computer based systems. This includes networking, Internet and intranet issues, client server design, database design, software integration and multimedia. He is experienced at explaining complicated technological concepts to non technical people.

As an Associate Professor of Health Services Administration at the University of Central Florida, Steve teaches courses for undergraduate and graduate students regarding health information systems, epidemiology and healthcare management.   Distance learning is an area in which he has recently worked, having offered courses via television and the World Wide Web. He has authored articles and presented papers at various conference on the use of the Web for teaching and learning.  He has received 4 teaching awards in the past 6 years.  In April 2001 he received  the "Excellence in Higher Education Award" from the United States Distance Learning Association.

Educational accomplishments and professional preparation include an undergraduate degree in Respiratory Therapy, a Master’s Degree in Business Management, and the Master of Public Health Degree. Steve is a registered respiratory therapist and also holds registration in pulmonary diagnostics. An active writer, he has published regularly in all areas in which he has worked.

As a fifth generation Floridian, Steve makes his home in the Orlando, Florida area. His wife of 28 years is a computer software engineer. They collaborate on many projects. Steve’s interests besides his two children include water sports, gardening and the great outdoors



Steve P. Larkin
Internal Revenue Service Most Outstanding Achievement by an Individual Government

Steve Larkin is a project manager in the Advanced Learning Technologies Branch of the Internal Revenue Service. He has worked for the IRS since 1984, and was a college professor for seven years before coming to the IRS, at Emporia State University, the University of Kansas and Averett University. During his years at the IRS he has been responsible for the design, development and implementation of the Systems Acceptability Testing (SAT) Analyst Training Course, and the Interactive Video Teletraining (IVT) program. He is currently working on the IRS learning architecture and emerging learning technologies. 

Steve has been associated with the distance learning field at the IRS since 1994, and was involved with the launching of the Interactive Video Teletraining program. He has received a number of awards, including awards from the United States Distance Learning Association's (USDLA) and the Federal Government Distance Learning Association (FGDLA). During his years of service at the IRS, Steve has presented at a number of conferences, including ASTD Winter Conferences, and TelCon East. His is a certified quality analyst, awarded by the Quality Assurance Institute, is chairperson of the Linder Scholarship Fund at Kansas State University, and hold a BS in Political Science, an MA in Political Science and MA in History.



Julius Edlavitch, M.D.
International Pediatric Chat Most Outstanding Achievement by an Individual Healthcare and Telemedicine

Dr. Edlavitch is the creator of International Pediatric Chat, a live virtual chat community of over 3000 registered pediatric professionals in 127 countries. This general pediatric education site is run from an office at home. The participants also attend from their homes using 28 or 56 kb modems.

It’s deepest purpose is a United States Peace project using distance learning to create a world live virtual diverse friendship community of pediatric professionals. Successes have been an Egyptian Pediatrician Mohamed saying Shalom to Rafi in Jerusalem during one session or a pediatrician Shada attending from Gibralter at 4 am her time.

Dr. Edlavitch is a general pediatrician in Fridley, MN and is the founder of the Fridley Children’s and Teenagers’ Medical Center which was established in 1977. He has also been a voluntary medical advisor to Head Start of Anoka and Washington Counties of Minnesota since that time.

Member of American Academy of Pediatrics
(Sub Section International Child Health and Sub Section On Computers)

International Pediatric Chat


Chief of Pediatrics Unity Hospital (1982-1984)

Started Sick Child Care Program at Unity Hospital

Member of these community tasks forces Teen Pregnancy, Adolescent Drug and Suicide,

Managed Care Change, North Suburban Physicians, Vaccine Promotion

Champion of the Family Centered Care Computer Education Initiative

Assistant Clinical Professor Of Pediatrics University of Minnesota

Anoka County Preschool Intervention Committee

 Highest individual donor to Unity Hospital Foundation (Funded playrooms and art work in ER, Short Stay Surgery, Pediatrics and Post Partum)

Board of Anoka County Day Care Association 1984-1986

Winner of the most outstanding individual in Medicine for 2001 by the United States Distance learning Association



Bryan Polivka
Caliber Learning Networks Most Outstanding Achievement by an Individual

Kaneland CUSD’s Hall of Fame hereby recognizes alumnus Bryan Polivka in the category of personal achievement for his professional success and numerous honors.
An alumnus with numerous talents and responsibilities as well as outstanding achievements and potential is Bryan Polivka.
When Polivka graduated from Kaneland High School in 1975, he prepared himself for a busy schedule filled with travel and adventure to fulfill his goals of going in to the ministry. He started at Southeastern Bible College, where he studied Pre-Seminary Studies and Greek Language. While fulfilling an internship, he found that he was drawn to television production. He changed schools and completed his college education at University of Alabama for Urban Studies and finally at Birmingham-Southern College where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1981. Polivka originally questioned his change in majors at the time, but now said that the most important thing is that his “faith hasn’t changed and that’s the reason he’s been successful.”

As soon as he completed college, Bryan instantly rose to the top and became producer at WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Alabama. This job included several management responsibilities and resulted in award-winning productions. From Alabama, he moved to Texas working in video production while serving as a radio, TV and film professor at the University of North Texas. In 1996, Polivka accepted a position at Caliber Learning Network, Inc in Baltimore, Maryland. Polivka was immediately named Senior Vice-President and was promoted to Chief Learning Officer after three years, the position he currently holds. Perhaps Polivka’s greatest recognized accomplishment was in 1986. After writing and producing a two-hour video on the history of black athletes called, “A Hard Road to Glory,” Polivka received an Emmy from the National Academy of Arts & Sciences. Polivka said that the subject matter itself was inspirational and that “nobody had connected the rise of black-American athletes’ popularity to the civil acts movement.” This was Polivka’s main reason for making the film: he said he wanted to apply entertaining views along with political views of athletics. The movie was originally inspired by an encyclopedia, which was written by Arthur Ashe, the first black American tennis player to win Wimbledon. Polivka hired him to be the host of the program and do the research. The film goes back to the very beginning of slavery and shows how, even then, athletic contests were a large part of the black American experience.

From Syllabus News on May 14, 2002

U. Miami One of 'Best Places To Work in IT'

The University of Miami was chosen as one of the top 100 best places in the world to work in information technology (IT) by a computer industry trade newspaper. Computerworld picked the school, the only university on the list, as part its annual Best Places to Work in IT survey, published last week and online. To compile the list, Computerworld measured companies in categories including diversity, training, career development, benefits, hot projects and retention. Lewis Temares, vice president of IT at the school, told the publication he believes the school was singled out because of its "dedication to staff career development and training, plus a true community atmosphere." He said each employee receives an average of 21 days' training, usually a combination of in-house training, distance learning and off-site conferences. Temares estimated that the training costs about $6,500 per employee.

May 13, 2002 message from Michelle Chan-Fishel [


The Corporate Sunshine Working Group is an alliance of investors and public interest organizations that advocates for broader and deeper corporate environmental and social disclosure requirements at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and monitors the SEC's enforcement of existing laws. The CSWG bulletin is published quarterly. Contact Michelle Chan-Fishel of Friends of the Earth - US at for submissions or corrections.

Check out our new website: 

SEC News 1. Opinion-Editorial: Is Enron creating space for real disclosure reform? 2. SEC proposes new disclosure rules 3. Dunn named Deputy Director of Corporation Finance 4. NYSE and Nasdaq review listing standards 5. SEC sues Waste Management for massive fraud

Advocacy 6. *Off the Books*: new film on SEC social disclosure 7. SRIs send letters to SEC on corporate disclosure 8. HealthCare Without Harm releases report on Stericycle

International 9. Australian disclosure rules boost environmental, social reporting 10. European Parliament votes on mandatory corporate social disclosure 11. New UK Bill Calls for mandatory corporate social disclosure 12. UK Environment Ministry calls for environmental reporting in listing standards


Big Five firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has announced that its consulting arm, PwC Consulting, has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of Class A common shares. The float is expected to occur sometime in mid-August. 

* Short e-Course *
THE BALANCE SHEET from Zoologic will introduce you to one of accounting's fundamental documents, the balance sheet. Learn how to read, create and maintain a balance sheet, and how a balance sheet works with other financial statements. Enroll anytime: 

* Short e-Course * 
THE SHAKESPEARE YOU NEVER KNEW: THE EARLY HISTORY PLAYS from University of Michigan guides students through close readings of Henry VI and Richard III. The course also draws on the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2001 residency at the University and artifacts from the University Library's Shakespeare Collection. Class starts May 21; enroll today to reserve your space: 

* Short e-Course * THE HISTORY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK: URBAN CRISIS, FIRE AND WATER, a new course from Columbia University Professor Kenneth Jackson, examines how New York City has responded to fires and water-supply problems, two of the serious challenges faced by urban populations. Learn about some of the city's most well known disasters, including the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, the General Slocum fire, and the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center: 

TIMELESS TRUTHS ABOUT INSTANT MESSAGING Few things are more convenient than Cyber Age communications. But to make an impression, nothing beats the personal touch 

From the Scout Report on May 10, 2002  (Music)

Finale Notepad 2002 

Finale Notepad 2002 is a nifty musical notation tool offered for free download by Coda Music Technology. Available for both Windows and Macintosh, the software enables sheet music creation on the computer via user-friendly interfaces, intuitive wizards, and simple icons. For musicians that need a simple software package to write and compose music, Finale Notepad 2002 will probably function adequately. A great feature that should aid the composition process is a playback feature that reads and plays musical notation, sounding much like a traditional, no frills MIDI player. Users with low bandwidth should be wary of the bulky file size, . . . 

Implant Chips

First Humans to Receive ID Chips

Family Gets Computer Chips Implanted for Medical Information

US accepts 'Big Brother' chip implant

I, Chip?

VeriChip Corporation

VeriChip Receives Favorable FDA Guidance

Digital Angel Takes Flight

Digital Angel Corporation

A group of eight people, including all members of one Florida family, had an implant chip, roughly the size of a grain of rice, injected under their skin on Friday, May 10. Manufactured by Applied Digital Solutions (ADS), the chips store a special identification number that enables the retrieval of personal and medical information. In the event of a medical emergency, a special handheld scanner activates the dormant digital implant, which provides identification data with which medical personnel can query ADS's database, the location of the patient's medical records. Alzheimer's patients seem to be the most promising market for this technology, even though other people, like the Florida family, hope to benefit from it as well. Another product that ADS offers is called Digital Angel, a wearable global positioning system (GPS) device that, among other things, can track in real time the wearer's physical movements. In the future, ADS is planning to release a product that will utilize both of these technologies: an implanted GPS-enabled chip. Unlike VeriChip, though, the GPS-enabled implant would require Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, meaning the US market won't see its introduction until after FDA testing. Many organizations, ranging from privacy advocates to religious groups, have already denounced VeriChip and its eventually successors, associated them with "Big Brother" and the biblical "Mark of the Beast."

To read about the eight people that received their implants, look at the first and second sites, articles from the Los Angeles Times and Miami Herald respectively. For a non-US perspective, view the news story posted by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). The fourth site, an extensive analysis of the subject from ABC News, should give readers a broader understanding of implanted chips and their potential uses. Two sites from ADS are next -- VeriChip's product pages and the press release that details a FDA's decision regarding VeriChip in April, 2002. Finally, the last two sites give more information on Digital Angel and a sample of GPS technology already in use.

Included in Standard & Poor's definition of Core Earnings are 

Excluded from this definition are 

Standard & Poor's News Release on May 14, 2002 --- 

Standard & Poor's To Change System For Evaluating Corporate Earnings

Widely-Supported "Core Earnings" Approach to be Applied to Earnings Analyses and Forecasts for US Indices, Company Data and Equity Research

New York, May 14, 2002 -- Standard & Poor's today published a set of new definitions it will use for equity analysis to evaluate corporate operating earnings of publicly held companies in the United States. Release of "Measures of Corporate Earnings" completes a process Standard & Poor's began in August 2001 when the firm began discussions with securities and accounting analysts, portfolio managers, academic research groups and others to build a consensus for changes that will reduce investor frustration and confusion over growing differences in the reporting of corporate earnings. The text of "Measures of Corporate Earnings" may be found at

At the center of Standard & Poor's effort to return transparency and consistency to corporate reporting is a focus on what it refers to as Core Earnings, or the after-tax earnings generated from a corporation's principal business or businesses. Since Standard & Poor's believes that there is a general understanding of what is included in As Reported Earnings, its definition of Core Earnings begins with As Reported and then makes a series of adjustments. As Reported Earnings are earnings as defined by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) which excludes two items - discontinued operations and extraordinary items, both as defined by GAAP.

Included in Standard & Poor's definition of Core Earnings are employee stock options grant expenses, restructuring charges from on-going operations, write-downs of depreciable or amortizable operating assets, pensions costs and purchased research and development. Excluded from this definition are impairment of goodwill charges, gains or losses from asset sales, pension gains, unrealized gains or losses from hedging activities, merger and acquisition related fees and litigation settlements.

"For over 140 years, Standard & Poor's has stood for the investor's right to know. Central to that objective is a clear, consistent, definition of a company's financial position," said Leo O'Neill, president of Standard & Poor's. "The increased use of so-called pro forma earnings and other measures to report corporate performance has generated controversy and confusion and has not served investor interests. Standard & Poor's Core Earnings definition will help build consensus and restore investor trust and confidence in the data used to make investment decisions."

"A number of recent high profile bankruptcies have renewed investors' concerns about the reliability of corporate reporting," said David M. Blitzer, Standard & Poor's chief investment strategist. "From the work we have just completed, our hope is to generate additional public discussion on earnings measures. Once there are more generally accepted definitions, it will be much easier for analysts and investors to evaluate varying investment opinions and recommendations and form their own views of which companies are the most attractive."

Beginning shortly, Standard & Poor's will include the components of its definition for Core Earnings in its COMPUSTAT database for the U.S., the leading source for corporate financial data. In addition, Core Earnings will be calculated and reported for Standard & Poor's U.S. equity indices, including the S&P 500. Finally, Standard & Poor's own equity research team, which provides opinions on over 1100 stocks, will adopt Core Earnings in its analyses.

"Core Earnings is an excellent analytical tool for the individual and professional investor alike," said Kenneth Shea, managing director for global equity research at Standard & Poor's. "It allows investors to better evaluate and compare the underlying earnings power of the companies they are examining. In addition, it enhances an investor's ability to construct and maintain investment portfolios that will adhere to a pre-determined set of investment objectives. With Core Earnings, Standard & Poor's equity analysts will be able to provide our clients with even more insightful forecasts and buy, hold and sell recommendations."

From the outset, Standard & Poor's has sought to achieve agreement surrounding broad earnings measures that address a company's potential for profitability. In addition to emphasizing this approach in its equity analysis, Standard & Poor's will also make Core Earnings a part of its credit ratings analysis. The accuracy of earnings and earnings trends has always been a component of credit analysis and Core Earnings adds value to this process. Earnings are also a major element in cash flow analysis and are therefore a part of Standard & Poor's debt rating methodology.

Standard & Poor's, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE:MHP), provides independent financial information, analytical services, and credit ratings to the world's financial markets. Among the company's many products are the S&P Global 1200, the premier global equity performance benchmark, the S&P 500, the premier U.S. portfolio index, and credit ratings on more than 220,000 securities and funds worldwide. With more than 5,000 employees located in 18 countries, Standard & Poor's is an integral part of the global financial infrastructure. For more information, visit

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at 

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Review on May 9, 2002

TITLE: Color the Period Red for Businesses: Rule Changes, Write-offs Lead to Losses for Many; Cost Cuts Prove Significant 
REPORTER: Jon E. Hilsenrath 
DATE: May 03, 2001 
TOPICS: Financial Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis

SUMMARY: "Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal, added up all of the net income and losses of 1,146 U.S. companies that are part of the Dow Jones Global Market Index. It found that with a net loss of $3.2 billion, the companies were collectively in the red for the first time since the first quarter of 1992." This result is based on companies reporting through May 1.

1.) The author states that "these figures include all items that companies call one-time expenses and gains..." Where and when do companies make such statements about their earnings? (List all possible answers that you can think of.) Are there any accounting or auditing guidelines or standards for disclosures that companies make about their earnings? (Again, list all possibilities.)

2.) The results showing cumulative losses "were heavily influenced by a $54 billion charge taken by AOL Time Warner, Inc.... The year-earlier first quarter also was heavily influenced by a single charge when JDS Uniphase Corp....took a $40 billion charge...." Why did AOL Time Warner and JDS Uniphase take those write-offs? Under what accounting standards are they required to do so? Why are these write-offs associated with losses in the companies' own stock prices?

3.) How was the analysis described in this article adjusted because of the significant write-offs by AOL Time Warner and JDS Uniphase? What other types of adjustments can you suggest in order to prepare a meaningful analysis?

4.) Accounting standards which require impairment charges, or asset write-downs, to be taken are designed so that companies will provide useful information to the market in a timely fashion. Accountants assess information usefulness in terms of relevance and reliability. Define each of these terms. Are there trade-offs between these two facets of information usefulness? Describe your answer with specific references to the information analyzed in this article. (Hint: consider the qualitative characteristics of consistency, comparability, and timeliness.)

5.) Define earnings management and the idea of the "big bath" in accounting. If companies are going to be facing a quarter of poor performance, as they clearly were in this quarter, what might they try to do regarding asset write-offs? Why?

6.) Consider the discussion of 3M's revenues, costs, and profits. What were their first quarter results in terms of revenues, costs, and profits? How did changes in accounting standards influence the results in those categories? How are their profits used as an example to assess the current state of the U.S. economy?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island 
Reviewed By: Benson Wier, Virginia Commonwealth University 
Reviewed By: Kimberly Dunn, Florida Atlantic University


Starting November 4, 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission will take its EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval) system global by requiring non-U.S. as well as U.S. issuers of securities to file certain documents electronically. 

May 15 message from Business Ethics [

CANADA DECLARES CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY WEEK 2002 The Conference Board of Canada designated May 6-10 as the third annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Week, and dedicated it to highlighting good corporate citizenship in areas such as sustainable economic development, community investment, aboriginal relations, and environmental stewardship. As the driving force behind CSR Week, the Canadian Center for Business in the Community (CCBC) is coordinating a wide range of activities. 

See .

CEOs offer every excuse but the right one: their own errors. Here are ten mistakes to avoid. 
FORTUNE Monday, May 27, 2002, by Ram Charan and Jerry Useem --- 


Additional Reading
Three Quick Fixes
Single-Digit Stocks
Don't Get Burned
Dirty Rotten Numbers
When Stock Prices Lie
Going For Broke

Dirty Rotten Numbers Enron has made us shine a light on the books of America's public companies. Now, if your company carries even a hint of bad accounting, the stock will be savaged. FORTUNE Monday, February 18, 2002, by Andy Serwer --- 

This article was featured in New Bookmarks on February 15, 2002 --- 

We're a pretty moldy down here in Texas.

"Hit With Big Losses, Insurers Put Squeeze on Homeowner Policies," b Chrostopher Oster and Jeff Opdyke, The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2002 

Also in the late 1990s, a new homeowners-insurance menace sprouted: mold. Experts say mold has become more common in houses because of the more airtight construction of new homes. Homeowners began filing more frequent mold claims in the late 1990s, as health concerns regarding certain types of mold surfaced. It became a high-profile and high-dollar problem in June 2001, when a Texas jury ordered Farmers to pay $32 million to an Austin homeowner who maintained that mold caused health problems for her husband and young son and forced the family from its home.

Avalanche of Claims

The Austin house has been left vacant, and other houses in Texas with similar problems have been torn down, because they couldn't be cleaned satisfactorily. The publicity surrounding the case brought an avalanche of mold claims in the state. Last year, Farmers registered more than 12,000 mold claims, up from 12 in 1999. Allstate says its monthly tally of such claims in Texas climbed to 1,000 in the first three months of this year, up from 40 a year ago.

Art Trails Through Victoria's Regional Galleries (Australian Museums, Art History) --- 

I have a new computer with Adobe Premiere pre-installed.  How I hate breaking in new computers.  One of the most frustrating is that my two test captured video files are set in concrete.  They recorded the audio without the video, and I cannot get them off the hard drive without a stick of dynamite.  The following sites did not help much either, but they do lead to some common problems that Adobe's Tech Support has trouble answering.

10 Things I Hate About (Adobe) Tech Support 
These issues and common mistakes pertain to your new video editing system --- 

Adobe Tech Support User Forums --- 

Tech Support Discussion Forum Links --- 

Capture Card: Pinnacle DV500 and Premiere 6.0x for Windows--Known Issues --- 

Is there a shortage of IT workers? It depends on whom you ask. Thousands of unemployed IT professionals would say there are more workers than jobs. But the Information Technology Association of America (which, among other things, lobbies for increases in the number of foreign workers allowed into the United States), says there's a shortage. Half a million jobs, it says, are going unfilled. 

George and Ira Gershwin: The Official Web Site (music) 

This site has great audio with some favorites

IBM Bets Future on Grid Computing

Whatis Definition of Grid Computing ---,,sid26_gci773157,00.html 

Grid computing (or the use of a computational grid) is applying the resources of many computers in a network to a single problem at the same time - usually to a scientific or technical problem that requires a great number of computer processing cycles or access to large amounts of data. A well-known example of grid computing in the public domain is the ongoing SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) @Home project in which thousands of people are sharing the unused processor cycles of their PCs in the vast search for signs of "rational" signals from outer space. According to John Patrick, IBM's vice-president for Internet strategies, "the next big thing will be grid computing."

Grid computing requires the use of software that can divide and farm out pieces of a program to as many as several thousand computers. Grid computing can be thought of as distributed and large-scale cluster computing and as a form of network-distributed parallel processing. It can be confined to the network of computer workstations within a corporation or it can be a public collaboration (in which case it is also sometimes known as a form of peer-to-peer computing).

A number of corporations, professional groups, university consortiums, and other groups have developed or are developing frameworks and software for managing grid computing projects. The European Community (EU) is sponsoring a project for a grid for high-energy physics, earth observation, and biology applications. In the United States, the National Technology Grid is prototyping a computational grid for infrastructure and an access grid for people. Sun Microsystems offers Grid Engine software. Described as a distributed resource management (DRM) tool, Grid Engine allows engineers at companies like Sony and Synopsys to pool the computer cycles on up to 80 workstations at a time. (At this scale, grid computing can be seen as a more extreme case of load balancing.)

Grid computing appears to be a promising trend for three reaons: (1) its ability to make more cost-effective use of a given amount of computer resources, (2) as a way to solve problems that can't be approached without an enormous amount of computing power, and (3) because it suggests that the resources of many computers can be cooperatively and perhaps synergistically harnessed and managed as a collaboration toward a common objective. In some grid computing systems, the computers may collaborate rather than being directed by one managing computer. One likely area for the use of grid computing will be pervasive computing applications - those in which computers pervade our environment without our necessary awareness.

Read more about it at:


From ADT Trends Newsletter on May 13, 2002


IBM: May the Grid be with you By John K. Waters

IBM ( used last week's developerWorks Live conference in San Francisco as a platform for touting the Grid computing paradigm as well as unveiling new open standards-based integration software; new developer tools; and to announce new strategic partnerships, new partner program offerings and new developer support offerings.

But the real buzz at this year's show was generated by IBM's continued push into grid computing, which the firm defines as a persistent environment that enables software applications to integrate instruments, displays, computational and information resources that are managed by diverse organizations in widespread locations. And the company is betting big on its potential.

IBM's interest in grid computing is not new. Last year, company reps were touting it as vital in the evolution of computing. Last November, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president of technology and strategy in IBM's Server Group, called grid computing the "key to advancing e-business into the future and the next step in the evolution of the Internet towards a true computing platform." He predicted that commercial uses of grid computing will soon emerge, and that the model will eventually serve as a vast infrastructure for e-business. Last week, Wladawsky-Berger was again IBM's point man for grid computing, declaring that "the grand challenge now is marrying Web services and grid computing."

Observers said Big Blue jumped to the head of the Grid pack last week by joining forces with Inc. ( , to deploy the first-ever custom commercial grid for the online video gaming market. The Butterfly Grid is designed to support so-called Massively-Multiplayer Games (MMGs), which pits millions of gamers worldwide against each other within the same game in real time., a development studio, online publisher, and infrastructure provider for MMGs, built its Grid over the last two years using IBM e-business infrastructure technology. The Butterfly Grid is powered by rack-mounted Linux-based IBM eServer xSeries systems hosted by IBM and running on internal fiber-optic networks for optimal use of computing and communications resources. The grid design offers the potential to support over one million simultaneous players from each facility in a 24/7 environment with automatic fail over capability. officials said the open source Globus Toolkit ( ) was used to build its gaming grid. The Globus Project is a multi-institutional research and development effort creating fundamental technologies for computational grids. IBM also used Globus technologies to build its grid, described by IBM as a "geographically distributed supercomputer linking IBM research and development labs in the United States, Israel, Switzerland, Japan and England."

IBM officials describe the Butterfly Grid as a key commercial innovation. "We believe the Butterfly Grid is a breakthrough platform that will help entertainment, media and game companies reduce costs and better deploy their entertainment properties online," said Scott Penberthy, vice president of business development in IBM's global services group.

The Butterfly Grid is available as a fully managed service, as a packaged software license, or as a complete hardware/software solution.

Bob Jensen's technology glossary is at 

Back in 1987, KPMG's leadership team chose to name the firm KPMG in recognition of its principal founding members Klynveld, Peat, Marwick and Goerdeler. Little did they know that fifteen years later, this same name would help open doors in India. 

The world is in the middle of a surge of urbanisation, with more than a dozen new “megacities” having arrived in the past two decades
"The brown revolution," The Economist, May 9. 2002 --- 

THE main street of Huruma is a hive of activity. Market traders are selling everything from live chickens to trainers to herbal medicine from the front of rickety shacks. The street is unpaved, muddy and lined with compacted rubbish. Huruma is an unplanned settlement built on council land in the outskirts of Nairobi. Behind this market street are five slums, housing about 6,500 people at densities of up to 2,300 per hectare. There is only one toilet block and but a few water outlets. In the narrow gaps between the shacks, where people walk and children play, open earth canals provide sewerage.

Of Nairobi's population of 2.5m, about 60% live in conditions like this—or worse. Africa's largest slum outside the suburbs of Johannesburg is in Nairobi. It is called Kibera, and is home to some three-quarters of a million people.

Nairobi's population is growing by 5% a year, and many people believe that the city's slums are close to crisis. Municipal waste-collection rates dropped from 90% in 1978 to 33% in 1998. When it rains, storm water washes the accumulated waste into the water sources used by the poor. Yet Nairobi is not exceptional by international standards. Conditions such as these are the main reason why, every day, there are about 6,000 deaths around the world from water-borne diseases.

Despite all this, people are moving to cities in droves. In 1950, two-thirds of the world's population lived in the countryside. New York was then the only settlement with more than 10m people. Today there are 20 such megacities, and more are on the way.

Most of these megacities are in developing countries that are struggling to cope with both the speed and the scale of human migration. Estimates of the future spread of urbanisation are based on the observation that in Europe, and in North and South America, the urban share of the total population has stabilised at 75-85%. If the rest of the world follows this path it is expected that in the next decade an extra 100m people will join the cities of Africa, and 340m the cities of Asia: the equivalent of a new Bangkok every two months. By 2030 nearly two-thirds of the world's population will be urban.

Continued at  

The May/June Technology Source Author Forums are offered in collaboration with ULiveandLearn, an e-learning company that uses the HorizonLive platform to allow participants to interact directly with TS authors via their desktops. You may sign up to participate in any of these free webcasts by going to and clicking on the SIGN UP NOW button.


A Webcast on global universities, featuring Chris O'Hagan, University of Derby (England), whose current article in The Technology Source

( focuses on the aims and methods of institutions with global ambitions and their effects on more traditional institutions. THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2002 [1-1:45 PM EDT] A Webcast featuring Lucio Teles, Simon Fraser University, whose current article in The Technology Source

( focuses on how online instructors use tools designed for the Web

TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 [2-2:45 PM EDT]

A Webcast featuring George Watson, University of Delaware, whose article in The Technology Source

( focuses on how technology enhances problem-based learning (PBL)—a form of learning whereby students acquire life-long thinking and problem-solving skills by focusing their efforts on “real world” problems.

TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2002 [2-2:45 PM EDT]

A Webcast featuring George Lorenzo, editor of editor and publisher of Educational Pathways, and his article on eArmyU

( and its possible effect on higher education.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2002 [2-2:45 PM EDT]

A Webcast featuring William Graves, CollegisEduprise, whose interview with James Morrison (

focuses on the current state of today’s learning economy.

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2002 [12-12:45 PM EDT]

A Webcast featuring Stephen Downes, Institute for Information Technology, and Scott Wilson, CETIS technical journalist, discussing The Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability Standards (CETIS) Web site, which is devoted to learning objects and content management systems (see

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2002 [1-1:45 PM EDT] A Webcast featuring David P. Diaz, Cuesta Community College, and his article “Online Drop Rates Revisited” (, where Diaz argues that drop rates have a crucial relationship with the typical characteristics and circumstances of online learners--factors that do not translate into either their quality of learning or their ability to succeed. TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2002 [1-1:45 PM EDT] A Webcast featuring Celina Byers, Oakland University, whose article, “Interactive Assessment and Course Content Transformation Using Web-Based Tools”

( argues that Web-based tools can facilitate interactive assessment throughout a course. THURSDAY, JUNE 27, 2002 [1-1:45 PM EDT] A Webcast featuring Gregory A. DeBourgh, University of San Francisco, whose article on course management systems ( illustrates how these tools enable teachers to realize such pedagogical principles as multimode instruction, interactive discussion, and self-regulated, reflective learning.

Now Another FAS 133 Amendment on the Heels of the Previous (FAS 138) Amendment --- A Mere 104 Pages

Amendment of Statement 133 on Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities (Exposure Draft E164)

The News Release reads as follows at 

Today the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued an Exposure Draft, Amendment of Statement 133 on Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities. The Exposure Draft amends Statement No. 133, Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities, to clarify the definition of a derivative. A copy of the Exposure Draft is available on the FASB’s website at The comment period concludes on July 1, 2002.

In connection with Statement 133 Implementation Issue No. D1, "Application of Statement 133 to Beneficial Interests in Securitized Financial Assets," the Board addressed issues related to the accounting for beneficial interests in securitized financial assets, such as beneficial interests in securitized credit card receivables. In resolving those issues, the FASB decided that an amendment was needed to clarify the definition of a derivative, as set forth in Statement 133.

The purpose of the Exposure Draft is to improve financial reporting by requiring that financial contracts with comparable characteristics be accounted for in the same way. The Statement would clarify under what circumstances a financial contract—either an option-based or non-option-based contract—with an initial net investment would meet the characteristic of a derivative discussed in paragraph 6(b) of Statement 133. The FASB believes the proposed change will produce more consistent reporting of financial contracts as either derivatives or hybrid financial instruments.

The proposed effective date for the accounting change is the first day of the first fiscal quarter beginning after November 15, 2002, which, for calendar year end companies, will be January 1, 2003.

Bob Jensen's threads on FAS 122 and IAS 39 are at 

From FEI Express on May 14, 2002

NASDAQ Governance Summits
NASDAQ held Governance Summits on both coasts in the last week. Excellent dialogue among the participants (CFOs and General Counsels) after a morning of presentations, including mine on the FEI Recommendations for post-Enron reform. Shareholder approval of stock option plans was discussed at length and is inevitable in some form. The establishment of a "lead independent director," where the CEO is also chairman was a concept that got favorable discussion. Tougher independence rules for directors are coming, and CPE for directors seems like an idea that will emerge, too. Company and financial officer codes of conduct, which FEI has much pressed for, are being considered. The NASDAQ and NYSE will be reporting out their reports/results in the next month --- 

FASB Project on SPE Accounting
Key issue is how to effectively scope out the multi-seller conduits. People are concerned that EVERY conduit might have to be consolidated with some entity designated at the sponsor. Many of these entities arise from the sale of receivables, and consolidating those assets back to the original seller doesn't work under FAS 140. There is pressure to get something out on this subject, so we may see something.

Guarantees project will be out in a couple of weeks. Increased disclosure AND initial recognition of guarantees at FAIR VALUE on the date the guarantee. Even a guarantee with a remote chance of being called would be estimated based on its probability and booked. What's the fair value of a tax indemnity or financing guarantees? Product warranties have been scoped out. This has been quiet but will be a big deal.

Exposure Draft on Disposal Obligations
This is a reconsideration of EITF 94-3. It is unrelated to post-Enron reform. This was originally part of the asset retirement obligations. They will probably tighten up on accrual of severance costs where there is no future benefit.

Bob Jensen's Related Enron/Andersen Scandal Documents

Accounting Fraud, Forensic Accounting, Securities Fraud, and White Collar Crime

Suggested Reforms Suggested Reforms (Including those of Warren Buffet and the Andersen Accounting Firm)

Bottom-Line Commentary of Bob Jensen Bottom-Line Commentary of Bob Jensen: Systemic Problems That Won't Go Away 



Raising Hell (Wry Humor, Parenting, Children, Protection of Children) --- 

Forwarded by Dick Haar

The little fly .....

Once upon a time, there was a happy little fly buzzing around a barn when she happened upon a large pile of fresh cow manure.

Since it had been hours since her last meal and she was feeling hunger pains, she flew down to the irresistible delicacy and began to pig out.

She ate...and ate ... and then she ate some more!!!

Finally, she decided she'd had plenty. She washed her face with her tiny front legs, belched a few times, then attempted to fly away. But alas...she had eaten far too much and could not get off the ground.

Wondering what to do about this unpleasant situation she looked around and spotted a pitchfork leaning upright against the barn wall. She'd found a solution!!

She realized if she could just climb up that handle and jump off to become airborne, she'd be able to fly again.

So, she painstakingly, climbed to the top of the handle. Once there, she took a deep breath, spread her tiny wings, and leaped confidently into the air. She dropped like a rock and splattered all over the floor...

Dead Fly....

What is the moral of this sad story?

"Never fly off the handle when you know you're full of crap."

Speaking of crap, see Airline Meals --- 

Forwarded by Dick Haar

Five surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on.

The first surgeon says,"I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered".

The 2nd responds,"yeah, but you should try electricians! everything inside them is color-coded."

The 3rd surgeon says, "no, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order".

The fourth surgeon chimes in," you know, I like construction workers.. those guys always understand when the job takes longer & costs more than you said it would."

But the fifth surgeon shut them all up when he observed,"you're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, and no spine, and the head and ass are interchangeable".

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

* Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.

* How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you are on.

* Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?

* If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?

** Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us.

* If Walmart is lowering prices every day, how come nothing is free yet?

* You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

*Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.

* We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names and all are different colors...but they all have to learn to live in the same box.

* Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

* A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

* Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.

Joke List --- 

Important Points to Ponder --- 

If you throw a cat out a car window, does it become Kitty Litter?

If corn oil comes from corn, where does baby oil come from?

If there is no God, who pops up the next Kleenex in the box?

When a cow laughs does milk come up its nose ?

Why do they put Braille on the number pads of drive through banking

How did a fool and his money get together?

If nothing sticks to Teflon how do they get it to stick to the pan?

How do they get a deer to cross at that yellow sign?

If its tourist season do we get to shoot them?

What's another word for thesaurus?

Why do they sterilize the needles used in lethal injections?

What do they use to ship styrofoam?

Why is abbreviation such a long word?

Why is there an expiry date on a container of sour cream?

Why do kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

How do you know when its time to tune your bagpipes?

Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?

Why is a waiter called a "waiter", when the customer is the one that actually

If a man is talking in the woods and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?

If you laid all the people on earth end to end and they circled the globe, who
would be on top?

Why can’t women not use a map without turning the map to correspond to the
direction that they are heading?

Why does the man who says it can't be done always interrupt the woman doing

If bankers can count, why do they have eight windows and only four tellers?

What was going through the Mind of the First Person ever to Pull on a Cow's

From Reader's Digest, May 2002, Page 60 (an it's not even a blonde joke)

My sister worked at the ticket booth of a wildlife drive-through park.  One day a woman drove up to the booth in a convertible.  "I'm sorry ma'am," my sister said, "but the bears will destroy the top of your car if you drive it through the park.  Would you like to use one of the junk cars we keep here for these situations?"

"A junk car?" the woman said reluctantly.  "How about if I just put the top down?"

From Reader's Digest, May 2002, Page 60

Despite years of exceeding quota in my sales career, my lack of education was an obstacle whenever I searched for work.  finally I started listing under "education" on my resume, "College of Hark Knocks."

I was surprised, then, to be hired by a regional sales manager by a Fortune 500 company that had required a degree in its job posting.  soon after I started, my boss came by and asked me, "So what was your major a the University if Knoxville?"
Joe Bosch

Forwarded by Dr. Wolff
The following was said to be written by a dentist in Australia.

An American

"You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American. So I just thought I would write to let them know what an American is, so they would know when they found one. An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan. An American may also be a Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans. An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses. An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God. An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each man and woman to the pursuit of happiness. An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. The best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes. Americans welcome the best, but they also welcome the least. The national symbol of America welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America. Some of them were working in the Twin Towers in the morning of September 11, earning a better life for their families. I've been told that the people in the Towers were from at least 30, and maybe many more, other countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists. So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American. So look around you. You may find more Americans in your land than you thought were there. One day they will rise up and overthrow the old, ignorant, tired tyrants that trouble too many lands. Then those lands, too, will join the community of free and prosperous nations. Pass THIS around the World


And that's the way it was on May 15, 2002 with a little help from my friends.


In March 2000, Forbes named as the Best Website on the Web ---
Some top accountancy links ---


For accounting news, I prefer AccountingWeb at 


Another leading accounting site is at 


Paul Pacter maintains the best international accounting standards and news Website at


How stuff works --- 


Bob Jensen's video helpers for MS Excel, MS Access, and other helper videos are at 
Accompanying documentation can be found at and 


Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  

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May 10, 2002

 Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on May 10, 2002
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Quotes of the Week

Accounting Majors Obtain Higher Percentage of Job Offers-Survey 
Employers may have cut back significantly on college recruiting, but they haven't abandoned campus altogether, according to the Spring 2002 issue of Salary Survey, a quarterly report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). 

To say derivative accounting in America is in the sewer is an insult to sewage.
Charles Munger (forwarded by Ganesh M. Pandit, DBA, CPA, CMA [profgmp@HOTMAIL.COM] )
For more, click on 

"Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.
Pope John XXIII as quoted by Stephen Elliott (See Below)

But business models were flawed, he said, and university administrators did not fully understand the cost of entering the market. "It's really, really expensive to do this stuff," he said. "It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a course well."
Katie Hafner, "Lessons Learned at Dot-Com U."  (See Below)

May you live as long as you want to...and want to as long as you live!
Forwarded by Roger Dimick [

Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
Franz Kafka

What frightens me most is the winter of memory.
Juan José Arreola

The overscheduled children of 21st-century America, deprived of the gift of boredom
Anna Quindlen (See below)

An optimist is he who believes that things cannot get any worse.
Alessandro Morandotti

My first good piece of advice is if you’re going to give someone an either/or choice, be fully prepared to take the or side of the equation. I told a man I was married to once he either needed to get up off the couch and help me or I was leaving. As far as I know he’s still on that couch.
Candace Cooksey Fulton --- 

Life is not about what others think of you but what you think of yourself.
Michael Thurmond

Message from Julia Shih --- 

A word of warning about the dangers of flaunting wealth comes from Russell Baker, speaking to the class of 1990 at the University of Miami. He said, "If you want to waste a perfectly wonderful lifetime becoming filthy rich, at least have the good sense not to offend the neighbors by praising your own selfishness. Neighbors are the kind of people who do jury duty."

And a hilarious quote, to which most graduates can relate, was spoken by Bill Cosby at Brown University's 1985 graduation: "Commencement means to go forth. 'Forth' is not 'home.'"

The next time someone asks you to "have a nice day," tell them you have other plans.   

"Seton Hall has developed free software that helps instructors turn their lectures into multimedia presentations for course Web sites. The software, called SyncStream (  ), makes it easy to mix video of a lecture with a PowerPoint presentation or other slide show. To use the program instructors must first record their lectures in the streaming-video format developed by RealNetworks."
Tracey Sutherland [tracey@AAAHQ.ORG

The Earth Simulator Research and Development Center in Yokohama, west of Tokyo, is home to the world's fastest computer. Composed of 5,104 processors, the machine has achieved a computing speed of 35.6 trillion mathematical operations a second. 
Source; The New York Times 

In its first Webcast meeting, the Securities & Exchange Commission approved the issuance for comment of rule proposals on disclosures about "critical" accounting estimates. The Commission's rule proposals introduce possible requirements for qualitative disclosures about both the "critical" accounting estimates made by a company in applying its accounting policies and disclosures about the initial adoption of an accounting policy by a company

Kentucky distillery Maker's Mark has agreed to remove billboards for its product, which pokes fun at the troubles currently facing the accounting profession. The billboards, showing a bourbon bottle turned over on its side, read, "Disappears faster than a Big Five accounting firm."

My May 10, 2002 updates on the Enron/Andersen scandals are at 

Note the last sentence quoted below:
Enron Makes Ethics a Lively Topic in College Classes in Texas --- 

"There hasn't been an issue as important in accounting as this in years," said Dr. Vincent Apilado, professor and chairman of the department of finance and real estate at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The Enron and Andersen crashes may go down as the most expensive business meltdowns ever, and many have alleged that a cover-up of key financial losses at Enron was the source of the company's bankruptcy.

But while the scandal has only recently sparked public interest in the industry's ethics, local finance and accounting professors say they've been teaching students about workplace ethics for years.

"Ethics have really become an issue over the last decade or so, and we've tried to institutionalize a course in ethical treatment, both at the undergraduate level and the graduate level," Dr. Apilado said.

Undergraduate seniors in UTA's finance program can enroll in a course called Business in Society, and senior-level graduate students can choose between an advanced Business in Society course or a class entitled Legal Environment of Business.

Dr. Apilado said the decision to teach finance students about ethical quandaries they may face on the job was made after insider trading scandals in the 1980s.

The Enron collapse is a perfect instructional tool for students on how not to manage a company's finances or audit its books, he said.

"If that information isn't transparent or accurate, how can accurate decisions be made in terms of investing and financing?" he asked. "So the Enron/Andersen situation fits at the very bottom of business decision-making."

Dr. Frederick Wu, professor of accounting and department chairman at the University of North Texas, said UNT does not offer formal business ethics courses but encourages instructors to weave ethics discussions into regular classes.

"We cover very substantive subjects about ethics in accounting," he said. "The case of Enron will eventually be a business case to be studied."

But Dr. Wu said UNT professors refrain from telling their students exactly how they should act in a given situation.

"They have to make that judgment, and they have to decide what action to take," he said. "We're not going to tell them what action to take because values differ from person to person."

But in a case such as Enron, where a lack of full disclosure of vital financial data has been the chief complaint lodged against Enron and Andersen, instructors must make it clear that accountants have a duty to be honest, Dr. Wu said.

"Disclosure is a basic accounting principle," he said. "Any basic transactions which will affect financial information should be disclosed. In the case of Enron, the accountants should speak up."

Part of the problem is that accountants pushed into an ethical corner may have to choose between their integrity and their jobs, said Mark Anderson, assistant professor of accounting and information management at the University of Texas at Dallas.

"Your livelihood depends on pleasing the boss, and yet from a bigger perspective, you're put in a situation where you're really compromised," he said. "We encourage our students to think hard about whether what they're doing is shading the truth or providing fair disclosure."

Mr. Anderson said he occasionally hears from alumni or graduate students working as accountants that they're facing a similar ethical dilemma.

Continued at  

The Red Light Special
Kmart Slides As Restatement Looms --- 

Innovative Search Engine of the Week --- AllTheWeb --- 

"FAST and Fresh," by Paul J. Bruemmer, NewMedia, May 7, 2002 --- 

How would you like a snapshot of the past year's trends and a glimpse into the search engine future? To gather the information needed to take such a look, I've interviewed some of the major engines: AllTheWeb, AltaVista, Google, LookSmart, Lycos, and Yahoo! I'll be sharing what I've learned, beginning with AllTheWeb, a site owned by Fast Search & Transfer (FAST) --- .

By offering AllTheWeb as a public search engine, FAST aims to provide users with comprehensive results while using the engine as a demonstration piece for its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners. The public search engine enables the company's corporate partners to evaluate the technology before rolling it out on their own sites.

"FAST attacks the four pillars of search: relevancy, freshness, size, and speed," said Rob Rubin, FAST general manager, Internet business unit. "This year, FAST introduced its linguistics tool kit to automatically detect phrases and provide accurate search results." (Check this out by entering "Who is Little Richard?" or "What is the weather in New York?")

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at 

Why are applications for MBA programs suddenly booming?  What "group" is flooding the colleges with applications?


May 7, 2002 message from BusinessWeek Online's MBA Insider [

THE LINES ARE BUSY AT B-SCHOOLS Telecom-industry refugees are heading back to campus. Surprisingly, most aim to rejoin the sector after getting an MBA

The boom, the bust -- the B-school application? As the telecommunications industry continues to shake out, the shock waves are beginning to hit B-school admissions offices. Even with the down economy having boosted applications from practically every industry by record numbers, admissions directors from Los Angeles to Lausanne in Switzerland are reporting a relative bulge in those submitted by downsized, defecting, or opportunistic former telecom employees.

MBA programs generally fill 5% to 10% of their classes with telecom representatives. But with the current cycle being "predicated by layoffs," says Linda Baldwin, MBA admissions director at UCLA's Anderson School, B-schools this year have read up to twice as many applications from the telecom sector as in the past. They've poured in to North American and European B-schools from such companies as the U.S.'s Lucent Technologies, European giant Vodafone, and Japanese equipment maker NTT DoCoMo. "If anyone has had a bad hangover, it has definitely been telecom," laments one refugee now in B-school.


From The Wall Street Journal Interdisciplinary News on May 8, 2002


Negative News from Ericsson, Lucent Indicates Telecom Crash Is Lasting
By: Dennis K. Berman, David Pringle and Shawn Young

ARTICLE URL ---,4287,SB1019475367892558120,00.html 

"A steep fall in reported earnings at the world's biggest telecom-equipment makers unnerved financial markets on both sides of the Atlantic and offered strong evidence that the telecom industry's crash, instead of bottoming, is deepening." The article reports on losses of the telecom industry's equipment manufacturers and service providers. This decline is the consequence of a huge over investment in manpower and equipment, which itself is the result of the overly optimistic demand forecasts during the 1990s Internet boom. The article notes three strategic moves by firms in the industry. First, many telecom companies have laid off workers and expect to continue doing so, and are accelerating spending cuts. Second, the article notes that Lucent is making a safer bet by shifting its focus from shaky industry newcomers to the Baby Bells. Third, one Ericsson executive interviewed for the article states that he expects to see consolidation among mobile-pone operators.


AT&T Wireless Posts Wider Loss, But Added Subscribers Lift Revenue
By: Mei Fong

ARTICLE URL---,4287,SB1019244078393698000,00.html 

The article notes two interesting facts about the AT&T wireless. First, the company has added new customers, but this addition has been costly. The wireless industry has been aggressively slashing prices and piling on perks in order to woo new customers and keep old ones. Second, AT&T Wireless reported a $178 million loss to revenues, $166 million of which reflects changes in accounting rules for booking goodwill.


Message from Richard Reams on May 8, 2002  (NPR = National Public Radio)

Hi Bob.

The May 7 “Soundprint” program on NPR was about technology in education, including a story about on-line education with a focus on Phoenix University and Temple.

The second segment was on Training College faculty in using technology. 

Richard Reams, Ph.D. 
Senior Staff Psychologist Counseling Services 
Trinity University 715 Stadium Drive #85 San Antonio, TX 78212-7200

Voice: (210) 999-7411 Fax: (210) 999-7848

You can read the following at 

Online University
Just recently the world was abuzz with the possibilities of the internet in education. On one end the classroom became a technology lab, with veteran teachers scrambling to learn new fangled tools. On the other end, soothsayers touted the age of the virtual classroom. No longer would one need to trudge to a distant classroom, the web would bring it to you. Smoke and mirrors or reality? Find out on Soundprint.

Click Here for College 
Remember the dot-com craze? Then perhaps you recollect the mad dash by universities and others to ring in the virtual university. The bubble may have burst but is the online university just another bad idea? Some say yes but others say no. But before you sign up for that virtual course, click along with Producer Richard Paul as he investigates the state of the online university.

Classroom Cool: Training Teachers in Using Technology 
Faced with the challenge of improving student performance, many schools turned to the widespread use of computers and the Internet. The trend has caught many veteran teachers unawares. Now they have to make use of the latest technology, while in their hearts they remain uncomfortable with the new wave. Though hard data is lacking on whether classroom high tech helps students learn, teachers feel the hot breath of urgency to adapt. Veteran teacher and producer Bill Drummond explores the rush to get America's teachers wired.


The popular CBS television show called Sixty Minutes ran a feature on the growth and future of the newer online training and education programs at the University of Phoenix. You can download this video free from 


Such topics, including how to improve learning using online alternatives, will be presented in our August 13 all-day workshop (accounting education technologies and online learning) from Dennis Beresford, Amy Dunbar, Nancy Keeshan, and Bob Jensen at 


Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at 

Who is hiring the MBA graduates?


May 7, 2002 message from BusinessWeek Online's MBA Insider [

WHO'S HIRING An MBA is a healthy boost to any career, but if you have your heart set on working at a particular company, you want to make sure that it'll be recruiting on campus when you graduate. Here's a BusinessWeek Online tool that lets you pick a company and find out which schools it hires MBAs from. 

Accounting Majors Obtain Higher Percentage of Job Offers-Survey 
Employers may have cut back significantly on college recruiting, but they haven't abandoned campus altogether, according to the Spring 2002 issue of Salary Survey, a quarterly report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). 

I thought you might be interested in hearing from a non-stretch person. He sounds happy, but somehow I feel sorry for him in that he is not getting one the joys of life --- pride in one's work and accomplishments.

May 7, 2002 message from BusinessWeek Online's MBA Insider [

From: cank44 (TCHERR) To: ALL

I've been reading a number of these threads which discuss the relative merits of investment banking vs. management consulting vs.private equity etc..., and it seems that much of the banter revolves around compensation.

I'm interested in peoples' opinions about how their industries fare on the following two criteria:

1. Quality of Work: Does what you do make you feel as though you're accomplishing something beneficial to others? Do you feel proud of what you've done at the end of the day? Do you work w/ a diverse group of interesting and social people? Are you challenged?

2. Quality of Life: Do you have time for outside pursuits? Are you able to spend time w/ family/friends, etc...?

I'll start off by saying that I'm an engineer for Uncle Sam.

1. Quality of Work: Abominable. If I didn't show up to work, the world would be a better place. The work is boring, the people I work with tend to introverted and anti-social, and at the end of the day I feel like I've wasted the taxpayers money.

2. Quality of Life: Unbelievable!! I make good coin for the number of hours I work, I NEVER work late, and I get more vacation than I know what to do with. In five years I have never missed an engagement w/ my wife due to work. We play sports (soccer, running, racquetball, etc...) every day at lunch.

From InformationWeek on May 7, 2002 (Ethics)

Business Technology: Moral Relativism 101

The concept of moral relativism seems to hover somewhere on the fringes of most people's consciousness, not because they're afraid to confront it but because they recognize it's a construct that's patently wrong and dangerous. It's almost always a one-way ticket down an oil-slicked slope. A perfect example of this moral muckiness comes from the less-than-perfect moral touchstone of "The Sopranos," wherein the teen-age son has been sent home from school for having vandalized the swimming pool. Asked why he did it, he says, "I don't know, we just did it." His father, the guy described by some TV reviewers as "the gangster we hate to love," swats the kid on the head and chastises him for two primary reasons: first, for the disrespect shown in that it was done "on yer mudder's boitday," and second, because it could screw up the kid's football career. Talk about priorities.

Two great works of art force us to think about the edges of moral relativism: in "Les Miserables," Jean Valjean steals bread to feed his starving family and is sent to prison for life; in Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood knocks the snot out of the conniving Sheriff of Nottingham, steals his money, and gives it to the poor--does the end justify the means?

Closer to home in time and place, terrorists fly jets into the World Trade Center towers and slaughter 2,900 people in the name of God and their religion, and some commentators are inspired to conclude, "The United States deserved it." Attempting to inform the world about the crazy events of the past several months in a fashion that's supposed to be evenhanded and fair but that's actually cowardly and deceptive, Reuters, the news service, forbids its reporters or editors to use the word "terrorist" because, the company says, "terrorist" is a "subjective" term and therefore open to interpretation; after all, says a Reuters executive, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

I don't mean to profane the events of Sept. 11 with a comparison to the relatively trivial, but the concept of moral equivalence that those events brought out of the haze and into sharp relief in our daily lives also is revealing itself in multiple ways in the world of business technology, and specifically in the realm of hackers. Or, to use the hair-splitting terminology that legitimizes one group but vilifies the other, hackers and crackers (hackers being the intruders who just wander passively around, and crackers being the malevolent intruders who trash everything they can). This is a fight that all of us had better plan to jump into right now with lots of ammo because, otherwise, we're welcoming the arrival of moral mushiness and ambiguity in waves that can utterly swamp us.

In the past couple of weeks, InformationWeek has been following the exploits of a pair called the Deceptive Duo as they hack their way into highly sensitive networks under the guise of protecting the weak or informing the ignorant or punishing the bad or whatever other rationalizations they choose to employ. The Duo say they're selflessly saving the rest of us morons from ourselves by pointing out how lax security is in so many critical places; as they put it, "We'd rather act on it than speak on it."

Hey, while they're at it, how about a few other projects: Wal-Mart had a pretty good year, so why shouldn't they take a few billion out of Wal-Mart's bank accounts and give it to struggling Kmart? Senior managers at some companies earn more than new employees--where the hell is the fairness in that? A supplier of plastic products makes a 9% profit on its sales to one customer, but only 6% on its sales to another--how about a few keystrokes to bring some parity into play?

Ridiculous? Maybe. But say you get home late one night from work and find your house trashed, your belongings strewn about, your children's rooms invaded, your privacy violated--and the intruder's left a note saying, "Put better locks on your doors." Moral relativists might say you should pay that intruder for his selfless labors, that he should be a hero--but that's the ultimate sound and fury signifying less than nothing. The more important point is not what they say, but what you--what all of us, individually and collectively--are going to do about it. - Bob Evans is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek. Write to him at  or post a message in his forum at 

Read more Bob Evans columns online: 

For more on the Deceptive Duo, read: "Deceptive Duo Preys On Poor Security Practices" 

Hello Puneet,

No, I do think there is a future for auditors. Much of the work performed by human beings today will someday be replaced by autitbot (auditor robot) technology embedded in networked systems. These auditbots will trace all transactions from suppliers to distributors to customers to customers of customers, etc. But there will always be much more for human beings to do to oversee the audit system. Computer information systems have not replaced the need for information technology specialists. The nature of their work changes, but in some ways IT has created a need for more skilled workers than ever before.

There is always a worry that transactions take place outside the information system, including money laundering, clandestine deals, etc. These will require human auditing in conjunction with incentives for whistleblowers.

What the Enron/Andersen scandals have revealed to us (actually various writers warned us of looming auditing scandals) is that the auditors were willingly or unwillingly becoming pawns of their large clients. The large audit firms lobbied the FASB, the IASB, and national governments (particularly in Washington) for accounting and tax legislation favorable to their clients rather than favorable to investors and taxpayers as a whole. The best example I have is the evidence of accounting firm advocacy for not booking employee stock options (ESOs) but at the same time advocating ESO tax breaks that wipe out billions upon billions of corporate taxes payable. See the following three references in this regard: 

Enron is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of auditors bending to client pressures to deviate from representational faithfulness due to large client pressures and an unwillingness to walk away from large clients who insist on misleading investors.  CEOs of major auditing firms have admitted that performance has not been entirely professional and promise to change the ways of their firms. Suggested reforms and my conclusions based upon the Enron/Andersen scandals are in the following two links: 

My main document is on fraud is at 

Thank you for your interest in my work.  As they say in your part of the world, G'day Mate.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Puneet Ramchandani []  
Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2002 5:22 AM 
To: Subject: Good Day...!!

Respected Mr. Jensen,

It was an enriching experience going through your web page. I was particularly interested in the implications to auditors of Enron. I mean does it show that auditing and other assurance services don't have a future now? But i could not find any extended data on that. Sir it would be highly appreciable if you could provide me with this information or give me some kind of guidance as to where can I find this information at.

I am currently a student doing my Master in Professional Accounting from Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.

Thanking you very much for taking out time to read this email as i know you would be a very busy man in your own respects and position you hold at Trinity.

Puneet Ramchandani.

May 7 message from Todd Boyle [tboyle@ROSEHILL.NET

I found this interesting. Subject: [ISN] Biometric Security Not Ready to Replace Passwords 

CPAs could provide very useful contributions to identification, in addition to these biometric devices, given a local focus and proper procedures and training. There is a great unmet need for trust in the market. We have made it too complicated. There's nothing stopping us from doing a range of standard, commodity services in personal identification verification, ranging up to ledger metrics. This is a service only CPAs can really provide: 

Where can I find other CPAs working on identification, reputation, or webs of trust?


Helper Site of the Week

Museums Online 
Note that there are three main classifications:  Art, Science, and History.

Bob Jensen's bookmarks on related topics --- 

Mailbox bomb suspect Luke Helder made a crucial mistake while on the run: He turned on his cell phone. FBI agents quickly triangulated his position in a sparsely populated rural area ---,1282,52396,00.html 

May 8, 2002 message from Richard Reams

The Washington Post ran an article Sunday, May 5, about over-achieving college students. It’s an interesting and excellent article. Worth reading and discussing. 

Richard Reams, Ph.D. 
Senior Staff Psychologist Counseling Services 
Trinity University 715 Stadium Drive #85 San Antonio, TX 78212-7200

Voice: (210) 999-7411 Fax: (210) 999-7848


Finance Site of the Week

Hi Jim,

Thank you for the link to your site. When I have some time I will cruise around in the site and give it some notice in my forthcoming editions of New Bookmarks.

Actually there is no subscription service to New Bookmarks. You can do one of the following:

1. Take a look about every 7-10 days for new updates at 

2. Subscribe to an accounting educator discussion group which is very active and interesting, but touches on many things not found in New Bookmarks --- 

Thanks for the kind words

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Jim Mahar [
Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 11:58 AM 
Subject: very impressive 

I was just introduced to your web site by a subscriber of yours: Ed Scribner.

He was right, you have quite the site!

Since in some way we must be kindred spirits (I do essentially the same thing for finance--See 

I figured I would write and say hello!

BTW my wife went to Trinity for her first two years before transferring to Penn State. I have visited several times and really like it. (well except for the mirror at the end of the

I will be subscribing to your list...

jim mahar

(who teaches at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York State)

===== Jim Mahar  716-375-2359

Bring the real world to the class room or vice versa! Join my free email list. 

EDUCAUSE Review MAY/JUNE 2002 Volume 37, Number 3 ---

"Moore's Law and the Conundrum of Human Learning" Four authors with diverse backgrounds in teaching, learning, and information technology in higher education discuss six topics relating to the human capacity for learning and the radically expanding growth of computational power: new technologies; return on investment; mobility and wireless; the "information grid"; leveraging technology for teaching; and the digital divide. 

"Constellations for Learning" by CHARLES KERNS Kerns is Educational Technology Manager for the Open Knowledge Initiative in the Academic Computing division of the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources. 

"The Right Train at the Right Station" by HOWARD STRAUSS Strauss is Manager of Academic Applications, a Princeton University group that focuses on improving teaching and research for Princeton faculty. 

New technologies could change the nature of classroom instruction in colleges and universities, but they probably will not. If we constrain ourselves to changing the nature of instruction in classrooms where traditional courses are taught in traditional, degree-granting institutions, we will never change the nature of instruction very much. Instead, we should ask why we need classrooms: why have courses, why have an instructor, why have degrees, why have a college or university at all? Do we want the technology to help us do things the way we have always done them, or do we want it to enhance learning and under-standing in whatever way turns out to be best? We will not get the most benefit from technology if we insist on applying it to the old talk-and-chalk paradigm. In fact, this is one important reason we have not seen a large return on investment in tech-nology for classroom instruction.

When some harried driver recently stopped me and frantically asked how to get to the Princeton train station, I could have just told her that it was only a few blocks away, and she’d have been there in a minute or two. But instead I asked her why she wanted to get there. “I’ve got to meet the train from New York,” she said. New York trains do not stop at the Princeton train station. They stop at the Princeton Junction train station, a few miles away. I told the driver how to get to the Princeton Junction station, and she was quickly on her way. We do not want our faculty waiting at the wrong station for a train that will never arrive.


Distributed learning and virtual universities (or at least virtual classrooms) do have great potential to change things, but I use the words classroom and university only as temporary proxies for what really needs to evolve. We don’t need classrooms—large spaces where many students come together to listen to someone for some arbitrary amount of time. Doing the same thing online as a virtual classroom does not improve the model; it only takes advantage of the net-work and mobility. Technology can eliminate the need for classrooms, courses, degrees, and colleges/universities. Although this won’t happen tomorrow, the seeds are growing in fertile ground fed largely by commercial institutions that have discovered, for the first time in history, that there is a great deal of money to be made from education. Colleges and universities may not think of Sony, Disney, Ford Motor Company, and the U.S. Army as their rivals today, but these organizations—and others like them—will be tough competitors soon enough. 

Dr Strauss then proceeds to give some great examples.

Continued at

"Teaching as Coaching: Helping Students Learn in a Technological World" by NEWTON SMITH Smith is Director of the Professional Writing Program in the English Department at Western Carolina University. 

"Needed: Creative Teaching and Learning" by PHILLIP D. LONG Long is Senior Strategist for the Academic Computing Enterprise at MIT. 


techwatch Information Technology in the News 

Leadership "Mark Hopkins and the Log-On" by MICHAEL S. MCPHERSON and MORTON OWEN SCHAPIRO 

E-Content "Course-Management Software: Where's the Library?" by DAVID COHEN 

New Horizons "Portals: The Lady or the Tiger?" by ANNIE STUNDEN 

policy@edu "Computer Policy and Law" by STEVE WORONA 

Viewpoints "Eight Things a Former Provost No Longer Believes about IT" by GEOFFREY R. STONE 

Homepage "Support for Teaching and Learning: The Dilemma" by CAROLE A. BARONE 


The United States is bound to protest mightily now that the European Union has ratified laws requiring non-union countries to add taxes on certain products sold over the Internet ---,1283,52351,00.html 

From the Scout Report on May 3, 2002

ETB Thesaurus 

The European Treasury Browser (ETB) Project has recently released a multilingual thesaurus available in eight languages: Danish, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish. The thesaurus is "aimed at indexing educational resources" and building an "interoperable infrastructure to exchange and network metadata on educational resources for schools in Europe." The project seeks to add value to national resource collections by allowing teachers and students to locate Europe resources. The thesaurus gives users access to all resources, regardless of the indexing method used. Users have a choice of downloading the thesaurus between three different displays -- alphabetical, rotated, or systematic. Potential users of the ETB thesaurus are indexers working in education documentation services, publishers, libraries, teachers, students, administrators, scholars, and researchers. Interested users may find downloading the thesaurus a bit difficult; the first download yields a URL from which users can download the actual file.

Bob Jensen's guides to related glossaries can be found at 

Which statistician is telling the truth?

"Not All Women Cry the Baby Blues," by Patricia Sellers, Fortune, May 13, 2002, Page 30  --- 

You've probably heard of the latest disease to strike high-level businesswomen: "an epidemic of childlessness." So says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist whose Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children is generating buzz on TV talk shows and in Time and People cover stories.

We wonder: What planet is she on?! The reason we ask is that Hewlett's statistics--49% of women earning over $100,000 are childless after 40--don't jibe with our findings. In a survey of 187 high achievers who gathered in March at FORTUNE's Most Powerful Women in Business Summit, 71% have children. The average kid count is 2.2 per powerful woman.

Apparently, FORTUNE's bigwigs have figured out the having-it-all thing better than the women in Hewlett's survey. In fact, the vast majority of those we talked to don't buy her theories. Southwest Airlines President Colleen Barrett says, "We have far more women at Southwest today having babies and continuing to work than ten years ago." Lehman Brothers' Barbara Byrne notes that eight of ten female managing directors in her investment-banking division have kids--"and most more than one." Byrne herself has four. Even Ann Moore, the executive at Time Inc. (FORTUNE's parent) who oversees Time and People, says, "If there is an epidemic of childlessness, why do I have 23 professional women on maternity leave and another 33 who will be taking off this year? A byproduct of female leadership, maybe?"

Maybe. Or perhaps these women have discovered ways to combine babies and careers; 30% of the women who attended our summit have househusbands; some launched into motherhood early--Barrett at 23 and Oxygen Media CEO Geraldine Laybourne at 24 (as Hewlett advises). But most just juggled adeptly--the typical woman in our survey became a mom at 31. "I used to say early or late is fine, but the middle is a killer," says Allen & Co. managing director Nancy Peretsman. "Early in any career, there are seven to ten years where you have to prove yourself." Peretsman became a mom at 34, just as she made partner at Salomon Brothers, her former employer.

Continued at  

From the Stanford University GSB Alumni Newsletter on May 3, 2002

Stefan Reichelstein Over the past decade, companies increasingly have been called on to create more value for their owners. Shareholders are demanding that managers be given incentives to focus on corporate value creation. The number of firms that have chosen to adopt value-based performance measures in recent years has shot up, according to accounting professor Stefan Reichelstein. May 2002 

Romain Wacziarg Activists blame trade liberalization policies in developing countries for a variety of problems. Such policies have an adverse impact on countries' growth rate, leading to tectonic shifts in labor sectors. Recent research by Romain Wacziarg found very little change in the structure of labor sectors within five years of liberalization; what shifts did occur were either small or not statistically significant. May 2002 


Business Week Cover Story on May 2, 2002
Spitzer: "My Job Is to Protect Investors" New York's Attorney General explains why he released the Merrill Lynch e-mail and why the Street may need cleaning now more than ever 

New revelations about brokers and analysts who push iffy stocks--without pointing out, say, their investment banking relations with the company--have investors hopping mad. Lawsuits and investigations have plunged Wall Street into crisis, and the implications are huge.

Available to subscribers 

Eliot Spitzer is no stranger to controversy. Since taking office in January, 1999, the 42-year-old New York State Attorney General has sued the gun industry -- a case he plans to argue himself -- and filed the first-ever suit against utility companies in other states, alleging that they're polluting New York air. 

He dropped another bombshell on Apr. 8, when he publicly displayed a series of e-mail messages that had been sent among Merrill Lynch research staffers. Spitzer says they're concrete proof that analysts were recommending stocks they didn't believe in. Although initially, Merrill said the messages were taken out of context, at a shareholders' meeting on Apr. 26, Merrill Lynch CEO David H. Komansky apologized to shareholders and clients for the firm's conduct.

Since then, Spitzer has taken heat from Wall Street, regulators, and other politicians, who have dubbed his investigation everything from "self-serving" to "a witch-hunt." In a May 1 interview with BusinessWeek Banking Editor Heather Timmons, Spitzer defended his inquiry, dismissed his critics, and waxed philosophical about what's wrong with Wall Street. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow:

Q: When you spoke during an Apr. 30 memorial service for your one-time boss, Manhattan Special Commissioner Edward F. Stancik, you said the legendary investigator strongly believed that "sunshine was a great disinfectant." That seems like an apt description of what you're trying to do on the Street -- drag everything into a public venue in order to expose, and consequently clean up, any corruption.
That's what I'm trying to do. To a certain extent the remedies we're promoting are "sunshine." We want to permit investors to understand conflicts [of interest] and potential conflicts. We need to go beyond mere sunshine though, and not just say that disclosure alone is sufficient. We need to go beyond the proposed National Association of Securities Dealers [NASD] rules, to more structural changes. We hope to really create a buffer between analysts and investment-banking fees.

There is another piece of this, and that's how do you protect the analysts from the pressure that will be inevitably applied by the investment banking side of the business?

Q: Isn't there also the issue of how do you protect analysts from pressure applied by corporations?
Correct. There are many points of potential conflict. If I'm Company X, and I'm going to an investment house, and I want them to underwrite my offering, I can say implicitly or explicitly, "How is your analyst going to cover me?" I've [heard about this from all perspectives, from having spoken] to at least 100 investment bankers and CEOs who have felt the pressure being pitched both ways.

For example, CEOs have told me "When they came in to solicit my business, they offered me a strong buy if we took the business to them." Sometimes [the pressure] is used by the investment house, sometimes it's used by the client company as a bargaining chip: "If you want my business you'll have to deliver."

The critical issue is: How do we insulate the analysts to insure integrity in his or her reports?

Q: Do you have a solution?
Well, we have a bunch of things we've been talking to Merrill about -- we've had some ideas, and they have some ideas. I think the people in the industry -- the ones who live with it and the ones who understand it -- are at least as likely as I to come up with some creative ideas. We haven't settled, and we aren't about to settle, but we've had some useful conversations. [He declined to give details.]

Continued at  

Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core Threads are at 

Free From Business Week

Judging from the history of previous technological revolutions, e-commerce will likely thrive in the long run, 
now that a shakeout has cleared the way. Indeed, many dot.coms are profitable. In this Special Report, 
BW looks at how e-biz rose, fell, and will rise anew.
Available to all readers 

How E-Biz Rose, Fell, and Will Rise Anew
As in previous tech upheavals, solid expansion may come now that a shakeout has cleared the tracks

Break Out the Black Ink
Profitable dot-coms? Being in the right business helps

Going to the Source, on the Web
Companies that go online to do supply negotiations -- and not just ordering -- find savings and speedier results

Microsoft: A Dip That Delights?
Its up-and-down stock is now at a level that could appeal to investors who believe the software giant can thrive in a post-PC world

Commentary: Hey, We've Got History on Our Side


The Freebie Road to Digital Riches
Making select content openly available can be one part of a multipronged marketing strategy for selling books, musics, movies...

The Battle of the Online Content Models
In the pay-to-read corner is the Journal. In the give-it-away corner is the Times. Which one will prevail?

The RIAA: "The Piracy Rate Is Growing"
The recording industry trade group's general counsel wants to find a balance between file-sharing and profitable business models

Lawrence Lessig: The "Dinosaurs" Are Taking Over
If the media giants have their way, the Net freedom fighter says, content will be rigidly controlled and innovation stifled

Bob Jensen's threads on e-Business are at 

Bottom Line:  Earnings Versus Cash Flow
If you are interested in this, I have part of an examination that relates to this issue --- 

"Don't Count On Cash Flow The one measure you thought you could trust can be twisted too." by Herb Greenberg, Fortune, May 13, 2002, Page 176 --- 

With the quality of its earnings under the microscope, technology-services company EDS did something unusual when it announced fourth-quarter results several months ago: It went out of its way to tout the strength of its cash flow. Not earnings, but the stuff that earnings spring from. The stuff that's allegedly unmalleable, that tells the true story. If operating cash flow is strong, the theory goes, the quality of earnings should be strong too. "Investors are looking for some measure of truth to hang their hat on," says Charles Mulford, an accounting professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and author of The Financial Numbers Game. "There's a feeling that if they can deposit it in the bank and you can see it and spend it, then it's real--and unlike earnings, not subject to the whims of the accountants or the vagaries of GAAP."

Truth seekers, we have bad news for you. Like everything else in financial statements, even cash flow is corruptible--or at least subject to quality issues of its own. And while cash flow may be harder to manipulate than earnings, Mulford says, there's a "surprising amount of flexibility" in how cash flow can be reported. That's critical if you're considering this measure as a clue to how solid earnings really are.

Cash flow--referred to as operating cash flow in annual reports--is generally defined as net income before the effects of such noncash expenses as depreciation and amortization. (Despite what many companies claim, Ebitda is not cash flow.) Investors in capital-intensive companies, such as EDS, want a further level of detail, calculating "free" cash flow, which is usually defined as operating cash flow minus capital spending.

Yet some items can trick investors into thinking cash flow is stronger than it really it is. Take the tax benefit companies get when employees exercise stock options. Accounting rules consider that benefit part of operating cash flow. Almost all number sleuths, however, believe it's an unpredictable nonoperating gain that investors should subtract from operating cash flow. (As stock prices collapse, so does the benefit, because fewer options are exercised!) After falling for a year, for example, operating cash flow at Lucent turned positive in 2000. But analyst Albert Meyer of David Tice & Associates, who had long been warning of trouble at Lucent, wasn't fooled. "A watchful eye could see that it was entirely attributable to tax benefits," Meyer says. So much so that without the tax benefit, Lucent's 2000 operating cash flow would've been a negative $760 million rather than a positive $304 million. Instead of getting better, it was getting worse!

Then there's American Software, which could serve as a poster child for the way that capitalizing expenses can artificially inflate cash flow. The company, which capitalizes the cost of software development--amortizing it over months or years rather than expensing it immediately--is not doing anything wrong. Under GAAP a host of expenses can be capitalized--from direct-response advertising to landfill development to debt issuance. That makes actual expenses lower than they would otherwise be, pushing earnings higher. And by those rules, costs that are capitalized count as an "investment" item on the cash flow statement. The trouble is that when a company reduces the amount it capitalizes, cash flow can suddenly drop too. That's what happened at American Software, which sliced its capitalized costs by 62% in 2001. As a result, cash flow, which had been positive, turned negative.

Continued at -  

The Investment FAQ

Enter your own question to search for answers about investments and personal finance. Or use the list of categories shown at the right to browse answers to many frequently asked questions.

Exclusive! A book about momentum investing is available only here. Read Five Minute Investing by Braden Glett.

You can buy stock every month with ShareBuilder with no minimum and just $4 in fees. Click here to learn more.

Bob Jensen's threads on finding an investment advisor and fees can be found at 

Keep in mind that many people can learn enough about investing to manage their own portfolios without having to pay investment advisors.  As far a no-load mutual funds go, I am moving more of my savings into Vanguaard --- 
I especially like the relatively low service fees and the check writing feature of most of their funds --- you get a checkbook for each fund.

Something Your (Our) College President Should be Thinking About 
Tuition Revenue from Quality Non-Credit, Short, and Inexpensive Online Courses

Prestigious=University of Michigan, Inexpensive=$45.

The material for this course takes approximately 5-10 hours which you can complete at your convenience, a few minutes a day or all at once. A discussion board, moderated by a course instructor, offers learners the opportunity to express ideas, exchange opinions and post voluntary weekly assignments. Students may enroll in this course up to four weeks after the start date, until May 21. All students will have password-protected access to this seminar until June 25.
Source:  See the message below from Fathom

The expensive cost drivers in any credit course arise from maintaining academic standards needed to maintain reputation when granting course credits.  Admission standards, intense student-instructor communications, and performance standards must all be implemented.  Quality education for academic credit is very, very expensive.

But in lifelong learning, it is not always necessary to take the expensive route.

Delivering a non-credit course such as the one below is in many ways more pure and a heck of a lot more fun.  It's learning for learning's sake and the instructor can focus on what he or she probably likes best --- quality of delivery and preparation of  content!  

It's the free market at its best.  Students choose to pay for the content and delivery rather than the grade.  Bad courses don't sell because they offer easier A grades.  Bad courses don't sell because they're required in the curriculum plan.  Bad courses don't sell period if they are not required and/or do not offer any grades.

What is frustrating for most of us that are teaching credit courses is that most students are more concerned with the grade than with the content.  This cannot be the case in the course described below.  Students are only paying for learning in its purest sense.  Students in the course are not driven by the quest for a grade on a transcript or a curriculum plan that requires three courses out of ten on the menu in each of seven required categories.

This is also a way for administrators and faculty to think out of the box, to imagine new ways of generating huge amounts of lower cost tuition revenue.  In managerial accounting we call this Cost-Profit-Volume (CPV) analysis where lower cost drives up volume which in turn drives up profits.  I anticipate that prestigious colleges and universities will one day see the CPV light and begin to offer more and more courses like the one described below.  The advantage of prestige in this market will be the expectations by customers that prestigious schools are more apt to have better quality controls and better faculty to draw upon for these innovative short courses.

May 1, 2002 message from Fathom 
(Note that the faculty involved are purportedly some of the best specialists in the world:  Sharon Herbert , David S. Potter , Terry Wilfong , Susan E. Alcock)

We're excited to tell you about a new e-course from the University of Michigan, "Daily Life in the Eastern Roman Empire (100 BCE-100 CE): Trade, Travel, and Transformation." To celebrate the launch of this course, we're offering a special 20% discount if you enroll before May 15. Just enter the coupon code ROMEMP at checkout to claim your discount.

Students in this nine-week course will learn how great changes in the Roman empire, such as the stirrings of early Christianity, affected the daily lives of subjects in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Taught by a team of four University of Michigan professors of classics, archaeology, and egyptology, the course offers a fascinating look at various characters and occupations during this turbulent era. To learn more or to enroll, go to: 


If you are a college educator, think about CVP analysis if you are unhappy with your present salary level and wish that your college could generate more revenue for faculty salaries.

May 3 reply from Gary Schneider

The interesting state of affairs that leads to offer low-priced on-line courses taught by stellar faculty is explored in a New York Times article titled "Lessons Learned at Dot-Com U.": 


Gary P. Schneider, Ph.D, CPA 
Associate Professor of Accounting and Information Systems 
University of San Diego School of Business Administration 5998 
Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110-2492

I provide an introductory excerpt from that article:

"Lessons Learned at Dot-Com U., by Katie Hafner, The New York Times, May 2, 2002 --- 

Go to and you will encounter a veritable trove of online courses about Shakespeare. You can enroll in "Modern Film Adaptations of Shakespeare," offered by the American Film Institute, or "Shakespeare and Management," taught by a member of the Columbia Business School faculty.

The site is by no means confined to courses on Shakespeare. You can also treat yourself to a seminar called "Bioacoustics: Cetaceans and Seeing Sounds," taught by a scientist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Or if yours is a more public-policy-minded intellect, you can sign up for "Capital Punishment in the United States," a seminar with experts from Cambridge University Press, Columbia University and the University of Chicago.

What's more, all are free.

That part was not always the plan. Fathom, a start-up financed by Columbia, was founded two years ago with the goal of making a profit by offering online courses over the Internet. But after spending more than $25 million on the venture, Columbia has found decidedly little interest among prospective students in paying for the semester-length courses.

Now Fathom is taking a new approach, one that its chief executive likens to giving away free samples to entice customers.

Call it the Morning After phenomenon. In the last few years, prestigious universities rushed to start profit-seeking spinoffs, independent divisions that were going to develop online courses. The idea, fueled by the belief that students need not be physically present to receive a high-quality education, went beyond the mere introduction of online tools into traditional classes.

The notion was that there were prospective students out there, far beyond the university's walls, for whom distance education was the answer. Whether they were 18-year-olds seeking college degrees or 50-year-olds longing to sound smart at cocktail parties, students would flock to the Web by the tens of thousands, paying tuitions comparable to those charged in the bricks-and-mortarboard world — or so the thinking went.

Continued at 

Ron Prather is a retired Distinguished Professor from Trinity University. His field is computer science, and he still teaches part-time for Trinity University.

At the University Club party on May 1 (which was a fun party with a country band and good food), my wife and I sat with Ron and his wife Jane. I learned that Ron has taken special lessons to be an online instructor and is now teaching a rigorous online computer science course for the University of Liverpool. Ron says it is one of the most interesting things and one of the most difficult things he has ever done in his life.

His students are online and come from all parts of the world. In order to maintain intense student/instructor communication, class sizes are limited to about 15 students.

The purpose of this message is to let you know that if you are interested in the newer wave of distance education, Ron Prather is a professor who can share his experiences with you.

Another instructor you might want to talk to is Susan Spencer. Roger is a professor of economics at Trinity. His wife Susan teaches economics at San Antonio College (SAC). Although she has been teaching for years onsite, she is now developing online courses that she can teach from her home or, in her words, "from anywhere." What she informed me about at the party last night was that at SAC, unlike the University of Liverpool, all courses must incorporate some often expensive tracks for special needs students such as blind students. Susan has discovered that online course development for blind students is especially challenging for courses that typically utilize visual content such as graphs and tables on computer screens. It will be interesting to follow how she creatively works this out.

Virtual public schools have graduated from only a handful a few years ago to more than 30. While most have done well, a few bad apples have prompted states to ask for greater oversight authority.

"Online Schools Under Scrutiny," by John Gartner, Wired News, May 3, 2002 ---,1367,52207,00.html 

More than 30 publicly funded virtual charter schools have launched during the past five years, and parents have largely been pleased with the results.

But the alleged mismanagement of two academies run by for-profit companies is prompting

Educators say the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) in Ohio and Einstein Academy in Pennsylvania, both of which are run by private companies, have ignored numerous academic guidelines while operating with questionable accounting practices.

The Ohio Federation of Teachers joined with nine other teaching associations to sue the state's Board of Education, alleging that state officials have violated state law by allowing for-profit companies to control and operate charter schools.

Federation president Tom Mooney said ECOT is "really being run by Bozo and Clarabell," claiming that management company Altair Learning Management had no background in education or technology. However, Mooney said they were "shrewd enough to smell a really good opportunity."

A state audit (PDF) of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow's freshman year of 2000-2001 alleged that Altair Learning could use a few math lessons.

The audit, which was released in April, showed that the company overcharged the state by $1.65 million for teaching hours it could not substantiate, and that $500,000 worth of computer equipment given to students who left the program were not recovered.

The auditor's office said ECOT's net loss of $3.8 million during the school year "causes substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern."

ECOT recently agreed to pay back $1.6 million to Ohio's department of education over the next three years. ECOT superintendent Jeffrey P. Forster, who saw 30 percent of his students leave the program during its first year, said that because of cost cutting, the academy is on solid financial footing.

Forster, who was a high school principal for 35 years, said the online school helps students who would otherwise have difficulty in public schools. "We're not getting the captain of the football team or the prom queen here," he said.

The federation also cites a recent charter granted directly to Akron "industrialist" David Brennan's White Hat Management company instead of to a nonprofit as required by state law.

Mooney said that when legislators passed the charter school law, they never envisioned cyber schools and "did not set up appropriate guidelines for oversight."

Motions for summary judgments in the case, which ask the judge to rule on the validity of the complaint, are due on May 15.

In neighboring Pennsylvania, several pending lawsuits claim that online charter schools violate the state's constitution.

Continued at,1367,52207,00.html 

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of distance education are at 

See also:
•  Cyber School Flunking First Year
•  Setting Standards for Web-Ed
•  Ed-Tech Is Not Tech But Ed
•  Rotten Links Hamper Learning
•  E-Learning Is Good; Now What?
•  It's time to go Back to School


May 2 Message from 

Dear Bob,

Ruth Bender and Andy Burnett thought you would be interested in a cartoon on our website,

Happy Birthday. And thanks for all the bookmarks!

Click the link below to view the cartoon. 

The homepage is at 

Also see 

From Syllabus News on May 3, 2002

California State Adopts Knowledge Management System

California State University's Office of the Chancellor has launched a university-wide knowledge management initiative. The project would use ServiceWare Inc.'s eService Suite and is designed to capture intellectual capital, integrate information from internal and external systems, and develop a centralized repository of knowledge. Mark Crase, senior director for technology infrastructure initiatives for the Chancellor, said the system would "be used to share critical project information with stakeholders at all twenty-three of our campuses." According to Gartner, Inc., in 2002 public sector spending on IT will start to have a major impact on software associated with collecting information and building knowledge, which will lead to a boom similar to government investment in infrastructure and hardware.

Universities Acquire Advanced Multimedia Scoreboards

Football fans at the University of Illinois, Iowa State University, Baylor University and the U.S. Naval Academy will have new state-of-the-art scoreboards and video displays at home games this fall. The four Daktronics Inc. systems, valued at over $5.6 million, will show live video and instant replays in 68 billion colors, with wide-angle viewing for visibility from every seat in the stadium. Digital advertising and information display technology will keep fans up to date with team and player statistics, out-of-town game scores, cropped video clips, animation, graphics, corporate promotions and other colorful programming. The displays will take advantage of the latest developments in light emitting diode and control system technologies to provide fans with high quality video images.

Jensen Comment:  What a waste.  Professors should at least be able to hold classes in the stadiums between games.

From Syllabus News on May , 2002

Stanford U., Silicon Valley Public TV, Create Alliance

Stanford University and Silicon Valley's public television station, KTEH, are forming a partnership to jointly produce television programming covering the university's cutting-edge research programs. KTEH chief Tom Fanella said the station "has worked hard to deliver Silicon Valley's stories to a nationwide audience. Bringing Stanford's enormous capabilities to bear means that we can multiply both the breadth and the depth of that storytelling, and better serve our local and national constituencies." Two executive producers are heading a team researching topics for potential programming. The team is looking at telling -- in documentary and other formats -- compelling stories from Stanford's research in such areas that include engineering and medicine. Among the first projects is a program featuring an interview with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

Blackboard, Trivantis Sign 'Building Blocks' Partnership

Blackboard Inc., a developer of Internet solutions for the education market, and Trivantis Corp., a provider of publishing technologies and content development services, announced a partnership under which Trivantis will join the Blackboard Building Blocks (B2) program. Also, Blackboard will resell Trivantis' Lectora suite of authoring and publishing tools. Both companies have demonstrated the interoperability between the Blackboard Learning System and the Lectora Publisher authoring tools, as well as the Palm OS and PocketPC platforms. Using Lectora, educators can create custom curriculum content quickly and easily while on- or off-line. Under the deal, clients can purchase from Blackboard an authoring tool that allows them to create standards-compliant content for Blackboard course web sites while offline.

George State Publishes The Ultimate WebCT Handbook:

Georgia State University's Division of Distance and Distributed Learning has just published a guide to the WebCT online education platform. The "Ultimate WebCT Handbook: A Pedagogical Guide to WebCT" was written by Stephen Rehberg, Donn Ferguson and Jeanne McQuillan. This book provides information and ideas that educators should think about before creating an online course. The topics include: how and where to get training, how to build a simple, intermediate or advanced course, how to assess the success of a course for both faculty and students.  The heart of the book is a detailed review of each WebCT tool. The reviews are broken out by sections featuring Pedagogy, Accessability , Suggestions & Tips and Common Problems Encountered by First Time Users.


Undetectable 'son of cookie' system wins grant," by John Lettice, The Register, May 7, 2002 --- 

The developers of a 'son of cookie' web monitoring system have received a Proof of Concept grant from Scottish Enterprise to commercialise the system. Their non-cookie based web monitoring software does not (as indeed the name suggests) rely on cookies, but instead is intended to replace them with something far more powerful.

It has, as the features list makes clear, great privacy-invading potential. The "sensors" it uses: - 

Continued at  

It's the latest in Web marketing innovation: Hijacked Web surfers, exploited Web browser vulnerabilities and malicious spyware all wrapped up together.

"The pop-up ad campaign from hell," by Brian McWilliams, Salon, May 7, 2002 --- 

Looking for state-of-the-art Internet skulduggery? Try this: Thousands of unsuspecting visitors to a family entertainment site are discovering a cornucopia of unwanted, potentially malicious software on their computers -- the result of a pop-up ad campaign, a booby-trapped Web site, a compromised Web browser, and strange doings at a shadowy Los Angeles company.

The story starts at Flowgo, a site that prides itself as the leading family entertainment portal. According to officials at eUniverse, the California firm that operates Flowgo, a pop-up ad that ran at the heavily trafficked humor site for a couple of weeks until late April caused the trouble.

The ad, purchased by a Los Angeles Internet marketing firm named IntelliTech Web Solutions, was designed to automatically redirect visitors away from Flowgo (no mouse click required) and to dump them at a booby-trapped site called KoolKatalog.

Once at KoolKatalog, visitors were invited to feed an e-mail address into a digital slot machine created in the Shockwave animation format. Solve the puzzle faster than anyone else, and KoolKatalog would send you a swell prize!

In the nanosecond it took most people to recognize the obvious junk mail trap, the real damage was already nearly done. According to virus experts, code in the pages at KoolKatalog exploited a known flaw in an old version of the Java engine of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to covertly download the first of 10 files onto visitors' computers.

KoolKatalog is currently inacessible, but its domain name was registered by an IntelliTech employee and the phone number listed in the privacy statement at KoolKatalog is the number for IntelliTech Web Solutions. Phone messages left with the receptionist who answered at that number were not returned.

A contrite spokeswoman for eUniverse said IntelliTech's automatic redirects violated its ad policy, and eUniverse pulled the pop-ups as soon as it learned what was happening. Flowgo has achieved its success, she said -- and helped earn its publicly traded parent several quarters of profitability -- by taking great care to protect the safety of its visitors.

But according to virus experts, tens of thousands of Internet users have been back-doored by the KoolKatalog-distributed "malware," which they have added to their lists of malicious code for scanning.

Continued at 

In my next life I think I will be a math professor or any other discipline where the rules don't keep changing.

On May 1, as leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee put the final touches on a radical reform bill to be titled the "Financial Accounting Standards Board Act," the standards board itself rushed to post a flurry of publications to its Web site. 

If Microsoft made cars instead of computer programs, product-liability suits might by now have driven it out of business. Should software makers be made more accountable for damage caused by faulty programs?

"A lemon law for software?" The Economist, May 14, 2002 --- 

EVENTS of the past six months have shown just how fragile the industrial world's technological infrastructure can be. No question that terrorism can bring business districts, power grids, computer networks or air-traffic-control systems to their knees. But so, too, can stupidity, carelessness and haste. Indeed, from Titanic to Chernobyl—and in nine out of ten accidents in the air and on the road—human error has accounted for vastly more fatalities than malfunctioning parts or sabotage. Unfortunately, that is about to get even worse.

There is no escaping the trend towards replacing slow, cumbersome yet ultimately reliable bits of machinery with cheap, quick and compact “fly-by-wire” controls that are managed entirely by software. All well and good—except that there is no such thing as a bug-free piece of software. Even experienced programmers make on average one error for every ten lines of code. And all it takes is three or four defects per 1,000 lines of code for a program to start doing unpredictable things. With commercial software containing not thousands but increasingly millions of lines of code, the potential for disaster is all too clear.

Software defects would be bad enough if all they did was require the hardware to be reset. But defects invariably provide security holes for malicious hackers to exploit. Making matters worse, instead of working to close security holes in their existing products, software firms tend to cram more and more features into their programs to entice customers to buy the latest upgrades.

Yet software does not have to be so vulnerable. Techniques such as “extreme programming” or the “five-step capability maturity model” which require programmers either to work in pairs or to follow rigid sets of rules, can produce remarkably clean code first time round.

But the disciplined approach is alien to the software industry's quick-and-dirty culture. Software firms prefer to bash out code and then try to catch as many bugs as possible while racing to ship the product. Unfortunately, that means that customers end up doing much of the quality-assurance work—as they track down and report errors, install security patches and buy upgrades. According to the Standish Group, a market-research firm, faulty software cost American firms $100 billion last year.

Continued at 

Visit for the latest reader-written articles and Web tours plus features and departments from the new issue of Technology & Learning magazine. 

May 2002 SPE Document from the FASB (It is free in draft form)

Questions and Answers Related to Derivative Financial Instruments Held or Entered into by a Qualifying Special-Purpose Entity (SPE) --- 

In September 2000, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued FASB Statement No. 140, Accounting for Transfers and Servicing of Financial Assets and Extinguishments of Liabilities. The FASB staff determined that the following questions and answers should be issued as an aid to understanding and implementing Statement 140 because of certain inquiries received on specific aspects of that Statement. 

The Board reviewed the following questions and answers in a public meeting and did not object to their issuance. The questions and answers will be included in a future edition of the FASB Staff Implementation

Bob Jensen's SPE threads are at 

Bob Jensen's threads on derivative financial instruments are at



Also the FASB released FAS 145 (This is not a free document) 
Rescission of FASB Statements No. 4, 44, and 64, Amendment of FASB Statement No. 13, and Technical Corrections. 
The Statement updates, clarifies and simplifies existing accounting pronouncements

Statement 145 rescinds Statement 4, which required all gains and losses from extinguishment of debt to be aggregated and, if material, classified as an extraordinary item, net of related income tax effect. As a result, the criteria in Opinion 30 will now be used to classify those gains and losses. Statement 64 amended Statement 4, and is no longer necessary because Statement 4 has been rescinded.

Statement 44 was issued to establish accounting requirements for the effects of transition to the provisions of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. Because the transition has been completed, Statement 44 is no longer necessary.

Statement 145 amends Statement 13 to require that certain lease modifications that have economic effects similar to sale-leaseback transactions be accounted for in the same manner as sale-leaseback transactions. This amendment is consistent with the FASB’s goal of requiring similar accounting treatment for transactions that have similar economic effects.

This Statement also makes technical corrections to existing pronouncements. While those corrections are not substantive in nature, in some instances, they may change accounting practice.

Statement 145 may be ordered from the FASB website at  or by telephoning the FASB’s Order Department at 800-748-0659.

April 2002 Document on SPEs and Enron from the International Accounting Standards Board (This Document is Free)


An excerpt is shown below:


Of the 16 topics on our research agenda, one warrants special mention here. For several years, there has been an international debate on the topic of consolidation policy. The failure to consolidate some entities has been identified as a significant issue in the restatement of Enron’s financial statements. Accountants use the term consolidation policy as shorthand for the principles that govern the preparation of consolidated financial statements that include the assets and liabilities of a parent company and its subsidiaries. For an example of consolidation, consider the simple example known to every accounting student. Company A operates a branch office in Edinburgh. Company B also operates a branch office in Edinburgh, but organises the branch as a corporation owned by Company B. Every accounting student knows that the financial statements of each company should report all of the assets and liabilities of their respective Edinburgh operations, without regard to the legal form surrounding those operations. 

Of course, real life is seldom as straightforward as textbook examples. Companies often own less than 100 per cent of a company that might be included in the consolidated group. Some special purpose entities (SPEs) may not be organised in traditional corporate form. The challenge for accountants is to determine which entities should be included in consolidated financial statements. 

There is a broad consensus among accounting standard-setters that the decision to consolidate should be based on whether one entity controls another. However, there is much disagreement over how control should be defined and translated into accounting guidance. In some jurisdictions accounting standards and practice seem to have gravitated toward a legal or ownership notion of control, usually based on direct or indirect ownership of over 50 per cent of the outstanding voting shares. In contrast, both international standards and the standards in some national jurisdictions are based on a broader notion of control that includes ownership, but extends to control over financial and operating policies, power to appoint or remove a majority of the board of directors, and power to cast a majority of votes at meetings of the board of directors. 

A number of commentators, including many in the USA, have questioned whether the control principle is consistently applied. The IASB and its partner standard-setters are committed to an ongoing review of the effectiveness of our standards. If they do not work as well as they should, we want to find out why and fix the problem. Last summer we asked the UK ASB to help us by researching the various national standards on consolidation and identifying any inconsistencies or implementation problems. It has completed the first stage of that effort and is moving now to more difficult questions. 

The particular consolidation problems posed by SPEs were addressed by the IASB’s former Standing Interpretations Committee in SIC-12. There are some kinds of SPE that pose particular problems for both an ownership approach and a control-based approach to consolidations. It is not uncommon for SPEs to have minimal capital, held by a third party, that bears little if any of the risks and rewards usually associated with share ownership. The activities of some SPEs are

so precisely prescribed in the documents that establish them that no active exercise of day-to-day control is needed or allowed. These kinds of SPEs are commonly referred to as running on ‘auto-pilot’. In these cases, control is exercised in a passive way. To discover who has control it is necessary to look at which party receives the benefits and risks of the SPE. 

SIC-12 sets out four particular circumstances that may indicate that an SPE should be consolidated:

(a) in substance, the activities of the SPE are being conducted on behalf of the enterprise according to its specific business needs so that the enterprise obtains benefits from the SPE’s operation. 

(b) in substance, the enterprise has the decision-making powers to obtain the majority of the benefits of the activities of the SPE or, by setting up an ‘autopilot’ mechanism, the enterprise has delegated these decision-making powers. 

(c) in substance, the enterprise has rights to obtain the majority of the benefits of the SPE and therefore may be exposed to risks incidental to the activities of the SPE. 

(d) in substance, the enterprise retains the majority of the residual or ownership risks related to the SPE or its assets in order to obtain benefits from its activities.

The IASB recognises that we may be able to improve our approach to SPEs. With this in mind, we have already asked our interpretations committee if there are any ways in which the rules need to be strengthened or clarified.

Current criticisms and concerns about financial reporting 

There some common threads that pass through most of the topics on our active and research agendas. Each represents a broad topic that has occupied the best accounting minds for several years. It is time to bring many of these issues to a conclusion. 

Off balance sheet items 

When a manufacturer sells a car or a dishwasher, the inventory is removed from the balance sheet (a process that accountants refer to as derecognition) because the manufacturer no longerowns the item. Similarly, when a company repays a loan, it no longer reports that loan as a liability. However, the last 20 years have seen a number of attempts by companies to remove assets and liabilities from balance sheets through transactions that may obscure the economic substance of the company’s financial position. There are four areas that warrant mention here, each of which has the potential to obscure the extent of a company’s assets and liabilities. 

Leasing transactions

A company that owns an asset, say an aircraft, and finances that asset with debt reports an asset (the aircraft) and a liability (the debt). Under existing accounting standards in most jurisdictions (including ASB and IASB standards), a company that operates the same asset under a lease structured as an operating lease reports neither the asset nor the liability. It is possible to operate a company, say an airline, without reporting any of the company’s principal assets (aircraft) on the balance sheet. A balance sheet that presents an airline without any aircraft is clearly not a faithful representation of economic reality.

Our predecessor body, working in conjunction with our partners in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA, published a research paper that invited comments on accounting for leases. The UK ASB is continuing work on this topic and we are monitoring its work carefully. As noted above, we expect to move accounting for leases to our active agenda at some point in the future. There is a distinct possibility that such a project would lead us to propose that companies recognise assets and related lease obligations for all leases.

 Securitisation transactions

Under existing accounting standards in many jurisdictions, a company that transfers assets (like loans or credit-card balances) through a securitisation transaction recognises the transaction as a sale and removes the amounts from its balance sheet. Some securitisations are appropriately accounted for as sales, but many continue to expose the transferor to many of the significant risks and rewards inherent in the transferred assets. In our project on improvements to IAS 39 (page 5), we plan to propose an approach that will clarify international standards governing a company’s ability to derecognise assets in a securitisation. Our approach, which will not allow sale treatment when the ‘seller’ has a continuing involvement with the assets, will be significantly different from the one found in the existing standards of most jurisdictions.

Creation of unconsolidated entities 

Under existing accounting standards in many jurisdictions, a company that transfers assets and liabilities to a subsidiary company must consolidate that subsidiary in the parent company’s financial statements (see page 6). However, in some cases (often involving the use of an SPE), the transferor may be able (in some jurisdictions) to escape the requirement to consolidate. Standards governing the consolidation of SPEs are described on page 7. 

Pension obligations

Under existing standards in many jurisdictions (including existing international standards) a company’s obligation to a defined benefit pension plan is reported on the company’s balance sheet. However, the amount reported is not the current obligation, based on current information and assumptions, but instead represents the result of a series of devices designed to spread changes over several years. In contrast, the UK standard (FRS 17) has attracted significant recent attention because it does not include a smoothing mechanism. The IASB plans to examine the differences among the various national accounting standards for pensions (in particular, the smoothing mechanism), as part of our ongoing work on convergence.

Items not included in the profit and loss account 

Under existing accounting standards in some jurisdictions, a company that pays for goods and services through the use of its own shares, options on its shares, or instruments tied to the value of its shares may not record any cost for those goods and services. The most common form of this share-based transaction is the employee share option. In 1995, after what it called an “extraordinarily controversial” debate, the FASB issued a standard that, in most cases in the USA, requires disclosure of the effect of employee share options but does not require recognition in the financial statements. In its Basis for Conclusions, the FASB observed:

The Board chose a disclosure-based solution for stock-based employee compensation to bring closure to the divisive debate on this issue—not because it believes that solution is the best way to improve financial accounting and reporting.

Most jurisdictions, including the UK, do not have any standard on accounting for share-based payment, and the use of this technique is growing outside of the USA. There is a clear need for international accounting guidance. Last autumn, the IASB reopened the comment period on a discussion document Accounting for Share-based Payment. This document was initially published by our predecessor, in concert with standard-setters from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. We have now considered the comments received and have begun active deliberation of this project. Accounting measurement

Under existing accounting standards in most jurisdictions, assets and liabilities are reported at amounts based on a mixture of accounting measurements. Some measurements are based on historical transaction prices, perhaps adjusted for depreciation, amortisation, or impairment. Others are based on fair values, using either amounts observed in the marketplace or estimates of fair value. Accountants refer to this as the mixed attribute model. It is increasingly clear that a mixed attribute system creates complexity and opportunities for accounting arbitrage, especially for derivatives and financial instruments. Some have suggested that financial reporting should move to a system that measures all financial instruments at fair value.

Our predecessor body participated in a group of ten accounting standard-setters (the Joint Working Group or JWG) to study the problem of accounting for financial instruments. The JWG proposal (which recommended a change to measuring all financial assets and liabilities at fair value) was published at the end of 2000. Earlier this year the Canadian Accounting Standards Board presented an analysis of comments on that proposal. The IASB has just begun to consider how this effort should move forward. 

Intangible assets

Under existing accounting standards in most jurisdictions, the cost of an intangible asset (a patent, copyright, or the like) purchased from a third party is capitalised as an asset. This is the same as the accounting for acquired tangible assets (buildings and machines) and financial assets (loans and accounts receivable). Existing accounting standards extend this approach to self-constructed tangible assets, so a company that builds its own building capitalises the costs incurred and reports that as the cost of its self-constructed asset. However, a company that develops its own patent for a new drug or process is prohibited from capitalising much (sometimes all) of the costs of creating that intangible asset. Many have criticised this inconsistency, especially at a time when many view intangible assets as significant drivers of company performance.

The accounting recognition and measurement of internally generated intangibles challenges many long-cherished accounting conventions. Applying the discipline of accounting concepts challenges many of the popular conceptions of intangible assets and ‘intellectual capital’. We have this topic on our research agenda. We also note the significant work that the FASB has done on this topic and its recent decision to add a project to develop proposed disclosures about internally generated intangible assets. We plan to monitor those efforts closely.

Bob Jensen's threads on the Enron/Andersen scandals are at

Bob Jensen's SPE threads are at 

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at 

To say derivative accounting in America is in the sewer is an insult to sewage.
Charles Munger (forwarded by Ganesh M. Pandit, DBA, CPA, CMA [profgmp@HOTMAIL.COM] )
For more, click on 

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting for derivatives can be found at 

Hi George,

Nothing the FASB has issued with respect to derivatives makes much sense unless you go outside the FASB literature for basic terminology, most of which is borrowed from finance. A hybrid instrument is financial instrument that possesses, in varying combinations, characteristics of forward contracts, futures contracts, option contracts, debt instruments, bank depository interests, and other interests. The host contract may not be a derivative contract but may have embedded derivatives. See the definition of embedded derivative at 

The problem is that the value of the hybrid (which may be a market price or transaction price) is often difficult to bifurcate into component values when the components themselves are not traded on the market on their own. An excellent paper on how to value some bifurcated components is provided in "Implementation of an Option Pricing-Based Bond Valuation Model for Corporate Debt and Its Components," by M.E. Barth, W.R. Landsman, and R.J. Rendleman, Jr., Accounting Horizons, December 2000, pp. 455-480.

Some firms contend that the major problem they are having in implementing FAS 133 or IAS 39 lies in having to review virtually every financial instrument in search of embedded derivatives and then trying to resolve whether bifurcation is required or not required. Many of the embedded derivatives are so "closely related" that bifurcation is not required. See "closely related" in 

Also listen to executives and analysts discuss the bifurcation problem in 

Detecting derivatives and embedded derivatives to account for worldwide (bifurcation)

Bob Jensen

May 6, 2002 message from George Lan

I am trying to read the FASB draft (Questions and Answers Related to Derivative Financial Instruments Held or Entered into by a Qualifying Special-Purpose Entity (SPE)) and got stumped right at the beginning. Perhaps someone on the list can clarify these sentences for me: "Under FASB 133, hybrid instruments that must be bifurcated contain two components for accounting purpose-- a derivative financial instrument and a nonderivative host contract....Hybrid instruments that are not bifurcated ... are not considered to be derivative instruments." I am familiar with split accounting (methods of splitting the financial instrument into its bond and equity components, e.g) and with most of the common derivative contracts such as futures, forwards, options, swaps but am ignorant about hybrid instruments and why they must be or do not have to be bifurcated and would certainly appreciate some examples and assistance from AECMers.

I am also a little familiar with much of the derivative jargon, but expressions like "the floor purchased..." could perhaps be clarified to make the draft easier to read and understand by a wider audience.

Just a couple of thoughts,

George Lan 
University of Windsor

Follow up message on May 7, 2002

Hi George,

As far as I can tell there are three reasons for creation of really complex derivative contracts. The first is to make a contract so complex that the customer overlooks the real underlying risks. The second is to make it so complex that the "customer" such as a CFO who understands the risks involved does not want his or her oversight board to understand the underlying risks. I'm not kidding here. Once again I refer you to Frank Partnoy's book where actual cases are cited where Merrill Lynch (in the Orange County Scandal), Morgan Stanley (in repeated pension fund scandals), First Boston, and other investment banks designed complex structured instruments for just that purpose. In some cases, derivatives experts on Wall Street did not fully comprehend the risks involved. Often the trick is to make it look like its underlying is insured by the U.S. Government and then sneak in a huge currency conversion risk (the case of the Thailand Baht was classic for a Morgan Stanley derivative contract for billions). Frank Partnoy in FIASCO: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader (New York: Penguin Putnam, 1997, ISBN 0 14 02 7879 6)

I suggest that you view (in video) a Wall Street expert (Jim Grant) admit that he really could not understand the complex derivatives contracts that Merrill Lynch designed for Orange County (derivatives that soon thereafter drove the County into declaring bankruptcy). A shore excerpt of this Sixty Minutes CBS video can be downloaded from 

And if you think that investment banks stopped their greedy tactics after the scandals of the 1990s, I remind you of a current "Déjà Vu all over again" (quoting Yogi Berra):

JP Morgan – whose lawyers must be working overtime – is refuting any wrongdoing over credit default swaps it sold on Argentine sovereign debt to three hedge funds. But the bank failed to win immediate payment of $965 million from the 11 insurers it is suing for outstanding surety bonds. Christopher Jeffery Editor, March 2, 2002, RiskNews  

Note from Bob Jensen: The above quotation seems to be Year 2002 Déjà Vu in terms of all the bad ways investment bankers cheated investors in the 1980s and 1990s. Read passage from Partnoy's book quoted at  

My summary of various huge derivatives scandals can be found at 

The third reason is that some types of risk hedging really require complex instruments or a concatination of simpler instruments adding up to a complex combination. A common hedge is a cross-currency interest rate swap that simultaneously hedges against price (interest rate) risk and currency conversion risk. The original FAS 133 would not allow hedge accounting for such a swap, but the clamor of industry became so loud that the FASB changed its mind when it issued the FAS 138 amendments to FAS 133. FAS 138 now allows cross currency swaps.

But by far the biggest reason for the complex derivative instruments and the immense complexity of structured financings in SPEs is that the investment bankers just cannot give up the billions they make screwing the pensioners, the widows, and the orphans. One of the hopes in this Enron/Andersen scandal is the heightened awareness of how rotten to the core the investment bankers, security analysts, and in some cases auditors have become in a frenzied feeding at the trough of funds where workers saved for their retirements.  

Unfortunately, the lobbyists for the investment bankers find most of the legislators feeding at the same trough.

Hope this helps a little.


-----Original Message----- 
From: glan@UWINDSOR.CA [mailto:glan@UWINDSOR.CA]  
Sent: Tuesday, May 07, 2002 10:39 AM 
Subject: Re: New Q&A from the FASB on Derivatives and SPEs

Bob, Thanks for providing the information. The links you provided answered some of the questions but also raise others. I can understand the embedded derivative in a convertible debt and the use and appeal to investors of that financial instrument but what is an embedded derivative within an embedded derivative and why would companies use them? I am sure there are valid reasons but unless the proliferation of esoteric financial instruments slows down, it seems to me that accounting profession will have difficulty just catching -up. Or along the line of Warren Buffet's statement in the article forwarded to the listserve by Ganesh yesterday, there is potential for "a lot of phony numbers on the financial statements." 

Reply from J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU


I can just about see a similarity between computer hacking and what I would call financial hacking. I do not say this in jest. Look at all the programs in "financial engineering" and "financial mathematics" that are mushrooming at the better known schools (Cornell, Columbia, Boston U).

For a long time, we accountants were not too concerned with security (with our shuffling "around" the computers in auditing), and an industry mushroomed in the area (even today most "real" security work is not done by accounting firms). We have come full circle with recent emphasis on the business process aspects of security.

Perhaps the same is happening with off-balancesheet financing. Perhaps we have been shuffling around balance sheets (while investment banks and other outfits with financial engineers are laughing at us all the way to the bank)?

The security industry has developed rigorous models of security (and processes) and tried to UNDERSTAND how (and why) vulnerabilities arise in systems. In accounting, on the other hand, we do not have any fundamental work in the "theory" of accounting" (and auditing) besides exciting linear regressions.

Perhaps it is time for a "reality check" for financial accounting?

Respectfully submitted,


May 8, 2002 message from Scott Bonacker, CPA [scottbonacker@MOCCPA.COM

I'm looking over some documents as part of a due diligence effort, and in a stock purchase agreement dated December 6, 2001 there is a paragraph reading in part:

"[subject corporation] has no liabilities, except for: a) liabilities reflected as part of the audited balance sheet; b) liabilities (of the type required to be reflected as current liabilities on a balance sheet prepared in accordance with GAAP) incurred by [sublect corporation] in the ordinary course of business since September 30th, 2001."

It would be facetious to pretend that there are not other paragraphs that would address off-balance sheet financing such as through an SPE or a sale-leaseback, but the thought I had was how would a contracting party know what GAAP applied? It's not defined like you would say "Internal Revenue Code as of March 5, 2002" - I mean that to be the day before the President signed the latest tax bill. Maybe the contract should read "GAAP before ......"

Scott E. Bonacker, CPA 
McCullough, Officer & Company, 
LLC Springfield, Missouri Phone 417-883-1212 Fax 417-883-4887


Database vendors such as IBM and Oracle Corp. seek to expand far beyond simply managing relational data. In their efforts, they're raising a fundamental question for enterprises: Should information as far-flung as e-mail, documents, multimedia and XML be stored in the same vendor's DBMS, or should the database act to virtually unify all forms of data wherever they're stored? Read the story at,3658,s=701&a=26387,00.asp 

Swimming with the online card sharks 
In the world of virtual Texas hold 'em, the money is real and so is the addiction.

By Stephen Elliott, May 2, 2002 --- 

"Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.
Pope John XXIII

"The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket."
-- Kin Hubbard

I have a poker table that dominates my studio apartment in a seedy neighborhood in San Francisco. I have clay chips that were given to me as a present last Christmas. The difference between the clay chips, which go for $10 a pack, and the cheap Walgreens plastic numbers is palpable.

I grew up playing spades in state homes for wayward youth. In college I won the dorm euchre championship (we cheated, but that's how you play euchre). My compulsive card playing reflected disastrously on my college transcripts. My friend Louie got me into blackjack laying around our squat in Chicago's notorious Cabrini Green while the men rolled dice on the sidewalk out front. I lost my last $600 the first time I played poker in West Yellowstone on the way to see my girlfriend in Seattle. Our relationship never recovered.

Grandfather was a cardplayer. The Nazis killed off his entire family and all anybody knows of him is that he worked hard and played cards every day until he died, whittling away his final years playing pinochle for pennies down at the Levy's center in Chicago. One time he smacked another man in the teeth over 20 cents. Old age made him cheap, but he could still smell a rat.

Now 30, I host a poker game every Tuesday night with anywhere from six to 10 participants. We play low stakes while the hookers scream on Folsom Street down below. My editor likes to come over and stay for every hand, bragging loudly that the pots are too small to merit taking, the bets not worth folding over. My editor drinks too much and has a tendency to lose, and everyone is always happy when he shows up to give us his money. Like most losers, though, my editor wins sometimes too.

Among my group I'm one of the better poker players. We play 10 cent, 25 cent, 50 cent. Some people show up on Tuesdays ready to lose $10. They figure it's a small price for a pleasant evening with friends. Like my editor, these people are also welcome.

One Wednesday, after a particularly invigorating night of playing, I start searching online for poker tips but find instead poker rooms where I can buy in with real money online against real players, 24 hours a day.

I put $500 into an account with Firepay, part of Surefire Commerce, a publicly traded company based in Canada. I put it on my credit card and they ask me before I am done if I intend to use the money for gambling. I check the box that says "Yes."

I log onto I don't have to download any software. I sit at a 3-D table with stereotypical gambling types: the bald man in the bad shirt, the chubby black woman with tight curls, the fat guy with the white suit and cigar. And of course the babe, in the thousand-dollar dress, half cleavage, half legs.

I make rules for myself. Whenever possible I will play as the bombshell. (Very few women play poker so you pretend to be the woman and maybe the guys will give you a break.) I will stay out of the high-roller rooms. I will quit when losing. I will lose my $500 or win $1,000, then I will write an article about winning $1,000 playing online poker and get out for good.

Continued at -  

Sharing Professor of the Week --- Mark Simmons

Articles on Internal Auditing and Fraud Investigation 
Web Site of Mark R. Simmons, CIA CFE

Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations.  It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. (Institute of Internal Auditors)

Fraud Investigation consists of the multitude of steps necessary to resolve allegations of fraud - interviewing witnesses, assembling evidence, writing reports, and dealing with prosecutors and the courts. (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners)

This site focuses on topics that deal with Internal Auditing and Fraud Investigation with certain hyper-links to other associated and relevant sources. It is dedicated to sharing information.

Bob Jensen's threads on frauds can be found at 



Fourth Annual Meeting of AIS Educator Association will be held at the beautiful Copper Mountain Resort in Copper, Colorado, from June 28 through July 2. The Call for Papers and Training Proposals was well received by the community of accounting educators.

A keynote address will be offered by Professor William E. McCarthy, Michigan State University. Professor McCarthy is an exemplary leader in accounting information systems research and education. He will speak on Challenges and Opportunities in AIS Education.

About 19 training sessions of 90 minutes each are planned. Seven of these sessions will be offered using laptops for the participants to learn hands-on. Topics include ACL, computer-based financial and managerial accounting, data modeling, database management systems, XBRL, HIPAA, basic encryption, and public key infrastructure. A complete schedule will be posted on the web site, , during the week of May 6.

The conference program immediately follows the training sessions, beginning with the first three presentations in the afternoon of June 30. About 50 research papers will be presented in approximately 18 sessions. Topics cover a broad range of issues in research, teaching, and curriculum of accounting information systems.

We look forward to having you at the fourth annual meeting in Copper. If you need any additional information, or have a question, please write to Professor Vasant Raval at  , or call 402-280-5518.

From FEI Newsletter on May 3, 2002


In recent months, the SEC has called for improvements in financial reporting to provide investors with greater transparency and more real-time results. At the core of these improvements are enhanced disclosures and a focus on improved reporting measures (See SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt's March 21, 2002, testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs:  )

What does this mean? And how is it accomplished?

The FEI Research Foundation is working with Professor Robert Kaplan, Harvard Business School, and Chairman of the Balanced Scorecard Collaborative to identify companies to join a working group that will be organized by the Collaborative on "New Measurement and Control Initiatives." We are looking for innovative companies that currently use measurement systems such as Activity Based Costing, the Balanced Scorecard, or Economic Value Added, and want to help develop an integrated approach for performance measurement and reporting.

This working group would participate in a 12-month program, beginning in Fall 2002 that will provide a comparative and in-depth analysis of several important innovative measurement and control initiatives. Participants will have the opportunity to get directed assistance as well as the benefit of peer learning to develop a comprehensive and integrated set of management systems for measurement, reporting, strategy implementation and control.

If interested, please contact me, Bill Sinnett, at  or 973-898-4604.

From The Scout Report on May 3, 2002

Factiva 2002 White Paper Series: Free, Fee-Based and Value-Added Information Services [.pdf] 

While promotional, the Factiva 2002 White Paper, entitled "Free, Fee-Based and Value-Added Information Services," raises some issues worth considering by anyone relying on Web information. Primarily aimed at those working in knowledge-based enterprises, the report argues that, while the majority of "knowledge professionals" believe they can find everything they need online, most are inefficient at doing so, wasting much of their time wading through all of the "hits" that a random search generally yields. It is this imprecision and basic inefficiency (in the free Web world) that leads Factiva to maintain that information professionals would do better to rely on value-added services such as those they provide, services tailored to granting access to a broad spectrum of authoritative, proprietary, and professionally-maintained resources. Rightly, the Factiva report points to two critical problems or needs confronting all information professionals and, beyond them, everyone else seeking reliable factual content on the Web: authority and efficiency. Noting that search time is money, and that not everything available online is free, Factiva contends that those in need of fast, accurate information would do best to turn to value-added services, especially those operating under tight time constraints.


You are focusing on a very fuzzy area of auditing.

Technically, external auditors are not expected to discover fraud or exceptions unless the these is so material in amount as to impact on the "fairness of the financial reports." But this raises all sorts of questions regarding what is "material?"

The intent of an "auditbot" in my mind is simply something embedded in the network that tracks a transaction from inception to completion. It should be encapsulated or report to the auditor's system in such a way that the client cannot tinker with what the auditor can learn from the auditbots.

Auditbots do not exist as of yet, so they are only conceptual as with many types of "bots" at the present time. However, they are entirely feasible as supplier, customer, producer, labor, investor, financing, and other types of systems become networked worldwide in such a way that components fluidly communicate with one another. Something similar already transpires with ERP systems within a company --- 

A client could not have a duplicate set of books with respect to anything "in the system." For example, if the auditor can trace all transactions from a supplier, from banks worldwide, from customers, then it would be difficult to leave out or add to stuff by having two sets of books. A problem still exists for any transactions "outside the system." These would include under-the-table cash deals, bartering, and money laundering. As long as nations do not make it increasingly difficult to do business outside the connected information systems subject to audit, there will always be risks of duplicate sets of books. This is why I am such an advocate of offering huge rewards for whistle blowing both withn a company and outside a company. What if Enron shareholders had announced $1,000,000 rewards for anybody who first disclosed, with suitable detail, the deceptions taking place in offshore deals?

My point is that increasingly, auditing will be done by something tantamount to auditbots within the networked information systems. The auditors, thereby, should have more time and resources for dealing with the more troublesome events possibly taking place outside the information systems being audited. Police already do this with networks of informants, wiretaps, search warrants, etc. The question is how far auditors should be allowed to go in this regard.

I suggest that you contact two other people in this regard:

In the US:  Jagdish Gangolly at J. S. Gangolly [gangolly@CSC.ALBANY.EDU

In Singapore:  Roger Debreceny at

Hope this helps!

Bob Jensen


-----Original Message----- 
Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 4:02 AM 
To: RJENSEN@TRINITY.EDU Subject: Press enquiry

Dear Dr Jensen,

I am a UK-based journalist currently writing and researching an article for YYYYY magazine essentially about the role of accountants and their technology post-Enron.

In my research I found some comments attributed to you on regarding auditbots.

As I'm focusing on technology that can be used to help strengthen internal controls and governance, I'd appreciate your input. Should the focus be on solving exceptions rather than finding them, for instance? How involved should they be in risk management, and how much can software and systems help change the auditors role from that of policing, to value-add?

Also, as I'm not an accountant myself and this is therefore probably a deeply stupid question, even given the existence of auditbots, what would stop a fraudster from simply keeping a duplicate set of books?

I won't go into more detail here in case this is not your correct email address. But if it is, I'd be very grateful for your responses and perhaps I could, having read them, get back to you later in the week if there is anything I'd like to follow up on.

Thanks in anticipation,


ps. If you have any other contacts you think I could approach, please let me know...

May 2, 2002 message from Reams, Richard [

In the May/June 2002 issue of the Journal of College Student Development, a major journal of Student Affairs professionals, Scanlon & Neumann report findings from a survey of 698 students on six campuses regarding Internet plagiarism. Here are a few highlights:

· 24.5% reported plagiarizing online sometimes to very frequently (19% sometimes and 9.6% often or very frequently). This percentage, the researchers concluded based on longitudinal data on plagiarism, does NOT indicate a sharp increase in plagiarism over the past three decades, although the percentage “should be cause for concern.” · Although 8.3% self-reported purchasing papers from online paper mills sometimes or often/very frequently, 62.2% PERCEIVED that their peers patronize paper mill sites sometimes or often/very frequently. Similarly, although 8% self-reported cutting and pasting text from the Internet often/very frequently, 50.4% PERCEIVED that their peers do so. This gross misperception is a contextual factor that probably encourages some students to plagiarize. (This same contextual factor underlies the social norms marketing [a.k.a. misperception correction] campaign that I’ve undertaken for several years regarding the incongruity between students’ exaggerated perceptions of alcohol use vs. actual alcohol use.)

Some of you may want to see the entire journal article. Because the library does not subscribe to the Journal of College Student Development [Diane Graves, may I suggest the library subscribe?], I’m putting a copy on reserve under my name so interested faculty and staff can have access to it.

Collegially yours, 
Richard Reams

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at 

What is a Weblog?

Answer from ---

A Weblog (which is sometimes written as "web log" or "weblog") is a Web site of personal or non-commercial origin that uses a dated log format that is updated on a daily or very frequent basis with new information about a particular subject or range of subjects. The information can be written by the site owner, gleaned from other Web sites or other sources, or contributed by users. A 

Web log often has the quality of being a kind of "log of our times" from a particular point-of-view. Generally, Weblogs are devoted to one or several subjects or themes, usually of topical interest, and, in general, can be thought of as developing commentaries, individual or collective on their particular themes. A Weblog may consist of the recorded ideas of an individual (a sort of diary) or be a complex collaboration open to anyone. Most of the latter are moderated discussions.

"Weblogs: a history and perspective," Rebecca Blood, Rebecca's Pocket, September 7, 2000 --- 

In 1998 there were just a handful of sites of the type that are now identified as weblogs (so named by Jorn Barger in December 1997). Jesse James Garrett, editor of Infosift, began compiling a list of "other sites like his" as he found them in his travels around the web. In November of that year, he sent that list to Cameron Barrett. Cameron published the list on Camworld, and others maintaining similar sites began sending their URLs to him for inclusion on the list. Jesse's 'page of only weblogs' lists the 23 known to be in existence at the beginning of 1999.

Suddenly a community sprang up. It was easy to read all of the weblogs on Cameron's list, and most interested people did. Peter Merholz announced in early 1999 that he was going to pronounce it 'wee-blog' and inevitably this was shortened to 'blog' with the weblog editor referred to as a 'blogger.'

At this point, the bandwagon jumping began. More and more people began publishing their own weblogs. I began mine in April of 1999. Suddenly it became difficult to read every weblog every day, or even to keep track of all the new ones that were appearing. Cameron's list grew so large that he began including only weblogs he actually followed himself. Other webloggers did the same. In early 1999 Brigitte Eaton compiled a list of every weblog she knew about and created the Eatonweb Portal. Brig evaluated all submissions by a simple criterion: that the site consist of dated entries. Webloggers debated what was and what was not a weblog, but since the Eatonweb Portal was the most complete listing of weblogs available, Brig's inclusive definition prevailed.

This rapid growth continued steadily until July 1999 when Pitas, the first free build-your-own-weblog tool launched, and suddenly there were hundreds. In August, Pyra released Blogger, and Groksoup launched, and with the ease that these web-based tools provided, the bandwagon-jumping turned into an explosion. Late in 1999 software developer Dave Winer introduced Edit This Page, and Jeff A. Campbell launched Velocinews. All of these services are free, and all of them are designed to enable individuals to publish their own weblogs quickly and easily.

The original weblogs were link-driven sites. Each was a mixture in unique proportions of links, commentary, and personal thoughts and essays. Weblogs could only be created by people who already knew how to make a website. A weblog editor had either taught herself to code HTML for fun, or, after working all day creating commercial websites, spent several off-work hours every day surfing the web and posting to her site. These were web enthusiasts.

Many current weblogs follow this original style. Their editors present links both to little-known corners of the web and to current news articles they feel are worthy of note. Such links are nearly always accompanied by the editor's commentary. An editor with some expertise in a field might demonstrate the accuracy or inaccuracy of a highlighted article or certain facts therein; provide additional facts he feels are pertinent to the issue at hand; or simply add an opinion or differing viewpoint from the one in the piece he has linked. Typically this commentary is characterized by an irreverent, sometimes sarcastic tone. More skillful editors manage to convey all of these things in the sentence or two with which they introduce the link (making them, as Halcyon pointed out to me, pioneers in the art and craft of microcontent). Indeed, the format of the typical weblog, providing only a very short space in which to write an entry, encourages pithiness on the part of the writer; longer commentary is often given its own space as a separate essay.

These weblogs provide a valuable filtering function for their readers. The web has been, in effect, pre-surfed for them. Out of the myriad web pages slung through cyberspace, weblog editors pick out the most mind-boggling, the most stupid, the most compelling.

But this type of weblog is important for another reason, I think. In Douglas Rushkoff's Media Virus, Greg Ruggerio of the Immediast Underground is quoted as saying, "Media is a corporate possession...You cannot participate in the media. Bringing that into the foreground is the first step. The second step is to define the difference between public and audience. An audience is passive; a public is participatory. We need a definition of media that is public in its orientation."

By highlighting articles that may easily be passed over by the typical web user too busy to do more than scan corporate news sites, by searching out articles from lesser-known sources, and by providing additional facts, alternative views, and thoughtful commentary, weblog editors participate in the dissemination and interpretation of the news that is fed to us every day. Their sarcasm and fearless commentary reminds us to question the vested interests of our sources of information and the expertise of individual reporters as they file news stories about subjects they may not fully understand.

Weblog editors sometimes contextualize an article by juxtaposing it with an article on a related subject; each article, considered in the light of the other, may take on additional meaning, or even draw the reader to conclusions contrary to the implicit aim of each. It would be too much to call this type of weblog "independent media," but clearly their editors, engaged in seeking out and evaluating the "facts" that are presented to us each day, resemble the public that Ruggerio speaks of. By writing a few lines each day, weblog editors begin to redefine media as a public, participatory endeavor

Continued at 

 The Weblog Tool Roundup, by Joshual Allen, Webmonkey, May 2, 2002 --- 

But then personal sites went from being static collections of bad poetry and award banners to constantly updated snippets of commentary, photography, sounds, bad poetry, and links. The popularity of this format grew (for a good primer on where weblogs came from and how they evolved, try Rebecca Blood's Weblogs: A History and Perspective), and people started building applications to simplify the process of maintaining a content-heavy personal site.

These applications have grown in number and sophistication over the years, and with some major upgrades appearing over the past few months (Blogger Pro, Movable Type 2.0, Radio UserLand 8.0), I thought the time was nigh to talk about what they do, why you might care, which one would best suit your needs, and how they can keep you company on those long, lonely nights, so empty since you were abandoned for someone who could write Perl scripts.

Continued at 

Bob Jensen's Technology Glossary is at 

From Columbia University
The Rohde to Srebrenica (War Crimes) --- 

"Digital Video Editing" by Reno Marioni, Webmonkey, April 24, 2002 --- 

In the pages that follow, I'll be taking a look at the basics of digital video editing and production using Apple's iMovie and Final Cut Pro 3, both of which run on the Macintosh (under either OS 9 or OS X).

iMovie is a free digital video editing program that comes bundled with every new Apple computer. It’s geared towards the novice, so it's incredibly intuitive and easy to learn. Final Cut Pro 3 is a more complex and professional level program with lots of features and a price tag of US$999. That may seem like a lot of cash, but it’s spare change compared to the costs of traditional video editing.

So the time has come for mere mortals — even poor, starving artists — to produce fine-tuned documentaries, commercials, music videos, and other works of video artistic expression. It just takes equal parts desire, dedication, and creative talent.

Continued at 

The public has plenty of complaints about a recently enacted law that requires customers to opt out to prevent financial institutions from sharing their data. But banks defend the new rules ---,1848,52328,00.html 

One in three children would opt for the Internet if they had to make a media choice, according to the findings of "How Children Use™ Media Technology." Given a choice of six media, one-third of the children interviewed reported that the Web would be the medium they would want to have if they couldn't have any others. Source: Knowledge Networks/Statistical Research 

AccountingWeb Book Recommendation

How To Become A Great Boss, by Jeffrey Fox 

Imagine running into the ultimate management mentor late one night on an otherwise deserted commuter train, and walking away from the strange encounter with an encapsulated guide to success in the corporate world. That's exactly what screenwriter and business coach Patrick Lencioni has done in The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable, placing his tale in an easy-reading and thought-provoking kind of self-help novel. (Some television viewers are more addicted to the advertisements than the shows themselves) --- 

College Prepares Wireless LAN Security Deployment Colby-Sawyer College details the need for centralized authentication and multivendor interoperability in its wireless LAN security rollout. 

Virginia Democrat Rick Boucher plans in the next month to go after a key section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ---,1283,52298,00.html 

Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, said last July that he wanted to amend the DMCA to permit certain "fair uses" of digital content, such as backing up an audio CD by bypassing copy protection technology.

In an interview on Thursday, Boucher said he now has sufficient support -- from the tech industry, librarians, and Internet activists -- to feel comfortable introducing his bill "in the next month."

"If I had introduced it six months ago, you wouldn't have seen this kind of support," said Boucher.

As soon as it's introduced, Boucher's proposal seems certain to be targeted for defeat by content lobbyists including Hollywood, the recording industry and the publishing industry.

The Graphics/Paint Software Used by Professionals 

Photoshop 7.0 Overview Adobe's Photoshop 7.0 has officially hit the shelves! Evany takes a whirlwind tour of new features like the File Browser, Healing Brush, and the beefier Brush palette, then shares her opinions --- 

For a great alternative that is easier to use than Adobe Photoshop, much less expensive, and far less demanding of computer power, try Paintshop Pro from JASC ---

Sites loaded with images of naked preteen kids in provocative poses proliferate legally while authorities go after the real hard-core stuff. "It's very frustrating for us," an activist says ---,1367,52345,00.html 

"When Kid Porn Isn't Kid Porn," by Julia Scheeres, Wired News, May 8, 2002 ---,1367,52345,00.html 

The photograph captures two boys, about 6 or 7 years old, cavorting naked on a beach. One of the boys looks coyly over his shoulder. The other has an erection.

Child pornography or art?

Definitely art, according to a growing number of websites charging up to $40 a month for subscribers to gain access to images of naked children as young as 4 years old.

"Only the youngest and sweetest virgin boys!" reads the introduction to Nude Boys World (See editor's note below), which contains photos and movies of boys in the buff posing in shower stalls and unmade beds.

Likewise, Sunny Lolitas, which shows naked pre-pubescent girls playing with stuffed animals or stretched out pin-up style against hot red backgrounds, advertises its models as "only cutest and (sic) the youngest!"

Experts say the sites -- which are easily found using Internet search engines -- fall into a murky category known as "child erotica," which includes images of naked children that don't meet the strict legal definitions of child pornography. U.S. law defines kiddie porn as depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, such as intercourse and masturbation, or that show "lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area."

"These sites thinly skirt the line between legal and illegal," said Ruben Rodriguez, the director of the Exploited Child Unit of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which works with the FBI to investigate Internet child porn. "It's very frustrating for us. They're making money exploiting children and there's nothing we can do to shut them down."

Most of the child erotica sites link to the same legal boilerplate, which characterizes the sites' content as art and manifests a "vehement" opposition to child pornography.

Continued at,1367,52345,00.html 

See also:
•  Behind the Kid 'Erotica' Scenes
•  Girl Model Sites Crossing Line?
•  Round Two on 'Morphed' Child Porn
•  Porn Hunters Unwelcome in Canada?
•  Discover more Net Culture

Games involving sex have been around as long as there have been games, but Playskins, the new online role-playing game, demands players engage in foreplay and flirting in order to get the cybersex ---,2101,52073,00.html 

A new government Internet porn report dares to be different: It avoids hysteria and says no method of protecting minors from smut is infallible. The National Research Council didn't even include screen snapshots ---,1283,52257,00.html 

"Doing Nothing is Something," Anna Quidlen, Newsweek, May 13, 2002, Page 76 --- 
The overscheduled children of 21st-century America, deprived of the gift of boredom

Summer is coming soon. I can feel it in the softening of the air, but I can see it, too, in the textbooks on my children’s desks. The number of uncut pages at the back grows smaller and smaller. The loose-leaf is ragged at the edges, the binder plastic ripped at the corners. An old remembered glee rises inside me. Summer is coming. Uniform skirts in mothballs. Pencils with their points left broken. Open windows. Day trips to the beach. Pickup games. Hanging out.


Of course, it was the making of me, as a human being and a writer. Downtime is where we become ourselves, looking into the middle distance, kicking at the curb, lying on the grass or sitting on the stoop and staring at the tedious blue of the summer sky. I don’t believe you can write poetry, or compose music, or become an actor without downtime, and plenty of it, a hiatus that passes for boredom but is really the quiet moving of the wheels inside that fuel creativity.

And that, to me, is one of the saddest things about the lives of American children today. Soccer leagues, acting classes, tutors—the calendar of the average middle-class kid is so over the top that soon Palm handhelds will be sold in Toys “R” Us. Our children are as overscheduled as we are, and that is saying something.

Feminist Perspectives on TANF Reauthorization: An Introduction to Key Issues for the Future of Welfare Reform (Women, Welfare Reform) 

"Surveillance cameras to predict behaviour," by Jane Wakefield, BBC News, May 1, 2002 --- 

Web Site Development Tools for Small Business While a custom e-commerce solution will always make you happier, it takes time and resources to create. What should a small business owner do when he or she is in short supply of both? 

Shopping Cart Options for Small Business This column's topic is on the exciting, hurly-burly world of shopping cart software. 

Middleware: The Next Great Frontier When it comes to thinking about what may be the most important class of technology for the next 10 years, none other than middleware (and the advances being made in it) immediately comes to mind. 

Bob Jensen's small business bookmarks and threads are as follows: 

Wrecked Exotics (Junk Cars With Class) --- 

Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America 

While Asian Americans "only" make up about 4.3% of the U.S.'s population (as of the 2000 census), we are the fastest growing of all the major racial/ethnic groups (in terms of percentage increase). The Asian American community has received a lot of scrutiny over the years but in many ways, still remains misunderstood. Therefore, this site serves as a concise but comprehensive information resource on the Asian American community. Its purposes are to:

As many social scientists have noted, there are basically two stereotypes that continue to affect Asian Americans. One is that all Asian Americans are the same. That is, non-Asians more often than not have a very difficult time telling Asian Americans apart. Ask yourself, if you saw one walking down the street, would you be able to tell a Korean American from a Japanese American or a Filipino American from an Indonesian American?

This becomes a problem when people generalize certain beliefs about one or a few Asian Americans to the entire Asian American community. The result is that important differences between separate ethnic groups within the Asian American community are minimized or ignored altogether. As we will see later, this can lead to disastrous results.

The second stereotype is that all Asian Americans are foreigners. Although more than half of all Asians in the U.S. were born outside the U.S., many non-Asians simple assume that every Asian they see, meet, or hear about is a foreigner. Many can't recognize that there are many Asian American families who have been U.S. citizens for several generations. As a result, because all Asian Americans are perceived as foreigners, it becomes easier to treat us as not being part of the American mainstream and to deny us the same rights that other Americans take for granted. Yes, that means prejudice and discrimination in its many forms.

Classics of American Colonial History 

An advertisement is shown below.  I received it by email and take no position for or against Capella's MBA program, in part because I know virtually nothing about it.   The add is included here only because it may be of indirect interest to educators.  If you are going to investigate this or any other such online program, check into the entry requirements (which seem to be vague at the Capella site), acceptance rates of applicants, and placements of graduates.   For example, do the top international  firms recruit and hire accounting graduates on an annual basis?  

Earn your MBA online! Click here 

An MBA can give you the skills and knowledge you need to advance. But, of course, you already know that. What you may not know is that you can earn an MBA that will keep you on the leading edge of your industry - the kind of program that will move you ahead of your peers - without disrupting your lifestyle.

Capella University - the world's leading regionally accredited online university - offers an MBA created specifically for online learning, making it flexible and sensitive to the working student's needs. As a Capella MBA learner, you can complete your courses from home, from the office, from anywhere in the world, any time of the day or night, while earning your degree in 18-36 months. 

Most importantly, the Capella MBA curriculum is designed to challenge you to be on the cutting edge of your industry. You can choose to follow a general curriculum or select from a number of specializations including Marketing and Brand Management or Information Technology Management.

There is still time to start your program and begin advancing your career immediately. Click here to receive more information about our MBA program, including a program catalog,  or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552).

I have to say that I am suspicious of any online PhD program and would like to know the publication records and placement records of doctoral program graduates. Do major colleges and universities actively recruit graduates for tenure track positions?

It has been said Bill Gates once took this test and scored a 3 on it --- 

Try these out George! (On Life in Bob Jensen's days in college.)

11. Doing a tax return meant you really had to understand the latest tax rules rather than merely pay $19.95 to upgrade your Turbo Tax software.

12. Auditors were all white men, thereby, overlooking very talented alternatives.

13. Our fingers danced on ten-key adding machines with tiny spools of paper. With vigorous swipes we ripped off ribbons of paper to attach to working papers.

14. We submitted a stacks of punched cards to a computer center and then prayed overnight that the darn things would compile without some miniscule programming error that stopped entire jobs for another day.

15. Dating a Catholic was frowned upon by Lutheran parents who did not realize that eating fish at least once a week was really good for health.

16. You had to type or hand-write the passages that you plagiarized, thereby learning something while you worked away on a term paper (now its just cut and paste stuff you don't even have to read carefully).

17. A sighting of the top of a woman's stocking set hydraulics in motion. Now a campus male hardly takes a second glance toward a skirt slit to the butt roll, in part, because he watched his roommate put on that skirt before breakfast.

18. Professors could give really hard tests, because their continued employment and salary raises did not depend upon student evaluations.

19. Dance events were called sock hops rather than ________ (I don't know what they're called today, but there are no socks or dancing).

20. You could carry a loose clip board and book to class, but any type of encasement immediately classified you as a nerd who had to live in a dorm rather than a fraternity house. Fraternity men carried their books on the hip, and women carried them over their stomachs.

21. Military bases were built outside of town and fighters did not shoot from behind the shields of innocent civilians and small children.

22. Weapons of mass destruction were a constant danger, but only a few countries held the Cold War power.

23. Bombs and artillery shells missed most of their targets or at least so it seemed on my battleship (The Wisconsin). Now we have laser-guided weapons that pretty much end clashes between faced-off armies in a matter of weeks. Epic clashes of tanks on land and surface ships at sea had their last hoo rah!

24. You only had to memorize 514 paragraphs to pass the CPA examination rather than 17,343, but the exam itself seemed harder to pass.

25. Chickens, calves, and hogs roamed about farms rather than live in stacked confinement cages for their entire lives. When moisture fell on their heads it was clean rain water.

Any more?


-----Original Message----- From: glan@UWINDSOR.CA [mailto:glan@UWINDSOR.CA] Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 9:46 AM To: AECM@LISTSERV.LOYOLA.EDU Subject: Re: My Birthday Edition of New Bookmarks is Now Available

Hi AECMers,

Having just finished marking my exams and determined my grades ( alleluia!), I am trying to reflect on the state of accounting, when Bob was born, say about 60 years ago. I've come up with a few items which I am listing in a random order. Not being an accounting historian, I am unsure about quite a few of them. Please do correct them and add to the list:

1. Executives were paid in cash (bonuses and salaries) rather than in options. 

2. Derivatives were problems in a calculus class rather than in accounting. 

3. Good employees were rewarded with gold watch rather than defined contribution and defined benefit pension plans. 

4. Accounting students used slide rules (slates, abacus...)? 

5. Depreciation was a major topic in accounting. 

6. Cash Flow statement was known as Funds Flow Statement and was not required? (not sure about this one). 7. The focus of accounting research was on determining the "true" net income. 

8. The balance sheet was the most prominent statement. 

9. A"C" was a good grade in accounting. 10. There was unrest and turmoil in the world. ( Some things do not change.)

Happy Belated Birthday Bob!

George Lan 
University of Windsor

Reply from rlipsig [rlipsig@OSWEGO.EDU

My gosh, I still carry books to class on my stomach! (And I'm going to have to find a better way, it makes my newly arthritic back hurt when the class is at the other end of the hallway.)

And a happy belated birthday from me too.

Roberta Lipsig 
SUNY Oswego


Reply from E. Scribner [escribne@NMSU.EDU

Back when Bob was born?.....Hmmmm.....

26. No one realized that the new book on corporate accounting standards by Paton & Littleton was destined to become a classic.

27. A special purpose entity was an inflatable device that arrived at the bachelor's apartment in a plain brown wrapper.

28. A floppy disk was a back ailment.

29. A hard drive was just about any drive you cared to take on the roads of the time.

30. Multimedia in accounting education meant occasional use of colored chalk.

Reply from David R. Fordham [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

Wow! Bob must *REALLY* be old. I've got a photo of my great-great grandfather circa 1872-73 standing in his chicken house in which the laying hens are stacked six high. (I always suspected Bob might have had something to do with North Florida being captured by Yankees during the war of Northern Aggression. Maybe he also had something to do with Pizarro's conquest of the Inca...?)

A few more for the historical "Way back when" collection:

College administrators spent more time asking for donations than they did preparing mission statements, assessment programs, and similar stuff, stuff which more appropriately is found underneath the stacked hens, hogs, and calves.

Accounting firms were more interested in a graduating senior's understanding of accounting rather than his/her personality, straight teeth, good hairstyle, and ability to use makeup.

Faculty parking on campus, while still scarce, was at least free.

There were pencil sharpeners mounted on the wall in the back of every classroom. And students actually used pencils. And erasers!

Everyone knew what "carbon paper" was, and how to use it. But no one used it except administrator's secretaries.

Only people over 50 knew what the word "digital" meant, and for them, it conjured up visions of their recent visit to the proctologist's office.

The armchair desks didn't squeak every time any student moved ( with today's floor-mounted swivel chairs which make the modern classroom sound like a boiler factory).

You couldn't see through a student's bottled drink. (Even 7-Up came in a dark green bottle! Today a transparent drink can be anything from tap water to clear Pepsi!)

Once a soft drink's lid was off, it was off for good.

CPA's drove Chryslers and Mercuries. BMWs were built in England, Volkswagens came in huge wooden crates from Germany, and Toyotas were built in Japan, not Tennessee. Datsuns hadn't been invented yet. No self-respecting citizen would drive a foreign car, except maybe an English Ford, although some elderly psychology professors occasionally drove an old Volvo. But these were the same fossils who always wore woolen "trousers" instead of pants.

If your engine had only 1.5 liters displacement, you owned a motorcycle, not a car. And at that size, it sure *wasn't* a Harley.

Only sailors and marine sergeants allowed their tattoos to show in public.

You had to go to Persia to get your navel pierced. Or perhaps Siam.

Everyone knew what a Zippo was. (...and it *wasn't* a slang term for a student's exam grade in intermediate accounting!)

Everyone knew which TV programs were sponsored by which company. For example, Firestone, Geritol, and Mutual of Omaha, just to name a few.

Documentaries were filmed in Africa and Alaska instead of inside jails, emergency rooms, and psychiatric hospital lounges.

News programs actually reported what *happened*, rather than simply offering loose interpretation and commentary on what they believe is *going to happen*, *should have happened*, *might have happened*, or why the *government let it happen*.

"Logging on" was something you did to timberland.

A "Password" couldn't be forgotten because it starred Alan Ludden, who was the only middle-aged male on TV with snow-white hair.

"A flat monitor" was the grad-student proctor who finked on the cheater, after the cheater's big brother got through with him.

You could safely assume that an accounting graduate knew how to "cross foot".

Doing "academic research in your office" was like trying to "eat under water".

"Delivering an informative lecture" was something that a professor could take pride in. (Nowadays, any professor who admits to "lecturing" in a classroom is chastised, frowned upon, and ostracized.)

Students always enjoyed sniffing the exams when they were "hot" off the press (e.g., the spirit duplicator that produced the purple plague. Today's students have no such enjoyment of fresh tests.... alas...)

People who were dumb enough to get caught plagiarizing were always students, not faculty.

A "server" usually got a tip. A "list server" was a server with a speeth impedimenth. A "mailing list" was stacked over the dean's addressograph machine. An "intern" could only be found in a hospital. An "office visit" was something accounting students only did when the doctor didn't have time to make a house call.

Every accountant knew why you shouldn't "fold, spindle, and mutilate".

Young men generally had to be content with contemplating their *own* navel. And you couldn't do it in an accounting firm's office!

Male Accounting juniors didn't have to go to a Beta Alpha Psi meeting to learn how to tie a four-square or a Scottish overhand. Ditto the female accounting students on how to use a slip.

David Fordham 
James Madison University

Forwarded by Ed Scribner

The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome and the Potential Downfall Of American Society. 
Mike Adams, Biology Department Eastern Connecticut State University The Connecticut Review, 1990

It has long been theorized that the week prior to an exam is an extremely dangerous time for the relatives of college students. Ever since I began my teaching career, I heard vague comments, incomplete references and unfinished remarks, all alluding to the "Dead Grandmother Problem." Few colleagues would ever be explicit in their description of what they knew, but I quickly discovered that anyone who was involved in teaching at the college level would react to any mention of the concept. In my travels I found that a similar phenomenon is known in other countries. In England it is called the "Graveyard Grannies'' problem, in France the "Chere Grand'mere," while in Bulgaria it is inexplicably known as "The Toadstool Waxing Plan" (I may have had some problems here with the translation. Since the revolution this may have changed anyway.) Although the problem may be international in scope it is here in the USA that it reaches its culmination, so it is only fitting that the first warnings emanate here also.

The basic problem can be stated very simply: A student's grandmother is far more likely to die suddenly just before the student takes an exam, than at any other time of year.

Continued at  

Buzzword Bingo --- 

You know it's going to be a bad day when . . . . . .

your twin sister forgets your birthday. . . .

you wake up face down on the pavement. . . .

you put your bra on backwards and it fits better. . . .

you call suicide prevention and they put you on hold. . . .

you see a "60 Minutes news team" waiting in your outer office. . . .

your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles. . . .

your only son tells you he wishes Anita Bryant would mind her own business. . . .

you want to put on the clothes you wore home from the party, and there aren't any. . . .

you turn on the TV news and they're displaying emergency routes out of your city. . . .

the woman you've been seeing on the side begins to look like your wife. . . .

you wake up to discover that your water bed broke and then you realize that you don't have a water bed. . . .

your horn goes off  and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell's Angels on the freeway. . . .

your doctor tells you, "Well, I have bad news and good news..." . . .

Bizarre Graduation Advice --- 

Some Ideas for Your Visit to San Antonio

For those American Accounting Association members attending the August 2002 annual meetings in San Antonio, I thought I might mention a few things.  In my time, I've witnessed two professional football teams come and go, two professional hockey teams come and go, and an explosion of country clubs and housing developments.  The only major professional team remaining is the great Spurs NBA basketball team that will be moving from the Alamodome into a new Sports Arena next season.  There is a minor league baseball team (the San Antonio Missions) that plays in a nice new stadium.

Take a look at the Calendar of Events at 

The historic Alamo (the cradle of Texas liberty even though the Texans lost the battle and won the war) is a must see for history buffs, but I think it is a bit overhyped for tourists.  There are also various underhyped missions around San Antonio; the most beautiful is Mission San Jose with its rose window.  Close by the Alamo is the historic Menger Hotel where Teddy Roosevelt held court with the Rough Riders.  There is the Teddy Roosevelt Bar modeled after the House of Lords   The Menger dining room has a wonderful Sunday brunch.  The historic Buckhorn Saloon is a short walk from the Marriott hotels.  Perhaps there are some good shows or concerts scheduled for our beautiful Majestic Theatre.

Also close by is the Tower of America’s, built in 1968 for Hemisfair which has an observation deck to see the panoramic view of San Antonio along with a restaurant at the top which revolves 360 degrees.  The meals in the revolving tower are moderate in price and quality.  Close by is the Rivercenter Mall with a food court and also some sit-down restaurants to choose from.  There is also an IMAX theatre and a Comedy Club.  Walking down from the Mall is our most famous tourist attraction --- the Riverwalk of San Antonio. You will find places to eat, from Casa Rio Mexican Restaurant, the Presidio (472-2265) on the river, Little Rhein Steakhouse (atmosphere is great, but in August it will be too hot outdoors), Morton’s Steakhouse (expensive), and the very popular Boudros on the Riverwalk (224-8484).  My favorite place to take guests for a fun time is the sing-along Irish pub called Dirty Nelly’s (on the river)  under the Hilton Hotel.  If you like jazz, The Landing (near the Hyatt Hotel) will be for you.  The Landing has live music most nights with excellent musicians.  There are also other night clubs along the Riverwalk like Howl at the Moon (very, very popular) and Planet Hollywood.  If you stroll down the river you will find many other places to eat and drink.  You can also take a boat ride that will give you some history of the area (this is really a fun thing to do).

The Hemisfair Plaza is a great place to walk and jog, and there are some arts and crafts shops.  The Institute of Texan Cultures is next door.

Close on the other side of the freeway is Sunset Station, a restored train depot that has clubs and restaurants,  including a Ruth Chris Steakhouse.  Sunset Station is very close to the Alamodome, but it is unlikely that there will be any events of interest scheduled in the dome during the AAA annual meetings.  There is a trolley ride from the Rivercenter Mall to and from the Dome.  The Marriott Rivercenter headquarters hotel is connected to this Mall.

The many hotels within walking distance of the Riverwalk all have restaurants with what you expect in a major hotel.  The Fairmount Hotel is small and historic hotel with an expensive restaurant.  This hotel’s amazing when you look at it while knowing that it is the largest intact building ever moved (and moved across a bridge no less).  Within a short distance from downtown (but too far to walk from the hotels), I highly recommend lunch at the Guenther House Restaurant in the Pioneer Flour Mill (227-1061).  I think it is only open for lunch.

If you want to take a short drive, or to take a trolley-car ride, there is a Mexican-style market on Houston Street.  It features  Mi Tierra’s Café and Bakery (225-1562).  You can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner there.  In the evening the Mi Tierra has strolling Mariachi singers to entertain each table.  

The neat part about the trolley ride is that on the way back it will take you through the historic King William District with its restored Victorian houses.  I am not so crazy about the food at Mi Terra's, but there is a lot of fun and laughter and atmosphere that you would expect from a Mexican-style restaurant in San Antonio.

The best food for the money is at Cappy’s on Broadway (828-9669)—try the Mint Juleps.  But this is not within walking distance and does not offer much in the way of surrounding atmosphere.  Much further out there is a restored mansion/restaurant called The Lodge in Castle Hills (349-8466).  Tom's Ribs is my favorite for Texas-style BBQ, but there is also a County Line BBQ (229-1941) much closer (within walking distance) from the Marriott Hotels.  And of course there are many, many other restaurants.  Keep in mind, however, that San Antonio is not really a five-star restaurant city.  San Antonio is a military town (multiple army and air force bases) and does not have the big oil and ranching spenders like you find in Houston and Dallas.  We're poor folk down here, but we salute a lot.

The best Sea World in the U.S. is here in San Antonio.  You can spend more than one day there, especially if the kids are along.  There is also Fiesta Texas, which I think would be more fun at night.  There are some tremendously expensive golf courses and many reasonable municipal courses as well.  But in August, I think it’s too hot to golf except maybe early, early in the morning.  The really expensive and luxurious course is part of the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort near Sea World.  They also have some good places to eat and drink there, and with their very own water park.

For those of you that would like to kick up their heels, there is the Far West Rodeo (with live bull and mechanical bull riding) with big-name bands on the weekend.  It is about a $15 cab ride from the Marriott Hotels.  Further out, northwest of San Antonio is Helotes, home of Floore’s Country Store where Willie Nelson and Ray Price got their start.  Sit outside on the large patio and listen to some good music and eat some good bar-b-que.  Out in Leon Springs is an area of restaurants and clubs, along with the Leon Springs Dance Hall.

For shopping, the Rivercenter Mall is attached to the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel is a good place, but the serious place to shop would be the biggest mall in San Antonio called North Star Mall (about a $12 cab ride from downtown).  Look for the pair of giant cowboy boots outside the mall. It has the major department stores and hundreds (or so it seems) of smaller shops.

If you have the time and a rent car, a must see would be a drive up into the Hill Country.  Fredericksburg, Texas (less than two hours away) is a great town for shopping small shops and for eating some really good German Food.  Also close by northwest of San Antonio is Castroville, Texas, an Alsace community filled with antique stores and historic homes.  The most visited site in Texas is the enormous outlet mall in San Marcos (about 75 miles north) on some of the most nerve-racking freeway construction in the U.S.  If you drive that way, take time to stop in an old German town called Gruene north of New Braunfels.  

Whatever you see and whatever you do, I think that you will really enjoy our Texas hospitality and our truly enriched mixture of Hispanic, Cowboy, Army, and Air Force cultures.  The main military bases include Ft. Sam Houston (an Army Medical Command Center that specializes in various treatments, especially for burns), Lackland AFB (all Air Force inductees go through basic training at Lackland), and Randolph AFB (a fighter pilot training base).  There are also smaller military bases (like Brooks AFB) and Camp Bullis.  Our largest base called Kelly was an enormous airplane maintenance base plus a military intelligence center.  I think the Air Force still runs the intelligence center, but the maintenance facilities have been privatized (Boeing moved in big to take advantage of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the Air Force to build Kelly's facilities).

Hope this helps!

I maintain a page of links for San Antonio at 
This includes many facts about our city and region that may really impress you.


I thought you might like these WOAI chat room one liners forwarded by Debbie Bowling.  Some of these do not make any sense to me, and I've lived here for nearly 20 years

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE BEEN IN SAN ANTONIO TOO LONG IF... know exactly how to get to the "Ghost Tracks" from anywhere in town. think "pro-choice" means flour or corn tortillas.'ve never been to the Alamo. think a health drink is a Margarita without salt. think being able to read the Taco Cabana menu makes you bilingual. used to live in a neighborhood you wouldn't even drive through now.

...there has been a road crew on your street since before the Alamodome was built.

...Playland park...enough said remember when KTSA was the #1 station in town. know Dan Cook coined the phrase "it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings".

...your idea of culture is wearing a Spurs T-shirt. think the last supper was at Mi Tierra restaurant. do your shopping at the Flea Market. have 3 Rodeo outfits but have never been on a horse. see "Selena Lives" bumper stickers all over town.

...your subwoofer has twice the value of your car. remember the Captain Gus show.

...your White mother learned how to make Tamales & Menudo from your neighbors. know the "real" definition of FIESTA is "stay home if at all possible". have ordered Mexican food at a Chinese restaurant. ever went to get breakfast tacos at Taco Cabana on Christmas morning. remember the Joske's Christmas display. remember Joske's. know that Wheatley and Brackenridge is the same school. know who plays in the Chili Bowl, Gucc. Bowl, and Frontier Bowl. remember TG&Y, Woolworth, & Woolco. remember when JC Penney's had a restaurant. learned to drive at Espada Park. ever went swimming at Espada Park. ever had an Elephant ride at the zoo. remember hamburgers from Whopper Burger. know all about the "Dancing Diablo" and the "Donkey Lady".'ve been to Midget Mansion. remember the Gunslingers. remember the parade sniper. know that the Alamo is one of the 5 missions in town.'ve been to the Aqueducts.'re elementary field trip was to the Butter Crust Bakery.'re senior trips were to either Astroworld or Six Flags. know that 1604 is also known as the "death loop". ever wondered why there isn't an interchange at I-37 North & 410. remember when Ingram mall wasn't even there. remember it was cool to go to Alladin's Castle in Windsor Park Mall. remember there was no Best Buy, Rolling Oaks and Rivercenter Mall. and Retama. remember the Quarry was just that...A Quarry. remember there was only Santiko's theaters. remember the Hockey Team wasn't the Iguanas', but the Dragons. remember the Water Park (A couple of slides on a hill) across the highway from Splashtown. remember Street parties during Fiesta. remember only being to afford Ol' Milwuakee Quarts after work. remember when St Mary's street was hoppin'. remember Pistol Petes Pizza, the Par 3 off of O'conner and IH-35, and O'conner ending at Friesenhan Park. remember Beer Balls, Raybans, and styrofoam coozies.

....your remember Nickle Night at Jus' County ..Playland Park...yeah it was said before, but wasn't it fun? remember when loop 410 was the outskirts of town...

And that's the way it was on May 10, 2002 with a little help from my friends.


In March 2000, Forbes named as the Best Website on the Web ---
Some top accountancy links ---


For accounting news, I prefer AccountingWeb at 


Another leading accounting site is at 


Paul Pacter maintains the best international accounting standards and news Website at

How stuff works --- 


Bob Jensen's video helpers for MS Excel, MS Access, and other helper videos are at 
Accompanying documentation can be found at and 


Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  

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April 30, 2002

 Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on April 30, 2002
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Today is my birthday!  You can read some of the messages that my "friends" sent for the occasion.  My belief is that birthdays are a good thing.  The more you have the longer you will live, and that's the truth.

Quotes of the Week

If we question the meaning and value of life, we are sick.
Sigmund Freud

Their's not to make reply, 
Their's not to reason why, 
Their's but to do and die

Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade (as quoted in a recent email message from Jagdish Gangolly)
Tom Oxner replaced the last line with the accountant's version:
Their's but to tick and tie.
Disgraced Enron executives have a different ending:
Their's is but to cheat and lie.

If I could write the beauty of your eyes
William Shakespeare

Accountants are the world's greatest conservationists.  We don't solve problems, we recycle them.
Robert Sterling as quoted by Joseph A. Alutto in Challenge and Achievement in Accounting During the Twentieth Century, edited by Daniel L. Jensen (The Ohio State University and the University of Florida's Fisher College of Business, 2002, Page 11).

Robert K. Elliott
Challenge and Achievement in Accounting During the Twentieth Century, edited by Daniel L. Jensen (The Ohio State University and the University of Florida's Fisher College of Business, 2002, pp. 22-23)


If I could just respond to one point.  No one says that GAAP isn't important or that it doesn't give important information about value realization.  But in the marketplace there's an increasing gap between value creation, about which we have no good models, and value realization, the later realization of the value that's created.  If we look back to the Industrial Era, the gap between when value was created and when it was realized wasn't so  great, and we could live with it.  But now there is a huge gap, and we never claimed as accountants that the net worth on the balance sheet was supposed to equal the value of the company.  But 10 or 20 years ago, the ratio of market value to book value was about 2 to 1.  Today it's about 6 to 1.  And for some companies over 100 to 1.  What that tells us, I think, is that what's measured in the balance sheet is seriously lagging what's happening in the marketplace.  Yes, we have to be concerned with value realization.  In the end we have to make profits and have cash.   But our GAAP measures are really not diagnostic for investors to figure out which companies are actually creating value.  In the absence of disciplined information about those areas, assured information about those areas, the marketplace runs on rumors.  Those rumors tend to be wrong and that expresses itself in the marketplace in terms of huge volatility.  That volatility then leads to higher cost of capital, as investors demand to be compensated for that volatility.

Now, I'm not recommending that these assets necessarily be reduced to debits and credits and put on the balance sheet.  I'm not talking about the necessity to incorporate them all into the existing GAAP model.  What I am saying is that there is objective information that could be developed about these things, that this could be done in a way that's similar across enterprises in the same industry, and that assurance could be given about such information which would make the market estimates in value creation better than they are today.  Perfect?  No.  I'm not looking for perfection.  I'm looking for better than today.

CPA2Biz, the AICPA, and VeriSign are now offering Authentic Document Service to CPAs. Through the use of Authentic Document IDs CPAs can notarize electronic documents. This notarization prevents any changes— a paragraph being deleted, a sentence added, even a space changed.
Wayne Harding --- 

CBS Nightly News on April 25, 2002
Concerning Criminal Investigations of Merrill Lynch and Other Investment Firms

Zicarelli isn't unique in his experience. On Thursday, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced that his office and the Securities and Exchange Commission are heading a multi-agency investigation of investment analysts with conflicts of interest.

The inquiry will be conducted by the SEC, the New York Stock Exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Spitzer, the North American Securities Administrators Association and several states, according to a statement released by Spitzer and the SEC.

"I think there is a crisis of accountability right now," Spitzer told CBS News Correspondent Anthony Mason before Thursday's announcement of the inquiry.
(Continued Below under Rotten to the Core)

April 30 updates to the Enron/Andersen scandals are at 

"Auditors’ New Procedures for Detecting Fraud," by D.D. Montgomery, M.S. Beasley, S. Menelaides, and Z. Palmrose, Journal of Accountancy, May 2002 --- 

"Let Them Know Someone’s Watching, by Joseph T. Wells, Journal of Accountancy, May 2002 --- 

PriceWaterhouseCoopers Study on Key Financial Metrics 

Are you interested in comparing the performance of a company to others in its industry? In a recent study, PriceWaterhouseCoopers examines a few key financial metrics to improve performance. This information is available either on line at , or through this link, you can request the current edition of "Growing Your Business."

Two Letters to Senator Schumer and Parts of a Spring 2002 Examination on Accounting for ESOs
The answer key for my examination problems is now available (see Appendix C below)

On March 25, 2002, Walter P. Schuetze, former Chief Accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission, wrote Senator Schumer a letter that leaves no doubt that he opposes booking of employee stock options when they vest. That letter is now on the Web at 

I wrote a draft reply in order to point out some opposing arguments. My reply is on the Web at 

Mr. Schuetze is a friend, and my arguments in the above letter are academic. Nothing personal in any way is intended.

Educators and students may also be interested in the short case that I wrote in the form of three appendices to the letter.  Appendix A deals with the dilution controversy of failing to book employee stock options (ESOs).  Appendix B deals with the "free goods" theory of failing to book ESOs. 

Appendix C deals with the sad state of tax accounting for overly-generous ESO tax benefits.  Appendix C links to parts of actually an examination that I gave in an accounting theory course in Spring Semester 2002.


For added background reading, I have added some other papers/lectures by Walter Schuetze as follows:

Once again, my reply to Walter Schuetze and my Spring 2002 part of an accounting theory examination are all linked at 

"Entry-Level Accounting Jobs Abundant; Grads Seek Strong Salaries Despite Recession," SmartPros, April 24, 2002 --- 

Based on a comprehensive analysis of Monster job postings in the United States, entry-level job opportunities are abundant in accounting and finance, sales, administrative/support services, education, and non-profit.

These findings are consistent with those of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which announced in March that the accounting industry is the top employer this year. NACE also confirmed that this is a tough job market for grads, who will find fewer employers offering hiring bonuses and top-flight starting salaries.

"With graduation just around the corner, this is the high season for 2002 college graduates to firm-up their future plans," said Ken Ramberg, senior vice president of MonsterTRAK, a career resource for college students and alumni. "Although it is a tougher