New Bookmarks
Year 2002 Quarter 3:  July 1-September 30 Additions to Bob Jensen's Bookmarks
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

We're moving to the mountains on July 15, 2002 ---

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks, go to 

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 ---
Time anywhere in the world 

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

A sad song for the anniversary of September 11 ---
U.S. flag lovers should note the animated cartoon at 

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Choose a Date Below for Additions to the Bookmarks File

September 24, 2002     September 10, 2002     

July 24, 2002                July 10, 2002  

August 30, 2002           August 20, 2002

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September 24, 2002

Quotes of the Week

Windows Breaks 
Microsoft issued a strong security warning and urged users of all Windows operating systems to apply a critical patch.

In this great land called America, no child will be left behind.
President George W. Bush in "The No Child Left Behind Act."  
Department of Education Annual Plan 2002-2003 --- 
This report is much better than many academic researchers might expect.  It deals heavily with data quality problems and grant opportunities.

In education, a Grace Hopper nanosecond is a prop used by a teacher to help students understand an abstract concept. The teaching tool got its name from the short lengths of telephone wire that Admiral Grace Hopper used to give out at lectures. Admiral Hopper used the 11.87 inch-long wires to illustrate how in one billionth of a second (a nanosecond) an electronic signal can travel almost twelve inches. In addition to being a gifted programmer, Admiral Hopper was quite famous during her lifetime for her teaching skills. Admiral Hopper believed that by providing the learner with a concrete analogy already in their frame of reference, it was possible to absorb and even understand an abstract concept that might otherwise be too difficult to comprehend. Towards the end of her life, when asked which of her many accomplishments she was most proud of, Admiral Hopper replied, "All the young people I have trained over the years."
(See below.)

The Problem?  Cap Gemini strayed from its roots while attempting to quickly climb up the IT services value chain.  Probably its biggest mistake of recent times, and the one that sealed Unwin's fate, was buying Ernst & Young consulting in May 2000, just before the Internet bubble burst.
Douglas Harward, "Back to Basics," Upside, September 2002, Page 20.

Greatness does not consist in receiving honours but in deserving them

A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience
Miguel de Cervantes

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

A new therapy for diabetes -- in which stem cells play a crucial part -- promises to eliminate routine insulin injections and ease symptoms for those with the disease.,1286,55239,00.html

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.
Schweitzer Albert

Microsoft Corp. said that the CNBC on MSN Money online personal finance service has introduced a college financing center to help consumers better understand how to prepare for, save for and fund a college education. To help consumers navigate the world of college financing, the service a range of content, from articles on 529 plans and higher education tax breaks to tuition calculators and links to colleges nationwide. 
Found in Syllabus News, September 13, 2002.  See 

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.
Twain Mark

"In Corporate America It's Cleanup Time Under pressure, a slew of companies are now changing the way they do business. Will it last?," by Jerry Useem, Fortune, September 16, 2002 --- 

This is a huge change of heart that has come remarkably fast. Between 1992 and 1999, the number of companies beating First Call estimates by exactly one penny quadrupled--and investors rewarded those companies for what was seen as great reliability. Now, says Baruch Lev, an accounting professor at New York University, "there will be suspicion of exactly meeting estimates, or beating them by a penny"--the presumption being that those companies could be accused of cooking their books. Corporate executives feel the heat. In a poll taken by Kennedy Information, publisher of Shareholder Value magazine, 46% said the wave of scandals had harmed the way investors viewed their companies, while 43% were changing the way they did business.

The most visible change has been a stampede to expense stock options; as of press time, 81 companies had announced they would treat stock options as a cost of doing business. But the cleanup has extended to insider selling, financial disclosure, even CEO pay--all issues that fed the image of corporate corruption. "Hopefully, this will convince my mother that companies are serious and that the numbers can be trusted," says Peggy Foran, vice president for corporate governance at Pfizer.

At Citigroup, under fire for its financing of Enron and WorldCom, CEO Sandy Weill is adopting what Prudential analyst Mike Mayo sarcastically calls "just-in-time corporate governance." Besides doing an about-face on the issue of expensing all stock options, Weill has set up a special governance committee, pledged to avoid any deals involving hidden off-balance-sheet transactions, and reaffirmed a "blood oath" never to sell more than 25% of his Citigroup stock.

I delight in men over seventy, they always offer one the devotion of a lifetime.
Wilde Oscar

Question:  Why was George Orwell just plain wrong?  (although I worry that terrorism may turn us back toward an Orwellian track.)
I used the following quotation in 1994 at 

No one has been more wrong about computerization than George Orwell in 1984. So far, nearly everything about the actual possibility-space that computers have created indicates they are not the beginning of authority but its end. In the process of connecting everything to everything, computers elevate the power of the small player. They make room for the different, and they reward small innovations. Instead of enforcing uniformity, they promote heterogeneity and autonomy. Instead of sucking the soul from human bodies, turning computer users into an army of dull colons, networked computers --- by reflecting the networked nature of our brains --- encourage the humanism of their users. Because they have taken on the flexibility, adaptability, and self-connecting governance of organic systems, we become more human, not less so, when we use them. 
Birkerts, S. (1994). “The electric hive: two views,” Readings, May, 17-25.

Princeton University Tops New Ranking of Educational Institutions Princeton Again Tops 'US News' 
Little changed this year in the top 10 compared to last year. Five institutions tied for fourth place this year: California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dartmouth College was ninth, followed by Columbia University and Northwestern University, which tied for 10th place.
Update on the "Best Colleges" Index --- 
Trinity University is once again Number 1 in the West --- 

It may be the case that the U.S. News rankings are as conscientiously and fairly constructed as anything that has yet come along. But I fear that even if meaningful rankings were possible, they do more harm than good in serving the needs of prospective students. Rankings contribute to the erroneous notion that a first-rate college education is something that one is handed upon admission. But a student's success in acquiring an education depends much less on consumer ratings of the product being offered than on the effort, dedication and creative energy a student invests in learning. Rankings both underestimate the amount of work it takes to get a college education and overestimate the importance of a university's prestige in that process. In that way, they may do considerable harm to the educational enterprise itself.
Professor Richard Beeman, The New York Times, September 17, 2002

My September 30, 2002 updates on the accounting auditing, and corporate governance scandals are at 

My new and updated documents the recent accounting and investment scandals are at the following sites:

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  

Bob Jensen's Summary of Suggested Reforms --- 

Bob Jensen's Bottom Line Commentary --- 

The Virginia Tech Overview:  What Can We Learn From Enron? --- 

The New DeloitteLearning Center --- 

The ultimate success or failure of an effective Corporate Governance process rests with Boards of Directors who have an obligation to ensure that their organizations, accountants, audit committees and law firms act in accordance with corporate bylaws, charters, policies and the rules of law.

Deloitte & Touche is pleased to provide this learning resource in order to advance the effectiveness and awareness of Corporate Governance through quality education on topics of great importance to members of corporate boards, audit committees and senior management.

Corporate Governance Courses

Capital Markets Overview

Complex Financial Instruments

Executive Compensation

Information Technology for Executives

Privacy and Data Protection

The Securities and Exchange Commission

Deloitte & Touche's IQ –
Integrity and Quality

New Accounting Legislation

Bill Parrett, President and Managing Partner of Deloitte & Touche, speaks about corporate governance and DeloitteLearning. 
Click here to see the video (5MB)...

Jagdish informed me about the following free document from the Pew Internet and American Life Project  --- 

The Internet Goes to College 
How students are living in the future with today’s technology 
Principal author: Steve Jones, Senior Research Fellow Pew Internet 
Project Survey Analysis: Mary Madden, 
Research Specialist Research assistants: Lisa N. Clarke Sabryna Cornish Margaret Gonzales Camille Johnson Jessica N. Lawson Smret Smith Sarah Hendrica Bickerton Megan Hansen Guenther Lengauer Luciana Oliveria Wendy Prindle James Pyfer 

Pew Internet & American Life Project Lee Rainie, Director 1100 Connecticut Avenue, NW – Suite 710 Washington, D.C. 20036 202-296-0019 

Summary of Findings

College students are early adopters and heavy users of the Internet

College students are heavy users of the Internet compared to the general population. Use of the Internet is a part of college students’ daily routine, in part because they have grown up with computers. It is integrated into their daily communication habits and has become a technology as ordinary as the telephone or television.

There are many more conclusions regarding academic and social impact of the Internet on students.  Download the rest of the summary and the full report from  

Hundreds of Free Classic Books
Page by Page Books --- 

Page by Page books is committed to bringing you a wide selection of the best public domain books available, all in an easy to read format.

Most sites with online books have the whole book on one page, forcing you to wait while the whole thing downloads. Even worse, if you don't read the whole book in one sitting, how do you keep track of where you are? Do you really want to have to look through thousands of lines to find where you left off? Some sites are better in that they put one chapter per page. Even this is hard. What if you get interrupted in the middle of the chapter? How do you bookmark it? To fill this void, was created. Read a little or alot, sneak in a few pages over lunch then read some more after dinner, no matter how much you read at a time, you can bookmark it and come back to exactly the right place.

In this age of expanding distance education and training, colleges and universities should look toward partnering within communities.  Significant funding is available.
Office of University Partnerships (OUP) --- 

A powerful force for community revitalization is gaining momentum across the country: university-community partnerships. In growing numbers, institutions of higher education are collaborating with community groups to apply research, scholarship, and service to real-life problems. They are integrating such partnerships into their curriculum, academic studies, and student activities, making them part of their ongoing mission. America's institutions of higher education have more intellectual talent than any other institutions in our society, and many of them are using these partnerships to tackle the complex socioeconomic issues facing the neighborhoods that surround them, such as poverty, joblessness, crime, and homelessness.

Recognizing the crucial role that America's institutions of higher education can play in rebuilding communities large and small, HUD established the Office of University Partnerships (OUP) in 1994 to encourage and expand the efforts of institutions of higher education that are striving to make a difference in their communities through funding opportunities. Whether the institution has a venerable history of reaching out to lower income neighborhoods or is just beginning to explore the potential of such partnerships, OUP can help increase the scope, effectiveness, and sustainability of its community-building efforts

Bob Jensen's bookmarks on funding alternatives are at 

Wow Education Site of the Week

From the Scout Report on September 20, 2002

Biology in Motion [Flash] 

Produced by Dr. Leif Saul, a biology teacher and Web site/ game developer, Biology in Motion has two new interactive education activities. Organize-It introduces an alternative way to test biological understanding by organizing concepts hierarchically. This exercise intends to "remedy some of the shortcomings of the traditional multiple-choice quiz." Users can choose self-tests from a variety of biology topics. Evolution Lab allows users to investigate how natural selection works by watching an animated simulation. Both activities are interesting and effective learning tools. While the Flash features may seem geared toward kids, the content and language are really meant for older students. Helpful tips for using this Web site's activities in the classroom are provided. This site is worth a visit even for those not searching for teaching material. This site is also reviewed in the September 20, 2002 _NSDL Life Sciences Report_.

Wow Technology of the Week  

"What's New," Suzanne Kantra Kirschner, Popular Science ---,12543,351353,00.html 

It's the most promising audio advance in years, and it's coming this fall: Hypersonic speakers, from American Technology (headed by the irrepressible Woody Norris, whose radical personal flying machine appeared on our August cover), focus sound in a tight beam, much like a laser focuses light. The technology was first demonstrated to Popular Science five years ago ("Best of What's New," Dec. '97), but high levels of distortion and low volume kept it in R&D labs. When it rolls out in Coke machines and other products over the next few months, audio quality will rival that of compact discs.

The applications are many, from targeted advertising to virtual rear-channel speakers. The key is frequency: The ultrasonic speakers create sound at more than 20,000 cycles per second, a rate high enough to keep in a focused beam and beyond the range of human hearing. As the waves disperse, properties of the air cause them to break into three additional frequencies, one of which you can hear. This sonic frequency gets trapped within the other three, so it stays within the ultrasonic cone to create directional audio.

Step into the beam and you hear the sound as if it were being generated inside your head. Reflect it off a surface and it sounds like it originated there. At 30,000 cycles, the sound can travel 150 yards without any distortion or loss of volume. Here's a look at a few of the first applications.

1. Virtual Home Theater How about 3.1-speaker Dolby Digital sound? With hypersonic, you can eliminate the rear speakers in a 5.1 setup. Instead, you create virtual speakers on the back wall.

2. Targeted Advertising "Get $1 off your next purchase of Wheaties," you might hear at the supermarket. Take a step to the right, and a different voice hawks Crunch Berries.

3. Sound Bullets Jack the sound level up to 145 decibels, or 50 times the human threshold of pain, and an offshoot of hypersonic sound technology becomes a nonlethal weapon.

4. Moving Movie voices For heightened realism, an array of directional speakers could follow actors as they walk across the silver screen, the sound shifting subtly as they turn their heads.

5. Pointed Messages "You're out too far," a lifeguard could yell into his hypersonic megaphone, disturbing none of the bathing beauties nearby.

6. Discreet Speakerphone With its adjustable reach, a hypersonic speakerphone wouldn't disturb your cube neighbors.

Continued at,12543,351353,00.html

In this great land called America, no child will be left behind.
President George W. Bush in "The No Child Left Behind Act."  
Department of Education Annual Plan 2002-2003 --- 
This report is much better than many academic researchers might expect.  It deals heavily with data quality problems and grant opportunities..

Napster started in a college kid's dorm room. Now, students at USC face the prospect of campus life without Net access if they're caught swapping MP3s and other files on the school's network ---,1285,55159,00.html 

Bob Jensen's threads on Napster are at 

New Tax Breaks for Students
From the IRS ---,,i1%3D42%26articleId%3D84150,00.html 

Worried about the rising cost of tuition? Well, the IRS has good news for students. Some wide-ranging tax law changes for 2002 may provide you with a little extra lunch money. Here is what's on the education menu that could take a bite out of your taxes.

Students are entitled to as much as $5,250 in employer-provided educational assistance -- tax free! This tax benefit was scheduled to end for undergraduate-level courses beginning after 2001, but is now extended indefinitely and includes graduate-level courses as well.

Some people may deduct up to $3,000 of qualified higher education expenses for courses during 2002, even if they don't itemize deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A.

And interest on student loans for higher education may now be deducted whenever paid and regardless of the age of the loan.

Saving up for school? The icing on the cake may be a Coverdell education savings account (ESA) or qualified tuition program (QTP). Changes in the law have made it easier to contribute to these programs and have increased the tax benefits on distributions from these accounts.

Before deciding what's best for you, do all your homework. Read up on income limits, phase outs, qualifying expenses, who can contribute and more. You can look at a quick summary of the 2002 tax law changes on education incentives. Or check out Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Higher Education, to learn about some smart ways to save on your taxes.

Common Faults With Accounting Firms' Web Sites
AccountingWEB US - Sep-16-2002 - By Steve McIntyre-Smith Ph.D, President, There are many, many reasons why so many Web sites fail to achieve results. Here are some of the top problems found by the AccountingWeb --- 

  1. Beauty and the beast. Having a beautiful looking web site is not why people buy from you. Think for a moment. Why do you go onto the web? For information. We surf to find answers to questions, to find something that will help improve our firm and give us a competitive edge.

    The best-looking sites are often not the best sites! Your web site can be a downright ugly one, but if it has "killer" content that your prospects just have to have, guess what? Visitors will usually forgive you. They will appreciate you spending your budget on content. Call it substance over style.

    The lesson learned here? Always spend more time/money/resources on content rather than a fancy looking design.

  2. Not tuned-in to This is the world’s most popular radio station, only in this case, it’s not a radio station. stands for WHAT’s IN IT FOR ME. Or in this case, from your own viewpoint, WHAT’s IN IT FOR THEM.

    Visitors don’t give a damn about how long your firm has been in business, who your clients are, how well qualified you guys are to meet their needs (this all comes later, much later).

    People visit your site because they have a problem that their present adviser may not be satisfying them on, and they want to know if you have the answer.

    Starting your site off with pages about we, us, me, me, me will not impress.

    Instead, you need to show empathy and understanding, demonstrate your expertise, maybe give away some free advice and tips and show the visitor that your firm has the solution they seek, and, in fact, is the ONLY firm for them.

For the other reasons, go to 

Founded in 1776, Dartmouth College is truly old school. But its precocious use of technology -- including a vast wireless network -- makes it a prototype for tomorrow's unwired society --- 

September 18, 2002 message from glan@UWINDSOR.CA 

A "Gooogle" search of the word "cybrary" provided this link on effective teaching which might be of interest to some faculty members, pre-tenure ones especially. It is at . In particular, the "Teaching Goals Inventory " by Thomas Angelo and Patricia Cross (1993) from the University Iowa articles, is an interesting and useful one.

George Lan 
University of Windsor

Congratulations to Carolyn Strand, Dick Baker and David Stout

September 16 message from Dasaratha Rama [
Regarding the Teaching and Curriculum Section of the American Accounting Association.

The Teaching & Curriculum Section also instituted a T&C Research Award in 2001-2002. Please join me in congratulating our first winner of the research award Dr. Carolyn A. Strand, Assistant Professor at Seattle Pacific University. Dr. Strand received the award for an outstanding contribution to education research for her article "Using the Team-Learning Model in a Managerial Accounting Class: An Experiment in Cooperative Learning." Dr. Strand received the award and a check for $500 at the T&C Section breakfast on August 15, 2002, in San Antonio, Texas.

The T&C Section presented the first "The Teaching and Curriculum Section Distinguished Achievement Award" for notable contributions to accounting education, research, and practice at the Annual Meeting in San Antonio. Congratulations to our award winners Dr. Richard Baker (Northern Illinois University) and Dr. David Stout (Villanova University). The criteria for selection are significant scholarly output in the area of accounting education and professional activities aimed at enhancing accounting curriculum and delivery, including participation in T&C Section activities and/or other beneficial service to accounting educators.

I have long contended that colleges and universities will move more and more into certificate programs to supplement their degree programs.  This is especially the case given the revenue opportunities and low cost of online certificate programs vis-a-vis degree programs.  An illustration is given below.

From Syllabus News on September 17, 2002

College Develops Custom Certification Program

The College of Extended Studies at San Diego State University has developed a certification program in telecommunications that is customized for employees of a company that provides voice and data services outsourcing. Under the customized certification program, employees of Profitline Inc. will take university-level courses to further their understanding of telecom services and technology. "Our program in telecommunications examines the most recent developments in this rapidly changing industry, and is designed so that graduates of the program can make their companies more successful and profitable," said William Byxbee, dean of SDSU's College of Extended Studies. ProfitLine chief Rick Valencia said, "providing our employees a customized curriculum from a world-class university will help us attract better talent, improve the knowledge base of our existing team, and enable us to provide even better service to our growing base of enterprise clients."

For more information, visit: . 

Forwarded by Scott Bonacker, CPA [scottbonacker@MOCCPA.COM
Scott recommends the free GoPeep software at 

GoPeep!™ lets you:
  • Browse and search within live data.
  • Browse any ODBC database without the application, as long as the driver is installed.
  • Browse more than 160 different applications and data types (click here for a pop-up listing).
  • Identify "mystery data" with "view as hex" functionality.
  • Use SQL queries to browse just the data you’d like to view.
  • Browse and search within files too large to open in Text Pad.

You can find definitions of ODBC and SQL at 

Featuring the results of the third round of the Pew Grant Program in Course Redesign, faculty project leaders will show how to increase quality and reduce costs using information technology. Faculty from four institutions will talk about their models of course redesign, including their decisions regarding student learning objectives, course content, learning resources, course staffing and task analysis, and student and project evaluation. These models provide varied approaches that demonstrate multiple routes to success, tailored to the needs and context of each institution. For further information, please visit

How is the online MBA Program for PwC consultants doing at the University of Georgia?

Download Denny Beresford's MP3 file at   (Scroll down just a bit.)

Hi Dan,

Fortunately, JavaScript is much, much easier to learn than Java and DHTML. JavaScript is an easy way to add user interactions on your Web documents. The next step up is DHTML, but DHTML is difficult to program and adds about ten times as much code to your document (ToolBook uses DHTML templates and Microsoft uses DHTML for interactive Excel Web documents). I guess the next step up is Java, but you must devote your life if you want to become a Java programmer.

I would begin with my tutorial illustrations at 

For a more complete set of tutorials, go to  
Note the tutorial listing at

Free book --- 

Never trust password protection JavaScripting. These are never as secure as password protections in Java and other more sophisticated codes.

Other suggestions include the following: 

There are a variety of books that pretty much have the same content. One popular book is Netscape Visual JavaScript For Dummies by Emily A. Vander Veer


-----Original Message----- 
From: Dan Gode []  
Sent: Saturday, September 14, 2002 1:48 AM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: Javascript


What is the best way to learn javascript?


September 14 reply from Dan Gode with respect to my comment above about password protection.

Thanks a lot for your detailed help. If you want to have fun, check out


Innovation of the Week

Nanotechnology, which is advancing faster than researchers originally predicted, could make the world a less-polluted place and help sustain its burgeoning population ---,1282,55024,00.html 

For scientists who study it, nanotechnology is considered a clean technology, perhaps even the key to solving some current environmental ills.

And the field is advancing rapidly.

The National Science Foundation has been cutting its timetable for the release of nanotech-fueled products from five or 10 years to two or three years, said Mihail Roco, NSF's senior adviser on nanotechnology.

First products likely to emerge are in medicine, Roco said.

Nanotechnology will so thoroughly affect the way science addresses medicine, food, electronics and the environment, that within a decade or so, Roco envisions a $1 trillion yearly market in products that carry nano-components, including all computer chips, half of pharmaceuticals and half of chemical catalysts.

The current state of nanotechnology mirrors the level of development in the field of polymers and plastics in the 1930s, when it was in its infancy, said Kevin Ausman, director of the Rice University Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology. The plastics industry quickly expanded, providing the materials for a large portion of manufactured goods.

With the world's population expected to reach 11 billion by 2050, scientists like Roco believe nanotechnology could allow governments and industry to keep the planet livable, by slashing waste and helping provide sustainable food, water and energy.

NSF's National Nanotechnology Initiative, which leads the U.S. government's efforts in the field, has been researching nanotechnology's potential environmental benefits.

Roco and other proponents say that, for instance, filter systems for drinking or waste water, natural gas pipelines and smokestacks can be designed at the molecular level, to remove even the most minuscule of impurities. For water, that means cleaner drinking. For gas, finer filtration means cleaner burning, with fewer smog-creating impurities.

And industrial plants may be able to use more sensitive emission "scrubbers" that screen even nano-sized flecks of soot from waste gases.

Nanoparticles are also being examined for use as sensors to monitor air or drinking water for the presence of toxins. Farther out, such sensors might be networked to give a full picture of the environment and any encroaching pollutants even chemical or biological weapons.

Pollution-absorbing nanoparticles that can be used to clean up tainted water or soil is another concept under study, Roco said.

And the entire concept of building devices at the molecular level means that products will be smaller. There is less waste in the production process and in the trash, when nano-devices are discarded at the end of their lives, Roco said.

"By understanding the molecular level, the overall trend leads to sustainable development the opposite of increased pollution," Roco said.

This new service from Google Answers is disturbing.  

Students can now pay to have their homework answered by experts

Some claim using the Net to do homework shows that today's kids are resourceful. But a rise in content cribbed straight from online sources, like Google Answers, has teachers on alert.
"Thin Line Splits Cheating, Smarts," vy Dustin Goot, Wired News, September 10, 2002 ---,1383,54963,00.html 

Most teachers wouldn't be surprised to hear that students have bribed friends or siblings to do their homework in exchange for a few bucks.

What might surprise them is that Google Answers sometimes takes school kids up on the offer.

Staffed by a cadre of 500-plus freelance researchers, the service takes people's questions -- for example, a calculus problem or a term paper topic -- and provides answers and links to information. Google charges a listing fee of 50 cents and, if someone comes up with a satisfactory response, the user pays that researcher a previously entered bid (minimum: $2).

Although Google Answers has a policy encouraging students to use the service as a study aid rather than a substitution for original work, several cases show that students often ignore this advice.

One student in Quebec, dismayed by a response that offered only background research for a paper on religion, pleads, "Make it into an essay, not just links and quotes. I need this asap PLEASE!!! 2500 words is the minimum."

While researchers are scrupulous enough not to churn out a completed term paper -- despite the Quebec student's $55 bid -- other potential homework questions, such as math or science problems, can be harder to identify. In some cases researchers acknowledge that a question looks like homework -- but they still provide the answer.

The dilemma faced by Google Answers researchers highlights a broader issue that vexes many educators around the country. Namely, where do you draw the line between appropriate and inappropriate uses of the Internet and how do you stamp out clear abuses such as cutting and pasting entire paragraphs into an essay?

The question first entered many educators' consciousness following a Kansas cheating scandal earlier in the year that made national headlines. At Piper High School, near Kansas City, a biology teacher failed 28 of 118 students for plagiarism on an assignment that consisted of collecting and gathering information about local leaves.

However, many students (and their parents) contended that there was nothing improper about the leaf descriptions they submitted, which had been lifted straight from the Internet. Others claimed it was unclear where proper citation was required.

Tamara Ballou, who is helping implement an honor code at her Falls Church, Virginia, high school, said that it is not uncommon for teachers and students to disagree on what constitutes academic dishonesty.

"We took a long time to define cheating," she said, noting that many kids felt it was acceptable to copy homework from each other or off the Internet if the assignment was perceived as "busy work."

"A lot of kids don't even know what (plagiarism) is," agreed Kevin Huelsman. "They say, 'Yeah, I did the work; I brought it over (from the Internet).'"

Continued at,1383,54963,00.html 

See also:
•  Where Cheaters Often Prosper
•  Got Cheaters? Ask New Questions
•  Schools, Tech: Still Struggling

The Web puts answers to most questions -- not to mention ready-made term papers -- at students' fingertips. One educator says it's time to assign work that truly makes kids think. 

"Got Cheaters? Ask New Questions," by Dustin Goot, Wired News, September 10, 2002 ---,1383,54996,00.html

Jamie McKenzie has spent his whole career trying to get schools "to ask better questions." But now that he preaches better questions as an antidote for rampant Internet plagiarism, a lot more teachers are listening.

In the professional development seminars he gives, McKenzie said, 60 to 80 percent of teachers cite cases of plagiarism in their classrooms. A more formal study, conducted by a professor at Rutgers University, found that more than half of high school kids "have engaged in some level of plagiarism on written assignments using the Internet."

According to McKenzie, however, students aren't solely to blame for this trend. Many assignments teachers give, he said, are conducive to cheating. "It is reckless and irresponsible to continue requiring topical 'go find out about' research projects in this new electronic context," McKenzie wrote in a 1998 article in "From Now On," an online educational journal he edits.

Instead, teachers must distinguish between trivial research and meaningful research, which asks kids to "analyze, interpret, infer or synthesize" material they have read.

Patti Tjomsland said that in Washington's Mark Morris High School, where she serves as a media specialist, the standard book report of the old days does not even exist anymore. Instead, teachers favor compare-and-contrast essays or personal opinion pieces asking students what they would do in a certain situation. Content for these kinds of essays, Tjomsland explained, is not readily available online.

McKenzie hopes that more schools will follow Mark Morris High's example. "A lot of concern (about plagiarism) is translated into more careful scrutiny," he said. "I would like to see the concern translated into better assignments."

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at 

John Howland reminded me of the U.S. Navy ship named the USS Hopper --- 

September 12, 2002 message from Dee (Dawn) Davidson [dgd@MARSHALL.USC.EDU

This item came up today in one of the research sites and because it relates to the joy of teaching, I wanted to pass it along. The link I enjoyed the most is the last one. This story will be published shortly.


TODAY'S WORD: Grace Hopper nanosecond See our definition with hyperlinks at,,sid9_gci850361,00.html 

In education, a Grace Hopper nanosecond is a prop used by a teacher to help students understand an abstract concept. The teaching tool got its name from the short lengths of telephone wire that Admiral Grace Hopper used to give out at lectures. Admiral Hopper used the 11.87 inch-long wires to illustrate how in one billionth of second (a nanosecond) an electronic signal can travel almost twelve inches. In addition to being a gifted programmer, Admiral Hopper was quite famous during her lifetime for her teaching skills. Admiral Hopper believed that by providing the learner with a concrete analogy already in their frame of reference, it was possible to absorb and even understand an abstract concept that might otherwise be too difficult to comprehend. Towards the end of her life, when asked which of her many accomplishments she was most proud of, Admiral Hopper replied, "All the young people I have trained over the years."


Grace Hopper,,sid9_gci213732,00.html 




Grace Hopper is pictured here holding one of her famous nanoseconds. 

Grace Hopper often cautioned her programming students not to waste a nanosecond. 


dee davidson 
Accounting Systems Specialist 
Marshall School of Business 
Leventhal School of Accounting 
University of Southern California 213.740.5018

September 17, 2002 message from Fathom

We've added dozens of new courses for educators which we urge you to explore. Many courses follow a fall enrollment schedule, so sign up today.

To view all courses in Fathom's Teacher Center, please visit: 

or go to one of the courses listed below.

Children's Materials: Evaluation and Use This course is a study of library materials for children with an emphasis on literature in its various forms. 

Distance Learning Assessment Theory This course includes in-depth modules with various assessment formats that can be used for evaluating students in online courses. 

Intervention Strategies for Struggling Readers This course focuses on implementing research-based assessment strategies for emerging and intermediate readers. 

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.

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Review on September 13, 2002

TITLE: HealthSouth Corp. Executives Had Hint of Billing Problems 
REPORTER: Ann Carrns 
DATE: Sep 05, 2002 
TOPICS: Accounting Changes and Error Corrections, Advanced Financial Accounting, Disclosure Requirements, Earning Announcements, Financial Accounting

SUMMARY: HealthSouth Corp. is being required by Medicare to reduce billings for certain physical therapy services they provide. The change will have a substantial impact on the company's profitability.

1.) Describe HealthSouth Corp.'s operations as you understand them from the article.

2.) Describe the nature of the problem facing HealthSouth Corp.'s executives. What accounting adjustment will result from resolving this matter? Specifically state the journal entry that will have to be made. What accounting standard governs this adjustment? How will this item be displayed and what disclosures about it must be made in the financial statements?

3.) Why does the author title this issue a "billing problem" rather than a revenue recognition issue?

4.) The author questions whether HealthSouth executives should have alerted investors to this problem earlier than they did. Under what venue would they make this disclosure? What standards or regulations govern the requirement to disclose this information to investors?

5.) Management argues that they would not have had to disclose this item to shareholders if it were not material. What defines materiality? Could the issue be material even in the amount affecting current year results is small relative to the company's overall operations? Explain.

6.) Do you think the discussion of Mr. Scrushy's executive stock options is relevant to the issue at hand? Why do you think the author included this information?

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

Bob Jensen's threads on the Columbia/KPMG and other related medical billing frauds can be found at

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Review on September 13, 2002

TITLE: Ford Publicly Disputes Report That Questions Its Accounting 
REPORTER: Norihiko Shirouzu 
DATE: Sep 11, 2002 
TOPICS: Accounting, Accounting Fraud, Accounting Irregularities, Cash Flow, Financial Accounting, Financial Analysis, Financial Statement Analysis

SUMMARY: Gary, Lapidus, an analyst with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., issued a report alleging that Ford Motor Co. overstated its cash balance and cash flows. Ford is publicly disputing the allegations.

1.) Describe the issue related to Ford Motor Co. being questioned by Mr. Lapidus?

2.) Does Ford Motor Co. have an obligation to make immediate payments to Ford Credit? If the payments are not made, is the cash balance overstated? Are cash flows overstated? Do there appear to be any problems with the accounting? Support your answer.

3.) If Ford Motor is required to make the payments in the future, how should the obligations be reported in the financial statements? Do the future payments influence net income in the current and/or future periods?

4.) Discuss the logic underlying Mr. Lapidus's criticism of Ford Motor Co. Is delaying cash payments a good economic decision? Does the accounting appear to reflect the underlying economics of the transaction? Support your answer.

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

China's latest move in its Internet crackdown reroutes people trying to access Google to no-name search engine sites, infuriating many users ---,1283,55030,00.html 

Top 20 eBooks --- 

September 2002
1. Motivation and Learning Strategies for College Success: A Self-Management Approach, by Myron H. Dembo. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000.
2. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, by Damien Keown. Oxford University Press, 1996. 8
3. Theses and Dissertations: A Guide to Planning, Research, and Writing, by R. Murray Thomas & Dale L. Brubaker. Bergin & Garvey, 2000.
4. How to Read a Book: The Art of Getting a Liberal Education, by Mortimer J. Adler. Simon and Schuster, 1967.
5. Domestic Violence: Facts and Fallacies, by Richard L. Davis. Praeger Publishers, 1998.
6. Sin Boldly! : Dr. DaveÝs Guide to Writing the College Paper, by David R. Williams. Perseus Publishing, 2000.
7. The Origin of Everyday Moods: Managing Energy, Tension, and Stress, by Robert E. Thayer. Oxford US, 1997.
8. Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction, by Kim Knott. Oxford University Press, 2000.
9. Regulating Workplace Safety: System and Sanctions, by Neil Gunningham & Richard Johnstone. Oxford University Press, 1999.
10. Computer: A History of the Information Machine, by Martin Campbell-Kelly & William Aspray. Basic Books, 1996.
11. Analyze, Organize, Write: A Structured Program for Expository Writing, by Arthur Whimbey & Elizabeth Lynn Jenkins. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1987.
12. The Industrial Revolution, by Arnold J. Toynbee. Beacon Press, 1956.
13. Handbook of College Reading and Study Strategy Research, by Rona F. Flippo & David C. Caverly. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000.
14. Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History, by Bryan Villa & Cynthia Morris. Greenwood Press, 1997. 6
15. Witchcraft, by Charles Alva Hoyt. Southern Illinois University Press, 1981.
16. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. United States Government Printing Office, 1979.
17. A World in Flames: A Short History of the Second World War in Europe and Asia, 1939-1945, by Martin Kitchen. Longman, 1990.
18. International Handbook on Gender Roles, by Leonore Loeb Adler. Greenwood Press, 1993.
19. Dictionary of Religion and Philosophy, by Geddes MacGregor. Paragon House, 1989. 5
20. Women and Men in Organizations: Sex and Gender Issues at Work, by Jeanette N. Cleveland, Margaret Stockdale, & Kevin R. Murphy. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000.

Additional eBooks
21. Beowulf, by Charles W. Kennedy. Hand and Flower Press, 1968.
22. Islam: An Introduction, by Annemarie Schimmel. State University of New York Press, 1992. 16
23. To Die Or Not to Die? Cross-Disciplinary, Cultural, and Legal Perspectives on the Right to Choose Death, by Joyce Berger. Praeger Publishers, 1990.
24. The Cold War: The United States and the Soviet Union, 1917-1991, by Ronald E. Powaski. Oxford University Press, 1998. 1
25. Motivation for Achievement: Possibilities for Teaching and Learning, by M. Kay Alderman. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999.
26. Leadership for the Twenty-First Century, by Joseph C. Rost. Praeger Publishers, 1993.
27. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. P. F. Collier & Son Company, 1912.
28. The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice, by Robert M. Baird & Stuart E. Rosenbaum. Prometheus Books, 1993. 4
29. The Ethics of Human Cloning, by Leon R. Cass & James Q. Wilson. American Enterprise Institute, 1998.
30. Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking, by Diane F. Halpern. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996.
31. Personality, by David C. McClelland. Sloane, 1951. 17
32. The First World War, by Keith Robbins. Oxford University, 1993.
33. The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb, by Dennis D. Wainstock. Praeger, 1996.
34. The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction, by Walter Laqueur. Oxford University Press, 1999. 14
35. Adolescent Sex Roles and Social Change, by Lloyd B. Lueptow. Columbia University Press, 1984.

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at 

From the Smithsonian
Wonder Books: Rare Books on Early Museums 

Bob Jensen's history and museum bookmarks are at 

The Mark Twain House (History, Literature) --- 

St. Paul's Cathedral (Religion, History, Art, Architecture) --- 

Will Durant Foundation (History of Civilization) --- 

The British Museum: World of Money  --- 

American Folklore --- 

From Syllabus News on September 9, 2002

Microsoft Opens Online College Financing Center

Microsoft Corp. said the CNBC on MSN Money online personal finance service introduced a college financing center to help consumers prepare for, save for and fund a college education. The company said it launched the service response to the changing rules and policies surrounding college savings plans. It will include content ranging from articles on 529 plans and higher education tax breaks to tuition calculators and links to college scholarship information. "Financing a college education is a major investment, and with recent legislative changes, it has become an even more complicated process," said Karen Redetzki, product manager for the Financial Products Group at Microsoft, who hopes the service will be a one-stop reference for families.

Beyond the "Old School"
From the AICPA ---—The%20Differential

What’s in store for the next generation of accountants? To attract students to the profession and provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary for success, practitioners and educators are employing a three-pronged strategy. First, they encourage early college, high school and even younger students to consider accounting careers. Second, they create challenging, mind-stretching curricula. Third, they support efforts to make early career experiences attractive. This special section offers an overview of current activities and opportunities to help.

Beyond the “Old School”

By the Numbers | Education Innovations | Teaching the Teacher | It’s Career Day Again—Resource List


By the Numbers

The 2001 report, The Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits, documents the demographics of the accounting profession. Anyone will find the report useful. It is available online at

The data are based on an AICPA survey of colleges and universities that offer accounting degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s or PhD level and of public accounting firms and sole practitioners affiliated with the Institute.

In 1999–2000, approximately 37,000 students received bachelor’s degrees in accounting and 8,000 earned master’s degrees. Compared to 1998– 1999, the number of bachelor’s degree recipients decreased 10%; however, the number of master’s degrees awarded increased 19%.

Schools in the Southern and Pacific states held steady compared to previous years while schools in the East and North Central regions awarded fewer bachelor’s degrees.

Considerably more females than males received bachelor’s degrees (58% to 42%), about equal percentages received master’s degrees (51% females to 49% males) while more males than females received PhDs (61% to 39%).

Minorities accounted for 20% of accounting bachelor’s and master’s graduates and for 22% of PhDs.

Approximately one-third of 1999–2000 bachelor’s degree recipients took positions with public accounting firms and about one-fourth began their careers in business and industry. A majority of master’s degree recipients (62%) went into public accounting. These proportions parallel 1998–1999 degree recipients.

Enrollments in accounting bachelor’s programs continued to drop (4.5%) from 1998–1999. However, enrollments in master’s programs increased by 10% and in master’s-in-taxation programs by 20%.

The number of candidates sitting for the CPA exam continued to drop. Exam candidates for 2000 totaled 115,493.

Firms with 50 to 200 AICPA members and those with fewer than 10 members hired relatively fewer new graduates than in previous years. However, firms employing 10 to 49 members increased their hiring.

Over the years, the Institute has tracked the proportions of new hires working variously in accounting/auditing, taxation and management consulting. In 2000 almost two-thirds of the graduates (65%) accepted accounting or auditing positions, one-fourth took assignments in taxation and 5% began work in management consulting for public accounting firms.

The share of new hires accepting accounting or auditing positions showed the greatest growth—the share of new management consulting hires, the greatest decrease. The percentage of graduates hired into tax positions held steady.

Continuing a trend that began in the early ’90s, females made up the majority (56%) of new graduates hired by public accounting firms.

Twenty percent of new graduate hires were minorities—the same percentage as in the previous year.

Across all firms surveyed the annual turnover rate was 16%, up from 14% during 1999. Turnover rates and firm size were positively correlated.

In 2000 the turnover rate was higher for females than males, especially at the smaller firms.

The largest firms were the most ethnically and racially diverse.

Firms predicted hiring trends compared with their actual hiring figures in 2000.* Firms projected the percentage change for 2001, 2003 and 2005. Predictions for 2001 over 2000 ranged from a 0% increase for the largest firms to a 2% increase for firms employing fewer than 10 members as well as for firms employing 50 to 200 members. Firms with 50 to 200 members were the most optimistic in their hiring estimates.

Firms’ estimates of growth in hiring of nonaccounting graduates were more conservative. Firms employing 50 to 200 members were, again, the most optimistic about long-term growth prospects.

*The survey, which was conducted during the second quarter of 2001, did not reflect either the downturn in the economy during the second half of 2001 or the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


Education Innovations

Influenced by the Bedford report—the 1986 study of the gap between what accounting students learned in school and what accountants actually did on the job—Kansas State University (KSU) set out in 1990 to transform its accounting curriculum from the traditional “preparer” perspective to one focused on broader learning objectives that included

Ensuring that students who graduate had the technical and professional knowledge to succeed as accounting professionals.

Seeing that students who graduate had the professional skills necessary to implement their knowledge, including oral and written communication, interpersonal skills and the ability to think critically.

Attracting and retaining high-quality students to the curriculum.

In place today, the curriculum is a five-year program in which students graduate with a bachelor’s degree at the end of four years but are expected to stay and complete a master’s-in-accountancy degree. The five-year approach was chosen because the faculty realized a fifth year was necessary to achieve its objectives and not to comply with the advent of the 150-hour requirement.

The curriculum revision was based on two criteria: that students should understand simple topics before more complex topics and content would be based on how students learn, using Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive skills. (Bloom’s hierarchy begins with knowledge and comprehension, followed by application and analysis, synthesis and evaluation.) In contrast a traditional curriculum schedules courses based on the order topics appear on the balance sheet; the result is that the first course is intermediate accounting, which many consider the most difficult in terms of content. In the revised curriculum, therefore, topics were sequenced so students did not have to apply a higher skill level than their learning background supported. In addition integrated into every course were activities that promoted the skills the profession demands:

Group projects, which promote interpersonal skills.

Written assignments and presentations, which promote communication skills.

Research projects, which promote critical-thinking skills and learning how to think independently.

The curriculum also uses five levels:

Introductory-level courses have a “user” vs. a “preparer” perspective (because most students are not accounting majors), and also, these courses lend themselves to the recruitment effort described later. They focus on how the accounting system captures events and how accounting information is used for planning and evaluating.

Foundation-level courses provide the basis for all subsequent courses. They detail how the accounting system works and the theory and history of accounting standards.

Content-level courses introduce students to how various users employ data from the accounting system to meet their information needs.

Research-level courses are case-based, team-taught courses that cover tax, financial accounting and auditing and teach students how to use research tools to resolve ambiguous problems.

Graduate-level courses provide students with the opportunity to design a course of study with either a tax, financial, managerial or systems emphasis. An in-depth look at the curriculum is available at

Rather than use the “build it and they will come” approach, KSU said an objective of the new curriculum was to attract and retain the best possible students. As a result, the department developed an extensive program.

Two faculty members and the Accounting Advocates, a group of 10 to 12 graduate and undergraduate students, administer it. The Accounting Advocates are an essential component; they act as ambassadors for the department by making presentations to high schools, talking to visiting high school students and meeting with visiting dignitaries. Accounting students apply to be advocates in their junior year and serve throughout their graduate program.

The recruiting program targets high school teachers, counselors and students and undecided college freshmen and sophomores. Every school district in the state receives a recruiting video created by the accounting department. The recruiting program reaches

High school teachers and counselors. The schools-to-careers conference educates high school teachers about the opportunities an accounting career offers. It is a collaborative effort of the College of Business and the business education department of the College of Education.

High school students. The high school careers conference brings together high school students who are nominated by their teachers to attend. Students visit with young accounting professionals and go through team-building exercises and go to a tailgate party and football game. Students see positive accounting role models, learn about the career flexibility an accounting career has to offer and have fun.

College students. The professional accounting careers exploration dinner offers an opportunity to the best students in the introductory courses to meet with young professionals from public accounting and industry and an advocate to learn about careers.

Compared to 1989, there are now 35% more accounting majors and the quality of students (as measured by ACT, SAT and GPA) has increased. Enrollment in the master’s program increased 500% over the same time period. This increase occurred in spite of the fact that the GPA required for admission to the accounting major was significantly increased.

—Dan Deines, CPA, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas


Teaching the Teacher

The teacher internship program (TIP) educates high school teachers about the accounting profession. Through TIP, state CPA societies connect teachers with firms and businesses in summer internships to provide them with “real world” business and accounting experience. Providing educators with professional business experience that can be incorporated into their classroom curriculum and learning activities results in well-educated students, which benefits business and the workforce as a whole.

The AICPA Foundation provided seed money to help develop a training program for state societies and to assist firms in paying for internships. In the summer of 2001 the Indiana state society piloted the TIP with great success. Heather Bunning, the society’s communications and public relations manager, worked with the IRS and Ernst & Young to provide internships respectively to Paulette Lewis, a high school business-education teacher, and Charlene King, a high school mathematics teacher.

Lewis saw many facets of the IRS at the Indianapolis office, including exams, appeals, advocate services, and taxpayer and practitioner education and communication. She learned about resources available to the public and to educators she could use in her classroom. She plans to open a volunteer income tax assistance site at her school to assist taxpayers during filing season. And conversely, Lewis provided the IRS with a fresh perspective on the materials needed by educators. According to IRS manager Ken Williams, the experience was invaluable: “Through Ms. Lewis’ experience, we hope to reach high school students so they view the IRS as a source of information and are better prepared when it comes time for filing returns.”

King’s internship was with the tax compliance group at E&Y. She attended both E&Y’s tax analyst training and firmwide orientation programs. In the tax compliance group, King worked on tax returns for individuals, non-U.S. residents, not-for-profit agencies and trusts. She expanded her technical skills and her knowledge of databases and computer software. She also learned of the many job opportunities available in the accounting and tax field. King said she had had a great experience at E&Y and was especially excited to be able to apply math topics using real-world examples for her students.

A resource guide was published to assist states or firms interested in implementing the program. To receive it, download a copy from


It’s Career Day Again—Resource List

The AICPA offers the CPA Information Package (CPA iPACK). Its highlights are the “Takin’ Care of Business” video, education handbook and career guides. The 15-minute video features five young, successful CPAs in exciting careers ranging from an FBI special agent to the controller of the New York Jets. Combining animation with real-life profiles, this entertaining video also discusses CPA career opportunities. The handbook contains 15 lesson plans, with objectives and instruction procedures, topic overviews, student-learning activities and solution sets. The iPACK also contains 25 career guides that discuss services CPAs provide and the industries they work in, as well as earnings potential and the requirements for becoming a CPA. Enclosed also is a Presenter’s Guide, with topics of discussion and an order guide for purchasing additional CPA iPACKs or its components, a list of state CPA society contacts, a poster and a questionnaire/ evaluation form.

Orders for the iPACK or its individual components can be placed through CPA2Biz at 888-777-7077. The iPACK product number is 872530 and the cost is $20 plus shipping and handling.

To help teachers use the iPACK materials, the AICPA created the high school educator symposium concept. The symposium is an all-day conference (approximately 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) that can be held at various locations, including a state society’s facility, a college campus or a hotel. Teachers specializing in mathematics, economics and business education as well as career advisers, principals and administrators from targeted high schools are invited to attend. Guidance counselors and career advisers from colleges and universities in the area are invited as well. A resource guide is available to assist states or firms interested in implementing the program. To obtain a copy, download it from

Student recruiting with Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) is a program that educates and informs high school students of the career opportunities in accounting. Working through the state CPA societies, a CPA teams up with a BAP student to make presentations to high school audiences. The AICPA has prepared a resource guide for this program with guidelines and suggestions for implementing it. To obtain it, download a copy from

"COOL" STUDENT WE SITES:—Created by the Pennsylvania state society, the site contains interactive games, career information and prizes.—The Maryland society’s site contains information for students about the accounting profession.—Using a nautical theme, the Indiana society’s Web page helps students “guide their way” to becoming a CPA.—The California society’s student Web page contains excellent profiles of young CPAs. The site also offers to tailor articles based on your needs.—The Illinois society’s Web site is full of fun and important information.—Web site of the Kansas state society, a comprehensive site for students.

CPA Exam Update
The AICPA, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and Prometric, a technology-based testing company, signed a joint agreement to deliver a computerized Uniform CPA Examination. The last paper-based CPA exam will be delivered in November 2003; a computer-based exam will replace the paper exam starting in early 2004.

The AICPA will continue to create and grade the computerized CPA exam; NASBA and the state boards of accountancy will be responsible for its overall administration. Prometric will deliver the exam to candidates through its network of testing centers.

The AICPA launched a Web site dedicated to the CPA exam: The site contains information about the exam, with links to the AICPA, NASBA and the state boards of accountancy. The computer-based exam will assess critical skills, with increased emphasis on information technology and general business knowledge, and will broaden the scope in the audit and attest areas.

The AICPA board of examiners approved the structure, length and content specifications for the new format. A copy of the policy document is available at or from the AICPA examinations team. Contact Geyla Kotlyar at 201-938-3427 or via e-mail at

Continued at—The%20Differential
National CPA Student Recruitment Campaign 
Finding the Best and Brightest—One Firm’s Experience
150-Hour Requirement 
Diversity Drive at the AICPA
Competencies—The Differential!

Most College Students Get Low Marks in Money Management, SmartPros,  September 4, 2002 ---  

Sept. 4, 2002 (The News and Observer) — NEW YORK (AP) - If you're getting ready to ship your kid off to college, make sure you pack some financial advice with those bed sheets.


Students just starting college often have little or no knowledge of the most basic financial planning concepts. Yet failing to instruct college-bound children on personal financial management can lead to serious problems - the most dangerous of which could be mounting credit-card debt.

Resources for students and parents on everything from smart savings strategies to seeking out low interest-rate debt have grown tremendously in recent years. Parents and students today can look to their financial aid officers, youth magazines or online for financial advice.

Lack of financial savvy isn't a new problem among college students. But today's harsher economic climate has increased the need for tight budgeting. Additionally, easy access to credit cards on campuses makes ignorance more dangerous than ever because students easily can ruin their credit history.

According to a July survey by student-loan agency Nellie Mae, 83 percent of college students had credit cards in 2001, up from 67 percent in 1997. While average debt levels dropped in 2001 to $2,327 from $2,748 the year before, more than 27 percent of students had balances that exceeded $3,000, compared with 22 percent in 2000.

Meanwhile, financial awareness among young people may even be deteriorating. The average 12th grader scored 50.3 percent - a failing grade - on a financial literacy test provided by the JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy this year. That is down from 51.9 percent in 2000 and 57.3 percent in 1997.

"When I was young, and I ran out of cash, that was it," said Dara Duguay, executive director of JumpStart, a youth-oriented financial education program. "Today, if young adults want to live beyond their means, credit cards provide a very easy way to do that."

Fortunately, resources that provide students with basic financial guidance are abundant and appear to be growing. Students can usually get free advice right on campus from their financial aid officer, from online youth organizations or from their campus credit union.

Parents whose children departed home without any financial savvy can help by sending information. Finding the right resources is vital because sometimes parents don't know the rules, Duguay said.

Financial aid officers, once thought of simply as the finders of loans and grants, often can provide guidance on many aspects of one's financial life, said Dallas Martin, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, a trade group for financial aid workers in Washington.

Paying for school and budgeting, "they tie together," Martin said. As a result, many financial aid officers today offer budgeting lessons and advice on how to increase income, he said.

The weak economy has increased the need for financial guidance.

"There's a lot of pressure this year, more than I've seen in the past," Martin said. Students are watching their college funding decrease as state budgets tighten and parents lose jobs. If the financial aid officer cannot find students additional funding, he or she might be able to land them a job or help them cut back spending.

Campuses today also are much more likely to offer financial guidance during freshman orientations or through free written materials. The National Endowment for Financial Education, a publisher of financial educational materials, has brochures that it delivers through programs such as the United Negro College Fund and the American Indian College Fund. Topics range from basic tutorials about balancing a checkbook to advice on the dangers of online gambling and identity theft, said Brent Neiser, director of collaborative programs.

Continued at 

Are you a person that attaches little Post-it’s as reminders?  You can do the same thing on your computer files.
Dnoter 3.0 

Downloading it was quick and easy on my XP system.

You get a little icon called “denoter ruined software” on the bottom right of the screen. When you right click on that icon, you get options to create new notes or to bring up old notes.

The term “ruined” bothered me at first, but nothing seems to be ruined. I suspect “ruined” is an acronym for something or other. The program allows you to add and recall notes. It is important to put meaningful titles on your notes. You can also make them expire at some future day and time.

I find it most useful to make them opaque.

One problem that with my installation is that the Dnoter will not remember notes that I wanted saved when my machine is shut down and then rebooted.  It will only remember notes while my machine is left on.  I guess this is one of the problems with Dnoter 3.0 still being in Beta.  In any case, I uninstalled my Dnoter because of this flaw.

I’m told you can do similar things with MS Notes, but I don’t know how to run MS Notes (which is not the same thing as Notepad).

You can read the following at 

This program allows you to effectively keep track of notes on your desktop as if they were post-it's. The program runs quietly in your system tray and you can start adding notes by double clicking on it. Notes maybe be repositioned, made transparent, resized, colored, locked, and hidden. Very light program (less than 100k). Just download, extract, and run.

The program comes in two flavors. The installer version using SuperPiMP technology was made for those who don't mind a few extra kilobytes of download (35 or so) and is an easy to use installation interface. The exe only version is exactly the same and is just perfect if you know what you're doing with your computer.

Very clean, effective way to keep track of random crap. Your notes are stored in the "notes" directory. They are rich text formatted (after the first line anyway), so you can open them up in Notepad to modify them if you really need.

Paula Ward says you can do most of these things using MS Notes 

I've never tried pasting them to other documents, but there is an attachment feature that may do that. You can change the color, change the size, move them anywhere you want, categorize them, change the view of the notes folder (small icons, large icons, details), sort various ways, etc. As for making them always on top, I'm not sure. I usually open a note, move it to where I need it--next to another window or application. I use many of my notes like little "cheat sheets" so that, e.g., all I have to do is copy from the note and paste the information where needed, instead of re-typing.

I would be lost without them!


3M company is not very happy with MS Notes --- 

September 21 message from the developer of Denoter --- steven grafton [

Yes, there is a problem with some machines and shutting down directly without exiting dnoter manually first. I think I have found the answer with the next version. You can see a preview of the next version (with this fix) at:

To test it, replace the current exe with this one, and run it. If you test this and reply with your findings, I'd be very appreciative.

I haven't really seen, heard of, or used any other note programs (which is why I made this one) so I don't really have the authority to compare my program to others. If your newsletter doesn't come out for another week, I can get around to testing the MS Notes before then and get back to you. If you can wait a few days for a reply I will have no problem with my response being included in your newsletter.

I am planning on releasing a new version in a few days should this fix work for you (it has already worked for others), then you can have an up to date release for the newsletter too. Please reply soon.

Thanks for your time.


News from Microsoft --- 

As the Windows platform continues to evolve to address changing business computing needs, many organizations currently on UNIX platforms are turning to Windows to run their new client and server business applications. They're discovering that moving to the Windows platform does not require abandoning existing investments in UNIX applications and infrastructure.

This section explains why customers should consider migrating to Windows from UNIX. It also provides detailed information for IT professionals and developers on how to move from UNIX systems to Windows XP, Windows 2000, and the upcoming Windows .NET Server and Microsoft .NET Web services platforms.

Princeton University Tops New Ranking of Educational Institutions Princeton Again Tops 'US News' 
Little changed this year in the top 10 compared to last year. Five institutions tied for fourth place this year: California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dartmouth College was ninth, followed by Columbia University and Northwestern University, which tied for 10th place.
Update on the "Best Colleges" Index --- 
Trinity University is once again Number 1 in the West --- 

It may be the case that the U.S. News rankings are as conscientiously and fairly constructed as anything that has yet come along. But I fear that even if meaningful rankings were possible, they do more harm than good in serving the needs of prospective students. Rankings contribute to the erroneous notion that a first-rate college education is something that one is handed upon admission. But a student's success in acquiring an education depends much less on consumer ratings of the product being offered than on the effort, dedication and creative energy a student invests in learning. Rankings both underestimate the amount of work it takes to get a college education and overestimate the importance of a university's prestige in that process. In that way, they may do considerable harm to the educational enterprise itself.
Professor Richard Beeman, The New York Times, September 17, 2002

From Syllabus News on September 17, 2002

Study Says Rankings Have Little Impact on College Choice

As the US News & World Report rankings of universities hit newsstands last week, a study of factors that influence college choice concluded that rankings do not play a significant role in student decisions about where to apply and enroll. Instead, the study, done by StudentPoll, a newsletter published by educational consultants Art & Science Group, said other factors, including school web sites, campus visits, parents, and current students and alumni, all have more influence over students' decisions. "That some institutions make major educational policy and investment decisions on the basis of their hoped-for effect on the rankings is misguided, since the rankings have no major consequences for the recruitment of undergraduates," said Richard Hesel, publisher of StudentPoll.

From Syllabus News on September 13, 2002

PT Students in Internet Cheating Ring

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) said it uncovered widespread Internet cheating by physical therapy students preparing to take the National Physical Therapist Examination (NPTE). The organization said students were conducting illicit sharing of recalled or memorized exam questions via the Internet, and were using, among other sites, the discussion forum of International Educational Resources, Inc. (IER), an exam preparation vendor, to do it. FSBPT said is conducting an investigation, including identifying individual students who have participated in the cheating. For more information, visit: 

MSN Launches College Financing Center

Microsoft Corp. said that the CNBC on MSN Money online personal finance service has introduced a college financing center to help consumers better understand how to prepare for, save for and fund a college education. To help consumers navigate the world of college financing, the service a range of content, from articles on 529 plans and higher education tax breaks to tuition calculators and links to colleges nationwide.

For more information, visit: 

Easy Thumbnails 

At its new Tokyo showroom, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., maker of the Panasonic brand, is enticing Japan's gadget lovers with two model "houses of tomorrow." --- 

September 19, 2002 message from the FEI Research Foundation

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) says that the sharing of resources boosts profit opportunities, innovation and revenues. PwC interviewed CEOs of 411 product and service companies identified in the media (such as Forbes, Fortune, and Inc. magazines) as the fastest growing (in revenues) U.S. businesses over the last five years. PwC labels these companies "Trendsetters."

Over the past three years, more than half (56%) of these "Trendsetters" have participated in multiple partnerships with outsiders. Of these partnerships, 37% were formed to improve existing product lines and 29% were formed to develop new ones.

"Trendsetter" CEOs cite three major benefits of partnering: * Increased profit opportunities (88%); * Defense of competitive position (87%); and * Increased sales of existing products (80%).

Partnering takes many forms, but there are three primary ways to partner: * Technical consultations (65%); * Cooperative research (38%); and * Licensing (38%).

Somewhat surprising, "Trendsetter" CEOs attribute nearly a quarter of their current revenue (23%) to products or services developed in partnership with others. Over the next three years, 70% expect to receive even more revenue through partnerships.

There are, however, some risks to partnering. A total of 13% of companies involved in partnering reported losses to their partners, including: * Loss of scientists or other team workers (8%); * Loss of inside trade secrets (4%); and * Loss of proprietary technology (4%).

On the plus side, only 4% rated their loss as very or somewhat serious, and only 1% of those reporting losses said they expect to do less partnering over the next three years.

This article was taken from the August 26, 2002, issue of PwC's "Trendsetter Barometer": 

For other issues of PwC's "Trendsetter Barometer": 

HistoryLink (includes audios, essays, etc.) --- 

What is HistoryLink?
HistoryLink is an evolving online encyclopedia of Seattle and King County history. It is being written on and for the Internet to establish a new baseline history in anticipation of the 2001-2002 sesquicentennial of the establishment of Seattle and King County, Washington, USA. HistoryLink is also being designed to serve as a model for other communities seeking to preserve and present their histories via the Internet.

We should stress that HistoryLink, like the community it describes, is a work in progress. New features and database files are being added on a daily basis. We welcome your comments and suggestions, and we encourage citizens to add their own stories to our "People's History" archive.

HistoryLink is provided as a public service and educational resource. It is produced by History Ink, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, with the support of local governments, institutions, businesses, labor unions, foundations, and individual donors. See our sponsor page for a complete list of HistoryLink supporters and for guidance on how you can help.

Click here for a brief automatic slideshow on HistoryLink's goals. Also, we offer a brief illustrated history of the project, and a link to an article on HistoryLink published in the The Seattle Times on July 1, 2001.

Bob Jensen's history bookmarks are at 

World Development Report 2003 --- 

One of the things I do out of sheer boredom on a long flight, is to open the airline's in-flight magazine and scan the classified advertisements. One can usually obtain a PhD for around $350 in cash and a seven day waiting period. There are other graduate degrees available.

My point is that technology has not changed education fraud much over time, although phony degrees are now easier to advertise and can pop up from Web searches. One of the things I really hate is when the phony "college" name on the diploma is exactly like or similar to your own. There is a diploma bucket shop in the U.K that will give you a phony degree and let you declare the name of the college you want it to be from, e.g., Trinity College or Trinity University. We have had some "graduates" of that diploma mill actually contact our Career Placements Department at the real Trinity University and ask for assistance in getting "post-graduate" jobs.

The good news is that really phone degrees are so commonplace that most legitimate colleges and employers are somewhat wary. But it is easy to be careless! What amazes me is how commonplace it is for persons to practice as "doctors" without having the proper medical degrees and licenses. Now that's scary!

For some reason, Utah is often the address of choice for some of these is Salt Lake City. I think Utah needs to fix up its state laws (perhaps it has since the last time I looked).

For those with phony degrees, I can recommend some promising investment opportunities in Nigeria.

Bob Jensen

Original Message----- 
From: Davidson, Dee (Dawn) [mailto:dgd@MARSHALL.USC.EDU]
Sent: Sunday, September 08, 2002 12:29 PM 
To: AECM@LISTSERV.LOYOLA.EDU Subject: Phony "Distance Learning" on the Web

Good Morning, Bob and others with a stake in Distance Learning.

This article is in Sunday's L.A. Times. It discusses the phony diploma mills that are available through the internet. Phony diplomas and even "schools" that award diplomas for a small fee have been around forever. My excerpt here has 2 points of interest to us:

1. the book by John Bear includes these places with the legitimate schools offering Distance Learning. 2. one of the "illegitimate" places is named Trinity College and could be easily confused with Trinity University. 

'But unlike traditional diploma mills, the online versions exploit the wide reach of the Internet to send millions of e-mail advertisements promising degrees without "tests, classes, books or interviews.... No one is turned down."

The history of so-called universities that sell degrees without any education or true evaluation of experience goes back at least to the 19th century, said John Bear, coauthor of "Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning," which includes information on diploma mills operating on the Internet.

"Nothing has much changed, except that on the Internet it's so much easier," he said. "You can set up a site in an hour and send out e-mails. Then you just need a printing press."

There may be dozens of these operations, with names such as Earlscroft University, thought to originate in Belgium, and Trinity College and University, with offices in Pakistan and Venezuela.'

dee davidson 
Accounting Systems Specialist 
Leventhal School of Accounting 
Marshall School of Business 213.740.5018 

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education are at 

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud are at 

The WSJ module below offers some great ideas for interdisciplinary student projects and research.


Home Sales Increased Last Month By Jon E. Hilsenrath and Patrick Barta 08/27/02 Page A2
ARTICLE URL:,,SB1030370584740926515,00.html 

Risk of home purchase By (Reporter)
ARTICLE URL:,,SB1029591562619326355,00.html 

Housing Prices Continue Ascent, Fueling More Fears of a Bubble By Patrick Barta 8/14/2002
ARTICLE URL:,,SB1029269911436918675,00.html 

New-Home Sales Surge 6.7% As Buyers Lock In Low Rates A WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE NEWS ROUNDUP- Economy Section 08/26/02
ARTICLE URL:,,SB1030370584740926515.djm,00.html 

Economic Forecast Group ECRI Sees No Housing Bubble By John Mcauley-Dow Jones Newswires 08/21/02
ARTICLE URL:,,BT_CO_20020821_004098.djm,00.html 

TALES OF THE TAPE: Homebuilders Flourish Despite Economy By Janet Morrissey, Dow Jones Newswires 08/09/02
ARTICLE URL:,,BT_CO_20020809_004194.djm,00.html 

These brief articles directly address the question posed in this first edition of the Interdisciplinary Review for Fall 2002.


1. Accounting. 
With banks lending more funds, possibly to households that have overextended themselves with regard to their mortgage, should banks significantly increase their bad debt reserves?

2. Economics and Finance. 
What is a market bubble? Is there is a housing-market bubble, should people wait for the bubble to burst before purchasing a new home? Discuss the financial risk of a home purchase. What are ways to reduce the risk?

3. Economics and Finance. 
How do decreases in mortgage rates affect housing prices? How do housing appraisals affect home prices? Why are some banks set appraisals at below a buyer-seller negotiated price?

4. Economics. 
Over the long term, why do housing prices tend to grow at the same rate as incomes? Why do housing prices tend to increase at a rate of one or two percentage points above the rate of overall inflation?

5. Entrepreneurship. 
Is the "hype" surrounding the sharp increase in housing values likely to spawn some rather "questionable business propositions," such as "get rich in housing" books, seminars, investment funds, and actual businesses? If so, how does one know how to separate legitimate opportunities from scams? Explain your answer.

6. Entrepreneurship. 
What types of opportunities are created for entrepreneurs when housing values increase sharply, and what types of opportunities are created when housing values deflate quickly? Make your answer as thoughtful and substantive as possible.

7. Information Technology. 
Please point to . What is this site about? Why is it useful?

8. International. 
Please point to  and prepare a brief report on the content and the design of this site.

9. International. 
The number of new homes built in Britain fell last year to its lowest peacetime level since 1924. (Just 162,000 houses and flats were completed, little more than half the figure for France, a country with a similar population.) Please speculate on the reasons why the housing market in the US is different from that of Britain.

10. International. 
Currently Hong Kong residents are buying property in China. You can find information about this by pointing to,,SB1029938541329711875,00.html 

11. International. 
Prepare brief written summary. What this article tells you about Hong-Kong's housing market? Is this a bubble or a long-term change?

12. Introduction to Business. 
Are escalating housing prices a good thing or a bad thing for the housing industry? (Think of the housing industry broadly, including new construction, home repair, and home service providers). Explain your answer.

13. Management. 
What impact do you think high housing values, like those found on Long Island and in Boston, have on a firm's ability to attract new employees? For example, do you think it's getting progressively harder for Boston-based companies to attract mid-level mangers to move to the Boston area, where the medium price for a new home is $397,700? How can a company work around this problem? Explain your answer.

14. Management. 
Do you think that employees, who are anxious about their personal finances, as the result of the ups and downs in the stock market and housing market, are less productive at work? If so, what steps can companies take to help employees deal with these types of anxieties? Make your answer as thoughtful and substantive as possible.

15. Marketing. 
What is housing bubble? Why, if at all is there a concern that it might burst?

16. Marketing. 
Is there a housing bubble in your region? Do you agree that the extension of easy credit is currently helping to fuel housing bubble? Why or why not?

17. Marketing. 
Please point to  and report on the NAHB's goals and objectives for 2002.

18. Marketing. 
According to Mr. Todd Buchholz, former White House economic advisor, housing will be the leading driver of economic growth over the next decade. Please point to  and prepare a brief oral report summarizing the reasons why Mr. Buchholz takes this position.


Bob Jensen's threads on derivatives disclosures can be found by scrolling down at 

Matching Researchers With Research Problems (Aaron Konstam informed me of the Innocentive site) --- 

InnoCentive is an exciting new Web-based community matching top scientists to relevant R&D challenges facing leading companies from around the globe. We provide a powerful online forum enabling major companies to reward scientific innovation through financial incentives.

If you're a scientist, registering as an InnoCentive "Solver" provides the opportunity to find challenges that match your interest and receive professional recognition and significant financial rewards for your solutions.

And if you're a company seeking R&D solutions, becoming an InnoCentive "Solution Seeker" will give you immediate access to a pool of leading scientific talent. Learn More

Forwarded by Debbie Bowling
"Microsoft Word flaw allows digitally signed forgeries," by Dan Richman, MSNBC News, September 13, 2002 --- 

Microsoft Corp.'s flagship word-processing software has a security flaw that could allow creating perfect forgeries of digitally signed documents, the company confirmed yesterday.

The flaw in Microsoft Word opens the door to fraud, because digital signatures are intended to assure the authenticity and integrity of a file. The vulnerability, revealed on the Internet over two weeks ago but unpublicized until yesterday, could also allow the theft of computer files by "bugging" a document with a hidden code, the company confirmed. "The issue appears to affect all versions of Microsoft Word," said Microsoft security-program manager Lynn Terwoerds in a statement. "The Microsoft Security Response Center is thoroughly investigating this issue." Meanwhile, no fix is available. To minimize risk, Word users should not exchange files with "strange or untrusted third parties," Terwoerds advised. The flaw can be used to produce digitally identical documents that use identical digital signatures -- but have completely different contents. For example, two people, A and B, could agree that A owes B $100. Person A could draft a Word document to that effect, which both parties digitally sign. But by exploiting the flaw, A could produce a digitally signed document saying that B owes A $100. The documents would be indistinguishable even when viewed as hexadecimal code, the cryptic numbers and letters underlying all text that appears in a computer monitor.
Continued at 

Robert Bowers pointed out to me that the U.S. President's Website has become a really good source of news and information --- 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks to news sites can be found at 

Arnold Schoenberg Center (Music Composition) 


The Internal Revenue Service today announced the release of the Summer 2002 issue of the Statistics of Income Bulletin. It includes articles on profits for nonfarm sole proprietorships for Tax Year 2000, non-resident alien estate tax returns for 1999, corporation income tax returns for 1999, the growth of foreign-controlled domestic corporations in 1999, capital gains and losses of individuals for 1998 and United States-source income paid to foreign persons for 1999.

The Bulletin contains an in-depth look at profits for nonfarm sole proprietorships for Tax Year 2000, which grew 3.3 percent to $214.7 billion. In constant dollars, total nonfarm sole proprietorship profits increased 2.4 percent. The real estate and rental leasing sector reported the largest growth at 12.4 percent. However, the professional, scientific and technical services sector had the largest profits of any sector at $48.1 billion, or 22.4 percent of total sole proprietorship profits. The finance and insurance sector showed the largest percentage increase in both receipts and deductions, reporting a 19.4 percent increase in receipts and a 24 percent increase in deductions.

In addition, the Bulletin contains articles with the following information:

Finally, the Bulletin shows that U.S.-source income paid to foreign persons increased
more than 27 percent over 1998 figures to $158.8 billion in 1999. Payments to residents of
Japan and the United Kingdom were responsible for nearly 44 percent of the $34 billion
increase. Overall, residents of those countries received 35 percent of all U.S.-source income
paid to foreign persons and paid 32.8 percent of all tax withheld. Interest and dividend
payments continued to lead the way as the most significant types of U.S.-source income.

The Bulletin also includes historical data on income, deductions and tax reported on
returns filed by individuals, corporations, and unincorporated businesses, with selected data
presented for estates. Statistics are also presented on tax collections, including excise taxes
by type, and refunds for recent years.

From Business Week Insider on September 11, 2002

In the wake of corporate scandals, B-schools are emphasizing ethics and responsibility. It's a sea change in business education

For the first time anyone can remember, the incoming MBA class at the University of Michigan Business School had an assignment before students even arrived in Ann Arbor. The homework: to write a case study on the most challenging ethical dilemma each person had ever faced. All but 3 of the 438 members of the Class of 2004 submitted something, from the technical consultant who discovered that a manager had pushed through a defective product to the analyst who was forced to write a lucrative consulting proposal -- copied from one stolen from a competitor.

"We really wanted them to think -- we wanted to push ethics to the front from Day One," says Noel M. Tichy, a Michigan professor and architect of the four-day orientation.

It's a new lesson plan for business schools across the country, where corporate scandals and a waning MBA job market have touched off a wave of self-reflection and reform. Opinion polls now place businesspeople in lower esteem than politicians. Just two years ago, campuses were aflutter with talk of the next big e-idea and over-the-top starting salaries. Now, as the school year begins, ethics, values, corporate responsibility, and integrity are the new watchwords (see BW Online, 9/6/02, "Beyond Fast Bucks at B-School" -- 

FOR THE FULL VERSION, VISIT: - the web's LARGEST hosting directory. allows a detailed FREE search of more than 3000+ web hosting companies --- 

Kill those popup adds while surfing on the Web --- 

What's new at London's famous Old Vic Theatre?

"9/11 Book Born Online Hits Stage," by M.J. Rose, Wired News, September 10, 2002 ---,1284,55022,00.html 

When the curtain opens at London's famous Old Vic Theatre on Wednesday evening, most people in the audience won't realize they're watching what might be the world's first play conceived on the Internet.

Last year, e-publishing, print-on-demand and e-mail gave rise to a collection of essays by journalists and non-journalists on the Sept. 11 tragedy called 09/11 8:48 AM; Documenting America's Greatest Tragedy, co-edited by Ethan Casey and Jay Rosen, chairman of the journalism department at New York University.

The Old Vic performance -- a one-act play directed by veteran actor and director Murray Woodfield -- has been adapted from the personal testimonies of Rosen, Conor O'Clery, Peter Wong, Karmann Ghia, Kate Bolick, Dawn Shurmaitis and Andrew Ross.

Woodfield said he was gratified to be involved in the memorial performance.

"The fact that writers online ended up on the London stage probably means that this has got to be one of the first plays ever created solely via the Internet," he said. "Any way you look at it -- this is a unique event."

Proceeds from the event will go to The New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund.

- - -

E-nabeling readers: Students with visual impairments or learning disabilities can listen to more than 97,000 digitally recorded books on CD.

The largest collection of its kind, the catalog offered by nonprofit Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) includes 6,000 new titles -- from Harry Potter to Systems of Psychotherapy: a Transtheoretical Analysis.

RFB&D is the nation's largest educational library for students who are blind or visually impaired, or who have learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

The digitally recorded textbooks allow instant access to any page, chapter or subheading. Unlike books recorded on analog cassette, the digital versions don't force users to fast-forward through and count embedded beeps to find what they're looking for.

Continued at,1284,55022,00.html 

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at 

Clean up Your Hard Drive --- 

Introducing Defrag Manager 2.0: The Enterprise System Performance Solution

Defrag Manager is a powerful, cost-effective solution for improving performance on systems throughout your enterprise. Defrag Manager defragments all networked Windows XP, 2000, and NT4 systems with zero client software installation and zero end-user interaction. --- 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks on art and art history are at 

See CNET Shopper Price Drops, where you can track daily price decreases on your favorite products from our Premier and Preferred vendors. The price drops are updated twice daily for these products and have been monitored for the past 30 days. Browse the biggest Price Drops in each category below, or click "More..." to browse the complete list --- 

"Access to Intelligence The New OLAP APIs," by George Spofford, Intelligent Enterprise, September 17, 2002, pp. 46-51 --- 

Historically data mining and online analytic processing (OLAP) have been solely human activities. In other words, it is humans who specify analytic models, build them, and then consume the results. But with the emergence of the Web services computing model, which involves the creation of new, lightweight plumbing for connecting disparate systems, the landscape is changing: Analytics can now be more easily interwoven with other computing interactions. (See the sidebar, "Not Just for Humans Anymore.") In other words, humans are no longer the sole specifiers or consumers of analytic services. The possibilities, as you might imagine, are fascinating.

Until recently, the options for connecting analytic engines have been limited. Developers have been able to use a variety of vendor APIs, or Microsoft's OLE DB for OLAP (or ODBO), which is supported by some servers besides Microsoft's. But ODBO is only available on Win32, rendering it less than universally accepted for Web services or enterprise mid-tier applications. The Java version of the OLAP Council's MD-API was never accepted by server or client vendors, so non-Win32 application servers haven't had any multivendor APIs at all.

However, new choices are emerging. In this article, I'll discuss two up-and-coming APIs for accessing OLAP-related information. One, XML for Analysis (XML/A), is already at version 1.0 and will be entering version 1.1 in the near future. The other, Java OLAP Interface (JOLAP), is currently working its way through the Java Community Process, having been in public review stage from June 20 to July 19, 2002.

One benefit of each of these APIs that deserves mentioning up front is their support for non-Win32-based mid-tier applications, whether you wish to consider such apps "Web services" or not; however, they are both suitable for other purposes. For client-side applications, each API also provides at least the benefit of enabling access to a previously unavailable choice of server types. Along the way, I'll discuss what the APIs provide, and how a range of vendors view the APIs with regard to their own interests.

The XML for Analysis Approach

XML/A is a simple object access protocol (SOAP)-based API derived from, and encompassing, Microsoft's ODBO. It includes SOAP and the entirety of ODBO as its main related specifications and adds SOAP actions and XML schemas for the ODBO data structures, with a few enhancements.

Continued at 

Bob Jensen's OLAP threads including a link to the  great FEDscope (U.S. Office of Personnel Management) that uses OLAP can be found at 

Forwarded by Miklos Vasarhelyi [

"How to Tie Pay to Goals Instead of the Stock Price," by Daniel Altman,  The New York Times,  September 8, 2002

In a short memoir of his time at Yale University, James Tobin, the late Nobel-winning economist, separated professors there into two camps: the institutional types and the free agents. The institutional types were committed to building Yale's economics department and stayed loyal to the university. The free agents looked for better job offers and moved often. The free agents might have been brilliant scholars, but the institutional types, Professor Tobin observed, were more valuable to Yale. There may well be a parallel in corporate America. In recent years, fatter and fatter pay packages, laden with stock options and other rewards like low-interest loans, have helped turn many executives into free agents. Yet because it was the way to sure gains, the free agents often played to Wall Street and turned their stock and options into quick, easy money rather than ensuring their companies' long-term prospects. Finding and retaining executives who are committed to helping a company grow over the long run might stop the cycle of skyrocketing pay and dwindling tenure. It might also help to curb the anything-goes ethics that led to the type of excesses seen at companies like Enron and WorldCom. The question is this: How can companies reward executives in a way that provides proper incentives for good performance and encourages high-performance institutional types? While corporate boards struggle to answer that question, professional experts on executive pay, as well as academics who study incentives, offer some guidance. Many recommend granting stock, especially with restrictions on its future sale, instead of granting options. Some suggest promoting loyalty and performance by tailoring executives' packages to their personal tastes within reason. Virtually all the experts recommend an emphasis on long-term rewards for long-term success. Pay packages "will be more goal-oriented than purely market-oriented," said Steven E. Gross, who leads the United States employment compensation practice at Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Rather than depending on stock prices alone, rewards could include grants of cash or stock for concrete achievements over a period of years, he said. The trend that culminated last year, when executives of failing companies cashed in huge stock grants and options, actually began two decades ago, during the leveraged-buyout wave of the 1980's. Firms like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, as buyers of undervalued businesses, looked for ways to link the outsiders they installed as executives to their new companies' futures, according to a recent paper by Brian J. Hall, a professor at Harvard Business School. Institutional investors also pushed executives to take ownership stakes, thinking that the executives would work to increase the return on their investments, Professor Hall wrote. As an added incentive, the tax and accounting treatment of stock options made them cheaper to dole out than cash or stock. But such pay plans, Mr. Gross said, have little downside for executives. "I'm encouraging you to take risks to raise the stock price," he said, taking the role of a corporate board. "What happens if you fail? Nothing."

In the 1990's, the trend gathered speed. Pay packages became sweeter as the market for executive talent became tighter. The success of outsider chief executives led companies to realize that they might achieve impressive results by bypassing their internal talent pools, said Robert H. Frank, a professor of economics and management at Cornell University. By 1993, top executives were moving among the country's biggest companies with increasing regularity. In that year, Eastman Kodak, I.B.M., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Sunbeam-Oster and Westinghouse Electric all found new chiefs from outside their own executive suites. Professor Frank compared the budding market for executives to the advent of free agency in baseball in the 1970's. Once teams could compete to lure talent, some players' salaries broke through the traditionally flat pay scale. "It just became a free-agent market once there was this seismic shift to the view that people outside your company might be able to help your company," Professor Frank said.

Continued in the article.

The America Project (Sounds of America, Audio) --- 

Sight and Sound Top Ten Poll 2002 --- 

Wearable computers allow Pentagon reconstruction supervisors to log their activities and share info while on the move ---,1283,54988,00.html 

There are implications of wearable computers for cost accounting.  Years ago I proposed that technicians in a medical testing laboratory provide work sampling reports at randomly-signaled times in order to account for their time spent on the varieties of tests performed.  Wearable computers will make that type of reporting easier and more efficient.  This is especially the case now that users need only speak into the computer.

Before the days of wearable computers, a doctoral student and I outlined the work sampling statistical formulas for time reporting of employees based upon a study of my wife working in the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital medical laboratory.  See "Statistical Analysis in Cost Measurement and Control," (with Carl T. Thomsen), The Accounting Review, Vol. XLIII, No. 1, January 1968.

Bob Jensen's threads on "Bob Jensen's Threads on Invisible Computing, Ubiquitous Computing, and Microsoft.Net" are at 

Nerd Watch Museum --- 

Software giant Microsoft is upgrading its Windows XP operating system to make it compliant with US Government rulings on fair competition. The latest update to the operating system contains software tools that allow many of its components to be hidden (BBC News, September 9, 2002) --- 

Makes our savings losses look puny! 
Bill Gates still has the fattest bank account in the United States. Despite a loss of $11 billion last year, he's No. 1 on the Forbes 400 list ---,1367,55151,00.html 

Blogcritics (Culture and Criticism)  --- 

Space Imaging: One Year Viewed From Space (Photography, Science, Astronomy) --- 

Urban Sprawl With Core Shrinkage

Sprawl City --- 

Julie's Tacky Treasures --- 

Why not ask the company for the moon and the stars? It worked for Jack Welch at GE.

Forwarded by Dick Haar 

Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Person asked a young Engineer fresh out of MIT, "And what starting salary were you looking for?"

The Engineer said, "In the neighborhood of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package."

The interviewer said, "Well, what would you say to a package of 5 weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, a company matching retirement fund for 50% of your salary, and a company car leased every 2 years-say, a red Corvette?"

The Engineer sat up straight and said, "Wow! Are you kidding?"

And the interviewer replied, "Yeah, but you started it"

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Subject: Computers versus Cars

For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on. At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating:

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive -- but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation " warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again, because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

The following are actual Church signs:

1. CHURCH PARKING - FOR MEMBERS ONLY! Trespassers will be baptized!

2. "No God - No Peace. Know God - Know Peace."

3. "Free Trip to Heaven. Details Inside!"

4. "Try our Sundays. They are better than Baskin-Robbins."

5. An ad for one Church has a picture of two hands holding stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed and a headline that reads, -"For Fast Relief, Take Two Tablets."

6. "People are like tea bags - you have to put them in hot water before you know how strong they are."

7. "Come in and pray today. Beat the Christmas rush."

8. "Fight truth decay - study the Bible daily."

9. "How will you spend eternity - Smoking or Non-Smoking."

10. "Dusty Bibles lead to Dirty Lives."

11. "Come work for the Lord. The work is hard, the hours are long and the pay is low. But the retirement benefits are out of this world."

12. "It is unlikely there'll be a reduction in the wages of sin."

13. "If you're headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns."

14. "If you don't like the way you were born, try being born again."

15. "Looking at the way some people live, they ought to obtain eternal fire Insurance soon."

16. "A ch__ch is a church when (U R) in it.

17. "In the dark? Follow the Son."

18. "Running low on faith? Stop in for a fill-up."

Subject: Burma Shave

For those of you who never saw the Burma Shave signs, here is a  quick lesson in our history of the 1930's and '40's.  I remember these as a little kid riding in the back seat of the car.

Before the Interstates, when everyone drove the old 2 lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all  over the countryside in farmers' fields. They were
small red signs with white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing 1 line of a
4 line couplet....... and the obligatory 5th sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream. Here are a few of the actual signs: 

*** Burma Shave*** 
***Burma Shave*** 
***Burma Shave*** 
***Burma Shave*** 
***Burma Shave*** 
***Burma Shave*** 
***Burma shave*** 
*** Burma Shave*** 
***Burma Shave*** 
***Burma Shave*** 
***Burma Shave*** 
***Burma Shave*** 
***Burma Shave*** 
And my all time favorite 
***Burma Shave*

September 23 additions from Craig Polhemus [Joedpo@AOL.COM

Bob Jensen lists some Burma Shave slogans.  Here are two more that I recall (probably from rural Pennsylvania):

*** Burma Shave***

*** Burma Shave***

September 23 message from Fred Salzer []

***Burma Shave***

From 1949 along Route 66 as I best I can remember.

Thanks for the memories!!!


On September 24, George Lan provided the link


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

NEW WORDS FOR 2003 - Essential additions for the workplace vocabulary:

BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and no one was responsible.

SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.
SALMON DAY: The experience of spending entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.
CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.

PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a Cube Farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.
MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.
SITCOMs: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage.  What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops
working to stay home with the kids.
STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and
SWIPEOUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.

XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's

IRRITAINMENT: Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying
but you find yourself unable to stop watching them. The O.J. trials
were a prime example.

PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the dickens out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located.

GENERICA: Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, subdivisions.
OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that
you've just made a BIG mistake.
WOOFYS: Well Off Older Folks.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

George Carlin's View on Aging Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids?

If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that  you think in fractions.
"How old are you?"  
"I'm four and a half!"  

You're never thirty-six and a half.   You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key.   You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back.   You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.  
"How old are you?"  
"I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16!    

And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the   words sound like a ceremony . . . YOU BECOME 21 . . . YESSSS!!!   But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there?   Makes you sound like bad milk.   He TURNED --- we had to throw him out.   There's no fun now, you're just a sour-dumpling.   What's wrong?   What's changed?

You BECOME 21 -- you TURN 30 --- then you're PUSHING 40.

 Whoa! Put on the brakes -- it's all slipping away.   Before you know it, you REACH 50 . . .   and your dreams are gone.

 But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60.   You didn't think you would!   So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50   and MAKE it to the "BIG 60".   You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70!   After that it's a day-by-day thing;   you HIT Wednesday!   You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30;   you REACH bedtime.

 And it doesn't end there.   Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I was JUST 92."

 Then a strange thing happens.   If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and  a half!"

 May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!


  1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and  height! Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.

  2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

  3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening whatever. Never let the brain idle.   
        "An idle mind is the devil's workshop.   
         "And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.     

  4. Enjoy the simple things.     

  5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.     

  6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

  7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

  8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

  9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

  10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

30 years difference

1972:   Long hair
2002:   Longing for hair

1972:   The perfect high
2002:   The perfect high yield mutual fund

1972:   KEG
2002:   EKG

1972:   Acid rock
2002:   Acid reflux

1972:   Moving to California because it's cool
2002:   Moving to California because it's warm

1972:   Growing pot
2002:   Growing pot belly

1972:   Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2002:   Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz

1972:   Seeds and stems
2002:   Roughage

1972:   Killer weed
2002:   Weed killer

1972:   Hoping for a BMW
2002:   Hoping for a BM

1972:   The Grateful Dead
2002:   Dr. Kevorkian
1972:   Going to a new, hip joint
2002:   Receiving a new hip joint

1972:   Rolling Stones
2002:   Kidney Stones

1972:   Being called into the principal's office
2002:   Calling the principal's office

1972:   Screw the system
2002:   Upgrade the system

1972:   Disco
2002:   Costco

1972:   Parents begging you to get your hair cut
2002:   Children begging you to get their heads shaved

1972:   Passing the drivers' test
2002:   Passing the vision test

1972:   Whatever
2002:   Depends

Actually there's hope for us old guys!

Forwarded by Dr. Digiovanni

An 80 year old man went to the doctor for a checkup and the
doctor was amazed at what good shape the guy was in. The
doctor asked, "To what do you attribute your good health?"

The old timer said, "I'm a golfer and that's why I'm in such good
shape. I'm up well before daylight and out golfing up and down the

The doctor said, "Well, I'm sure that helps, but there's got to
be more to it. How old was your dad when he died?" The
old timer said, "Who said my dad's dead?"

The doctor said, "You mean you're 80 years old and your dad's
still alive? How old is he?"

The old timer said, "He's 100 yrs old and, in fact, he golfed
with me this morning, and that's why he's still alive... he's a

The doctor said, "Well, that's great, but I'm sure there's more
to it. How about your dad's dad? How old was he when he died?"

The old timer said, "Who said my grandpa's dead?"

The doctor sai d, "You mean you're 80 years old and your
grandfather's still living! How old is he?"

The old timer said, "He's 118 yrs old."

The doctor was getting frustrated at this point and said, "I
guess he went golfing with you this morning too?"

The old timer said, "No... Grandpa couldn't go this morning
because he got married."

The Doctor said in amazement, "Got married!! Why would a
118-year-old guy want to get married?"

The old timer said, "Who said he wanted to?

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

These really will make you smile! 

That 1,000 Marbles thing --- 

What's happening to Bob Jensen? --- 
My forgetter's getting better
But my rememberer is broke
Continued at  


And that's the way it was on September 24, 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:  


Hline.jpg (568 bytes)

September 10, 2002


Quotes of the Week

Contrary to his public denials, the chief executive of the scandal-ridden United Way in the Washington area was aware of improper financial practices, was involved in them and disregarded those who tried to stop them, one of the charity's top executives has written in a memorandum. Norman O. Taylor, the beleaguered chief executive of the United Way of the National Capital Area, has repeatedly said he was unaware that expense accounts had been abused, that donations had been inflated to make the agency appear more efficient and that only 52 percent of the gifts from some donors had been passed on to social services charities.
David Cay Johnston, The New York Times, September 3, 2002

The slew of companies caught red-handed in this year of corporate sleaze face potentially colossal legal claims, but they may enjoy pleasant reprieves next year -- huge tax breaks from Uncle Sam. Corporations that pay large sums to atone for their sins usually can write off the money on their tax returns, substantially softening the financial blow. This year's crop of alleged financial fabricators -- including Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. -- likely will try to structure any settlements so that they are tax deductible under Internal Revenue Service rulings, including one issued four months ago. Tax experts say the IRS allows such deductions because companies can write off any "ordinary and necessary" expense. Settling lawsuits long has been viewed as a cost of doing business -- whether they involve truck accidents or highflying accounting schemes. Even settlements with government regulators can be deducted in many circumstances, experts say. Merrill Lynch & Co., for instance, reached a $100 million settlement with the New York attorney general's office in May related to an investigation of whether the company promoted stocks that it expected to underperform in order to please corporate clients. Several tax experts say Merrill's payment is probably tax deductible because it was characterized in the agreement as a civil settlement and not as a fine. It couldn't be determined whether the brokerage firm specifically requested such wording. Merrill Lynch declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the attorney general said, "We negotiated a settlement and we don't comment on negotiations. Nor do we write the tax laws." Merrill has said in Securities and Exchange Commission filings that it has an effective tax rate of about 30%, which means it could save $30 million on its federal tax bill as a result of the settlement.
John D. McKinnon, The Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2002

I've got a few words of advice to the faculty. Be kind to your "A" students, because in 20 years, they will come back be your colleagues. Be kind to your "B" students, because in 20 years, they will send their children back to be your students. But especially be kind to your "C" students, because in 20 years, they will come back and donate libraries and science labs and classroom buildings and ..
Charles Kuralt (as quoted in an email message from David Fordham)  
And to this we might add: "Be kind to your D and F students. All most of them need is more time to grow up."

Bob Jensen's Commentary
Consider for a moment a hypothesis that might explain the phenomenon alluded to by Charles Kuralt. In accounting programs, our best students are nearly all picked off by the big accounting firms (once there were eight, then six, then five, and now four big firms). When these top alumni depart from the big accounting firms, they generally move to huge or relatively large corporate clients.

But what happens to the lowly "C" students who cannot get jobs with the big firms? Many of them start up their own ventures, and a small percentage of those ventures are incredibly successful such that some of some "C" students are the multimillionaires who now hire the "A" students to do their audits, accounting, and taxes. Remember the saying that: "Success is trouble turned inside out."   

It’s a little like having to kiss the frog instead of the homecoming king or queen.  The frog may be the one with the trust fund for venture capital.

Perhaps there are more "C" students in some universities, but that is not the case in many top universities. The last statistic that I saw claimed that 85% of the grades given to Harvard's undergraduates were "A" grades. The new President at Harvard is trying to reverse this grade inflation, but I hear that his appeals are falling on deaf ears.

What proportion of grades given out in the Tuck School are "C" grades? What proportion of "C" grades are given to Dartmouth undergraduates?

The Stanford GSB once tried to enforce the Van Horne Rule (when Jim was the Associate Dean) limiting the number of "A" grades in each course to about 15%, but I think the Van Horne Rule never really flew and has long since been forgotten.

Just some thoughts inspired by a Kuralt quotation.

Bob Jensen


We have convictions only if we have studied nothing thoroughly.
Emil Cioran

Don't use big words. They mean so little.
Wilde Oscar

Internet Radio Has Been Targeted For Termination

For the past couple of years, the stock market has been a far better way to lose money than to make it. Nonetheless, educators and stock sites persist in teaching kids the fine art of investing.
"Take the Money and Teach," by Joanna Glasner, Wired News, September 5, 2002 ---,1383,54813,00.html 

Scientists are developing a smart tattoo that could tell diabetics when their glucose levels are dangerously low.
BBC News, September 1, 2002 --- 

August 30, 2002 email message from John L. Hubisz [

There is a subtle, but important, distinction that needs to be made.

The "Scientific Method" is not to be confused with the method(s) of scientists.

Scientists use imagination, skill luck etc to do their work. Sometimes they are inspired by dreams, beauty, wishful thinking even "crazy ideas". These are all aspects of the methods of scientists.

The "Scientific Method" is the way science decides what is correct. It may take a while for individual scientists to get around to using this method and indeed, some never do. However, the net result is that experimental verification is the heart of science.

It is important to make this distinction. Otherwise the crucial role that the formal "Scientific Method" has is often lost in the interesting stories of how Einstein was motivated by beauty or Feynman was sure of his theory.



My September 10, 2002 updates on the accounting auditing, and corporate governance scandals are at  

Memorial sounds of 9/11 
The Sonic Memorial Project from National Public Radio

The September 11th Memorial Weblog Where People Share Their Thoughts ---  
Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs/Blogs are at 

A year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, researchers are building digital archives to capture snapshots of what some are calling the "first major event of the Internet age." ---,1284,54729,00.html 

Replays from Daring Educators on the Leading Edge of Education Technologies

Free Audio and Presentation Files of Three Days of Workshops on Education Technologies ---

Bob Jensen's Recent CPE/CEP Technology Workshops at the American Accounting Association Annual Meetings

During the past decade, I have organized at least one all-day technology in education workshop at each of the American Accounting Association annual meetings.  In the early years, these were not videotaped.  The past three workshops were videotaped.  Both the presentation materials and the MP3 audio files of the various speakers can be downloaded from the following links:

San Antonio on August 13, 2002 
CPE/CEP Workshop Number 1 --- 

Free audio and presentation files of the following speakers: 

Atlanta on August 11, 2001
CPE/CEP Workshop Number 1 ---

Free audio and presentation files of the following speakers:

Philadelphia on August 12, 2000
 CPE/CEP Workshop Number 1 ---

Free audio and presentation files of the following speakers:

September 4, 2002 message from Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU
Richard has remained a ToolBook loyalist while many of us former ToolBook enthusiasts gave up on Assymetrix/Click2Learn

This site may be bigger than Bob Jensen's. Has all sorts of links on multimedia. 

Richard Campbell

Márcio's Hyperlink - Welcome!

This site is a resource reference on authoring and development technology for Internet and Multimedia. There are over 2600 links with descriptions, organized into dozens of categories and frequently updated. The primary sections are summarized in the Index below.

The information here is devoted to professionals in development and infra-structure activities on Internet and Multimedia: developers, authors, programmers, designers and administrators of information systems and IT, as well as graphic artists, content producers, electronic media professionals, technicians and other people involved with or interested in these technologies.


Click2learn ToolBook
Primary Help Sources, References covering Deployment and Runtime, ToolBook Sites, Utilities and Samples. ToolBook Information: Tutorials, Courses, Articles, Books, Discussion Groups.

General, Authoring, Hardware, CD, Media, Text, Images, Video, Audio, ActiveX, Education, Interactivity.

Web Authoring, HTML, Web Design, Images, Multimtedia, Tools, Programming, Server-Side, Security, XML, Entities, Protocols, Topics.

Java, Perl, Delphi, Python, Tcl / Tk, Tools, Software Engineering.

SQL, Informação sobre banco de dados, Oracle, Outros SGBDs comerciais, SGBDs open source e freeware.

Unix & Linux
Unix, Linux, Variantes Unix, X Window System, Software.

Bob Jensen's bookmarks are at 

Do you like great pictures of animals accompanied by toe-tapping music?  

Check out this one forwarded by Auntie Bev --- 

More Students and Better-Smelling Students in College

From Syllabus News on September 3, 2002

College Enrollments Break Old Records

For the fifth consecutive year, college enrollments are expected to break the previous year's record. According to "Projections of Education Statistics to 2012," released by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, 15.6 million students are expected to enroll in colleges and universities this fall. By 2006, college enrollment is expected to reach 16.3 million, about 700,000 higher than in 2002. By 2012, around 17.7 million students are expected on college campuses, 13 percent more than in 2002. At the same time, full-time college enrollment is expected to increase faster than part-time enrollment, with full-time enrollment projected to rise by 16 percent, and part-time enrollment expected to rise by nine percent between 2002 and 2012. Finally, a record 1.3 million students are expected to receive bachelor's degrees during the 2002-03 academic year.

For more information, visit; 

Smart Laundry Redux: Web-enabled Washers

On Friday, we reported that Maytag Corp. was holding laundry seminars on various campuses to tout its smart washing machines, high-efficiency units equipped with horizontal-axis tumblers that promise to use 18 fewer gallons of water per load than the average top-loading washer. Not to be outdone, IBM Corp. and USA Technologies said they will Web-enable 9,000 washing machines and dryers at U.S. colleges, eliminating much of the hassle associated with dorm laundry operations. Called e-Suds, the systems replace coin-operated technology with a method that allows students to pay with an ID card or via cell phone. Students will be able to visit a website to find out when a machine is available and select functions, such as soap and fabric softener dispensing. When the wash is done, they'll be notified via an email sent to their pagers or PCs.

"E-Mail Alert: Wash on Spin Cycle," Wired News, August 30, 2002 ---,1383,54856,00.html 

College campuses have long since wired their dorms and libraries. Now some are going even further: Net-enabled laundry.

IBM hopes a new system of smart, wired washers and dryers will instill a little efficiency in the college dormitory laundry room, letting students keep tabs on their laundry from anywhere they can access the Internet -- their dorm rooms, the library or even a cell phone.

The Armonk, New York-based company plans to install about 9,000 of the machines on 40 campuses, all so far in the Midwest, including Ohio State University and Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio.

Students can log onto a Web page to see if there are free machines and receive an e-mail or page when the load is finished. The system can also automatically charge students through their ID cards, though it would still accommodate traditional coins.

Users can't reserve machines, but the system could eliminate back-and-forth to the laundry room.

"Where I went to school, if you left your clothes in the machine, it would end up on the floor," said Dean Douglas, vice president for IBM Global Services. With the new machines, "You could be outside throwing a Frisbee or whatever instead of waiting in that laundry room ... for the load to finish."

IBM's machines got a trial run last spring on nine washers and 10 dryers at Boston College. The school hasn't decided whether to commit to the devices, but Joe Schott, 25, a residence hall director who lives in a dorm there, said the machine made life easier for students.

Cedarville University plans to have units installed in 150 machines by the spring semester.

"This just seemed like an obvious opportunity to leverage our technological investment for our students," Cedarville spokesman Roger Overturf said.

See also:
•  What's Your Major? Cell Phones
•  Field Trip Into the Deep Blue Sea
•  Instant Answers With PDA Pop Quiz

Old Behavior in New Bottles

British school children take regular doses of abuse from bullies through short message service -- the medium of choice for big meanies of the digital generation.

"When Text Messaging Turns Ugly," by Daithí Ó hAnluain, Wired News, September 4, 2002 ---,1383,54771,00.html 

"We are watching you ... we are going to kill you ... we are going to kill your mum."

This message would make anyone uneasy, but British children regularly send messages like this to each other as systematic bullying enters the 21st century through SMS -- the short message service that comes with all mobile phones in Europe.

The government and children's advocacy groups have stepped in to help harangued kids cope. But so far no one's come up with a way to put the bullies in their place.

One in four children in the United Kingdom have been bullied or threatened through their mobile phone or PC, according to a survey commissioned by British children's charity NCH.

Another children's advocacy group, ChildLine, was set up to counsel young people in distress or under pressure from neglect, abuse or the anxieties of growing up. For five years running, bullying has been the biggest single issue the charity deals with -- to the tune of 20,000 calls a year.

"We don’t track threatening SMS messages specifically yet," said Maggie Turner, head of the ChildLine in Partnership with Schools program. "But certainly the indications are it is increasing."

In 2000, 15-year-old Gail Jones overdosed on tablets after receiving 20 abusive messages in half an hour. This year, 12-year-old Jack was worried because a boy at school had accused him of sending text messages to his mobile and threatened to beat him up. Jenny, 11, told her ChildLine counselor that she had received chain letters on her mobile phone, including one that said she'd die if she didn't pass it on.

The NCH survey indicates that mobile phones appear to be the most common medium for bullying, with 16 percent of young people saying they'd received bullying or threatening text messages, followed by 7 percent who had been harassed in Internet chat rooms and 4 percent by e-mail. The charity set up the NCH IT OK website to help tackle the problem.

Continued at,1383,54771,00.html  

Two Brazilian presidential candidates trade barbs online and off, in one of the most competitive elections in the country's history. One candidate's onslaught of insults has brought him back into contention.
"Mudslinging Goes Online in Brazil," by Carmen J. Gentile, Wired News, September 5, 2002 ---,1283,54937,00.html 

Brazilian law states that each candidate is given an allotment of time relative to the size of his party's representation in Congress. The law does not, however, cover the use of slander on the Internet.

Gomes' site shot back at his nemesis following the debate, alleging that Serra is "used to having the federal government and advertising money in his favor to pressure the media and make it an ally of his campaign," referring to his backing by President Cardoso and Brazil's ruling party.

What kind of examples are being set for children in Brazil?

Front pages of 134 newspapers from 24 nations.

Today's Front Pages --- 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks on news sites can be found at 

I have repeatedly stressed that universities of the future will probably be more into the certification business than the degree program business.  Another example comes this week from Penn State's Communication Certificate Program --- 


As virtual primary schools steadily attract more students, traditional school districts complain that the online campuses siphon public money from dwindling budgets.

"Online Schools Won't Get Easy 'A'," by John Gartner, Wired News, September 2, 2002 ---,1383,54790,00.html 

Even after a couple of years on the scene, online schools are still treated like the awkward new kid in class.

But administrators of virtual K-12 schools (where teachers and students interact on the Internet) say expanding enrollment attests to their popularity with parents.

This fall, according to researchers at the Center for Education Reform, students in 13 states can choose to stay home and log on for their lessons instead of waiting for the yellow school bus.

More than 40 full-time virtual schools are enrolling students for this school year, up from fewer than 10 two years ago. Enrollment continues to swell in California, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where more than 5,000 students will attend the Keystone State's nine virtual schools.

Center for Education Reform policy analyst Neal McCluskey said online schools are multiplying because they are effectively "reaching out to all populations that don't fit into cookie-cutter schools." Completing coursework from home and interacting with teachers online enables students to work at their own pace, he said, which can't be done in physical schools.

Because most online schools are only in their first or second year, McCluskey said, it's too early to judge how the students perform compared with their peers at traditional institutions.

Meanwhile, a stream of lawsuits against online schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio has made them feel as welcome as chess club members in the football team's locker room.

Continued at,1383,54790,00.html 

See also:
•  Online School Faces Expulsion
•  Schools, Tech: Still Struggling
•  Virtual Degrees Virtually Tough

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education are at 

September 3, 2002 message from FinanceProfessor []

Attention returned to Worldcom this week and what it showed was not flattering. In what could be called a smoking email (giving a new definition to flames), Worldcom officials told employees to not cooperate with auditors. (in hindsight that may be a very costly mistake!)

In a related note, Scott Sullivan the former CFO of the struggling telecommunications firm was indicted for trying to hide debt from regulators and auditors.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Salomon Brothers admitted to giving WorldCom officials advantages in IPOs in order to court WorldCom’s investment banking business. The total amount the executives made on these deals is uncertain but Ebbers alone is reported to have made $11 million. Ebbers and Salomon are going to have much explaining to do as evidenced already by the SEC demanding records of their past IPOs.

In capital structure decisions, firms should use market value weights to measure leverage. Remember back in the late 1990s many used that as a means of explaining why firms could continue to borrow. (The argument goes like this: the ratio of debt to market value of equity is what is important. So as the market value of equity goes up, so too can the amount of debt.) Well, now that the stock market has fallen and the debt is still there. This increase in leverage COULD have the consequence of slowing any recovery or worse, making a recession much more severe as bankruptcies cascade across the economy.,1413,36%257E11%257E801767,00.html

How well can investors forecast growth? Apparently not well at all. That is one conclusion coming from a forthcoming Journal of Finance paper by Chan, Karceski, and Lakonishok. This finding should be more a bit troubling given the importance of growth forecasts in most valuation models (for example, in the constant growth model Price = Dividend in year one /(Required return –growth rate)). Further, the paper empirically finds little evidence of firms that can consistently maintain the same rate of growth. ---

I like Vanguard --- 

Won't It Be Frustrating for the Graduates of Elite MBA Programs Who Paid Over $100,000 in Tuition and Flunked the CMBA Examination?

"Controversy awaits MBA certification exam," by Del Jones, USA Today, August 26, 2002 --- 

A certification exam for MBAs will be launched in April in an attempt to figure out who among the 112,000 graduates each year has learned the core subjects of a master's degree in business administration.

The CMBA — certified MBA — will be announced Sept. 3 by the International Certification Institute (ICI) and Thomson, a company with $7.2 billion in 2001 revenue and a giant in the growing industry of certification exams and testing administered by computer.

It's certain to stir controversy because it's a potential threat to the nation's top-tier business schools, whose graduates have long been able to demand fatter salaries than those from other schools. Test-takers will know where they rank against all test-takers, as the CMBA will provide an instrument to compare students from the 900 universities offering an MBA.

The $450 exam is being compared to a bar exam for law students. The five-hour exam will have 300 questions covering finance and accounting, economics, operations and marketing and management. Unlike the bar, no regulatory body will require the CMBA, which means the exam's success will rely on employers expecting it of applicants or students deciding it will give them an edge in a job hunt.

Companies spend $8.5 billion a year in salaries for new MBA hires and often "get burned," says Peter Navarro, a business professor at the University of California at Irvine.

Navarro has seen companies pass over the top Cal-Irvine MBA graduate to take last-place students from Stanford. "The top 20 schools won't want this, because they have a brand-name monopoly," Navarro says.

"There is no debate that there are incompetent MBAs," says Louis Lataif, dean of Boston University's highly ranked management school. But top schools can cherry-pick applicants already headed for success. Companies recruit at those schools because "the sorting has been done for them by the admissions committee," he says.

The exam comes at a time when the MBA degree is under attack. Management scholar Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford combed through 40 years of research and concluded that those who get an MBA make no more money nor do they advance faster in their careers than executives who don't get the degree.

Pfeffer calls the CMBA an interesting idea if the scores wind up predicting success. But U.S. companies have never cared much about tests and grades, he says.

The market is huge. There are 2.5 million people with MBAs, and MBAs account for 25% of all graduate degrees.


Technological Innovation of the Week

Music composed by running recorded brain waves through a computer program helps insomniacs doze off faster and get more restful sleep. But not all brain music sounds like a symphony (you can listen to an audio sample) ---,1286,54842,00.html 

I think the music is so boring that you're bound to fall asleep!

Library Site of the Week

Turning the Pages from the British Library --- 

Use these pages to discover more about the British Library's award winning interactive display system Turning the Pages:

How would you advise somebody to start a training or education site?

Hi Juan,

May I have permission to quote your message in my September 10 newsletter? Your questions are very typical of many that I receive.

Forget ToolBook. It is out of tune with today’s world and will likely fail since it has never made a profit for whatever company owned it.

Even if you want to package your work on a CD, I suggest that you make it so you can also serve it from the Web. Be careful in making links. I suggest placing files in one large folder and then using “relative links” that only name the file. Avoid complete local path and/or http server path links. In HTML you can make a link to a document, audio file, picture file, and video file by simply naming the file if all linked files are in the same folder. If you have trouble with this, I can illustrate it for you later on.

I recommend that you learn the following software:

HTML Authoring Microsoft FrontPage (this is not hard to learn if you already know MS Word). It is generally easy to find video tutorials in your local computer store.

There are a few more bells and whistles in Macromedia Dreamweaver, but I would master MS FrontPage initially. You can also use MS Word --- 

Video Capturing of Lessons You Explain With a Microphone While Viewing Your Computer Screen Go to my Camtasia tutorial at  My video tutorial on Camtasia is at 

Image Capturing and Editing The pros use Adobe Photoshop, but I think you will prefer Paint Shop Pro --- 

Eventually, you may want to serve your courses from a server rather than from a CD. I recommend that you consider having e-College serve up your course --- 

You can use PowerPoint, but I do not recommend this since some users are not familiar with how to run PowerPoint. There are some other reasons that I will not go into at the moment.

That may be all the software you need to work with when starting out. Later on you may want to go into animations using either Flash or PowerPoint XP Edition, but animations are generally difficult to make and tiresome for students.

FrontPage for Dummies will be helpful as a reference and a book to scan before starting out. However, your main helper will be the Help menu choice in FrontPage.

If you already use MS Word, you will find FrontPage relatively easy. One difference is that when you paste pictures into word, they become part of the DOC file. This has huge drawbacks for pictures used in multiple DOC files, because each use of the picture takes up disk space. In FrontPage and other HTML editors, you provide a link to a picture such that one picture can be used in multiple HTM files. The picture takes up disk space only once. Also, FrontPage allows you to easily change the size of a picture. For example, if you have a picture that takes up most of the screen, you can easily change the view of the picture to any size you choose without actually changing the size of the picture. Once again I remind you to use "relative links" to picture files and other files in a folder rather than full-path links.

I also suggest that you purchase a FrontPage video tutorial. I recommend the Learn2 video tapes and CD tutorials at 


I have some other helpers at 

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

-----Original Message----- 
From: Juan G. Gonzalez []  
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2002 11:56 AM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: E-Learning in Latin America

Mr. Jensen,

I am a retired FBI Special Agent. During my last 3 years with the Bureau, I served as the program manager for a US Department of Justice program known as the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP). ICITAP provides technical and training assistance to the police in several developing countries. I served as program manager of the El Salvador, Central America ICITAP program.

I was always amazed at the insistence of ICITAP Headquarters in Washington that assistance to the police be delivered with the "give them a fish" mentality instead of "teaching them to fish." Today the same mentality continues to rule, especially in the US Department of State, which provides the funding for the ICITAP Programs around the world.

My son recently took an e-learning course as part of his postgraduate degree at Roosevelt University, Chicago. In taking the course, he introduced me to ToolBook II Instructor. I immediately realized that delivering e-training courses to the police where ICITAP has programs would be beneficial for both ICITAP and training participants. I say this because, if I understand e-learning correctly, e-learning places the responsibility for learning squarely on the student rather than on the instructor.

In navigating through the Internet, I came upon your e-learning web site. After reading only part of your site's content, I begin to question if I should invest any time trying to learn the ToolBook II Instructor, especially since I have not found it easy to learn. You present other options that seem better suited for someone who, at age 58, does not have the patience nor the smarts to learn something as complicated as TookBook II Instructor.

I wish to learn e-learning software that will help me to develop police Internet-deliverable or CD-deliverable training courses that ICITAP or any other US Government agency involved in such ventures can use to effectively and efficiently train police in developing countries in a variety of subjects, including administration, planning, investigation, community oriented policing, intelligence gathering. etc.


Do you have any suggestions regarding how I could "locally" prepare myself for this challenge?

Juan Gonzalez Grunert
Universal Asset Group, Inc.
PO Box 691147
San Antonio, TX 78269-1147
Home Tel. # (210 479-9768
Cellular Phone # (210) 316-7281

Reply from Juan

Mr. Jensen,

Thank you for your quick response and for the specific advice. I will explore the software and sites that you recommend. I have no problem with you quoting my message in your September newsletter. I hope that if I have further questions you will not mind me contacting you again. Thank you.

Juan Gonzalez Grunert

HANDBOOK OF ONLINE LEARNING: INNOVATIONS IN HIGHER EDUCATION AND CORPORATE TRAINING Edited by Kjell-Erik Rudestam and Judith Schoenholtz-Read Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2002 ISBN: 0761924027 (hbk.); 0761924035 (pbk.)

Editorial Reviews Book Description Technology-mediated instruction has taken the university and the corporate sector by storm. As more instructors teach online for a dispersed learning community in both academic and business environments, there’s a need for resources that will help them adapt to this new sort of "classroom." Educators who come out of traditional academic institutions tend to use traditional methods when offering courses online (e.g., lectures, textbooks and readings, examinations) rather than attend to small-group processes and principles of what the editors of this volume call "andragogy." This handbook goes beyond the mechanics of how to create and direct an online learning experience to consider such a new approach to pedagogy in doing so. Their primary purpose is to clarify the conceptual issues that underlie effective online teaching and to offer practical guidance to educators and corporate trainers who plan to teach in a virtual environment. Their central tenet: the adoption of computer networks as the teaching vehicle of the future demands a reexamination of our core beliefs about pedagogy and how students learn. The transfer of a classroom curriculum into cyberspace is deceptively simple, but doing so without an appreciation of the nuances and implications of learning online ignores not only the potential of this medium but the inevitable realities of entering it. Rather than fear the challenges that new technology brings to systems of learning, the editors hope to help instructors embrace it by rethinking how knowledge is acquired and how educational processes may be optimally designed in a new age of teaching and learning.

From the Publisher 

Part I provides an overview and includes discussion of the unique structural aspects of the electronic learning environment, pedagogical issues, curriculum design, psychological and group dynamics, and ethical issues. 

Part II examines practical issues associated with implementing courses online, both in the traditional university setting and in professional/corporate training environments.

The book draws heavily on personal case examples.

Bob Jensen's choice of key references in this area are at 

"Please Learn From My Mistakes," by David G. Brown, Syllabus, August 2002 --- 

I have come to the sad realization that many of the innovations designed to keep my course fresh have failed. My memories of failures are so poignant that it may be constructive to share them here. They can serve as warnings to others.

Unstructured chat room discussions don’t work. Chats lack depth. Someone new is always interrupting the online conversation with his or her own topic just when the discussion is getting interesting.

Ungraded assignments are usually ignored. I used to ask two students to search the Web for two or three sites that provided alternative ways to learn the “topic of the day.” They shared information on these sites in annotated bibliographies. An end-of-the-course evaluation, however, revealed that their classmates never went to these sites.

My current practice is to require each student to e-mail me with an evaluative comment regarding the sites. They know that their comments will factor into the participation portion of their course grades. A recent end-of-the-course evaluation now shows that the students regard the alternate Web sites as important and useful components of the course.

Personal e-mails can overwhelm. One semester, I asked all of my students to send me an e-mail answer to an assigned question each time we reached the end of a textbook chapter. The responsibility for reading and evaluating all those submissions just about ruined my family life. Now I have Student A e-mail a proposed answer to Students B and C. Students A, B, and C must settle on a single answer. They teach one another, and I have only one-third as much grading to do.

Students need to know in advance what their responsibilities are if the computer network goes down on the eve of an important deadline. Networks do go down. Students will panic, unless there are instructions in the syllabus that anticipate forgiveness or outline their alternatives.

Another semester, several weeks before the final, I accidentally deleted all my students’ grades from the electronic grade book. Fortunately, the syllabus stressed that each student is expected to keep a copy of every assignment submitted and also of every grade-related message sent to him or her. With help from the class and substantial effort, I was able to reconstruct the gradebook. Now I print out a backup copy of grades about every two weeks.

I’ve come to realize that students accessing materials from course Web sites using a dial-up modem from a shared apartment off campus cannot, or will not, wait for long downloads. I had the bright—and well-received—idea of personalizing the list of course assignments. For each of our 34 assignment days I added thumbnail photos of the students responsible for presenting their special reports. Although student reaction to this personalization was quite positive, I noticed that they were consulting the list of assignments less frequently. A focus group session revealed that the list was now taking longer than a minute to open. Consulting the list was an increased burden.

My students bring their laptops to class everyday. Even so, I’ve learned that it’s wise to exchange e-mail messages before class when anything out of the ordinary is to occur. If, for example, my plan for the day requires that every student have their computer, I send the class an e-mail message.

I suspect that others have made mistakes from which we can all learn. If you have a brief story you’d like me to share in a future column, please e-mail me. Let me know if it’s OK to mention your name or if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side are at 

Online Faculty Workloads

The CIT Infobits May 2002 article "Online Teaching and the 24-Hour Professor" ( ) described how the Internet is changing professors' workdays and workloads. John Messing, Director of the Research Centre for Innovation in Telelearning Environments at Charles Sturt University, continues this topic in "Can Academics Afford to Use E-mail?" (E-JOURNAL OF INSTRUCTIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, vol. 5, no. 2, August 2002). Messing reports on a study that began as "an attempt to quantify what many educators have suspected . . . that the workload associated with the use of online tools is considerably higher than with conventional technologies. In the process of trying to make sense of the data, it became clear that there are a number of issues such as increased expectations on the part of students and the disproportionate load that administrative use of e-mail places on academics that are rarely, if ever, considered as part of the debate."

The study analyzed the author's administrative and course-related email messages from 1991-2001. Some of his observations:

Regarding course-related email: "While the number of students in [his Graduate Diploma of Applied Science] course has doubled, the volume of communication has increased 11 fold. . . ."

Regarding administrative email: "It might take a secretary 10 to 15 minutes to duplicate and distribute meeting papers to 20 people [via email]. If it takes each recipient just 5 minutes to read, extract, print and collect the meeting papers, that represents a total of 100 minutes. The secretary saves 10 minutes but the recipients collectively lose 100 minutes."

He concludes, "Just how much extra time an individual is prepared to sacrifice in order to also receive the benefits of the use of such tools is debatable. From a personal perspective, the limit has been reached. With well over 3000 e-mails to contend with in one semester, the system has become a scourge rather than a blessing."

The article is available online at  (HTML format) and (PDF format).

e-Journal of Instructional Science and Technology (e-JIST) is published by the Distance Education Centre, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland 4350, Australia; Web:  Current and back issues of e-JIST are available at no cost at 

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side are at 

Warren Buffett (WB) is the most famous securities investor in the world.

August 30 message from 


WB has 61 years of business thinking experience. So, I selected business ideas from all his annual letters.

The Warren Buffett Business Factors, free internet book. (Selected articles from the Letters of Warren E. Buffett to the Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.) 

or in word doc: 

Selected and Arranged by Cesar Labitan, Jr. MD 
MBAE student Purdue University 
Calumet School of Management Hammond, Indiana 2002

Most academics who have Websites simply put their material on a server and let the world beat a path to their door.  Commercial firms, on the other hand, work harder and spend more to attract users.  The goal is to improve the chances of being found by search engines.

"Search Engine Results You Can Control," Tessa Wegert,, August 29, 2002 --- 

Assorted submission rules and policies, erratic protocol for updating databases, and varied techniques for optimizing a Web site to increase your client's chances of getting listed can all be overwhelming -- even for the most up-to-date SEO specialist. Yet, SEO remains a common method of increasing site traffic and exposure online. You've probably encountered plenty of advertisers who like the idea of getting their businesses listed on the top search engines on the Web. But how many of them are willing to wait for results?

Here's where media buying comes into play. Achieving rankings of any kind on popular search engines takes time, and top search results aren't a certainty -- but there are certainly ways to get your eager clients listed, and these methods can achieve a similar traffic -- and brand-building -- effect.

Where search engines are concerned, and when the objective is to garner immediate results, paid listings are a great alternative to submitting a Web site for listing the old-fashioned way. These placements have come to be considered part of "search engine marketing," the term SEO expert and ClickZ columnist Danny Sullivan often uses to embrace all methods of marketing involving search engine sites and directories.

The main difference between this and the more traditional method (which involves submitting your client's site and awaiting eventual rankings) is paid listings can be bought, giving you much more control over your results. Paid listings may not be the real deal -- and that surely affects their validity and value in the eyes of some Internet users -- but they'll give you the power to assure your client that his company name and product description will appear when keywords relevant to his site are typed into a search engine. It can take months to obtain a ranking using straightforward SEO, and the competition for gaining a significant standing under a popular keyword can be fierce. Paid listings allow the advertiser to position herself next to, and even above, her competitor's results.

When agency clients express an interest in advertising via paid listings on search engines, most buyers immediately recommend pay-per-search placements on properties such as Overture and Google. A slightly different approach utilizes a placement that is widely known as the "keyword text link." Most every major search engine offers these paid placements in a "sponsored links" or "sponsor matches" section, often on a CPM basis. The links are generally highlighted or visibly separated from the "genuine" results, indicating these listings were purchased.

Now that Overture and Google combined provide paid search results for the bulk of the other major search engines, arguing the benefits of a keyword text link over a pay-per-search placement can be challenging. With pay-per-search listings, you can get vast exposure while paying only when an Internet user clicks on your search result

Continued at 

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at 

September 4, 2002 message from the AICPA's Jodi Ryan  

New CPA exam website - Many of you may already be aware that the CPA exam has launched its own website, Http:// . Please encourage students and fellow faculty to visit the site for the latest information on the exam.

Student recruitment campaign - The AICPA is entering its second year of the campaign. We ask that you promote this website to your students to find out more about the accounting profession. A business simulation game (bizzfun) on the site has been highly rated by students.

Takin' Care of Business materials -Our Takin' Care of Business materials are available for purchase from CPA2BIZ. A file describing the materials is attached to this e-mail.

In Our Opinion newsletter - Attached to this e-mail is a copy of the July 2002 issue of, In Our Opinion, the newsletter of the AICPA's Audit and Attest Standards Team. Please feel free to share it with anyone who might be interested in it.

Ordering additional brochures and highlighters - If you need more brochures and highlighters for distribution to your students, please call our member satisfaction hotline at (888) 777-7077 and ask for product #872561 (brochures) and product #872562 (highlighter pens). Allow at least two weeks for processing and delivery

Please feel free to call our On-Campus Champion hotline at (212) 596-6105 if you have any questions. Thank you again for your support of this valuable program. We hope it will benefit you, your students and the future of the profession.

Best regards,

Jodi Ryan 
Manager- Recruiting Programs 


September 3, 2002 message from 

The research I'm conducting on Web services for the class at SJSU and for the book I'm co-authoring is going well. I'm still looking for good business case studies, please contact me if you have any. Also, here are the resources I've compiled to date: I need to expand on the tools section. Let me know if you have any suggestion for this page.

In this issue, we explore eBay through the eyes of the Value Framework(tm).

Some fascinating observations and some steps that need to occur to ensure success.


We also take a look at some top level news stories via the lenses of the

Value Framework(tm). Get caught up for the month of April.


Mitchell Levy
Executive Producer,
Creator of the Value Framework(tm) <>
Author, <>
President & CEO, <>
Founder and Coordinator, SJSU-PD ECM Certificate Program
Chair, Co-Founder and Partner, CEOnetworking

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic commerce are at 

"Firewall Follies:  The Net Effect," by Simson Garfinkel, Technology Review (MIT), September 2002 --- 

The complacency firewalls breed is ultimately more damaging than the computer pirates they keep out.

Do you use the Internet at work? I see lots of hands. You may not realize it, but your access to the Net is most likely mediated by some kind of firewall. Companies are spending thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of dollars on these systems—and trust them to protect their networks from snoopers and intruders.

That’s a problem, because firewalls often provide a mere illusion of protection. They don’t make business systems significantly more secure. And by focusing attention on defending the perimeter, rather than on defending information assets within an organization, firewalls foster lax internal security practices that magnify the damage that insiders can inflict. What firewalls do accomplish, however, is this: they make the Internet more cumbersome to use. I recently visited a friend’s firm in New York and wanted to check my e-mail, so I plugged my laptop into a network jack in an unused office. Access denied: my PC wasn’t set up to work with the company’s firewall. So instead of reading my e-mail, I occupied myself by sniffing the traffic on the office network and probing for a way out. (Had I been inclined, I could have read everybody else’s e-mail—or done real damage.)

Firewalls are simple in concept. A typical firewall consists of a special-purpose computer that has two network plugs. One plug goes to the Internet; the other connects to a company’s office network. The firewall is programmed with rules that determine what traffic is allowed to pass and what is to be blocked. For example, a firewall might be set up to allow managers in human resources to browse the Internet, or to access their desktop PCs from home, while permitting people in the corporate call center only to access their e-mail. The better firewalls log everything that moves across the boundary, giving companies a powerful tool for auditing online activity.

The great appeal of firewalls is that they are supposed to ease the job of corporate security. Instead of feverishly downloading and installing security patches to protect thousands of desktop computers and servers running a menagerie of operating systems, many organizations find it easier to simply trust the firewall to keep the bad guys out. The problem with this approach: bad guys are everywhere. Sure, some are on the outside of the company’s network. But there are corrupt employees on the inside, too. And even well-meaning workers can have laptops that contract viruses during business trips—viruses that then infect the office network. This is why so many companies supposedly fortified with firewalls succumbed to attacks from computer viruses and worms like Nimda and Code Red.

The existence of firewalls has also allowed companies to neglect their internal security measures and to accept lower-quality software from their vendors. Instead of hardening their systems, many vendors now advise their customers to install their equipment “behind the firewall.” This has long been standard practice for software suppliers delivering systems based on Microsoft Windows. Now it is becoming common for network-based management systems that are showing up in things like photocopiers, HVAC equipment and even elevators.

Continued at  

Bob Jensen's threads on firewalls are at 

August 30, 2002 message from Carolyn Kotlas [


In "Personality Type and Online Versus In-Class Course Satisfaction" (EDUCAUSE QUARTERLY, no. 3, 2002, pp. 71-2), University of South Alabama faculty Richard Daughenbaugh, Lynda Daughenbaugh, Daniel Surry, and Mohammed Islam report on a study they conducted of 146 college students enrolled in either online or residential introductory computer courses. Each student answered two questionnaires, one to assess personality type and another to measure course satisfaction. "Evaluation of personality type and course satisfaction data indicated that certain personality types preferred online rather than in-class courses. More extroverted students and those who were more sensitive than intuitive preferred the way the information was presented, and the way they were evaluated, in online courses." The authors present three recommendations based on their research: personality types and their different learning styles should be addressed in online instruction, student interaction should be increased in online courses, and more research should be done in this area.

The article is available online (in PDF format) at

The complete report, "Does Personality Type Effect Online Versus In-Class Course Satisfaction?" is online (in PDF format) at

EDUCAUSE Quarterly, a peer-reviewed journal published by EDUCAUSE, covers planning, developing, managing, using, and evaluating information resources and technology in higher education. For more information, contact EDUCAUSE, 1150 18th Street, NW, Suite 1010, Washington, DC 20036 USA; tel: 202-872-4200; fax: 202-872-4318; email:; Web:

For another view of the characteristics of students in relation to technology, especially young learners, see Edna Aphek's "Children of the Information Age: A Reversal of Roles" (UBIQUITY, vol. 3, issue 28, August 27-September 2, 2002; Aphek is an education researcher with a special interest in learning environments for children and older adults.

Ubiquity: An ACM IT Magazine and Forum, a Web resource from the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), provides a moderated, interactive community for IT professionals and others to discuss important issues. To contact Ubiquity: email:; Web: For more information on the ACM, contact: ACM, One Astor Plaza, 1515 Broadway, New York, NY, 10036, USA; tel: 212-869-7440; Web:

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at 

"The e-book market is littered with the wreckage of failed ventures."

August 30, 2002 message from Carolyn Kotlas [


"The e-book market is littered with the wreckage of failed ventures, and with some justification, one might think that it is approaching total collapse." In "Electronic Books: Reports of Their Death Have Been Exaggerated" (ONLINE, vol. 26, no. 4, July/August 2002), Donald T. Hawkins, editor-in-chief for Information Today, Inc. Information Science Abstracts and Fulltext Sources Online, charts the ups and downs of e-books and the market's successes and fiascos. Although e-book company failures have shaken the confidence of early-adopters, Hawkins believes that e-books still have a future. The article is available online at

Online [ISSN: 0146-5422] is published six times per year by Information Today, Inc., 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055 USA; tel: 609-654-6266 or 800-300-9868; fax: 609-654-4309; Web:

In the article "Students Complain About Devices for Reading E-Books, Study Finds" (THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, August 26, 2002;, Scott Carlson reports on a study of the usability of e-books and their acceptance by college students. The study was conducted by Richard F. Bellaver, Associate Director, Center for Information & Communication Studies, and Jay Gillette, Director, Human Factors Institute, Ball State University. The researchers concluded, that if future improvements are made in the technology, e-books could be acceptable devices for delivering and storing students' reading materials. The study's report, "The Usability of eBook Technology: Practical Issues of an Application of Electronic Textbooks in a Learning Environment," is available online at

The Chronicle of Higher Education [ISSN 0009-5982] is published weekly by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inc., 1255 Twenty-third Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 USA; tel: 202-466-1000; fax: 202-452-1033;


Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at 

But the e-book market is still "clicking" in academe.

I thank Kevin Kobelsky (USC) for the link below:
"E-textbooks clicking with colleges Most greet e-books with enthusiasm, but wariness remains, by Marsha Walton,,  September 1, 2002 --- 
Note that the link above also has audio testimonials From students!

It's 4 a.m., the astronomy homework is due in just a few hours, and there's still confusion about some quirks in those mysterious quasars. What's a fretting college student to do?

If you're in professor Michael Ruiz's astronomy class at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, your answer may be just a few clicks away, in an online forum that every student in the class can access, 24-7.

"If you don't understand something it's nice to be able to ask another student without wandering the halls knocking on doors saying, 'Do you take astronomy? Do you take astronomy?' Just type it in the forum, and ask your question about stars or nebulae," said Margaret Eason, who is taking the class this semester.

The student forum is one of dozens of interactive and multimedia features in the electronic textbook written and produced by astronomy and physics professor Ruiz. Along with his academic credentials, he's an accomplished musician, and a veteran experimenter in all types of technology.

All three of those interests contribute to the interactivity of his online texts, filled with music, movies, experiments, and incentives. He's also created an e-book for his physics of sound class, filled with online videos of his own piano and keyboard performances.

Fast updates, around-the-clock access Ruiz's electronic texts are Internet-based. Students access the class Web site on a with a login and password.

"I'm more effective with a class of 90 today than I was 20 years ago with 30 people and some equipment up front. Let's face it, your best time might be 2 o'clock in the morning, so if you're in here half falling asleep, you can see that demonstration or experiment again at home, and absorb it," he told students in his sound class the first day of this semester.

One major advantage over traditional texts is Ruiz's ability to update information, literally within minutes. And that's crucial, he says, in a field like astronomy, with constant discoveries and debates.

Continued at 

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at 

From InformationWeek Daily on September 6, 2002

Bill Gates has seen the future, and in his investing opinion, it's health care. At least that's what recent public filings by Microsoft may indicate. The software company's chairman has unloaded 9 million Microsoft shares--valued at more than $463 million--since the beginning of August. That includes 2 million shares he sold this week, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission document. As of June, Gates held 660 million Microsoft shares.

At the same time, Gates, widely heralded as a trend-predicting savant, has been loading up on biomedical and health-care stocks. In the second quarter, he bought 2.6 million shares of Prozac-maker Eli Lilly. He also acquired 1.3 million shares of Merck and 1.2 million shares of Pfizer.

Microsoft has been vexed by ongoing antitrust and consumer litigation and a rash of Windows security flaws that has forced the company to issue patches regularly. 

A survey by the National Whistleblower Center finds that most whistleblowers are male, and many still lack the legal rights to protect themselves from retaliation by their employers. 

AccountingWEB US - Sep-4-2002 -  Despite recent publicity given high profile female whistleblowers, a survey by the National Whistleblower Center finds that most whistleblowers are male and many still lack the legal rights to protect themselves from retaliation by their employers.

The survey was based on a random review of 200 cases reported to the National Whistleblower Center in 2002. Key findings:

Some but not all whistleblowers were accountants. Others worked in a variety of other occupations ranging from computer programmers and social workers to doctors, teachers, and airline pilots.

To help whistleblowers gain the legal rights needed to protect themselves from retaliation, the National Whistleblower Center supports additional measures ranging from legislative relief to tax relief and prohibitions against unfair pre-employment agreements.

Continued at  

Hi Ivan,

The new product of choice that you will love is called Camtasia. I even provide you with a free video tutorial.

Go to 

Or you can go directly to the Camtasia vendor site at 

Another alternative that is not quite the same, but it is popular by some instructional support centers is the option to make videos out of Macromedia's Flash presentations. However, this option is used mainly for videos of PowerPoint shows and is not as general as Camtasia in terms of making videos of any succession of screen images on your computer's monitor. Also Flash videos require much more skill and training to prepare.

Bob Jensen

 -----Original Message----- 
From: Anthony Ivan []  
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2002 4:30 AM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: Lotus Screencam Equivalent

Hi Bob 

I am a South African. I am looking for a product that is similar to Lotus Screencam. Screencam does not run on XP so I am not able to complete an important project. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have.

Ivan Anthony


September 3, 2002 message from George Durler [

Regarding the Hassellback Accounting Faculty Directory at 


I'm catching up on my AECM mail today and so someone might have already pointed out to you that the on-line Hasselback is very much out of date (1999-2000). My correspondence with Prentice Hall indicates that it is iffy whether they will update this on a regular basis.


Dr. M. George Durler 
Assistant Professor of Accounting 
Campus Box 57 Emporia State University 
1200 N. Commercial Emporia, KS 66801

Forwarded by Scott Bonacker, CPA [

1. ==== IN FOCUS ====

(contributed by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor,  


In the August 7, 2002, edition of Security UPDATE, I wrote about a new trend called warchalking. As you know, warchalking is the act of marking buildings in the vicinity of wireless networks. The idea is to provide a visual clue indicating the presence of wireless networks so that people can obtain a free Internet connection. Warchalkers use distinctive markings and include information about bandwidth and various connection perimeters.

The trend is catching on, so much so that, according to VNU Business Publications, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently issued an unofficial warning that businesses should check the security of their wireless LAN (WLAN) equipment to ensure that adequate security is in place.

Recently, I learned about a new Internet site,, that aids users in identifying and locating WLANs around the country. Among other features, the site hosts a national map that shows cities that have open WLANs and a searchable database that helps users query for information about specific locations. also hosts a downloadable program called NetStumbler that lets users investigate a given WLAN's security. Security administrators can use it to test their sites. Anyone can download a copy (291KB) at the first URL below. According to the Web site, "NetStumbler is a Windows tool that allows you to [scan for] 802.11b (and 802.11a, if using Windows XP) wireless LANs. It includes [global positioning satellite (GPS)] integration and a simple, intuitive user interface. Though primarily targeted at owners of wireless LANs, it has been the de facto tool for casual users such as war drivers for over a year." The tool apparently even won a "PC Magazine" award earlier this year (see the second URL below), which named the tool its favorite innovative networking technology in the wireless software category.,4149,3666,00.asp

NetStumbler runs on Windows 2000, Windows 98, and Win95 but doesn't work yet on Windows XP, Windows NT 4.0, or Windows Me. To see what it was like, I downloaded a copy and installed the tool. NetStumbler has a typical GUI, lets you choose a wireless NIC to use for scanning, and has scripting capabilities. After you've scanned an area and discovered WLANs, you can save the NetStumbler output and upload it to the Web site, where an application on the Web site converts it to Microsoft MapPoint 2002-compatible output. The process helps you plot WLAN points on a graphical map.

With resources such as NetStumbler and freely available, you should definitely take time to ensure that your WLAN security is adjusted to permit only authorized users access--unless you want to intentionally leave it open and available to anyone. The bottom line is that if you run a wireless network, you must keep it secure. If you don't, expect that someone will identify your network, chalk it up, and possibly submit it to the Web site--where everyone can find it quickly. For information about securing your WLANs, read Allen Jones' article, "Securing 802.11 Wireless Networks" (see the first URL below) and Paul Thurrott's article "Securing Your Wireless Networks" (see the second URL below).

Bob Jensen's wireless threads are at 

From a Stanford University GSB Alumni Newsletter on September 3, 2002

Robert Flanagan Economists, politicians, and activists have long debated whether countries that do not adopt international labor standards gain an advantage in trade and investment at the expense of those who do. GSB Professor Robert Flanagan recently tested the arguments through a comparative study of about 100 countries at various stages of development from 1980 to 1999. August 2002 

Harrison Hong Investors take risks based on information they can trust to be true. But in our post-Enron world, how does the investor know which voices to listen to in the clamor of financial information? And what regulations of securities analysts would restore the climate of trust? One step is to identify a predictable pattern of bias in the work of successful financial analysts and understand how that bias is rewarded. Recent research by Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty member Harrison Hong does just that. August 2002 

Eric Zitzewitz Volatility presents greater risks to market players attempting to stay ahead of the curve. The extent to which such volatility, combined with the standard industry practice of pricing mutual funds just once daily, has allowed arbitrageurs to profit handsomely. And those profits come at the expense of long-term investors-to the tune of $4 billion annually. That estimated $4 billion dilution level is part of a new study by Eric Zitzewitz. August 2002 

For many would-be executives and entrepreneurs, an MBA degree is supposed be the ticket to career success. Two researchers, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Christine Fong at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business are turning that notion on its head. Pfeffer is quoted, as is GSB senior associate dean for academic affairs David Kreps: "We are going to continue to pay attention to articles like Pfeffer and Fong and see how we can improve." San Francisco Chronicle, August 27, 2002 

RELATED LINKS Similar stories appeared in over 77 newspapers across the country. See Baltimore Sun, September 2, 2002 

NPR's "Morning Edition," Interview with Pfeffer (3:15 min.) (audio players can be downloaded from the left-side navigation menu) Wednesday, August 28, 2002 

According to reporter Del Jones, a certification exam for MBAs will be launched in April in an attempt to figure out who among the 112,000 graduates each year has learned the core subjects of a master's degree in business administration. "The exam comes at a time when the MBA degree is under attack," writes Jones, citing recently published research by GSB faculty member Jeffrey Pfeffer. USA Today, Tuesday, August 27, 2002 

August 30, 2002 message from A. William Richardson [awrichar@SPARTAN.AC.BROCKU.CA

The following is an article relating to the subject of corruption index that appeared in the Globe and Mail. At the end of the story are some rankings on the 1 - 10 scale that shows that the point in Prof Wright's email is generally but not precisely correct.

The URL is given after the article.

There was a similar article in the National Post and the URL is also listed after the article below.

Bangladesh most corrupt, study says

Survey results will not affect flow of aid and funding from Canada, CIDA says

Globe and Mail, Thursday, August 29, 2002 Page A14

Business is bad in Bangladesh: an international survey of corruption in more than 100 countries has declared the impoverished South Asian country the most corrupt place in the world.

The top recipient of Canadian aid, Bangladesh ranks at the bottom of the Transparency International's annual corruption perceptions index for the second year running.

Transparency International, a Berlin-based non-governmental organization, builds the index from a "poll of polls," using 15 different independent surveys, including one by the Economist Intelligence Unit. A country must appear in at least three surveys to be ranked; citizens of a country are never surveyed on their own nation.

Finland was first with a score of 9.7 out of 10, while Bangladesh bottomed out at 1.2 out of 10, 0.4 points behind the next-most corrupt nation, Nigeria. Canada ranked seventh on the list.

Canada gives Bangladesh $50-million a year in bilateral aid, but a spokeswoman for the Canadian International Development Agency said the ranking would not affect aid funding.

"We don't penalize the poor by pulling out of the country," Ginette Lebreton said. "CIDA recognizes that corruption exists in some countries we work with and we support programs that strengthen good governance. Sixteen per cent of our spending is towards democracy, human rights, good governance and public management."

Non-governmental aid agencies suggested yesterday that the index is highly subjective. While corruption tends to be blatant in the least developed countries, it can be no less pervasive in higher income countries such as China and the Persian Gulf states -- just better disguised in more sophisticated business practises.

China, which receives nearly as much Canadian aid as Bangladesh and is often criticized for corruption, is 59th on the list.

"Corruption is damaging to the progress of a society, no question," said Nazeer Ali Ladhani, chief executive officer of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, a charity with numerous projects in Bangladesh and other countries near the bottom of the index. "But you have to see it through the lens of

poverty: where do you draw the line on what is corruption and how do you judge?"

When poorly paid public servants demand bribes to do their jobs, it is perceived as corruption, he said. But in middle-income countries, bribes can be formally presented as "user fees," which international business accepts.

Seventy per cent of the countries surveyed scored lower than five out of 10. The world's poorest countries were almost all lumped near the bottom of the list.

"Corrupt political elites in the developing world, working hand-in-hand with greedy business people and unscrupulous investors, are putting private gain before the welfare of citizens and the economic development of their countries," Transparency International chairman Peter Eigen said in a statement.

Corruption is perceived to be rampant in Indonesia, Kenya, Angola, Madagascar, Paraguay, Uganda and Haiti. At the other end of the spectrum, the wealthy Scandinavian countries of Finland, Denmark and Sweden, plus New Zealand, all scored above nine.

Esperanza Moreno, deputy director of the Canadian Council on International Cooperation, suggested it was unfair to think of corruption as a plague of developing countries. "It is not only a Third World problem, as we saw recently with the big northern corporations [such as Enron]."

Because this year's index is drawn from data compiled in 2000-01 period, the impact of the major financial scandals that have occurred in the United States is not yet perceptible.

Mr. Eigen said he was disappointed that the list revealed no trend toward lessening corruption, although Russia (71st on the list at 2.7) and a few Eastern European countries have made progress in eliminating practises such as kickbacks, he said. Perceived corruption Transparency International, a coalition against corruption, has released its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2002. The CPI scores relate to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and risk analysts and range between 10 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt). Here is a selection from the 102 nations and how they scored. Country

Rank Name CPI score

1 Finland 9.7

7 Canada 9.0

10 United Kingdom 8.7

16 United States 7.7

18.* Germany 7.3

20.* Japan 7.1

31 Italy 5.2

59.* China 3.5

71.* Russia 2.7

101 Nigeria 1.6

102 Bangladesh 1.2

-*Rank shared by more than one country.

Bob Jensen's threads on securities frauds are at

The popular IVillage women's website goes beyond its usual free e-mail service and accidentally allows viewers to read other peoples' private messages ---,1282,54833,00.html 

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Review on September 5, 2002

TITLE: Cendant Takes Steps on Pay of CEO and Stock Options 
REPORTER: Motoko Rich 
DATE: Aug 29, 2002 
PAGE: B2 LINK:,,SB1030541238406495995.djm,00.html  
TOPICS: Accounting, Advanced Financial Accounting, Financial Accounting Standards Board, Financial Statement Analysis, Managerial Compensation, Standard Setting, Stock Options

SUMMARY: The article describes the impact of changing Cendant's CEO's stock options incentive pay and other contract provisions. Questions require students to understand accounting for stock options and restricted-stock awards, to define the terms EBITDA and pre-tax income, and to consider the FASB's standards setting agenda and potential Congressional influence.

1.) What are the possible ways in which companies may account for stock options? Under what accounting standards are these requirements established?

2.) What are restricted-stock awards? How are these compensation packages accounted for?

3.) The Cendant CEO argues that the "hit to a company's income statement" for employee stock options "won't reflect the value of the options to employees...[whereas] the intrinsic value subtracted from the company's earnings [under restricted-stock awards plans] would be mostly equivalent to the intrinsic value that the employee receives." Explain these statements. Do you agree with the CEO's position? Support your answer.

4.) What is the difference between "pretax earnings" and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization" (EBITDA)? In your answer, first define these two terms.

5.) Cendant's chief executive's pay will be impacted in at least two ways due to the changes that are described in the article, one which certainly will reduce his incentive bonus and one which may reduce or increase it, in contrast to his former contract. Explain how these changes will occur.

6.) Why are corporations now choosing to expense employee stock options? (Hint: you may view the growing list of companies choosing to expense employee stock options on the WSJ web site at

7.) Why is Congress considering legislation that may mandate the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to undertake a project on the topic of accounting for stock options? Does Congress typically set the FASB's agenda? (Hint: you can find guidance in answering this question by going to the FASB's web site at and clicking on "FASB Facts" on the left-hand side of the page.)

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



Research Study of the Week --- It's "Cool"

I have always attributed the declines in accounting enrollments in the United States mostly to the accompanying requirement that candidates for the CPA examination have five rather than four years of college (the so called 150-Hour Requirement).  I finally discovered a study that changed my mind somewhat (at least from over 70% down to 38%).  The study is by Jeff Boone and Teddy Coe.  I don't know Jeff Boone, but I've known Teddy Coe for many years.  There is one word to describe Teddy --- "cool."  He has been a long-time leader in accounting education with a charming personality and a deep knowledge of opera and accounting.  And there is one word to describe the "Quasi-Experiment" cited below --- "cool."  

The study provides a great review of the history of the 150-Hour Requirement and it's controversies.  Then it reports a very clever research design with excellent statistical analysis.  I honestly never thought there would be innovative research that seems to get a handle on whether the main cause of enrollment decline in accounting graduates was the 150-Hour requirement enacted by most states in the U.S.  The study essentially concludes that the 150-Hour Requirement is a leading cause, but it is less than 50% of the problem according to Boone and Coe.

"The 150-Hour Requirement and Changes in the Supply of Accounting Undergraduates: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment," by Jeff P. Boone and Teddy L. Coe, Issues in Accounting Education, Vol. 17, No. 3, August 2002, pp. 258-268 --- 
You must be a paid subscriber to download the full article, but a free summary is available at,480676&P=summary 

The number of accounting graduates has declined sharply following the near universal adoption of the 150-hour requirement for licensing and as a condition for membership in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). This decline has led many observers to conclude that the 150-hour requirement was a mistake. Our study investigates the extent to which the 150-hour requirement (rather than other causes) is responsible for the decline in the number of accounting graduates during the 1990s. We document that approximately 38 percent of the decline can be attributed to the requirement. The other 62 percent of the decline remains unexplained. Our study underscores the importance of considering other factors such as noncompetitive compensation, unattractive working conditions, inappropriate student counseling, and inadequate curriculum among others when trying to understand the decline in accounting enrollments

We document a decline in conferred undergraduate accounting degrees that is associated with implementation of the 150-hour requirement.  Results show a monotonic decrease in accounting degrees conferred by treatment states as the 150-implementation date approaches, with the decrease reaching a maximum in the first year after implementation and disappearing entirely by event year +3. The estimated loss in graduating undergraduate accountants is 1,945 students in year 2000, which is 11.38 percent of the number of undergraduate accounting degrees that would have been conferred if the 150-hour requirement were not in effect.  Further, this estimated annual loss of 1,945 accounting degrees represents only 38 percent of the 5,074 annual loss in accounting degrees conferred by treatment states during the decade of the 1990s.

Since the adoption of the 150-hour rule for licensing in most U.S. jurisdictions and its adoption as a condition for membership in the AICPA, accounting enrollments have declined precipitously.  This has lead to considerable debate in the accounting profession as to whether this decline should be laid directly at the door of the 150-hour rule.  Albrecht and Sack (2000) even concluded that the rule "is universally seen as a mistake."  Our study supports the belief that the 150-hour requirement is an important yet incomplete explanation for the substantial and dramatic decline in accounting graduates.  In particular, estimates suggest that the 150-hour requirement accounts for 38 percent of the decline in accounting graduates, with the other 62 percent of the decline unexplained.  Efforts to increase accounting enrollments and the supply of professional accountants by eliminating the 150-hour requirement are likely to stimulate only a modest increase in accounting enrollments.  If leaders of the academic and professional communities want to address ways in which to ameliorate the decline in accounting enrollments, then issues such as noncompetitive compensation, unattractive working conditions, inappropriate student counseling, and inadequate curriculum among others must be considered.  Addressing these issues assumes even greater urgency in light of the possibility that the Enron debacle may further depress already dwindling accounting enrollments.

The 150-hour issue is a timely and important topic to accounting professionals and educators.  As Wallace (1996) notes, much research remains to be done before we can evaluate whether the 150-hour requirement represents progress or protection for the accounting profession.

The most significant study published about the decline in accounting graduates is the free Accounting Education: Charting the Course through a Perilous Future, by W. Steve Albrecht and Robert J. Sack (Sarasota, FL:  American Accounting Association, Accounting Education Series Monograph No. 16, 

Richard Campbell [campbell@RIO.EDU

This is a significant upgrade of Windows Media Player 9 and may be a nail in RealNetwork's coffin. 

Richard Campbell

Note that this is only the Beta version.  It was a piece of cake to upgrade.

September 6, 2002 message from Roxio [
Roxio's homepage is at 

Roxio's VideoWave® 5 Power Edition is the complete video editing and DVD authoring solution for demanding users. Now, for a limited time, you can purchase Videowave 5 Power Edition for only $59.95. That's $40 off the suggested retail price!

Easy Capture: Easily transfer digital or analog** video from your camera to your PC. Powerful Editing: Use professional tools with drag & drop ease. Expert Effects: Create high-end image effects and transitions. DVD Authoring: Burn DVDs to share with friends.

Take advantage of the $10 instant discount and $30 mail-in rebate!

Bob Jensen's summary of resources can be found at 

September 6, 2002 message from AACSB International - Communications [

And now we are your source for Worldwide Jobs in Management Education.

M.E. Jobs -  - is an ONLINE career marketplace for professionals in management education jobs that provides:

A user-friendly and immediate format Accessibility to job postings from our over 900 member schools Most ads were posted within the last 30 days - no job over 90

Bob Jensen's threads on careers can be found at 

Because he was known as "Silent Cal," there is no audio at this site.
Calvin Coolidge: 30th President of the United States 

From Syllabus News on August 30, 2002

Technical Grads Have Highest Starting Salaries

Despite the economic downturn in the technology sector, students graduating with technical degrees are typically offered the highest starting salaries compared to their peers holding other degrees, according to a new job market survey by the New York Times. Starting salaries in the New York area for graduates with bachelor's technical degrees ranged from $38K to $52K. The range for the next highest group, business degreed grads, was $30K to $35K.

However, job seekers continue to believe that enrollment in a business program will help them secure good jobs. Nearly two in five job seekers interviewed think that recruiters are most likely to hire candidates with a business degree (38 percent). A business program is a top choice among current students (29 percent) and among those who plan to enroll at a college/university during the next year (30 percent).

U. Conn. Adopts Online Alcohol Ed Program:  It's a Required Online Course

The University of Connecticut said it mandated alcohol education for its students starting this September. All first-year students will take a three-hour interactive course, AlcoholEdu, developed by Outside The Classroom, Inc., which provides online health education for colleges and universities. The university will also make AlcoholEdu available to other campus groups, including athletic teams, Greek-letter organizations, and disciplinary referrals. "Binge drinking and other high-risk alcohol consumption can be a major problem for young men and women, especially early in their college careers," said John Saddlemire, dean of students at the university. "Research has shown that the strongest motivation for behavior change comes from relevant information delivered to students in effective and non-threatening ways. AlcoholEdu for the first time makes it easy and practical to provide this preemptive education to all our first-year students and other selected groups."

For more information, visit: 

The Official Muddy Waters Website (Hear the Music) 

Jazz Age Chicago: Urban Leisure from 1892 to 1934 

Create your own music on the Web (free) --- 

Apple is losing ground to more enterprise-friendly Windows PCs in the critical education market. If that continues, watch out 

The good old days are here again: The new version of OS X once more gives Macs clear superiority in operating systems 

African Aperture (Beautiful Photography) 

JAlbum 2.0 Web Photo Album Generator (free) 

Macromedia's ever-popular tool, famous for making it easy to create dynamic sites and Web-based apps, gets a massive overhaul and some new, drool-worthy features --- 

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

"The dark side of XML and privacy, by Jack Vaughan, September 5, 2002 --- 

The data-describing power of XML could have a very dark side in the hand of mischievous individuals, says Ron Schmelzer, a senior analyst at industry analyst firm ZapThink, Waltham, Mass. "XML is essentially automating identity theft," said Schmelzer, a speaker at the XML Web Services One Conference in Boston.

By creating what Schmelzer described as a "human-readable, machine-processable, meta data-enhanced, text-based way of reading information that is tagged," XML has given developers a way to tag data fields that may be too efficient. With XML, developers don't really have the ability to tell DBAs to ignore the information. "It's like telling them not to think about polar bears. They're essentially drawing a big red flag" that points to those data fields holding sensitive information.

To resolve this problem, said Schmelzer, some programmers have turned to a strategy of obfuscation -- creating a field called XJ12 as the tag for credit cards, and splitting the credit card number into four fields or even hashing the number.

The Platform for Privacy Preferences is a popular XML-based effort that defines privacy policies in machine-readable formats and generates such policies. According to Schmelzer, attempts at offering customers P3P-based, user-centric services to store and access personal information, such as Microsoft Passport, the Liberty Alliance, CPExchange and Oasis CIQ, at best create as many questions as answers; at worst, they are doomed to failure.

All these plans have one thing in common: They use XML tags to standardize customer information. But, said Schmelzer, "if it's hard to [get agreement on] standardized simple address fields internationally, then think about how hard it will be to tag other, more complex forms of customer information."

Bob Jensen's threads on XML are at 

September 2, 2002 message from James L. Morrison [

Hi Bob,

Below is a description of the September/October 2002 issue of The Technology Source, a free, refereed e-journal published by the Michigan Virtual University as a service to the educational community at

Please forward this announcement to colleagues who are interested in using information technology tools more effectively in their work.

As always, we seek illuminating articles that will assist educators as they face the challenge of using information technology tools in teaching and in managing educational organizations. Please review our call for manuscripts at and send me a note if you would like to contribute such an article.

Many thanks.


James L. Morrison
The Technology Source
Home Page:


Editor James L. Morrison interviews Peter Suber, a leading figure in the “free online scholarship” movement. Suber describes the technological, legal, and philosophical aspects of this exciting movement, and assesses its future development within the academy. See

When instructors need to promote communication and collaboration online, are there better alternatives than threaded discussion boards? In his commentary, William R. Klemm argues that a “shared document” approach offers significant advantages, and illustrates this in his use of a customized software program. See

In an interview with editor James L. Morrison, Carl Berger discusses the potential of integrated software development in instructional technology. Through his concept of the “killer app”—-a software application that assimilates a range of diverse functions—-Berger anticipates a future in which technology becomes further integrated in the daily experience of learners. See

Thierry R. H. Bacro illustrates how online technology allowed him to deliver an anatomy course to a broader geographic range of students. By illustrating the online component of this course, Bacro provides an “incisive” account of how distance education can be adopted within highly specialized forms of instruction. See

In their case study, Gene Abrams and Jeremy Haefner describe their use of the MathOnline system, through which they were able to combine traditional and online methods of mathematics instruction, and thereby provide a more flexible range of learning options for their students. See

When building a distance education program, some institutions may already have a substantial community of students and faculty—-but still lack financial resources. Carol Stroud and Brenda Stutsky show how they addressed this challenge through a sharing of community resources, which allowed them to develop an online course for regional nurses in Manitoba. See

Jerome R. Koblo and Casey Turnage offer an overview of current efforts to use technology to enhance faculty development programs in higher education. After considering a range of different approaches, they offer a prospectus for future efforts. See

Michael M. Danchak illustrates how he has addressed the problem of creating affective relationships in Web-based instruction. Recognizing the difficulty of establishing instructor personality without face-to-face contact, Danchak suggests several ways in which instructors can reassure students of their presence and concern. See

For our Spotlight Site, Stephen Downes reviews LearnScope Virtual Learning Community (VLC), an Australian site that focuses on the use of information technology in education. Through its multiple features, LearnScope VLC lives up to its name by providing a comprehensive online learning community to its participants. See 

Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at 

Pop-up ads may be annoying, but they're not going away. Some sneaky advertisers are even trying to get around ad-blocking software ---,1367,54903,00.html 

From Syllabus News on September 6, 2002

How does an institution develop strategies and encourage cooperation across the academic community to meet the technology needs of students, faculty, staff and administrators? You'll learn about successful efforts from Gerard Hanley, Syllabus fall2002 keynote speaker and Senior Director of Academic Technology Support in the Office of the Chancellor at California State University. Affiliated with MERLOT since 1997, Hanley has worked to develop learning communities that foster professional development and cooperation among faculty, staff, students and administrators. Syllabus fall2002, an education technology conference and vendor fair, will be held November 3-5 at the Boston Marriott Newton Hotel in Newton, Mass.

For more information and to register, go to 

Online MBA Eases Conflicts For Managers

Lansbridge University and the American Graduate School of Management (AGSM) announced a dual degree program offering joint degrees in Master of Business Administration and Master of Management. The program, which also offers specialties for the automotive and healthcare industries, is designed for working professionals. Students work online in small groups within a class of about 20, and interact daily with faculty and peers. A weekly online synchronous interaction is scheduled for faculty and students. Classes began in August, and will be offered in November, February and May. John McLaughlin, Provost, Lansbridge University, noted that the "online format closely parallels the real world environments in which our students work." AGSM president Richard Oliver, added, "Students from around the world become teammates in classes that explore today's best management practices."

For more information, visit: 

McGraw-Hill Offers Online Writing Tool

McGraw-Hill unveiled a web-based classroom writing assessment tool that it says will give students an method of practicing their writing skills with immediate feedback. Writing Roadmap will provide teachers analytic information and options for monitoring student and class progress, the company said. The application covers descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and informative styles of writing. Scores are reported on five analytic traits, and users can choose between holistic or summative scores, which can be downloaded into existing student information systems. The system, which uses an automated essay scoring engine from Vantage Learning, allows students to create a portfolio of their essays, which teachers can review via options that provide personalized guidance.

Message from Fathom on September 6, 2002 --- 

The back-to-school spirit is in the air at Fathom -- hundreds of new semester-length courses are currently open for enrollment. Most of these online courses can be taken for credit, and a not-for-credit option is often available for a lower enrollment fee.


* Mathematics for Management This online course from UCLA Extension provides a fundamental background for administrators in the public and private economic sectors, as well as a solid review of pre-MBA mathematics. Class starts September 25: 

* How to Open a Restaurant This online course from School University is designed to assist aspiring restaurateurs embarking on the ultimate food fantasy. Learn about site selection, staffing, capital requirements and how to secure investors. Class starts September 16: 

* Survey of Personal Financial Planning This online course from UCLA Extension examines the business and professional practicalities of establishing and running/working in a financial counseling practice, including ethics, marketing, fee setting, and staff development. Class starts September 25: 

Discover a wealth of information about the relationship between the global economy and the environment in the special learning center "Exploring Biodiversity." With dozens of new features, free seminars and online courses illuminating the complex issues related to biodiversity, this learning center is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in learning about the interconnectedness of earth's diverse ecosystems and populations, and economic strategies to protect limited resources through sustainable development. 

One year after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Fathom has expanded and updated this learning center with dozens of new features, seminars and courses on past and present regions in conflict. Explore the latest scholarship and research from experts at leading academic institutions from the Fathom consortium, and learn about the economic impact of terrorism, the international political landscape and the history of religious extremism and political violence. 


*Trading Places: The East India Company and Asia The tale of the East India Company is a fascinating combination of economic, cultural and personal histories, and of individual and imperial ambitions. British Library curator Anthony Farrington outlines the history of the East India Company and its central place in the commercial links between Britain and Asia. The seminar is free; simply follow the checkout process to enroll: 


* Computers for Educators This online course from the University of San Diego is designed to enhance your knowledge of spreadsheets, desktop publishing, multimedia, internet-based research, and much more with strategies and skills you can apply immediately in your classroom. Class starts September 24: 

* Language Structure and Usage This online course from UCLA Extension covers the major theories and factors related to language structure and usage, as well as universals and differences, including those in the structure of English. Class starts September 24:

* Teaching and Learning Models for Online Courses Explore a plethora of models that can be used as the structure for online courses, programs, seminars, and other virtual classroom needs. This online course from UCLA Extension starts September 23: 


* Multigenre Writing This nine-week online course from the New School University looks at innovative writing techniques including letters, verse, or elements from history, the sciences, or arts in examples of prose poems, short stories and novels. Class starts September 16: 

* Macromedia Flash 5 Animation This online workshop from UCLA Extension provides a comprehensive exploration of Flash, one of the most popular multimedia software applications. Learn how to build multi-layered animations containing interactive buttons, movie clips, and graphics. Starts September 26: 

* Art Deco Examine Art Deco's expression in architecture, interiors, furniture and the minor decorative arts. Students will analyze the work of notable designers from Ruhlmann to Deskey, and learn about the value of Art Deco objects in the marketplace today. Class starts October 21: 


September 4 Message from Fortune

IN YOUR NEW ISSUE OF FORTUNE (September 16, 2002):

* COVER STORY: THE ENFORCER: He nailed Merrill. He's after Citi. Eliot Spitzer is just getting started.
* IT'S CLEANUP TIME: Is Corporate America finally a changing the way it does business?
* 9/11 SPECIAL: Are we safe yet?
* AMERICA'S 40 RICHEST UNDER 40: We envied them once--okay, we still do.
* IS WALL STREET GOOD FOR ANYTHING? Here's how it could be.
* AIRLINES: Why United's crisis is good for flying.
* THE UN-CEO: A.G. Lafley of Procter & Gamble doesn't believe in the vision thing.
* DETROIT'S USED-CAR BLUES: The Big Three are drowning.
* INVESTING: How to be your own hedge fund.



New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has become the most feared man on Wall Street. What he wants is change--top to bottom.

See Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads at 


Under pressure, a slew of companies are now changing the way they do business. Will it last?


While much has changed since the terror attacks, much remains to be done. We look at several key challenges--from making America safer and our economy less vulnerable, to the moral tangle of compensating victims.


We envied them once--okay, we still do. (A net worth of more than $100 million isn't exactly chicken feed.) But many of them have taken an even bigger shellacking in the market this year than we have. Plus, we find out what's become of the grizzled veterans of the dot-com disaster since those dizzying market-cap highs.


Not lately. But it could be if it lost the cartel mentality, learned some ethics, and remembered the little guy.


Waning hope of a taxpayer rescue is forcing the airline leader in bloated costs to face reality.


A.G. Lafley doesn't believe in the vision thing. All he's done is turn around Procter & Gamble in 27 months.


Detroit's Big Three tried to beat imports with 0% financing and cut-rate leases. Now they're drowning under a flood of used cars.


Arm yourself with these basic hedging techniques, and you can protect yourself the way the pros do.

My September 10, 2002 updates on the accounting auditing, and corporate governance scandals are at

The main purpose of this message is to note the link forwarded by George Krull that provides a great series on Andersen. George is a professor (MSU PhD) who became an executive research partner for many years in Grant Thornton. He has been a long-time dedicated member of the American Accounting Association and is now teaching at Bradley.

However, I thought the old Michigan State University faculty and alumni might appreciate publicizing his entire message. For some of us, those were the good old days of academe --- we thought we knew the answers in those days.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Krull, George []  
Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 12:02 PM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: The Fall of Andersen Four-part Series in the Chicago Tribune

September 2, 2002 12:02 CDT


Here is a link to an excellent series that appears in the Chicago Tribune (  ). The series started yesterday and concludes on Wednesday, September 4.

It was good to see you in San Antonio. I was running to a meeting when we chatted for a brief moment. Let me add my congratulations to the many you received for your Outstanding Accounting Educator Award. Your remarks were moving 
(  ).

I do remember those great discussions and conversations in the Teak room at the east end of Eppley Center. I was blessed to be a member of a truly great bunch of graduate students at MSU. Those students considered the faculty ( you, Arens, Miller,Salmonson, Edwards, Windal, etc.) as our friends and our professors. That created a very special learning environment, the likes of which I have not experienced many times since.

Best regards,


Bob Jensen's threads on the Andersen explosion are at 

Folks up north are entering the autumn and winter season.  If they would connect the dots, it will help to bring on another summer --- 

Accurate to the Penney But Stupid Nevertheless

On September 4, my wife received a refund check from a medical provider.  The check has two signatures (R. Milton Johnson and Dale Andersen).  I don't know how much it cost the company to prepare the check, but it did cost 37 cents to mail it to us.
Guess the amount of the check?
Two cents!  If you don't believe me, I have tacked the check to the bulletin board beside my office door.

My barber, Dennis Wilson, purchased a ring for his wife a number of years ago.  He was later contacted by a law firm inviting him to become part of a class-action lawsuit for usury on the financing charges connected with his purchase.  Over the course of five years, he received form letters stating that he was still part of an active nationwide lawsuit.  
When the judgment came, guess the amount of his settlement?
27 cents!  The lawyers got millions and Dennis, the injured party, got 27 cents.

Unfortunately, accountants now have the image of being accurate to the penny with customers up front while millions of investor resources are falling through the cracks out back.

Reply from David R. Fordham [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

This happened to Paperboard Industries while I was corporate controller. Our payroll clerk wrote a check to the IRS for our weekly payroll deposit. The tax withheld was about $30,000, and when she cut the check on the old check-writing machine (remember those embossing check writers?) she accidentally got the cents off by one penny. One penny mind you! So it was short by a penny. The IRS computer kicked it out, and charged us the $0.01 unpaid taxes, plus the statutory penalty, which as we all know, is 10% of the taxes due, or $3,000 in this case! It took us 9 months, twenty or so phone calls, and a half-dozen letters from our attorney to get that penalty waived. And that doesn’t count the time and effort by the IRS personnel! All over a $0.01 shortage!

Ain’t technology wonderful?

David Fordham
James Madison University

Reply from Robert Holmes Glendale College [rcholmes@GLENDALE.CC.CA.US

Please cash the check. Think of the poor accountants having to include your two cents' worth in their bank reconciliations for months, and then having to make an entry to increase profits by your two cents when they give up on the check. Or perhaps their rules call for them to contact you in person if you have not cashed the check or maybe even going to the bank and putting a stop payment on your check and reissuing one to you.

Reply from Derek

This thread reminds me of an incident some years back. I paid a department store account one day date, and was charged one day's interest on the balance, amounting to 12 cents. I did not use that store again, and I kept getting accounts for the 12 c (at a postage cost of 40c per month). I even got a lawyer's form letter threatening to sue me. I was tempted to go to court and defend myself, but I gave in and paid up when it became apparent that my overdue status had been reported to all the credit bureaux, and a credit card issuer were threatening to pull my card as I was deemed a delinquent debtor.

Derek Speer 
The Univerist of Auckland, 


Hi Jed,

This looks like a good information site with some added humor, although I'm not certain about such descriptions as "Economists gone Wild! You will see a lot of these sexy beasts this week giving punditry to the numbers released below." ---  

It was nice to see that they featured my fraud document at  (alongside a feature on "Splinter Free Bath Tissue")

Bob Jensen

Original Message----- 
From: Jed Morocco []  
Sent: Saturday, August 31, 2002 10:41 PM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: 
Meant to send this some time ago.


I have followed your site since the spring of 200. It rules. I wanted to send you this link to the Timelines I did on ENE, Q, WCOM, GX, and the Dow to get your opinion. Know your busy, hope you enjoy. 

Jed Morocco

What was it like to live in Clacton in the 60's? What was it like to live where every weekend the seafront buzzed with the sound of 2-stroke engines? 

Fashion, music and lifestyle from a woman who was there --- 

How can a person become a trivia expert (at least in front of friends at parties)?

Go to Idiom Site --- 

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Subject Younger than our classmates

While waiting for my first appointment in the reception room of a new dentist, I noticed his certificate, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered that a tall, handsome boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 40 years ago.  Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was too old to have been my classmate.

After he had examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended the local high school. "Yes," he replied. "When did you graduate?" I asked. 

He answered, "In 1944."

"Why, you were in my class!" I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely and then asked, "What did you teach?"

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Kid's Prayers

I had been teaching my three-year-old daughter, Caitlin, the Lord's Prayer. For several evenings at bedtime, she would repeat after me the lines from the prayer.

Finally, she decided to go solo. I listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer:

"Lead us not into temptation," she prayed, "but deliver us some E-mail. Amen." 


One Sunday in a Midwest City, a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle.

Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out.

Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called loudly to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!" **************************

And one particular four-year-old prayed, "And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."


A little boy was overheard praying: "Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.

I'm having a real good time like I am."


A Sunday school teacher asked her little children, as they were on the way to church service,

"And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"

One bright little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping."


The preacher was wired for sound with a lapel mike, and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform, jerking the mike cord as he went.

Then he moved to one side, getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again.

After several circles and jerks, a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered,

"If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"


A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin 5, Ryan, 3.

The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.

Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson.

"If Jesus were sitting here, He would say 'Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.'"

Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, "Ryan, you be Jesus!"


A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore, where a seagull lay dead in the sand.

"Daddy, what happened to him?" the son asked.

"He died and went to Heaven," the dad replied.

The boy thought a moment and then said,

"Did God throw him back down?"


A Sunday school class was studying the Ten Commandments. They were ready to discuss the last one. The teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was.

Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and quoted,

"Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbor's wife."


At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny, a child in the kindergarten class, seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam's ribs.

Later in the week his mother noticed him lying as though he was ill, and said, "Johnny what is the matter?"

Little Johnny responded, "I have a pain in my side. I think I'm going to have a wife!"


"Our father, who does art in heaven, Howard is his name...."


A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human, because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small.

The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. The teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was impossible.

The little girl said, "When I get to heaven, I will ask Jonah." The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?"

The little girl replied, "Then you ask him."

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary.  We know we take responsibility for all we have done and do not blame others.

HOWEVER, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT the senior citizens who took:

melody out of music,
pride out of appearance,
courtesy out of driving,
romance out of love,
commitment out of marriage,
responsibility out of parenthood,
togetherness out of the family,
learning out of education,
service out of patriotism,
Golden Rule from rulers,
nativity scene out of cities,
civility out of behavior,
refinement out of language,
dedication out of employment,
prudence out of spending,
ambition out of achievement, or,

Murphy's Laws Site --- 

All the laws of Murphy:


And that's the way it was on September 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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August 30, 2002

Quotes of the Week

The discipline of colleges and universities is in general contrived, not for the benefit of the students, but for the interest, or more properly speaking, for the ease of masters.
Adam Smith, as quoted by Jack Martens in "For the Ease of Masters," Barron's, August 26, 2002, Page 31.
The article complains that colleges should be more open about the post-graduate qualifying examinations (GRE, MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, etc.).  Instead they hide behind a conspiracy of secrecy.  

Colleges, . . ., should lead the way to full disclosure, not set the bad example of avoiding accountability and fearing what test results might reveal.

If you love what you do, it will never be a job.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made!
Bloch Arthur

The secret of happiness is to yield to temptations.
Oscar Wilde

If you live long enough, you'll see every victory turn into a defeat.
Simone de Beauvoir

The main cause of divorce is marriage [Might we also say this about recent "marriages" (mergers and acquisitions) in business?]
Groucho Marx

Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.
Berenson Bernard

We're born princes and the civilizing process turns us into frogs.
Berne Eric

My August 30, 2002 updates on the accounting auditing, and corporate governance scandals are at updates on the accounting scandals at  

What accounting journal do I especially recommend that you look at in these times of accounting, auditing, and corporate governance scandals?

What article in that journal suggests to me what I will phrase “An Accounting Paradox: When will accounting for an asset destroy the asset?”

Answers to both questions are at  

Anyone with a modem and some spare cash can buy a fake degree over the Internet. But it's often difficult to distinguish between a legitimate distance-learning university and a diploma mill.

"Down by the Diploma Mills Stream," by Kendra Mayfield, Wired News, August 28, 2002 ---,1383,54596,00.htm 

Welcome to Harrington University (also known as the University of San Moritz, University of Palmers Green and University of Devonshire, among others), where anyone can purchase a bachelor's or master's degree -- no tests or coursework required -- for the bargain price of several thousand dollars. The "university," owned by an American resident in Romania, uses mail-drop addresses in the United Kingdom, printing services in Jerusalem and banking options in Cyprus. The operation has sold 70,000 diplomas in the United States alone, raking in over $100 million, according to diploma mill expert John Bear.

"No country seems willing or able to do anything," said Bear, founder of

While Harrington may be the world's largest diploma mill, it's just one of hundreds of operations on the Web offering degrees that are seemingly legitimate, but often worthless on paper.

The onslaught of spam, online advertising and overnight electronic payment services has made it even more difficult to distinguish between legitimate distance-learning institutions and diploma mills.

"The problem has worsened, owing to the ease of advertising via the Internet and the ability of diploma mills to operate from offshore and still get payment from U.S. users," said Alan Contreras, administrator of Oregon's Office of Degree Authorization.

"Where it used to be some obviously fraudulent operators offering academic degrees in exchange for money and minimal amount of paperwork, it has morphed into a more sophisticated model, where the degree mill offers tutoring and all the trappings of an academic program, but in fact it is still an avenue to getting a degree quickly," said Michael Lambert, executive director of the Distance Education and Training Council.

Not all unaccredited colleges are necessarily degree mills. In the United States, an accrediting agency must be recognized by either the Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.

"Unfortunately, the degree mill operators have seized on the use of the word 'accreditation,' and there are several dozen unrecognized and probably worthless accrediting agencies being used to provide legitimacy," Lambert said. "So there is an accreditation mill problem as well now."

In the United States, individual states must decide whether or not to permit diploma mills to operate within their borders.

States have made some headway in regulating diploma mills over the past few years.

"Although the level of enforcement varies from state to state, I think that there has been great progress made across the board," Lambert said. "States like Louisiana, Hawaii and South Dakota -- all once known as degree-mill havens -- have adopted laws that now require recognized accreditation for any institution in their state wishing to offer a degree."

Oregon and New Jersey disallow use of degrees from institutions that are not accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or approved by the state's authorization agency.

While Oregon's policy is among the strictest in the nation, other states, like Wyoming and Montana, permit unaccredited universities as long as they have a physical presence in the state.

"The Montana legislature does not seem to care that their state has become the sinkhole for bogus degrees in the U.S.," Contreras said.

Continued at,1383,54596,00.htm  

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud are at 

"Tech Keeps Tabs on School Kids," by Julia Scheeres, Wired News, August 26, 2002 ---,1367,54604,00.html 

Before little Suzy skips out the door swinging her Powerpuff Girls lunchbox, her parents can lock a Wherify GPS-enabled bracelet on her wrist that works like a personal LoJack, pinpointing her exact location as she walks to class. If she's tardy, her parents can jump on the Internet and check her coordinates using aerial or street maps. And if she runs into a strange man asking for help finding a lost kitty, she can press two buttons on the bulky device to dial 911. The bracelet also notifies the cops if someone tries to forcefully remove it.

"We want to be that next level of security," said Wherify founder Timothy Neher. "Right now when your child is missing, all you can do is call the police and wait. Our system tells you where your child is in less than a minute."

Wherify launched its $399 product, which doubles as a pager, at the end of July and has already received over a thousand orders, fueled in part by the recent rash of child abductions, Neher said.

Once Suzy traipses safely through the doors of Hometown Elementary School, she hands her lunchbox to an attendant and steps through a metal detector to make sure she's not packing heat next to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

As she jostles her way through crammed corridors to her homeroom, she is followed by a maze of pivoting cameras made by Axis Communications that beam her image over the Internet to the principal's Palm Pilot or the database of an outside security firm.

The electronic eyes, which pan, tilt and zoom, allow school officials to continuously monitor campus activity, eliminating the need for a security guard in many cases, said Axis director of business development Frederick Nilsson. The cameras can be equipped with two-way microphones that allow school staff to interrogate Suzy if she is caught in the hallway without her potty pass.

The primary function of these cameras in schools is to cut down on vandalism and fights, said Roy Balentine, director of educational sales for Camera Watch, which installed and monitors Axis cameras at Canton High School in Canton, Mississippi.

Continued at,1367,54604,00.html  

The James Bonds of This Century

Accountants Favored Over Lawyers in Dating Poll --- 

Accountants are still licking their wounds from the recent stream of corporate scandals and Arthur Andersen's collapse. Perhaps this will speed up the healing process ...

A recent poll conducted by, an online dating community, found that singles would prefer to date an accountant rather than go out with the perennial butt of sarcastic jokes, the trial lawyer.

Furthermore, to show just how far accountants remain from the bottom of the dating pool, they might be happy to learn they are preferred as dates by a better than four-to-one margin over the lowly house burglar.

We should point out that gave the survey participants just three choices of occupations: house burglar, trial lawyer and accountant.

Put into perspective, perhaps it's not such great news after all!

As was pointed out in a recent cartoon in The New Yorker, women/men are drawn to men/women who live on the edge of danger.  That explains the results in the above poll.

In preparation for a forthcoming presentation in Mexico, I tried to answer the following questions:

What are the most significant changes expected in higher education by the Year 2025? 
What major universities are now experimenting on the leading edge of such changes?

The first draft of my answers can be found at  
You can probably guess my Answers 2 and 3, but I bet none of you can guess Answer 1.

I would appreciate any suggestions you may have that will improve the above document.

How is the education of accountants being changed and reformed?

"Beyond the “Old School:  By the Numbers," Journal of Accountancy, September 2002 --- 

The 2001 report, The Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits, documents the demographics of the accounting profession. Anyone will find the report useful. It is available online at .

The data are based on an AICPA survey of colleges and universities that offer accounting degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s or PhD level and of public accounting firms and sole practitioners affiliated with the Institute.


In 1999–2000, approximately 37,000 students received bachelor’s degrees in accounting and 8,000 earned master’s degrees. Compared to 1998– 1999, the number of bachelor’s degree recipients decreased 10%; however, the number of master’s degrees awarded increased 19%.

Schools in the Southern and Pacific states held steady compared to previous years while schools in the East and North Central regions awarded fewer bachelor’s degrees.

Considerably more females than males received bachelor’s degrees (58% to 42%), about equal percentages received master’s degrees (51% females to 49% males) while more males than females received PhDs (61% to 39%).

Minorities accounted for 20% of accounting bachelor’s and master’s graduates and for 22% of PhDs.

Approximately one-third of 1999–2000 bachelor’s degree recipients took positions with public accounting firms and about one-fourth began their careers in business and industry. A majority of master’s degree recipients (62%) went into public accounting. These proportions parallel 1998–1999 degree recipients.

Enrollments in accounting bachelor’s programs continued to drop (4.5%) from 1998–1999. However, enrollments in master’s programs increased by 10% and in master’s-in-taxation programs by 20%.

The number of candidates sitting for the CPA exam continued to drop. Exam candidates for 2000 totaled 115,493.


Continued at  

In place today, the curriculum is a five-year program in which students graduate with a bachelor’s degree at the end of four years but are expected to stay and complete a master’s-in-accountancy degree. The five-year approach was chosen because the faculty realized a fifth year was necessary to achieve its objectives and not to comply with the advent of the 150-hour requirement.

The curriculum revision was based on two criteria: that students should understand simple topics before more complex topics and content would be based on how students learn, using Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive skills. (Bloom’s hierarchy begins with knowledge and comprehension, followed by application and analysis, synthesis and evaluation.) In contrast a traditional curriculum schedules courses based on the order topics appear on the balance sheet; the result is that the first course is intermediate accounting, which many consider the most difficult in terms of content. In the revised curriculum, therefore, topics were sequenced so students did not have to apply a higher skill level than their learning background supported. In addition integrated into every course were activities that promoted the skills the profession demands:

The curriculum also uses five levels:

Introductory-level courses have a “user” vs. a “preparer” perspective (because most students are not accounting majors), and also, these courses lend themselves to the recruitment effort described later. They focus on how the accounting system captures events and how accounting information is used for planning and evaluating.

Foundation-level courses provide the basis for all subsequent courses. They detail how the accounting system works and the theory and history of accounting standards.

Content-level courses introduce students to how various users employ data from the accounting system to meet their information needs.

Research-level courses are case-based, team-taught courses that cover tax, financial accounting and auditing and teach students how to use research tools to resolve ambiguous problems.

Graduate-level courses provide students with the opportunity to design a course of study with either a tax, financial, managerial or systems emphasis. An in-depth look at the curriculum is available at

Rather than use the “build it and they will come” approach, KSU said an objective of the new curriculum was to attract and retain the best possible students. As a result, the department developed an extensive program.

Two faculty members and the Accounting Advocates, a group of 10 to 12 graduate and undergraduate students, administer it. The Accounting Advocates are an essential component; they act as ambassadors for the department by making presentations to high schools, talking to visiting high school students and meeting with visiting dignitaries. Accounting students apply to be advocates in their junior year and serve throughout their graduate program.

The recruiting program targets high school teachers, counselors and students and undecided college freshmen and sophomores. Every school district in the state receives a recruiting video created by the accounting department. The recruiting program reaches

High school teachers and counselors. The schools-to-careers conference educates high school teachers about the opportunities an accounting career offers. It is a collaborative effort of the College of Business and the business education department of the College of Education.

High school students. The high school careers conference brings together high school students who are nominated by their teachers to attend. Students visit with young accounting professionals and go through team-building exercises and go to a tailgate party and football game. Students see positive accounting role models, learn about the career flexibility an accounting career has to offer and have fun.

College students. The professional accounting careers exploration dinner offers an opportunity to the best students in the introductory courses to meet with young professionals from public accounting and industry and an advocate to learn about careers.

Compared to 1989, there are now 35% more accounting majors and the quality of students (as measured by ACT, SAT and GPA) has increased. Enrollment in the master’s program increased 500% over the same time period. This increase occurred in spite of the fact that the GPA required for admission to the accounting major was significantly increased.

—Dan Deines, CPA, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas

Continued at  

Teaching the Teacher

The teacher internship program (TIP) educates high school teachers about the accounting profession. Through TIP, state CPA societies connect teachers with firms and businesses in summer internships to provide them with “real world” business and accounting experience. Providing educators with professional business experience that can be incorporated into their classroom curriculum and learning activities results in well-educated students, which benefits business and the workforce as a whole.

The AICPA Foundation provided seed money to help develop a training program for state societies and to assist firms in paying for internships. In the summer of 2001 the Indiana state society piloted the TIP with great success. Heather Bunning, the society’s communications and public relations manager, worked with the IRS and Ernst & Young to provide internships respectively to Paulette Lewis, a high school business-education teacher, and Charlene King, a high school mathematics teacher.

Continued at

"COOL" STUDENT WE SITES:—Created by the Pennsylvania state society, the site contains interactive games, career information and prizes.—The Maryland society’s site contains information for students about the accounting profession.—Using a nautical theme, the Indiana society’s Web page helps students “guide their way” to becoming a CPA.—The California society’s student Web page contains excellent profiles of young CPAs. The site also offers to tailor articles based on your needs.—The Illinois society’s Web site is full of fun and important information.—Web site of the Kansas state society, a comprehensive site for students.

Also see 

Congress continues its efforts to make college more affordable with a new round of tax incentives.
"Smart Education Tax Moves," by Ron West, Journal of Accountancy, September 2002 --- 

IN THE 2001 TAX ACT CONGRESS INCLUDED A NUMBER of expanded and improved education tax incentives. The differing limitations, definitions and interactions of these provisions with existing education benefits make it crucial for CPAs to plan carefully to ensure clients receive the maximum tax savings.

CONGRESS EXPANDED QUALIFIED TUITION PROGRAMS (QTPs), adding private institutions as eligible sponsors of prepaid tuition type plans. The most important change to QTPs provides a complete tax exemption for distributions made after December 31, 2001 used to pay for qualified higher education expenses (QHEE).

BEGINNING IN 2002 THE ANNUAL PER-CHILD contribution to education IRAs increases to $2,000 from $500. The act also makes these accounts more accessible to individual taxpayers by increasing the phaseout range for contributors who are married filing jointly to $190,000 to $220,000 in 2002. Taxpayers now also can make contributions to education IRAs and QTPs for the same beneficiary in the same year.

UNDER THE NEW LAW ANY AMOUNT SPENT ON QHEE for which the taxpayer claims a Hope or Lifetime Learning Credit is not eligible for tax-free treatment as a QTP or education IRA distribution. Taxpayers can claim the credits in the same year they take tax-free distributions but not on the same expenses. Taxpayers must also reduce QHEE for any tax-free scholarships or employer-provided education assistance.

THE EXCLUSION FROM GROSS INCOME OF UP TO $5,250 of employer-provided education assistance is now permanent. Congress extended the exclusion to include graduate-level courses. Other improved education provisions in the 2001 act include changes to the above-the-line student-loan-interest deduction and a new above-the-line deduction for higher- education expenses.

Ron West, CPA, JD, LLM, is an assistant professor of law and taxation and tax program director in the masters of taxation program at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey. His e-mail address is

Plagiarism Alternatives
From Yahoo Picks of the Week on August 26, 2002

Pirated Sites --- 

Ever find yourself on a web site that looks virtually indistinguishable from another? This site showcases such online indiscretions, making "side-by-side comparisons of web sites that are suspected of borrowing, copying or stealing copyright-protected content, design or code without permission." Many web designers have taken unfathomable liberties with their online filching -- some companies even do it twice. Pirated Sites uses a cool pop-up window script that makes it easy to compare web sites large and small. If you think you've run across a site that has been hit by web-style biters, don't hesitate to submit the URLs of the pirate and the victim. And if the moral isn't clear, we'll repeat it: Do Not Steal Websites.

In a trend that should delight amoral entrepreneurs everywhere, sales of online term papers are picking up as the school year approaches.
"Where Cheaters Often Prosper,: by Joanna Glasner, Wired News, August 26, 2002 ---,1367,54571,00.html 

The history of the Internet is filled with stories about companies that tried to make a positive change in the world and ended up failing miserably.

And then there are online term-paper sites. Despite inspiring nothing but scorn from educators, purveyors of collegiate prose are finding life on the dark side of online commerce quite lucrative.

"They're the only ones besides casinos or porn really making money on the Internet," said Kenny Sahr, founder of, a free homework site that makes money posting ads for fee-charging term paper providers. If his advertising customers are any indication, Sahr said, online term-paper mills are weathering the dot-com bust remarkably well.

With the new school year about to begin, research paper companies are gearing up for peak season. It appears academicians' attempts to eradicate these hotbeds of plagiarism have done little to stifle their growth.

SchoolSucks is no exception. Although the 6-year-old site hasn't made him rich, Sahr says it does provide enough money "to pay for my habits" and doesn't require full-time work. He runs the site with a staff of two, each working out of their homes and periodically holding meetings on a beach in Tel Aviv, where the operation is based.

Sahr attributes the site's longevity largely to the fact that it gets its material for free, mostly through submissions from students. This keeps the cost of running the business quite low.

SchoolSucks draws about 10,000 unique visitors on a typical day and has been growing steadily, Sahr said.

Meanwhile, traffic to competing sites isn't slowing either.

"I don't think we've had a year so far where we haven't grown," said Jared Silvermintz, college student and co-founder of Genius Papers. The site, which Silvermintz started as a junior in high school six years ago, charges $20 for a one-year subscription to a soon-to-be-upgraded database that he says will contain more than 40,000 papers

Conatinued at,1367,54571,00.html  

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at 

August 24, 2002 message from Paula Ward
The Metaplanets link is at 
You must download the free Viewpoint Player by Clicking on the Help Menu at the Metplanets site (its free and very easy)
The 3-D animations are awesome!

Hi, Bob,

Just wanted you to know about a website, "Metaplanets," built by my son, Sean. He just found out that it was featured on BBC's technology show, Click Online.

It's a pretty spectacular site. Enjoy:

Paula -----
Original Message----- 
From: Sean Ward []  
Sent: Sat 8/24/2002 2:58 PM 
To: Ward, Paula; 'Paula Kelley Ward' Cc: Subject: metaplanets

A personal project of mine, Metaplanets, was featured in Sevan Bastajian's Click Surf segment of the BBC's top technology show, Click Online, which is broadcast on television throughout the world. The show is hosted by Stephen Cole, one of the best known faces of international television news. allows visitors to interact with streaming 3D models of the planets in our solar system. The 3D animations are based on USGS data gathered from NASA space missions. Despite large file sizes, new streaming media technology allows site visitors to enjoy and interact with its planetary content, even from a dial-up Internet connection.

A synopsis of the segment can be found on the BBCWorld web site.

If you’re interested in seeing the show from August 1, 2002, click on the link for the media player version you prefer below. Metaplanets appears at the 19:50 minute marker.

Sean Ward <>
Netriffic LLC Web Design
Experts Make the Difference! 

Enron had 43 subsidiaries claiming Mauritius was their home base.  Where in the heck is Mauritius?

In the Enron and related scandals, all eyes are focused upon how investors got ripped off.  All along taxpayers were also getting ripped off in a number of ways, and especially this was the case of corporate income tax.  The corporate income tax as a proportion of total government revenues has been shrinking annually due to corporate lobbying efforts to build in loopholes.  One of the biggest loopholes is to move corporate headquarters offshore to places like Bermuda.  Enron found even a really obscure place to declare as headquarters for 43 subsidiary corporations.

"That's Outrageous:  Artful Dodgers," by Tucker Carlson, Reader's Digest, September 2002, pp. 47-48

When you think of Enron, you think of Houston.  You probably don't think of Mauritius, a tiny island republic off the east coast of Africa whose chief export is sugarcane.  But Enron was a major presence there, at least on paper.  By the beginning of 2000, the energy company had no fewer than 43 subsidiaries in Mauritius--quite a presence in a country with a population one-fifth that of metropolitan Houston.

Why was Enron doing so much business on an island in the Indian Ocean?  Taxes.  Avoiding them.  Enron may have failed as an energy company--it went spectacularly bankrupt earlier this year--but its accountants were masters at dodging the IRS.  Enron paid no federal income taxes for four out of the past five years.

How did Enron pull this off?  In part, by doing what many American companies have done: registering abroad.  Individuals pay income taxes on what they earn, no matter where they earn it.  Corporations play by different rules.  They pay federal income taxes only on money that enters the United States.  In other words, if your Mauritius-based company earns $10 million, and that money never comes back to the United States, you don't pay taxes on it.  It's a nifty deal if you're a corporation, infuriating if you're an ordinary taxpayer.  Over the next ten years, tax-dodging companies are expected to cost the U.S. Treasury $6 billion--money that will have to come out of your pocket and mine.

Don't be surprised if companies stiff Uncle Sam even worse. Countries that 15 years ago hosted far more cruise ships than corporations--Aruba, Barbados, the Bahamas, Bermuda--are now the legal home to a growing share of American industry.  The lightly taxed Cayman Islands have become so popular with American companies that it is now the fifth largest financial center in the world.

And it's no longer just about re-incorporating overseas.  Companies are also registering patents and trademarks in island hideaways, a clever way to keep royalties tax-free.

All this at a time when the United States is straining its treasury to fight a war against terrorism.  Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Kansas calls foreign tax havens an example of "profit over patriotism."  He's right.  But it's worse than that.  Not only does offshore tax dodging hurt the United States, it often hurts the very shareholders it's supposed to benefit.

Consider the case of The Stanley Works corporation.  Earlier this year, Stanley's shareholders voted to relocate the company's headquarters to Bermuda, joining fellow toolmaker Cooper Industries, and a number of other established American companies that have done the same in recent years.  Shareholders made their decision largely on predictions by Stanley CEO John M. Trani, who said that a move to Bermuda would save the company $30 million in annual taxes and boost the stock price 11.5 percent during the first year alone.

Trani's projections may be right.  And for him, that would be good news.  His stock options alone would increase in value by $17.5 million in a single year.  Add a higher salary, bonuses, a retirement package, and Trani's profit from the relocation could eventually total $385 million.

Meanwhile, many investors would initially get the shaft, in the form of capital gains taxes they would pay when the company leaves the country.  The New York Times calculated that even if Stanley's stock price goes as high as Trani says it will, these shareholders "will barely break even after taxes."  As for the government, it would lose $240 million in corporate income taxes from Stanley over the next eight years.

Bottom line: Taxpayers lose, shareholders lose, the CEO makes $385 million.  You do the math.

In fact, many did.  Stanley's decision to leave the country caused such an uproar, the company put it on hold.  Its shareholders will vote again later this year.

The rest of America can vote too--not on whether to flee to the Caribbean, but on whether to change the laws in their own country.  That's the patriotic solution to dodging taxes.

Bob Jensen's threads on tax fraud and scandals can be found at

August 21 reply from Fred Salzer [fsalzer@SEMPRE.COM

I had never heard of it (Mauritius) before, either. Interesting info at:

August 21 reply from George Lan (University of Windsor) --- George Lan [glan@UWINDSOR.CA

I happen to be from Mauritius, a tropical island in the Indian Ocean (a couple of hundred miles off the big island of Madagascar). Mark Twain once said that "God created Mauritius first and made a copy for Paradise." Mauritius is also the land of the legend of Paul and Virginie (written in a book by Bernandin de Saint Pierre) and is famous for a rare English stamp. It's main claim to fame (up tro now) is that it was the land of the dodo bird. (It is extinct because it could not fly--the big birds did not have to fly because there were no humans on the island until the Dutch settlers came and started shooting them for fun). It seems that Enron has gone the way of the dodo!

George Lan 
Born in Port-Louis, Mauritius

The Pocket Calculator Show Website (History, Technology) --- 

Bob Jensen's links to online calculators can be found at 

Microsoft's New Word to Web Tutorials

If you can type in MS Word, you can put your course materials on the Web or into course servers such as Blackboard and WebCT.  Microsoft has some new tutorials to show you how to do it effortlessly.

The MS Word to Web Page: An Academic's Guide to Quick Web Page Construction 

MS Word can create very nice web pages entirely from within the program. (This mini-site, for example, is an MS Word product.) Because MS Word writes its web pages in XML, historians and other practitioners have much more control over the appearance of the text than they might have using an HTML editor. They are, moreover, working in a familiar environment, albeit with a few tools that they might not use on a regular basis. All is not “beer and skittles,” however. Older browsers will not be able to cope with Microsoft’s XML, so instructors should advise their clientele to use IE 5+ and NN 6+. A MS Word syllabus will display in older browsers but may not be very attractive and contain strange characters. Microsoft’s XML implementation also adds a good deal of proprietary code to the web page, resulting in a larger page, a bit longer download time, and purists’s disdain. With these constraints in mind, the goal of this tutorial is to provide the steps toward creating a well-designed, visually interesting, web-based syllabus entirely within MS Word.

Bob Jensen's XML threads can be found at  

If you want to do anything fancy, it is really not difficult to move your MS Word skills into MS Frontpage or Macromedia Dreamweaver, although Dreamweaver has a few more features and a somewhat more complex learning curve. 

Keep in mind that any course materials placed on the Web can generally be found by anybody in the world even if you only share the Web address (URL) with a private set of students. If you really want controlled access to documents networked to students around the world, I suggest that you avoid a Web server and transfer these documents to a Blackboard or WebCT server. If your campus does not have a Bb or WebCT server, you can get the Bb or WebCt vendors to serve up your documents.   Bob Jensen's Blackboard threads are at 

But since my bias is for sharing academic works freely with the world, I prefer the Web server. 

The spirit for academic sharing is infectious.


Bob Jensen's threads on XML can be found at 

Can "intellectual snobbery and elitism" be overcome in the era of emerging educational technologies?
Although Professor Deibert's field is film studies and television, his comments by analogy extend to the entire world of academe.

"Academics Should Tune In:  Snobbery has relegated a valuable teaching tool to the world . . .," Ronald Deibert (University of Toronto), The Globe and Mail (Newspaper in Canada), August 6, 2002, Page A15 --- 

Why has academe resisted new media's advances?  Part of it has to do with the conservative nature of academics and academic institutions.  Universities typically determine merit on the basis of books and articles published and papers delivered at academic conferences.  This system of incentives hasn't changed in decades.

And then there's intellectual snobbery and elitism: Most professors and graduate students announce with pride that they never watch TV.  It's even more stylish to deny ownership of one.  It's okay to be a couch potato as long as you have a book, instead of clicker, in your hand.

Academics lament that what one finds on TV is the antithesis of intellectual development.  TV is full of sound bites, depthless comedies, superficial "reality TV" shows and sordid voyeurism, all of it commercially shaped and driven.  But similar charges could be made against paperback books; is the vapid content of most TV necessarily connected to its form?  Don't these laments confuse, to borrow a phrase from Mr. McLuhan, the message with the medium?

Laments about new media date back at least as far as ancient Greece.  In Socrates's time, elitists lamented the relatively new medium of writing; the great philosopher feared it would lead to the gradual deterioration of memory.

TV may lack the fixity and precision of the written and printed word, but it provides a powerful combination of imagery, orality, and music -- something Mr. McLuhan clearly recognized.  It is precisely because of this powerful combination that so much money and talent is devoted to crafting 30-second commercials that are designed -- whatever their content -- to persuade viewers to buy.  Academics leave the content of TV to ad execs and sitcom writers at our peril.

Teaming up with independent filmmaker Mike Downie, I produced a reality-based television series called Activist TV that aired last winter on TVOntario, and am in production of a second series called Into America, scheduled to air this fall with the same broadcaster.  Both involve students as the subjects and borrow in style from popular, youth-oriented "reality" programs.  For the production of Into America, we traveled through 26 states and visited Ground Zero, talked to congressmen and ambassadors, attended black gospel church services, and went on a six-hour tour of the El Paso-Cuidad Juarez border -- none of which would ever likely happen in a regular class.

The response has been remarkable.  After Activist TV aired, I received dozens of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from prospective students and their parents asking if they could enroll in a similar program or who said they were inspired to become activists themselves.

"What's an MBA Really Worth? It will cost more than $100,000 to earn a degree at an elite business school. Just one problem: There's little real evidence that it will enhance your career," by Andy Raskin, Business 2.0, July 2002 ---,1640,41346,FF.html 

The most stinging criticisms, however, are emerging from within the business school establishment. In a draft report published internally this spring, the schools' own accreditation body, the St. Louis-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, roundly criticized its members. Business schools, it said, are hopelessly behind the curve on information technology, have an unhealthy obsession with their standing in magazine rankings, and, worst of all, proffer an out-of-touch, ivory-tower curriculum. "Preparation for the rapid pace of business cannot be obtained from textbooks and cases," the report scolded.

The rest of the article is at,1640,41346,FF.html 

August 28, 2002 message from Roger Debreceny [roger@DEBRECENY.COM

There is an interview with Jeremy Pfeffer on NPR's Morning Report. See 

Bob Jensen's Commentary on Jeremy Pheffer's Assertions
Never overlook the value of networking that results from a prestigious MBA degree. If I had not set a goal on getting one of these 12-hour per week college faculty jobs, would I have gone for a Stanford MBA? You bet!  The MBA degree opens doors to success.  And I hate making snob-like comments, but the greater the prestige of the MBA program, the better the networking opportunities for success.  

Although I was in the free PhD program at Stanford (for five long years), my closest friends were in the MBA graduating classes across those years. I lived with MBAs, drank with MBAs, chased women with MBAs, skied with MBAs, and maintained postgraduate contacts with some of those MBAs. About the only thing I didn't do is take classes with them. Since I was a CPA with an MBA when I arrived at Stanford, I was forced to take courses from outside departments such as mathematics, statistics, economics, political science, and operations research in order to develop research skills.

For 30 years in the Stanford GSB Alumni Magazine, I have been following the job titles and other biography information about MBA graduates.

MBAs are something like what the military referred to as "90-day wonders" during World War II when college graduates could become officers in 90-day training programs.  What amazes me is how many of those Stanford MBAs became CEOs, CFOs, and other top executives. A great many started their own businesses and became multimillionaires.  And I like to think that most of them succeeded without being unethical.

Many of my MBA friends at Stanford were green and immature.  They had undergraduate degrees in humanities, engineering, and science. The MBA program did more than give them a two-year crash program in business. It helped them to mature and honed their competitive drive.  MBA graduates took pride in being admitted to Stanford's competitive program. It gave them self confidence that, in my viewpoint, helped many of them succeed when they started up their own business ventures.

Perhaps most importantly, the MBA program at Stanford bonded the MBA students to a point where many of them became life-long friends. I am sure the subsequent networking resulting from the MBA program helped many of these students to have opportunities to achieve success.

If I had not set a goal on getting one of these free doctoral degrees followed by a 12-hour per week faculty job, would I have gone for a Stanford MBA? 
You bet!

The MBA degree opens doors to success.  And I hate making snob-like comments, but the greater the prestige of the MBA program, the better the networking opportunities for success.  The education is not necessarily better in the prestige schools, but the networking most likely is much better.

Millions of dollars pour back each year  into prestigious universities from MBA alumni.  This is mostly because those alumni are grateful for the opportunities afforded by their opportunities in the MBA programs, especially the networking opportunities.  

Is there a need for improvement in the education content in MBA programs?  
You bet!  But course content is only part of the MBA program.


An Award-Winning Ethics Professor Shares Many of His Course Materials 
Some accounting professors may want to build in some of the highly scholarly and classical philosophical roots of ethics and moral philosophy into their courses, especially courses or modules on ethics in accountancy, taxation, and auditing.

Professor:  Robert Cavalier --- 
Department of Philosophy --- 
Carnegie-Mellon University
Course:  Ethics and Moral Philosophy
Course Link --- 
Note the topic listing on the in the frame on the left side of the page.

From the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Alumni Newsletter on August 23, 2002 

"[Teenagers are] always asking questions about moral dilemmas. My goal is for the students to go home feeling that they understand what it means to philosophize. I want them to get jazzed about the topic." - Robert Reich, PhD '98, an assistant professor of political science, describing the intention behind the Philosophy Discovery Institute that he co-founded to introduce teenagers to philosophical thinking. 

Also note Professor Cavalier's philosophy course noted above.

I really like this trend in academe!

"College Archives 'Dig' Deeper," by Kendra Mayfield, Wired News, August 2, 2002 ---,1383,54229,00.html 

A scholar wants to present a groundbreaking working paper on teleportation to his colleagues around the world. 

Instead of submitting the paper to a print commercial journal and waiting months for results to be published, the researcher can simply pull up MIT's Center of Teleportation Research Web page and instantly submit the paper and data sets online, for all his cohorts to review.

This virtual intellectual asset sharing is part of DSpace, a joint project between MIT and Hewlett-Packard to create a long-term, sustainable digital repository.

This fall, MIT plans to open the DSpace archive to all its professors. The project will also release a set of free software tools so that any college or university can create its own online repository.

"We see this kind of system as a kind of public good," said MacKenzie Smith, associate director of technology for MIT's libraries.

As universities churn out vast amounts of research in electronic form, many are building immense digital archives to capture, distribute and preserve intellectual output.

"We really have to start thinking about alternative models, so we don't lose a record of scholarship from this particular era," Smith said.

"Technological obsolescence is a huge problem with keeping material viable beyond the next 5-10 years. It is yet to be proven that publishers who electronically publish this material will succeed in preserving it."

Other institutional archives include the University of California eScholarship Repository, Ohio State University's Knowledge Bank and Caltech's Library System Digital Collections.

These archives may provide more efficient, open access to research than costly commercial journals, which scholars often rely upon to publish their work and establish prestige.

"Today, institutions are paying unconscionably high prices to buy access to the research they support that is published in profitable commercially published journals," said Rick Johnson, enterprise director of SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition.

"Institutional repositories can stimulate emergence of new publishing models that are more efficient and effective in serving academe."

A number of successful open-access e-print archives already exist. Physicists and mathematicians publish drafts of unpublished work in the Los Alamos Physics e-Print archive. Cognitive scientists self-archive papers in CogPrints. Engineers and scientists post pre-prints in the U.S. Department of Energy's PrePRINT Network.

Individual authors can use free self-archiving software to build online repositories that are compliant with the Open Archives Initiative.

Institutional repositories build upon this idea, allowing faculty to post everything from research data and data sets to images and audio files, theses and dissertations, conference papers, listserv archives and other "gray literature" online.

Faculty members are often desperate to find a safe online repository to post research data and other "born digital" material, Smith said.

Continued at,1383,54229,00.html 

Certificate Program News

I have long contended that virtually all colleges and universities will one day see the light on the importance of adding online and onsite certificate programs to complement traditional degree programs.  Last week I featured the new certificate programs in the graduate school of business at the University of Rochester.  This week I will mention a new certificate program at Georgia Tech's Wesley Center --- 
Universities such as Stanford, Carnegie-Mellon, and Columbia have already discovered that certificate and other training programs can bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in growth revenues, revenues that are growing much faster than traditional degree program revenues.

From Yale University: Advances in Knowledge Management

Excerpt from an August 16, 2002 Message from Charles White, Vice President of Information Resources, Trinity University 

In the Office of the Registrar and a few selected administrative offices we are experimenting with a new electronic document management system called Scopeware by Mirror Worlds Technology (  If this has the propellers on your hats turning check out the web site for Mirror Worlds Technology and Scopeware.  They call it a knowledge management system. You may find the concept behind it interesting. 

You can read the following at 

Does today's IT infrastructure leverage corporate knowledge? Corporate information grows in volume everyday. Every minute of every day documents are created, e-mails sent, appointments scheduled, hard copy documents filed, information feeds accessed, and so on.

The vast majority of this information is not leveraged. This unstructured information-information that is not formally published-provides great value by enhancing insight, speeding decision making, and increasing quality, but is often overlooked in the day-to-day decision making process.

The barriers to leveraging corporate knowledge Until now the cost and complexity of harnessing unstructured information has prevented its use in everyday business operations. Information is scattered amongst a multitude of physical and electronic stores. The artificial constraints of taxonomies, application ownership, location, file folders, etc. make it difficult for individuals to find and use information.

An additional obstacle in harnessing enterprise information is individual behavior and corporate culture. Typical business initiatives, such as compliance, R&D and manufacturing process planning require users to push information into appropriate stores in accordance with pre-defined policies and procedures. However, users do not always comply and follow policies and procedures in putting information in the assigned location, further accentuating the challenges of finding and leveraging information.

Scopeware - A new approach for leveraging enterprise information Scopeware is a patented knowledge management solution that enhances existing business functions (customer service, sales and marketing, compliance, wireless, etc.) by automatically capturing unstructured information in real-time and making it available and useful to those who can profit from it.

The Scopeware solution is the result of 10 years of research by world-renowned Yale computer scientist and Scopeware Chief Scientist Dr. David Gelernter.

Scopeware provides out-of-the-box functionality, automatically integrating with standard business information systems. Implementation takes days, not weeks or months. Scopeware is designed to be easy to implement and simple to use. The intuitive interface provides even the most casual user the full benefit of a powerful knowledge management solution and requires little training. This means Scopeware's total cost of ownership is significantly less than typical knowledge management solutions.

Scopeware mines, in real-time, corporate network repositories for information without forcing employees to remember file folder names, locations, or the applications originally used. Scopeware dispatches "intelligent agents" which link to thousands of repositories (including OCRed scanned documents)-then logically and in a time-ordered sequence (known as the Stream of Information) displays what is relevant. Employees are not required to change their behavior; Scopeware automatically leverages all corporate information automatically and makes it available to those who need it.

Scopeware fosters global collaboration among employees with diverse functional perspectives, providing teams the most complete view of the information they require to perform at the highest level of quality. This alone gives a significant boost to productivity as most organizations typically spend 30-40% of their time just finding information.

Continued at 

Innovation of the Week 

"Eyes write: Typing without a keyboard just got faster and easier," by Tom Clarke, Nature, August 22, 2002 --- 

New software could allow computer users with disabilities or busy hands to write nearly twice as fast, more accurately and more comfortably than before. The software could also speed up writing on palm-tops and typing in Japanese and Chinese, its developers say.

The package, called Dasher, "exploits our eyes' natural ability to navigate and spot familiar patterns", says one of its inventors, computer scientist David MacKay of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, UK.

An eye-tracking device lets users select letters from a screen. Dasher calculates the probability of one letter coming after another. It then presents the letters required as if contained on infinitely expanding bookshelves.

Continued at 

New Tax Break for Teachers

If you are a teacher, please make certain that your tax return preparer/software takes note of the fact that teachers will now be getting some special tax breaks beginning in your 2002 and 2003 tax returns.  I worry that popular software like Turbo Tax or your nerdy tax return preparer my overlook the fact that as a teacher you can now get some special deductions not available to taxpayers in general.  It's no big amount of money, but every little bit helps on teacher salaries.

"New Tax Break for Teachers," Journal of Accountancy, August 2002, Page 65 --- 

New Break for Teachers 
Teachers and professional educators get a tax break for 2002 and 2003 that should ease the pain of many out-of-pocket classroom expenses. The Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002, section 406, allows teachers and other education professionals to deduct up to $250 of unreimbursed classroom expenses.

The deduction is above the line (deductible even when the taxpayer does not itemize), so it is valuable and covers a lot of expenses.

Qualifying expenses. The new law allows an above-the-line deduction up to $250 each year for certain expenses, which must have been for

The expense must be one the taxpayer otherwise can deduct as a trade or business expense (an ordinary and necessary expense paid or incurred during the tax year to carry on any trade or business) under IRC section 162. Educators qualified to take the deduction must have been kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, instructors, counselors or principals for a minimum of 900 hours in the course of a school year. (In the act “school” is defined to be any institution providing elementary or secondary education, as determined under state law.)

The deduction applies only to 2002 and 2003 tax returns. While the deduction appears to be very broad, CPAs should encourage clients to keep receipts in the event the IRS questions a deduction.

Observation. The new law does not specifically mention certain issues. For instance, although it defines categories of qualifying educators, it does not mention substitute teachers or whether it covers summer school expenses. The IRS likely will clarify any ambiguities in future guidance.

—Lesli S. Laffie, JD, LLM, a technical editor of The Tax Adviser.

New wireless and mobile technologies --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on ubiquitous computing --- 

New Alternatives to Google

I doubt that anything soon will replace Google as the main search engine for the world.  However, on August 12, Time Magazine featured some interesting alternatives.

"Searching for Perfection:  Google's still great, but newer search engines make finding things on the Web easier — and more fun," by Anita Hamilton, Time, August 12, 2002, Page 66   She gives her highest grade to --- 

Not only does ALLTHEWEB index more pages (2.1 billion!) than any other site, but it may have the smartest approach to turning up relevant results.

Whereas Google runs a virtual popularity contest that pushes to the top of its list pages that are most frequently and prominently linked to by other sites, AlltheWeb, based in Oslo, Norway, further tries to decipher the intent of the query by analyzing its language patterns and identifying common phrases. --- 

If there were a beauty contest for search engines, Kartoo--developed in France by cousins Laurent and Nicolas Baleydier--would win the crown.  Rather than display its result in the usual dreary list format, Kartoo scatters them across a pretty blue background like stars dotting the evening sky.  (Color-coded links suggest how the results interconnect.)  Each dot represents a relevant Web page; when you rest your mouse over a site, it displays a brief description of the contents. --- 

Wouldn't it be great if a search engine could read your mind and understand that when you type the word Madonna, you mean the pop star, not the mother of Jesus?  Teoma, which means "expert" in Gaelic, attempts to do just that by breaking queries into categories grouped by theme.  A search on seals, for example, returned results clustered in 15 categories, from Easter Seals to elephant seals.

LinksNet --- 
What I like about LinksNet are the categories (Directories)

LinxNet Directories





Web Exploration



U.S. Government


Another site with similar categories is LookSmart at 

Metacrawler has the following categories at 

Popular Searches
Home Equity Loans
Insurance Quotes
Internet Access
Mortgage Refinance
Online Education

Consolidate Debt
Airfare Discounts
Go Shopping
Click here!\
Web Directory
Computer Science...
Family, Health...
Work & Money
Business, Companies...
Arts & Culture...
People & Chat
Chat, Email...


Google, LookSmart, Metacrawler, Northern Light, Alta Vista,, and various other search engines are compared in "So Much Information, So Little Time:  Evaluating Web Resources With Search Engines," by K.A. Killmer and N.B. Koppel, T.H.E. Journal, August 2000, pp. 21-29 --- 
The above article reveals the search engine preferences of students at Montclair State University.  Interestingly, Google is not mentioned in the comparison table on Page 28 (Figure 2).  Without Google in the running, Alta Vista was the most popular.

Accounting Professional Site Links 
The CPA Team  
Also see

Information Systems Audit and Control Association and Foundation Web (ISACA) site --- 


ISTE standards for safe sites for kids --- 

Standards don’t have to feel like obstacles to overcome; they can be workable common goals. The NETS Project team does more than create standards—on November 18, 1999 they have introduced a new publication that demonstrates how technology standards can be implemented in classrooms in conjunction with national subject area standards. National Educational Technology Standards for Students—Connecting Curriculum and Technology is the product of collaboration of more than 2,000 educators who wrote, tested, and revised 36 learning activities and 8 multidisciplinary units to support classroom teachers preparing students to become technology-capable learners. The hands-on activities focus on subject matter and show how appropriate technology can be employed as part of the learning experience. Materials for each activity include the e-mail addresses of the designers and comments by teachers who have tested the materials in classrooms. Workshop materials for professional development are also included.

Bob Jensen's search helpers are given at 

Chat Room Glossary
Chat Room Lingo --- 

Glossary for Investors
InvestorWords --- 

Bob Jensen's links to other glossaries are as follows:

Business, accounting, and finance --- 

Technology --- 

Weblog software use grows daily -- but bloggers abandon sites and launch new ones as frequently as J.Lo goes through boyfriends. Which makes taking an accurate blog count tricky ---,1284,54740,00.html 

Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs can be found at 

From SyllabusNews on August 20, 2002

Online Only Law School Graduates First Class

With the graduation of its inaugural class, the first wholly Internet law school said it has already hit several milestones for growth. In less than four years, the Concord University School of Law has grown from 33 students to more than 1,000 today enrolled in the school's Juris Doctor, Executive Juris Doctor, and Master of Health Law programs. The school's faculty has also grown, from six at the school's launch in 1998 to more than 60 currently. Concord said more than 42 percent of its current students already have one or more advanced degrees, including 67 MDs, 33 Ph.D.s and 23 CPAs. Moreover, its students recorded a 50 percent pass rate on California's rigorous First Year Law Student's Exam, compared to the statewide first-time takers' rate of 30 percent.

For more information, visit:

Bob Jensen's links to online training and education programs are at 

What are "special items" and what makes them so special?

Press reports on Cisco's dramatic increase in "reported" earnings ---,1367,54369,00.html 

Note that Cisco is the Seventh Worst company after S&P core earnings adjustments --- 

No wonder we're all confused about accountancy!

When the CPA examination becomes a computerized examination, what is the most significant change in content that will eventually impact of accounting curricula in colleges.

Answer:  Greater Emphasis on Information Technology and General Knowledge
From Education News Digest, Journal of Accountancy, August 2002, Page 18 --- 

The AICPA and NASBA sign an agreement with Prometric, a designer of technology-based testing services, under which CPA candidates will be able to take a computerized uniform examination at more than 300 locations in early 2004 ( ). The electronic test will differ from its paper predecessor not only in format, but also in content, with greater emphasis on information technology and general knowledge. Other new features of the computerized version include an assessment of research and communication skills and a broader scope with respect to audit and attest functions. Candidates’ last paper-based exam will be in November 2003.

What has IFAC requested from educators regarding the  International Education Standards for Professional Accountants?

From IFAC News and Events --- 

The International Federation of Accountants releases Guiding Principles for International Education Statements 
( ), which establishes a framework for the development of global standards governing precertification education and the continuing development of professional accountants. Comments are due September 30.

The PowerPoint slides from Bill Kinney's tearful presentation in Plenary Session 3 on August 17, 2002 at the American Accounting Association Annual Meetings in San Antonio are now available at 

Although Bill's presentation focused upon one of the three "winning" proposals for curriculum revision, his introduction centered on the accounting, auditing, and corporate governance scandals. I especially recommend the buildup to Slide 5 --- that buildup was outstanding.

As soon as I can find the time (which may not be soon given my present workload), I will put some audio of highlights of this year's AAA Annual Meetings at my Website, including the audio of our treasured Bill Kinney.

The "student group" he refers to dates back to olden and golden days when Bill was one of my doctoral students. See 

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: []  
Sent: Monday, August 19, 2002 12:52 PM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: AAA meeting


It was great to see you in SAT and to watch you receive the Outstanding Educator Award. That was a well-deserved honor -- as a group we have not yet realized the potential in what you have been saying. It was also wonderful to be mentioned as part of the student group -- thanks.

Attached are my PPt slides from the talk on Saturday. I hope that they will be useful.


Innovation of the Week for the Hearing Impaired (Paula has a great idea)

From SyllabusNews on August 16, 2002

DePaul Develops Sign Language Translator

A team of faculty and students at DePaul University's School of Computer Science has created a computer-generated synthetic interpreter capable of translating spoken English into American Sign Language (ASL). The program, dubbed "Paula," uses speech recognition and sophisticated animation. Using the system, a hearing person speaks through a headset connected to the computer. The animated figure of Paula then translates intoASL through hand gestures and facial expressions on the computer screen. The project required four years and more than 25,000 hours worth of work by the project team. "Most people are not aware that ASL is not simply a signed form of English," said Rosalee Wolfe, professor of computer science at DePaul and one of the leaders of the research team. "It is a series of hand configurations, hand positions, body positions and movement and facial expressions that are used in certain specific combinations. Hence, creating an animated translator is a very intricate and detailed process."

For more information, visit: 

Bob Jensen's threads on speech recognition are at 

An Ironclad Approach To Thwarting Spam CipherTrust's IronMail gets updated with new anti-spam features, including the use of signatures from third-party sources, by Tom Smith --- 

While the magnitude of the spam problem continues to multiply -- business users can attest that volume and offensiveness of unwanted messages are up sharply this year -- big enterprises are stepping up their defenses with the help of new products.

Case in point: CipherTrust this week added to the sophistication of its multi-layered approach to keeping spam out of corporate inboxes with the ability to match spam signatures from outside organizations. These and other new features are being well received by CipherTrust customers, who say they're eager to stop spam dead in its tracks.

One big CipherTrust customer, banking automation systems provider S1 Corp., is a user of CipherTrust's IronMail e-mail gateway appliance and is eager to exploit the latest spam-thwarting features.

S1 uses IronMail both for the protection of its internal network and to protect a data center at which it hosts applications for hundreds of banks, said Jeff Lunsford, S1 senior vice president, corporate development.

"We are very serious about eliminating spam from our company, not only from the perspective of eliminating sexually explicit material but also to improve our level of productivity," said Terrance Gattis, S1's chief security officer. The company uses Microsoft Exchange servers and Microsoft Outlook Web Access clients.

Continued at 

"E-Textiles Come into Style," by Eric Hellweg, Technology Review, August 1, 2002 --- 

Next season's smart outfits will be wired.

Most people examine fabric swaths for texture and color; Maggie Orth checks them for voltage readings. Orth is the CEO of Cambridge, MA-based International Fashion Machines, a developer of electronic textiles in which fabrics act as electrical conduits, enabling data transfers within clothing.

A handful of small companies, including Orth’s, are racing to commercialize the concept, born in mid-1990s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab wearable computer group. And big-name manufacturers such as Dupont and defense contractor Lockheed Martin are starting to take notice. Says James Saultz, a business development manager at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Labs, “There’s always been a desire to put electronics into soldiers’ uniforms.” While manufacturers of so-called e-textiles set their sights first on military applications, they are also developing materials for medical use and even teen fashion. But manufacturers still need to prove both the viability and practicality of their products before they can expect the big government contracts.

That’s why, for example, Orth is trying to catch the interest of the military with fabrics that change color when conductive fibers stitched into the cloth heat and cool the material’s thermochromatic inks. “The army wants fully addressable, interactive camouflage,” she says, “so that when you’re standing in front of bricks, your clothing looks like bricks. When you’re in grass, you look like grass. Accomplishing that would be like a space program for e-textiles.”

Sensatex is another e-textile startup that is creating shirts that can be used to monitor soldier location and status in the battlefield, according to Ari Reubin, a senior vice president of business development for the company. One of the biggest problems for medics is locating a soldier’s wound and determining his vital signs amidst battlefield chaos. A uniform that monitors a soldier’s vital signs can wirelessly relay the exact location of the wound, saving a lot of valuable time--and lives. In the fourth quarter of this year, Sensatex will begin selling to hospitals a shirt designed for premature babies that can monitor vital signs and heat or cool the infant by up to .03 degrees Celsius. Sensatex’s future plans include a “SmartShirt” that monitors heart rate, EKG, and torso penetration. Others like Polartec have created jackets that heat up, using electrical conduits in the jacket itself. And Burton--the purveyor of must-have snowboard fashions--will introduce a jacket in October that contains a minidisc player sewn into the fabric with player controls woven onto the arm.

Continued at

Bob Jensen's threads on ubiquitous computing are at 

David Takes on Goliath

"'Politics of Control' Leads a Law Student to Challenge Digital-Copyright Act," by Andrea L. Foster, The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 2, 2002 --- 

Benjamin G. Edelman, a first-year student at Harvard University's law school, is the latest academic researcher to challenge the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Mr. Edelman, last month filed a lawsuit against N2H2 Inc., a Seattle-based Internet filtering company, in U.S. District Court in Boston. The suit asks a judge to prevent N2H2 from suing Mr. Edelman under the digital-copyright law should he decide to bypass the company's encryption, which prevents him from discovering its complete list of blocked Web sites. (See an article from The Chronicle, July 26.)

Q. How did you become interested in Internet filtering?

A. I had been aware of it generally for some years. It's hard to say when it all started. But the ACLU contacted me two years ago as they were preparing to challenge a variety of state laws requiring the use of filtering software in libraries. Alaska, for example, had such a law, and there were some other states. ...

These laws were unconstitutional and they were preparing to bring challenges to various state courts. Then the Children's Internet Protection Act was passed, mandating the use of such software nationally in all libraries and public schools receiving federal funding. And that became the ACLU's priority and mine.

Q. How did the ACLU hear about you?

A. I had done some expert work in at least one, maybe a few other cases prior to that time. I had been working at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society here at Harvard Law School, where I guess my name had gotten some exposure. Two years ago, of course, I was a sophomore in college. But nonetheless, I guess they called up and asked for me by name.

Q. Were you already interested in computers before you came to Harvard?

A. I had been interested in computers for about as long as I can remember. I had been doing some computer-related work in junior high school and high school, helping people choose computers, putting them together, designing databases and networks. And so I came to Harvard with a particular interest in that subject.

Q. When the lawsuit was filed, you talked about how it concerned "technology and the politics of control." What did you mean by that?

A. First, I should credit the phrase to Professor [Jonathan] Zittrain of the law school, who used it as a subtitle of his course, "Internet and Society: The Technologies and Politics of Control." And I think he would say it's his research interest, and it certainly is mine.

The core idea is roughly as follows: The Internet has a certain appearance to it, when you first connect to it, when people were first learning about it. And I suppose in 1996, 1997, 1998, it seems like the Internet could be whatever you wanted it to be, that no one could particularly change what it was, and no one could stop you from doing what you wanted to do. If you wanted to put a death threat on the Internet about your neighbor or your enemy, you could do that, and no one could really get you. If you wanted to steal music using the Internet, you could do that, and no one could get you. ...

The later idea -- my idea, and Zittrain's -- was that, in fact, there were a variety of forces that for economic gain, for political gain, for other reasons, might seek to restrict what people could and couldn't do on the Internet.

Continued at 

Bob Jensen's copyright threads are mainly at the following two sites:

"Copyright bill will create vigilantes: critics," by Nathan Cochrane, TheAge,  August 6 2002 --- 

American movie, recording and software executives could be prohibited from entering Australia or extradited to face criminal charges if a copyright protection bill before the US Congress passes into law.

Californian Democrat congressman Howard Berman has proposed legislation to deal with the rising tide of copyrighted works illicitly traded over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks such as KaZaA.

Berman's bill immunises copyright holders from civil litigation or criminal prosecution if they invade US PCs connected to the international P2P networks to take down their own copyrighted materials.

But the global nature of P2P networks ensnares file sharers outside the US, with the unintended consequence of making it more difficult for copyright holders to pursue pirates in Australia.

Under section 9a of the Victorian Summary Offences Act (1966), "a person must not gain access to, or enter, a computer system or part of a computer system without lawful authority to do so". The penalty if convicted is up to six months' jail.

Computer, Internet and intellectual property lawyer Steve White says the Berman bill is "stupid and counterproductive", and he believes it will lead to an online arms race as PC owners and the networks seek to thwart the efforts of copyright holders.

He says US executives may be unable to enter the country to give evidence in court cases, attend conferences, speak to government, customers or possibly to make movies because afflicted PC owners could seek to have them arrested for unauthorised computer trespass.

"It would also raise serious issues under the Privacy Act in relation to information obtained whilst computers are being hacked," White says.

Australian subsidiaries of US companies could also face charges for aiding and abetting US corporate parents, especially if local assets such as PCs, personnel and communications networks were used in the hacking attempts, he says.

White's view is backed by Dean Kingsley, co-author of the AusCERT hacking survey and head of Deloitte's security practice who says the bill is "state-sanctioned vigilantism".

"What appears to be proposed is the computer equivalent of breaking into someone's house who you think has stolen some of your possessions to get them back with legal impunity, even if it turns out you broke into the wrong house," Kingsley says.

"I feel that state-sanctioned cyber-vigilantism is a dangerous development, both because of the high risk of innocent parties becoming collateral damage . . . and because of the implied suggestion that law enforcement authorities, who rightly hold the powers to properly investigate alleged crimes, can no longer adequately protect us."

The bill has not received the backing of the US Business Software Alliance, well known for its anti-piracy activities, although the IT trade group is continuing to talk to Berman about its impact.

"(We) . . . believe that Congress will act prudently after they listen to all the relevant parties," BSA president and chief executive Robert Holleyman says. "There's an important balance that needs to be taken into account for how users use software. My sense (is that) it is unlikely that the Berman bill will be adopted before Congress adjourns before the November elections."

Continued at 

Bob Jensen's copyright threads are mainly at the following two sites:

Hey, I'm one of them, but it was probably too long ago for them to remember me (Denver Office, First National Bank Building, (1959-1961)

E&Y Launches Alumni Web Site for Former Employees --- 

From Syllabus News on August 27, 2002

Bells & Whistles: Speech-Enabling Campus Calls

The University of Maine, Orono, will speech-enable student, faculty, staff, and administrative directories, allowing callers to simply say the name of the person or department they wish to speak with or access a portal of information. Campus employees will be able to perform pocket pages, change their operational status (i.e., at desk, in meeting, do not disturb), or signal that they are reachable at certain times. The school chose the Intellispeech system from Manchester, N.H.-based System Development Co., which specializes in speech systems and computer-telephone integration. The company says the system eliminates over half of routine calls to operators, allowing them to provide a higher-level of support to callers.

At the XML Web Services One conference in Boston, IBM and Microsoft yesterday demonstrated Web services-based interoperability between IBM’s WebSphere and Microsoft’s .NET using a stock trading application as a prototype example. Both companies also this week made available updates to their respective Web services developer kits --- 

From SyllabusNews on August 13, 2002

Computerized Medical School Test Examined

The Association of American Medical Colleges is trying out a computer-based testing (CBT) format for its renowned Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The computerized exam will be delivered in London, England this Saturday, August 17, 2002 at the same time the traditional paper and pencil-based version of the exam is being administered around the world. "Widespread CBT availability holds the promise of greater flexibility in test scheduling, a shorter testing day, and faster reporting of scores," said Ellen Julian, assistant vice president and director, MCAT. The AAMC picked Prometric, a specialist in CBT and assessment services, to deliver this mini-pilot. Official MCAT Scores for the students taking the CBT version of the exam are expected to be mailed in 30 days, as opposed to the traditional 60 days with the paper and pencil versions.

For more information, visit: 

It's been three years since officials phased out paper-and-pencil exams in favor of the computer-based version of the Graduate Record Exam, but critics say that computer-adaptive testing remains flawed.
"A D-Minus for Computer Exams," by Kendra Mayfield, Wired News, August 15, 2002 ---,1383,54459,00.html 

Three years after they phased out paper and pencils and began administering computerized versions of the Graduate Record Examination, officials are going back to paper in some overseas regions. Computer-based testing was supposed to make test-taking more efficient, accessible and convenient.

But while computers have made test taking easier for some students, critics say that electronic testing is still susceptible to scoring errors, security breaches and other flaws.

Prompted by a sudden rise in GRE verbal scores from China, the Educational Testing Service launched an investigation on behalf of the GRE board that uncovered Asian-language websites offering questions from live versions of the computer-based GRE general test.

The GRE board instructed the ETS to temporarily suspend the computer-based GRE general test in China, Taiwan and Korea until security can be guaranteed. ETS will reintroduce paper-based versions of the exam in these regions that will be administered just twice a year, in November and March.

"(The GRE board) found that the only secure way (to administer the GRE in these countries) is to return to pencil and paper," said John Yopp, vice president for graduate and professional education for ETS.

"In this situation, (paper-based exams) provided us with a more secure solution," said Carole Beere, chairwoman of the Graduate Record Examinations board.

Critics of computer-based testing say the return to paper signals larger flaws and inaccurate scores that have plagued computerized tests since their inception.

"This is just the latest snafu in a string of problems since the ETS began the introduction of the computer-based GRE in the early 1990s," said Bob Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest. "This is a technology that is not ready for prime time that has been forced on test takers because of corporate greed."

The ETS investigation, which covered more than 40 countries, showed security breaches occurring only in China, Taiwan and Korea.

Investigators found that verbal test scores in these regions increased each time a computer-based version of the test was replenished with a new pool of questions.

However, critics say the extent of the cheating could be even more widespread, since the Asian-language websites (which the ETS did not identify, citing security reasons) are accessible from the United States and elsewhere with native speakers and online translation services.

"The notion that, in the age of the Internet, this problem would be confined simply to Asia is ludicrous," Schaeffer said.

Cheating scandals aren't new to standardized tests. In one elaborate scam, GRE test-takers in New York allegedly phoned answers to a man in Los Angeles, who used the three-hour time-zone difference to encode answers on pencils.

But while the forms of cheating have changed, paper-based exams still provide a secure alternative to computer-based exams, since all items are used on the same day and then retired. With computerized testing, the same pool of items is used for two or three months.

"That provides a tremendous incentive for people to memorize part of it," Schaeffer said. "You can't re-use items for extended periods of time."

Continued at,1383,54459,00.html  

See also:
•  An E-Hurdle to Grad School
•  Graduates Go Digital
•  Educators' Tough Access Test

From SyllabusNews on August 13, 2002

SMU Seeds Texas High School Tech Studies

The Infinity Project, a program sponsored by the Southern Methodist University School of Engineering and Texas Instruments to introduce engineering into the high school curriculum, is now accepting grant applications from public high schools in Texas to offer financial assistance to start the program. The program is funded by the office of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and administered by The Institute for Engineering Education at SMU. The Infinity Project is among the first in the country to help school districts incorporate state-of-the-art engineering and advanced technology into standard high school curricula. It is designed to help students understand the relevance of engineering, science and math, and spur interest in pursuing engineering degrees in college. "Our goal is to bring engineering to every high school in Texas," said Geoffrey Orsak, director of the project.

For more information, visit: 

From SyllabusNews on August 6, 2002

California Unveils 'Master Plan for Education'

The state of California last week released the latest version of its "Master Plan for Education," the result of dozens of committee, working group, and town hall meetings, as well as email testimony from thousands of Californians. The plan is a "roadmap for policymakers for the next 20 years," said state Sen. Dede Alpert. Major changes in the plan, which tries to align all sectors of the state education program, cover accountability; collective bargaining; pay for temporary faculty; a model instructional system for novice teachers; and greater focus on career preparation and integrated learning. "The Master Plan places students at the focal point of the entire system with an eye toward ensuring they can successfully compete in labor markets, creating the potential for individual well being for all California students and powering our economy with the human capital it needs," said David Rattray, president of UNITE-LA School-to-Career, a local education policy group.

For more information, visit:  .

Sylvan Learning Standardizes on Blackboard

Sylvan Learning System's online higher education division adopted the Blackboard Learning System as its online operating system. Under the agreement, Sylvan will use a customized version of Blackboard for course authoring, management and delivery. Sylvan, one of the leaders in for-profit consumer education, has broadened its position in the post-secondary e-Learning market to 3,127 enrollments in 2002. Sylvan will now use Blackboard across its online higher ed offerings, which include Walden University for working professionals in education, management, health, and psychology; National Technological University for engineering, management, and computer-related fields; Canter & Associates for education professionals; and, a partnership with UCLA Extension, University of San Diego Continuing Education, and Andrews University.

Bob Jensen's threads on Blackboard are at 

From SyllabusNews on July 30, 2002

Small Colleges Collaborate on Online Degrees

Michigan-based Jackson Community College (JCC) and Walsh College signed an agreement to provide JCC students an opportunity to finish their bachelor's degrees via the Internet. JCC students will be able to obtain a bachelor of business administration degree online by transferring a maximum of 82 credit hours in business and general education courses from JCC and then completing 45 credit hours online with Walsh College. Majors in the new program would include general business, management, or marketing. Through the partnership, Walsh College, an upper division school offering only junior and senior level course work, said it would increase its strength in business education in the Jackson area while enhancing the quality of JCC's business program.

Bob Jensen's links to online training and education programs are at 

Is nothing constant?  
Was Einstein Wrong? ---,1282,54394,00.html 

SYDNEY -- A team of Australian scientists has proposed that the speed of light may not be a constant, a revolutionary idea that could unseat one of the most cherished laws of modern physics -- Einstein's theory of relativity.

The team, led by theoretical physicist Paul Davies of Sydney's Macquarie University, say it is possible that the speed of light has slowed over billions of years.

If so, physicists will have to rethink many of their basic ideas about the laws of the universe.

"That means giving up the theory of relativity and E-mc squared and all that sort of stuff," Davies told Reuters.

"But of course it doesn't mean we just throw the books in the bin, because it's in the nature of scientific revolution that the old theories become incorporated in the new ones."

Davies, and astrophysicists Tamara Davis and Charles Lineweaver from the University of New South Wales published the proposal in the August 8 edition of scientific journal Nature.

Continued at,1282,54394,00.html 

Three Free Webcasts of Possible Interest to Accounting Educators
From Financial Executives International (FEI) and Acorn Systems --- 

Increasing Profits in a Flat Economy with Robert S. Kaplan

September 25, 2002
1:00pm EST (Noon CST, 11am MST, 10am PST)

Join a growing number of companies that are bucking the trend of flat earnings in a down economy and taking a surefire approach to increasing their income. Dr. Robert S. Kaplan, Harvard professor and pioneer of Activity Based Costing and the Balanced Scorecard, will lead the discussion of measuring and managing business performance in order to identify and capture additional profits.

During this webcast, you will see how companies have successfully used this new methodology to transform their ERP, CRM and legacy system data into actionable information for improved profitability. These companies understand transaction, customer, product, vendor and facility profitability to confidently renegotiate with unprofitable suppliers and customers, grow their most profitable customer base, set cost plus pricing, replicate best practices, and cut costs without cutting people. Senior executives from Acorn Systems and a leading distributor, will discuss how the company clearly identified their incremental profit opportunities, targeted their corporate initiatives to capture those profits and dramatically improved their financial results. This webcast is eligible for CPE credit.

CPE Credits:
FEI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State Boards have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to NASBA, 150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700, Nashville, TN 37219-2417, 615-880-4200.

Profit Analyzer Demonstration and Discussion

September 26 & 27, 2002
1:00pm EST (Noon CST, 11am MST, 10am PST)

Steve Schulist, Pre-Sales Director
Acorn Systems, Inc.

This seminar will introduce you to the benefits of increasing profits through Acorn Systems' Profit Analyzer™. Discover how Profit Analyzer will enable you to identify where you are making and losing money and uncover opportunities for you to improve profits. Learn how to measure net operating profits—not just gross profits—at any given level of granularity, such as by customer, order, line item, or product, in order to dramatically improve shareholder value.

In this seminar you will:

There's no charge for the above events, although the sponsor will capture your email and phone number according to Chris Allen at FEI headquarters --- Allen, Chris [

A Webcast from our lively Liv Watson

XBRL Webcast

 The link will take you to a web cast on the question ....  XBRL: Will It Revolutionize Financial Reporting?

 Moderator: Liv A. Watson, Director, EDGAR Online, Inc.

Liv A. Watson is the Director of XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) at Edgar Online Inc. EDGAR Online Inc is the leading Internet-based provider of business, financial and competitive information derived from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR filings.

Most recently, Liv was a managing partner with Gaither Technologies LLC, responsible for clients' e-business strategies and marketing needs. Prior to that Liv spent fifteen years in film and television production, multimedia training, and information technology consulting in the public and private sector. After developing, designing, and teaching several courses and seminars for IMA and other leading accounting organizations, she is widely recognized and respected in the information technology community as an informed consultant and instructor.


Rob Blake, Director of XBRL, Microsoft
As group program manager of Finance and Administration IT at Microsoft Corp., Rob Blake is responsible for identifying and implementing new technologies and standards across the company and externally as they relate to financial reporting and planning. He oversees the company's utilization and development of the Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) and works to publicize the benefits of the financial reporting standard to partners, investors and other companies. In addition, Blake collaborates with product development teams across the company to ensure that Microsoft(r) products support and incorporate XBRL functionality. Blake currently holds several active positions on the XBRL International Consortium. He is the Software and Services Supply Chain representative on the XBRL International Steering Committee, is a member of the XBRL U.S. Executive Committee and is Domain Chair of the XBRL U.S. jurisdiction.

Zack Coffin, KPMG LLP
Zachary Coffin is responsible for integrating XBRL into KPMG's assurance, tax, corporate finance, and advisory services for clients of every industry worldwide. To this end, he's worked with executives ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 50, and with stakeholders ranging from the White House Conference Center to the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision to officials in over twenty-five countries around the world. A founding member of the XBRL Consortium, Mr. Coffin serves as XBRL's Liaison Chair and is responsible for its strategic alignment-how XBRL fits into the global landscape, with other Internet standards, across industries, and along the entire chain of business reporting from companies and intermediaries to end-users, analysts and investors. Currently completing the book Introducing XBRL: Decision Making in a Digital Economy (Prentice Hall, October 2001; ISBN 0-13-060902-1), Mr. Coffin is a frequent speaker on business strategy, new media, e-standards and the future of the Internet. He graduated with an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California, and with a B.A., magna cum laude, from Columbia University

Walter Hamscher, XBRL International Chair
With over 20 years of experience in Computer Science research and development, Walter Hamscher helps organizations to exploit the cost savings and increased flexibility available to them through strategic commitments to technology standards, particularly with respect to XML-based standards for electronic commerce. His strengths are in communicating technical topics to diverse audiences in plain English, and in motivating technology teams to negotiate through their differences and follow through with action to achieve mutual objectives. In March 2002, Walter was elected Chairman of the Steering Committee of XBRL International, a non-profit consortium responsible for the eXtensible Business Reporting Language, an open specification for financial reporting using XML. Mr. Hamscher earned his Ph.D. and S.M. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received a B.A. in Computer Science, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Texas at Austin.

Philip Walenga, Assistant Director, FDIC, Bank Technology Group
Philip E. Walenga began his FDIC career in 1973 as an assistant examiner in Grand Rapids, MI. After later serving as a commercial and information systems examiner, in 1986 he transferred to Washington, DC, where - among other responsibilities - he taught examiners how to use personal computers in the field. In 1990, he joined the RTC to develop and mange its nationwide local area network and client server systems. In 1996, Mr. Walenga returned to the FDIC to head the IT (Information Technology) Research and Development Section in the agency's Division of Information Resources Management. Mr. Walenga holds a BS degree from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, and is a graduate of the BAI Graduate School of Banking, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.

 Bob Jensen's threads on XBRL are at 

I thank Neil Hannon for the lead on this article.
"Can XBRL Lessen Accounting Scandals?," SmartPros, August 26, 2002 --- 

XBRL, the eXtensible Business Reporting Language, an electronic method for companies to report financial information in accordance with GAAP, may be the answer to the accounting scandal crisis, according to a recent article in Strategic Finance Magazine.

While XBRL cannot remedy fraudulent accounting, author Neal Hannon argues it will make data crunching faster and easier for organizations such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, so corporate filings stand a greater chance of a thorough review.

States Hannon: "With XBRL, all 14,000 corporate submissions could be read by analytical software, creating an increased probability that anomalies in financial reporting could be discovered much earlier. Industry data analysis could be performed on 100% of the filings ... Submission of SEC requirements in XBRL could go directly into a computer program for screening and further processing."

Recent milestones in XBRL include a pilot program launched by Nasdaq, Microsoft and PricewaterhouseCoopers that provides investors with remote access to XBRL financial data from five years of financial reports for 21 Nasdaq-listed companies.

The link to Strategic Finance Magazine is at 

Bob Jensen's XBRL threads are at (Advertising, History, Photography, Art) --- 

American Online (AOL) apparently round tripped revenue according to "Investment in Advertisers Was Key to AOL Income," by Julia Angwin and Martin Peers, The Wall Street Journal,  

For America Online, investing in companies that then advertised on the Internet service was about as crucial to its growth as taking in oxygen. Literally. Last year, AOL invested $30 million to $50 million in Oxygen Media Inc. and arranged for the women-focused cable channel to be carried on parent AOL Time Warner Inc.'s cable systems. At the same time, Oxygen agreed to buy about $100 million in ads that mostly ran on America Online -- a hefty amount for a start-up media company.

The Oxygen trades were one of the many complex deals that were a way of life at the America Online unit -- and many other technology companies -- during the boom years. At AOL, these deals sometimes included an investment. Other times, AOL squeezed its suppliers for advertising revenue. Either way, the deals weren't much of a secret -- AOL was proud of its ingenuity in crafting the arrangements and expected AOL partner companies to buy ads on AOL. "If we're one of their big customers, we expect them to be one of our big customers," Robert Pittman, the since-departed chief operating officer, said in an interview last year. That customer coziness, though, is now coming back to haunt AOL as federal investigators at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department pore over dozens of deals AOL struck with its partners. Earlier this month, AOL said in an SEC filing it may have inappropriately recognized as advertising revenue $49 million from three transactions. At least one of these transactions was a round-trip deal with WorldCom Inc., which counted AOL as one of its biggest customers. While AOL declined to comment on specific transactions, the company's internal investigators are scrutinizing scores of deals done by the America Online unit -- including the one with Oxygen -- as part of an inquiry to determine the extent of the accounting problems at its Internet division. The company hopes to finish its probe by the end of the third quarter, at which point it could decide to restate past results. A key question in the round-trip deals is whether AOL and its partners placed fair values on the assets they were exchanging. Accounting experts say barter transactions are all right, but only if they are valued fairly. People familiar with the investigation of the AOL-WorldCom relationship say the transaction involved inflating of revenue on the AOL side of the deal. A WorldCom spokesman said investigators are reviewing all of the telecommunications company's accounting

Bob Jensen's threads on round tripping are at 

From Fathom on August 14, 2002 (History, Education, Literature, Liberal Arts)

A new exhibition at the University of Chicago's Special Collections Research Center looks back at the days when Mortimer Adler, Robert Maynard Hutchins, William Benton and many others sought to establish the "Great Books" as the cornerstone of American education. "The Great Ideas: The University of Chicago and the Ideal of Liberal Education" ( ) explores the intellectual idea in American culture, from small classrooms at elite universities to door-to-door salesmen selling expensive sets of the "great books" to middle-class families.

Learn more about the historical and ongoing debate over the canon of Western literature in the free feature "Why It Helps to Read Great Books: Texts, Society and Time" on Fathom. University of Chicago professor Constantin Fasolt explains why such works--and their provocative contradictions--are vital tools for contemporary readers to question and understand human society past and present: 

How are leading business schools changing course content and curricula in the wake of the recent accounting, finance, and corporate governance scandals?

Answer from Fortune Magazine
"Scandal 101: Lessons From Ken Lay:   Actual business school course excerpts and class highlights," by Julie Schlosser,  Fortune, September 2, 2002, Page 52 --- 

Business Ethics
Part 1: The Short Road From Unbelievable Success to Unmitigated Disaster
Part 2: Enron 101

"The class features a discussion of how Ken Lay became addicted to success. Students must write an ethical analysis of what went wrong at Enron using either an Aristotelian or a Kantian framework."

Ethics and Management
"[The class] does not attempt to convert sinners to saints, preach absolute truths, or deter the morally vulnerable."

Professional Responsibility
From a session called "Truth and Disclosure": "Exaggeration and bluffing are...part of the business game, but how much is too much?"

The Enron Case
"One of the classes will be a lecture by [Sherron Watkins]." The alumni network will be funding an overflow room.

Fraud: The Dark Side of Business
"Topics include legal aspects of fraud, Ponzi and pyramid schemes."

Ethics and Law for Executives
"For the past ten years, 2% of students attending the three-day course have quit their jobs within seven days, citing ethical reasons."

The Moral Leader
"This course relies heavily on works of fiction, including Macbeth, The Secret Sharer, The Last Tycoon, Remains of the Day, and I Come as a Thief, to examine in-depth the practical moral issues that managers face."

Management of Auditing and Control
One session has been titled "Executive Compensation: Is Jail Time Necessary?" Another session delves into Anatomy of Greed: The Unshredded Truth From an Enron Insider, which was penned by a University of Texas alum.

Business Ethics (Spring 2003)
"A visit to a federal prison provides a unique opportunity to speak with former-executives-turned-inmates about the serious consequences of compromising ethical standards."

"Financial Misdeeds Go From Boardroom to Classroom at California Universities," Smartpros, August 22, 2002 --- 

The Copeland Initiative ---,1029,sid=2283&cid=4173,00.html 

Recovery in Our Capital Markets Linked to Ethics and Trust, Says Deloitte & Touche CEO Copeland

Contact: Paul Marinaccio
Deloitte & Touche LLP
+1 212-492-3703

Cleveland, OH, August 16, 2002 - James E. Copeland, Jr., the chief executive of Deloitte & Touche and its global organization, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, today discussed the importance of assets such as individual integrity to rebuilding public confidence in the U.S. financial system.

In a speech today at The City Club of Cleveland, a leading forum for public debate and discussion, Copeland said everyone who leads institutions needs to find ways to influence and encourage ethical, competent behavior.

He also made public new Deloitte & Touche initiatives to build on internal practices that engender high professional standards, and reiterated his call for creation of a National Financial Review Board -- an independent body to probe the causes of corporate failures.

"All leaders in the capital markets have a responsibility to create a positive expectation -- an expectation of ethical and technical excellence -- within their organizations," said Copeland.  "Our profession and our firm must continually consider new ways that we can better protect the public interest.  When you see the pain associated with any audit failure, it's clear we must do better -- and we will."

"We cannot and should not accept risk that is the result of illegal activity, unethical behavior or gross incompetence," he said.  And while it is necessary to prosecute and otherwise condemn the misconduct of the few, Copeland stated it is equally necessary to demonstrate the incentives to act ethically and earn the trust of the market.

New Initiatives

The first measure announced by Copeland is the deployment of Deloitte & Touche corporate compliance and ethics services professionals to perform an extensive self-examination of the firm.  For more than 10 years, the firm has helped clients establish or improve their ethics programs and ensure better compliance.  "Now, we're going to become our own client," Copeland said.

Specifically, these professionals will assess the firm's opportunity to:

  • Improve the ability of its people to recognize behaviors and environmental characteristics that raise ethical issues, in client organizations and within Deloitte & Touche, and to respond consistently and properly every time.  
  • Structure ethical compliance programs to facilitate more timely and consistent responses to ethical concerns.  
  • Reexamine the content of its professional education curriculum to make certain ethics are sufficiently emphasized and our expectations properly communicated.

Second, in addition to rotating the lead audit partner every five years, as required by new legislation, Copeland said Deloitte & Touche will apply the five-year partner rotation policy to all audit partners who are responsible for auditing major international subsidiaries.

Similarly, he said Deloitte & Touche will enact a policy of applying rotation requirements to all professionals serving public audit clients in any capacity - even those below the partner level.

"Ethics, integrity and quality are the foundation of our culture," said Copeland   "We work very hard at applying those principles to the work we do on behalf of the investing public and on behalf of the clients who've placed their trust in us."

National Financial Review Board

During the speech, Copeland also shared his outline for the creation of an independent federal agency, modeled on the National Transportation Safety Board, to investigate major corporate failures.  Staffed with skilled professionals, the board would be tasked with performing reviews of each failure and issuing detailed public reports on the causes.

"The scope of the problems at Enron was first disclosed last October," he remarked.  "We are now nearing the end of the summer -- some 10 months later -- and we are still not sure exactly what caused the failure or how to prevent the next one."

To advance the concept, Deloitte & Touche assembled a team of professionals with deep knowledge of auditing, forensic accounting, risk management and public administration.  Under Copeland's direction, the group will explore specific potential models of how the agency could be structured, governed and financed.

"Investors are angry," he commented.  "Investors also expect to understand why so many business failures happened -- and what can be done to prevent similar failures from happening again."

The proposed board would not replace business investigatory roles performed by the Justice Department, Congress or the SEC, but would work in concert with these agencies and report to Congress on ways to avert future disasters.

The Fraud Advisory Panel in the United Kingdom --- 

The Panel's role is to alert the nation to the immense social and economic damage caused by fraud and help both public and private sectors to fight back. It is dedicated to a holistic approach and the long view. The Panel works to: 

Established in 1998 through a public spirited initiative by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Panel exists to challenge complacency and supply remedies.

The Panel is an independent body of volunteers drawn from the law and accountancy, banking, insurance, commerce, regulators, the police, government departments and public agencies. It is not restricted by seeing the problem from any single point of view but works to encourage a truly multi-disciplinary perspective. The Panel is given a serious hearing as a consequence and has contributed to the new, and more vigorous attitude in government towards fraud.

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud can be found at 

"Pro-Forma Earnings Reporting Persists," by Shaheen Pasha, Washington Post, August 16, 2002 --- 

While many on Wall Street are calling for an end to pro forma financial reporting given widespread jitters over corporate clarity, it's clear from second-quarter reports that the accounting practice is a hard habit to break.

Publicly traded companies are required to report their results according to generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, under which all types of business expenses are deducted to arrive at the bottom line of a company's earnings report.

But an ever-increasing number of companies in recent years has taken to also reporting earnings on a pro forma – or "as if" – basis under which they exclude various costs. Companies defend the practice, saying the inclusion of one-time events don't accurately reflect true performance.

There is no universal agreement on which expenses should be omitted from pro forma results, but pro forma figures typically boost results.

Indeed, as the second-quarter reporting season dwindles down with more than 90 percent of the Standard & Poor's 500 companies having reported, only Yahoo Inc., Compuware Corp. and Xilinx Inc. made the switch to reporting earnings under GAAP, according to Thomson First Call.

While a number of S&P 500 companies, including Computer Associates International Inc. and Corning Inc., made the switch to GAAP in the first quarter, that still brings the number to 11 companies in total that have given up on pro forma over the last two quarters.

"It's disappointing that at this stage we haven't seen more companies make the switch to GAAP earnings from pro forma," said Chuck Hill, director of research at Thomson First Call.

Continued at  

Bob Jensen's threads on pro forma reporting are at 

Weapons designed to attack electronic systems and not people could see their first combat use in any military attack on Iraq --- 

Pop-Up Warfare: Is Peace Possible? Last week, Tessa discussed the war against pop-ups. This week, she suggest a peace treaty. 

The President's Council on Bioethics 

How are political candidates using the Web?

Answer --- 

Attacks on the Press in 2001 (Media, News) 

A Unique Global Book Club --- 

What is BookCrossing, you ask? It's a global book club that crosses time and space. It's a reading group that knows no geographical boundaries. Do you like free books? How about free book clubs?  Well, the books our members leave in the wild are free... but it's the act of freeing books that points to the heart of BookCrossing. Book trading has never been more exciting, more serendipitous, than with BookCrossing. Our goal, simply, is to make the whole world a library. BookCrossing is a book exchange of infinite proportion, the first and only of its kind.

Here at you'll find tens of thousands of book reviews, book ratings, and book recommendations, because each time a book changes hands our members can leave journal entries telling the world of their experiences. Our LeaderBoard has Book Lists that reflect the book trading activities of our members, showing the recently released books, the recently found books, and the most traveled books.

But let's get right down to it. You know the feeling you get after reading a book that speaks to you, that touches your life, a feeling that you want to share it with someone else? gives you a simple way to share books with the world, and follow their paths forever more!

The "3 Rs" of BookCrossing...

Famous Locations (Geography) 

United Kingdom Memory Lane (History, Photography)
Once were Heros --- 

Paul explains how the whole Domain Name System works then shows you how to set up a DNS server of your very own.
"Ins and Outs of DNS,"  by Paul Adams. Webmonkey, July 19, 2002 --- 

You are a savvy Net wrangler; doubtless you already know a bit about the Domain Name System. You know that it's why we are able to have nice memorizable domain names like, and not just numbers. You probably even know that when you type "" into your browser, your computer contacts a DNS server to find out what numerical IP address the domain name corresponds to. Let's take a closer look, though, at exactly how this all works, what exactly is going on, and even how to set up a DNS server of your very own. Wait, you say — your ISP already provides DNS service for you. Why would you want to set up your own? I knew you'd ask that.

There are a few reasons why it can be beneficial to run your own DNS server. First, it's fun and educational. Second, you are a control freak, and want to have as much of your site under your thumb as possible. If you are frequently or imminently changing machines, host names, IP addresses, ISPs, or other factors, or if you have a whole lot of Web addresses to maintain, it is much easier to update your own data each time rather than faxing forms to the various providers and hoping you get everything right and they get everything right and that a virtual tug-of-war doesn't ensue. Also, if you control your own DNS, you can do all sorts of neat tricks.

In this article, I'll explain the different types of DNS records, what they contain, and then go over the basics of running a name server on a Unix network.

Continued at 

Theban Mapping Project (Incredible Archaeology) --- 

Artring (Photography, Art) --- 

Art in Public Places --- 

The low Internet penetration rate in impoverished Ethiopia hasn't stopped local entrepreneurs from getting into e-commerce. One sells everything from flowers to sheep ---,1272,54360,00.html 

Art, Photography, and History
Steam and Electric Locomotives of the New Haven Railroad Digital Collection --- 

Message from Ira Kawaller on August 4, 2002

Hi Bob,

I posted a new article on the Kawaller & Company website: “What’s ‘Normal’ in Derivatives Accounting,” originally published in Financial Executive, July / August 2002. It is most relevant for financial managers of non-financial companies, who seek to avoid FAS 133 treatment for their purchase and sales contracts. The point of the article is that this treatment may mask some pertinent risks and opportunities. To view the article, click on  .

I'd be happy to hear from you if you have any questions or comments.

Thanks for your consideration.

Ira Kawaller Kawaller & Company, LLC 717-694-6270

Bob Jensen's documents on derivative financial instruments are at 

Mark's Very Large National Lampoon Site (featured in Yahoo on August 26) --- 

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Review on July 27, 2002

TITLE: Accounting Rules Should Still Adapt 
To New Economy 
REPORTER: Alan Murray 
DATE: Jul 23, 2002 
TOPICS: Financial Accounting, Financial Analysis, Goodwill, Intangible Assets, Research & Development, Accounting

SUMMARY: The value of many businesses in the current economy is largely determined by intangible assets. Accounting principles have not evolved to provide adequate financial information on these types of companies. Questions focus on the nature of intangible assets and the difficulties associated with determining the value that should be reported on the balance sheet for intangible assets.

1.) Under current U.S. GAAP, what is the definition of an asset? What determines if an asset is reported on the balance sheet?

2.) What is an intangible asset? Briefly describe the current accounting treatment for intangible assets. Are all intangible assets reported on the balance sheet? Support your answer.

3.) Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of reporting intangible assets on the balance sheet. Be sure to include measurement issues in your discussion.

SMALL GROUP ASSIGNMENT: Propose a standard for reporting patents. Be sure to address measurement, operational feasibility, and marketability. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of your proposed standard.

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

Bob Jensen's threads on the booking of intangibles can be found at 

An analysis of malpractice claims for 22,000 CPA firms reveals the most common mistakes in audits of non-public companies. 

Research by the Wall Street Journal indicates audit fees have increased approximately 5% per year in recent years, but the fee could increase as much as 25% this year at some companies. 

See updates on the accounting scandals at 

In what appears to be a public relations disaster, customers are steamed that Palm offered no refunds, or even an apology, for selling m130 handhelds that displayed fewer colors than it claimed ---,1367,54647,00.html 

For CPA firms that audit nonpublic entities such as private companies, government units or not-for-profit organizations, understanding what leads to costly audit malpractice claims can help in managing and minimizing the risk of performing these audits
"A Perspective on Audit Malpractice Claims, by Sherry Anderson and Joseph Wolfe, Journal of Accountancy, September 2002 --- 


CPAs CAN USE DATA ON AUDIT MALPRACTICE claims filed with CNA, which underwrites 22,000 CPA firms in the AICPA professional liability insurance program, to help them avoid high-cost claims when they audit nonpublic entities such as private companies, governments or NPOs.

MOST NONPUBLIC AUDIT CLAIMS ARISE FROM technical standards violations, failure to detect defalcations and failure to include appropriate disclosures on the face of the financial statements or in the footnotes. For example, of the 63% of nonpublic audit claims that arose from technical standards violations, almost half involved improper inventory valuation and more than one-third involved accounts-receivable errors.

MANY CLAIMS INVOLVED CPA FIRMS WITH NO PRIOR audit experience in the client’s industry. The financial services industry is particularly hazardous for auditors lacking relevant experience—57% of audit claims involved banks and lending institutions, 34% involved insurance company audits and 9% concerned audits of securities dealers.

A CLIENT’S BANKRUPTCY AND LIQUIDATION are significant factors in audit claims. Three things can increase damage exposure: Shareholders and lenders will seek to recover their losses, the decisions of bankruptcy court judges can adversely affect the pursuit of claims against auditors and bankruptcies often increase the duration and cost of malpractice litigation.

CPA FIRMS CAN MANAGE RISK IN PERFORMING AUDITS by applying client acceptance and continuance procedures, maintaining training, supervision and professional skepticism, complying with technical and ethical standards and declining engagements they are not qualified to perform.

SHERRY ANDERSON, CPCU, is vice-president and chief operations officer, global specialty lines claims for CNA in Chicago. Her e-mail address is JOSEPH WOLFE is director of risk management, accountants professional liability group at CNA in Chicago. His e-mail address is

This article should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any factual situation. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstance of each case, the general information provided herein is not intended to substitute for the advice of professional counsel.

Related links of possible interest are as follows:

Practice and fees --- 

Proposed reforms --- 

Foreign Terrorist Organizations 

Thanks to advances in various types of recognition software, you're not even safe from prying eyes -- and greedy retailers -- when you wander around a department store.
"Smile, You're on In-Store Camera," by Erik Baard, Wired News, August 8, 2002 ---,1848,54078,00.html 

Johnny Q. Consumer walks into a national chain store, picks up diapers, pays in cash. He does not walk alone. One store camera captures his face, while another network of cameras traces his stroll through the aisles. The pressure-sensitive floor panels note how he lingers and nervously shifts his feet while browsing in the diaper section.

At the store's national headquarters, perhaps a thousand miles away, a machine quietly notes in Johnny's file that he may be a new father. That bit of data goes into an algorithm that a few days later cross-references birth records and finds that, indeed, Johnny has just become the proud father of twins. A card is sent out and special discounts will be offered the next time he enters the store.

This scenario, which could be a harsh reality in the near future, will not placate those who avoid shopping online and opt to pay in hard currency out of fear for their privacy. If you can't shop anonymously at your local retail giant, then privacy as we know it is dead.

The technology exists and its implementation could level the marketing playing field, letting traditional businesses do what Web shopping portals already do: follow their customers through the entire process. They would know a lot about you, including where you come from, what you linger over, what you add and remove from your shopping cart, what you ultimately buy, even what you recommend to your friends.

"This is not new-fangled hardware," said Zoher Karu, director of product management at Brickstream Corporation, a Virginia company that manufactures the technology. "It's just cameras hooked up to PCs (that) you can buy from Dell. We don't have proprietary hardware; we have proprietary software."

Karu explained how it works.

"The algorithm looks for shapes of people and (passes) the same individual off from camera to camera by, for example, looking for a yellow color leaving the left side of one camera view to enter the overlapping right side of the next. It can distinguish between shopping cart and person, but it doesn't know a man from a woman or a child from an adult. But certainly that's a possibility. From an architecture standpoint, the system is capable of that."

Continued at,1848,54078,00.html 

August 21 message from Scott Bonacker, CPA [

I came across this while trying to find out how to disable the onunload function. 

"The name is nearly self-explanatory. It's a JavaScript-driven menu that's made to look close to what Windows Explorer® does. Released under the BSD license it's OSI Certified Open Source Software which means it can be freely used and modified for both commercial and non-commercial websites.

On the site you should find all the information you'll need to get the menu up & running as well as contributed utilities, links to sites where it's being used and an in-depth look at the code."


A Social Security helper link in a message from Linda Pfingst, CPA [lcpfingst@SPRINTMAIL.COM

Thought I would share an interesting web page for calculating break-even ages for social security benefits. I am often asked "what would be more beneficial, to retire at 62 or 63, or wait until my full retirement age of 66?" The site does not consider all of the combinations, and after some searching I found a "neat" site by David Zinda: 

No fancy variables (present, future,inflation adjustments) just straight calculations. Save a ton of time working it out "by hand" or even with T-Value.

Linda C. Pfingst, CPA

After viewing the first page, click on "Next" to view the illustration table shown below:

After the table is displayed, scroll down the rows until you find one that has two numbers in light green cells as in the example below. The example has them in the columns headed by "age 62" and "age 64".

The far left number, on that row, is an age expressed in years and months. That age is the age you will be when your total accumulated benefits (assuming you retire at age 64) catch up to the total accumulated  benefits you would have received if you had retired at age 62.

In the example, that happens at age 76 years and 1 month. All the other  year combinations also have highlighted numbers. Just scroll down until you find the year combination you want.

Table Example

Age 62
Age 63
Age 64
Age 65
Age 67
Age 70
75-12 118272 119028 118224 116160 108540 85968
76-1 118976 119791 119045 117040 109545 87162
76-2 119680 120554 119866 117920 110550 88356

The numbers with white (and light green) background, are the total accumulated dollar amount you will draw, as of the age at the extreme left of the row, given that you retired at the "Retire Age" in the top of each of the columns. For instance, if you retire at age 64, when you reach age 76 years and 1 month, you will have drawn $119,045 in accumulated benefits. If you retire at age 62, when you reach age 76 years and 1 month, you will have been paid a total of $118,976.

So what does that mean?

If you decide to postpone retirement until age 64, it means you will need to live beyond age 76 years and 1 month before that two year wait will start to pay off for you in terms of additional total benefits.

Please remember the age in the example does not apply to you! You will need to run the table, using your numbers, to find the ages that apply to you.

NOTE: Occasionally more than one year combination will equalize on the same row. That means four numbers would be highlighted on the same row. This makes it hard to tell how the columns should be matched - that is - which two belong together. You can usually tell by looking at those four numbers. you should find two of them that are very close. The other two should also be very close to each other. Using a second color constitutes a programming problem that I chose not to address because it would increase processing time which is quite long already.

Continued at 

Ben Plumber pointed out that the above site is somewhat misleading in that the time value of money is not factored in such that if a recipient invests the benefits at age 62 at 5%, the after-tax interest earned is ignored.  I pointed out that if us old guys spend it all on booze and Viagra, there is no interest earned.

August 28 message from Patricia Doherty [pdoherty@BU.EDU
Advice on teaching a student with dyslexia (Handicap, Learning) 

We have an excellent Disabilities Services department here at BU, and thus students with a wide variety of disabilities feel comfortable in coming here. I have taught a number of dyslexic students in a regular class, very successfully. A number of them relied on a note taker, because their handwriting was so bad that they themselves had difficulty deciphering it later on. Some could not even organize it on a page. They wrote up, down, and diagonally! No kidding. The answer to this for many was a laptop. They typed everything. Dis. Ser. even arranges for these students to take exams using a "clean" laptop (provided by DS for the exam) so that they do not face the writing problem on exams, and under time pressure.

We routinely receive letters requesting that students with disabilities, based on their specific conditions, receive time and a half, or even double time, for exams. I usually place these students in a separate room, because a room with 200 or 300 other students is distracting, and when the exam for the majority ends, the room is noisy and chaotic (people handing in exams, asking questions, etc) so that their exam is really badly disrupted. They often do not need all of the extra time, but removing the stress factor of having to perform under tight time pressure helps them relax and do better (and even write more clearly).

The student you are tutoring would also benefit from, in my experience, some pre started "forms" to do accounting problems on, similar to what you find in the traditional "working papers" for a textbook. They help to "organize" the work. I think it also helps, since the writing is a problem, that if they are going to do any handwritten (as opposed to laptop) work, the working papers be enlarged somewhat (on a photocopier), so that they do not have to write in very small spaces.

You might also try having the student use colored (say, red for credits and blue for debits) as a visual organizing tool. This could extend to other work, too, to sort out parts of a problem, or different techniques. I highly recommend pencil, by the way - it erases!! Writing with ink and then going through multiple cross outs confuses students without disabilities - they make errors by using old, incorrect information imperfectly crossed out. For a student with a perceptual problem, this is magnified many times. I know we were always told in school that accountants always work in ink, etc. etc. I know all the rules. But students are learning, and your student is learning under disadvantage. I think they should use all the help available to them.

I also recommend frequent "breaks" to regroup. Fatigue sets in for all of us in long accounting problem sessions, and for a student with a perceptual disability the fatigue magnifies the problems. Frustration sets in very easily. So not only is being rested beforehand necessary, but keeping alert by taking breaks is needed, too.

I also recommend that a dyslexic student mark up the problems in their book: rule off columns so the divisions are distinct (for example the dr and cr columns in a trial balance) and rule off rows (say, a line under every third row) to make the information easier to read and follow. For one student I had, he also photocopied and enlarged his problems, not because his eyes were bad, but because they tended to mix the signal to his brain. Enlarging helped him. I even enlarged his exams.

I don't know what your student's exam situation will be. Another student I had needed to have a "reader" in the room with him. This person would read back his exam answers to him, so that he could be sure he wrote down what he intended. The reader did not have to be an accounting person, because the idea was just to double check for communications misses. This reader would also help with difficult number situations, like long columns of figures, which this student found particularly difficult - they'd "drift" on him. The reader would read off figures to him as asked.

Hope this helps. I do not know of any books, but if you do not find any other sources, let me know and I'll give our people here a call and see if they can recommend something.

Hi Jim,

First consider whether you really need to take up server space for thousands of video frames. If you have captured speakers at a conference, video of a talking head is a complete waste of space. You can capture one picture of the speaker and accompany it with his or her audio presentation (along with Powerpoint or other computer files that the speaker may share with you). I illustrate this approach at the following links: 

Sometimes all that is needed is the audio. See 

I prefer to record all audio files in MP3. I do this with Roxio Easy CD Creator --- 

For video capturing of my voice along with things that I illustrate in a computer screen, I like Camtasia --- 

Generally, I make a separate file for each video or audio module. I used to use ToolBook for making clips of avi files, but since ToolBook abandoned OpenScript I have not had much luck at clip making.

I have a super-duper Pinnacle video capture board in my new computer, and you can make clips with Adobe Premiere software that accompanies the Pinnacle System (you can use Premiere with other capture cards as well). However, I do not like my Pinnacle system because it will only capture full screen compressed video (no more avi capturing of smaller windows and lower frame rates). I hate having to capture and store full screen, full motion video that must be played back on special software. Hence, I don't really use my Pinnacle system very often. Whenever possible, I use still pictures with audio.

For further guidance, see 

Hope this helps a little.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: James  
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2002 12:58 PM 
Subject: video questions and lunch invitation

Hi Bob,

I'm not sure you remember me, but we've met and talked a couple of times. I'm writing today to ask you a couple of questions. (I have recently spent 7-8 hours on your web site and don't see the answers there.)

Here's the context of my questions. I want to begin (take one step) toward develop some online learning materials. For that step, I'm thinking of breaking a video of a talk by some expert or panel of experts into smaller parts, labeling the parts as to the topic discussed, and making them available to the students through the web.

1) When you record the typical sessions at the annual meeting do you use a digital video camera? If so, which model?

2) What software do you use to strip/copy smaller clips out of a longer video? (My understanding of Camtasia is that it's not designed for this purpose.) In your presentations a few years ago, you've said you show a still picture of the speaker and stream only the audio; is that what you still recommend, or has technology advanced enough to make the video idea practicable?

Are you interested in joining me for lunch during one of the AAA Annual Meeting days? I'll buy. In any case, I am registered for your Accounting for Intangibles and Internet Reporting seminar and will see you then.


"Hot Numbers for Middle School Math," by Nancy Tassler and Paul Fleisher, Technology & Learning, August 2002, pp. 10-12 --- 
This article evaluates and compares the following math education systems:

Bob Jensen's bookmarks on math education are at 

Hello John,

Thank you for the kind words.

After being out of town for three weeks, I have nearly 1,000 email messages to answer. Hence I do not have a lot of time to contemplate your suggestions, but I have made a few comments below.

May I quote your comments in my September 10 edition of New Bookmarks (a newsletter)?


Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: John Tyler []  
Sent: Saturday, August 17, 2002 10:24 AM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: Future of Reporting, Transparency, and the like

Hello Bob,


You don't know me, but your website does. I am a CPA who has practiced for over 25 years in a small Cambridge, Massachusetts firm. I have been involved in tutoring a client in Providence for the past six months [he manages family investments] about Enron, and the mysteries [!] of GAAP to the eyes of a non-accountant. [Our website is at]

Your website reminds me of an information octopus that grows arms at a geometric rate. Lore, Links, Opinions, Info=Cornucopia!

Some of my thoughts on the current status of reporting.

1. The indirect cash flow statement should be outlawed in favor of the direct cash flow. A step toward transparency. Our firm has been helping clients make a direct cash flow report for financial reporting purposes for many years. The idea is not as popular as it should be, but a direct cash flow

approach allows the entity to budget cash activity directly.


2. How are you going to get transparency for consolidated entities when you have 3000 subsidiaries [Enron] or 2300 [Tyco] ? The SEC requires companies to list their subsidiaries in an exhibit to the annual 10-K form, but making disclosure of the number of US and foreign subsidiaries as a GAAP disclosure would be an improvement.



3. SPE's remind me of the Hans Christen Anderson story about the Emperor's new clothes. As far as I am concerned control= consolidation. You can provide separate asset and liability captions for SPE's whose assets have been "securitized" and whose liabilities are secured only but if an entity controls another entity, consolidation should occur.



4. A lot of the confusion about stock options and purchase accounting arises from the GAAP rule that companies cannot report the difference between the book value of equity and the market value of the shares as part of financial statement value. EXCEPT for acquisitions purchased by the acquiring company's shares. At a minimum, how about the following disclosure for publicly traded companies:

Net equity under GAAP                  $XXXXXXXXXXXX 
Market value at Balance Sheet Date                                         $YYYYYYYYYYYY

Difference due to market perception of company value $Y-X


5. Much of the controversy and confusion about the expensing of stock options results from the dichotomy cited in 4 above, and the IRS general rule that if one party, the option exercisers, has taxable income, another party has a tax deduction.  And, measuring the true cost of a stock option is a 20-20 hindsight calculation.



I realize you are probably overwhelmed with daily email messages. If you do get to read this, I would be interested in your reactions, and leads to others who may be discussing the same areas.

Keep up your internet apple tree planting !

John Tyler

All about men --- 
Mother Taught Me --- 
Kids Proverbs --- 

Sam Hicks forwarded a great site for some really funny political and economics cartoons --- 

A Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia --- 

Human Body Parts Recall.
Check the numbers on your parts and see if they match ---,1286,54385,00.html 

QANTAS MAINTENANCE Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints by QANTAS pilots and the corrective action recorded by mechanics. By the way Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident.

P stands for the problem the pilots entered in the log, and S stands for the corrective action taken by the mechanics.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement. 
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except autoland very rough. 
S: Autoland not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit. 
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield. 
S: Live bugs on backorder.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent. 
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear. 
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud. 
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick. 
S: That's what they're there for!

P: IFF inoperative. 
S: IFF always inoperable in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windscreen. 
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing. (note: this was for a piston-engined airplane; the pilot meant the engine was not running smoothly) 
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny. 
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Radar hums. 
S: Reprogrammed radar with words.

P: Mouse in cockpit. 
S: Cat installed.

Forwarded by Walter Bernards

Should kids witness a birth? A true story:

It was late at night and Heidi, who was expecting her second child was home alone with her 3-year old daughter Katelyn. When Heidi started going into labor, she called "911". Due to a power outage at the time, only one paramedic responded to the call. The house was very, very dark, so the paramedic asked Katelyn to hold a flashlight high over her mommy so he could see while he helped deliver the baby. Very diligently, Katelyn did as she was asked. Heidi pushed and pushed, and after a little while Connor was born. The paramedic lifted him by his little feet and spanked him on his bottom. Connor began to cry. The paramedic then thanked Katelyn for her help and asked the wide-eyed 3-year old what she thought about what she had just witnessed. Kaelyn quickly responded. "He shouldn't have crawled in there in the first place. Spank him again!"

One for Ceil

Coach:  "You --- Pillsbury!  Hike the ball to the punter."

The Pillsbury Doughboy bends down and complains:  "I can't see the punter."

Coach:  "What can you see?"

Pillsbury:  "Donuts."

Forwarded by Bob Overn

I went to the store the other day, I was only in there for about 5 minutes and when I came out there was a damn motorcycle cop writing a parking ticket. So I went up to him and said, 'Come on buddy, how about giving a guy a break?'

He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. So I called him a pencil necked Nazi. 

He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having bald tires!! So I called him a horse shit. He finished the second ticket and put it on the car with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket!!

This went on for about 20 minutes, the more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

I didn't give a damn. My car was parked around the corner...

Forwarded by Bob Overn

Stressed out today? Cheer up! Modern medicine has come up with some great new stuff to make life easier:

St. Mom's Wort ... Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to six hours.

Empty Nestrogen ... Highly effective suppository that eliminates melancholy by enhancing the memory of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait til they moved out.

Peptobimbo ... Liquid silicone for single women. Two full cups swallowed before an evening out increases breast size, decreases intelligence, and improves flirting.

Dumerol ... When taken with Peptobimbo, can cause dangerously low I.Q. causing enjoyment of country western music.

Flipitor .. Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to flip off other drivers.

Antiboyotics ... When administered to teenage girls, is highly effective in improving grades, freeing up phone lines, and reducing money spent on make-up.

Menicillin ... Potent antiboyotic for older women. Increases resistance to such lines as, "You make me want to be a better person ... can we get naked now?"

Buyagra ... Injectable stimulant taken prior to shopping. Increases potency and duration of spending spree.

Extra Strength Buy-one-all ... When combined with Buyagra, can cause an indiscriminant buying frenzy so severe the victim may even come home with a Donnie Osmond CD or a book by Dr. Laura.

Jack Asspirin ... Relieves the headache caused by a man who can't remember your birthday, anniversary or phone number.

Anti-talksident ... A spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers.

Sexcedrin ... Bedroom aerosol spray for men. More effective than Excedrin in treating the, "Not now, dear, I have a headache," syndrome.

Ragamet ... When administered to a husband, provides the same irritation as ragging on him all weekend, saving the wife the time and trouble of doing it herself.

Men-Gay ... A rub-in ointment that enables single women to identify who to cross off the dating pool

Read about one man's Redneck neighbors --- 

Forwarded by Dick Haar

A. A. A. D. D. ===============

Do you have A. A. A. D. D.?

I have recently been diagnosed with A. A. A. D. D. (Advanced Absentminded Attention Deficit Disorder)

This is how it goes:

I decide to wash the car; I start toward the garage and notice the mail on the table.

OK, I'm going to wash the car, but first I'm going to go through the mail.

I lay the car keys down on the desk, discard the junk mail, and notice the trashcan is full.

OK, I'll just put the bills on my desk and take the trashcan out, but since I'm going to be near the mailbox anyway, I'll pay these few bills first.

Now, where is my checkbook? Oops, there's only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk. Oh, there's the coke I was drinking. I'm going to look for those checks. But first I have to put my coke further away from the computer, or maybe I'll pop it into the fridge to keep it cold for awhile.

I head towards the kitchen and my flowers catch my eye; they need some water.

I set the coke on the counter, and uh oh. There are my glasses. I was looking for them all morning. I'd better put them away first.

I fill a container with water and head for the flower pots.

Uh oh.....someone left the TV remote in the kitchen. We'll never think to look in the kitchen tonight when we want to watch television, so I'd better put it back in the family room where it belongs.

I splash some water into the pots and onto the floor, I throw the remote onto a soft cushion on the sofa and I head back down the hall trying to figure out what it was I was going to do?

End of the Day: The car isn't washed, the bills are unpaid, the coke is sitting on the kitchen counter, the flowers are half-watered, the checkbook still only has one check in it and I can't seem to find my car keys.

When I try to figure out how come nothing got done today, I'm baffled because I KNOW I WAS BUSY ALL DAY LONG!!!!!

I realize this is a serious condition and I'll get help, but first I think I'll check my email................

Please send this to everyone you know because I DON'T REMEMBER TO WHOM I'VE SENT THIS!!!!!!

Author Forgotten

Forwarded by Dick Haar

There is a lot of sadness in the world.

Right now, as you read this, 17 Million Americans are having SEX!

And you're on the computer!

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

  NEW WORDS FOR 2003 - Essential additions for the workplace   vocabulary:      

BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and no one was responsible.   SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise,   craps on everything, and then leaves.      

ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.      

SALMON DAY: The experience of spending entire day swimming upstream only  to get screwed and die in the end.      

CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.      

PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a Cube  Farm,   and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.       MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.      

SITCOMs: Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What   yuppies  turn   into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay   home  with   the kids.      

STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and  whiney.      

SWIPEOUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.      

XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's workplace.      

IRRITAINMENT: Entertainment and media spectacles that are annoying but you   find yourself unable to stop watching them. The O.J. trials were a   prime example.      

PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the dickens out of  an electronic device to get it to work again.      

404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message   "404  Not   Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located.      

GENERICA: Features of the American landscape that are exactly the   same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, subdivisions.      

OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize   that  you've just made a BIG mistake.      

WOOFYS: Well Off Older Folks.  

Forwarded by our Maria

Dr. Seuss Explains Why Computers Sometimes Crash

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, 
and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort, 
and the access of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, 
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash, 
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash, 
and your data is corrupted cause the index doesn't hash, 
then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house 
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse, 
but your packets want to tunnel to another protocol, 
that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall, 
and your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, 
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse; 
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, 
'cuz sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy in the disk, 
and the macro code instructions cause unnecessary risk, 
then you'll have to flash the memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM 
then quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your Mom!

WELL! That certainly clears things up for ME !

Forwarded by Dick Haar

A mama mole, a papa mole and a baby mole all live in a little mole hole.

One day the papa mole sticks his head out of the hole, sniffs the air and says,"Yum! I smell maple syrup!"

The mama mole sticks her head out of the hole, sniffs the air and says "Yum! I smell honey!"

The baby mole tries to stick his head out of the hole to sniff the air, but can't because the bigger moles are in the way, so he says, "Geez, all I can smell is....

Scroll down.......



* * * * * * * * * Get ready.......

* * * * * * You may never forgive me for this one...

* * * * * * * * * MOLASSES!"

Forwarded by Earl Beatty

(1) What did the average Texas A&M player get on his SATs?  

(2) What do you get when you put 32 Arkansas cheerleaders in one room?
 ..........A full set of teeth.    

(3) How do you get a Nebraska cheerleader into your dorm room?  
..........Grease her hips and hold a Twinkie package three feet in front of her nose.    

(4) How do you get a Notre Dame graduate off your porch?  
..........Pay him for the pizza.    

(5) Why do the Texas Tech cheerleaders wear bibs?
..........To keep   the tobacco juice off their uniforms.    

(6) Why is the UNM (Univ of New Mex.) football team like a possum? 
 ..........Because they play dead at home and get killed on the road.    

(7) What are the longest three years of a Oklahoma football player's life?  
..........His freshman year.    

(8) How many Ole Miss freshmen does it take to change a light bulb?  
........None....That's a senior course.    

(9) Where was O.J. Simpson headed in the white Bronco? 
 ..........Albuquerque, New Mexico. He knew that the police would   never look there for a Heisman Trophy winner.    

AND FINALLY (drum roll and cymbal crash.....)    
(10) Why did Texas choose orange as their team color?
 ..........You can wear it for the game on Saturday, hunting on Sunday and   picking up trash along the highways the rest of the week 


And that's the way it was on August 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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August 20, 2002


Quotes of the Week

Now is the Time for Better Sharing
Top accounting researchers do not make an effort to use technology to communicate with accounting educators around the world.  Almost none have useful Websites and less than one third of them attend the conferences of the American Accounting Association.  Less than ten of the top researchers are active in sending out messages on the only active email discussion group (the AECM) for accounting educators.  I hope that in the future, top accounting researchers will become more sharing of their time, their research, and their talents in helping and guiding accounting educators.  All of the winning curriculum revision suggestions  (by Professors Fellingham, Penman, and Kinney) announced on August 17, 2002 in Plenary Session 3 of the AAA annual meetings in San Antonio strongly advocated building more accounting research into our accounting curricula.  Top accounting researchers could help by sharing their time and talent with accounting educators more involved in designing curricula and delivering the courses to the masses.  My suggestions include increased efforts by top researchers to create helpful Websites, participate in AAA activities, and send messages out to the AECM electronic discussion group.  Although college and university reward structures do not yet recognize the importance of daily sharing of knowledge with the outside world, the time has come for a greater spirit of sharing.  I think MIT recognizes this in that school's seminal Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI).

Bob Jensen
Acceptance Speech for the August 15, 2002 American Accounting Association's Outstanding Educator Award --- 

As a body everyone is single, but as a soul, never!
Hermann Hesse

The Roots of Bad Ethics
One thing that I learned, during a presentation at the Year 2002 AAA Annual Meetings in San Antonio (I can't recall which speaker made this assertion), is that much of the pressure to minimize negative news about a given stock comes from the huge pension and mutual funds that hold large blocks of this stock.  Many of us assume that the pressure to cheat, cook the books, and stifle bad news about particular companies comes from the companies themselves.  In some cases there may be as much or more pressure coming from large investors who do not want their portfolios to take a big hit due to low earnings outcomes or other bad news.  Bad ethics and pressure tactics seeps beyond the corporations and auditors.

Bob Jensen

Big Five Get Low Grades for Performance
Survey shows that auditors mostly fail to uncover bookkeeping irregularities, and often fail to warn about clients headed for Ch.11.
Stephen Taub,

Merrill Defends Enron Research But Analyst Says Pressure Existed.
Charles Gasparino and Randall Smith, Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2002
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at 

“The evidence indicates that Enron would not have been able to engage in the extent of the accounting deceptions it did, involving billions of dollars, were it not for the active participation of major financial institutions willing to go along with and even expand upon Enron’s activities,” Roach said at the hearing of the investigative panel of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.
Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase: Big Fees and Favors in Enron Dealings ---
Bob Jensen's "Rotten to the Core" threads are at 

One's life is the touchstone of profession
Alessandro Manzoni

A black Baptist preacher from Louisiana I know denied that there was such a thing as "tainted" money. In accepting a tithe from a lottery winner (gambling!), he said that the only "tainted" money was money he taint got.
Forwarded by Barbara Scofield [scofield_b@UTPB.EDU

Thoughts draw back, objects move forward.
Nina Ivanoff

I've always been astonished by the absurd turns rivers have to make to flow under every bridge
Beppe Grillo

Edsger Dijkstra died last month. He was one of the world's most famous and controversial computer scientists. He was quoted in his obituary to have said, "To ask if computers can think is like asking if a submarine can swim". 
Aaron Konstam

Major New Law in the Wake of the Accounting and Finance Scandals

A detailed summary of the Act can be downloaded from 

Other updates on the accounting and finance scandals --- 

Auditbots"  Auditing Robots

"Auditbots Automate Auditing Processes, by Josheph McCafferty, CFO Magazine, Vol. 18, July 1, 2002, Page 19, ISSN: 8756-7113

The key to catching accounting improprieties may lie in your computer--via automated auditing processes called "auditbots."

"The ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems put in place at many companies have made it possible for outside auditors to embed software in the systems to audit transactions," says Robert Jensen, an accounting professor at Trinity University in San Antonio.

He says that automating the audit process could free up auditors to look for other problems beyond routine transactions, like under-the-table dealing. The auditbots would also be able to audit every transaction instead of just sampling them, thereby eliminating sampling error. "It would limit some of the suspicion that auditors aren't doing a good job," explains Jensen.

Auditbots are starting up at AT&T and HCA Healthcare, and about 15 other companies are experimenting with the technique, says Rutgers University accounting professor Miklos Vasarhelyi. The biggest hurdle so far is how to make the systems secure, even to the companies where they are installed. "It's coming," says Vasarhelyi. "It's just a matter of when."

Statistics of Income Overview from the IRS ---,,i1%3D40%26genericId%3D16924,00.html 

Bob Jensen's economic statistics bookmarks are at 

Bob Jensen's income taxation bookmarks are at 

"Read the best books first or you may not have a chance to read them at all." Henry David Thoreau



The "Business" category is somewhat disappointing.
Financial Times/Booz-Allen & Hamilton Best Business Book, 1996-1998
Home Business Magazine's Top 10 Home Business Books

Really Bad News from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

"EFF Whitepaper: Unintended Consequences Three Years under the DMCA ---  

1.  Executive Summary

  Since they were enacted in 1998, the “anti-circumvention” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), codified in section 1201 of the Copyright Act, have not been used as Congress envisioned. Congress meant to stop copyright pirates from defeating anti-piracy protections added to copyrighted works, and to ban “black box” devices intended for that purpose.1

  In practice, the anti-circumvention provisions have been used to stifle a wide array of legitimate activities, rather than to stop copyright piracy. As a result, the DMCA has developed into a serious threat to three important public policy priorities:

Section 1201 Chills Free Expression and Scientific Research.

Experience with section 1201 demonstrates that it is being used to stifle free speech and scientific research. The lawsuit against 2600 magazine, threats against Princeton Professor Edward Felten’s team of researchers, and prosecution of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov have chilled the legitimate activities of journalists, publishers, scientists, students, program­mers, and members of the public.

Section 1201 Jeopardizes Fair Use.

By banning all acts of circumvention, and all technologies and tools that can be used for circumvention, section 1201 grants to copyright owners the power to unilaterally eliminate the public’s fair use rights. Already, the music industry has begun deploying “copy-protected CDs” that promise to curtail consumers’ ability to make legitimate, personal copies of music they have purchased.

Section 1201 Impedes Competition and Innovation.

Rather than focusing on pirates, many copyright owners have chosen to use the DMCA to hinder their legitimate competitors. For example, Sony has invoked section 1201 to protect their monopoly on Playstation video game consoles, as well as their “regionalization” system limiting users in one country from playing games legitimately purchased in another.

This document collects a number of reported cases where the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA have been invoked not against pirates, but against consumers, scientists, and legitimate comp­etitors. It will be updated from time to time as additional cases come to light. The latest version can always be obtained at

2.  DMCA Legislative Background

  Congress enacted section 1201 in response to two pressures. First, Congress was responding to the perceived need to implement obligations imposed on the U.S. by the 1996 World Intellectual Property Or­ganization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty. Section 1201, however, went further than the WIPO treaty required.2 The details of section 1201, then, were a response not just to U.S. treaty obligations, but also to the concerns of copyright owners that their works would be widely pirated in the networked digital world.3

  Section 1201 contains two distinct prohibitions: a ban on acts of circumvention, as well as a ban on the distribution of tools and technologies used for circumvention.

The first prohibition, set out in section 1201(a)(1), prohibits the act of circumventing a technological measure used by copyright owners to control access to their works (“access controls”). So, for example, this provision makes it unlawful to defeat the encryption system used on DVD movies. This ban on acts of circumvention applies even where the purpose for decrypting the movie would otherwise be legitimate. As a result, if a Disney DVD prevents you from fast-forwarding through the commercials that preface the feature presentation, efforts to circumvent this restriction would be unlawful.

Second, sections 1201(a)(2) and 1201(b) outlaw the manufacture, sale, distribution or trafficking of tools and technologies that make circumvention possible. These provisions ban not only technologies that defeat access controls, but also technologies that defeat use restrictions imposed by copyright owners, such as copy controls. These provisions prevent technology vendors from taking steps to defeat the “copy-protection” now appearing on many music CDs, for example.

Section 1201 also includes a number of exceptions for certain limited classes of activities, including security testing, reverse engineering of software, encryption research, and law enforcement. These exceptions have been extensively criticized as being too narrow to be of real use to the constituencies who they were intended to assist.4

A violation of any of the “act” or “tools” prohibitions is subject to significant civil and, in some circumstances, criminal penalties.

3.  Free Expression and Scientific Research

Section 1201 is being used by a number of copyright owners to stifle free speech and legitimate scientific research. The lawsuit against 2600 magazine, threats against Princeton Professor Edward Felten’s team of researchers, and prosecution of the Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov have imposed a chill on a variety of legitimate activities.

For example, online service providers and bulletin board operators have begun to censor discussions of copy-protection systems, programmers have removed computer security programs from their websites, and students, scientists and security experts have stopped publishing details of their research on existing security protocols. Foreign scientists are also increasingly uneasy about traveling to the United States out of fear of possible DMCA liability, and certain technical conferences have begun to relocate overseas.

These developments will ultimately result in weakened security for all computer users (including, ironically, for copyright owners counting on technical measures to protect their works), as security researchers shy away from research that might run afoul of section 1201.5

Professor Felten’s Research Team Threatened

In September 2000, a multi-industry group known as the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) issued a public challenge encouraging skilled technologists to try to defeat certain watermarking technologies intended to protect digital music. Princeton Professor Edward Felten and a team of researchers at Princeton, Rice, and Xerox took up the challenge and succeeded in removing the watermarks.

When the team tried to present their results at an academic conference, however, SDMI representatives threatened the researchers with liability under the DMCA. The threat letter was also delivered to the researchers’ employers, as well as the conference organizers. After extensive discussions with counsel, the researchers grudgingly withdrew their paper from the conference. The threat was ultimately withdrawn and a portion of the research published at a subsequent conference, but only after the researchers filed a lawsuit in federal court.

After enduring this experience, at least one of the researchers involved has decided to forgo further research efforts in this field.

Pamela Samuelson, “Anticircumvention Rules: Threat to Science,” 293 Science 2028, Sept. 14, 2001.

Letter from Matthew Oppenheim, SDMI General Counsel, to Prof. Edward Felten, April 9, 2001.

Dmitry Sklyarov Arrested

Beginning in July 2001, Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov was jailed for several weeks and detained for five months in the United States after speaking at the DEFCON conference in Las Vegas.

Prosecutors, prompted by software goliath Adobe Systems Inc., alleged that Sklyarov had worked on a software program known as the Advanced e-Book Processor, which was distributed over the Internet by his Russian employer, ElcomSoft Co. Ltd. The software allowed owners of Adobe electronic books (“e-books”) to convert them from Adobe’s e-Book format into Adobe Portable Document Format (“pdf”) files, thereby removing restrictions embedded into the files by e-Book publishers.

Sklyarov was never accused of infringing any copyrighted e-Book, nor of assisting anyone else to infringe copyrights. His alleged crime was working on a software tool with many legitimate uses, simply because third parties he has never met might use the tool to copy an e-Book without the publisher’s permission.

In December 2001, under an agreement with the Department of Justice, Sklyarov was allowed to return home. The Department of Justice, however, is continuing to prosecute his employer, ElcomSoft, under the criminal provisions of the DMCA.

Lawrence Lessig, “Jail Time in the Digital Age,” N.Y. Times at A7, July 30, 2001.

Jennifer 8 Lee, “U.S. Arrests Russian Cryptographer as Copyright Violator,” N.Y. Times at C8, July 18, 2001.

Scientists and Programmers Withhold Research

Following the legal threat against Professor Felten’s research team and the arrest of Dmitry Sklyarov, a number of prominent computer security experts have curtailed their legitimate research activities out of fear of potential DMCA liability.

For example, prominent Dutch cryptographer and security systems analyst Neils Ferguson discovered a major security flaw in an Intel video encryption system known as High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). He declined to publish his results and removed all references on his website relating to flaws in HDCP, on the grounds that he travels frequently to the U.S. and is fearful of “prosecution and/or liability under the U.S. DMCA law.”

Neils Ferguson, “Censorship in Action: Why I Don’t Publish My HDCP Results,” Aug. 15, 2001.

Neils Ferguson, Declaration in Felten & Ors v R.I.A.A. case, Aug. 13, 2001.

Lisa M. Bowman, “Researchers Weigh Publication, Prosecution,” CNET News, Aug. 15, 2001.

Following the arrest of Dmitry Sklyarov, Fred Cohen, a professor of digital forensics and respected security consultant, removed his “Forensix” evidence-gathering software from his website, citing fear of potential DMCA liability.

Another respected network security protection expert, Dug Song, also removed content from his website for the same reason. Mr. Song is the author of several security papers, including a paper describing a common vulnerability in many firewalls.

Robert Lemos, “Security Workers: Copyright Law Stifles,” CNET News, Sept. 6, 2001.

In mid-2001 an anonymous programmer discovered a vulnerability in Microsoft’s proprietary e-Book digital rights management code, but refused to publish the results, citing DMCA liability concerns.

Wade Roush, “Breaking Microsoft's e-Book Code,” Technology Review at 24, November 2001.

Foreign Scientists Avoid U.S.

Foreign scientists have expressed concerns about traveling to the U.S. following the arrest of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov. Some foreign scientists have advocated boycotting conferences held in the U.S. and a number of conference bodies have decided to move their conferences to non-U.S. locations. Russia has issued a travel warning to Russian programmers traveling to the U.S.

Highly respected British Linux programmer Alan Cox resigned from the USENIX committee of the Advanced Computing Systems Association, the committee that organizes many of the U.S. com­puting conferences, because of his concerns about traveling to the U.S. Cox has urged USENIX to hold its annual conference offshore. The International Information Hiding Workshop Conference, the conference at which Professor Felten’s team intended to present its original paper, has chosen to hold all of its future conferences outside of the U.S. following the SDMI threat to Professor Felten and his team.

Will Knight, “Computer Scientists boycott US over digital copyright law,” New Scientist, July 23, 2001.

Alan Cox of Red Hat UK Ltd, declaration in Felten v. RIAA, Aug. 13, 2001.

Jennifer 8 Lee, “Travel Advisory for Russian Programmers,” N.Y. Times at C4, Sept.10, 2001.

IEEE Wrestles with DMCA

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which publishes 30 per cent of all computer science journals worldwide, recently was drawn into the controversy surrounding science and the DMCA. Apparently concerned about possible liability under Section 1201, the IEEE in November 2001 instituted a policy requiring all authors to indemnify IEEE for any liabilities incurred should a submission result in legal action under the DCMA.

After an outcry from IEEE members, the organization ultimately revised its submission policies, removing mention of the DMCA. According to Bill Hagen, manager of IEEE Intellectual Property Rights, “The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has become a very sensitive subject among our authors. It’s intended to protect digital content, but its application in some specific cases appears to have alienated large segments of the research community.”

IEEE press release, “IEEE to Revise New Copyright Form to Address Author Concerns,” April 22, 2002.

Will Knight, “Controversial Copyright Clause Abandoned,” New Scientist, April 15, 2002.

2600 Magazine Censored

The Universal City Studios v. Reimerdes case6 illustrates the chilling effect that section 1201 has had on the freedom of the press.

In that case, eight major motion picture companies brought a DMCA suit against 2600 magazine seeking to block it from publishing the DeCSS software program, which defeats the encryption used on DVD movies. 2600 had made the program available on its web site in the course of ongoing coverage of the controversy surrounding the DMCA. The magazine was not involved in the development of software, nor was it accused of having used the software for any copyright infringement.

Notwithstanding the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press, the district court permanently barred 2600 from publishing, or even linking to, the DeCSS software code. In November 2001, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court decision.

In essence, the movie studios effectively obtained a “stop the presses” order banning the publication of truthful information by a news publication concerning a matter of public concern—an unprecedented curtailment of well-established First Amendment prin­ciples.

Carl S. Kaplan, “Questioning Continues in Copyright Suit,” N.Y. Times, May 4, 2001.

Simson Garfinkel, “The Net Effect: The DVD Rebellion,” Technology Review at 25, July/Aug. 2001.

Xenia P. Kobylarz, “DVD Case Clash—Free Speech Advocates Say Copyright Owners Want to Lock Up Ideas; Encryption Code is Key,” S.F. Daily Journal, May 1, 2001.

Continued at 

Bob Jensen's threads on the DMCA are at

My Hero at the American Accounting Association Meetings in San Antonio on August 13, 2002 --- Amy Dunbar

How to students evaluate Amy Dunbar's online tax courses?

This link is a pdf doc that I will be presenting at a CPE session with Bob Jensen, Nancy Keeshan, and Dennis Beresford at the AAA on Tuesday. I updated the paper I wrote that summarized the summer 2001 online course. You might be interested in the exhibits, particularly Exhibit II, which summarizes student responses to the learning tools over the two summers. This summer I used two new learning tools: synchronous classes (I used Placeware) and RealPresenter videos. My read of the synchronous class comments is that most students liked having synchronous classes, but not often and not long ones! 8 of the 57 responding students thought the classes were a waste of time. 19 of my students, however, didn't like the RealPresenter videos, partly due to technology problems. Those who did like them, however, really liked them and many wanted more of them. I think that as students get faster access to the Internet, the videos will be more useful. 

Amy Dunbar 

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment issues are at 

Understanding Bandwidth and Streaming Media Production 

Understanding bandwidth is really quite simple, and it is necessary to have a fundamental grasp of what bandwidth is if you are creating streaming media files such as WMV, ASF or CAMV etc. --- 

The purpose of this document is to provide an easy to understand, general explanation of what bandwidth means, and how it relates to video production of screen recordings and content delivery. It is not a technical dissertation, and will therefore, for reasons of simplicity of explanation, use approximation and rounding in most calculations.

Bob Jensen's threads on resources are at 

Sharing Professor of the Week  (Education, Teaching, Case Method, Enron)
Not all of Professor Bruner's online materials are free, but he does have some free Website materials at 
I have also ordered some of his materials that can be purchased, because they really look interesting.

Some great materials (cases, papers, etc.) from one of the finest finance professors in the world are available online (for a fee).  I discovered these in the August 13, 2002 interview with Robert Bruner in a newsletter called FinanceProfessor News.  Sign up for the Free newsletter! Indeed have your classes do so as well. It is free and your name and address will never be given out or sold. 


Abstract: Socrates’ Muse:

Case: Enron 1986-2001

Case: Enron’s Weather Derivatives

Note to the Student: How to Study and Discuss Cases;

Essay: “Opening a Course:”

Essay: “Setting expectations”:

Case Studies in Finance, Fourth Edition

A complete listing for Robert Bruner on SSRN:

Educator: Courses, Cases and Teaching ---
Editors: Robert F. Bruner and Peter Tufano and Kent Womack
Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia and Harvard Business School and Dartmouth College

The final barrier blocking the trading of single-stock futures (SSFs) in the US was removed this week when the SEC approved customer margin rules. The SEC's regulatory partner, the CFTC, also approved final rules for the use of the instruments, earlier this month. SSFs, which are contractual agreements to buy or sell shares of an individual company at a given price on a set future date, could start trading as early as September, according to James Newsome, CFTC chairman. Both the SEC and the CFTC agreed to set minimum margin levels at 20% of current market value (Risk News, July 26, 2002)

Bob Jensen's illustrations of accounting for futures can be found at 
Especially note Margin WHEW and Margin OOPs

"Do Libraries Really Need Books? Controversial projects at some colleges move the printed word out of sight," by Scott Carlson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 12, 2002 --- 

"I love libraries. Books talk to me," says Madeline M. Wake, dean of the nursing school at Marquette University, who will become provost in August. She likes to walk through the stacks and pull out books that catch her eye. "As I was growing in my education, that's the way I processed stuff," she says.

But her students learn differently. They turn to the Internet instead of books. So she's looking forward to a new library at Marquette, to be stocked with computers and digital-media centers. She hopes that they will help teach a generation raised more on cathode-ray tubes than printing presses.

"My guess is that people are reading the things that they really rely on for information online," Ms. Wake says. "So to pretend that we're living in yesterday isn't helpful."

These days, many college administrators and trustees agree with her, saying outright that the book will soon be the information medium of the past, if it isn't already. Although most new and planned campus libraries still follow traditional designs, a few colleges have responded to pedagogical trends -- and promises of a bright technological future -- by consolidating the stacks to make more space for computer technology, attractive study lounges, and group-learning areas. In this vision, the library becomes a hub of activity, a "one-stop shop" for information and technology tools. Trustees and administrators, and even some librarians, aware of declining book-circulation figures and the tremendous popularity of new Web sites and databases, are giving new media and defined spaces for study the most prominent place in library construction and renovation.

For example, at the Walter Library, at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a $53-million renovation took the book stacks out of the building's core, moved them to the basement or to other campus libraries, and replaced them with computer labs, a digital-media center, and a supercomputer institute. The renovation also brightened the reading rooms and added networking jacks and outlets to the old oak library tables. Other institutions -- the College of Charleston, Duke University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology among them -- have renovation and construction plans that emphasize the new technological roles of the library.

Continued at

Bob Jensen's helpers on how to find online libraries are at 

"The Condition of Education 2002" is available at no cost ---

August 7, 2002 message from Rosland Morris

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

What ten companies have the most "inflated" measures of profit?

"Shining A New Light on Earnings, BusinessWeek Editorial, June 21, 2002 --- 

How much does a company truly make? It's hard to tell these days. To boost the performance of their stocks, companies have come up with a slew of self-defined "pro forma" numbers that put their financials in a favorable light. Now ratings agency Standard & Poor's has devised a truer measure known as Core Earnings.

The Goal: to provide a standardized definition of the profits produced by a company's ongoing operations. Of the three main changes from more traditional measures of profits two reduce earnings: Income from pension funds is excluded and the cost of stock options are deducted as an expense. The other big change boosts earnings by adding back in the charges taken to adjust for overpriced acquisitions. Here are the top 10 losers and winners under Core Earnings:

"IBM, Microsoft and Cisco cited in 'inflated profits' report:  At a loss to explain profits," Jon Bernstein,, July 2002 --- 

Three of IT's leading lights are overstating their financial health, according to a report from credit rating agency Standards and Poor's (S&P).

The report, which comes in the wake of the WorldCom affair, attempts to re-state the profits of a number of leading US firms in attempt to strip them down to 'core earnings'.

Using its own measure of profitability, S&P estimates that IBM's earnings for 2001 are down $2.87bn and Microsoft's are down $2.26bn. Meanwhile, Cisco's losses for 2001 stand at $2.52bn compared to the $1.01bn the company stated.

S&P says that US Inc has been boosting profits by excluding acquisition charges and including income from pension funds.

WorldCom faces collapse after a $3.8bn accounting fraud was exposed last week. WorldCom stands accused of treating running costs as capital expenditure.

For related news, see:
Xerox: the next WorldCom?
Worldcom - the winners and the losers
Worldcom-it is hits British university network
WorldCom fraud shock sends stock markets tumbling

Bob Jensen's threads on the S&P conceptualization of "core earnings" are at 

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) launched the Lifelong Learning Center, an online resource for accounting and financial continuing education --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on global online training and education sites can be found at 

Enron's Empire:  How Government and International Agencies Used Taxpayers Money to Bankroll the Energy Giant's International Investments," by Daphne Wysham and Jim Vallette Special to CorpWatch April 11, 2002 --- 

The US public is only just beginning to comprehend the devastating domestic impact of Enron's financial machinations and dirty deals. However, the part of the story that has been eclipsed until now, is that Enron's international empire, which was fraught with charges of human rights and environmental abuses, was built on a foundation of about $7 billion in taxpayer money. This $7 billion came from institutions whose mandates range from poverty alleviation to promoting the US Merchant Marines or German exports, yet Enron convinced each that it was in their interest to promote the capitalization of Enron.

Since Enron's inception in 1992, at least 20 agencies, representing the U.S. Government (leading the way with over $3 billion), the British, Italian, French, German, and Japanese governments, as well as the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union and the World Bank, approved $7 billion in financing toward overseas projects in which Enron had substantial involvement. Enron leveraged this public finance into a worldwide web of power and energy projects with an array of political interventions from local politicians to the Vice President of the United States. Enron's overseas operations rewarded shareholders temporarily but often punished the people and governments of foreign countries it targeted with price hikes and blackouts worse than those suffered by Californians in 2001.

In desperately poor countries where Enron operated, these hardships sparked protests or riots. Local government leaders were, in many cases, implicated in the scandals or in the violent suppression of dissent.

For example:

While all this was occurring, the US Government and other public agencies continued to advocate for Enron, threatening poor countries like Mozambique with an end to aid if they did not accept Enron's bid on a natural gas field. Enron was so intertwined with the US Government in many people's minds that they assumed, as the late Croatian strongman Franjo Tjudman did, that pleasing Enron meant pleasing the White House. For Tjudman, he hoped that compliance with an overpriced Enron contract might parlay into an array of political favors, from softer treatment at The Hague's War Crimes Tribunal to the entry of his country into the World Trade Organization.

Only when Enron's scandals began to affect Americans did these same government officials and institutions hold the corporation at arm's length. And only when Enron leadership revealed their greed on home turf did it became the biggest corporate scandal in recent US history.

The World Bank and Enron: A Converging Agenda

The history of Enron's rise and fall would be incomplete without some background on the public agencies that assisted the corporation in its global expansion. It is important to begin with the World Bank, this institution more than any other often creates an agenda that other bilateral and multilateral development banks follow.

The World Bank began investing in oil and gas following on the heels of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil embargo and oil price shocks of the 1970s. The rationale for this investment was clear: The US, an oil- and gas-dependent nation with limited indigenous sources of oil, needed to diversify its sources of non-OPEC oil and gas. Administration officials were concerned that OPEC had a virtual monopoly on the fuels, and could raise prices at whim, sending shockwaves throughout the global economy. The secondary concern, particularly for Northern investors, was the fact that, as oil prices rose, so, too, did developing countries' inability to service their debt. The U.S. worried that these countries, already strapped for cash, would default on their loans.

And so it was just days after former President Ronald Reagan assumed office in January 1981 that their administration began dismantling World Bank conventions and initiatives. One of the first areas to which the Reagan administration turned its attention was the World Bank's investment in the energy sector. The Bank had revealed its intention to increase investments in energy, but the US Treasury wrote that, without deregulation and privatization of the oil and gas industry abroad, such investment would support regimes that were not friendly to private investors and multinational oil companies.

In a report entitled, An Examination of The World Bank Energy Lending Program, the office of the US Treasury's Assistant Secretary prescribed measures the World Bank should take to encourage private investment in oil and gas development. The report's authors noted that the World Bank, perceived as a neutral third party, would be more successful in advancing this agenda than the US, at little or no cost.

Here is how it worked: The World Bank would issue loans for privatization of the energy or the power sector in a developing country or make this a condition of further loans, and Enron would be amongst the first, and often the most successful, bidders to enter the country's newly privatized or deregulated energy markets. The US Commerce Department, State Department, or Energy Department would then send officials to meet with politicians in the targeted country. After meeting with these officials, deals would mysteriously turn in Enron's favor. Sometimes suspicions would be raised by the amazing deals Enron would strike -- purchasing power plants or buying shares in a gas field at vastly undervalued prices. Perhaps a politician or two would be exposed and be forced to resign. But soon thereafter the public finance would begin to flow -- from US and other export credit agencies, multilateral development banks, and private financiers. And another project would be on its way.

The Dominican Republic

One specific case in point is the Dominican Republic. In the early 1990s, the Dominican Republic opened its doors to independent power producers, to help the cash-strapped country produce power for its citizens. On July 22, 1994, the World Bank's IFC approved a $132.3 million loan, and a year later, an additional $1.5 million currency swap, in support of a 185-megawatt combined-cycle power facility mounted on a barge at Puerto Plata. The barge-mounted power plant was owned by Enron's subsidiary, Enron Global Power & Pipelines, which acquired the parent company's 50% share in the barge power plant in 1995.1

In December of 1996, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) provided a $50 million guarantee toward two Enron power barges for this project.2 In January 1998, the World Bank's IBRD approved a $20 million loan to privatize the country's power sector. The goal, said the World Bank, was to open up the power sector to private companies, through reforms at the state agency, Corporacion Dominica de Electricidad (CDE).

When the government privatized its power sector, Enron (along with several other firms) rushed in to buy a stake in the generating capacity of the Dominican Republic, while AES and Union Fenosa of Spain bought into the distribution networks. Shortly after the private companies took over, power rates skyrocketed by 51-100% or more. Consumers refused to pay the higher rates, and ultimately forced the government to absorb most of the tariff increase.

As a result, the government paid around $5 million per month to the power companies, with an accumulated debt of more than US $135 million. The mounting debts in turn caused Enron and others to turn off the power, with blackouts sometimes lasting as much as 20 hours, affecting hospitals, businesses, and schools. By early 2001, widespread frustration with the situation triggered protests, some of which turned violent after police clashed with demonstrators. At least nine people died in the protests, including a 14-year-old boy.

In June 2001, the President of the Dominican Republic announced that the contracts awarded during the privatization of the power sector would be investigated. In a situation with similarities to California's 2001 energy debacle, shortages were originally blamed on private power generators, which at the time of the crisis were only supplying a little less than half of the 815,000 kilowatts they were capable of producing. The electricity issue also sparked a confrontation between the Dominican government and the U.S. Embassy, after the former accused the Smith-Enron joint venture of outright fraud for failing to deliver its promise to generate at least 175 megawatts a day.3

Officials of the current and previous administration have been publicly trading responsibility for the chaos in the electricity sector. Meanwhile a familiar name has turned up in a report done for the Dominican Republic's Senate. The Senate report claimed that the assets of the CDE had been undervalued by $2.1 billion. It questioned whether the payment from the private companies had ever entered the country. The auditor who valued these public assets at such fire sale prices? A local subsidiary of Arthur Andersen.

Some Lessons

After a detailed study of Enron's overseas activities over the past decade in 27 countries, Institute for Policy Studies researchers have reached the following 4 conclusions:

1. Using taxpayer monies, US Government agencies were the largest backers of Enron's activities abroad.

Although Enron-related projects obtained more than $7 billion in public financing from all over the world from 1992 to 2001, US Government agencies (the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank, the US Maritime Administration Trade and Development Agency) lead the way with $3.4 billion in support of Enron-related projects abroad. This assistance, and other, less tangible favors, was provided by US officials and institutions despite widespread evidence of Enron's involvement in fraud, corruption, and human rights abuses.

2. The World Bank was the second largest supporter of Enron projects abroad.

Despite some reluctance to support several deals obviously favorable to Enron, the World Bank did provide $745 million in support for Enron-related overseas projects from 1992 to 2001. Beyond direct support for specific projects, it also provided Enron an entre to many developing countries by pushing its agenda of privatization and deregulation of the energy and power sectors as conditions on further loans.

3. When the World Bank or US agencies decided Enron's projects were financially or politically untenable, other export credit agencies and regional financial institutions eagerly stepped into the breach.

A host of development and aid agencies -- from the multilateral European Investment Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to the bilateral Commonwealth Development Corporation of the UK -- provided over $3 billion in financing for 19 Enron-related projects, adding non-US Government taxpayer support to Enron's risky ventures abroad.

4. Enron's collapse calls into question the policy of energy deregulation that Enron, together with its partners in the United States Government, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have advocated domestically and worldwide.

The World Bank and IMF have been pursuing deregulation and privatization of the power and energy sectors for two decades. Energy deregulation has resulted in the energy needs of the vast majority of citizens-the poorest as well as those in need of power for businesses, hospitals, schools and other public services to function-being routinely sacrificed for private gain. So long as the World Bank, IMF, WTO, US Government and corporations continue to advance this agenda of energy and power deregulation, all signs suggest that future "Enrons" will continue to occur, with devastating public consequences.


  1. For further details on the ownership struggle at the Puerto Plata plant, see court case: Smith/Enron Cogeneration Ltd Partnership, Enron International, et al., vs. Smith Cogeneration International Inc., United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Docket No. 99-7101, Argued Sept. 15, 1999, Decided Dec. 8, 1999.

  2. MARAD approved guarantees to build three power barges for this project. In 1994, MARAD approved a $34.3 million guarantee for McDermott's construction of one barge mounted power plant for the Puerto Plata project. In 1996, MARAD approved a $50 million guarantee toward the construction of two Smith-Enron barge mounted power barges constructed (TK) by Trinity Marine of Beaumont, Texas.

  3. PSIRU Enron Report, June 2001

Accounting firm KPMG has been reprimanded and fined by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland for what the Institute described as an audit that "in terms of efficiency and competence fell below the standards to be expected." 

AccountiingWeb ---,%20%Y (Requires Subscription)

KPMG Gets Probation For Bungling Orange County Audit
AccountingWEB US - July 29, 2002 -  International accounting firm KPMG has been slapped with a $1.8 million fine and a year of probation after being found guilty of gross negligence and unprofessional conduct for its handling of the 1992 and 1993 audit and financial statements of Orange County, California. The California Board of Accountancy also ordered three years of probation and 100 hours community service for KPMG partner Margaret Jean McBride and two years of probation each for former KPMG accountants Joseph Horton Parker and Bradley J. Timon. All were found guilty of gross negligence and unprofessional conduct.

The county declared bankruptcy in late 1994 after it lost $1.7 billion in its investment pool. County treasurer Robert L. Citron oversaw the investment pool. Mr. Citron was convicted of faking interest earnings and falsifying accounts. The Board claims that KPMG, attempting to save money on what turned out to be an underbid audit, cut corners by allowing junior staff members to conduct certain areas of the audit and by not helping the county solve its problem of a lack of internal controls with regard to the investment pool. KPMG auditors did not speak with the county treasurer regarding the investment pool, nor did they determine the true market value of the highly leveraged and speculative investments. KPMG paid a settlement of $75 million to Orange County in 1998.

KPMG refutes the claims and says the accountancy board wasted millions of dollars with the goal of making KPMG a scapegoat. "The claims by the board incorrectly challenge how KPMG reached its conclusions rather than claim our conclusions were wrong," said KPMG spokesman George Ledwith.

Continued at the AccountingWeb link shown above.

Bob Jensen's threads on the Orange County and other derivative instrument frauds can be found at 

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting scandals can be found at 

Brain Research
You probably didn't even know you had a "reward center" in your brain, but you do, and it's telling you to help your fellow humans.
"Study: Brains Want to Cooperate," by Louise Knapp, Wired News, July 24, 2002 ---,1286,53945,00.html 

A team from Emory University in Atlanta says they have resolved a question philosophers have been debating for centuries: Why do people cooperate with one another even when it is not in their best interests to do so?

The Emory studies revealed a biological theory that essentially says people cooperate because it makes them feel good.

We say people act this way because the brain is hard-wired to cooperate -- it associates cooperation with reward," said Gregory Berns, a professor at the Emory University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

During their experiments, Berns and the Emory team discovered that when pairs of volunteers cooperated with one another, the regions of the brain known as reward circuits were activated.

"These are the same regions of the brain that are activated when certain drugs are taken, or when you receive an unexpected sum of money," Berns said.

Thirty-six women participated in the study. No men were chosen because the Emory team wanted to avoid introducing any possible sexual tension that might affect participants' judgment.

The volunteers were divided into teams of two. One team member was placed inside a functional MRI scanner that monitors brain activity, while the second sat outside the scanner.

"A regular MRI gives a static picture; a functional MRI is more like a movie. It scans every two seconds, and so we can see any changes as they occur in the brain," Berns said.

Both volunteers could see a computer monitor where a game of Prisoner's Dilemma -- a decades-old model for cooperation -- was screened.

Each volunteer pressed a button to indicate when she was ready to play, and then each simultaneously pushed another button to indicate if she wished to cooperate with, or betray, the other player.

If both players chose to cooperate, each volunteer was awarded $2. If one cooperated, but the other defected, the defector received $3 and the cooperator received nothing. If both defected, each received $1.

According to economists, the rational selection in the game would be to defect.

"John Nash won his Nobel Prize by forming the theory that people act in a way that minimizes losses," Berns said. "In this game the way to play would be to defect, as you're guaranteed a minimum of $1 whatever the other chooses."

But Berns said that in real life, this is generally not what people select: Mutual cooperation was the most common outcome in the games.

And every time the two cooperated, the volunteer in the scanner showed activity in her brain's reward circuit: the nucleus accumbens, the caudate nucleus, ventromedial frontal/orbitofrontal cortex and rostral anterior cingulate cortex.

The Emory team did a number of other experiments to make sure this activity was directly related to human cooperation.

In these activities the volunteer in the scanner was pitted against a computer.

"The activation and reward circuit trigger only happened when they played with another person -- not against the computer," Berns said.

Continued at,1286,53945,00.html 

Searching Innovation of the Week

Search the Web Using Pictorial Images at --- 

Ditto's visual search is easy, fun and fast. Through images, Ditto has always provided you an excellent way to visually navigate the richness of the Web. Now we would like to announce a fabulous way to visually find products and services.

It's quite simple. At the top of selected search results pages you will see Featured Products and Services listings from an extraordinary variety of merchants. We think this is a great new way to shop the web. Go ahead, search and give it a try. On Ditto you see what you want to buy!

Our Company -- The Ditto site is a TLS Technologies property. We are the world’s leading visual search engine. Ditto enables people to navigate the Web through pictures. It is far easier for people to find what they are looking for when they are looking at it! Pictures are fun, fast and intuitive.

The premise behind our company is twofold; deliver highly relevant thumbnail images AND the highly relevant web sites underlying these images. In accomplishing this task we have compiled the largest searchable index of visual content on the internet via proprietary processes. These are accessible on our standalone web site or via the web sites of our Visual Search Partners.

Our Market -- The internet is increasingly becoming a visual medium as millions of images are being posted by businesses, schools, organizations and individuals. Visuals provide a unique and well-understood method of accessing information around the world. In addition to providing more relevant information for many searches, visual searching is often more intuitive, interesting and enjoyable to work with than traditional based text search engines. Therefore, as more information is displayed visually, there is a greater need to enhance traditional text-based searches with visually enhanced search. That is where we come in. Market research reveals that experienced Internet users, when exposed to visual search, have an extremely positive response and would refer the site to their friends at a rate substantially above average.

Our Business -- Our web site is a hugely popular destination for visual searching among all age groups, offering advertisers the opportunity to reach their audiences with targeted keyword or category placement. Additionally, our search technology is offered commercially to other sites through licensing partnerships in what we term our "Visual Search Partnerships".

Our Technology -- We believe relevancy is the key difference in our technology, and the following 3 elements are equally important in the overall makeup of that technology:

Indexing: We identify websites containing media via our automated crawler. We then select, rank, weight, filter and rate pictures, illustrations, clipart, photographs, drawings and other image-related material. Next, we index the images from these websites. Finally, these results are ranked and displayed in order of relevance.

Relevance: In order to achieve an exceptional level of relevance to a user’s search, we have developed a proprietary filtering process that combines sophisticated automated filtering with human editors.

Verification: Highly relevant results require ongoing maintenance. We continually review current images and links to ensure that our database contains accurate and up-to-date results.

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at 

"Getting an Answer Is One Thing, Learning Is Another," by Peter Coffee, eWeek, July 29, 2002

In the process of attempting to inform people via IT, it's ironic that we may be misinforming or disinforming them more than ever before. We're helping people find the most popular sources of what's often inaccurate or misleading data; we're answering people's questions, instead of questioning their implied assumptions. We're applying the ever-more-impressive technologies of Internet search and context-sensitive help toward counterproductive ends.

What got me thinking along these lines was an incident last week, when someone asked me how a computer actually stores pictures and sounds. I handed him a book on PCs (the one that I wrote in 1998, as it happens) and told him that the answers were in Chapter 8. In fact, that was the entire subject of that chapter. But he came back to me a few minutes later, frustrated, saying: "I don't understand why you said I should read this whole chapter. I just had one little question." (Honestly, it was less than 30 pages, with plenty of white space.)

I felt as if I were seeing, in that one brief exchange, the combined success and failure of our efforts over the years to devise interactive tools that answer the question the user is asking—and nothing more than that. Microsoft, with its Office Assistant and "Semantic Web" research efforts, is arguably the leader in giving people what they seem to think they want in this regard, but many others have also pursued these goals. Until now, I have thought that this was a completely good thing, but I'm starting to have my doubts.

The problem, I'm starting to suspect, is that people may have learned to resist the idea of absorbing a foundation of information before they start accumulating details. We've thrown so much complexity at people, during the past 20 years or so, that users have had to develop a defense mechanism: "Just tell me what I need to know!" But when we do this, we wind up with people who are merely following recipes that might as well be magic spells.

People used to have a chance to learn fundamentals, and maybe even see opportunities to do things in fundamentally different ways, before they were forced to buy in to the existing way of doing things, before they felt in danger of being hopelessly overtaken by minutiae. But look, for example, at the way we've changed our approach to the task of teaching people to write. We used to start children off with simple tools that did no more than they needed: When they were first learning to form letters, we gave them pencils. When they were ready for words and sentences, we gave them typewriters. When they were ready to start rereading and rewriting their own work, we gave them text editors.

Now, we're giving grade-school children desktop publishing tools, whose use exposes choices that they don't understand—and involves answers to questions that the kids have no idea of how, or why, to ask.

The problem also strikes in the opposite direction: Sometimes, it's not a question of knowing too little, but rather of "knowing" too much. If you only answer the question that a person chooses to ask, you give up any opportunity to influence the assumptions and beliefs behind that question.

For example, if someone asked you how to stop excessive bleeding from skin punctures, you could answer that question—and that person could happily go back to treating patients by bleeding them with leeches, now that you had "solved" his "problem." Would his patients appreciate your help?

We get angry when someone seems to be condescending to us by asking, "Are you sure that's really the question?" But we're done no favor when a tightly focused answer helps us keep doing the same irrelevant things, and lets us continue making "progress" in the wrong direction—instead of getting us out of our rut.

It's ironic that the vast worldwide knowledge base of the Web is actually helping us stay stupid and uninformed, merely because we can now find the answer that we don't know better than to want—instead of finding the easiest portal to knowledge through a door marked, "Let's begin at the beginning." There's the challenge: to build distance learning systems, knowledge-base search tools, and interactive help technologies that can help us find the trunk, and even the roots, as well as the leaves of the tree of knowledge.

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at 

E-Learner Competencies, by P.Daniel Birch, Learning Circuits --- 

Training managers and online courseware designers agree that e-learning isn't appropriate for every topic. But e-learning also may not be the right fit for all types of learners. Here are some of the behaviors of a successful e-learner. Do you have them?

Much has been said about the impact e-learning has on content developers, trainers, and training managers. When the conversation turns to learners, attention focuses on the benefits of less travel and fewer hours spent away from jobs. However, those issues don't create an entire picture of how e-learning affects participants.

The industry needs to take a closer look at how learning behaviors might adapt in an online environment. In other words, how do the skills that serve learners well in a classroom or during on-the-job learning translate to self-paced and virtual collaboration learning experiences? Do learners need new competencies? Will an organization find that some of its employees have e-learning disabilities?

In general, three major factors influence an e-learner's success:

Continued at 

How to be an E-Learner
Something to Talk About: Tips for Communicating in an Electronic Environment

Bob Jensen's Threads on assessment --- 





Message from Jim Morrison on August 12, 2002

As you may know, the Technology Source has a corporate university section because the challenges, issues, and solutions in using information technology confront all sectors of education. Much of the innovation in e-learning is taking place in the corporate university sector, both within business organizations and government agencies.

Corporate University Xchange (CUX) specializes in the design, development, benchmarking, and ongoing performance improvement of corporate universities. CUX has an extensive research and publication program on e-learning best practices, and produces conferences featuring presenters from front-running corporate education programs. CUX’s next conference, Corporate Universities @ Work: Achieving Success in Business and Government, is October 20-23 in Washington, D.C., where the program focuses on such topics as creating strategic learning partnerships between public and private sectors, developing blended learning solutions to build leadership skills, leveraging e-learning to build workforce competencies, and shifting the focus from training to performance. The complete program is described at

CUX wants to participate more actively in using TS as an information resource throughout the corporate community. Therefore, TS will have a “Birds of a Feather” lunch session during the conference where we will meet with people interested in discussing e-learning in all sectors (and perhaps contributing an article or two). If you are interested in attending this conference, forward this note to Christine Schmidt, CUX Conference Manager ( In the subject line, insert “TS Inquiry.” In the message box, explain that you are a TS reader who is responding to the CUX offer of a registration discount.

If you decide to attend, please let me know if you will also be able to attend our “Birds of a Feather” session.



James L. Morrison
The Technology Source
Home Page:

From "Foundations and Fremeworks for AIS Research," by Steve Sutton and Vicky Arnold, Researching Accounting as an Information Systems Discipline (Sarasota, FL:  American Accounitng Association's Information Systems Section, 2002, Page 3)

Accounting is rapidly becoming an IS discipline and the traditional research training provided in accounting doctoral programs leaves the vast majority of accounting faculty ill-prepared for completing AIS research studies that are capable of moving the research domain forward.  Three major factors contribute to this phenomenon: 

To counter these inhibitors for new and re-tooling scholars, this monograph is designed with the intent of providing 

As such, this monograph should aid in cutting the cycle time required for AIS researchers at all levels to review a research stream of interest and attain a foundation-level understanding of the key research and frontiers of development in that stream.

The FEI Research Foundation has a newsletter called TechKnowledge.  Issue #15 on August 14, 2002 contains the following modules:


A "digital identity" allows an Internet user to perform a single sign-on then move between sites seamlessly, eliminating the need to log on to each unique website. This idea is being realized two ways.

Microsoft Passport, which allows the user to move seamlessly to Passport-participating web sites, provides for the digital identity to be maintained and stored by Microsoft. The option to Passport is a group called the Liberty Alliance ( ), whose mission is "to establish an open standard for federated network identity through open technical specifications." Liberty Alliance introduced their version of standards for digital identity on July 15, 2002. Using Liberty's version, all websites that conform to the standards can read the digital identity. So, the standard digital identity would be stored by each subscriber to the standards.

In 2001, Gartner, Inc. asked consumers which features were most important from an online service provider. Making online credit card use safer was the top pick of 24% of respondents, while 26% answered increased privacy. Only 19% answered single sign-on. However, as a more Net-savvy population evolves, the expectation for ease of use through one time log-on may increase. Executives will need to follow the trend, always being cognizant of the security issues resulting from consumer convenience.


The following executive summary was reprinted from the June 2002 Harvard Business Review. The author is Glover T. Ferguson, chief scientist for Accenture.

At the Star City Casino in Sydney, Australia, thousands of employees wear a huge variety of themed garments. The wardrobe department-which launders and reassembles each of these 80,000 outfits-may be the most prosaic of corporate functions, but it runs smoothly because of some very glitzy technology. It relies on radio frequency identification (RFID) chips--so called smart tags--sewn into each garment. Tough enough to withstand repeated washing, the tags give each item an identity that can be tracked by wireless readers. The occasional gambler may still lose his shirt at Star City, but the employees don't.

Object-to-object communication has become practical for a vast number of uses, enabling a "silent commerce" that requires no human interaction. Companies are rapidly adopting smart tags to reduce costs, enhance security, and help customers. But the technology is capable of even more: RFID tags working with sensors can report on whether products have been kept at specified temperature, for example; as sensors improve, tags will be able to take action, such as triggering temperature controls.

Object-to-object technology can have darker implications, primarily the potential compromise of privacy. When does helpfulness become obtrusiveness? For CEOs, the best response is to first consider the social environment in which the company is operating then incorporate the sensitivity into the design of new applications.

As RFID systems advance, new business models, including entirely new ways of offering products and services, will emerge out of applications that, in simpler forms, are already in place. It's no exaggeration to say that a tiny tag may one day transform your own business. And that day may not be very far off.

For further information on smart tags, there are several sites available. The Auto ID Center represents a partnership between several universities and corporations offering the latest in research related to RFID systems. Other sources:  RFID JOURNAL:

Bob Jensen's threads on ubiquitous computing are at 

Forwarded by Sherman Zelinsky


In 1923, a group of the world's most successful financiers met at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago.  Present were:

  1. The president of the largest independent steel company (Bethlehem Steel) 

  2. The president of the largest utility company

  3. The greatest wheat speculator

  4. The president of the New York Stock Exchange

  5. A member of the President's cabinet

  6. The greatest "bear" in Wall Street

  7. The president of the Bank of International Settlements

  8. The head of the world's greatest monopoly

Collectively, these tycoons controlled more wealth than there was in the United States Treasury and for years, newspapers and magazines had been printing their stories and urging the youth of the nation to follow their examples. Years later, let's see what happened to these men.

The president of the largest steel company (Charles Schwab) lived on borrowed money the last five years of his life and died broke.

The utility operator (Samuel Insull) died virtually in exile.

The greatest wheat speculator (Arthur Cutten) died abroad, insolvent.

The president of the New York Stock Exchange (Richard Whitney) served a term in Sing Sing.

The member of the President's cabinet (Albert Fall) was pardoned from prison so that he could die at home.

The greatest "bear" on Wall Street (Jesse Livermore) committed suicide.

The president of the world's greatest monopoly (Ivar Kruger) committed suicide.

The president of the Bank of International Settlements (Leon Frazer) committed suicide.


New Markets for Colleges and Universities

Will the most prestigious universities in the world commence to offer more onsite non-credit and certificate programs that (possibly) accompany their distance training, certificate, and preparatory programs?

What's new at the University of Rochester in terms of onsite revenue-generating programs?

In previous editions of New Bookmarks, I have stressed that the most profitable distance education programs are those non-credit or certificate courses.  Degree programs often struggle for a number of reasons, not the least of which are as follows:

Five specialists, especially Amy Dunbar, will address these issues on August 13 in San Antonio --- 

Many non-credit and certificate training distance education programs, including those in top universities, around the world are linked at 

Now it appears that in order to expand into more profitable markets, colleges and universities will be moving into onsite as well as online non-credit and certificate courses and programs.

News Flash (received July 24, 2002 by mail) from The William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester 
(one of the top graduate schools in the United States) --- 

Rochester, New York--July 17, 2002--In fall 2002, the University of Rochester's William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration will introduce a Certificate Program with five areas of concentration: Financial Analysis, Electronic Commerce Strategies, Health Sciences Management, Service Management and The Design of Effective Organizations.  The program will offer busy professionals who want to broaden their knowledge or retool their skills the opportunity to study at a world-class business school without committing to a full M.B.A. program.

According to the Simon School, participants will take courses from the existing M.B.A. curriculum, taught by the School's internationally renowned faculty, and learn alongside top business students from around the world.  The programs, which can be completed in as little as one year of part-time study, are targeted at professionals who want to enhance their current performance or gain cutting-edge knowledge to change or advance their careers.

"This certificate is going to give you knowledge that you can put to work right away," said Stacey R. Kole, Simon's associate dean for M.B.A. Programs and associate professor of economics and management.  "From a perspective of time and money, it's a relatively inexpensive way to get very high-quality training of a targeted nature."

If a Certificate Program participant decides to go on and earn an M.B.A. or M.S. degree at Simon, the credits are fully transferable.  "That's one of the big pluses of this program," said Kole.  "If you want to continue with an M.B.A. and your grades are good enough, you're a quarter of the way done."

Participants in Simon's Certificate Program must complete five or six designated M.B.A. courses, each of which are offered one night a week over a 10-week period.  The curriculum can be spread out over as long as three years.

The Certificate Program differs from the Simon School's Part-Time M.B.A. Program by allowing students to take fewer courses (five or six courses compared to 20 courses for part-time M.B.A. students), while focusing on a specific area of interest rather than pursuing a broader M.B.A. management degree.  Students who wish to continue their education upon completing the Certificate Program will have the option to matriculate into the part-time or full-time M.B.A. or M.S. program, provided they maintain a 3.0 cumulative average and meet other admissions criteria.

Certificate Programs --- 
All 5 Certificate Programs 
   Application Procedure
   E-Commerce Strategy
   Health Sciences Management
   Service Management
   Financial Analysis (Capital Markets and Investments)
   The Design of Effective Organizations (Organizational Design)

I will reply to a couple of issues raised in the messages below.

First, my reply to Bill Herrmann is that making cash flow the main index of corporate performance and incentive compensation would be a disaster far worse than our admittedly messed up index of performance called "earnings per share." If corporate management is inclined to "manage an index," the use of cash flow or cash performance as an index makes their life of deception much easier. And it increases the probability of completely neglecting the long-term success of the firm. See "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 --- 

By way of illustration, consider the recent disclosure that Enron was cannibalizing its subsidiary power generating corporations just to beef up cash flows of the parent company.

Second, I will make a brief comment regarding the excellent critique of the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) of Paul Williams. I have to say that I mostly concur with his scholarly critique. I do, however, not agree with his assertion that: "If markets for executive labor were truly efficient, the value of stock options would be nearly zero at the time of granting."

An employee (including a top executive) often faces a menu of compensation choices along a risk and liquidity preference spectrum. An employee with high liquidity preference and low risk preference will opt for more monthly cash in a paycheck. The opposite may well be the case for an employee with opposite preferences. Employees with higher risk tolerance will willingly sacrifice cash earnings for options in totally efficient labor and stock markets. Market efficiency does not mean zero risk. I repeat my repeated use of the example of a brilliant Stanford University computer science graduate who went to work for minimum wage and stock options having a time value of $1 million (albeit an intrinsic value of $0 since they were not in the money at the time they are granted). This graduate and his employer would choose such a deal in totally efficient markets.

And I am well aware of Andy Bryant's argument that stock options are sacrifices to shareholders (due to dilution) rather than the narrowly defined corporation itself. See USA Today, August 8, 2002, 

However, I just do not buy into the arguments of Walter Scheutz, Andy Bryant, and others advocating not expensing stock options. I like the FASB's arguments for expensing stock options in their write up of FAS 123. Also see 

In any case, theory probably will not resolve the heated controversy regarding the expensing or non-expensing of employee stock options.  Theoretical arguments are insignificant vis-à-vis the demands of large institutional investors such as TIAA/CREF (See the "800 Pound Gorilla" below)

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- > 
From: Bill Herrmann [mailto:Bherrman@SRC.CC.IL.US]  
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2002 9:46 AM 
Subject: Stock Options

Ladies & Gentlemen: 
 I understand the present bandwagon to expense Stock Options 
(especially as it concerns tech firms) but I have to ask the question--Do those who propose the expensing of stock options understand the amount of  estimating that goes into the present system (as Coke is proposing)?  It seems the Cash Flow statement is becoming more important because it  is the one asset account with a minimum amount of estimation....yet  stock option expenses are chock full of estimates. Comments? 

Bill Herrmann  
Spoon River College

-----Original Message----- 
From: Paul Williams [mailto:williamsp@COMFS1.COM.NCSU.EDU]  
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2002 11:33 AM 
To: AECM@LISTSERV.LOYOLA.EDU Subject: Re: Stock Options

On 24 Jul 02, at 9:56, jsg2@WEATHERHEAD.CWRU.EDU wrote:

Not much different from pension expense--did you want to quit recognizing that on the income statement?

Maybe we should. I have been reading with some interest two conversations on this network about which I have some interest and a little expertise: the leading articles in accounting and whether to expense stock options. These two conversations vividly illustrate the intellectual incoherence of accounting in the US. As Bob's top ten list indicates, academic discourse in accounting in the US is overwhelmingly dominated by that of the radical free- marketeers. (Ironically, the "free market" is the most intricately constructed and heavily regulated institution in human history; that which is presumed to be naturally the most spontaneous is indeed not spontaneous at all). If one wants to speak as a scholar in the US, one had better speak this language (and learn it at a select group of schools) or prepare oneself for an intellectual life on the margins. One essential premise of this radical free-market ideology is that the collective decisions of a society about creating and distributing wealth are best made by the unforced decisions of all making decisions with attention to only their own welfare. No central planner has the wherewithal to gaze into the future to determine what that future will be. Indeed, the essence of EMH is that markets are a fair game because no one individual or group of individuals has any superior ability to devine the future since that future is only produced by the expectations of free economic agents. Thus, the general belief that any government regulation is invariably bad and/or ineffective. Yet we accountants are telling the world that we know how to do exactly what EMH tells us we are unable to do. To accrue pension expenses, post-retirement health benefits, stock options, etc. we are required to predict that which rational expectations theory says we are unable to do. The implications of this alleged ability are worth thinking about. If it is the case that accountants possess this remarkable ability to devine the economic future and know what prices will be years into the future, then we don't need markets -- we substitute the expertise of accountants for market decisions at tremendous social savings.

Markets are very costly things to maintain. We could call upon our expert systems folks to program our remarkable expertise to devine the future and use that expert system to determine the value of various enterprises -- a truly rational economy is within our grasp because of the intellectual powers of accountants that exceed those of mortal men. Diedre McCloskey refers to this presumed expertise "economic snake oil." It may very well be the case that much of these accounting shinanigans are enabled by the flexibility the FASB has created over the years to manufacture values out of thin air. Would anyone seriously argue that we should include as an asset on the books a building we plan to buy in five years? Of course not. But we are to record a stock option expense now whose value is dependent of events that will occur many months or years in the future. There may indeed be some little bit of wisdom in accounting being transaction based. If markets for executive labor were truly efficient, the value of stock options would be nearly zero at the time of granting. Why would owners set the bar so low that executives would seem to be guaranteed to earn "abnormal returns" even while the companies they manage lose money or even go into bankruptcy? In an efficient market wouldn't stock options be valuable for only exceptional performance?

Perhaps, if we want to "reinvigorate accounting scholarship" (as President Demski calls for) we should strive to be scholars rather than ideologues. Our exclusive reliance on a discourse of "markets are the solution to everything" makes it impossible for us to understand the real world in which we actually live. An instructive read for the generally" conservative" profession that we are is Kevin Phillips new book, Wealth and Democracy. When someone with conservative credentials as pure as his waxes nostalgic for FDR

August 12 Reply from Paul Williams


Thank you, Bob, for the gentle critique -- you are mellowing with age (we old-timers remember the young Bob Jensen's devastating de (con) structions; e.g., "Mock-turtle). What I was trying to get at was that if executive stock option plans were rationally designed the exercise prices would be set so high that only the very most successful executives would benefit. So your Stanford grad might accept the stock-option alternative, but in order to prosper, he would have to achieve a high standard. For example, par in golf is a standard of performance few persons achieve. For example, one Enron executive cashed out $347,000,000 of options in the few months prior to Enron's bankruptcy and bought a strip club with some of the proceeds. By all accounts this person's talents were mainly how to enrich himself at others' expense (the cleverness of avarice). 

Were stock options an economically rational form of alternative compensation our expectation would be that few execs would qualify to receive them. But the reality is that it seems that during the 90s, everyone, regardless of performance, prospered (exec compensation is 419 times that of the average worker, yet the end result of all this is that the Market is about where it was when all this compensation began -- a real bargain for investors). Which brings me to another observation about EMH that will begin with another reminiscence. I recall the workshops you did at FSU with the work you were doing at the time on subjective probability assessments via group interactions. Techniques like these have the potential to open new vistas; they might not work; they might expose previously unobserved phenomena; they could even be avenues along which "progress" could be made (for those who were intellectually inclined in that direction). 

But the EMH/positive economics "revolution" (Beaver's words, not mine) has been a singular disaster for accounting as a scholarly discipline because, rather than open vistas, it precludes the use of imagination and insight altogether. Deirdre McCloskey was quoted in the Saturday NY Times that in her recent book, Secret Sins of Economics, she takes her colleagues to task for "producing endless theorems and statistics that have nothing to do with the real world." She went on to note, "Imagine that instead of doing economic history about English agriculture in the 13th century, you were to do an economic history about an imaginary place. What would be the point of that? 

An economics department ought not to be about speculation and hypothetical worlds." Accounting scholarship in the U.S. has degenerated into empirical investigation of such an imaginery world, which means that the coefficients of our regressions must always be interpreted as if that imaginary world is actually the one in which we live. What is the point of that? Securities markets aren't "efficient." As Kevin Phillips notes in his new book, Wealth and Democracy, the institutional origin of the market was the carnival. The primary difference between Wall Street and Caesar's Palace is the size of the bets. Little wonder Joel Demski is calling for a reinvigoration of accounting scholarship. However, even more positive economic theory seems hardly the way to do it.

Update on Expensing of Employee Stock Options

Ernst & Young (EY) has been warning companies of the potential for more changes. A recent EY alert said, "Reports continue to surface that the chairman of the FASB, Robert Herz, believes that if the International Accounting Standards Board issues a standard requiring all employee stock-based compensation to be recognized at fair value, the FASB will at that time evaluate whether similar accounting should be required under U.S. GAAP." --- 

For more on controversies in this arena, go to 

The 800 Pound Gorilla (TIAA-CREF) Makes a Move Toward Revising GAAP 
According to Participant, August 2002, "the CREF Stock Account has become the largest singly-managed stock portfolio in the world."

The largest lobbying effort to stave off having to book employee stock options as expenses comes from technology firms who claim that such a move will destroy the technology industry by making it very difficult for them to show a profit.  But pressure is coming from other corporations.  Only two of the Fortune 500 firms (Boeing and Winn Dixie) booked stock options as expenses until several like Coca Cola recently announced a shift.

Standard & Poors announced it will disclose the impact of stock options on earnings in its presentation of "S&P Core Earnings" of major companies --- 
Of course this data is available in footnotes thanks to the brave efforts to generate FAS 123 when Denny Beresford was Chairman of the FASB.

Bob Jensen's arguments for booking employee compensation options as expenses can be found at 

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is now moving toward booking of options as expenses.  It will take a very courageous FASB and SEC to renew the fight in the face of the millions being spent by lobbyists in Washington to block this effort.  Even though I favor booking employee compensation options as expenses, I have to admit that technology industry earnings take a huge hit under FAS 2 by having to book virtually all R&D expenditures as expenses long before products have a chance of generating revenues.  Industry balance sheets also take a beating by not being able to book intangible assets such as knowledge capital.  See 

"TIAA-CREF Wants Options To Be Considered Expenses," by Joann S. Lublin, The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2002 ---,,SB1027468213695010720,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 

NEW YORK -- One of the nation's biggest institutional investors is launching an unprecedented drive to persuade U.S. companies that they should treat all employee stock options as expenses.

TIAA-CREF intends to send a letter Wednesday to the chairmen of 1,754 major publicly traded corporations, urging them to discuss its recommendation with fellow board members. Voluntary expensing of options "contributes to clear, straightforward and high-quality financial reporting, enhancing credibility that surely will be highly valued in the post-Enron market," wrote John H. Biggs, TIAA-CREF chairman, president and chief executive, in his letter.

The missive marks the first time the giant pension-fund system has asked so many companies to take corrective action, said Kenneth Bertsch, corporate-governance director. TIAA-CREF owns about 1% on average of the shares outstanding of the targeted concerns.

The push by TIAA-CREF, which manages $265 billion of assets, seems certain to increase pressure on businesses to follow the recent decisions by Coca-Cola Co., Washington Post Co., Bank One Corp. and AMB Property Corp. to begin recording stock options as an expense. The move reduces corporate earnings and would make stocks look more expensive. Right now, most U.S. companies simply disclose in a footnote the bottom-line effect of options granted to employees.

"There's some momentum beginning to gather for companies to compile quality earnings reports and include this information" as an expense, Mr. Biggs said in an interview Tuesday. "I think this letter will encourage that momentum," he continued. "We could get a snowball going."

Indeed, the TIAA-CREF campaign may inspire copycat lobbying efforts. "We would consider doing something similar" by writing those nearly 1,800 concerns plus several others, predicted Ann Yerger, research director for the Council of Institutional Investors. The Washington group represents more than 130 pension funds with more than $2 trillion in assets.

After a two-year study, the Council of Institutional Investors reversed course last March and endorsed the idea that options should be treated as an expense. Proponents of expensing say options are compensation and should be treated as such, especially since generous option awards dilute the value of shares outstanding. Opponents say options are difficult to value and argue that expensing them would confuse, not enlighten, investors.

Mr. Biggs said he believes "there's a good chance" his letter will prompt another 15 to 20 prominent concerns to switch their approach. And he welcomed the possibility of intensified pressure. "The more institutional investors we get to pile on, the better off we will be," he said. He recalled how TIAA-CREF has quietly lobbied individual companies about this issue for years -- with little success.

Ms. Yerger is less optimistic many corporate boards will change their stance now. Accounting treatment of options "is a highly emotional issue," she observed. Most businesses "aren't going to switch just because of a few letters" from major institutional shareholders.

High-tech concerns in particular rely heavily on stock options. The TIAA-CREF letter "will be taken seriously" by such companies, said Mike Tanielian, vice president of government relations for the Information Technology Industry Council, a trade association in Washington. But high-tech businesses "still feel it's important to provide broad stock-option plans" -- something they probably couldn't afford to do if they treated options as an expense, he said.

Despite the zeal on Capitol Hill for corporate reforms in the wake of Enron Corp.'s collapse and other corporate scandals, heavy lobbying by the high-tech industry dissuaded Congress from tackling the controversial issue of options expensing this month.

On the other hand, a rule-setting group charged with creating a set of international accounting standards last week approved the drafting of new accounting rules that would require companies to treat options as expenses. The move was cleared by the London-based International Accounting Standards Board.

The following is an article strongly advocating booking of employee stock options.
""The Only Option:  For Stock Options, That Is)," by Justin Fox, Fortune, August 12, 2002, pp. 110-112 --- 

Should we throw lawbreaking CEOs in jail? Of course we should. Could the SEC use more money to beef up enforcement? Well, duh. Do we need to figure out better ways to regulate and motivate the accountants who audit companies' books? That's a no-brainer.

Do all that, yes. But as Washington self-righteously scrambles to right the wrongs of corporate America, let's not forget that the illicit book-cooking revealed so far at Enron, WorldCom, and others was trifling compared with the entirely legal book-cooking that most of corporate America engages in: lavishing stock options on top executives and not deducting them as expenses. It is, without a doubt, the mother of all accounting abuses.

Don't believe us? Listen to an acknowledged expert on profit-enhancing tricks: "The most egregious [method], or the one that is used by every corporation in the world, is executive stock options. Essentially what you do is, you issue stock options to reduce compensation expense and therefore increase your profitability."

The expert: Jeff Skilling, the disgraced former CEO of Enron, in testimony before a Senate committee in February. Skilling also used that occasion to get in a well-deserved dig at his inquisitor, California Democrat Barbara Boxer. "I think FASB tried to change that, and you introduced legislation in 1994 to keep that exemption," he said.

For the uninitiated, FASB is the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the body based in Norwalk, Conn., that decides what constitutes the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), to which all U.S. public corporations must adhere. In 1994, FASB was on the verge of requiring that companies charge the estimated value of the stock options they give employees against their earnings. But Congress, in its infinite wisdom, put a halt to that.

The business community, in particular Silicon Valley, lobbied fiercely to make sure it would. Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, the Big Six accounting firms, and investor groups applauded as a bipartisan Senate posse, with Democrat Joe Lieberman at its lead (and Boxer not far behind), bullied FASB into allowing companies to shunt their options costs into a footnote in their annual reports instead of subtracting them from earnings.

Why'd they do it? For the economy's sake, everyone said. Employee options helped spark Silicon Valley's economic miracle and were a way for the rest of corporate America to share in that tech magic, the thinking went. Expensing them would kill the magic.

That argument has some gaping holes in it, which we'll get to in a bit. But what it came down to in 1994 was that the powers that be in American economic life decided that dishonesty in the service of prosperity was no vice. In doing so, they may have paved the path for the outrages that followed. "Once CEOs demonstrated their political power to, in effect, roll the FASB and the SEC, they may have felt empowered to do a lot of other things too," says Warren Buffett, a lonely voice in opposition to the options steamroller back then.

Continued at 

For Bob Jensen's analysis of this issue, go to 

The U.K.'s approach to tentative audit reforms is slower and gentler than that of the U.S., but it is still controversial. Recent concerns have centered around market domination by the Big Four and the need for mandatory auditor rotation. (Requires Subscription)

Bob Jensen's threads on proposed accounting and auditing reforms are at 

The 1930s saw high-profile companies go bust, business leaders fall into disrepute, and the stock market crumble -- all leading to sweeping changes in the way business and finance were conducted. Are we on the verge of a similar period of reforms today?

"Reform Redux: What Could Bring A 1930s-Style Regulatory Overhaul?," by Gerald F. Seib and John Harwood, The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2002 ---,,SB1027457561514609800,00.html?mod=Page%20One 

WASHINGTON -- High-profile companies go bust. Business leaders fall into disrepute. The stock market crumbles. Finally, the political system convulses, rewriting the rules the corporate world must follow.

All that happened to the U.S. in the early 1930s, when a shattered economy, a devastated stock market and revulsion toward the business class produced sweeping changes in the way business and finance were conducted.

Now America faces the possibility of a similar wave of reform, if the economy sours and the political winds shift. Today's economic woes hardly rival those of the 1930s, and Congress's rush to clamp down on corporate misconduct is mild compared with the legislative earthquake that shook the business world then. But the country is beginning to reappraise the celebration of free-market forces that marked the 1990s. And early political tremors of public opinion hint at greater fallout to come.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that, for the first time since George W. Bush took office, a plurality of Americans -- 42% -- believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. Fully 70% don't trust the word of brokers and corporations. One-third say they have "hardly any confidence" in big-company executives -- the highest proportion in more than three decades. Confidence in Congress is plummeting, too. Just 34% approve of lawmakers' performance, down from 54% in January.

Political momentum to restrain government regulation is waning. As they await the government's response to a wave of business scandals, six in 10 Americans say they are worried regulators won't go far enough.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney calls this the best chance in years "to fundamentally change the way corporate America works." And free-market apostles, ascendant since Ronald Reagan's presidency, fear that even a Republican White House may join a populist stampede. If that happens, "they're going to have a depression on their hands," warns author George Gilder, whose 1981 book, "Wealth and Poverty," is still popular with many conservatives. "If Bush becomes part of the echo chamber, he's going to destroy his party."

The 2002 market meltdown could turn into a historic turning point in American politics and regulation if two significant changes occur.

First, the current crisis of confidence in business and markets would have to turn into a broader economic decline. When Franklin Roosevelt embarked on the New Deal, one in four Americans was out of work, four times today's unemployment rate. The spread of stock ownership means Main Street is feeling Wall Street's pain, but so far, that pain has produced public anger -- not desperation.

Second, the economic shock would have to realign the nation's even balance of political power to give politicians the clear mandate for change that President Roosevelt and his Democratic Party felt. That hasn't happened yet, the new poll shows. Mr. Bush continues to enjoy a robust 67% approval rating, and his party is still holding its own in the battle for control of Congress in the November elections. Some 36% of Americans say they plan to vote Democrat for the House, while 34% plan to vote Republican. That is only a slight change since January, favoring the Democrats.

But sweeping political change doesn't come overnight, as the 1920s and 1930s show. The country knew it was in deep trouble after the stock market crashed in 1929. The Democratic Party gained 53 seats in the House elections in 1930, but Republicans narrowly retained control of the chamber. The GOP also maintained a one-seat edge in the Senate, while Republican President Herbert Hoover looked ahead to the last two years of his White House term.

Tidal Wave

The political tidal wave didn't hit until 1932, three years after the start of the economic shock. Republicans lost 101 more seats in the House, which as a result, tilted toward the Democrats by a 313-117 margin. The GOP also lost 12 more Senate seats and became a distinct minority there, too. FDR completed the Democratic sweep with his 1932 landslide.

That new political alignment produced, in rapid order, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Glass-Steagall Act separating the banking and investment businesses, the Utility Holding Company Act restricting the centralization of utility control, and reform of the Federal Reserve. It was the most sweeping change ever in the way America does business, and it created the regulatory framework that still governs business today.

It's that framework that lawmakers are now adjusting in the accounting-reform bill before Congress. "Our crisis isn't of the same dimension" as in the 1930s, says Sen. Jon Corzine, a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs. But the accounting-reform bill likely to pass Congress next month is "probably as important a piece of legislation for America and the regulatory structure as any since then," adds the New Jersey Democrat. It plugs what he considers the most significant hole left in the 1930s legislation by establishing clear standards and oversight for the accounting industry.

Continued at,,SB1027457561514609800,00.html?mod=Page%20One

Until recently, pro forma reporting was seen as a useful tool that could help companies show performance when unusual circumstances might cloud the picture. Today it finds itself in bad odour. 
"Pro forma lingo Does the use of controversial non-GAAP reporting by some companies confuse or enlighten?," by Michael Lewis, CA Magazine, March 2002 --- 

For fans of JDS Uniphase Corp., the fibre-optics manufacturer with headquarters in Ottawa and San Jose, Calif., the report for fiscal 2001 provided the icing on a very delicious cake: following an uninterrupted series of positive quarterly earnings results, the corporate giant announced it was set to deliver US$67 million in pro forma profit.

There was only one fly in the ointment. Like all such calculations, JDS's pro forma numbers were not prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and as such they excluded goodwill, merger-related and stock-option charges, and losses on investments. Once those items were added back into the accounting mix, JDS suddenly showed a staggering US$50.6 billion in red ink - a US corporate record. Even so, many investors remained loyal, placing their trust in the boom-market philosophy that views onetime charges as largely irrelevant. The mantra was simple - operating results rule.

"That was the view at the time," says Jim Hall, a Calgary portfolio manager with Mawer Canadian Equity Fund. "It just goes to show how wrong people can be."

Since then, of course, the spectacular flameout of Houston's Enron Corp. has done much to change that point of view (though it's not a pro forma issue). Once the world's largest energy trader, the company now holds the title for the largest bankruptcy case in US history. The Chapter 11 filing in December came after Enron had to restate US$586 million in earnings because of apparent accounting irregularities. In its submission, the company admitted it had hidden assets and related debt charges since 1997 in order to inflate consolidated earnings. Enron's auditor, accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP, later acknowledged that it had made "an [honest] error in judgement" regarding Enron's financial statements.

While the Enron saga will continue in various courtrooms for many months to come, regulators on either side of the border have responded to the collapse with uncharacteristic swiftness. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States and the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued new guidelines on financial reporting just a few weeks after the Enron bust. In each instance, investors were reminded to redirect their focus to financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP, paying special attention to cash flow, liquidity and the intrinsic value of acquisitions. At the same time, issuers were warned to reduce their reliance on pro forma results and to explain to investors why they were not using GAAP in their reporting.

SEC chairman Harvey Pitt moved furthest and fastest. In mid-January he announced plans to establish a private watchdog to discipline accountants and review company audits. Working with the largest accounting firms and professional organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the SEC wants the new body to be able to punish accountants for incompetence and ethics violations. As Pitt emphasized, "The commission cannot, and in any event will not, tolerate this pattern of growing re-statements, audit failures, corporate failures and investor losses."

The sheer scale of the Enron debacle has brought pro forma accounting under public scrutiny as never before, and, observers say, will provide a powerful impetus for financial reporting reform. "This will send a message to companies and accountants to cut back on some of the games they've been playing," says former SEC general counsel Harvey Goldschmid.

Meanwhile, the CSA (the forum for the 13 securities regulators of Canada's provinces and territories) expressed its concern over the proliferation of non-standard measures, warning that they improve the appearance of a company's financial health, gloss over risks and make it exceedingly difficult for investors to compare issuers.

"Investors should be cautious when looking at non-GAAP measures," says John Carchrae, chair of the CSA Chief Accountants Committee, when the guidelines were released in January. "These measures present only part of the picture and may selectively omit certain expenses, resulting in a more positive portrayal of a company's performance."

As a result, Canadian issuers will now be expected to provide GAAP figures alongside non-standard earnings measures, explain how pro forma numbers are calculated, and detail why they exclude certain items required by GAAP. So far, the CSA has provided guidance rather than rules, but the committee cautions it could take regulatory action if issuers publish earnings reports deemed to be misleading to investors.

Carchrae, who is also chief accountant of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), believes "moral suasion" is a good place to start. Nonetheless, he adds, the OSC intends to track press releases, cross-reference them to statutory earnings filings and supplemental information on websites, and monitor continuous disclosure to ensure a company meets its requirements under the securities act.

Although pro forma reporting finds itself in bad odour, until recently it was regarded as a useful tool that could help companies show performance when unusual circumstances might cloud the picture. In cases involving a merger or acquisition, for example, where a company has made enormous expenditures that generate significant non-cash expenses on the income statement, pro forma can be used as a clarifying document, enabling investors to view economic performance outside of such onetime events. Over the years, however, the pro forma route has increasingly involved the selective use of press releases, websites, and other reports to put a favourable spin on earnings, often leading to a spike in the value of a firm's stock. Like management discussion and analysis, such communications are not within the ambit of GAAP, falling somewhere between the cracks of current accounting standards.

"Obviously, this issue is of concern to everyone who uses financial statements," says Paul Cherry, chairman of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants' Accounting Standards Board. "Our worry as standard-setters is whether these non-GAAP, pro forma items confuse or enlighten."

Regulators and standard-setters have agonized over this issue ever since the reporting lexicon began to expand with the rise of the dot-com sector in the late 1990s, a sector with little in the way of earnings that concentrated on revenue growth as a more meaningful performance indicator. New measures, such as "run-through rates" or "burn rates," were deemed welcome additions to traditional methodology because they helped determine how much financing a technology company might require during its risky startup phase.

Critics, however, argued such terms were usurping easily understood language as part of a corporate scheme to hoodwink unwary investors. Important numbers were hidden or left out under a deluge of new and ever-more complex terminology. The new measurements, they warned, fell short of adequate financial disclosure.

An OSC report published in February 2001 appears to support these claims. According to the report, Canadian technology companies have not provided investors with adequate information about how they disclose revenue, a shortcoming that may require some of them to restate their financial results.

"Initial results of the review suggest a need for significant improvement in the nature and extent of disclosure," the report states, adding that the OSC wants more specific notes on accounting policy attached to financial statements. The report also observes that revenue is often recognized when goods are shipped, not when they are sold, despite the fact that the company may be exposed to returns.

David Wright, a software analyst at BMO Nesbitt Burns in Toronto, says dealing with how technology companies record revenue is a perennial issue. The issue has gained greater prominence with the rise of vendor financing, a practice whereby companies act as a bank to buyers, lending customers the cash to complete purchase orders. If the customer is unable to pay for the goods or services subsequent to signing the sales agreement, the seller's revenue can be drastically overstated.

But pro forma still has plenty of advocates - particularly when it comes to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Such a measure, it is often argued, can provide a pure, meaningful and reliable diagnostic tool, albeit one that should be considered along with figures that accommodate charges to a balance sheet.

Ron Blunn, head of investor relations firm Blunn & Co. Inc. in Toronto and chairperson of the issues committee of the Canadian Investor Relations Institute, says adjusted earnings can serve a legitimate purpose and are particularly helpful to analysts and money managers who must gauge the financial well-being of technology startups.

The debate shows no signs of burning out anytime soon. On the one hand, the philosophy among Canadian and US standard-setters in recent years has appeared to favour removing constraints, rather than imposing them. New rules to apply to Canadian banks this year, for example, will no longer require the amortization of goodwill in earnings figures. On the other hand, it has become abundantly clear that companies will emphasize the reporting method that puts the best gloss on their operations. And while the use of pro forma accounting has remained most prevalent among technology companies, the movement to embrace more and varied language has spread to "old economy" companies such as Enron, gaining steam as the economy stumbled. Blunn theorizes the proliferation of nontraditional reporting and the increasing reliance on supplemental filings simply reflect the state of the North American economy.

Carchrae has a slightly different diagnosis. When asked why pro forma reporting has mushroomed in recent years, he points to investors' slavish devotion to business box scores - that is, a company's ability to meet sales and earnings expectations as set out by equity analysts. Since companies can be severely punished for falling short of the Street's consensus forecast, there is intense pressure, especially in a bear market, to conjure up earnings that appear to satisfy forecasts.

As a result, pro forma terminology has blossomed over the Canadian corporate landscape. Montreal-based telephone utility BCE Inc., for example, coined the term "cash baseline earnings" to describe its operating performance. Not to be outdone, Robert McFarlane, chief financial officer of Telus Corp., Canada's second-largest telecommunications company, cited a "revenue revision" and "EBITDA deficiency" to explain the drop in the Burnaby, BC-based phone service firm's "core baseline earnings" for its third quarter ended September 30, 2001. (According to company literature, core baseline earnings refers to common share income before discontinued operations, amortization of acquired intangible assets net of tax, restructuring and nonrecurring refinancing costs net of tax, revaluation of future tax assets and liabilities and goodwill amortization.)

Meanwhile, IBM Corp. spinoff Celestica Inc. of Toronto neglected to mention the elimination of more than 8,700 jobs from a global workforce of 30,000, alluding to the cuts in its fiscal 2001 third-quarter report through references to "realignment" charges during the period.

Many statements no longer use the term "profit" at all. And while statutory filings must present at least one version of earnings that conforms to GAAP, few rules have been set down by US or Canadian regulators to govern non-GAAP declarations. Accounting bodies in Canada and around the world are charged with policing their members and assuring statutory filings include income and revenue according to GAAP, using supportable interpretations. But pro forma numbers are typically distributed before a company's statutory filing is made.

"Not to pass the buck," says Cherry, "but how can we set standards for something that's not part of GAAP?" Still, Cherry admits the use of non-GAAP terminology has become so widespread that accounting authorities are being forced to take notice. "The matter is gaining some prominence," he says, "because some of the numbers are just so different."

Despite his reservations, Cherry acknowledges "the critical point is when information is released to the marketplace," which nowadays is almost always done via a press release. The duty to regulate such releases, he says, must rest with securities bodies - an opinion shared by Edmund Jenkins, chair of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in the United States.

Many authorities view the issue as a matter of education, believing that a high degree of sophistication must now be expected from the retail investing community. Others say the spread of non-GAAP reporting methodology, left unchecked, could distort markets, undermine investor confidence in regulatory regimes and ultimately impede the flow of investment capital. But pro forma devotees insist that introducing tough new measures to govern reporting would do little to protect consumers and encourage retail investment. Instead, new regulations might work to impede growth and limit available, useful financial information.

Continued at 

Ron Baker shares his views of what will be needed in the accounting firm of the future in this overview of his session at the recent Association for Accounting Marketing conference. 

Accountants Need Technology Skills to Compete in Job Market --- 

Wow Technology of the Week

XBRL will soon have an enormous impact on financial reporting and financial analysis. All business faculty and students should be aware of the power of this new technology.

I have added some step-by-step instructions and pictures on how to use the new 23 demos brilliantly developed by Microsoft, NASDAQ, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. My instructions were created during my first attempt at using the demos, and after I get better at using the demos I will put a Camtasia video illustration online.

Scroll down a bit until you come to the pictures at 

August 6, 2002 message from Neal Hannon

Microsoft, NASDAQ and PWC yesterday issued a free, downloadable pilot program that demonstrates the analytical power of XBRL for financial analysis. What is special about this program is that it takes the last five years worth of quarterly SEC filings for 21 companies listed on NASDAQ and tags the data in XBRL. This information is then used to populate an Excel spreadsheet. Then the magic happens. The spread sheet will automatically load up to 5 companies at a time and produce comparison analysis including graphs on a single mouse click. See the press release below for more details.

Here are a couple of tips to get the tool to work. First, because this tool runs using macros, you will need to set your security level on Excel to medium. Change your settings, close Excel and then re-open Excel. Secondly, the correct URL for the download is  Download to your hard drive, then open the application.

The Excel application was developed by Rob Blake f(Microsoft) from the XBRL-US development team and Dell professional Solutions with assistance from PricewaterhouseCoopers and NASDAQ. Questions on how this works can be posted to XBRL-Public, located at .

I hope you consider incorporating this valuable tool in your courses next semester. I see applications for financial statement analysis in many different courses including introductory financial accounting. This tool could also be used as a way to introduce XBRL into AIS courses. In advanced courses, the footnotes are also included so this should make studies about significant accounting policies a little easier. Enjoy!

Neal J. Hannon, CMA
Chair, XBRL International Education Work Group
Chair, Information Technology Committee, Institute of Management Accountants
Member, XBRL_US Steering Committee
University of Hartford Accounting Department
401-769-3802 (Home Office)

Note the Following:

The pilot for 23 companies over a five year history was a joint effort of Nasdaq, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Microsoft.

System Requirements:  Excel XP or Excel 2000 and IE 6.0

Why did we build this demo?  
What is really different here? 
What does this demo consist of?  
Why is transparency important?  
What is XBRL?
Why is this relevant to me? 
     IT Technical
Who was involved?

Main Link --- 

Here is how I made the demos run after downloading the demo files.  Trinity University students and staff may access the files on the path

  1. Make sure you are on the Internet
  2. Run  the file called "Excel Investors Assistant.xls" and be patient while data downloads.
    You must set your Excel macro security level to Medium or lower  --- menu path (Tools, Macro Security).
    This file is an Excel workbook with six spreadsheets.  The "Home" spreadsheet initially appears as follows:

  3. Select the desired "Fiscal Period," "Industry," and "Company"
  4. Click the "Add Symbol" for one or more companies
  5. Next click on the Build Analyses button.  By way of illustration, note the following alternative for an XBRL analysis of Microsoft Corporation:

  6. Navigate to the spreadsheet of interest such as the "Financial Measures" spreadsheet.
  7. Make your choices and observe the interactive graphs.
  8. Note that you can choose more than one variable to add to the interactive graph.  By way of illustration, note the following illustration:

  9. Navigate to the other spreadsheet tabs for further types of XBRL analyses.
  10. An XBRL instance document is analogous to a HTML source (script) document.  The instance document contains all of the unformatted text and data that may be displayed in a use's preferred style sheet.  In these demo illustrations, the style sheets have been chosen for the user.

Bob Jensen's threads (including the above instructions) on XBRL are at 

Wow Sharing Professor of the Week

August 8, 2002 message from Miklos

I have posted on the Web pieces of my e-commerce course about hr + of clips,, .... be my guest to use them 

they can be used (not tightly coupled) with my e-commerce slides 

Miklos A. Vasarhelyi 
KPMG Professor of AIS
Rutgers University Director, Rutgers Accounting Research Center 
315 Ackerson Hall, 180 University Ave. Newark, NJ 07102 
tel: 973-353 5002 fax 973-353 1283 

Bob Jensen's related assurance services threads are at

In a victory of sorts for the accounting profession, the Senate Banking Committee confirmed nominees with accounting ties for appointment as two of the four incoming Securities and Exchange Commissioners.  (Requires subscription)

August 6, 2002 message from Miklos A. Vasarhelyi 

its is probably redundant with what you already do but i created a short list on "cooking the books" that i distribute to students and friends. happy to add you to the list... one or two articles a weekday max...


Bob Jensen's related threads on cooking the books can be found at the following links: 

August 11, 2002 message from Bob Jensen

Michael Maher was in my CPE Workshop Session 1 at the AAA meetings in August 2001 in Atlanta. In addition to his full-time faculty position at UC Davis, he is a part-time instructor of managerial accounting for UNext. You can view the PowerPoint slides and listen to the UNext presentation at 

I decided to share a recent message (see below) and its attachments from Professor Maher. My threads related to his message can be found at 
My other education technology threads are at 

I would also like to remind those of you who want to attend our CPE Session 1 (on technology in accounting education)in San Antonio on August 13 at 8:30 a.m., the meeting rooms are Conference Rooms 3 and 4 in the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel. There are five speakers, and our session runs all day. Details are provided at 

Those of you arriving in San Antonio may like to see my San Antonio helpers at 

See you in San Antonio! Even though I live in San Antonio, I will be staying in the Rivercenter Hotel August 12-18 and will not be in contact with my email system until after August 18.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Michael Maher []  
Sent: Friday, August 09, 2002 2:59 PM 
To: '
Subject: cost effectiveness of online education

Dear Bob,

Last year at AAA, I mentioned that I was working on a grant from the Mellon Foundation to study the cost-effectiveness of online education for large undergrad courses. That project is here at Davis; I since have also joined with a Berkeley crew working on a similar project. At Davis, we are looking at 9 different courses--all large undergraduate courses. Our early findings indicate that the cost of online education is lower than the cost of traditional lecture courses, but the student performance is a bit lower also. The attached paper "Moving from the lecture hall to online..." shows these results for one of the courses. Administrators don't look at costs the same way that economists do, of course, which is the topic of the second paper "Relevant costs of online education". In our cases, the cost information used by administrators indicated the online course was more costly than the traditional lecture course, while an economics-based analysis said the opposite. This project's description and additional papers are at: http://moby/ 

At Berkeley, for its required chemistry course, we found that the technology enhancements 'paid for themselves' by the second course offering. (I note that the Berkeley enhancements were modest.)

Hope you are doing well! Always good to see you.

Michael W. Maher 
Graduate School of Management 
University of California, Davis Davis, Ca. 95616

"The Truth Behind the Earnings Illusion:  The profit picture has never been so distorted. The surprise? Things aren't as ugly as they look" by Justin Fox, Fortune, July 22, 2002 --- 

Where are the major differences between book income and taxable income that favor booked income reported to the investing public?

Answer according to Justin Fox:

What the heck happened? The most obvious explanations for the disconnect are disparities in accounting for stock options and pension funds. When a company's employees exercise stock options, the gains are treated for tax purposes as an expense to the company but are completely ignored in reported earnings. And while investment gains made by a company's employee pension fund are counted in reported earnings, they don't show up in tax profits.

Analysts at Standard & Poor's are working to remove those two distortions by calculating a new "core earnings" measure for S&P 500 companies that includes options costs and excludes pension fund gains. When that exercise is completed in the coming weeks, most of the profit disconnect may disappear. Then again, maybe not. In struggling to deliver the outsized profits to which they and their investors had become accustomed in the mid-1990s, a lot more CEOs and CFOs may have bent the rules than we know about. "There was some cheating around the edges," says S&P chief economist David Wyss. "It's just not clear how big the edges are."

While conservative accounting is now back in vogue, it's impossible to say with certainty that reported earnings have returned to reality: Comparing the earnings per share of the S&P 500 with the tax profits of all American corporations, both public and private (which is what the Commerce Department reports), is too much of an apples and oranges exercise. But over the long run reported earnings and tax earnings do grow at about the same rate--just over 7% a year since 1960, according to Prudential Securities chief economist Richard Rippe, Wall Street's most devoted student of the Commerce Department profit numbers. So the fact that Commerce says after-tax profits came in at an annualized rate of $615 billion in the first quarter--a record-setting pace if it holds up for the full year--ought to be at least a little reassuring to investors. "I do believe the hints of recovery that we're seeing in tax profits will continue," Rippe says.

That does not mean we're due for another profit boom. Declining interest rates were the biggest reason profits rose so fast in the 1990s, says S&P's Wyss. Rates simply don't have that far to fall now. So even when investors start believing again what companies say about their earnings, they may still be shocked at how slowly those earnings are growing.

Continued at 

Reply by Bob Jensen:

For a technical explanation of the stock option accounting alluded to in the above quotation, go to one of my student examinations at 

The exam02.xls Excel workbook answers can be downloaded from 

The S&P revised GAAP core earnings model alluded to in the above quotation can be examined in greater detail at 

Where are the major differences between book income and economic income that understate book income reported to the investing public?

This question is too complex to even scratch the surface in a short paragraph.  One of the main bones of contention between the FASB and technology companies is FAS 2 that requires the expensing of both research and development (R&D)  even though it is virtually certain that a great deal of the outlays for these items will have economic benefit in future years.  The FASB contends that the identification of which projects, what future periods, and the amount of the estimated benefits per period are too uncertain and subject to a high degree of accounting manipulation (book cooking) if such current expenditures are allowed to be capitalized rather than expensed.  Other bones of contention concern expenditures for building up the goodwill, reputation, and training "assets" of companies.  The FASB requires that these be expensed rather than capitalized except in the case of an acquisition of an entire company at a price that exceeds the value of tangible assets less current market value of debt.  In summary, many firms have argued for "pro forma" earnings reporting such that companies can make a case that huge expense reporting required by the FASB and GAAP can be adjusted for better matching of future revenues with past expenditures.

You can read more about these problems in the following two documents:

Accounting Theory --- 

State of the Profession of Accountancy --- 

I always remember a comment by Tony Catanach that the hardest thing about the BAM pedagogy is for an instructor to learn how not to reveal answers.


Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Richard C. Sansing [mailto:Richard.C.Sansing@DARTMOUTH.EDU]  
Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2002 9:28 AM 
Subject: Re: Giving Short Answers Can be Dangerous (Long)

--- Patricia Doherty wrote: Certainly it is discouraging to see the droopy face of the student at office hours, when they ask a question, and instead of giving them a "quick and dirty" answer you ask another question back. But maybe just one of them will actually learn something, too. ---

This reminds me of a colleague of mine who received the following comment on a course evaluation:

"Professor X never gives a straight answer to anything. Ask him what time it is and he'll tell you how to build a clock." Of course what the student intended as criticism was considered high praise by Professor X.

Richard C. Sansing 
Associate Professor of Business Administration 
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth 

AICPA Exposure Draft, Proposed Statement on Auditing Standards
Auditing Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures --- 


The AICPA's Auditing Standards Board (ASB) has issued an exposure draft of a proposed Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) entitled Auditing Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures. The proposed SAS addresses auditing considerations relating to measurement, presentation, and disclosure of assets, liabilities, and specific components of equity presented or disclosed at fair value in financial statements. Among other things, the proposed SAS requires the auditor to:

  1. Obtain sufficient competent audit evidence to provide reasonable assurance that fair value measurements and disclosures are in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
  2. Obtain an understanding of the entity's process for determining fair value measurements and disclosures and of the relevant controls sufficient to develop an effective audit approach.
  3. Evaluate whether the fair value measurements and disclosures in the financial statements are in conformity with GAAP.
  4. Evaluate management's intent and ability to carry out specific courses of action where relevant to the fair value measurements and disclosures.
  5. Evaluate whether the entity's method of measurement is appropriate (this requirement applies where alternative methods for measuring fair value are available under GAAP, or where the method of measurement is not prescribed).
  6. Evaluate whether the entity's fair value measurements are applied consistently.
  7. Consider whether to use the work of a specialist.
  8. Test the entity's fair value measurements and disclosures (based on the assessment of the risk of material misstatement).
  9. Determine that the audit committee is informed about the process used by management in formulating particularly sensitive accounting estimates, including fair value estimates, and about the basis for the auditor's conclusions regarding the reasonableness of those estimates.

This exposure draft has a 60-day comment period that ends on August 28, 2002.

Forwarded by Patrick Charles on August 1, 2002


Accounting controls on EU budget 'unreliable' By George Parker and Francesco Guerrera in Brussels Published: July 31 2002 21:56 | Last Updated: July 31 2002 21:56

Accounting controls over the European Union's €98bn budget have been criticised as insecure and unreliable in a scathing leaked paper from the EU's court of auditors.

The paper, obtained by the Financial Times, supports claims made by Marta Andreasen (pictured), the Commission's former chief accountant who was acrimoniously removed from her post in May after four months.

It says the Commission's accounting system has "obvious risks as regards its reliability", which stem in particular from its "lack of security".

"The Commission has been warned about them, but to date has not taken any remedial action," the report says.

The 1999 and 2000 annual reports by the court of auditors criticised the Commission's Sincom 2 accounting system but the damning new paper suggests that serious problems persist.

In constructing this system, "no account has been taken of generally accepted accounting standards, mainly double-entry book-keeping", the report said. Moreover, the final data it produces may be inconsistent, so that a single line of expenditure can have two different values.

The court of auditors confirmed on Wednesday that the working paper was drafted by Colin Maynard, a director of the court, and sent to the Commission for its comments in February.

Commission officials said the paper might never be published because it "contained inaccuracies and the tone of the language was inappropriate".

Referring to numerous attempts to co-ordinate the various elements of the system, the document says: "Failures abound and are a waste of public funds (it is impossible to put a figure on the amount involved)." Controls in the system were inadequate and this meant it was impossible to "present reliable accounting data on the amounts advanced to third parties".

The document reinforces criticisms by Ms Andreasen, who refused to sign the EU's accounts for 2001 and was moved to a job with no responsibility on her full salary of €125,000.

Speaking to the FT, Ms Andreasen claimed she arrived at the Commission in January 2002 to find parts of the budget management process "out of control" and insisted it would have been improper to sign the accounts. "I thought I was going to be involved in a reform process. I wasn't aware that the shortcomings of the system and the accounting framework were so fundamental," she said.

Ms Andreasen claims she was pressed to sign the accounts, and was then moved from her post after starting a campaign to replace Sincom 2 with a new accounting system.

"I tried to show them the urgency of the situation," she said. "If your bank gives you the wrong balance, you would want the problem sorted out straight away, not five years later."

Neil Kinnock, Commission vice-president in charge of administration, has launched disciplinary proceedings against Ms Andreasen, arguing that she has broken staff rules and made unfounded allegations against senior officials.

The Commission is proposing new financial regulations to improve accounting standards, but will continue to use the much-criticised Sincom 2 system.

A senior Commission official admitted there had been "technical errors" with the system, but they had been monitored to ensure accuracy.

From the July 19, 2002 Edition of Double Entries

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has published an Exposure Draft, Deposit and Investment Risk Disclosures, that is intended to provide the public (does anyone read these reports?) with better information about the risks that could potentially impact a government's ability to provide services and pay its debts. Interested persons should comment by September 27, 2002. Further details on the exposure draft are available in our full article at 

The AICPA's Auditing Standards Board (ASB) has issued an exposure draft of a proposed Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) entitled Auditing Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures. The proposed SAS addresses auditing considerations relating to measurement, presentation, and disclosure of assets, liabilities, and specific components of equity presented or disclosed at fair value in financial statements. See our full news item at  for further details of this proposed new standard

From the August 12, 2002 Issue of Fortune

THE ONLY OPTION (FOR STOCK OPTIONS, THAT IS) Pretending they're free didn't work. Expensing them may be the silver bullet we're looking for. 

THE ADELPHIA STORY The sixth-largest cable company might as well have been called John Rigas & Sons. Its rise and fall was a small-town saga of epic dimensions. 

WILL HARLEY-DAVIDSON HIT THE WALL? It redefined the motorcycle industry as it roared through 16 years of growth. But as its customers age--and the stock market slides--the ride could get uneasy. 

CAN MCNERNEY REINVENT GE? Jim McNerney thinks he can turn 3M from a good company into a great one--with a little help from his former employer, General Electric. 

Accounting News from the FinanceProfessor Newsletter on August 19, 2002

So much for time to get your feet wet on the new job! Last month Robert Herz took over as head of the Financial Accounting Standards Board. And in case you have been asleep for the past year, accounting is under fire on all fronts fro its role in the recent corporate governance and accounting scandals. So the solution? There is probably no silver bullet, but Herz “personally favors “‘principles based’ accounting” with fewer rules but easier to follow guidelines. (he also speaks on the next topic: accounting for stock options)

How to account for intangible assets remains one of the important topics in accounting. Unlike physical assets whose historical cost may make a decent approximation, intangible assets are exceedingly open to judgments into their valuation

While this story is also included in the corporate finance section above, it is really an accounting topic: how to account for stock options? Should they be expensed? If so how to should they be valued? It is a tough call, and while no solution is perfect, I agree with Coke, GM, and the others that are now expensing the options. Thus, I was happy to find that the FASB and IASB agree that firms should expense the options.

Andersen is no longer allowed to do business in Texas.

Message from Paul Solomon on August 10, 2002

Dear Colleague:

Since you might not yet have had the privilege of attending the Colloquium on Change in Accounting Education, you are cordially invited to do so this year. Our past attendees rave about the quality and relevance of our teaching oriented program, the unique collegial atmosphere they feel, our very attractive locations, and the quality of the food, service and comfort of each Colloquium hotel. Click here to see what past attendees have said about their Colloquium experience: .

For all these reasons, re-energize yourself at our 6th annual Colloquium to be held in Sedona, Arizona, from October 30 - November 2 of this year. Along with the IMA, our primary sponsor, the Colloquium also features the active involvement of the AAA, AICPA, KPMG, and the college textbook publishers.

Please note that I have attached an announcement to this email message that will answer many of your questions. If you'd prefer to go to our web site immediately, just click on the following URL:  where you can access even more information and our on-line registration process.

If you are interested in attending, please do not delay your registration. The combination of positive word-of-mouth feedback from past attendees, another innovative program, and Sedona's unique setting makes it quite likely that we will reach our registration limit this year.

AccountingWEB US - Aug-8-2002 (Requires Subscription) - A study of 6,000 undergraduate students released by Universum Communications, Inc. shows that business students at 56 universities rank PricewaterhouseCoopers as the ideal employer in the United States --- 

Congressman Edward Markey blasted the Securities and Exchange Commission for its "dead wrong" decision to allow IBM to keep PricewaterhouseCoopers as its auditor after acquiring PwC's consulting practice. (Requires Subscription)

From the FEI Research Foundation on July 25, 2002

Read an HTML version of this issue, and see an archive of previous issues, at

Welcome to the July 2002 edition of Private Net. If you have suggestions for future issues of Private Net, please send your ideas by e-mail to If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor of Private Net, please contact Nora Peyton at

In 2001, the SEC amended its auditor independence rules for SEC registrants for the first time since 1983. These rules, which became effective February 5, 2001, identified nine areas of non-audit services that could impair auditor independence. For example, bookkeeping services by the external auditor were prohibited. Here is the link to the "Final Rule: Revision of the Commission's Auditor Independence Requirements":

At the time, then SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt said that the rules would pertain only to publicly traded companies, and would have no direct impact on local audit firms and their clients. However, in an article in the June Issue of The CPA Journal, Nicholas J. Mastracchio, Jr., associate professor of accounting at the University at Albany, NY, warns that there could be a "trickle-down" effect to smaller audit firms and their clients.

In his article, "Independence and the Users of Closely Held Companies' Financial Statements", Dr. Mastacchio reviews the results of a survey of lenders with total assets of less than $200 million. There were 56 responses to the survey, of which 85% reported that more than three-quarters of their loans were to closely held companies.

Among the key findings of this survey, 96% of the respondents said that the CPA firms they came in contact with showed integrity, and 45% of the respondents thought that the majority of their closely held customers relied on their accounting firm for consulting services beyond tax and financial statements.

Consistent with most other views, tax services were not considered to be an impediment to independence. However, in direct contrast to the SEC's opinion, more controversial areas, such as information system design, internal auditing, and valuation services, were considered to enhance the audit.

Hiring non-financial personnel and bookkeeping staff did not pose problems for the respondents. Interestingly, fewer respondents thought that hiring non-accounting staff enhanced the auditors' activity.

Here is a link to the article:

(This link does not yet include two exhibits outlining respondents' opinions on how auditor independence is affected by consulting services and referral fees. Please call Bill Sinnett at 973-898-4604 if you would like him to fax you the exhibits.)

Sex, drugs and rock-and-roll sites are verboten in Saudi Arabia. In China, a Web user can hardly find anything that doesn't support communism. A Harvard Law School study reveals why they choose to block what they block ---,1283,53933,00.html 

Kaplan Declares Online Financial Planning Program a Success --- 

The company attributes the success of the program to high retention rates (90 percent) and a unique diagnostic and prescriptive approach.
"Kaplan College's outstanding online student services make our program attractive to aspiring financial planners who want the personal support of a traditional program as well as the convenience of online learning," said Keith Fevurly, Executive Director of Kaplan College's Financial Planning Program.
Students hail from 49 US states as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and includes a number of military professionals serving in the US and abroad as well as employees of top insurance companies, securities firms, brokerage houses and banks. Its student body is more than 40 percent female, surpassing the financial planning industry average of 24 percent female.
The national trend toward individual retirement accounts and innovations in estate planning have fueled a growing demand for financial planners who can advise clients on appropriate investment and savings strategies.
Kaplan College is part of the higher education division of Kaplan, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Washington Post Company, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
For more information, visit or go directly to its Financial Planning certificate program.

FASB Issues Statement No. 146, Accounting for Costs Associated with Exit or Disposal Activities --- 

    Business Editors

    NORWALK, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 30, 2002--The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued Statement No. 146, Accounting for Costs Associated with Exit or Disposal Activities.

    The standard requires companies to recognize costs associated with exit or disposal activities when they are incurred rather than at the date of a commitment to an exit or disposal plan. Examples of costs covered by the standard include lease termination costs and certain employee severance costs that are associated with a restructuring, discontinued operation, plant closing, or other exit or disposal activity.

    Previous accounting guidance was provided by EITF Issue No. 94-3, "Liability Recognition for Certain Employee Termination Benefits and Other Costs to Exit an Activity (including Certain Costs Incurred in a Restructuring)." Statement 146 replaces Issue 94-3.
    In commenting on the standard, Linda A. MacDonald, FASB Project Manager, stated "Liabilities represent present obligations to others. Because a commitment to a plan, by itself, does not create a present obligation to others, the principal effect of applying Statement 146 will be on the timing of recognition of costs associated with exit or disposal activities. In many cases, those costs will be recognized as liabilities in periods following a commitment to a plan, not at the date of the commitment."

    Statement 146 is to be applied prospectively to exit or disposal activities initiated after December 31, 2002.
    The Statement may be ordered from the FASB website at or by telephoning the FASB's Order Department at 800-748-0649.

    About the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)

    Since 1973, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has been the designated organization in the private sector for establishing standards of financial accounting and reporting. Those standards govern the preparation of financial reports and are officially recognized as authoritative by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Such standards are essential to the efficient functioning of the economy because investors, creditors, auditors and others rely on credible, transparent and comparable financial information. For more information about the FASB, visit our website at

KPMG has a summary of FAS 146 at 

From the FEI Research Foundation on July 17, 2002 (Global Updates Number 6)

In response to the recent increasing pressure for convergence, the FASB and the IASB have evaluated a number of projects where they already have or may combine their efforts in the future, which include:

*Accounting for business combinations. The IASB expects to issue an Exposure Draft on business combinations in the third quarter of 2002, which is expected to converge in most important respects with FASB Statements Nos. 141 and 142. A joint project exists also for business combinations, phase 2, which will deal with new basis accounting issues. * Financial performance reporting. The IASB has an existing partnership on this project with the UK Accounting Standards Board, which issued an Exposure Draft in December 2000. * Liabilities and revenue recognition. The FASB is likely to take the lead on this long-term project that is expected to lead to the issuance of comprehensive standards on revenue recognition by both the FASB and IASB.

Even in joint projects, however, it is unlikely that both standard setters will produce identical accounting standards. In general, IAS rely more on basic principles and are less rule-based than U.S. GAAP. Differences in some lower-level principles within a standard may persist, and, at times, the two standard setters might not be able to agree even on high-level principles. Such an example is the recent decision of the IASB not to address the capitalization of borrowing costs in the Exposure Draft on Proposed Improvements to IAS, with the consequence that the benchmark treatment under IAS still differs from the required treatment under U.S. GAAP.

In any event, the international standard setting process is having an increasing influence over the U.S. process and vice versa. Even on projects that are not jointly undertaken, important decisions regarding recognition, measurement, or disclosure principles established by one standard setter will receive input from the other side through the established liaison and consultation processes.

In summary, the worldwide acceptance of IAS has received a significant boost now that reporting in accordance with IAS is required for public companies within the EU by 2005. This development also has increased pressure for convergence between international and U.S. accounting standards. The increasing interrelation between the international and U.S. standard setting process may encourage stakeholders in the U.S. standard setting process to increasingly follow and provide feedback to the IASB's deliberations. And if anyone needs additional proof of the significance of the international accounting world for the U.S., then please note: The September meeting of the IASB is scheduled to be held in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Additional Information on the status of International Accounting Standards is available at the following web sites:

* The International Forum on Accountancy Development Web site at  
* The International Accounting Standards Committee Web site at  
* Ernst & Young's International Accounting Standards Web site at 

"Teuro", a cross between euro and the German word for expensive, teur, captures the current sentiment of Germans that, as a result of the euros introduction, prices have increased significantly.

Most Germans believe that upon the introduction of the euro, as merchants calculated converted pricing, they increased prices up to 50%. In a May 2002 speech by Otmar Issing, European Central Bank chief economist, he said "This happened in some countries, not so much in Germany. I can see from the look in your faces that you don't believe me. My wife doesn't believe me either."

Government officials are downplaying the effect, but they are not convincing consumers. Retail sales fell 4.5% in Germany in the first quarter compared with 2001. The drop was result of concerns about the economy and unemployment, as well as concern over the "teuro" effect.

International Accounting Standards Board --- 
IASB issued a proposal on how an entity should make the transition to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) from another basis of accounting. The purpose of the draft is to ensure that all entities adopting IFRS for the first time present comparative information in their financial statements that is as close as possible to the information provided by existing users, within cost/benefit constraints --- 

From Syllabus News on July 23, 2002

Online U. Graduates Largest Ever Online Class

Minneapolis-based Capella University, a fully online school serving adult learners and employers, said it would confer the largest graduating class in its history at a commencement ceremony on July 27, 2002. About 400 students from around the globe will be honored at the event, more than doubling the size of last year's graduating class. Based on existing growth, Capella projects distance learning will increase by 900 percent in the United States to include 750,000 students fully online by 2005. The school's fifth commencement will draw more than 100 graduates who will travel to Minneapolis to attend the graduation, some from as far away as the United Kingdom, South Korea and Singapore. For students that cannot travel to Minnesota, the ceremony will also be broadcast live on the Capella University Web site.

For more information, visit: 

Georgia Tech Forms E-Commerce Partnership

The Georgia Institute of Technology and a software developer for the computer-assisted engineering market formed a partnership to create multi-disciplinary projects and research in the areas of Internet-based collaborative product engineering and e-commerce. The university and Dassault Systemes will build the Georgia Tech Product Life Cycle Management Competency Center (GT-PLMCC) on the main university campus in Atlanta. The Center will provide Georgia Tech with the new computer-aided classrooms, intelligent synthesis environments, and virtual reality simulation theatres necessary for collaborative design evolution and education. The Center is pioneering efforts to produce an international standard 3D Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) technology demonstration site at Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech will initially use the PLM tools to produce aerospace technology in support of advanced vehicle design research. Additional development will take place in the areas of manufacturing, management, and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

For more information, visit: 


From the Fortune Education Program on July 25, 2002

Looking to refresh next semester's coursepack?

Introducing the Fortune Education Collection, a collection of articles most requested by business educators like you. Click here to access:

Organized by discipline and complete with full viewing text, this compilation will help you navigate through FORTUNE's extensive archive to select the right articles to complement your lectures. The collection consists of 50 articles, in photocopy-ready pdf format, covering major academic disciplines including:

Engage your students with FORTUNE's in-depth and award winning journalism and gain access to popular Accounting articles like "Lies, Damned, Lies and Managed Earnings," "Accounting Bores You? Wake Up" or "Presto Chango! Sales are Huge!" to name just a few.

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FORTUNE has long been a favorite of educators, helping to bridge the gap between textbook theory and real world practice. We hope that you find this collection of articles both useful and relevant as you plan for the upcoming academic year.

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The revised syllabus for the Professional Level I and Professional Level II examinations is available to download from the secure document library at 

The publication of the Government White Paper: Modernising Company Law is aimed at modernising company law in a clear and intelligible way and has been regarded as the most significant review of the subject in 150 years --- 

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) Board meeting took place in Madrid on 8-10 July 2002; the central theme for the meeting was "Rebuilding Public Confidence." 

An eye-opening look at how computers have radically changed the way everything from sports watches to jumbo jets are designed, engineered and manufactured --- 

A Whole New World of 3-D Design
Powerful yet cheap PCs and amazingly sophisticated software are transforming how things get made. No industry is being left untouched

Stronger, Smarter Buildings in Less Time
Pioneers in computer-aided design, architects are now using advanced technology to model their designs in ever-greater detail

Paperless Planes
Lockheed Martin's electronic approach to building the new Joint Strike Fighter will likely be the industry's standard procedure soon

Sports Gear Goes Geek
Once used only for the pros, space-age technologies are now applied to everyday sporting goods, to the benefit of makers and consumers

. . ., as per , IFAC through its International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, will be making International Standards on Auditing available for free (via its web site), effective January 1, 2003. While I could not locate the specific URL to substantiate this, I however realised that they have lowered the 'online' charge from $90 to $50 effective July 1, 2002 until December 31, 2002. see


Rohan Chambers 
Lecturer in Auditing and Finance 
School of Business Administration 
University of Technology, Jamaica. Tel:(876)-927-1680-8 Ext.2109 eFax: (707)-982-0364


Latinos Outpace Other Groups' Online Growth The ethnic group is expanding at a rapid clip on the Internet, but a wide disparity remains between whites and everyone else.,,10789_1408581,00.html 

Suggestions for Seminal Papers in Financial Reporting

"Measuring wealth," Lee, Charles M C; CA Magazine, Toronto; Apr 1996; Vol. 129, Iss. 3; pg. 32, 6 pgs

This paper explains the Ohlson valuation model with an intended non-research audience.  I've used it in a financial statement analysis course.

Karen Taranto [ktaranto@PIPELINE.COM

SSRN's Top 10 Downloads 
(The abstracts are free, but the downloads themselves are not free,. However, your library may provide you with free SSRN downloads if it subscribes to SSRN)

One approach to finding the “top” papers is to download the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Top 10 downloads in various categories ---
This database is limited to the selected papers included in the database.

For accounting, SSRN’s Top 10 papers are at 
The average number of downloads of this top accounting research network paper is 227 per month.  In contrast the top economics network research paper has an average of 2,375 downloads per month.  Downloads in other disciplines depend heavily upon the number of graduate students and practitioners in that discipline.

The top ten downloads from the accounting network are as follows (note that some authors like Mike Jensen are not accountants or accounting educators):

16010 A Comparison of Dividend, Cash Flow, and Earnings Approaches to Equity Valuation
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Columbia School of Business
Date posted to database:March 31, 1997
10201 Value Based Management: Economic Value Added or Cash Value Added?
Anelda AB
Date posted to database:April 5, 1999
8041 Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs and Ownership Structure
Michael C. Jensen, A THEORY OF THE FIRM: GOVERNANCE, RESIDUAL CLAIMS AND ORGANIZATIONAL FORMS, Harvard University Press, Dec. 2000, and The Journal Of Financial Economics, 1976.
The Monitor Company and Deceased, University of Rochester Simon School
Date posted to database:July 19, 1998
7607 Evidence on EVA®
Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Vol. 12, No. 2, Summer 1999
Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, University of Washington and University of California at Irvine
Date posted to database:September 20, 1999
5194 A Generalized Earnings Model of Stock Valuation
Columbia Business School and University of California, Los Angeles
Date posted to database:July 18, 1998
5046 Which is More Value-Relevant: Earnings or Cash Flows?
Brigham Young University
Date posted to database:September 2, 1998
4927 Combining Earnings and Book Value in Equity Valuation
Columbia School of Business
Date posted to database:November 5, 1997
4254 Separation of Ownership and Control
Michael C. Jensen, FOUNDATIONS OF ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGY, Harvard University Press, 1998, and Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 26, June 1983
University of Chicago and The Monitor Company
Date posted to database:November 29, 1998
3843 Value Creation and its Measurement: A Critical Look at EVA
Politecnico Grancolombiano
Date posted to database:May 19, 1999
3771 Ratio Analysis and Equity Valuation
Columbia Business School and Columbia School of Business
Date posted to database:May 11, 1999

SSRN's homepage is at 

arn ern fen lsn mrn

Individual Subscription Fees

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Student: $25 $25 $25 $25 $0
Your library may provide you with free SSRN downloads if it subscribes to SSRN

Survey: Deloitte & Touche Leads in Diversity Among Big Five Firms --- 

Prisoners use the Internet for everything from chatting up dates to working elaborate cons. The ACLU is suing to overturn an Arizona law banning inmates' Net use on free speech grounds ---,1367,53832,00.html 

From Risky News on July 19, 2002

Falling equity derivatives revenues have hit bank earnings in the second quarter this year, as a decline in M&A activity saw less corporate demand for equity derivatives. US investment bank Merrill Lynch, which reported an 18% decline in trading revenues this week, said reduced customer flow and lower volatility caused a slump in equity derivatives. Although other banks did not break down their equity derivatives revenues, they acknowledged that business had dropped this year.

Bob Jensen's documents on derivatives are linked at 

A recent Reuters report indicated that the number of U.S. citizens filing false tax returns or simply not filing tax returns at all is increasing. 

Some Links on Accounting for Intangibles


"Accounting for Intangibles: The New Frontier" by Baruch Lev (January 11, 2001) --- 

FAS 141 and 142 Summary (October 22, 2001) --- 

New Rules Summary by Paul Evans (February 24, 2002) --- 

ACCOUNTING FOR INTANGIBLES: A LITERATURE REVIEW, Journal of Accounting Literature, Vol. 19, 2000  
by Leandro Cañibano Autonomous University of Madrid Manuel García-Ayuso University of Seville Paloma Sánchez Autonomous University of Madrid --- 


NYU Intangibles Research Project --- 

"Alan Kay talks with Baruch Lev," (June 19, 2001) --- 

International Accounting Standard No. 38 ---{2954EE08-82A0-4BC0-8AC0-1DE567F35613}&sd=928976660&n=982 

IAS 38: Intangible Assets

IAS 38, Intangible Assets, was approved by the IASC Board in July 1998 and became operative for annual financial statements covering periods beginning on or after 1 July 1999.

IAS 38 supersedes:
  • IAS 4, Depreciation Accounting, with respect to the amortisation (depreciation) of intangible assets; and
  • IAS 9, Research and Development Costs.
In 1998, IAS 39: Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement, amended a paragraph of IAS 38 to replace the reference to IAS 25, Accounting for Investments, by reference to IAS 39.

One SIC Interpretation relates to IAS 38:

Summary of IAS 38

IAS 38 applies to all intangible assets that are not specifically dealt with in other International Accounting Standards. It applies, among other things, to expenditures on:

  • advertising,
  • training,
  • start-up, and
  • research and development (R&D) activities.

IAS 38 supersedes IAS 9, Research and Development Costs. IAS 38 does not apply to financial assets, insurance contracts, mineral rights and the exploration for and extraction of minerals and similar non-regenerative resources. Investments in, and awareness of the importance of, intangible assets have increased significantly in the last two decades.

The main features of IAS 38 are:

  • an intangible asset should be recognised initially, at cost, in the financial statements, if, and only if:

    (a) the asset meets the definition of an intangible asset. Particularly, there should be an identifiable asset that is controlled and clearly distinguishable from an enterprise's goodwill;

    (b) it is probable that the future economic benefits that are attributable to the asset will flow to the enterprise; and

    (c) the cost of the asset can be measured reliably.

    This requirement applies whether an intangible asset is acquired externally or generated internally. IAS 38 also includes additional recognition criteria for internally generated intangible assets;


  • if an intangible item does not meet both the definition, and the criteria for the recognition, of an intangible asset, IAS 38 requires the expenditure on this item to be recognised as an expense when it is incurred. An enterprise is not permitted to include this expenditure in the cost of an intangible asset at a later date;


  • it follows from the recognition criteria that all expenditure on research should be recognised as an expense. The same treatment applies to start-up costs, training costs and advertising costs. IAS 38 also specifically prohibits the recognition as assets of internally generated goodwill, brands, mastheads, publishing titles, customer lists and items similar in substance. However, some development expenditure may result in the recognition of an intangible asset (for example, some internally developed computer software);


  • in the case of a business combination that is an acquisition, IAS 38 builds on IAS 22: Business Combinations, to emphasise that if an intangible item does not meet both the definition and the criteria for the recognition for an intangible asset, the expenditure for this item (included in the cost of acquisition) should form part of the amount attributed to goodwill at the date of acquisition. This means that, among other things, unlike current practices in certain countries, purchased R&D-in-process should not be recognised as an expense immediately at the date of acquisition but it should be recognised as part of the goodwill recognised at the date of acquisition and amortised under IAS 22, unless it meets the criteria for separate recognition as an intangible asset;


  • after initial recognition in the financial statements, an intangible asset should be measured under one of the following two treatments:

    (a) benchmark treatment: historical cost less any amortisation and impairment losses; or

    (b) allowed alternative treatment: revalued amount (based on fair value) less any subsequent amortisation and impairment losses. The main difference from the treatment for revaluations of property, plant and equipment under IAS 16 is that revaluations for intangible assets are permitted only if fair value can be determined by reference to an active market. Active markets are expected to be rare for intangible assets;


  • intangible assets should be amortised over the best estimate of their useful life. IAS 38 does not permit an enterprise to assign an infinite useful life to an intangible asset. It includes a rebuttable presumption that the useful life of an intangible asset will not exceed 20 years from the date when the asset is available for use. IAS 38 acknowledges that, in rare cases, there may be persuasive evidence that the useful life of an intangible asset will exceed 20 years. In these cases, an enterprise should amortise the intangible asset over the best estimate of its useful life and:

    (a) test the intangible asset for impairment at least annually in accordance with IAS 36: Impairment of Assets; and

    (b) disclose the reasons why the presumption that the useful life of an intangible asset will not exceed 20 years is rebutted and also the factor(s) that played a significant role in determining the useful life of the asset;


  • required disclosures on intangible assets will enable users to understand, among other things, the types of intangible assets that are recognised in the financial statements and the movements in their carrying amount (book value) during the year. IAS 38 also requires disclosure of the amount of research and development expenditure recognised as an expense during the year; and


  • IAS 38 is operative for annual accounting periods beginning on or after 1 July 1999. IAS 38 includes transitional provisions that clarify when the Standard should be applied retrospectively and when it should be applied prospectively.

To avoid creating opportunities for accounting arbitrage in an acquisition by recognising an intangible asset that is similar in nature to goodwill (such as brands and mastheads) as goodwill rather than an intangible asset (or vice versa), the amortisation requirements for goodwill in IAS 22: Business Combinations are consistent with those of IAS 38.

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting for intangibles can be found at 

The Rise of the E-Citizen: How People Use Government Agencies' Web Sites 

Accounting Temps' complete listing of accounting and finance salaries --- 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for accounting careers are at 

Homeland Security 
National Strategy For Homeland Security [.pdf]  
Department of Homeland Security 

AccountingWEB US - Aug-1-2002 -  Shareholder Value Magazine recently surveyed top executives of publicly held companies to help assess the prevalence of accounting scandals and the corporate response. Respondents to the survey were primarily investor relations professionals of micro cap, small cap and mid cap companies.

Key findings:

Freedom of Information Laws in 45 Countries 

These sites are a bit weird!

This is True --- 

Mike's Electric Stuff  --- 

Unusual Museums of the Internet --- 

July 26, 2002 message from Richard Campbell

Thought you would like to see a way of using interactive Microsoft Excel as well as some testing using fill-in-the-blank questions. Note that the following correct answers are allowed" 300, 300.00, $300 and $300.00 You need the ActiveX control from Excell 2002 to see the spreadsheet. I'm not sure if Excel 2000 will work. can someone let me know? 

Richard J. Campbell

Bob Jensen's tutorial on interactive Excel spreadsheets on the Web can be found at 

From Syllabus News on July 19, 2002

Awards Honors Mix of Art and Technology

Computer publishing giant Adobe Systems, Inc. announced the winners of its second annual Adobe Design Achievement Awards, honoring students from the Academy of Art College, Art Center College of Design, California College of Arts and Crafts, California College of Arts and Design, Parsons School of Design, Savannah College of Art & Design, School of Visual Arts, and UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. The winners were announced at a ceremony last night at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. More than 800 submissions were received, representing the work of student graphic designers, illustrators, digital filmmakers and computer artists from leading U.S. design schools. Awards were handed out for creativity and professionalism in six categories: video, print design, photography, illustration, experimental design, and web design. The company said this year's awards reflect technology's impact on nearly every aspect of the art world, noting that design schools now receive more applications containing computer animation, zipped sound files, and CD-ROMs than with traditional print materials, albums, and portfolios.

A list of the winning entries can be viewed at

Big Science Project to Incorporate Business Tools

The Duke Bioinformatics Shared Resource (DBSR) at Duke University signed an agreement to partner with SPSS Inc.'s to give DBSR user licenses, on-site training and technical support for Clementine, the company's data mining workbench. In return, DBSR will use Clementine to analyze scientific data and will share with SPSS its methodology and experience in using the Clementine software. The partnership is being driven by research associated with the Human Genome Project, which is generating voluminous amounts of bioinformatic data. "The large volumes of data being generated by technologies such as High Throughput Screening, combinatorial chemistry and microarrays provide a fertile ground for business tools to branch out into the scientific realm," said Dr. Petra Scheffer, SPSS Science senior marketing manager.

Automated Essay Scoring Engine Smartens Up

The makers of an automated essay scoring system said recent improvements in the software put it in the class of expert scorers in achieving scoring accuracy. The system, IntelliMetric, Version 8, from Vantage Learning, blends artificial intelligence technology and the digitization of human expertise to assess students in a range of subjects. The company said the system can be trained using as few as 200 sample papers, allowing easier use of the engine within instructional settings. Vantage Chief Operating Officer Scott Elliot said the software "just got a lot smarter," with more than 100 content and structural features, up from 72 features in the earlier version. The company said the new version has detailed line-by-line student writing feedback and improves "legitimacy detection," providing greater assurance to educators that scores are based on legitimate submissions from students.

Boston U. Offers Complete Master Degree Online

Boston University's Metropolitan College said it is offering its first complete Master's Degree in Criminal Justice program online. The school is working with the Embanet Knowledge Group (EKG), a learning management solutions firm, to develop the course. Designed by criminal justice education officials, the program enables students to earn a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice within two years. "The new program's curriculum enables working professionals to improve and expand their knowledge and competencies in criminal justice and law enforcement research, theory and practice," said Dr. Dan LeClair, chairman of the criminal justice program. He said the program would deliver "a valuable education to a variety of law enforcement and criminal justice professionals nationwide in high-level positions -- secret service agents, senior investigators and detectives, and police chiefs."

Welcome to the University of Math

The American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) was awarded a grant of $5 million by the National Science Foundation. The award is the result of a proposal submitted by AIM as part of a national competition. The funds will be used to support top mathematicians and scientists to attend focused workshops at a new conference center. The AIM Research Conference Center (ARCC) will be one of only a handful of its kind worldwide, and is expected to become a retreat for deep math thinkers as they collaborate to solve important problems. The architectural style for the new research center is modeled on the famous "Alhambra," the Moorish palace in Granada, Spain, which is renowned for its fascinating geometric proportions and mathematically intricate patterns.

For more information, visit 

"Breaking Records--For Bankruptcies: Chapter 11 is the hottest fad in business. But that's not even the half of it," by Andy Serwer, Fortune, July 22, 2002 --- 

Enron. Adelphia. Global Crossing. Kmart. Names we know all too well. These are just a few of the biggie companies that have slid into bankruptcy over the past 12 months. And I'll bet you your last dollar that between the time I write this article and the time you read it, we can add another big name to the list. (Kind of reminds me of that old Booker T & the MG's tune, "Time Is Tight," if you know what I mean.)

"It's been growing since October two years ago," says Ray Warner, a professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City Law School. "You're now seeing some very large examples, which is different than in the past. What we're really seeing is bankruptcies that are being caused by accounting issues. The real trigger for these companies is the loss of financial confidence."

If you're guessing that bankruptcies are going through the roof--or falling through the floor--right now, you're dead right. The scariest, most visible wave, of course, is telecom. Besides Global, we have FLAG, Century, Clariti, Metrocall, Metrofiber, Mpower, Network Plus, NTL, Pinnacle, Rhythms NetConnections, Star, (which is not to be confused with) StarBand, Teleglobe, Western Integrated, Williams Communications, World Access, XO, and my favorites: Yipes Communications and (The latter two seem almost destined, don't you think?)

But it's not just phone companies. Houlihan's (yup--the restaurant chain) went bankrupt in January. Anchor Glass filed in April. Birmingham Steel in June. Florsheim (I've always been partial to their wingtips) kicked in March. Batterymaker Exide also went down in April. Guilford Mills, Kaiser Aluminum, Polaroid, State Line Casino, and Wisconsin Color Press all threw in the towel. And then--surprise, surprise--there was Beliefnet, "a spirituality-based Internet site," which passed on in April.

It's terrible. Unless, of course, you happen to be Wilbur Ross, CEO of W.L. Ross & Co., who is a dean of distressed investing. "The numbers are really big, and there's no end in sight," Ross says. "We keep track of companies with $100 million or more of liabilities when they file. Last year was the all-time world's record. Companies worth $230 billion filed for bankruptcy. That's up 80% from 2000, and up 11.5 times from the last peak, in 1990." Last year some 172 large companies filed for bankruptcy, says Ross. That's one every two days!

And the beat goes on. "If we don't break the record this year, we'll be within spitting distance of it," says Ross. "If you add up the two years cumulatively, there will be some $500 billion of liabilities in bankruptcies by the end of the year. That's 5% of GDP."

And that's just corporate bankruptcies. The action on the personal side is even faster and more furious. Be it under Chapter 7 (liquidation), Chapter 11 (reorganization), Chapter 12 (family farms), or Chapter 13 (low-income insolvencies), Americans are raising the white flag as never before. In the first three months of 2002, bankruptcy trade group ABI reports, total bankruptcy filings climbed to 379,012, the highest first-quarter tally ever. The overwhelming majority, 369,237, were personal bankruptcies. In other words, 97% of the bankruptcies in this country are personal. That's up from 81% 20 years ago.

A disturbing trend, to be sure. And of course there's much clamor to stiffen personal bankruptcy laws. But at the risk of being callous, I say it's part of the cycle we must endure. I'm not sure what the opposite of bankrupt is--I suppose "incredibly solvent"--but we certainly enjoyed that trend for several years previous. Now the pendulum has swung back with a vengeance, and bankruptcy is in its own boom. I met a new neighbor the other day who told me that he was a lawyer by training who had been working as an executive at a shoe company. "But I'm going back to law," he said. "Bankruptcy law. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." Sadly, he's right.

Continued at 

America's Best Hospitals 2002 (Health, Medicine) 

Tibetan Buddhists described advanced neurological concepts 2,000 years before science had the technology to discover them. (History, Science) ---,1286,53820,00.html 

One of my colleagues at Trinity University asked me to recommend places to search for news. There are millions of sites in this regard. I mention just a few below.

Rocketinfo's Search Engine 

Daypop (searches over 7,000 news sites and weblogs) for current and breaking news.

Find Articles --- 

Power Search --- 

Newspaper Searches ---

Associated Press
Chicago Sun Times
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
Los Angeles Times
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
New York Times
New York Times Syndicate
Roll Call Online
The Hill
USA Today

Handbook for Online Volunteers 

Finding News Articles on a Particular Subject

The Internet has provided a great way to search for news articles relating to a particular subject..... if you can figure out how to find such articles.....

It's been said that Internet search engines can be the most useful--or useless--tools on the Internet. As one writer put it: "the Internet is an enormous library in which someone has turned out the lights and tipped the index cards all over the floor." There is so much information on the Internet that it can be overwhelming (for most users) to try to find what (they) are looking for. Finding information is easy...finding the article that you're looking for is more challenging.

What's Out There?
The first instinct may be to use one of the many search engines online. However, search engines are generally poor sources for current news. Some have developed separate engines and directories for news postings and these tend to work the same way as search engines. Examples include: Yahoo News, Excite, CNN.COM, ABCNews.COMand Lycos Top News. But if you're looking for topics that are not in the newspaper headlines, these may not necessarily be the best search options for you.

Where Should I Start?
There are many good places to search for the latest news stories from hundreds of sources on the web. The following sites provide good results for current event searching. And because they search only news sites, the results are usually focused and timely (see Online Research Advice for how they work).


  1. American Journalism Review News Search Engine
    This online tools allows you to search various news sources, including Excite News Tracker, Associated Press (via the Washington Post), Infoseek Wires, NewsBot, News Index and Total News.


  2. Yahoo Daily News
    Searches a variety of news databases.


  3. The Wired Cybrarian
    of the most extensive collection of search engines can be found at the Wired Cybrarian. In addition to having links to some of the best reference sites, the Wired Cybrarian acts as a multi-engine search for news articles broken out into eight topic areas: Technology, Current Affairs, Business, Recreation, Investing and Finance, Media, Culture and Health and Science.


  4. NewsBot
    Developed by HotBot, NewsBot's greatest strength is that it allows you to filter your search by date, so you can receive only the most current information. Newsbot then takes all of the documents that fit your criteria, sorts them according to their relevance, and returns a list of documents in the form of abstracts and links.


  5. Ixquick Metasearch
    Ixquick Metasearch finds the news you're looking for by intelligently searching top newspapers simultaneously.
 Once you have a feel for the keywords being used in the articles, some other good resources include:
  • Librarian's Index to the Internet
  • Newshub
  • NewsTracker
  • Paperboy


    A partnership between LookSmart and the Gale Group, a publisher of research and reference materials for libraries, businesses, and information technologists. Offers free access to the full-text of articles published in more than 350 magazines and journals dating from 1998. Search returns include article title, periodical, and short description, with a link to the full-text, which is conveniently and quickly displayed at the FindArticles site, though with numerous advertising banners. Visitors can also view a list of the publications indexed, alphabetically or by subject. Periodical listings include a one-sentence description and a link to their Website. A very useful reference source, indexing many leading journals and magazines.
  • NewsLinx
    To many this is the best site to keep up-to-date on any technology beat. It's a page of deep links, updated in real-time, to a host of newspapers, trade magazines and websites covering e-commerce (and other topics.) You can also search the database to get real-time news on any technology topic you like. The ads follow the copy, and the stories aren't "framed," so they're not stealing from copyright holders.
  • NewsMaps
    "Explore thousands of news articles and discussions, organized by topic onto an information landscape." You can click on data "points" on the maps to link to actual news articles. Works best at 56KB and faster, and your browser must support Java."
    A search engine by the Library Technology Alliance.
What's Best?
Finding what is best depends on what you're looking for. Sometimes searches on a general search engine may prove to hold the best information for your search, sometimes you may have to use multiple sources. As with any search, the more sources that you use, the more information you will be able to retrieve.

Citing Internet Sources
When you are given an assignment to gather news articles, provide the assigning organization the name of the article, the date of the article, and the direct URL of the article, so that they can then access the article themselves. This is also important so the article can be properly cited if it is used.

Another great resource for learning to find news articles is the Information Research FAQ at



Internet Research Articles --- 

Bogus Information and Evaluative Skills

Get Smart About Web Site I.Q., SearchDay, 4 April 2002 (off site)

Honest Mistakes, Deceptive Facts, Legal Assistant Today, March/April 2000. Request a print copy.

(How To) Assess the Quality of Information at a Web Site (2002)

Companies and Business Research

(How To) Find Employer Identification Numbers (2001)

(How To) Find Sales Leads and Other Prospect Lists (2002)

(How To) Locate a Company's EDGAR Filings without Searching the SEC's EDGAR Database (2000, 2001)

In Pursuit of Company Secrets, Law Practice Management, April 2002, pgs. 9, 12-14 (off site)

Investigating Private Companies (2002)

Minding the Web, Law Office Computing, Dec/Jan 2001

Factual Research

(How To) Determine Where to Conduct Research (Internet vs. Library) (2002)

Just the Facts! (2001)

How To Articles

Find brief articles on how to accomplish specific research tasks.

Legal Research

Build Your Own Electronic Library (2001)

Finding Meaning in Law (2002)

(How To) Find a Statute by its Popular Name, Or Finding the Interstate Commerce Act (2000, 2001)

(How To) Find a Treaty Ratified by the U.S. (2000, 2001)

(How To) Find Regulations under a Particular Federal Code Section (2000, 2001)

(How To) Monitor Federal Regulations (2000, 2001)

People Finding, Investigative Research

(How To) Discover Vehicle Ownership with a Plate Number (2001)

(How To) Find Employer Identification Numbers (2001)

(How To) Find Property Records Online (2000, 2001)

In Pursuit of Company Secrets, Law Practice Management, April 2002, pgs. 9, 12-14 (off site)

Investigating Private Companies (2002)

Mission Possible: Investigating the Background of an Expert Witness (2002)

Reach Out and Find Someone, Law Office Computing, Oct/Nov 2000. Request a print copy.

News Searching

(How To) Find News Articles about People (2001)

You Have News! (2001)

Research Tools

Browser Power (2001)

Build Your Own Electronic Library (2001)

Sow the Data, Reap the Knowledge, Law Practice Management, 22-25, October 2001. Request a print copy.

Search Engines

Engine Power, Legal Assistant Today, 68-75, Jul/Aug 2001. Request a print copy.

It's Tough to Get a Good Date with a Search Engine, SearchDay, 5 June 2002 (off site)

(How To) Pick a Search Engine (2000, revised 2001)

Tyburski Files

This Law Office Computing column covers electronic resources and strategies for accomplishing various types of legal and business research. Request print copies.

Web Search Techniques

Browser Power (2001)

(How To) Determine Where to Conduct Research (Internet vs. Library) (2002)

It's Tough to Get a Good Date with a Search Engine, SearchDay, 5 June 2002 (off site)

(How To) Retain My Research Starting Point (2000, 2001)

The Skill of the Hunt, Law Practice Management, 23-24, Nov/Dec. 2000. Request a print copy.

Tips for Conducting Internet Research (1999, revised 2001)

A Topical Change of Habits, Law Practice Management, 26-27, May/June 2001. Request a print copy


From The Scout Report on February 22, 2002 

Business 2.0 Web Guide 

According to one of its own brochures, "Business 2.0 is the essential tool for navigating today's relentlessly changing marketplace, particularly as it's driven by the Internet and other technologies." In both print and electronic versions, Business 2.0 does cover an incredible amount of ground, including day-to-day and month-to-month information and offering extensive subject lists of its material, broken down by general subjects -- from management and marketing to Enron and the Internet. Not only clearly in touch with today's business world, Business 2.0 promises to put its readers in touch with it through company links, as well as through straightforward contact lists. While Business 2.0 is open for anyone's consultation, registered readers are granted greater access privileges to archived and premium cont

Columbia Newsblaster 

With a team of researchers headed by Prof. Kathy McKeown, Columbia Newsblaster is an online project at Columbia University's Department of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Newsblaster currently looks at news reports from thirteen sources, including Yahoo, ABCNews, CNN, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, CBS News, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Virtual New York, Washington Post, Wired, and USA Today. The product uses artificial intelligence techniques to cull through news reports published online and then sorts and summarizes these reports in five different news categories -- US, world, finance, entertainment, and sports. These summaries are based on reflecting factors, such as where a fact is mentioned in the published reports and how often it is repeated across reports dealing with the same event or subject. They are also based on the news value of individual facts, such as how many were killed or injured, or how much damage to property occurred. On the whole, in an age of information overload, this newly developed tool may provide assistance to journalists, executives, and average news consumers.

A free report "Employers Use Waivers For Legal Protection" lays the groundwork for employers to create their own legally- defensible waiver agreements. 

The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt (National Gallery)--- 

Are companies being honest when they tell you how much your are buying?
How Much Is Inside? --- 

In praise of excess Remember the dot-com times? Ponytailed 20-somethings with their black skivvies and excessively caffeinated plans for world domination? Generation Xers and Ylings who "got it" and were going to put the crusties and the oldies out to their rightful place in the pasture? 

"China plans software to rival Windows," New Scientist, July 2, 2002 --- 

China plans to create a computer desktop operating system that could rival Microsoft's Windows range, according to a Chinese news report. Some experts believe the code for such a system could be pulled together from "open source" software already available for free.

The Chinese newspaper People's Daily reports that a group of 18 Chinese companies and universities have begun working on the operating system. The report says it will be designed to have similar functionality to Microsoft's Windows 98 platform, and will be built to run Microsoft's office software. It should be ready within about a year.

The report indicates that developers are keen to undermine the dominance of Microsoft's software in China buy building an alternative standard operating system. It states: "The monopoly of foreign office software over the Chinese market will be broken."

An early version of the operating system called "Yangfan 1.0" is said to be already in use in some government offices in China. The Chinese development project was announced on Thursday at the IT Industry Promotion Centre in Beijing.

Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of system software research with US analyst firm IDC, says it would be relatively simple for Chinese programmers to use free software to build an operating system with comparable functionality to Windows 98. He says the Linux operating system would be ideally suited for this purpose.

Leap forward

"It would not be unreasonable to jump to the conclusion that it is based on Linux," Kusnetzky told New Scientist. "This could be a clear example of them trying to take advantage of the large pool of software that's available as open source. This is a way to take a giant leap forward almost immediately."

Linux runs on the same hardware as Windows and offers similar functionality. It is also published freely along with its underlying source code. There is already a commercial version of the operating system designed for the Chinese market called Red Flag Linux.

Continued at  

The Barbara (Streisand) File  (With Flash and Minimal Audio and Video)
Features quotations from Barbara.

History, Museums, and Libraries --- See 

Gabriel: Gateway to Europe's National Libraries 

Sources on US Naval History 

The Avalon Project: African-Americans - Biography, Autobiography and History 

Museums Online 
Note that there are three main classifications:  Art, Science, and History.

Unusual Museums of the Internet --- 

History of U.S. Armies in Uniform --- 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline of Art History 

A great American History Site
States and Capitols --- 

Aesthetics Online Philosophy and art teaching resources  
Archives of American Art Documents on the history of visual arts in the United States  
ARTISTE: Image Retrieval System Puts European Galleries in the Picture

Art and Life in Africa --- 

Museum-quality art with 6,000+ artist search  

ArtLex-Dictionary of Visual Art  

History of Photography  

Manuel R. Bustamante Photograph Collection (Cuba, History) --- 

Modern Masterworks Art of the 20th century

An important history website that is definitely worth taking a look at 
Especially note the timeline of major world history events beginning in 10,000 BC

Bob Jensen's links on history, libraries, and museums can be found at 


Lawsuit Seeks to Expunge Ten Commandments from Texas Capitol Grounds
On the heels of the reviled decision censoring "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance, a lawsuit to be heard by a federal court on July 29 in Austin alleges that the Ten Commandments granite display on the grounds of the Capitol is also an unconstitutional establishment of religion --- 

This is True --- 
This is True is a weekly syndicated newspaper column by Colorado humorist Randy Cassingham. True reports on bizarre-but-true news items from legitimate newspapers from around the world (never "tabloids"). Each story ends with commentary by Randy -- a tagline which is humorous, ironic or opinionated. An online pioneer, True has been publishing online weekly since June 1994. You too can have such true stories of human weirdness sent to you once each week by e-mail for free.

  • A man sued his doctor because he survived his cancer longer than the doctor predicted.
  • Two robbers were in the process of their crime when one changed his mind and arrested the other.
  • A woman had her husband's ashes made into an egg timer when he died so he could still "help" in the kitchen.
  • Only 68 of 200 Anglican priests polled could name all Ten Commandments, but half said they believed in space aliens.

Viral Marketing
Roger Freeman, an Encino, Calif., dentist and lecturer on infectious diseases, wants to start an epidemic. Well, not really: his new company is pushing a line of neckties with magnified pictures of diseases from microscope slides. "The gonorrhea tie is the best looking tie in the whole lot," Freeman says, allowing that "The syphilis tie is gorgeous. The plague tie is pretty, [but] it's sold out." In addition, patterns showing tuberculosis, herpes, staphylococcus, AIDS, chlamydia, ebola, influenza and several other pathogens are available. Don't want to wear your favorite disease around your neck? Matching underwear is also available. (Reuters) ...Next year, he hopes to debut a new line of condoms.

I Declare
The Folies Bergeres in Paris is staging "California Dream Men", its first show in 130 years featuring male strippers. After French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was spotted watching the show from a box above the mostly female audience, reporters from the French newspaper Liberation confronted him. He confirmed he was there, and further announced he enjoyed the show. "I have never considered nudity to be immoral, at least when it is beautiful," Le Pen replied. "I applaud beauty whether it be masculine or feminine." (AFP) ...American politicians haven't yet figured out that "Yeah, so?" is a pretty good reply to such inquiries from reporters.

Nine out of Ten Would be Adequate
Researchers at Alabama's Auburn University say they have determined what men want in the "ideal woman": she is sexually inexperienced but likes sex, has a career but is a full-time homemaker, has a slim build, is athletic, and has pretty eyes, dark hair, good complexion and a firm butt. Large breasts are nice, but not all that important. The study's lead author, Erica Gannon, says the specifications are similar to what is found in the Bible. "Our participants, whether knowingly or unknowingly, espouse a view of the ideal woman that is very similar to the views held by individuals thousands of years ago." However, she adds, "It's hard to be this woman." (UPI) ...About as hard as being the ideal man: strong yet gentle, powerful yet sensitive, has a great career yet helps clean the house and raise the children, in control yet cries, and a sex expert who's only been with one woman.


Oh... My... God!!
Man Goes Berserk in Car Saleroom,
Many Volvos Hurt

Reuters headline

His Face Rings a Bell
Romance novel cover boy Fabio is OK after being injured on a roller coaster at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. The akimbo Adonis, making a public appearance to inaugurate the new ride, was hit in the face by a bird while being the first to ride the coaster. When the train came to a halt, he was covered with blood from a gash on his face. When told of the incident, a spokeswoman for Fabio's publisher reacted, "Oh my God! Think if his mouth was open!" (Reuters) ...That's the secret to his success: he never opens his mouth.

With This Ring I Me Wed
Janet Downes thinks she has found the secret for a happy marriage: she's marrying herself on her fortieth birthday. The Bellevue, Neb., woman says the wedding ceremony celebrates that she is "happy with herself," and plans to exchange vows with herself in the mirror. The ceremony will include a wedding gown, flowers, a traditional cake, and a choir. (Reuters) ...She also apparently had a hand in planning her wedding night.

Are We There Yet?
In the old days, the ideal of camping was "roughing it" in the wild. Not anymore, says Scott Monte, publisher of Backpacker magazine. This year's Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, which showcases new products for campers, was stuffed with displays of gourmet foods, ergonomic backpacks, satellite-tracking mapping systems, and silk sheets for sleeping bags. "Comfort is king," Monte says. Surveys found the average Backpacker magazine reader made $89,500 and spent more than $4,500 on backpacking equipment and excursions last year. (AP) ...The New America: where 'roughing it' means no satellite dish for the TV in the Winnebago.

Forwarded by a Happy Lady (who claims all the morons were men)

Top Eight Morons:

President John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked intellectual leadership. He received a $26 million severance package. Perhaps it's not Walter who's lacking intelligence.

Police in Oakland, California spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home. After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers