New Bookmarks
Year 2003 Quarter 4:  October 1-December 31 Additions to Bob Jensen's Bookmarks
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

We're moved to the mountains on July 15, 2003 ---  

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.

Once again Trinity University receives a top ranking --- 


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Choose a Date Below for Additions to the Bookmarks File

December 16, 2003     December 3, 2003   

November 15, 2003     November 1, 2003     

October 21, 2003        October 15, 2003     


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December 16, 2003 

 Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on December 16, 2003
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Year 2003 Jensen Christmas Letter --- 
(The pictures I took in October load very slowly.  Please be patient.)

To hear the wonderful music at Jesse's site, you must click on your selection and wait until it opens in a new window.  If the music does not start automatically, scroll clear down to the bottom of the page (I mean the very bottom of the page following a large black space) and click the on button on the control bar at the bottom of the page.  Then scroll back up to the top to watch the animation while the music plays.

Romantic music provided by Jesse ---  
Bob Jensen ' s Christmas present (requires computer audio) in the White Mountains ---
Those that know me realize that this is not far fetched!
I especially like the graphics and the music at “Games People Play” ---
But the best is The Irish Blessing --- 

Quotes of the Week

Karl Pizzolatto (As quoted in a recent email message from Auntie Bev)
Bob Jensen's email philosophy.

Aged to Perfection:  More Companies Seek Older Leaders
Joann S. Lublin, The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2003, Page B1
Now we're talkin'.

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
Edgar Allan Poe

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
Ralph Waldo Emerson 

... the award-winning chemistry professor (from Hendrix College) offers the following metaphor:  "I think of myself like I'm up in a helicopter and I'm flying over my students who are wading through a swamp.  I have a bullhurn and I'm saying, 'Don't go that way, there's an alligator over there!  Watch out!'"
As quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2003, Page A9.
Tom Goodwin, professor of chemistry at Hendrix College, was honored as one of the nation's top professors by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching --- 

GM, despite impressive cost-cutting and quality gains in recent years, has made more money selling mortgages in the last two quarters than building cars.
Shirouzu and Joseph B. White, "S&P Downshifts Ford's Debt Rating,"  The Wall Street Journal, Page A3 ---,,SB10686444365708500,00.html  (see below)

Average health-plan costs rose a less-than-expected 10% per worker in 2003, mostly by shifting more expenses to employees.
Vanessa Fuhrmans, "Shifting Burden Helps Employers Cut Health Costs," The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2003 ---,,SB107083928529719500,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 

It is often so: the harder it is to hear, the more a truth is worth saying.
André Gide

Most of the kids in my seventh grade class are not going to wind up with editors.
Peter Berger in his commentary on teaching English --- 

We only hear questions that we are able to answer.
Friedrich Nietzsche

IBM has told its managers to plan on moving the work of as many as 4,730 programmers to India, China and elsewhere.
The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2003 ---,,SB107145780218004900,00.html?mod=technology_main_whats_news 

Many of today's students may never have shared a room with a brother or sister, and they have different expectations of what residence hall life should be
Judy Lin, "Colleges Offering Better Living Space," IwonNews, December 12, 2003 --- 

The best way to develop responsibility in people is to give them responsibility.
Kenneth Blanchard

A poem by our accounting/XBRL friend Neal Hannon from the University of Hartford --- 

Repeat Offender

The past is gone
But it reveals a pattern
That will not go away
And could too easily be repeated

How hard is it
To learn from the past
To see the outcomes
Before they unfold?

And when we see
Why does it not
Change what we do?

Imagine for This Holiday Season
Lyrics by John Lennon --- 
Music and Lyrics --- 
If the music does not start automatically, scroll clear down to the bottom of the page (I mean the very bottom of the page following a large black space) and click the on button on the control bar at the bottom of the page.

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one 

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

 You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will be as one

Bob Jensen's working draft of accounting and finance scandals for October-December 2003 can be found at 

The above site elaborates on the ethical dilemma of a Stanford assistant professor who simultaneously warned the world that mutual funds were ripping off over $5 billion from the public while he was making millions exploiting his discovery.

Stock mutual funds took in more money in the past three months than in any period since 2000, despite the trading scandal.
"Flight to Quality Benefits Three Fund Firms," by Ian McDonald, The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2003 ---,,SB107118601050112500,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 

How do TIAA/CREF mutual funds compare in this era where most mutual funds tend to overprice customers relative to value added?  See 

Bob Jensen's Tribute to Bob Bartley

While reading Daniel Heenninger’s tribute to Bob Bartley in The Wall Street Journal (Page A13) on December 12, I was struck with a vision of a corn stalk standing tall in a clump of ivy.  I lived in a fraternity house and played many hours of bridge with Bob Bartley 46 years ago in the heartland at Iowa State University .  I recall the pleasure of learning years later that Bob had risen to Editor of the Editorial Page of the WSJ.  The East, and New York in particular, is noted for bias for Ivy, those graduates from Princeton , Yale, Columbia , Harvard, etc.

The fact that Bob competed with and rose above the Ivy graduates is a tribute to his undeniable talent and perseverance.  Back in our fraternity house, Bob was noted for being a quiet intellect.  In his horned rimmed glasses he even looked a bit like a nerd misplanted among us Iowa hayseeds.  The fact that he rose to great heights and received many prizes, including a 1980 Pulitzer Prize and a 2003 Presidential Medal of Freedom, is a tribute not only to him but to America itself where opportunity abounds for those who are willing to aspire for the top and work steadfastly upwards.

The world will miss this corn stalk towering above the Ivy.

You can read more about Bob at the following sites:,,SB107119731685066600,00.html?mod=opinion_columns_featured_lsc 

The Best of Hubble (Astronomy, Photography) --- 
This is a slide show complete with audio.

America on the Move (History, Culture, Economics) --- 

The Fog of War (Movies, Film, History) --- 
Robert McNamara's life and times in film.  Discusses the philosophy of war.

A fabulous travel link forwarded by Debbie Bowling

"Clip it, save it, use it—and never, ever lose it!" --- 
The 2004 address book: All the contact information you need to plan the perfect trip

Everyone knows about the eBays, the Orbitzes, the Travelocities, and the Pricelines, but where do you turn when you need to find a hot spring in Idaho, an agency that specializes in cheap airfare to India, or a cybercafé in Istanbul? To Budget Travel’s 2004 Address Book, that’s where. We’ve come up with a list of 101 suppliers, Web sites, government organizations, and nonprofits that can best help you travel intelligently.

The main site is at 

Bob Jensen's travel helpers are at 

"What to Look for in 2004," by Phillip D. Long, Syllabus Magazine, December 2003 --- 

The Year in Ideas --- 

Published: December 14, 2003

Each December, The New York Times Magazine looks back at the year through an unusual lens: ideas. We send out a team of researchers and reporters to investigate the latest thinking in every subject imaginable -- not just war, medicine and politics but also cosmetics, literary theory and Wiffle-ball technology -- and to bring back the most innovative, intriguing, mystifying and promising ideas they can find. Then we boil that vast intellectual stew down to the issue you hold in your hands: an alphabetical encyclopedia of the 67 inventions, breakthroughs and theories (big and small, nice and nasty) that made a difference in 2003.

Although the predictable big thinkers are represented here -- Paul Wolfowitz, Henry Louis Gates Jr., the editors of US Weekly -- an unusual proportion of this year's crop of ideas comes from lone-wolf thinkers of one stripe or another: basement tinkerers, armchair philosophers, mad scientists.

Take Michael Kennedy, a professor of geography at the University of Kentucky, whose big idea this year (G.I. Bill for College Athletes) had absolutely nothing to do with geography but might offer a solution to the conundrum of big-money college athletics. Or consider Frank Polifka, a Kansas wheat farmer, who invented an industrial garbage disposal that works like a contained cyclone (Tornado in a Can). It functions brilliantly, pulverizing waste of all kinds into a fine dust -- but no one (Polifka included) can figure out why. And then there is David Stevenson, a professor at Caltech, who in May came up with a real-life plan to accomplish a longtime dream of science fiction writers and 10-year-olds everywhere: drilling straight down to the center of the earth (The Jules Verne Project).

Continued in the article

"Arrests as Yale Protest," The New York Times, December 11, 2003 --- 

About 100 Yale University graduate students and hospital workers were arrested Wednesday night on charges of disorderly conduct as they protested what they said are inadequate wages and benefits for women.

In a rally that drew about 200 people, activists accused the university of failing to provide affordable child care or health care.

The Quest for Unity of Knowledge

Word of the Month = Consilience

Consilience is the key to unification. The word “consilience” was first used by the philosopher and historian of science William Whewell in 1840. It refers to a "jumping together" of knowledge by the linking of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation.
Note from Bob Jensen:  When I say this quotation, I thought of the Powers of Ten at 

Recommended Download Video of the Month:  Harvard's Edward O. Wilson --- 

On the Relation of Science and the Humanities
This one hour lecture explores the bridge between science and the humanities. Featuring a glossary of helpful terms, slide images, and background information, Professor Wilson postulates, "...that genetic evolution and cultural evolution are somehow interwoven."

Human Nature
Human nature is not the genes, which prescribe it, or culture, its ultimate product. Rather, human nature is the epigenetic rules, the hereditary regularities of mental development that bias cultural evolution in one direction as opposed to another, and thus connect the genes to culture.

The Westermarck Effect
The Westermarck Effect, named after Finnish anthropologist Edward Westermarck, was discovered almost a century ago. It is the basis for incest avoidance in humans. When 2 people live in close domestic proximity during the first 30 months of the life of either one, both are desensitized to later close sexual attraction and bonding. The Westermarck Effect has been well documented in anthropological studies. Non-human primates whose sexual behavior has been closely studied, with reference to behavioral development, all display the Westermarck Effect.

Aesthetic Judgment 
Aesthetic Judgment “Studies have shown if people are given complete freedom to choose the setting of their homes and offices, they gravitate toward an environment that combines three features…. People want to be on a height looking down, they prefer park land to look at, savannah-like terrain with scattered trees, and they want to be next to a body of water, such as a river or lake…even if these elements are purely aesthetic and not at all functional.”

Erotic Aesthetics
Erotic Aesthetics “I learned in teaching […that] it is always wise, about two-thirds through [a lecture], to bring up sex in some form. I noticed it was an experiment that always worked.”

Genes and Culture 
Co-Evolution “My point is that genetic evolution and cultural evolution are somehow interwoven. We are only beginning to obtain a glimmer of the nature of this process.”

Conclusion: Science and the Humanities 
“The value of the consilience program…at the very least [is that] we have acquired the means either to establish the truth of fundamental unity of knowledge or [to] discard the idea. I think we are going to establish it.”

POROI (a scholarly  approach to the left side of inquiry) --- 

Poroi is sponsored by the Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry and published electronically by the University of Iowa Libraries.  Scholarly articles in Poroi emphasize rhetorical analysis and invention in all fields of learning, and they address interdisciplinary audiences. 

An example:
"Constructing Political Identity Religious Radicalism and the Rhetoric of the Iranian Revolution, by  Susan Zickmund --- 

The Rhetorical Use of Fard to Foster a Discourse of Ritualistic Obligation 

6   Shi’ite Islam teaches a variety of religious practices as being mandatory for its followers. These include the seven major obligations: prayer, fasting, the paying of alms, a religious tax, the pilgrimage to Mecca, religious wars or striving ( jihad), while “enjoining the good and forbidding the evil” ( al-amr bi’l-ma‘ruf wa’l-nahy an’l-munkar) (‘Ali 1990). Khomeini drew on the notion of obligation ( fard) inherent within Shi’ite Islam. Both jihad and “enjoining the good and forbidding the evil” are fard kifaya: obligations that can be fulfilled by a designated group to satisfy their requirement of the community (Dabashi 1993). Deciding who should fulfill these requirements falls on the chief religious figure in the community, the marja’-e taqlid: the “source of exemplary conduct.” As the supreme marja-’e taqlid, Khomeini was entrusted with the right to collect the religious tax, to order a defensive jihad, and to require his followers to “enjoin the good and forbid evil.”

7   The Shi’ite marja’-e taqlid also has the power to transform a fard kifaya (collective duty) into a fard ‘ayn (individual duty), obliging each person in the community to act. As the highest ranking religious leader, Khomeini invoked these obligations. They became an early and pivotal part of his revolutionary discourse. In Velayat-e Faqih, for example, he argued that “enjoining the good and forbidding the evil” is a responsibility for the whole Islamic community:

Continued in the article

Each Prozac pill taken for depression cheers up a poet.

What magazine just got a $100 million donation from a philanthropist?

This is the largest single donation in history to a literary organization.  Ruth Lily donated $100 million to Poetry magazine --- 
The gift announcement made the front page of The Wall Street Journal on December 8, 2003 and is encouraging a whole lot of would-be poets to take pen in hand figuratively speaking.  I say thank Ms. Lily and to the rest of you --- go for it.

The Poetry Society of America --- 
Note the Favorite Poem Project.

The New York Times list of Notable Fiction and Nonfiction for 2003 --- 

Teaching K-12 Economics -- 

December 12, 2003 message from Risk Waters Group [

Credit derivatives are not yet helping banks to hedge their risks, said a report from rating agency Standard & Poor’s. Despite a rapid rise in innovation and trading activity in credit derivatives, the instruments have “a long way to go” before fulfilling their promise to become “a significant force in risk management for banks”, said the report by S&P’s credit analyst, Tanya Azarchs. "As promising as the credit derivatives technology is, it is not yet a panacea for credit problems of banking systems around the world," said Azarchs. "It has not, as is commonly believed, helped banks avoid meaningful amounts of losses in the current credit cycle."

Do you want to publish and distribute your writings, artwork, etc.?

One Answer
Diffusion (electronic books, interactive publishing, custom publishing) --- 

DIFFUSION eBooks are PDF files for readers to download, print out and make into booklets - a simple and effective mode of publishing that bypasses typical distribution problems encountered by small presses and specialist publishers. The format allows small 'artist's books' or illustrated essays to be published and distributed digitally worldwide. The internet provides a radical platform for small presses to reach parts of the world that it would not be economical to distribute traditional books to. By making the eBook files free to download and re-distribute as well as small in size, the knowledge contained in the books can reach a far greater audience than was previously accessible.

The DIFFUSION format challenges conventions of interactivity - blending the physical and the virtual and breaking the dominance of mouse and screen as the primary forms of human computer interaction. The format's aim is to take the reader away from the screen and computer and engage them in the process of production. Through the physical act of making the eBook, a different dynamic is created and the distinctions between producer and consumer of knowledge and information are blurred.

DIFFUSION eBooks are free to download and distribute, electronically or as material objects. The format is 'open source': i.e. Proboscis welcomes the adoption or re-interpretation of the format by anyone, anywhere. Proboscis is also able to offer a design and production service for clients wishing to use the format - please email for prices.

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at 

Ernst & Young educational Webcasts --- 

Salem-Keizer Online, or S.K.O., is one in a growing number of public, private and charter schools available to kids who are looking for an alternative to a traditional education. Commonly called ''virtual school,'' it's a way of attending school at home without the hovering claustrophobia of home-schooling.

"School Away From School," by Emily White, The New York Times, December 7, 2003 --- 

Virtual school seems like an ideal choice for kids who don't fit in or can't cope. ''I'm a nervous, strung-out sort of person,'' says Erin Bryan, who attends the online Oregon-based CoolSchool. Erin used to attend public school in Hood River, Ore., but ''I didn't like the environment,'' she says. ''I am afraid of public speaking, and I would get really freaked out in the mornings.''

Kyle Drew, 16, a junior at S.K.O., says: ''I couldn't get it together. I was skipping more and more classes, until I was afraid to go to school.'' Leavitt Wells, 13, from Las Vegas, was an ostracized girl with revenge on her mind. ''The other kids didn't want anything to do with me,'' she says. ''I'd put exploded gel pens in their drawers.'' Now she attends the Las Vegas Odyssey Charter School online during the day, and when her adrenaline starts pumping, she charges out into the backyard and jumps on the trampoline.

On S.K.O.'s Web site, students can enter a classroom without being noticed by their classmates by clicking the ''make yourself invisible'' icon -- a good description of what these kids are actually doing. Before the Internet, they would have had little choice but to muddle through. Now they have disappeared from the school building altogether, a new breed of outsider, loners for the wired age.

Douglas Koch is only 12, but he is already a high-school sophomore. He says that he hopes to graduate by the time he's 15. Today he sits at his computer in his Phoenix living room -- high ceilings and white walls, a sudden hard rain stirring up a desire to look out the shuttered windows. Douglas's 10-year-old brother, Gregory, is stationed across the room from him -- he is also a grade-jumper. The Koch brothers have been students at the private Christa McAuliffe Academy, an online school, for more than a year now. While S.K.O. is a public school, C.M.A. is private, charging $250 a month and reaching kids from all over the country. From Yakima, Wash., it serves 325 students, most of whom attend classes year-round, and employs 27 teachers and other staff members.

The first section of this article is not quoted here.

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment of online education can be found at 

This finally explains it in Canada.  Anecdotally, I think it applies worldwide.  But my problem with this study is that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.  What are the criteria for being a handsome woman or a handsome man?

"Pretty women scramble men's ability to assess the future," NewScientist, December 3, 2003 --- 

Psychologists in Canada have finally proved what women have long suspected - men really are irrational enough to risk entire kingdoms to catch sight of a beautiful face.

Biologists have long known that animals prefer immediate rewards to greater ones in the future. This process, known as "discounting the future", is found in humans too and is fundamental to many economic models.

Resources have a value to individuals that changes through time. For example, immediately available cash is generally worth more than the same amount would be in the future. But greater amounts of money in the future would be worth waiting for under so-called 'rational' discounting.

But some people, such as drug addicts, show 'irrational' discounting. For example, preferring a small amount of heroin today rather than a greater amount in the future.

Margo Wilson and Martin Daly of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada decided to investigate discounting behaviour and see if it varied with sexual mood.

Male students, when shown pictures of pretty women, were more likely to opt for short-term economic gain than wait for a better reward in the future.

Sexual opportunity

Both male and female students at McMaster University were shown pictures of the opposite sex of varying attractiveness taken from the website 'Hot or Not'. The 209 students were then offered the chance to win a reward. They could either accept a cheque for between $15 and $35 tomorrow or one for $50-$75 at a variable point in the future.

Wilson and Daly found that male students shown the pictures of averagely attractive women showed exponential discounting of the future value of the reward. This indicated that they had made a rational decision. When male students were shown pictures of pretty women, they discounted the future value of the reward in an "irrational" way - they would opt for the smaller amount of money available the next day rather than wait for a much bigger reward.

Women, by contrast, made equally rational decisions whether they had been shown pictures of handsome men or those of average attractiveness.

Continued in the article.

Some shared examinations and answers in Accounting Information Systems from George Wenzel, Lecturer in Computer and Information Science,  The Ohio State University --- 

Hi Dr. Jensen, 

We haven't met, but I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Kristin Oliver, and I am a counselor at Trinity's Counseling Services. I'm in the process of putting together a list of websites on a variety of psycho-social topics, and thought I'd pass one of the sites along to you! The site is a racism slideshow put out by the American Psychological Association. I used it as a required reading when I was teaching at the University of Hawaii last year, and my students loved it... I think it should be required reading for everyone! It's well-done and easy to navigate (the "next" button is in the upper right corner). 

Kristin Oliver

Free and Fee Technology & Education publications --- 

Has the internet made things worse for hypochondriacs?

"I am dying, doctor," New Scientist ---;jsessionid=DNAJECAOPHHL?id=ns24241 

The internet is an absolute nightmare. They type in their symptoms and come up with a vast number of diseases that they might have, all of which are serious. Then they find the chat rooms for that disease, and they receive a tremendous amount of rapid diagnoses and misinformation. There are a lot of people in chat rooms who are just enraged at the medical profession.

This is more than an animated cartoon --- 

Check out 

What is the Walt Disney World College Program?

The Walt Disney World College Program is a unique college internship opportunity. Imagine an internship with one of the most exciting companies in the world. It's a one-of-a-kind, Disney-designed combination of education and work experience. With a little hard work and perseverance, participants will have the chance to:

Build transferable skills that include relationship building, problem solving, and written and verbal communication. Explore networking opportunities at the Walt Disney World Resort. Tap into educational opportunities that offer new courses coupling academic theory and Walt Disney World Resort management expertise. Get real-world experience with a leader in the industry. Make friendships that span the globe. Enjoy privileges of being a Cast Member at the Walt Disney World Resort, including free Theme Park admission and discounts that cover resorts, merchandise, and more. For more information, please visit our Walt Disney World College Program home page. To submit an application, click "Apply Now."

How do I apply to the Walt Disney World College Program?

As a faculty member, what do I need to know about the Walt Disney World College Program?

I am an alumnus of the Walt Disney World College Program. What benefits do you have to offer me?

How do students get into the College Program?

What are the application requirements?

Can students apply for an animation internship?

Is the Walt Disney World College Program limited to certain majors?

When will recruiters be visiting schools?

If students miss the presentation at their school, can they still interview?

Can you send students applications? How do they apply?

Are cover letters/resumes necessary?

I'm not able to download the Advanced Internship Information Sheet from your Web site.

If students are not accepted the first time they interview, can they try again?

Can students come down to the Walt Disney World Resort to interview?

Can parents be sent information on the Walt Disney World College Program?

When will students receive an answer regarding their applications/interviews?

How will students be notified?

What will my notification look like?

Who can log in to your Walt Disney World College Program Web site?

How do I log in?

Will students earn college credit for participating in the program?

How do students get credit from their schools?

Do students need to receive credit from their schools in order to participate?

Is this a paid internship?

How many hours per week will students work?

What opportunities, other than the Walt Disney World College Program, exist at the Walt Disney World Resort?

Free Scholarly Downloads from Harvard University --- 

Recollections of Trinity's Faculty Summer Seminar of 1992
Multimedia Music Instruction:  Robert Winter Versus Thomas Kelly

Thomas Kelly's Harvard University Lectures  --- 
I don't think that you can download these without a broadband connection.

the Ninth   Includes Glossary    Timeline  


Beethoven's Vienna (21:27)
Daily Life Circa 1820 Vienna • Life & Death in Beethoven's Vienna • Theaters and Musicians • A Visitor's View of Vienna


Guided Listening: Movements 1&2 (27:34)
Scherzo and Fugue • Beethoven's Motifs • Development and Recapitulation • The Trio


Music in Vienna (14:24)
Musical Organizations in Vienna • Beethoven's Concert


Movements 3 and 4 (19:34)
Variations on a Theme • The Horn Solo • Thematic Unity


The First Performance (25:29)
The Orchestra, Chorus and Publicity • Beethoven Conducting • Hypothetical Reconstruction • Recollection of the Performance


Symphony: Then and Now (8:30)


Questions from the Audience (20:00)
Six Questions from the Alumni College Participants


This part of a wonderful Harvard University site that Bob Blystone pointed out to us --- 

Kelly's lectures take me back to when Bob Blystone, Glenn Kroeger, Suzanne Williams-Rautiola, and Bob Jensen organized a 1992 faculty summer seminar.  Among our outstanding visitors was a music professor from UCLA named Robert Winter.  Professor Winter's specialty is putting multimedia music education modules on CD-ROM disks, including Multimedia Beethoven, Multimedia Stravinsky, Multimedia Bach, and Multimedia Mozart.  Note the following links: (Search for "Robert Winter")

I have to admit that I liked Professor Winter's productions better that the above production by Professor Kelly, but Professor Winter's productions cannot be downloaded free and are a bit difficult to find these days.  Robert Winter puts full orchestra and chorus presentations on his CDs.  His multimedia education designs are fabulous.  

Does anybody know where Robert Winter has a Web homepage today?  I could not find his current home page (which is no longer at UCLA).

There are various "books" on each of Robert Winter's CDs such as a book on the life and times of the featured composer.  You can then hit selected hot words such as scherzo to pop up definitions, music clips, etc.  There is a book on the art of listening to the music selection on the CD (with full orchestra and music).  There is a book on how to critically listen to the piece.  There is also a "book" in which you can play the piece completely through and/or interrupt it at any time for detailed explanations.  The detailed explanations are divided into a side for casual listeners and a side for music experts.  And best of all there is a Jeopardy-like game at the end where teams of students can compete to test their knowledge of the history and music contained on the CD.  I especially like Multimedia Beethoven because this was not only one of the first but it is absolutely the best application of Multimedia ToolBook using OpenScript that I have ever seen.  I sunk years of my life into programming with OpenScript and cried real tears when Asymetrix abandoned OpenScript.

I think all Trinity University faculty who participated in the two week 1992 Faculty Summer Seminar will recall Robert Winter's visit as being a highlight.  A videotape of his Trinity University presentation and suggestions for educational designs is on file in Instructional Media Services in the Trinity University Library.  I also have a copy in my office.  There are also video tapes of the other excellent and one rather lousy presentation of other featured speakers at our summer seminar.

Other multimedia downloads from Harvard include the following at 

This is a FANTASTIC resource!

Internet Archive: Moving Images Archive (Multimedia) --- 
Many great video downloads.

Note that you can locate and download 427 Computer Chronicles (my favorite) television shows classified by topic --- 

Image Collections
Prelinger Archives
1,914 movie files
Over 1,200 "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films made from 1927 through the present
  Computer Chronicles
427 episodes
The complete archive of this PBS award-winning series about technology.
SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre
119 anims
The best of computer animation from Siggraph 2001.
Net Café
118 episodes
This TV program features interviews with the Internet's most influential players and covers the growing Web culture and lifestyle!
World at War
10 movies
Created by members of the Internet Archive community, these short films have been archived for posterity in the moving image archives.

Listen to William Faulkner read from his works (including his Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech) --- 
You may have to try from all three download formats before you can find one that plays.  I had the best luck with the RA format.

The Center for Faulkner studies is at 

Clever Site of the Week --- 

GeoSnapper enables users to upload and distribute accurately geo-referenced digital photographs.

Images are displayed relative to their positions on the planet, with high enough accuracy for others to find and experiece the location first hand.

A review from Yahoo on December 8, 2003

Are you a fresh-air fiend, keen on outdoor photography and nifty gadgetry? Then join this band of "geosnappers" who aim to canvas the world and visually map it with pinpoint accuracy. Combining the GPS craze known as "geocaching" with an unbridled love of adventure, these shutterbugs have already created an impressive array of regional and thematic albums that are browseable by photographer, category, or popularity. Click on the world map, then zero in on a region, say, the East Coast. Geographically related albums such as Salem Witch Trials of 1692, unusual phenomenon, and rural Virginia will appear in a list. The photos in each album are plotted on a map of the immediate area. Neat, huh? If you'd like to contribute, you'll need a GPS receiver to mark your location coordinates, then upload the images to the site. We can't think of a more exciting way to map the world!

Big Dead Place (brilliant exploration of life at polar extremes) --- --- 

I think the following applies to education as well as any business corporation.  The problem is that universities are notoriously slow to change relative to such organizations as business firms and the military.

From Syllabus News on December 9, 2003

MIT Sloan Professor: Use Tech to Reinvent Business Processes

Many private companies are using technology to keep down their labor costs, but the key to sustained growth and revived employment lies in whether they will successfully use technology to redesign the basic way they operate, says MIT Sloan Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Center for eBusiness at MIT Sloan.

In his research, Brynjolfsson found widely different outcomes among companies that spent similar amounts on technology, the difference being in what managers did once the new tech was in place. "Some companies only go part way," said Brynjolfsson, an expert on information technologies and productivity. "They use technology to automate this function or to eliminate that job. But the most productive and highly valued companies do more than just take the hardware out of the box. They use IT to reinvent their business processes from top to bottom. Managers who sit back and assume that gains will come from technology alone are setting themselves up for failure."

Bob Jensen's related threads are at the following URLs:

Management and costs --- 

Assessment --- 

Forwarded by Debbie Bowling

Sweet Spots

Thought you'd heard of every possible travel service? How about this one: A service called will reserve a parking spot for you at one of 63 major airports in the United States and Canada and give you a 10 to 50 percent discount off posted rates. In certain areas you also can get your car serviced--everything from a car wash to an oil change--while you're traveling. For more information, visit the website or call 1-888-960-7275.

Bob Jensen's travel helpers are at 

"WEBLOGS COME TO THE CLASSROOM," by Scott Carlson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 28, 2003, Page 33

They get used to supplement courses in writing, marketing, economics, and other subjects

Increasingly, private life is a public matter.  That seems especially true in the phenomenon known as blogging.  Weblogs, or blogs, are used by scores of online memoirists, editorialists, exhibitionists, and navel gazers, who post their daily thoughts on Web sites for all to read.

Now professors are starting to incorporate blogs into courses.  The potential for reaching an audience, they say, reshapes the way students approach writing assignments, journal entries, and online discussions.

Valerie M. Smith, an assistant professor of English at Quinnipiac University, is among the first faculty members there to use blogs.  She sets one up for each of her creative-writing students at the beginning of the semester.  The students are to add a new entry every Sunday at noon.  Then they read their peers' blogs and comment on them.  Parents or friends also occasionally read the blogs.

Blogging "raises issues with audience," Ms. Smith says, adding that the innovation has raised the quality of students' writing;

"They aren't just writing for me, which makes them think in terms of crafting their work for a bigger audience.  It gives them a bigger stake in what they are writing."

A Weblog can be public or available only to people selected by the blogger.  Many blogs serve as virtual loudspeakers or soapboxes.  Howard Dean, a Democratic presidential contender, has used a blog to debate and discuss issues with voters.  Some blogs have even earned their authors minor fame.  An Iraqi man--known only by a pseudonym, Salaam Pax--captured attention around the world when he used his blog to document daily life in Baghdad as American troops advanced on the city.

Continued in the article.

Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs are at 

December 12, 2003 message from Tracey Sutherland [


The AICPA provides this resource to help educators integrate the skills-based competencies needed by entry-level accounting professionals. These competencies, defined within the AICPA Core Competency Framework Project, have been derived from academic and professional competency models and have been widely endorsed within the academic community. Created by educators for educators, the evaluation and educational strategies resources on this site are offered for your use and adaptation.

The ECA site contains a LIBRARY that, in addition to the Core Competency Database and Education Strategies, provides information and guidance on Evaluating Competency Coverage and Assessing Student Performance.

To assist you as you assess student performance and evaluate competency coverage in your courses and programs, the ECA ORGANIZERS guide you through the process of gathering, compiling and analyzing evidence and data so that you may document your activities and progress in addressing the AICPA Core Competencies.

The ECA site can be accessed through the Educator's page of, or at the URL listed above.

MSU graduate student Michael Shafer discovered the largest prime number in existence. The number, has 6,320,430 digits and can fill nearly 1,100 pages of paper.

"MSU student's prime number largest one yet," by Sharon Terlep, Lansing State Journal, December 4, 2003 --- 

An MSU graduate student grabbed world fame on Wednesday - at least in a select community of mathematicians with a fervent interest in unfathomably large numbers.

Michael Shafer, a 26-year-old chemical engineering student, made math history by discovering the largest prime number known.


The number, Shafer and scientists say, has no particular practical use.

But the fact that he was able to find it using a computer program that hooked up 60,000 people and more than 200,000 computers worldwide, shows what modern-day personal computers can do when connected to the Web and the willing.

And, with 6,320,430 digits, Shafer's number is just really, really big.

Big enough, in fact, to fill 1,087 pages of 8 1/2-inch-by-11-inch paper - without margins.

"The number itself really isn't useful," Shafer said.

"What's more important is what's gone into developing the server and that the programs can get all these computers to work together for a common goal.

"Thousands of people from all over are very interested in finding these numbers."

Shafer's discovery came as part of an effort called the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, or GIMPS. At the center of the project is a computer server that shoots out large numbers to computers worldwide that are hooked up with software that determines whether a number is prime.

A prime number is a whole number greater than one that can be divided only by itself and one. The numbers three, five, seven and 11 are all prime numbers.

Shafer's programs ran for 19 days in his MSU laboratory when, last month, an alarm sounded letting him know his computers tagged a prime number. Scientists this week verified that it's legit.

A decade ago, the work would have required a massive super computer, said Chris Caldwell, a University of Tennessee mathematics professor who runs a Web site on prime numbers.

"It gives a test of the strength of the Internet," Caldwell said. "It just shows what the world's computer power can do."

Continued in the article

"AAUP Defends a Professor's Web Site About Unaccredited Distance Programs," bu Andrea L. Foster, The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 21, 2003, Page A28

The American Association of University Professors has come to the defense of a physics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who was pressured by administrators to take down his Web site on unaccredited distance-learning institutions.

An AAUP representative suggests that the professor's case was mishandled and is asking the university provost to clarify the institutions' policies on academic freedom and public service.

The professor, George Gollin, said administrators ordered him to remove his material from the university's server after Illinois was threatened with lawsuits from proprietors of some of the online institutions cited on his Web site.  Mr. Gollin's material is now available on the State of Oregon's Office of Degree Authorization Web site ( ).

Mr. Gollin said that administrators justified their demand, however, by telling him that his research into the controversial institutions did not meet the "public service" obligation for faculty members.

A Public Service?

Matthew W. Finkin, a law professor at the university and the institution's AAUP representative, sent a letter last month to Richard H. Herman, the provost, asking him to make clear to faculty members that academic freedom applies to the use of university computers and networks.  Faculty members should also be reminded that academic work, even work outside their discipline, qualifies as public service, Mr. Finkin wrote.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's listings of distance education programs are at 

This is a Good Summary of Various Forms of Business Risk  --- 

  1. Enterprise Risk Management

  2. Credit Risk

  3. Market Risk

  4. Operational Risk

  5. Business Risk

  6. Other Types of Risk?

December 7, 2003 reply from Calderon,Thomas G. Calderon []


You may also want to take a look at the CICA’s 1998 booklet titled Learning About Risk: Choices, Connections and Competencies. It contains several risk concepts, frameworks, and examples. It also includes AA’s (not Alcoholics AnonymousJ) 1997 risk framework (page 123). I do not believe that resource is available on-line, however.


Thomas G. Calderon, Ph.D.
Professor of Accounting
Director of Quality Assessment
259 South Broadway
College of Business Administration
The University of Akron
Akron, OH 44325-4802


Pop-up Blockers Are Not Always a Good Thing

Sometimes pop-up windows contain the information you are seeking. As an example, the newly-revised Freddie Mac annual reports and their highly educational appendices (on how failure to properly account for derivative financial instruments caused a year-long audit just to revise billions of dollars of overstated and understated net earnings) are contained in pop-up windows at 

When I sent a message about the above link to an accounting educator discussion group, some professors could not get the revised annual reports and appendices to show up in their browsers. One professor noted that these items popped up in his Netscape browser but not in his Internet Explorer.

You might want to click on the above link and then click on any one of the appendix links just to test out whether Google has created a problem for you!

David Raggay explains his problem and solution below. The same thing might happen to you some day.


-----Original Message----- 
From: David Raggay [mailto:draggay@TSTT.NET.TT]  
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 10:41 AM 
Subject: Re: Pop-up blockers


I installed a Google toolbar which integrates the functionality of Google in my browser - I use IE 6. One of the features of the toolbar is that you can block pop-ups.

When I turned the feature off, my browser displayed the annual report which I was previously unable to view.


David Raggay B.Sc.,M.Sc., Chartered Accountant, 
Lecturer, Department of Management Studies, 
University of the West Indies, 
St. Augustine, Trinidad, West Indies. 

Bush signs bill adding $3.7 billion to research in nanotechnology

"Supporters Hope New Law Will Boost Nanotechnology," by Antonio Regalado, The Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2003 ---,,SB107048945923305000,00.html?mod=technology_main_whats_news 

Proponents of nanotechnology hope a bill that President Bush signed into law Wednesday will set the stage for the sector's rapid growth.

The bill authorizes $3.7 billion in spending over four years for research on nanotechnology, which deals with manipulating and designing materials at the scale of individual molecules or atoms. The legislation seeks to coordinate research being carried out by a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, creating a comprehensive road map for nanotechnology's development in the U.S., as well as a new agency to oversee federal investment.

Although spending on nanotechnology has increased 83% since 2001, the bill, known as the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, provides few new funds. Instead, the bill's authorization reflects the investment levels in nanotechnology research already projected by 10 federal agencies.

The legislation was supported by large corporations and investors who hope that continued high levels of government funding for research will help turn nanotechnology into a booming industrial sector. "It's tremendously important for filling the scientific pipeline, stimulating activity, and supplying deal flow," said Josh Wolfe, a partner with Lux Capital, an investment firm.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen has some related threads at 

Interesting Findings from Stanford University

People with depression are five times more likely to have a breathing-related sleep disorder than non-depressed people, according to a study at the School of Medicine. The study is the first to show such a link --- 

Artificial intelligence pioneer Nils Nilsson has spent a career thinking about the difference between computers and human beings. His conclusion? "There will always be some difference between computers and human beings, but I think the intellectual and even creativity differences ultimately will narrow," he said --- 

A deep interest in numbers and finance and a desire to help the average investor led Eric Tyson, MBA '89, to write a series of "Dummies" books in areas about personal money management. 

Bob Jensen's helpers are at

Free from Stanford University --- Sleep Your Way to Success 
Importance of a Good Night's Sleep

A GSB alumni audience heard Professor William Dement, 'the sleep doctor' discuss important sleep-related issues such as sleep debt, job productivity and getting a good night's sleep.
Video File, 40:07 minutes --- 

But nowhere does Professor Dement recommend sleeping through class.

Hi David,

Actually it may be more like the chicken vs. the egg. Does poor sleep cause depression or vice versa? Actually, it is probably much more complicated in terms of causality versus correlation do to complex underlying factors excluded from the study.

Good research should try to factor sleep into each test group such that sleep itself is not a confounding factor. For example, one sub-sample of subjects who sleep poorly might be partitioned into test groups that have sleep apnea versus those that have some sleep disorder other than apnea. Another sub-sample of subjects who sleep adequately (whatever that means) might be partitioned into those who have apnea versus those who do not have apnea. Then each partition might be examined in terms of type and severity of depression. Even if there are too few subjects with apnea who sleep adequately, there may still be important outcomes of such a study.

Actually, persons with apnea who have proper medical treatment (usually breathing machines) while they sleep often sleep quite well. They still might be depressed.

One thing in the favor of this study is the number of subjects (10,000). This virtually precludes the need for statistical inference and inference testing error. The only tests needed are the size and variance differences between sample partitions.

Which leads me to a point that researchers often overlook, especially capital markets researchers. With very large sample sizes, unimportant small differences between partitions are misleadingly "significant" in terms of inference tests. With very large samples, all that really matters is the magnitude of the differences themselves.

The real complicating factors in this study are that sleep is not a binary variable, apnea is not a binary variable, and depression is not a binary variable. Any attempt to measure them on a cardinal scale, however, is certain to have serious measurement error. Any attempt to divide subjects into discrete partitions on any of these variables is also subject to very misleading outcomes. An analogy would be the partitioning of drivers into those that register 9.9 versus 10.1 on a blood alcohol scale. A DWI partitioning around a 10.0 legal limit is arbitrary even when measurement itself is not subject to error. Further complicating any study of depression is the frustration of measuring depression on any scale, apart from attempts to partition subjects into two or more groups such as depressed versus non-depressed.

Still further complicating the study is the fact that sleep varies with so many conditions. For example, two nights ago I slept like a baby for eight hours and arrived at my office at 7:00 a.m. Last night I hardly slept at all and got into the office this morning at 3:40 a.m.  I can ' t really identify any reason for this variation.

It is also not clear whether deep sleep for five hours is better or worse than light sleep for eight hours. Complicating factors are metabolism, age, and probably a host of other things.  I might note, David, that your message below was sent just before midnight on a Tuesday night when must folks are probably deep in dreamland.

It is truly unfortunate that the mathematicians, physicists, and chemists stole all the easy research problems.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: David Albrecht [mailto:albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM]  
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 11:36 PM 
Subject: Re: Eye Catchers from Stanford

This may well be true. However, poor sleep is one of the causes of depression. This has been known for some time.

David Albrecht


Autistic savants are born with miswired neurons -- and extraordinary gifts. Now researchers are using breakthrough science to expand our understanding of the brain. 
"The Key to Genius," by Steve Silberman, Wired Magazine, December 2003 --- 

Standard & Poors:  A good place to start when looking into investment funds --- 

Bob Jensen's investment bookmarks --- 

This product is highly recommended when printing Bob Jensen's Web pages.
"Disappearing ink to boost paper recycling," New Scientist, December 4, 2003 --- 

GM, despite impressive cost-cutting and quality gains in recent years, has made more money selling mortgages in the last two quarters than building cars.
Shirouzu and Joseph B. White, "S&P Downshifts Ford's Debt Rating,"  The Wall Street Journal, Page A3 ---,,SB10686444365708500,00.html  (see below)

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Reviews on November 21, 2003

TITLE: S&P Downshifts Ford's Debt Rating 
REPORTER: Norihiko Shirouzu and Joseph B. White 
DATE: Nov 13, 2003 
TOPICS: Accounting, Debt

SUMMARY: S&P's Ratings Group cut Ford's $180 billion of debt to the lowest investment grade level, to triple-B-minus, and to A-3 from A-2 for its commercial paper.

1.) U.S. automobile manufacturers have undertaken two years of rebates and zero percent financing. What has been the result of this strategy, or lack thereof? How has this result led to the debt rating downgrade?

2.) What cost structure makes it difficult for the big three U.S. automakers to compete with foreign rivals? How are these salary and benefit costs presented in corporate financial statements? Do you think these items were accounted for in the same way when they were first negotiated with the unions? Why or why not?

3.) How do union contracts impact the supply of autos that the manufacturers must produce? How does that supply impact the firms' profitability?

4.) How can one determine that "GM, despite impressive cost-cutting and quality gains in recent years, has made more money selling mortgages in the last two quarters than building cars" using the company's public financial statements? Explain what information must be reported and where it can be found.

5.) Why are S&P analysts concerned about Ford's European results? Where in the financial statements can information about these results be found? What information must be presented by geographic area?

6.) What are "reserves"? How does the accounting for four types of reserves discussed in the article impact the results Ford reports? Why do these items concern S&P analysts?

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

November 25, 2003 message from Carolyn Kotlas [


It's not your imagination that you're drowning in too much information. Faculty and students at the School of Information Management and Systems, University of California at Berkeley, attempted to estimate how much new information is created and distributed each year. They looked at information stored in four types of media -- print, film, magnetic, and optical -- and seen or heard in four information flows -- telephone, radio, TV, and the Internet. They found that the amount of data has doubled since they began their research in 1999, resulting in about five exabytes of new information in 2002. How much is five exabytes? According to the researchers, five exabytes of information is "equivalent in size to the information contained in half a million new libraries the size of the Library of Congress print collections." The report, "How Much Information 2003," is available online at .

Educators designing their own web pages may find the National Cancer Institute's "Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines" a useful starting place. The publication includes suggestions for page layout and styles, content organization, navigation, and accessibility. The guide is available online at .


In the spring of 2003, the OCLC Online Computer Library Center created an E-learning Task Force, a concerted effort to achieve a cross-section of voices, including librarians, administrators, technologists, and faculty from the cooperative's academic institutions. Members represented institutions from across the continental United States and the United Kingdom and from the full range of institution types. An outcome of the Task Force's work is its recently-published white paper, "Libraries and the Enhancement of E-learning." The paper "provides an incisive look at how college coursework is being enhanced electronically and online." The paper is available online at .

Founded in 1967, the OCLC Online Computer Library Center is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. More than 45,000 libraries in 84 countries and territories around the world use OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend, and preserve library materials. For more information, contact: OCLC, 6565 Frantz Road, Dublin, OH 43017-3395 USA; tel: 614-764-6000 or 800-848-5878 (U.S. only); email: ; Web: 

This site, , is the Social Security Administration starting page for providing information on getting a new or replacement Social Security number and card.

Richard Torian --- 

Welcome to the Prelinger Archives (Multimedia, Video, Film) --- 

Prelinger Archives was founded in 1983 by Rick Prelinger in New York City. Over the next twenty years, it grew into a collection of over 48,000 "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films. In 2002, the film collection was acquired by the Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Prelinger Archives remains in existence, holding approximately 4,000 titles on videotape and a smaller collection of film materials acquired subsequent to the Library of Congress transaction. Its goal remains to collect, preserve, and facilitate access to films of historic significance that haven't been collected elsewhere. Included are films produced by and for many hundreds of important US corporations, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, community and interest groups, and educational institutions. Getty Images represents the collection for stock footage sale, and some 1,600 (soon to be 2,000) key titles are available here. The collection currently contains over 10% of the total production of ephemeral films between 1927 and 1987, and it may be the most complete and varied collection in existence of films from these poorly preserved genres.

November 23, 2003 message from Bob Woodward [rsw@WUBIOS.WUSTL.EDU

One of the issues relating to self publishing is how to protect your intellectual property.

Based on his battles with record industry, Larry Lessig has proposed Creative Commons, an alternative to Copyright. 

While his computer seems to be off or disconnected or something this Sun eve, Larry's blog is usually found at  

Bob Woodward

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Review, December 5, 2003

TITLE: Accounting's Global Rule Book 
REPORTER: Cassell Bryan-Low 
DATE: Nov 28, 2003 
TOPICS: Derivatives, Financial Accounting, Financial Accounting Standards Board, International Accounting Standards Board, Pension Accounting, Valuations

SUMMARY: The article describes efforts to harmonize US GAAP and International Accounting Standards, including descriptions of specific issues in the areas of accounting for derivatives, pension accounting, and re-valuations of property, plant and equipment. Questions focus on the political nature of the standards setting process.

1.) The article describes how both the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) are proposing changes to their standards to move towards covnvergence with each other. Give two examples of changes that will be proposed--either ones cited in the article or ones of which you are already aware--one by each of the standards setting bodies.

2.) Who is anxious to see that accounting changes are being proposed by both the FASB and IASB in order to achieve convergence? Why do they hold this view?

3.) What factors are listed as benefits of globalization of financial reporting? Who will benefit from this effort? What factors are listed as problems in implementing changes required for globablization? Who will suffer these difficulties?

4.) The accounting standards setting process is often described as a political one, a point which your answers to the above two questions should confirm. How is the international political environment likely to influence standards setting differently than standards setting done only for domestic purposes?

5.) What factor has changed many views regarding the superiority of USGAAP over international accounting standards (IASs)? How do you think that factor changes the likelihood of convergence between the two sets of standards?

6.) Why does Sir David Tweedie, chair of the IASB, say that "the point isn't really about arguing over arcane accounting...[it] is really about growth, investment, and trade"?

SMALL GROUP ASSIGNMENT: The three major areas of difference between USGAAP and IASs that are cited in the article are: accounting for derivatives, pension accounting, and revaluations of property, plant, and equipment. Assign one topic to each group and complete the following steps:

1. Summarize the accounting treatment required in the assigned area under USGAAP with reference to authoritative literature. 2. Summarize the accounting treatment required in the assigned area under IASs with reference to authoritative literature. 3. By searching through the web or an accounting database, obtain one example of reporting and disclosure under each of the alternative accounting treatments in public financial statements. Choose companies in similar industries. 4. Assess the problems in comparing the two sets of financial statements, with particular emphasis on calculating financial ratios and estimating expected earnings of the two companies.

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

2003 Brown Center Report on American Education --- 

Gender Differences and Similarities in Toys:  Kids Are Eavesdropping on Us and Taking Our Pictures

"Tools for the Young Spy." by Queena Sook Kim, The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2003 ---,,SB107100935938991200,00.html?mod=gadgets%5Fprimary%5Fhs%5Flt 

Georgio Tiozon, a Los Angeles nine-year-old, doesn't play with G.I. Joes. But right at the top of his Christmas list is an accessory that seems custom-made for the venerable infantryman: the Eye-Link Communicator, a tiny digital screen attached to a headset and a text-messaging device, which kids use to send and read messages from a fort or hiding spot.

The $34.99 gadget is one item in an electronic line of working toys called "Spy Gear," created by closely held Wild Planet Toys, of San Francisco. Priced from $6 to $35, Wild Planet's spy toys are emerging as a surprise hit toy with the elusive "tween" market of 8- to 12-year-olds.

Web sites of Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Toys "R" Us Inc. have sold out of the Eye-Link Communicators. And in a sign of rising demand, one of the gadgets recently sold on eBay for $47.99, a 37% premium over the retail price.

The popularity of Spy Gear and similar toys underscores a shift in the way kids play that the toy industry has seen coming for years. Influenced by videogames and trading cards, boys and girls alike seem to outgrow dolls and action figures at younger ages than they used to, preferring instead to act out fantasy scenarios, playing the roles themselves.


Girl's role-playing toys are evolving too. MGA Entertainment Inc., the North Hills, Calif., maker of the popular Bratz fashion doll, introduced a Bratz karaoke machine this fall. The company also sells a rhinestone-studded CD player that looks like something the flashy fashion dolls would carry. Wild Planet launched a line for girls last year called Undercover Girl.

To get a better grip on technology and play, Wild Planet began its annual Kid Inventor Challenge in 2000. The company picks one toy idea for production and gives the winner a cut in royalties. Among the entries: a stuffed toy embedded with a smoke detector and a skateboard that floats over a ramp using the same magnet-based technology that bullet trains use.

The winning entry for 2001 came from an eight-year-old girl, Sara Elias-Rodriguez, in Oviedo, Fla. Her idea: a camera hidden in a book. Like the Sandra Bullock character in the movie "Miss Congeniality," girls could take pictures while pretending to read.

Danny Grossman, Wild Planet's 46-year-old founder, came to the toy business by way of a stint in the U.S. foreign service serving in the Soviet Union (but definitely not as a spy, he says). Toy companies can win back tweens, he says. "I don't accept that kids older than eight-years-old won't use products that the toy industry makes," Mr. Grossman says. "That may mean that we make products traditionally called 'toys' -- but it may not."

One of Wild Planet's products aimed at older girls, for example, is the "Lockage Snoop-Proof Safe" ($12.99), which comes with a motion alarm to keep nosy younger brothers away. There's the Spy Tracker ($19.99) a kind of bedroom burglar alarm that uses radio transistors hooked up to sensors. If a would-be intruders trips off a sensor, the unit beeps.

Other Wild Planet toys rely on even simpler technologies. The Nightspyer is a miniflashlight attached to a telescope ($5.99). Press a button and a red light lets kids see up to 25 feet in the dark. The Spy Wrist Camera ($14.99) is a flip-up minicamera worn on the wrist like a watch. The Spy Listener ($12.99) is a listening device.

Want a Week on the Edge?
Looking for a Volunteer on the Top of Mount Washington

December 13, 2003 message from  Jeff De Rosa

03:14 AM Sat Dec 13, 2003 EST
Sure it has been a long day up here, but what else is new on the summit of Mount Washington during the winter? I think everybody is a little exhausted this week, as I witnessed last night when I went into my room to grab something, turned on the light, and to my surprise, there was a Golden Retriever in my bed! Traveling with Chris Uggerholt from the State Park, this dog (his name is Red) is a frequent visitor to the summit. Because I thought it was funny, I just shook my head and looked the other way... only to see Nin scowling at me as we continuously allow this dog to occupy all of his napping places (Red was also spotted earlier on the couch watching TV). Its OK Nin, you still have the heater... for now.

This has been one of those days when no matter what you wear, you are going to be cold when working outdoors. When facing the wind, gusts upwards to 100 MPH find a way through every crack, making frostbite a great concern. Currently the mercury is diving towards ten degrees below zero, with not much relief in store for the remainder of the night.

We are still looking for a volunteer here on the summit of Mount Washington for the week of Wednesday December 17th until Tuesday December 23rd. If you are a member, and have volunteered here at the observatory before, please contact me at  or give me a call at (603) 466-3388. Also, we are still having issues with our internet connection, so the current conditions reported on our homepage are intermittent. If you do not see the summit stats when you sign on our homepage, you can still access the hourly observations by clicking here! 

Jeff De Rosa - Observer (on the Summit of Mt. Washington)

From 30 miles away, Bob and Erika will be looking over our palm trees at Jeff on Christmas day --- 

Why didn't all that snow "land" on Mt. Washington?

Our vantage point of Mt. Washington is thirty miles to the west and about 4,500 feet lower in altitude.  My wife said that after they cleared our lane in
New Hampshire , she had to use a snow shovel to find the top of the mail box.  You can see some autumn pictures that I took in October at

Mt. Washington is billed as the site of the worst weather in the world with winter winds averaging more than 100 mph.  However, in this latest storm, Mt. Washington decided to compete with Hawaii for some of the best weather in the world, well to a point so to speak.

 December 8, 2003 message from the summit of Mt. Washington ---

04:13 AM Mon Dec 08, 2003 EST
The summit seems to be a nonstop lesson in amazing weather phenomena, but not always in the way one thinks. This weekend's storm, that will likely go down in the record books as one of the biggest December storms of all time, did not play out as we had expected on the summit. While locations just a couple of miles away at the base of the mountain received 3 to 4 feet of snow, we have logged a measly 10 inches. These numbers baffled us at first. The marked disparity however has lead to some interesting conjecture.

Past storms of a similar nature have resulted in unbelievable quantities of snow for the summit, so what was different? At first we thought that wind alone was likely responsible for scouring the summit of snow but as we looked back at maps from older storms with large snowfall, winds were on the same order of magnitude. Thus there has to be another variable.

The theory that we’ve come up with is as follows. Think of yourself driving in your car in a light snow shower. What do you see? Snow flakes rush toward you and at the last second veer up and over the windshield without ever actually hitting the car. Now imagine this on a very large scale. The key is that the snow was so fine throughout the storm (as temperatures held in the low single digits) that it lacked sufficient mass to actually “fall”. Instead it remained airborne more like fog or mist. If the air had been warmer there would have been larger heavier flakes that both would have fallen more readily and also stuck to surfaces. Thus it was a combination of wind speed (which topped out at 98 mph) and the type of snow.

As such our snowfall measurements may be more appropriate than they seem. If nothing else they accurately represent conditions on the summit. This morning we were all appalled to see that the view (through the fog) looked negligibly different than it had before the storm.

The joke has been that instead of measuring snowfall we should measure the amount of snow that transited the summit during the storm. Perhaps a rough estimate of the density of snow in the air could have been made. Then by calculating the amount of air that moved past the summit we could have come up with a staggering figure of “potential snowfall.”

Alas, for now we are left in envy of our valley neighbors.

Security on Campus --- 
This is a great resource center for problems with drinking, drugs, and crime on campus.

Reporting Civil Rights (History, Sociology) --- 

Hi Richard,

One of the veteran users of response pads in accounting lectures is our AECM leader Barry Rice who claims to have used them quite successfully over the years when he was still in the classroom.

I might add another bit of history. The company eInstruction is really the old HyperGraphics company formed by Darrel Ward and headquartered in Denton, TX. HyperGraphics had one of the early DOS course authoring and course management systems that petered out in the Windows era. However, one vestige of HyperGraphics that remains are the response pads. In the old days each pad was wired to a desk. Now they are wireless.

I tend to think response pads are a bit gimmicky with only limited responses available. I have no use for them now that I am teaching in an electronic classroom where each student has a computer that can be viewed by me in the front of the room.

You can read more about the history of course authoring at 

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Richard Newmark [mailto:richard.newmark@PHDUH.COM]  
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2003 12:41 PM 
Subject: Re: Using eInstruction remotes for class participation


CPS is the name of eInstruction's system. It is also the same system that McGraw-Hill is offering. The cost is for the hardware, not the software. The pads retail for $50. The reason that eInstruction sells them to the students for around $6 is because they will earn revenue through subscriptions ($15 per semester per student), so they can virtually give the pads away. However, if you purchase the entire system, there is no subscription revenue, so they have to make their money on the hardware. Based on my conversations with McGraw-Hill, they will bundle a pass code with a new textbook for $6. However, the $6 is the bookstore cost, which means that it will cost the students around $9 for the pass code. If a student is using the system in two courses or more, then the bundling is actually costing the students more money because they can receive a semester subscription from eInstruction for $15, which covers all of their classes for the semester. On the faculty/university side of it, the McGraw-Hill deal may make sense because they will provide the instructor with a receiver and the software for free.

As to your fear that this is a fad technology, I don't think so. For, even though you do not use PowerPoint often now, you still have it as a tool to use when appropriate. The value of a tool, whether it be PowerPoint or the CPS pads, is only limited by your imagination. For example, with the aid of a digital writing tablet (I use the Graphire2 by Wacom, which cost around $80), the computer screen or a PowerPoint presentation becomes a digital whiteboard. You can put problems on a PowerPoint slide and then use the digital pen to fill in the solution. I view myself like a carpenter--any task can be made easier if you have the right tool. That is, if you are well-versed in the use of many tools, then you have a better chance of doing a good job.

Sorry for the preachy conclusion ;-)

Richard Newmark 
Assistant Professor of Accounting 
University of Northern Colorado 
Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business 
Campus Box 128 Greeley, CO 80639 

November 21, 2003 message from David R. Fordham [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

Back in the mid-1990's, JMU installed what they called "the classroom of the 21st century". It was a high-tech room containing all the goodies us nerds like to have (LCD projectors, video players, document cameras, network connections, etc.), but it also had individual "response units" built into the desks which allowed students to respond (A, B, C, D, or E) to quizzes or questions, and the instructor's console would automatically display (and tally and summarize) the answers in real time. The console would keep scores, too, so you could give a quiz "on the fly" spread out through your presentation, and by the end of class, the machinery could give each student's score for you. Is this something like Stern is considering?

Alas, now that practically all our "normal" classrooms (albeit in the 21st century!) are equipped with computers, projectors, and internet access, this "classroom of the 21st century" sits abandoned. The "instant response and tally" feature is simply something that sounds really great and useful, but the professors who used it said the novelty wore off really fast, and about 2-3 years after its initiation, no one was interested in using it anymore.

If the eInstruction system is easy to install and cheap-cheap-cheap, it might be worth a try (I myself never used the Cot21C so I can't speak from experience). However, if it cost big bucks and involves installation effort, you might want to ask for some references and contact users who bought it 3 years ago to get their opinion before making the investment.

In terms of student participation, scuttlebutt around here is that there are better ways of engaging students than having them push those cute little buttons in the student consoles. That said, there have been several times when I felt that technology would be great to use for one or two class periods.

David R. Fordham 
PBGH Faculty Fellow 
James Madison University

Instant Translator 1.0.2 --- 
This utility allows users to translate text directly from Windows' toolbars into (and from) a number of languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Korean, and Chinese.

What turns Web retailing into eCommerce?

A special feature about eCommerce is revenue collection over the Internet.  Today that revenue collection typically entails online credit card transacting.  

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting for electronic commerce are at 

"E-tailing Comes of Age," by Nick Wingfield, The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2003 ---,,SB10708342997640400,00.html?mod=technology%5Ffeatured%5Fstories%5Fhs 

Dot-com retailers had a message for bricks-and-mortar stores at the start of the 1999 holiday season: We're coming after you.

A year or two later, traditional retailers had their revenge, of course, when stock certificates of such companies as Inc., eToys Inc. and Webvan Group Inc. were fit for little more than wrapping paper. With some notable exceptions -- including Inc. and eBay Inc. -- established stores and catalog companies ended up snaring most of the online sales.

But something surprising happened: Some small Web-only retailers refused to die. A handful in unlikely categories such as jewelry, shoes and luggage are profitable and growing far more quickly than their offline counterparts.

These specialty online retailers are prospering at a time when overall online sales are booming. Consumers are expected to spend $12.2 billion online this year in the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas period, up 42% from last year, according to Forrester Research of Cambridge, Mass. The growth reflects a steady shift of retail spending to the online world, as consumers grow more comfortable with the Internet and the spread of high-speed home connections makes browsing and ordering simpler. Online shopping also tends to be more weather-proof; many snowbound Northeasterners ventured out into cyberspace instead of the elements to continue their holiday shopping this past weekend.

Still, a mere 4.5% of total retail spending is expected online this year, compared with 3.6% in 2002. But even the small shift in retail sales represents a combined billions of dollars for Internet retailers.

Traditional retailers are doing their best to keep holiday customers clicking on their sites by offering good deals. Some are discounting heavily; free-shipping offers are commonplace. Gap Inc., for instance, is waiving standard delivery fees on orders of $100 or more until Dec. 15.

Continued in the article

Men's Journal: The 50 Best Guy Movies of All Time --- 

Much of the junk e-mail clogging inboxes likely comes from so-called zombie machines compromised by Trojan horse viruses and worms. In fact, you could be blanketing the world with Viagra ads and not even know it ---,1282,61457,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html 

"Spammers Tap Unwitting Users' PCs." Reuters, December 3, 2003 

Security experts have identified what they suspect to be the biggest culprit behind that seemingly unceasing torrent of e-mail spam messages and computer virus outbreaks.

The unwitting culprit, they say, is the home user with a broadband connection. In fact, it could be you.

Viruses and related "worms" typically target computers that run on Microsoft Windows and have a high-speed, always-on connection. In the past six months, a new generation of bug has emerged that contains a so-called Trojan horse program which discreetly installs itself into the innards of the PC.

An effective Trojan gives the author near-complete control of a victimized machine -- almost always a computer that is not equipped with proper firewall and security software.

The result is that the computer becomes a "zombie" ready to carry out any nefarious command.

Once hit, computer users would never suspect that through their machines flow waves of spam and e-mail-borne viruses, experts say.

Some machines have even been commandeered to participate in debilitating denial-of-service attacks, sending a flood of data requests capable of knocking an Internet company offline.

The fast-spreading Sobig.F virus this summer was the first to do this, experts said.

Continued in the article.

The Parents' Choice Foundation (helping parents choose appropriate material for children) --- 

"Congress Studies Why Women Earn Less," SmartPros, November 24, 2003 --- 

Nov. 21, 2003 (Associated Press) — Women's income is lower on average than that of men in part because they generally work less, leave the labor force for longer periods and tend to hold jobs that pay less, a congressional study found.

But even after adjustments are made for those factors, women still earned an average of 20.3 percent less than men in 2000, investigators said Thursday.

The General Accounting Office conducted the earnings study for Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney of New York and John Dingell of Michigan.

The 20 percent gap has been relatively unchanged in the past two decades. The difference was 19.6 percent in 1983.

Continued in the article

December 2, 2003 reply from Chris Nolan

I love this assertion:

Women's income is lower on average than that of men in part because they generally work less, leave the labor force for longer periods and tend to hold jobs that pay less (emphasis mine).

Hey, I'm willing to go out on a limb and extrapolate from those findings to state that, in general, people who have lower incomes tend to hold jobs that pay less than people with higher incomes. I guess if more women had just chosen to be CEOs or U.S. Presidents, they might have higher incomes. It always comes down to those bad personal choices... :-) -- 

Chris Nolan

December 2, 2003 reply from Don Manthis

From: Mathis, Donald E.
Tuesday, December 02, 2003 6:11 PM
Subject: RE: Why Women Earn Less

Did you hear that crack?  The Glass Ceiling is starting to shatter.  There are now more women millionaires in Britain then their male counterparts.  See   

An interesting discourse (Is Pay a Function of Gender Bias?) can be found at 

For those who really want to be riled, read Phyllis Schlafly’s viewpoints at

Don Mathis

Hi Don,

Actually, the fact that there are more women millionaires does not tell us much unless we know when and how they accumulated the wealth.  Far more meaningful are data on the proportion of women in each compensation group such as the group whose work-related compensation exceeds $500,000 per year.  It seems that in terms of compensation, glass ceilings still exist for a complicated set of known and unknown factors that are highly situational in place and time.

Large international accounting firms provide a really interesting focal point for study since all these firms have made a concerted effort to shatter the glass ceilings in a variety of initiatives, including setting of quotas such as doubling the number of women admitted to the partnership each year (Deloitte and Touche).  

Keep in mind that accounting firms deny partnerships to more than 90% of the professional men and women that they employ.  A problem that needs to be more carefully studied in accounting and law is the bias toward making partnership admission dependent upon skill in attracting and holding clients.  Each new partner is generally expected to be a profit center for the entire partnership as a whole.  The most technically skilled accountants and lawyers are not necessarily the top prospects for being admitted to the partnership.  Existing partners are more concerned about how much revenue the newly admitted partner will add to the entire partnership.  Client relations, in turn, depend upon a lot of “people skills,” including skills in charitable fund raising (where the rich and famous tend to interact), skills in church leadership, skills in golf, and a mix of toughness and dogged determination.  Many highly skilled accountants and lawyers are not comfortable spending nights and weekends selling themselves or their firm.  There are certainly many women and men who take on those promotional roles very well.  What has yet to be determined is whether there are gender differences in self selecting these roles versus gender differences that are not self selected due to complicating factors of bias and prejudice.  

In my opinion, what we are seeing is a trend toward hiring more women (accounting firms now hire more women than men) which improves the probability of finding more women with “profit center” sets of drive and client skills.

Bob Jensen

Among corporate boards of directors, what proportion are women?

"Women Make Up 13% of Corporate Boards," SmartPros, December 12, 2003 --- 

Women now hold 779 board seats -- or 13.6 percent of Fortune 500 seats -- an increase from 12.4 percent in 2001, according to the 2003 Catalyst Census of Women Board Directors of the Fortune 500.

"At only 13.6 percent, women's representation on Fortune 500 boards of directors doesn't adequately reflect their influence and impact on the U.S. economy as wage earners, managers, professionals, consumers, investors, and business owners," said Ilene H. Lang, Catalyst President.

Another key finding in the 2003 Catalyst Census of Women Board Directors of the Fortune 500 is that all of the top 100 companies in the Fortune ranking have at least one woman director. These companies also have the highest percentage of women directors, at 16 percent.

Other findings: In 1995, 96 companies had no women on their boards, and today that number has decreased to 54. And in 2003, 54 companies made the Catalyst Honor Roll (companies with 25 percent or more women directors) up from 30 companies in 2001 and 11 companies in 1995.

Lang, who has served on public and private boards for seven years, emphasized that the business case for board diversity is strengthened as changes in board regulations in connection with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 are implemented.

"Board independence and board diversity go hand in hand," said Lang. "We are in a new era of corporate governance. The profile of the ideal board director is changing, and nominating committees will have to search farther afield for qualified candidates. We see these changes as good omens for higher numbers of women in future Catalyst censuses."

Surprise!  Surprise!
Sometimes the junk you think is fit for a charity is also viewed as crap by the charity. Now, eBay has set up a way for sellers to get rid of their castoffs while still helping nonprofits ---,1882,61299,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html 

The Opinion Exchange --- 

"Streamlining With Web Standards," by Greg Penhaligon, Webmonkey, October 6, 2003 --- 

The smarty-pants crowd at the W3C realized that HTML wasn't built to handle all the page-layout acrobatics Web developers were forcing it to perform, but they knew that we would continue using it unless they offered us a better solution. So they created a set of standards, which let us accomplish our goals in a much more efficient manner.

The standards you should follow for site design are as follows: use XHTML (the latest version of HTML that you've been working with all these years, but with a new twist) to organize your content on the page, and use CSS2 (a far more powerful and efficient presentation language than HTML) to format that content. These standards, along with ECMAScript (the W3C standard version of JavaScript) and the the W3C standard object model, form the triumvirate that is Web standards.

The beauty of Web standards is that they allow you to separate the structure of a page ("structure" here meaning the hierarchical structure of the content: <h1>, <h2>, <p>, <li>, etc.) from the presentation (the formatting of the text, the placement of items on the page, etc.). So instead of filling a table's cells with <br> tags, spacer gifs, &nbsp; characters, and font elements, just place your content on the page, surround each distinct section of content with its own unique id tag, and all the formatting info is pulled from your style sheet.

Of course, none of this would work if the browsers didn’t adhere to these standards as well. Thankfully, Microsoft, Netscape, Opera, et al. are beginning to see (to lesser and greater degrees) the value of a standardized language for the Web. Most modern browsers (Explorer 6, Netscape 7, Mozilla, Safari) love standards, which means they each render your code in exactly the same manner ... pretty much (hey, we’re still talking about the wild Web here).

Continued in the article.

Top MBA Programs and Budget Woes

In a Wall Street Journal survey of corporate recruiters, the ten top MBA programs were as follows ---,,SB106372530386078900,00.html 

1. University of Pennsylvania
2. Dartmouth College
3. University of Michigan
4. Northwestern University
5. University of Chicago
6. Carnegie Mellon University
7. Columbia University
8. Harvard University
9. Yale University
10. Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This differs significantly from the US News survey of Deans of colleges of business --- 

01.  Harvard University
02.  Stanford University
03.  University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
04.  MIT (Sloan)
05. Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL) 
06. Columbia University (NY) 
07. Duke University (Fuqua) (NC) 
08. University of California–Berkeley (Haas) 
09. University of Chicago 
10. Dartmouth College (Tuck) (NH)

What is surprising is that the mother universities of some of these graduate MBA programs are facing enormous budget deficits for next year and are going through a variety of cost cutting initiatives.  I don't look for serious cuts in the MBA programs at these schools, however, since the elite MBA programs are cash cows for their mothers.  This is especially the case since recruitment has picked up considerably in most MBA programs across the U.S.

Spring 2003 grads find that job offers are finally starting to come in
From B-School News newsletter from Business Week --- BusinessWeek MBA Express [


Pruning the Ivy

Budget deficit forces Yale University spending cuts due to a  $30 million shortage (resulting in the planned firing of over 700 non-tenured faculty and staff) --- 

Cornell University's four state schools will soon increase tuition and decrease research opportunities in an effort to narrow the financial gap --- 

Budget Crisis at MIT will shut down the campus for several weeks --- 

What are two of the major contributing factors in these crises? 

Lower endowment returns and increased medical insurance costs.

You can anticipate huge increases in tuition at MIT and the Ivy League schools and most other public and private colleges and universities.

"Employers Look for Creative Solutions to Absorb Healthcare Costs," SmartPros, December 8, 2003

Employers are looking for creative solutions to bring double-digit healthcare costs down. Hewitt Associates' survey of nearly 650 major U.S. companies revealed that companies anticipate an average health care cost increase of 14 percent for 2004, but can only afford to absorb an increase of 9 percent.

The survey also showed that this gap has become a major issue with executives at most organizations, with 96 percent of CEOs and CFOs either critically or significantly concerned with corporate healthcare costs, and 91 percent similarly concerned with the impact of healthcare costs on employees.

Current efforts to control costs and drive consumerism include using a co-insurance approach with caps to avoid catastrophic out-of-pocket costs, adopting a low copay for generic and a coinsurance for brand names drugs, supporting a prescription benefit manager's (PBMs) Web site that includes drug pricing and lower-cost treatments, promoting Web sites or print materials that list common conditions, treatments, drug prices and effectiveness, and implementing step-therapy programs.

According to the survey, companies are also examining the following options to control costs:

Interestingly, half of all survey respondents feel that cost incentives should be provided to those who make a reasonable effort to manage their chronic conditions, while one-fourth feel that those not making a reasonable effort to manage their health should pay more. Twenty-one percent of companies who will have condition/disease management programs in place by 2004 will offer incentives for any employees who participate in wellness or other health-related programs, and 10 percent will provide incentives for at-risk individuals to participate in programs or comply with recommended therapies.

Copies of the Hewitt survey findings, Health Care Expectations: Future Strategy and Direction, are available by contacting the Information Desk at Hewitt Associates, (847) 295-5000 or

National Center for Early Development & Learning 

Note the Alleged Importance of Accounting Principles

"What's the Investment Really Worth?" by Ann Grimes, The Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2003 ---,,SB107041216487726000,00.html?mod=mkts%5Fmain%5Fnews%5Fhs%5Fh 

In Venture-Capital World, 'Standard Valuation' Rules Could Clear Up Questions

In a sign that the private-equity world may be starting to feel the impact of corporate reorganization, an industry group Tuesday unveiled a set of guidelines aimed at standardizing the way private companies are valued.

The move by a self-appointed but influential coalition, the Private Equity Industry Guidelines Group, comes in response to pressure for more transparency and consistency in valuing private-equity investments -- the business of corporate buyouts and venture capital. Historically, private-equity-investment valuations have been as much art as science, sometimes creating a scattering of valuations among firms holding the same investments.

It is far from clear what impact the proposals will have on venture-capital and buyout funds, which hold billions of dollars in investments in closely held companies. The proposals are voluntary, and some top-tier investors said the recommendations, while welcome, wouldn't affect their funding choices. And the industry's National Venture Capital Association has yet to endorse the proposals.

Still, the collapse of the technology sector has prompted investors in venture-capital funds -- which include wealthy individuals, college endowments and pension funds -- to express concerns that those funds failed to reflect potentially big losses in their investment portfolios.

The guidelines, hammered out after a year of debate, were endorsed by 15 of the 18 firms represented on the PEIGG board, including HarborVest Partners LLC, Bank of America Corp. and the University of California Regents. The three other firms are expected to offer their endorsement shortly, the group said.

"A common valuation system agreed on by both limited and general partners is an important step in the growth and maturation of the private-equity industry," said PEIGG Chairman William Franklin, managing director, Bank of America Capital Corp.

Under the standards, venture-capital, leverage-buyout and other private-equity firms will be encouraged to adhere to a "fair-market value" approach consistent with generally accepted accounting principles when determining the value of private companies.

The drive for standardization stems in part from the sometimes wildly different values recorded for similar investments. A case in point: Santera Systems, Inc. Last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that the same series of preferred stock in the Texas-based telecommunications firm was being valued at $4.42 a share by Austin Ventures at the same time that Sequoia Capital held it at 46 cents a share.

Fair value is defined by the U.S. accounting industry as "the amount at which an investment could be exchanged in a current transaction between unrelated willing parties, other than in a forced liquidation sale," the group said.

Currently, many private-equity industry-fund managers rely on historic cost as an approximation of fair-market value. While that may be a reliable estimate in the short run, at some point, "cost or the latest round of financing becomes less reliable as an approximation of fair value," the PEIGG guidelines say.

The PEIGG guidelines recommend fund managers update the value of their portfolios on a quarterly basis, and review them rigorously at least once a year. They also recommend the establishment of valuation committees composed of investors to calculate valuations using a common methodology, an effort to minimize fund-manager bias.

"If you don't have standards, it's difficult to compare apples to apples," says Rick Hayes, senior investment officer at the California Employees' Retirement System, the nation's largest public pension fund, which is in more than 360 limited partnerships. Mr. Hayes, who is involved with another industry group, the Institutional Limited Partners Association, has reviewed the guidelines and says he is supportive of the effort.

Another source of pressure: fear of government regulation. "When I reflect back on when the group was formed in the fourth quarter of 2001, back then we were being bombarded with news of one corporate scandal after another in the public sector," Mr. Franklin said in an interview. "We felt at the time the government or regulators were going to potentially step in once they got done with our public brethren. That clearly was one of the motivating factors in developing guidelines."

The recommendations will allow private-equity firms to periodically "write up" investments carried on their books at lower-than-market costs. While general partners were slow to write down losses, they are hesitant to mark them up. "That gives a very slanted view of the portfolio," Mr. Franklin says.

At Calpers, Mr. Hayes, referring to a quickly appreciating investment, says: "The accuracy of that number is very important." That is because the way private equity works it can affect how much of the profit distribution goes to a general partner versus a limited partner. It can affect the LP's assessment of its own portfolio status. And it can affect the price that an LP may able to get if they wanted to sell its interest in the fund.

Jim Breyer, managing partner at Accel Partners in Palo Alto, Calif., says the guidelines are "a move in the right direction," though he is doubtful about adopting them in full. He says he supports more consistency because "there still are a number of firms who don't write down aggressively enough."

The next step for PEIGG is to send out their proposal for more feedback from, and it is hoped endorsements by, other industry groups, some of whom -- including ILPA and the Association for Investment Management and Research -- are considering guidelines of their own.

Bob Jensen's threads on valuation are at 

The following site has an interesting idea, but the implementation leaves a whole lot to be desired.  You are first asked to supply your own lyrics such as a short poem.  If the sound database has all the words of your submission, you can then have your lyrics "sung" by "famous artists."  I kept having to water down the lyrics because most words aren't in the sound database.  When I finally got some lyrics to work, I sent the email message to myself.  Sure enough the music sounds, but it sounds like hell.

Let Them Sing It for You ---

You can hear my sad try at 

Product ---

From Indiana University
Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection --- 

Charles Weever Cushman, amateur photographer and Indiana University alumnus, bequeathed approximately 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to his alma mater. The photographs in this collection bridge a thirty-two year span from 1938 to 1969, during which time he extensively documented the United States as well as other countries.

Negative Data: The Blame Game

Viewership among males 18 to 34 is dropping? There must be a problem with the sample data.

American Radio Works (Audio) --- 

Dinosaur Planet (history) --- 

Benetton's Colors Magazine's Photo Studio (transforms your monitor into a giant scrolling canvas) --- 

Public History Resource Center 

Topics include: Cities, Alaskan Gold Rush, Presidential Elections, Spanish-American War, World War I, Labor, Suffrage, Prohibition, Conservation, World's Fairs & Expositions, Technology, and more. Several are outside of the United States. 

19th Century Advertising (History) --- 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for marketing and advertising are at 

Postcards From the Road (History, Travel, Photography) --- (Theatre, History) --- 

The Archaeology Channel (Mulitmedia) --- 

You know --- Archie Bunker's "Big One"
WW2 People's War --- 

The American Package Museum (History, Marketing, Advertising) --- 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for history and museums are at 

Prepare Your Students for the Unexpected

"The Strangest Job Interview Questions," SmartPros, December 11, 2003 --- 

MENLO PARK, Calif., Dec. 11, 2003 (SmartPros) — Think you're ready for any question that comes your way in a job interview? Staffing service OfficeTeam recently asked executives for the strangest questions they had been asked by hiring managers during an interview. The responses ranged from unusual to outrageous.

"As firms involve more people in the hiring process to get a clearer snapshot of a candidate's abilities and personality, some unexpected questions are bound to emerge and surprise even the most well-prepared candidate," said Liz Hughes, vice president of OfficeTeam.
Interviewers may use icebreaker questions like the following to begin the meeting:
"What's your favorite color?"
"If you could be any animal, what would you be?"
"If you were having a dinner party and could invite three famous people, who would they be?"
"What's the last book you read?"
Hughes noted that the interviewer is interested in the "why" behind the applicant's answer because it often sheds light on his or her personality. "The reason given for citing a particular book or dinner guest, for instance, could prompt conversation that a resume or skills-based interview question
alone would not."
Other questions may reveal a job candidate's aspirations:
"What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?"
"What classes did you like in high school?"
"Do you see yourself in my position in the future?"
With these questions, hiring managers aim to understand the applicant's goals and ambitions over time. Hughes offered the following example: "If someone wanted to be a lawyer in high school, but opted for a career in sales, what led to the change?" The hiring manager also wants to find out how quickly the candidate expects to advance in the organization, and the importance he or she assigns to rank and title.
The last set of unusual questions executives were asked seems to defy classification:
"Why are manhole covers round?"
"What would I find in your refrigerator?"
"Do you have air conditioning at home?"
"How will taking this job change your life?"
"What made you move to a backward city like this one?"
Is the hiring manager intentionally trying to throw a candidate off track? Possibly. "Asking a truly unexpected question will likely elicit a candid, unrehearsed response," Hughes said. "As a bonus, the hiring manager will get a better sense of the person's sense of humor and ability to think quickly."
How should candidates approach questions that seem to come from left field? Hughes offers the following tips: 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for accounting and business careers are at 

Other questions might include the following:

What are your favorite Websites?
What are your favorite video games?
Who won the Heisman Trophy last year?
Who is your state Governor?  US Senator?  House Representative?
What are some of the key provisions of the
US Patriot Act?  Sarbanes-Oxley?

See you later alligator!
SleazyBars --- 

I wonder why engineers have not tried powering cars with beans before now.  We all know that beans have explosive power.
"Fill 'Er Up Full of Beans," Wired News, November 24, 2003 ---,2554,61077,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html 

Guess his back just can't handle any more to tote!

A Silicon Valley computer programmer has been arrested for threatening to torture, kill and send a "package full of Anthrax spores" to employees of the company he blames for bombarding his computer with spam promising to enlarge his penis.
"Man Arrested Over Spam Rage," Wired News, November 21, 2003 ---,1284,61339,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html 

Forwarded by Paula --- 

Late Breaking News

At New York's KennedyAirport today, an individual, later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, and a calculator. Attorney General John Ashcroft believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged with carrying weapons of math instruction.

Al-gebra is a very fearsome cult, indeed. They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on a tangent in a search of absolute value. They consist of quite shadowy figures, with names like "x" and "y", and, although they are frequently referred to as "unknowns", we know they really belong to a common denominator and are part of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.

As the great greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every angle, and if God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes. Therefore, I'm extremely grateful that our government has given us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these math-dogs who are so willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard. These statistic bastards love to inflict plane on every sphere of influence. Under the circumferences, it's time we differentiated their root, made our point, and drew the line.

These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts of vertex. As our Great Leader would say, "Read my ellipse." Here is one principle he is uncertainty of---though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered and the hypotenuse will tighten around their necks.

Stories by Paula's son (These are short and two the point.) --- 
Here's a portion of one where he and his wife settle in for a night of romance in their newly emptied nest after the kids are grown and gone --- 

Billows of black clouds are belching from the fireplace and tracking soot up the red brick. I leap from the couch and run to the hearth. After years of inexperience in setting an erotic scene, I have lost my skill. I have forgotten to open the flue. I correct my error and the smoke starts rising up the chimney into the cold night where it belongs, but the room is still filled with a Stygian cloud. I open the patio door, but the nimbus is unimpressed. It just sits there and smirks its smoky contempt at me. I need a cross draft. I open the front door. A cold breeze wafts across the room, but it isn't enough. I go to the garage and commandeer two summer fans, deploy one in each embrasure and spin them up to full speed. I feel like I am an Arctic explorer, crossing the ice floes in a gale, but the air starts to clear and the alarm settles into silence.

Anne is wrapped in a thick down comforter with big furry slippers on her feet. Between shivers, she is laughing maniacally. The house fills with her laughter. It permeates the walls and the roof beams. It will be harder to dispel than the remnants of smoke. I look into the fire and see our sighs reduced to a pile of coughs and giggles.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev


Don't name a pig you plan to eat.

Country fences need to be horse high, pig tight and bull strong.

Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.

Keep skunks, lawyers and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stumps.

Mortgaging a future crop is like saddling a wobbly colt.

A bumblebee is faster than a John Deere tractor.

Trouble with a milk cow is she won't stay milked.

Don't skinny dip with snapping turtles.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.

Meanness don't happen overnight.

To know how country folks are doing, look at their barns, not their houses.

Never lay an angry hand on a kid or an animal, it just ain't helpful.

Teachers, bankers, and hoot owls sleep with one eye open.

Forgive your enemies. It messes with their heads.

Don't sell your mule to buy a plow.

Two can live as cheap as one if one don't eat.

Don't corner something meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

Don't go huntin' with a fellow named Chug-A-Lug.

You can't unsay a cruel thing.

Every path has some puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

You'll have to get off the porch to run with the big dogs.

Lay with dogs, and you'll get fleas.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about happening, don't.

Lazy and Quarrelsome are ugly sisters.

Forwarded by Dick Haar

An older lady was somewhat lonely and decided she needed a pet to keep her company........

So off to the pet shop she went......

She searched and searched. Nothing seemed to catch her interest, except this ugly frog......

As she walked by the jar he was in, he looked and winked at her......


The old lady figured....WHAT THE HECK, she hadn't found anything else.

She brought the frog and put him in the car........

Driving down the road the frog whispered to her "KISS ME AND YOU WONT BE SORRY"................

So the old lady figured WHAT THE HECK, and kissed the frog.

IMMEDIATELY the frog turned into an absolutely gorgeous sexy young handsome prince.










SHE'S OLD...... NOT DEAD....

Forwarded by Andrew Priest

I think this news item suggests two things ... accountants do have a sense of humour and they have bad taste. --- 

BTW if you are wondering who Kylie is ... 


Andrew Priest

Forwarded by Paula

Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

"In honor of this holy season," Saint Peter said, " You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven."

The first man fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. " It represents a candle, " he said.

"You may pass through the pearly gates," Saint Peter said.

The second man reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, "They're bells". Saint Peter said, "You may pass through the pearly gates. "

The third man started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.

St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, "And just what do those symbolize?"

The man replied, "They're Carols".

If your standard of living improves when you go camping.

Your prenuptial agreement mentions chickens.

You have jacked up your home to look for a dog.

You have a relative living in your garage.

Your neighbor has ever asked to borrow a quart of beer.

There is a belch on your answering machine greeting.

You have rebuilt a carburetor while sitting on the commode.

None of the tires on your van are the same size.

You hold the hood of your car with your head while you work on the engine.

Your idea of getting lucky is passing the engine emissions test.

Your town put the new garbage truck in the Christmas parade.

Your local beauty salon also fixes cars and snow mobiles.
(I once saw a sign in a small Maine town that read "Posey's Beauty Parlor and Skidoo Repair" --- No kidding.)

Your doghouse and your living room have the same shag carpet.

You've slow danced in the Waffle House.

Starting your car involves popping the hood.

Your garbage man is confused about what goes and what stays.

You whistle at women in church.

You actually wear shoes your dog brought home.

You've been in a fist fight at a yard sale.

You carry a fly swatter in the front seat of the car so you can reach the kids in the back seat.

You think people who have cell phones and e-mail are uppity.

This pretty well sums it up!

Forwarded by Dick Haar

Two elderly Wal-Mart greeters were sitting on a bench at the entry way when one turns to the other and says,

"Slim, I'm 73 years old now and I'm just full of aches and pains. I know you're about my age. How do you feel?

Slim says, "I feel just like a newborn baby."

"Really, Like a newborn baby?"

"Yep. No hair, no teeth and I think I just wet my pants."

Forwarded by Paula

Whenever your children are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God's omnipotence did not extend to His own children.

After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said was "DON'T!" "Don't what?" Adam replied.

"Don't eat the forbidden fruit." God said. "Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit? Hey Eve...we have Forbidden fruit!!!!!" "No Way!" "Yes way!"

"Do NOT eat the fruit!" said God. "Why???" "Because I am your Father and I said so!" God replied, wondering why He hadn't stopped creation after making the elephants.

A few minutes later, God saw His children having an apple break and He was ticked! "Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit?" God asked. "Uh huh," Adam replied. "Then why did you?" said the Father. "I don't know," said Eve. "She started it!" Adam said "Did not!" "Did too!"

Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.


1. You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up.

2. Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children.

3. Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young.

4. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.

5. The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own.

6. We child proofed our homes, but they are still getting in.

ADVICE FOR THE DAY: Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home.

Forwarded by Dr. B.

Just The Facts   

1. Now that food has replaced sex in my life, I can't  even get into my own pants.  

2. Marriage changes passion. Suddenly you're in bed  with a relative.  

3. I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess"  on it. So I said. "Implants?" She hit me.  

4. I don't do drugs. I get the same effect just  standing up fast.  

5. Sign in a Chinese Pet Store: "Buy one dog, get  one flea..."  

6. I live in my own little world. But it's OK. They  know me here.  

7. I got a sweater for Christmas. I really wanted a  screamer or a moaner.  

8. If flying is so safe, why do they call the  airport the terminal?  

9. I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too  many of them get elected.  

10. There are two sides to every divorce: Yours and Shithead's.  

11. I love being married. It's so great to find that  one special person you want to annoy for the rest of  your life.  

12. I am a nobody, and nobody is perfect; therefore,  I am perfect.  

13. Everyday I beat my own previous record for  number of consecutive days I've stayed alive.  

14. How come we choose from just two people to run  for president and 50 for Miss America?  

15. Isn't having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool?  

16. Why is it that most nudists are people you don't  want to see naked?  

17. Snowmen fall from Heaven unassembled.  

18. Every time I walk into a singles bar I can hear  Mom's wise words: "Don't pick that up, you don't know  where it's been!"  

19. A good friend will come and bail you out of  jail...but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying,  "Damn...that was fun!"

I doubled up reading this one!

Forwarded by Paula

A senior citizen in Florida bought a brand new Mercedes convertible.

He took off down the road, flooring it to 80 mph and enjoying the wind
blowing through what little hair he had left on his head."This is great,"
he thought as he roared down I-75. He pushed the pedal to the metal even
more. Then he looked in his rear view mirror and saw a highway patrol
trooper behind him, blue lights flashing and siren blaring. "I can get away
from him with no problem" thought the man and he tromped it some more and
flew down the road at over 100 mph. Then 110, 120 mph.

Then he thought, "What am I doing? I'm too old for this kind of thing." He
pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the trooper to catch up
with him. The trooper pulled in behind the Mercedes and walked up to the
man. "Sir," he said, looking at his watch. "My shift ends in 30 minutes and
today is Friday. If you can give me a reason why you were speeding that
I've never heard before, I'll let you go." The man looked at the trooper
and said, "Years ago my wife ran off with a Florida state trooper, and I
thought you were bringing her back."

The trooper replied, "Sir, have a nice day."

Forwarded by Paula

25 signs you've grown up

1. Your house plants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.

2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.

3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.

4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.

5. You hear your favorite song on an elevator.

6. You watch the Weather Channel.

7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of hook up and break up.

8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.

9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."

10. You're the one calling the police because those damn kids next door won't turn down the stereo.

11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.

12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.

13. Your car insurance goes down and your payments go up.

14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonalds leftovers.

15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.

16. You no longer take naps from noon to 6 PM. !!

17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.

18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset rather than settle, your stomach.

19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests. 

20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff." 

21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.

22. "I just can't drink the way I used to," replaces, "I'm never going to drink that much again." 

23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.

24. You no longer drink at home to save money before going to a bar.

25. You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that doesn't apply to you.

Forwarded by Paula

Song Remakes for Some of Us at Least

Herman Hermits....Mrs. Brown, You've got a Lovely Walker

The Bee Gees...How Can You Mend a Broken Hip

The Beatles ....I Get By With a Little Help from Depends

Marvin Gaye....I Heard It Through the Grape Nuts

Procol Harem... A Whiter Shade of Hair

Johnny Nash... I Can't See Clearly Now

Leo Sayer... You Make Me Feel Like Napping

ABBA.... Denture Queen

Paul Simon... Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver

Roberta Flack... The First Time I Ever Forgot Your Face

Commodores... Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom

Rolling Stones...You Can't Always Pee When You Want

Bobby Darin... Splish, Splash, I Was Having a Flash

Forwarded by Paula


1. Denial "I'm NOT related to you."

2. Anger "I'm related to YOU?"

3. Bargaining "Okay, I'm related to you . . . but only by marriage."

4. Depression "You mean I am related to you?"

5. Acceptance "I guess I am related to you."

6. Reincarnation "I may have been related to you ONCE, but I'm happy to say I've progressed beyond it."

Those old Burma Shave signs (forwarded by Dick and Cec)
















This is a personal note from one of my relatives who describes how her father (also Bob Overn’s dad) slept with his head outside the second story of his house in St. Paul , Minnesota where it gets really, really cold in the winter.  He was a professor.  I come from a weird bunch of relatives.

When answering Dorothy’s earlier message, I mentioned that when I was about twelve years old, Bob Overn took me to his home in St. Paul one week end.  One of the highlights was going to a live performance of Martin and Lewis when they were just commencing in show business.  I could not recall the name of Bob’s sister who accompanied us, but I remember having a crush on her.   

Dear Bob,

I really enjoyed your note. I checked with my sister Esther, who with her husband Don also lives in Lubbock half of the year, to ask if she had gone to the performance of Martin and Lewis. She responded quickly, "Yes, it was great".

Yes, my Dad played the piano very well all the time until he died at the age of 94. He also had some strange ideas about health which included the fresh air contraption he built to put his head out of the window in the winter. He wore a wooly hat. I don't know how effective it was, nor how long he used it. It was made of plywood and chain. My brother Bill, who still lives in St. Paul, remembers all those details. Bob and Lois retired to Tavares, FL, near Orlando several years ago.

Have a good trip to New Hampshire!


Forwarded by Dr. D.

True Love 
An elderly couple was on a cruise and it was really stormy. They were standing on the back of the boat watching the moon, When a wave came up and washed the old woman overboard. They searched for days and couldn't find her, So the captain sent the old man back to shore with the promise that he would notify him as soon as they found something. Three weeks went by and finally the old man got a fax from the boat. It read: Sir, sorry to inform you, we found your wife dead at the bottom of the ocean. We hauled her up to the deck and attached to her butt was an oyster and inside it was a pearl worth $50,000...please advise.

The old man faxed back: Send me the pearl and re-bait the trap.

Woody Allen’s orgasmatron was a fake ---  
Now you can test out the real thing!
An American surgeon is trying to recruit women to test his patented orgasm machine, but is having trouble finding volunteers.
Siri Agrell, "Volunteers Sought for 'Orgasmatron'," National Post --- 

Christmas at the Neverland Ranch

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
We'll find it hard to sleep tonight
They know that Michael's lipstick is really red
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his bed
And every mother is gonna say
That one day Michael may really pay
And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ten plus two
Although it's been said
Many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you

Now I know I've got too much free time on my hands.

Australian Jingle Bells forwarded by Linda Kidwell 

>>> lkidwell@CSU.EDU.AU 12/9/2003 5:32:27 PM >>>

I haven't found a recording, but here's the Australian version of jingle
bells (translations (*) follow):

Dashing through the bush
in a rusty Holden ute*
Kicking up the dust
Eskie in the boot*
Kelpie by my side
singing Christmas songs
It's summertime and I am in my singlet, shorts and thongs*
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.
Christmas in
Australia on a scorching summer's day, Oh!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Engine's getting hot, we dodge the kangaroos,
The swaggie* climbs aboard, he is welcome too.
All the family is there, sitting by the pool,
Christmas day the Aussie way, by the bar-b-que
(repeat chorus)

Come the afternoon, Grandpa has a doze,
the kids and Uncle Bruce are swimming in their clothes.
The time comes round to go, we take a family snap*,
And pack the car and all shoot through* before the washing up!
(repeat chorus)

* Holden ute = Holden brand pick-up truck
Eskie in the boot = cooler in the trunk
Singlet = tank top, thongs = flip flops
Swaggie (swagman, as in Waltzing Matilda) = laborer in the bush or
outback, who travels looking for work, carrying his bedroll (or swag) with
him (apologies to real Aussies if I've not got it quite right)
family snap = family photo
shoot through = leave quickly

But I must say, I'll miss my white western New York Christmas as I bask in
the sun!  Really!


Note from Bob Jensen
There's a great Australian Slang Dictionary at 

G (for good) Rated Christmas Greetings ---  

A nice card from Paula --- 

The card below has nothing to do with accounting, but it does illustrate clever multimedia.  It’s a little bit like tickling Elmo or the Pillsbury Doughboy!

Merry Christmas

Be sure to shake the globe with your mouse ---

Kind of brightens the year after scanning all the dreary news.  
A slightly more interactive XMAS card is at 

Happy New Year ---

And that's the way it was on December 16, 2003 with a little help from my friends.


Jesse's Wonderful Music for Romantics ---
(You may have to hit the play button at the very bottom of the page.)


I highly recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free newsletter from a very smart finance professor) --- 


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


For accounting news, I prefer AccountingWeb at 
I also like SmartPros at 


Another leading accounting site is at 


Jack Anderson's Accounting Information Finder ---


Gerald Trite's great set of links --- 


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


The Finance Professor --- 


Walt Mossberg's many answers to questions in technology ---


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 


Click on for a complete list of interviews with established leaders, creative thinkers and education technology experts in higher education from around the country.


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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December 3, 2003

 Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on December 3, 2003
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

A Poem for Erika ---

Bob Jensen's New Wheels for XMAS (turn the speakers up) --- 

Jesse's Wonderful Music for Romantics (You have to scroll down to the titles) ---
Especially Listen to An Irish Blessing at 

Forwarded by Paula Ward (Music with a message)
Dirt Roads --- 
America From the Sea --- 

Quotes of the Week

"I believe this (mutual fund rip-off) is the worst scandal we've seen in 50 years, and I can't say I saw it coming," said Arthur Levitt, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission for nearly eight years under the Clinton administration. "I probably worried about funds less than insider trading, accounting issues and fair disclosure to investors" by public companies.
Stephen Labaton --- 

Illegal or unfair trading isn't hard for directors (or the SEC) to spot, says New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who brought the first of these scandals to light.  They just have to compare their funds' total sales with total redemptions.  When the two are about the same, skimming might be going on.  I asked Lipper, a fund-tracking service, to list the larger funds where redemptions reached 90 to 110 percent of sales.  It found 229, some looking obviously churned.
Jane Bryant Quinn --- 

Churning refers to the practice of creating two classes of investors by a surprisingly large number of mutual funds.  The favored traders buy fund shares at “stale prices” that are a few hours old and lower than “fresh prices.”  They then sell to  collect a “rigged profit.”  The SEC was aware this was going on and allowed it to continue.  Why?

One thing your can count on:  When you invest, a lot of the people you trust are going to cheat.  Billions of investor dollars whirl through the system.  It's all too easy for insiders to stick their hands into that current and grab.  We're not talking about a bad apple here and there.  Cheating runs through Wall Street's very seams --- even in the sainted mutual funds.
Jane Bryant Quinn ---  

But Wall Street's Lobbyists Still Have a Firm Grip Where it Counts
While Representative Baker pushes his bill in the House, the Senate is not expected to take up a measure before next year. Some lawmakers have filed bills, but Senator Richard Shelby, the Alabama Republican who heads the Senate banking committee, has said he is not convinced of the need for new laws.
Stephen Labaton, "S.E.C. Offers Plan for Tightening Grip on Mutual Funds," The New York Times, November 19, 2003 --- 

The White House is Holding Less Firm
THE WHITE HOUSE SAID it will impose temporary quotas on bras made in China. The dollar slid to a record low against the euro on news of the quota plan and a drop in foreign purchases of U.S. securities
Neil King, Jr. and Dan Morse, The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2003, Page 1 ---,,SB106917162849633800,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 

When you see that spark, you feel that heat, don't back away from it. Jump in with both feet and enjoy the feeling, enjoy the flames that will set your spirit on fire. It may make you sweat, but your heart won't grow cold.
Jesse, "Standing Outside the Fire" --- 

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.... Pearl Buck. as quoted by Mark Shapiro in a recent message --- 

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself.
A.H. Weiler

My future starts when I wake up every morning... Every day I find something creative to do with my life.
Miles Davis

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.
Charles Mingus

Freud might thus have been right about the reason for what he thought he had observed about trauma and memory. But it looks as though he was wrong about the mechanism. The evidence, though limited at the moment, suggests that memories are not repressed. Rather, they are never formed in the first place. Obviously, no psychiatric technique can recover something that was not there to start with. That is something of which the courts should be acutely aware when they assess the credibility of witnesses. It is also something psychiatrists may care to ponder when they are trying to dredge up “forgotten” childhood memories.
Bryan Strange, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (See Below)

One cannot say it is pleasanter to look at a battle than at a merry-go-round, but there can be no question which draws the larger crowd.
George Bernard Shaw as quoted in a recent email message from Patricia Doherty 

We lie in order to tolerate our existence and, most of all, we lie to ourselves.
Elena Ferrante

FOR MBAs, THE FAMINE IS OVER Spring 2003 grads find that job offers are finally starting to come in.
From B-School News newsletter from Business Week --- BusinessWeek MBA Express [

As traditional Christianity falters in predominantly-white industrialized nations, what religious movement ignited over the last decade among students studying under leading scientists and other top faculty members in the United States?
See "Cross Cultural Diversity" below.

Intravenous doses of a synthetic component of “good” cholesterol reduced artery disease in just six weeks in a small study with startlingly big implications for treating the nation’s No. 1 killer. “The concept is sort of liquid Drano for the coronary arteries,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist who led the study.
MSNBC News, November 4, 2003 --- 

Fannie Mae had losses of $237 million from soured mortgage investments during the first nine months of 2003, with nearly half of the losses coming from its portfolio of manufactured-housing loans, according to a new federal filing.
Patrick Barta, The Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2003 ---,,SB106902254027452700,00.html?mod=home%5Fwhats%5Fnews%5Fus 
Bob Jensen's threads on the accounting scandals at big Fannie and her brother Freddie Mac are at 

The disaffection can be gauged in recent opinion surveys. Last month, a Harris poll found that the percentage of Americans who saw scientists as having "very great prestige" had declined nine percentage points in the last quarter-century, down to 57 from 66 percent. Another recent Harris poll found that most Americans believe in miracles, while half believe in ghosts and a third in astrology — hardly an endorsement of scientific rationality.
William J. Broad and James Glanz, "Does Science Matter?" The New York Times, November 11, 2003 --- 
The above article mostly focuses on the threat of fundamentalist dogma on the future of science and discovery.

Poetry adds life to life.
Mario Luzi

I went to a party, Mom, I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom, so I drank soda instead
I really felt proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would.
I didn't drink and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should.
I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you are always right.
Now the party is finally ending
Mom, as everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car, Mom, I knew I'd get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me, so responsible and sweet.
I started to drive away, Mom, but as I pulled out into the road,
the other car didn't see me, Mom, and hit me like a load.
As I lay there on the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say,
the other guy is drunk, Mom, and now I'm the one who will pay.
I'm lying here dying, Mom.. I wish you'd get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom? My life just burst like a balloon.
There is blood all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom, I'll die in a short time.
I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn't drink.
It was the others, Mom. The others didn't think.
He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank and I will die.
Why do people drink, Mom? It can ruin your whole life.
I'm feeling sharp pains now. Pains just like a knife.
The guy who hit me is walking, Mom, and I don't think it's fair.
I'm lying here dying and all he can do is stare.
Tell my brother not to cry, Mom. Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom, put "Daddy's Girl" on my grave.
Someone should have told him, Mom, not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him, Mom, I would still be alive.
My breath is getting shorter, Mom. I'm becoming very scared.
Please don't cry for me, Mom. When I needed you, you were always there.
I have one last question, Mom, before I say good bye.
I didn't drink and drive, so why am I the one to die?

Drunk Driving Poem by an unknown Armenian teen --- 

Bob Jensen's working draft of accounting and finance scandals for October-December 2003 can be found at 

The Senate is where industries take their last-ditch, high-lobby stances ---
November 14, 2003 Update:  
See the lobbying is already paying off --- for Senators
"Senator Urges Caution On Accounting Reform," SmartPros, November 14, 2003 ---

Who are the highest paid accounting professors on both nine-month and twelve-month bases?

This is probably impossible to answer without leaving out some persons whose compensation is not listed anywhere from public sources.  But it would be interesting if AECMers could supply possible candidates.  I urge any respondents, however, to only provide answers from public sources along with references to these sources.

One candidate is Douglas Cloud at Pepperdine University .  His salary for 2001/2002 was $283,634 plus estimated benefits of $20,803.  I assume this is on a nine-month basis, but I do not know for sure.  To my knowledge, I’ve never met Dr. Cloud, but I do congratulate him and his alma mater (Arizona State University),

I got the above information by when glancing over “Executive Compensation,” Special Supplement, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 14, 2003 --- 

There are many limitations to the above database when searching for highest paid faculty.  These include the following:

  1.  The title of the periodical is “Executive Compensation,” but some of the persons listed are not in administrative positions.  Administrative titles are generally given, and when the person is not in administration they are listed as
    “Professor of ____.” 

  2. Salaries of faculty from public colleges and universities are generally not available, since the database includes only the highest paid person on each campus, and that is usually the CEO.

  3. The top few ( three to five ) highest paid persons in private universities are given.  However, it is not easy to distinguish nine versus twelve month appointments.

  4. Most of the highest paid persons are top administrators or medical school professors.  However, among the deans that made the listings, the deans at colleges of business are the most frequent deans listed among the highest paid persons.

  5. It is easy for some accounting professor making more than Professor Cloud at Pepperdine to be left out of the listings.  The reason is that some of the top-paying private universities have very high pay scales such that the lowest paid person listed may be making over $500,000 per year.  Hence and accounting professor who makes only $400,000 in that university got beat out of the top rankings by his schools top administrators, medical professors, or football coaches.

  6. One interesting outcome was at Baylor University .  Although Baylor has a medical school, it’s highest paid persons other than the CEO were football coaches.  This was not common among private colleges and universities.  It may be the case with many large public universities, but there is not as much data for public institutions vis-à-vis private institutions.  It would seem that Baylor isn't getting much bang for the buck here (sigh).

  7. One of the higher paid professors is a professor of finance from Northwestern University who makes over $500,000 per year.

Just how comparable are the total compensation (salaries + benefits) at “Executive Compensation,” Special Supplement, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 14, 2003? --- 
Hint:  I think all or most of this data comes from IRS 990 forms that are made public by the U.S. Government --- 

Without inside information, the total compensation packages of Professor X versus Professor Y should never be compared. Most likely the total IRS 990 compensation of Administrator X versus Administrator Y cannot be compared, especially for the top administrators of a university. For example, in my university the top administrators all get large houses on campus that are fully maintained inside and outside. Some, I think, also get free automobiles, although I'm not certain whether the almost-costless deals from a local car dealer continue to be in effect. These perks can usually be justified (e.g., because administrators do more off-campus driving and have more business entertaining). But they are also personal benefits that are not included in the IRS 990 benefits reported in the above "Executive Compensation" data. Also the top administrators have a greater chance to bond with the super rich, especially those on the Board of Trustees. This sometimes leads to free club memberships, vacations in luxury resorts, cruises, and family trips on private jets. Actually these bondings increase the chances of large gifts to a university, and as such should be encouraged. But they also lead to unreported perks in the above data that undermine attempted IRS 990 comparisons.

The majority of the highest paid college employees in the IRS 990 database are top administrators.  Since no two top administrators of a university get the same undisclosed benefits, it is almost impossible to compare administrator compensations.  It becomes more feasible for lower-level administrators such as deans who do not generally receive free housing, automobiles, and deferred compensation deals given to top administrators.  

There next set of highest paid university employees are usually professors of medicine when a medical school is part of the university.  Without inside information, it is literally impossible to compare the IRS 990 compensation of any two professors of medicine.  Their compensation arrangements differ vastly between different medical schools and even departments within the same medical school.  Some medical professors receive rather modest contracted salaries and are also allowed to bill patients separately for services performed in the university's hospital.  Others cannot bill patients directly, but they have complex revenue sharing arrangements.  Years ago when I was visiting a university, my neighbor was a hand surgeon on the faculty of the medical school.  His salary from the university was quite modest, but at the end of each year he received a revenue sharing that was always more than ten times his salary.  Medical schools are not consistent in the way that they reward faculty.

Hence, comparisons of nearly all the reported highest paid college employees in the entire IRS 990 database are very, very tenuous at best.  I would not even attempt to compare top administrators or professors of medicine.  The other professors and deans included in the database probably are more comparable in terms of IRS 990 compensation.  One slight problem might be unreported discretionary expense funds.  For example, one of the ways top research universities attract faculty is with expense allowances of as much as $30,000 per year in addition to salary and other benefits.   Since it is common for such faculty to include family on luxurious "business trips," it becomes somewhat difficult to compare faculty compensation in the above database without knowing more about undisclosed expense allowances.  And even if two faculty receive the same $30,000 expense allowance, one might spend it all on research computing equipment and the other might take his family to a conference at a ski resort in Switzerland or at a beach in southern France.  Another problem is soft money for summer stipends or affiliations with outside organizations that pay generously for summer research.

An even bigger problem for comparing IRS 990 compensation numbers is the consulting that results for being affiliated with a prestigious university.  The Harvard Business School, for example, has some training and other consulting agreements with top corporations that continue year after year.  Just being on the faculty affords an opportunity to tap into these "consulting" deals that may pay more than the Harvard salary.  Thus if your salary is $250,000 from No-name university's endowed chair, don't assume you are earning more than Assistant Professor X from Harvard who purportedly receives a $180,000 salary.  Add in her expense allowance, her summer stipend, and her consulting income that is only available because she's at the Harvard Business School, and she's likely to be making nearly twice as much as you at less than half your age.  Her problem is not opportunity for compensation.  Her problem is getting tenure at Harvard!

Time Magazine's pick for the Coolest Inventions 2003 --- 
I can't imagine that I'd care much to be loved by a robotic cat.

Pruning the Ivy

Budget deficit forces Yale University spending cuts due to a  $30 million shortage (resulting in the planned firing of over 700 non-tenured faculty and staff) --- 

Cornell University's four state schools will soon increase tuition and decrease research opportunities in an effort to narrow the financial gap --- 

Budget Crisis at MIT --- 

What are two of the major contributing factors in these crises? 

Lower endowment returns and increased medical insurance costs.

You can look for huge increases in tuition at MIT and the Ivy League schools and most other public and private colleges and universities.

Is the AACSB International cheapening its currency? --- 

On November 30, I had a chance encounter with a former doctoral student who went on to become a leading research partner in one of the largest international accounting firms. He requested that I take a look at a Website and pass the URL along to you if I agreed that the AACSB is lowering the bar on program accreditation in general and in particular accreditation of accountancy programs. His point is that this is part of an alleged trend at the AACSB to place revenues ahead of high standards in a determined AACSB effort to expand both in the U.S. and in the rest of the world. The implication is that it is not possible to become the world's accreditation body without watering down the standards.

Whatever the allegations, you judge for yourselves as to whether AACSB standards for both business education and accounting education accreditations are being watered down --- 

Pay particular attention to the Business Accreditation Standards adopted in April 2003. Then proceed to the Working Draft of Accounting Accreditation Standards.

In fairness, professionals who have to write standards face the dilemma that highest standards are not necessarily optimal if they become “the highest apples on the tree that the gatherers cannot reach.”  At the same time, opening the floodgates to education programs of highly questionable quality and merit cheapens the currency.  For example, who cares about the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” if all you have to do to earn it is pay for advertisements in that magazine?

Of course, the bottom line really becomes one of enforcement of whatever standards are set.  The AACSB changed its policy some years ago that accreditation is to become more flexible in terms of mission rather than fixed standards.   This is fine and good as long as the quality bar is not lowered to accredit programs of questionable merit.  Instructors who give all A grades in courses where virtually no student ever withdraws eventually lose credibility.  The same can be said for education program accreditation.  

December 1, 2003 reply from Roger Collins [rcollins@CARIBOO.BC.CA]

Bob, I forwarded your note to an economist friend of mine. Here is his response....

It surely must be absolutely clear to all and sundry that AACSB "lowered the standards" back in the 1990's when they (for example) relaxed requirements for faculty PhD's and publication output depending on "mission-driven" programs.

AACSB was of course losing schools to ACBSP, which had (shall we say) a much more "flexible" approach to accreditation -- essentially -- give us the money.

Was/is that bad?

Those who argued that faculty PhD and publication requirements were just screening devices little related to the quality of the education students were receiving did have a point -- but doesn't that sound like the traditional UCC whine from many of our colleagues without doctorates.

My own preference would have been for AACSB to focus on 'elite' schools and programs, even if that meant handing over a share of the market to ACBSP on a platter. There are no perfect proxies for educational quality, but that's life ... and it doesn't mean we are better off with a bunch of members getting accreditation based on saying that "we are deliberately choosing not to meet the standards AACSB used to apply."

As you know, I have long been interested in not-for-profit organizations and their objective functions, so maybe I'll get around to a paper on the subject some day.

With accountants having professional examinations to determine who shall ultimately be admitted to the accounting club, they don't have nearly as much to worry about as the warmer-and-fuzzier disciplines. Jim Regards,


Roger Collins
UCC School of Business

Have any of you tried the Migo? --- 
A demo is available at the above site.

Walt Mossberg gives this a terrific review in "You Can Lug Home Your Office Computer Inside Your Pocket," The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2003, Page B1 ---

A new $150 gadget about as big as your thumb, called the Migo, lets you do just that.

You just plug the little Migo into the USB port of your office PC -- or any other Windows PC you choose -- and software embedded on the device will copy onto the Migo your recent Outlook e-mail, Web-page "favorites," key files or folders you designate, even your desktop icons and wallpaper.

Then, when you get to any other PC where you'd like to work -- at home, at a hotel business center, Internet cafe, etc. -- you plug the Migo in again and enter your password.

In seconds, this "guest" machine is transformed into a partial clone of your original PC.

Your own desktop icons and wallpaper replace the ones that were there before. Your own e-mail shows up in Outlook instead of the e-mail that was there before. Your own Internet favorites show up in the second machine's Web browser instead of the favorites that were there before. And your own key files show up in a desktop folder and can be opened in Microsoft Office or other applications.

When you're done working on the second PC, you just log out of the Migo and remove it. The machine you were using reverts to its original state. And when you return to your original PC, the Migo updates its files to reflect any changes you made.

I have been testing the Migo for a week or so, using six different Windows PCs, and I really like it. There are a few small downsides, but in general it works as advertised.

The Migo, made by Forward Solutions of San Ramon, Calif., is based on a popular new type of computer storage called a keychain drive. These are pocket-size devices stuffed with memory chips that can hold computer files.

Many people already use keychain drives that cost much less than the Migo to move key files between different PCs. But Migo vastly improves this process, because it comes with synchronization software that's embedded right in its hardware, along with an embedded security system that protects your files.

With a cheap, plain-vanilla keychain, it would take a lot of work to replicate as much of the original PC experience, including e-mail, bookmarks and wallpaper, as the Migo does. With the Migo, all this happens with a few mouse clicks.

By default, the Migo copies the past 30 days of e-mail in your Outlook inbox, any items on your desktop that have changed in the past 30 days, your wallpaper and your Internet Explorer browser favorites. A simple interface will let you customize this. You can choose to copy more or fewer days of e-mail, or e-mail from Outlook folders other than the inbox. You can select specific files or folders to copy, or certain types of files and not others.

The software monitors the total size of the material you want to copy and warns you if it will exceed the capacity of the Migo. Currently there are two models: a 128 megabyte model that sells for $150 and a 256 MB model for $200. The company plans a 512 MB model by the end of the year, and models with more than a gigabyte of storage in 2004.

In my tests with a 256 MB model, I found I could pack in plenty of e-mail and lots of key files. Migo stores all of your stuff in a secure portion of the device that can be accessed only with a password, if you opt for password protection.

Continued in the article.

November 20, 2003 reply from David R. Fordham [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

Bob (et al):

I haven’t tried Migo, but I can put in a personal testimonial about the convenience of the “key-disk” “drives” that the Migo is based upon. “Two Thumbs Up.”

I have fallen in love with my key disks! I have four or five of various sizes. The 128Mb one was a gift at a conference. My school purchased a 64Mb model for all faculty (since we decided to abandon Zip drives because of the “sudden-click-death syndrome”), and I received a “free” 64Mb one with a Dell computer I recently purchased. I purchased another 128Mb on my own, and am planning to get a 256Mb as soon as it drops below $50. (The 128Mb one was $30 six months ago, so I expect the 256Mb model to be there soon.)

These little things work amazingly well, and are hassle-free. You just plug them in and presto, a new disk drive appears under the “my computer” icon, including all of the drop-down “Save” dialog boxes.

I use them for carrying files from my office to the classroom (saves having to log-in to the network), from the recording studio to my office (for Tegrity presentation recordings), and for taking work home. Neat, clean, hassle-free, -- just the way I like my technology!

The Migo sounds like it automates quite of a bit of file selection, copying, setting modification, and default changing for you, in addition to copying your files. For someone who is currently doing all of that themselves, the additional convenience might be worth the additional price.

Bob, you may have stumbled upon the next Microsoft acquisition!

David R. Fordham
PBGH Faculty Fellow
James Madison University


Hi Jerry,

Actually, I was in New Hampshire last week and got caught up in a raging blizzard. Since the temperature was not very cold, it was actually fun walking against the 35 mph wind in a snow storm (so long as I stayed on a known path in the woods.)

I will forward your message to the AACSB. Keep on blogging!


-----Original Message----- 
From: Gerald Trites []  
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 7:57 AM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: Bolg

Hi Bob,

I hope you're keeping well. We have our first snow of the year falling outside. It looks like a long winter coming up. But I guess you're in Texas now, so can still chuckle at us northerners!

I thought you might be interested in my new blog, which is referenced below. I've been wanting to set one up for some time. I think blogs are a potentially useful way to record one's research travels, and might even be useful and interesting to others with similar research interests. There's not much in it yet, but over the next few months, I hope to make it into something useful.

All the best,

Jerry _____________________________________ 
Gerald Trites, FCA ---  
The Trites E-Business Blog - 


Sun refugee Bill Joy talks about greedy markets, reckless science, and runaway technology. On the plus side, there's still some good software out there.

"Hope Is a Lousy Defense," By Spencer Reiss, Wired Magazine, December 2003 --- 

There are geeks and then there's Bill Joy - 49-year-old software god, hero programmer, cofounder of Sun Microsystems and, until he quit in September, its chief scientist. Beginning in 1976, he spent zillions of hours in front of a keyboard, coding the now-ubiquitous Berkeley strain of the Unix operating system; then he godfathered Sun's Java programming language and helped design servers that were the Internet's heaviest artillery. In the early 1990s, he kept his job but bolted Silicon Valley, "leaving the urgent behind to get to the important," he says. In 2000, he wrote the Wired cover story "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us," a Cassandra cry about the perils of 21st-century technology and a striking display of ambivalence from a premier technologist. Now, at home 8,000 feet up in Aspen, Colorado, Joy talks about building a technological utopia while worrying about a techno-apocalypse.

WIRED: We're tempted to say, "End of an era."
JOY: I don't see it that way. I try to work on things that won't happen unless I do them. Not all those things are strongly advantaged by my being at Sun.

Still, 21 years at Sun. Did you get a gold watch?
They gave me a clear plastic globe or something.

And now Scott McNealy is the last founder left, right?
We're all still alive.

I mean, left at the company.
We're still there in spirit. There are an awful lot of good people at Sun who have been there a long time. Sometimes, founders leaving is a good thing. You start to get in the way.

No doubt, but you were pretty loosely tethered at the best of times.
I've always said that all successful systems were small systems initially. Great, world-changing things - Java, for instance - always start small. The ideal project is one where people don't have meetings, they have lunch. The size of the team should be the size of the lunch table.

You're doing a startup?
Did I say that? Well, maybe.

But innovation is supposed to be dead.
Nonsense. Moore's law still has at least a decade to go with conventional silicon. That's a factor of 100 in performance, which means that with some work to make the algorithms run faster, we've got maybe a factor of a thousand improvement still to come. If you give me machines that are a thousand times as powerful as today's at the same price, I ought to be able to do something radically better. Thirty years ago a supercomputer was 80 megahertz. Now a personal computer is 2 gigahertz, and yet the software isn't 25 times better. I just got a new Mac with two 2-gigahertz processors, 8 gigabytes of memory, and a half a terabyte of internal disk.

Good for Apple. So what?
So you have the ability to hold a huge simulation all in memory - a database becomes a data structure. Add 64-bit computing and I can do breathtaking visualization. But that's not a space I'm going to go into, by the way. People's expectations in three dimensions are so high. On the other hand, existing operating systems, especially the ones provided by the reigning monopolist here, are deeply flawed. So there's enormous opportunity.

Is that something that you'd want to take on?
Jini networking technology was a partial attempt. Rather than writing distributed applications, you write a program - the whole system is an application program. But Jini was a solution to a problem that people didn't know they had.

Which was?
Reliable and secure systems. We all know that now - 4,000 known Microsoft viruses later, The Wall Street Journal says.

And yet you've been famously cool about Linux.
Re-implementing what I designed in 1979 is not interesting to me personally. For kids who are 20 years younger than me, Linux is a great way to cut your teeth. It's a cultural phenomenon and a business phenomenon. Mac OS X is a rock-solid system that's beautifully designed. I much prefer it to Linux.

What about the open source idea in general?
Open source is fine, but it doesn't take a worldwide community to create a great operating system. Look at Ken Thompson creating Unix, Stephen Wolfram writing Mathematica in a summer, James Gosling in his office making Java. Now, there's nothing wrong with letting other people help, but open source doesn't assist the initial creative act. What we need now are great things. I don't need to see the source code. I just want a system that works.

And that beats Windows.
My goal is to do great things. If I do something great, maybe it'll beat Microsoft. But that's not my goal. I find Windows of absolutely no technical interest. They took systems designed for isolated desktop systems and put them on the Net without thinking about evildoers, as our president would say.

Still, a lot of people have lost a lot of money over the years shorting Microsoft.
We're just lucky that no one has sent around a virus that erases people's disk drives. I sure hope that doesn't happen, but it's not exactly hard to imagine someone doing it. And hope is a lousy defense.

At last, a warning about impending technological disaster. Are you more or less worried than when you wrote "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us"?
My biggest worry then was that people weren't paying attention. Obviously 9/11 changed that, but I'm not sure we've learned the right lessons. We can't go out and rid the world of evil, as our president seems to think. These technologies won't stop themselves, so we need to do whatever we can to give the good guys a head start. And we still don't get it about epidemics. Even SARS was just a TV story about a bunch of people wearing masks.

But the future really does need us, right? Someone has to write the software.
Well, that was Wired's title, not mine. But I stand by everything I wrote. I just wish people reading it on the Web could tell more easily when it's me speaking and when I'm quoting someone else - the Unabomber, for instance. Such is the fate of the engineer: hoist by my own device.


Surprise! Surprise!  Grading Does Affect Course Dropping and Lowered Course Standards

"Another Route to Grade Inflation," by Tina Blue, The Irascible Professor, November 18, 2003 --- 

I try to maintain standards and to hold the line against grade inflation, I really do.

I am an adjunct faculty member, which means, of course, no tenure. That also means that student evaluations play a significant role when it comes time for the department to decide on renewing my contract. We adjuncts are always at risk of losing our jobs if we annoy too many students.

But idealist that I am, I still act as though teaching neat stuff in an engaging way will keep most students on my side. I won't pretend that my standards are as rigorous as they were, say, twenty years ago, but I still do have standards, and I do try to stick to them, no matter how much pressure is applied or from what source.

What that means is that I can actually be caught marking C's on mediocre essays, even though I am all too uncomfortably aware that some of my colleagues would give the same papers B's or even A's.

So imagine my surprise when I glanced over my final grade sheets this past semester and discovered that I had only given three C's in one class and four in another!

Surely that wasn't possible. I distinctly recalled marking quite a few C papers during the semester. So I checked my final class rosters against my grade book. I noticed one thing immediately: there at the end of the semester, my section enrollments were very small. That fact had registered with me more or less as I marked finals and recorded final grades, but at the end of the semester my awareness of such details is swamped by the rush to get all my grading done and to turn in the grade sheets in by the deadline.

But the fact is, my classes have always been overenrolled. Like most teachers, I inevitably lose a few during the semester, but not all that many.

This past semester, though, my classes had shrunk significantly. In each of my "Introduction to Poetry" sections, I had started out with 45 students. But by the end of the semester, I had only 22 in one class and 25 in the other. That degree of shrinkage had never happened to me before.

As I compared my final rosters with the grade book, however, I discovered who it was that had dropped my course.

Almost every student who was getting a C in the course, or in danger of getting a C, had dropped out. Even a few that looked as though they were likely to receive B's had dropped the course.

No wonder almost everyone who stayed through the entire course received either an A or a B final grade. Nearly all the C students had abandoned ship.

The thing is, I know that many of the students who dropped my course were actually enjoying it. But as I was told by one girl I ran into a couple of weeks after she dropped the class, a lot of them just don't feel they can risk getting a "bad" grade -- and in today's academic environment, a C is definitely a bad grade, In fact, a B might even be low enough to seriously damage their records, cost them their scholarships, or hurt their chances of getting into their preferred major or into the graduate program of their choice.

I think this puts an intolerable burden on our shoulders. We should be able to grade our students fairly, without worrying that giving out anything less than A's will destroy some kid's life.

A lot of schools and majors effectively "redline" their applicants at a certain outrageously high GPA. For example, students who want to major in physical therapy, social welfare, education, or any one of a number of other popular majors here at KU are told that they need to maintain a certain GPA to be considered. Often that GPA seems to be set quite reasonably -- usually at 2.5, sometimes at 3.0

But in reality, students with less than a 3.5 GPA are not likely even to be considered for admission to their chosen fields. Their applications are tossed as soon as their ordinary GPA is noted.

And since the pool of applicants often includes a large number of students with perfect or near-perfect GPA's, even a student with, say, a 3.5 GPA, might not have that great a chance of being admitted.

But a lot of those stellar GPA's are achieved and maintained by the decidedly weasel-like expedient of dropping out of every single course that is in any way challenging, and diligently shopping for "pud" courses and for instructors known to give easy grades. You can't really blame students for doing this when the majors and professional schools encourage grade shopping. If all that matters is grades, then all that will matter to students is grades.

Unfortunately, even as I give a student an honest C -- sometimes even a rather generous C -- I know that he or she will be competing with students who are getting much higher grades for the same quality of work.

And as soon as he realizes it, he will probably drop my course and switch to the instructor who is giving that other guy such lovely grades.

Tina Blue is a lecturer in English at the University of Kansas. She also publishes the "Teacher, Teacher" web site.

Academic Sharing Site of the Week

The University of North Carolina has a wealth of information available on Ibiblio, its massive digital library. And it's free. Michelle Delio reports from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

"Where Sharing Isn't a Dirty Word," Wired News, by Michelle Delio, Wired News, November 15, 2003 ---,2640,61200,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html 

Ibiblio's staff and contributors rescue documents, videos, audio and image files from dusty archives or attics where few could view them and put them on the Web, where anyone with an Internet connection can retrieve the information.

The library also gives Web space to those who can't host their own sites due to political or financial considerations.

Housed on a couple of racks of thin-client servers tucked into a corner of the University of North Carolina's huge computer room, ibiblio averages about 3 million information requests per day, and the contributor-maintained collections are expanding daily.

Visitors aren't restricted to just browsing the collections, either. They can critique or add information to an existing collection, or create and manage their own collection of information.

"Basically, if you want to share information about almost any subject, ibiblio will be happy to host you for free," said Jones. "The only rules are that whatever you want to share must be noncommercial, legal and have some value to other people."

Ibiblio began its life in 1992 under the moniker SunSITE, with funding from Sun Microsystems and a mandate "to share software and other things of interest," according to an October 1992 press release. SunSITE became MetaLab in 1997, after Sun stopped funding the project. But Jones had a problem with the new name.

"I'm dyslexic. Every time I'd type MetaLab it'd come out as 'meatball.'"

Happily, MetaLab/Meatball was re-christened ibiblio in 2002, when it received a multimillion-dollar grant from the Red Hat-affiliated Center for the Public Domain. Jones occasionally mangles the spelling, but at least it doesn't come out as a recognizably silly word.

Users still flood ibiblio when a new upgrade is released for one of the many open-source software projects that the library hosts, but ibiblio is now much more than just a download site. Jones and his staff want to create a 21st-century library based on open-source ideals.

"We'd like to demonstrate that the best way to protect and preserve so-called intellectual property is to share it freely with everyone," said Jones. "Shared information is enhanced and improved, so its value can only increase. Hoarded knowledge just stagnates."

Some evidence about how and why memories are suppressed!

Freud might thus have been right about the reason for what he thought he had observed about trauma and memory. But it looks as though he was wrong about the mechanism. The evidence, though limited at the moment, suggests that memories are not repressed. Rather, they are never formed in the first place. Obviously, no psychiatric technique can recover something that was not there to start with. That is something of which the courts should be acutely aware when they assess the credibility of witnesses. It is also something psychiatrists may care to ponder when they are trying to dredge up “forgotten” childhood memories.
Bryan Strange, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (See Below)

"Thanks for no memory," The Economist (Print Edition), November 13, 2003 --- 

According to Freud's theory of repression, the mind hides memories of traumatic events in places where they cannot easily be retrieved, in order to prevent overwhelming anxiety. It is these “repressed memories” that the memory-recovering techniques beloved of some psychiatrists aim to unearth.

The existence of repressed memories is taken as a truism by psychiatry. Unfortunately, it has never been verified by rigorous scientific experiment. And that is not a matter of mere academic interest, since memories apparently recovered by psychiatric techniques such as hypnosis—particularly memories of childhood abuse—have sometimes been enough to put people in prison, even when there has not been any corroborating evidence. Moreover, even in cases where an individual has undoubtedly witnessed something traumatic, the reliability of his memories can be critical to convicting the true perpetrator. Witnesses frequently disagree, and this may reflect the way memory forms. Some actual data on the relationship between unpleasant experiences and memory would therefore be welcome.

Bryan Strange and other members of the Emotion and Cognition Group at UCL, have their article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Bryan Strange, of University College, London, and his colleagues provide some. Rather than abuse their experimental subjects, though, they merely showed them streams of words on a computer screen.

Totalless recall Some of these words (murder, massacre and so on) had bad connotations. Others (meeting, gathering and conference, for example) were emotionally neutral. The subjects of the experiment, who did not know in advance what was required of them, were asked to look at the stream, which was presented one word at a time. Then, when they had been shown it, they were asked to recall the words in it. In the past, this technique has showed that emotionally charged words are more likely to be recalled than neutral ones. What Dr Strange wanted to look at was how well people remember neutral words adjacent to the emotionally charged ones in the stream. He discovered that words immediately preceding emotionally charged ones were less likely to be remembered than normal.

Intrigued, he pushed a little further. Previous work had established that emotion-associated enhancement of memory is caused, at least in part, by the action of stress hormones, in particular norepinephrine, on a part of the brain called the amygdala. He wondered if a similar mechanism was at work in the emotion-associated memory loss the team discovered.

The action of norepinephrine on the amygdala can be blocked by a drug called propranolol. When the researchers repeated their experiments on volunteers who had been dosed with this drug, they found, as expected, that those volunteers did not remember emotional words any better than neutral ones. In addition, however, they found that memory for neutral words which preceded emotional ones improved.

The team was also able to draw on evidence from a patient who suffers from Urbach-Wiethe disease, a rare genetic disorder that can cause damage to the amygdala. They used brain-imaging techniques to confirm that her amygdalas (people actually have two, one in each hemisphere of the brain) were, indeed, damaged. They also measured her cognitive functions—intelligence, attention and both short-term and long-term memory—and found that these were normal. But her memory was not affected by emotion; she remembered emotionally charged and neutral words equally well, regardless of the order they were presented in.

The memory gap The kind of memory Dr Strange studied is called explicit memory. It concerns facts and experiences—knowledge that can be recalled by conscious effort and can be reported verbally. Researchers believe that explicit memory is formed in several steps. The first is translating newly learned information into so-called neural correlates. This does not involve permanent changes to the brain's structure. In the second stage, consolidation, structural changes such as the formation and destruction of connections between nerve cells take place. This process involves the expression of genes and the synthesis of new proteins, and Dr Strange suspects that emotion interferes with these biochemical events. As a result, no memory is formed.

Another line of evidence that supports this interpretation is work on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) carried out by Roger Pitman, of Harvard University. Dr Pitman recently conducted a trial to see if propranolol could prevent the development of this disorder, which afflicts those who have been exposed to horrific events, such as battles or plane crashes, with emotionally disturbing flash-back memories. He reasoned that excessive amounts of stress hormones released at the time of a traumatic event might be responsible for overly strong memory formation. Because memory takes time to form, he conjectured that drugs which block the action of these hormones soon after the trauma might decrease the intensity of the memory. This turned out to be true: a course of propranolol started shortly after an acute traumatic event was able to reduce the symptoms of PTSD one month later.

On the face of it, there is something slightly contradictory about these results. It is odd that the amnesia observed by Dr Strange is for events just before an emotionally charged incident, when what is actually desirable is to wipe away any recollection of the incident itself. But a simple laboratory experiment using what are, after all, ultimately harmless words, is not the same as a case of child abuse or the horrors of war. And it seems clear that the amnesia, as well as the memory formation, is in some way a result of the stress hormones.

What is undoubtedly true is that memory, like everything else in biology, is an evolved, functional response. If individuals tend to be better off by not remembering certain things, natural selection will tend to construct their brains that way. Indeed, the existence of post-traumatic stress disorder suggests that individuals are better off without those memories. And in fact, most people do come out of trauma with their psyches intact, so it is possible that what has happened to PTSD sufferers is that the memory-prevention mechanism has gone wrong.

Freud might thus have been right about the reason for what he thought he had observed about trauma and memory. But it looks as though he was wrong about the mechanism. The evidence, though limited at the moment, suggests that memories are not repressed. Rather, they are never formed in the first place. Obviously, no psychiatric technique can recover something that was not there to start with. That is something of which the courts should be acutely aware when they assess the credibility of witnesses. It is also something psychiatrists may care to ponder when they are trying to dredge up “forgotten” childhood memories.

Note from Bob Jensen
Jessica Lynch's purported inability to remember the most traumatic moment of her life in Iraq comes to mind here.

American Choices: Understanding Foreign Policy Debates (Government, International Affairs) --- 

Big is Better --- to a point!

Hi Jagdish,

I'm sharing this message to explain my love for large files, i.e., why big is sometimes better.

Partitioning some large files and preparing links to subsections is a great idea for obvious reasons. However, as with any type of disaggregation, there are losses as well. I personally make use of this huge Fraud file all the time, and I find that it is more efficient to do word searches on one large file. If I broke it into ten smaller files, I would then have to go to different files to search for a phrase (e.g. "Merrill Lynch") to find all the recorded frauds connected with that phrase.

This reasoning only can go so far. Years ago I received a request from Trinity University's Computing System Director. In those days, I posted my weekly updates to New Bookmarks yearly archive files, e.g., I filed the 1998 updates in one file, the 1999 updates in one file, etc. Our Computing Center said that these files were so huge that outside requests for downloads from the Web server were slowing down the entire system. He requested that I partition those files. He suggested monthly. We compromised on quarterly as you can see at 

But the above partitioning into quarters instead of years is a real pain in the butt whenever I want to search those files. Now I have to conduct a phrase search on four times as many files. Whenever I use the search utility for Trinity that covers my entire site, I get way too many hits in most cases, most of them from my own documents (sigh) --- 

Bob Jensen


I have found your postings absolutely fascinating. Because of my eyesight that seems to be bothering me of late, I thought of printing your fraud page so I could read it from a hard copy. I was horrified to discover that it was 329 pages (reduced size). I was wondering if you had thought about organising the materials by basing it on some sort of an ontological model?

Ontology of frauds ought to be a fascinating topic in itself for research



Top Rewritable DVD Drives ---,aid,113276,00.asp 

DVD Burners ---,aid,112912,00.asp 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks on hardware and software --- 

What is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), including its components? --- 

Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics can be found at 

From Syllabus News on November 14, 2003

UMassOnline Revenues, Enrollments Up, Up, Up

UMassOnline, the University of Massachusetts's Web-based learning division, announced that online education program revenues and enrollments grew 40 percent and 33 percent, respectively, in 2003. Revenues from the combined online programs at the university exceeded $11 million, up from $7.8 million in 2002, while enrollments reached 13,375, up from 10,039 in 2002. More than 90 percent of the revenues are retained by the UMass campuses to support education and research programs.

The school attributes its rapid growth to the continued addition of new online programs that serve community needs, high levels of online student satisfaction, and its recognition in the national distance learning market due to factors such as winning several national distance learning awards.

"Distance learning is critical to the future of UMass and all of higher education," UMass interim President Jack M. Wilson said. "Without it, we cannot adequately serve students who live far from our campuses or whose work and family lives make traditional higher education an unattainable goal. Also, at a time when we are expected to do more with less state funding, UMassOnline is mobilizing our five campuses to create entrepreneurial revenue-generating online programs, multi-campus collaborations, innovative faculty training, increased national visibility and significant cost savings for the university."

Read more: 

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education alternatives (including prior threads on UMass Online) are at 

Cross Currents of Diversity

As traditional Christianity falters in predominantly-white industrialized nations, what religious movement ignited over the last decade among students studying under leading scientists and other top faculty members in the United States?
Caution:  Fads come and go among students, so it is highly uncertain how widespread and sustained this movement will become.  One sustaining factor is that this religious movement is grounded in young people from diverse cultures.  One blocking factor is that faculty who fall into both conservative and liberal camps will become more opposed to this movement if it increasingly factionalizes college campuses.  However, efforts by faculty to derail the movement have not succeeded to date.


While I waited to catch an airplane on Sunday, November 30, 2003  in Portland, Maine, I stumbled upon this cover story in The Boston Globe Magazine, pp. 14-17.

"God on the Quad," by Neil Swidey, The Boston Globe Magazine, November 30, 2003, pp. 14-17 --- 

"Yet it is the evangelicals, and their history of straying over that murky line between evangelizing and proselytizing, who have tended to make Harvard's secular establishment most uneasy."

"Even for heterosexual students, she argues, they can be worrisome by "creating a safety zone where students are not grappling with life's big questions because everything is black and white."

"In subsequent years, similar, though less explosive, controversies arose on other campuses -- Harvard, Rutgers, the University of North Carolina -- in which critics pushed, ultimately unsuccessfully, for the de-recognition of Christian fellowships on the grounds of discrimination."

New England's liberal college campuses have become fertile ground for the evangelical movement, which is attracting students in record numbers. But after they graduate, will they keep the faith?

It's the fall student activities fair at MIT, and the place is packed. Bright-eyed, bewildered freshmen snake through the aisles of the Johnson Athletic Center, past tables for the Hippocratic Society and the Vegetarian Group, the College Republicans and the Green Party, the Science Fiction Society and the Shakespeare Ensemble. Upperclassmen from about 250 student organizations are on the hunt for new blood, and they're using snazzy multimedia presentations and 3 Musketeers bars and Italian ice and all kinds of cheesy swag to get noticed. Mostly, the freshmen keep moving, leaving the recruiters munching on their own candy bars like overstocked homeowners at the end of a slow Halloween night.

To find the big, engaged crowds, you have to go to the corner of the gym, where there is a sea of black T-shirts that read "I once was lost, but now am . . . FOUND." The students wearing them are evangelical Christians, part of a tradition that is more Bible Belt than Boston Brahmin. They are not shy about telling you how beginning a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can change your life, the same way it changed theirs. And how much fun this whole God thing can be.

There are 15 evangelical Christian fellowship groups at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology alone. This is a pretty stunning development for a university where science has always been god, where efficiency and rationality are embedded in the DNA of the cold granite campus. Hundreds of MIT students are involved in these fellowships -- blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians, especially Asians. Some of the groups are associated with powerhouse national evangelical organizations, like Campus Crusade for Christ and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Others are more home-grown. Either way, the ranks are multiplying.

"When I came to MIT, I was expecting it to be full of nerds -- people who don't really put together science and religion," says Benjamin Brooks, a senior from Paterson, New Jersey, who belongs to the MIT chapter of the evangelical group Chi Alpha. "I was really surprised -- and still am -- by the volume of Christian fellowship here."

It's the same on campuses across the Boston area. At Harvard University, "there are probably more evangelicals than at any time since the 17th century," says the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, religious historian and minister of the university's Memorial Church, who arrived on campus in 1970. "And I don't think I have ever seen a wider range of Christian fellowship activity."

After lagging far behind the rest of the nation, where a June Gallup Poll found that 41 percent of Americans identified themselves as "evangelical" or "born-again," New England is beginning to close the gap, with congregations sprouting in rented schools and office parks. Nowhere is that more true than at Boston's elite, soaked-in-secularism colleges, although you have to leave campus to find the strongest evidence.

On a warm Sunday evening in September, one of those amphibious Duck Tour vehicles trundling tourists slows as it approaches Park Street Church. The tour guide notes that nearly 200 years ago, William Lloyd Garrison delivered his first antislavery speech at this church, which sits across from Boston Common. The brick structure with the 217-foot steeple looks a lot like those historic churches that dot the Freedom Trail -- important, well preserved, and about as relevant to today's world as powdered wigs and mutton. But the people filing into Park Street Church tell a different story. Instead of middle-aged sightseers clutching guidebooks, this crowd is young, tan, and diverse. And they're here to talk -- and sing -- about Jesus.

Park Street is the flagship church for college evangelicals from about 20 campuses in the Boston area. Ten years ago, the church's traditional Sunday night service was attracting only 40 people and was about to be canceled. Church leaders instead decided to refashion it to suit college students and partnered with Campus Crusade and InterVarsity. These days, more than 1,000 students show up at Park Street most Sunday evenings. Church leaders have had to expand to two services.

It's a young show for a young crowd. The band -- electric and acoustic guitarists, drummer, keyboard player, tambourine-shaking lead singers -- is fanned out in front of the altar. The college students in the pews -- women in sundresses and jeans, guys sporting fresh buzz cuts and puka-shell chokers -- clap and sway to the music. Lyrics, superimposed on images of cliffs and forests, flash on a screen behind the band, PowerPoint style. "You make me move, Jesus/Every breath I take, I breathe in You!"

Associate minister Daniel Harrell, dressed in green khakis and a yellow Izod shirt, stands up to deliver his sermon. His easy sense of humor and rounded North Carolina accent make for a relaxing environment. Still, there can be no soft-peddling the central doctrines of this brand of Christianity. Evangelicals believe the Bible should be interpreted literally and relied on uniformly for answers to questions of faith and personal behavior. Premarital sex? Getting drunk? Homosexuality? All forbidden and not open to debate. While peaceful coexistence with other religions is preached, so is the message that eternal salvation is open only to those who line up behind them and Jesus Christ.

Yet in this hub of liberal, I'm-OK-you're-OK-we're-all-OK higher education, the pull grows stronger for this conservative, our-way-is-the-highway evangelism.

EVANGELICALS ON LOCAL CAMPUSES tend to fall into one of three categories: those who came with it, those who came with something else, and those who wanted nothing to do with it.

Christina "Tina" Teng of Long Island, New York, is a senior at Harvard majoring in English literature. She stands 5-foot-9 and has black, shoulder-length hair. She signs her e-mails, "in HIM -- Tina." Her parents both came to the United States from Taiwan, where they had been evangelized by Christian missionaries. Teng grew up on Long Island moored to the local Chinese church. "For the longest time," she says, "I thought all Chinese were Christians and all Christians were Chinese."

She came to Harvard looking for a community that would nourish her evangelical faith. But she wanted to branch out, so she opted for the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship, a presence on campus since the 1940s, rather than its upstart offshoot, the Asian-American Christian Fellowship.

Asians, particularly from Korea and China, have become a roaring engine of growth for campus evangelical groups. InterVarsity, the national group with which the Harvard-Radcliffe fellowship and its offshoot are affiliated, has seen the number of its Asian student members grow 300 percent since 1986.

. . . 

In a postmodern world, where students are searching for authenticity, these student-centered, open-invitation evangelical fellowships hold great appeal for those who feel alienated from the top-down approach of mainline religion and the chaotic and sometimes cold world they see around them.

And with so many demands on their time, plenty of students find a clarifying power in the fact that these fellowships won't settle for anything less than complete commitment. "The central message is: Christianity impacts your entire life, from how you relate with your family to the classes you choose," says 30-year-old Dakota Pippins, who joined the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship as an undergraduate and eventually dropped his high-tech career aspirations in favor of pursuing a Harvard Divinity School degree and joining the staff of InterVarsity. "That means giving up church compartmentalization, where you go to church on Sunday and then have the rest of your life. That's not attractive to college students. With everything you can spend your time doing on campus, if it's going to be worth giving an hour a week to, it's got to be worth a whole lot more."

Peter Gomes sits in his dark office in Memorial Church, whose white spire shoots up defiantly from the center of Harvard Yard. Gomes is wearing an elegant three-piece suit, bow tie, and gold-chain pocket watch. Squinting behind small gold spectacles, he speaks in his mannered baritone, which The New Yorker once called "three parts James Earl Jones, one part John Houseman."

Gomes, whose mother hailed from Boston's black aristocracy, has spent many of his 34 years at Harvard defending the right of evangelical groups to play a robust role in campus life, no matter how off-putting their activities have occasionally been to the university establishment, no matter how off-putting Gomes himself has occasionally been to the evangelicals for whom he has fought.

"My job has always been to remind people, even if they didn't want to hear it, that Christians belong here because this is our institution," says Gomes, a Baptist minister who is Harvard's longest-serving Plummer Professor of Christian Morals. "It may not look that way, but it was founded by us, for us, and we have kept it going, even in its most secular and pluralistic environment."

When he arrived on campus, Gomes recalls, the evangelicals were "rather beleaguered -- a small group of confessing Christians fighting godless Harvard." The university's push to diversify changed that. "People tend to think of affirmative action as only affecting racial minorities," he says, "but the change in Harvard demographics in the late '70s and early '80s meant that a lot of Midwestern white-bread Protestant Christian evangelicals at whom Harvard would never have looked in the past, and who would have never looked at Harvard, suddenly became members of the university."

Over the last decade, the evangelical scene has itself become more diverse. This brand of Christianity is particularly well suited to campus life, since it is propelled by "parachurch" groups like InterVarsity and Campus Crusade that don't recognize denominational lines. In fact, there is no uniform definition of "evangelical." Some define it merely as a style of expressing beliefs, incorporating a wide range of Protestants and even some Catholics. Others emphasize central building blocks: a conversion experience leading to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, an acceptance of the Bible as the inerrant word of God, and a commitment to save souls by spreading the Word. This elasticity makes it impossible to determine a precise number of American evangelicals, though several surveys have estimated it to be at least a third of the US population.

Whatever the definition, the evangelical presence on campus is a big, rowdy tent. Many students buy into all the tenets of the national parachurches, no matter how incompatible they may be with the ethos of the Eastern liberal arts college. Other students function more like "cafeteria Catholics," picking and choosing the tenets they can get behind.

And somewhere along the way, evangelical Christianity -- which a generation earlier had been a mark of embarrassment, a sign that you had checked your brain at the gate -- became not just tolerated but cool.

You can see this in the throngs of students from around Boston who cram into Harvard's Science Center on Friday nights to sing, "We are hungry for more of You/We are thirsty, oh Jesus." The event is called RealLife Boston, which is Campus Crusade's name for its 500-student Boston-area ministry, and the SRO crowd is made up of well-built athletes, attractive faces, even artsy types with chin hair and trendy black glasses. The emcee is Aaron Byrd, an easygoing junior from Abilene, Texas, who plays safety on the Harvard football team.

How did evangelicals get this hip?

Part of it is marketing. The whole RealLife approach, for instance, came from a marketing firm that Campus Crusade hired in the 1990s to help it expand its footprint in Boston. There are catchy print ads (one features a pair of wedding rings and the message "For the best sex, slip on one of these") and flashy websites (    ). The Boston University chapter of Chi Alpha holds regular "The Gospel According to The Simpsons" gatherings.

But a bigger reason for their new coolness involves Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus. When students from those religions began arriving on campus in larger numbers and continued to practice their traditions in public, others on campus were intrigued.

"It's very chic to be a believer now," says Gomes. "In a place which is so dispassionate, so rational, and in many ways so conformist intellectually, if you want to break out of the pack, you say your prayers in public. It is the example of religious practice elsewhere that has emboldened American evangelicals to exercise their own practice."

Yet it is the evangelicals, and their history of straying over that murky line between evangelizing and proselytizing, who have tended to make Harvard's secular establishment most uneasy. Gomes says that over the years he has been the evangelicals' "only institutional friend." That has occasionally made for some uncomfortable moments, none more so than in 1992 when a small group of evangelical Christians called for his resignation. Their demand came after Gomes, who had been on the stage for the inaugurations of both Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush and had been sought out by the likes of the Rev. Billy Graham, denounced a bout of homophobic incidents on campus and, in the process, announced that he was gay.

Homosexuality has become the defining issue for evangelical groups, replacing the cleavage points of the past: abortion, race, predestination. Unlike fundamentalists, who historically have sought separation from the rest of impure society, "evangelicals thrive on being engaged with the world but feeling different from it," says Christian Smith, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With common ground on many other issues, homosexuality is increasingly what makes evangelicals different.

Smith's exhaustive surveys, detailed in his book Christian America: What Evangelicals Really Want, dispel the myth of evangelicals walking in lockstep with the religous right. He found that large majorities of conservative Christians do not believe public schools should require prayer in the classroom and do not favor a complete ban on abortion. But he found they were far more likely than other Americans to believe that gay rights groups have too much power and to object to having a homosexual for a neighbor.

Not that homosexuality is an issue that evangelicals on Boston campuses generally like to talk about publicly. As these Christian groups have become larger and more mainstream, distancing themselves from the controversial Boston Church of Christ and dumping bullhorn proselytizing in favor of one-on-one evangelizing, they've taken on more respectability on campus. Getting into rows over gay rights threatens their newfound seat at the table, and they know that. So leaders, who have picked up on the campus language of inclusion, tend to stress intergroup harmony in public while enforcing intragroup line-toeing in private.

For the most part, that works. And then one day everything erupts into full view, as it did at Tufts University three years ago, and it gets ugly fast.

Julie Catalano arrived as a freshman at Tufts in 1997 with a loose liberal-Protestant identity and confusion about her sexual orientation. About the latter, she confided in a friend from her dorm. The friend was a member of the Tufts Christian Fellowship, an InterVarsity chapter, and she invited Catalano to a group meeting.

"The guest speaker was an ex-lesbian," Catalano recalls, laughing. "That's how I got involved."

Within a few months, the fellowship became just about Catalano's entire social network on campus. And she was a true believer. She told her Jewish roommate that she couldn't get to heaven without converting to Christianity, and even drew a picture of her descending into hell.

As for her sexual identity crisis, she says she followed the plan put forward by the group's student leaders and the InterVarsity advisers: lots of prayer, some holy oils, and lengthy discussion during meetings about how she was doing. "I got so worn down by all the questions and focus on me," Catalano says, "that by the beginning of sophomore year, I said, 'OK, leave me alone. I'm straight!' " She says that even though she wasn't having sex of any kind, she felt more scrutiny than some others in the group who were having heterosexual sex and then repenting for it.

By her junior year, she knew she was a lesbian but didn't know how to square that with the group that had become her campus family. She says she became so depressed that she planned her own suicide. After a non-Christian friend counseled her, she told the fellowship advisers that she was a lesbian but wanted to continue with the group and advance into senior leadership. They said she could stay in the group but could not be a leader, since the fellowship's statement of faith was clear on homosexuality.

A messy series of events followed. Catalano filed a claim of discrimination with the Tufts student judiciary, which stripped the fellowship of its recognition. Outside advocacy groups and the national media jumped on the story. The fellowship was reinstated. More protests. Finally, when the smoke cleared, both sides felt they had lost.

In subsequent years, similar, though less explosive, controversies arose on other campuses -- Harvard, Rutgers, the University of North Carolina -- in which critics pushed, ultimately unsuccessfully, for the de-recognition of Christian fellowships on the grounds of discrimination.

Today, Catalano, a petite 24-year-old teacher with blue eyes and a bright face, has no doubts about her sexual orientation and no hesitation in proclaiming: "These fellowships are dangerous for gay students." Even for heterosexual students, she argues, they can be worrisome by "creating a safety zone where students are not grappling with life's big questions because everything is black and white."

Continued in the article

As a footnote, I might add that the above article is an important consideration in any debate on whether instructors should be allowed or encouraged to present one-sided arguments on most any issue where absolute truth is uncertain.  It always seems fundamental to me that an academic approach entails open and fair examination of all sides of controversy.  To the extent that everything is presented as black or white runs counter to the fundamentals of academe in spite of the way some faculty teach.  I guess this places this Robert Jensen at odds with the other Robert Jensen at the University of Texas who tends to teach in a black versus white mode ---


Hi John,

As you well know the following viewpoint was expressed by UT's Bob Jensen and not TU's Bob Jensen:

The conservative (University of Texas Student's) group claims its goal is "a fair and balanced delivery of information" in the classroom. If that really is their concern, I have a suggestion: Check out the business school. I've heard reports that some faculty there teach courses in marketing, management, finance, and accounting that rarely, if ever, raise fundamental questions about capitalism. Wouldn't that be shocking, if we were to discover that there really are places on campus where the classroom is so thoroughly politicized that the myriad alternatives to how to produce and distribute goods and services are not explored? Would it not be unfortunate if students were being indoctrinated into corporate capitalism, whether by means subtle or abrasive? UT's Bob Jensen 

I recall one of my advisee's complaint years ago at Trinity University when she dropped a Political Science course, because students had to enroll in the course before discovering that its "only purpose was to expound upon the evils of multinational corporations" (her words).

I've no objection to politicization of a college course and perhaps even offering a course such as UT's course from its Bob Jensen that provides some information about content such the quote below: 

This course makes the case that: America as the world's prominent sponsor of terrorism."


As long as students know that this is the content of the course, and the Curriculum Committee at the University of Texas has approved this course, I encourage UT's Bob Jensen to lambaste the United States all he pleases.

Now I will proceed to the opinion of Trinity University's (TU's) Bob Jensen What I object to is when professors depart radically from both a course description and from the curriculum constraints that the college has imposed upon a professor. Some years ago I was particularly disturbed about a "political science" course that my daughter took as a required course in the common curriculum at the University of Texas at Austin. One would have expected some "political science" in a required basic "political science" course. Apparently, however, my daughter's section of this course was taught by a TA doctoral student who happened to be studying the mathematics of game theory. He required my daughter and other students in the class to purchase a textbook on the mathematics of game theory. He proceeded to teach every class about what he himself was studying in game theory. My daughter said she learned a whole lot about Nash (A Beautiful Mind) Equilibrium Theory and nothing about political science per se. Having mathematics of game theory course in the common curriculum as a basic-level political science course makes no sense to me.

My point here is that the content of all courses should at least be approved by a Curriculum Committee of some sort, and there should be some oversight that the curriculum plan for each course is both enforced and disclosed to students before signing up for a course. Instructors should not have total freedom to divert from the approved curriculum.   I know of a case where students complained that the instructor spent much of the course reading from The Bible when that was never disclosed in advance.

I'm not against "politicization" of any course as long as the course content is in the curriculum plan and with content explained in the course description.

Added Note 
Whenever TU's Bob Jensen is on the TV show called the O'Reilly Factor (as was the case again last night) I worry about military veterans with gun racks in their pickups shooting at my windows because TU's Bob Jensen has been mistaken for UT's Bob Jensen --- 

I'm thinking of changing my name.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Donahue, John 
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2003
Subject: On politics and the classroom

The following link will take you to a Houston Chronicle article by UT Journalism Professor Bob Jensen on the political stance of professors in the classroom. 

John M. Donahue, Ph.D. 
Professor of Anthropology 
Trinity University 
San Antonio, TX 78212 

See the current data tracked for Trinity University --- 

From Syllabus News on November 14, 2003

Online Guide for Texas Private Colleges Gets Face Lift

The TexasMentor Website, which supplies information on the 40 institutions that make up the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT), Inc., has a simplified redesign that caters to the steady rise in user activity on the site. Funded by Texas Guaranteed (TG) and operated by XAP Inc., the site was the gateway for a 40 percent increase in the number of online applications submitted to the schools over the number of online applications for all of 2002. During its first month in operation in Feb., 1999, the total number of student visitors to the site was 245, compared to the 30,000-a-month student users now.

Read more: 

Many of us have used Excel so long that we begin to think Microsoft invented spreadsheet software.  Who actually invented electronic spreadsheets?

Their names are Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston.  The spreadsheet software was called VisiCalc --- 

Many key codes in Excel date back to the original VisiCalc software.  For example, when you want to "freeze" contents of a cell from being moved by adding new rows and columns or from copying changes, you use the dollar sign as in A$100 to freeze at Row 100, $A100 ro freeze at Column A, or $A$100 to freeze at both the row and column.  The $ has nothing to do with money.  It merely was a key stroke that could not be confused with a column letter or row number.

What was the first portable computer?
Hint 1:  It was not battery operated (computer batteries did not exist in 1981)
Hint 2:  A drug addict rock star by the same name took a famous leak in front of the Alamo.

It was called the Osborne and weighed in at 25 pounds.  I was Head of the Accounting Department at Florida State University and remember when a tax professor bought an Osborne in 1981.  I told him that I agreed with IBM that the PC was just a toy and would never find serious applications in accounting and business.  Guess that's why I never bought shares in Microsoft and still sit here in my cubby hole on campus.  Microsoft actually had the licensed software (DOS) that was placed in IBM PCs in 1981.  IBM quickly dominated the market until the first IBM clone emerged --- that was the Compaq portable in 1984.

"Frying Spam," by Paul Adams, Webmonkey, October 6, 2003 --- 

Spam, for the most part, is not profitable for the advertisers who pay to have it sent. It has an incredibly low success rate, and only seems like a good idea because it's so cheap to reach millions of inboxes. The only guy who makes a profit is the middlemen: the spamhouses that take money from hapless breast-enlargement-pill manufacturers in exchange for almost-worthless bulk mailings. They use shifty techniques like forged email headers, automated freemail accounts, and bulk-mailing software.

When you start getting a lot of spam, or when you manage email for a number of people, it becomes crucial to sort the noise out of the signal. Because sorting by hand is tedious and unfeasible on even a moderate scale, the key is, of course, finding a way that a computer can distinguish spam from non-spam. A number of interesting solutions to this problem have been attempted.

In this article, it is assumed that you are running a mail server like this one. Many of the techniques described herein will still be applicable on any Unix system, even if it's just a mail client machine; and the principles apply to any email handling process.

"CNIB launches digital library for the blind," by Jack Kapica, Globe and Mail, November 13, 2004 --- 

Related Links CNIB Digital Library (select 'guest' login):

Thanks to the Internet and some original programming by Microsoft Canada, 105,000 blind or visually impaired Canadians will be able to read thousands of books, daily newspapers and magazines.

Launched Wednesday by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the CNIB Digital Library is described as the most advanced collection of alternative formats in the world and a model for 175 international libraries producing alternative-format information.

It also contains a Children's Discovery Portal, the world's first portal of its kind for children who are blind.

The library's on-line services including the CNIB catalogue and a digital repository of books into one unified, bilingual, Internet gateway.

There are more than 10,000 audio, text, and Braille titles available on-line, including recent bestsellers such as Life of Pi and The Stone Diaries. Users can also search and order from a collection of more than 60,000 titles.

"For sighted people, technology makes access to information easier. For people like myself who are blind, it makes access possible," CNIB president Jim Sanders said at the launch of the library.

The library was designed to work with major adaptive technology products, including screen-reading programs and Braille keyboards.

Users can listen to a CNIB Library talking book (narrated by a human) right from their computers by selecting a link for the title of that book.

The library also contains current editions of 40 daily, national and community newspapers from across Canada, and access to the full-text versions of thousands of magazines and databases such as the Encyclopedia Britannica On-line.

"The CNIB Digital Library will open up worlds of opportunity and knowledge. For example, I can now read a newspaper the same day it hits the newsstand. And the new service is particularly exciting for young CNIB clients, who will be able to visit a Web site that is just as much fun, attractive and informative as any other children's site."

The CNIB said that only 3 per cent of published materials are available in an accessible format.

The Children's Discovery Portal offers blind or visually impaired children access to on-line games, participation in on-line polls and help with their homework. They can sample or read entire books on-line and chat with other children who are blind from across the country.

Continued in the article.

"LIGHTS...CAMERA...LEARNING!" by Tricia Bisoux, BizEd from the AACSB International, November/December 2003, pp. 45-49.

Advancements in multimedia technologies and an emphasis on audiovisual prowess are turning business school classrooms into true theaters of educational presentation.

In the "command center" of the 135,000 square-foot Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, a row of televisions is positioned above a large console of switches, gauges, and computer monitors.  Technicians sit beneath the array of equipment, monitoring the activity in each classroom, from a professor's movement in the classroom, to the quality of the audio and lighting, to the status of each piece of equipment.

This bustling room--known at the Knight Center as "mission control"--looks more television production studio than computer lab, more Hollywood than higher education.  Anyone who enters is almost sure to think the same thing: This isn't the typical IT support for a business school.

With its growing reliance on distance learning, videoconferencing, and multimedia presentations, business is embracing the latest in audiovisual technologies, perhaps more than any other discipline.  And now that most higher education institutions have adopted the latest computer and Internet technology, presentation technologies represent the next frontier for business schools to explore.

"In the past, IT support and AV support were two different functions.  Now, the technology has really come full circle.  IT and AV have become so interconnected, they're almost the same," says Russell Just, an AV technician and head of the audiovisual command center at Washington University.

Equipped with everything from document cameras to data projectors, CDs to DVDs, the classroom, in many cases, has become both stage and recording studio, as educators deliver more sophisticated multimedia presentations to more media-savvy students.  As a result, the staging, production, and format of educational materials promise to become almost as important as the materials themselves.

Continued in the article.

Bob Jensen's threads on education technologies are at 

This makes me wonder "Why at this point in time with the opposite sex?"  Not knowing how to dance in this era shouldn't be a big problem since gyratating about the floor today seems to take no skill or talent relative to dancing prior to the 1960s when lack of real dancing skill, knowledge of step patterns, and coordination made most of us inclined to be wall flowers.

"Wheaton College lifts 143-year dance ban," CNN, November 14, 2003  Friday, November 14, 2003 --- 

Andy Morgan can't dance, but he figured he was in no danger of embarrassing himself.

After all, he went to a high school that did not permit dancing. And when it came time to pick a college, he settled on a Christian school that had not allowed social dancing since the war. The Civil War.

"I've had a great excuse all my life," Morgan said.

Not anymore.

Come Friday night, 21-year-old Morgan and as many as 1,200 fellow students at Wheaton College will gather in the gym for the first real dance in the school's 143-year history.

Which explains why students in recent days have been seeking out classmates who know this stuff and looking for places where they can practice. And it explains why on Monday night and Tuesday night, dozens of students -- Morgan included -- packed a room on campus for a quick dance lesson.

"It's crunch time," said 20-year-old Steve Paulus, sounding more like he was talking about cramming for a final than learning to hold his own when the swing band the Rhythm Rockets take the stage.

"We are kind of trying to downplay it because it really is another event," said Bethany Jones, a student leader and organizer of the dance. "But on the other hand, we do realize it is historic. It is a big deal."

Part of the reason is that change, any change, does not come quickly or without great deliberation at this quiet campus 25 miles outside Chicago.

It was not until the 1960s that the school lifted the rule prohibiting students from going to movies. For generations, students were barred from dancing -- on campus or off -- unless it was with members of the same sex or a square dance. It was not until the 1990s that students and faculty were permitted to dance with spouses or relatives at family events such as weddings.

Nine months ago, the school lifted the ban altogether, freeing students to cut the rug on campus or off, at Chicago clubs or other places. (Wheaton also eased its ban on alcohol and smoking for faculty and staff. They can now drink and light up off campus, as long as it is not in front of undergraduates.)

Under the new set of rules, called the Community Covenant, students may dance, but should avoid behavior "which may be immodest, sinfully erotic or harmfully violent."

Continued in the article.

New online MBA program from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University at Tempe --- 

Do you recall how the Prisoner's Dilemma paradox works? 

The problem with the prisoner's dilemma is that if both decision-makers were purely rational, they would never cooperate. Indeed, rational decision-making means that you make the decision which is best for you whatever the other actor chooses. Suppose the other one would defect, then it is rational to defect yourself: you won't gain anything, but if you do not defect you will be stuck with a -10 loss. Suppose the other one would cooperate, then you will gain anyway, but you will gain more if you do not cooperate, so here too the rational choice is to defect. The problem is that if both actors are rational, both will decide to defect, and none of them will gain anything. However, if both would "irrationally" decide to cooperate, both would gain 5 points. This seeming paradox can be formulated more explicitly through the principle of suboptimization.

You can actually play it at 

Also see 

Do you know how landscape theory differs from game theory? 

Potential applications of Landscape Theory in business alliances

This section is based upon Robert Axelrod’s (1) work on Landscape Theory and gives an insight of the theory (as well as Game Theory using reference (3)) in the context of alliance configurations in a business setting.

A common approach in economics to alliance formation is to calculate and compare coalition structure values for all possible configurations and then utilise a standard game-theoretic analysis so as to determine both the alliance configuration that is likely to happen and its stability.

The coalition structure value framework requires that payoffs for each player in all possible configurations is identified and quantified; this is very difficult to apply to empirical data. The Landscape Theory relies on pair wise propensities whereas in Game Theory the payoffs, which have to be considered for each player, depend in complex ways on choices made by all other firms (for e.g. standard setting cases see notes). However Landscape Theory does lend it-self to empirical testing in a business setting. However many individuals prefer a rational choice explanation to one that was motivated by actors with bounded rationality. All the power in Landscape Theory lies in the determination of affinities rather than the justification of strategic choice (Game Theory assumes preferences are given; it does not worry about where they come from). In Landscape Theory businesses choose sides based upon compatibility with others rather than on the basis of forward-looking strategic calculations.

The particular functional form that the theory should take should be justified in rigorous terms; develop a formal set of axioms about the way actors of bounded rationality behave in settings that allow aggregation. The axioms could specify how actors in making their myopic choices use information about size and propensity and how the choices are made incrementally. One also has to have guidance on how the concepts of the theory should be operationalised in a particular application; a well developed set of ideas about how propensity should be measured. There has to be a limited number of factors to determine all the pair wise propensities. For example if there are complimentary characteristics of players that allow positive externalities from joint action, then such complimentary characteristics should be included as one of the factors, and that factor should be coded so that actors who are dissimilar in this way have a positive propensity to work together.

The intended value of Landscape Theory is not only in providing accurate predictions, but also in leading to a deeper understanding of aggregation processes such as the way in which an energy landscape can determine which configurations are stable.

This work develops the particular functional form The Landscape Theory should take in setting up the first ‘Run-Through’ working model, for application to the European telecommunications industry. It incorporates both a qualitative and quantitative reasoning.

Bob Jensen's computer security bookmarks --- 

Probably the main computer security site is at CERT --- 

One of the best overall systems and security site is ISworld --- 

You should know about this site when you have a computer security question --- 

The U.S. Department of Justice Cybercrime Website --- 

Bob Jensen's computer security bookmarks are at --- 

Bob Jensen's Technology Glossary on security --- 

Bob Jensen's Things to Know ---

"Why do hackers hack? They say it's to learn about technology and how computers work. That's small comfort to security pros," by George V. Hulme, Information Week, November 10, 2003, pp. 42-56 --- 

Hacker is a loaded word. The hacker community--and it's a thriving online community--includes technophiles, curiosity seekers, cybervandals, and outright thieves and fraudsters. The technophiles love to take apart software to see how it works or what they can make it do. Some write tools and applications such as password crackers, vulnerability scanners, and anonymity tools, and make them freely available on the Internet or hacker Web sites and message boards. Some devote long hours to uncovering flaws in software that make systems less secure by allowing destructive worms and viruses to gain access.

The others--the intruders, vandals, virus writers, and thieves--are criminals, pure and simple. At their most benign, they are trespassers, rummaging through proprietary systems and databases. Hackers also are responsible for Web defacements, denial-of-service attacks, and identity theft. Some see themselves as rebels or revolutionaries, "hactivists" spreading a message of anarchy and freedom. Some are simple mercenaries who write tools, known as exploits, to take advantage of security flaws and make it easier to penetrate systems. In some cases, they sell that information to spammers, organized crime, other hackers, or the intelligence services of foreign countries.

Hackers are blamed for unleashing worms and viruses that have cost businesses billions of dollars a year in damages. The problems they cause have gotten so bad that Microsoft last week created a $5 million fund to provide rewards for information leading to the capture of the people responsible for those attacks. Fed up with the damage done to its reputation and, increasingly, to its revenue stream, Microsoft, working with the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, and Interpol, is offering a bounty of $250,000 to people who help capture those responsible for the Blaster worm and the Sobig virus, which wreaked havoc this past summer on systems and networks worldwide

Continued in this very long and detailed article.

Why did students at the University of Waterloo protest a "donation" from Microsoft?

"Is tech industry a savior or danger to education?" by John Borland and Evan Hansen, CNET, November 11, 2003 --- 

Technology companies and educational institutions are increasingly developing partnerships that involve everything from company-sponsored labs to multimillion-dollar equipment donations.

Rather than provoking immediate protests over academic independence as they have in previous years, the arrangements are now accepted openly by many teachers and administrators desperate for resources.

The partnerships are growing even in the absence of proof that computers measurably improve learning among younger students. And the trend is likely to continue as companies receive tax breaks, marketing exposure and lucrative contracts stemming from these relationships.

Click for PDF download index Get the full three-day report now. (Free registration required.) --- 

Universities: A marriage of convenience --- 
Technology alliances are proliferating in higher education, where companies sponsor research that advances their agendas, and concerns over conflicts of interest give way to pragmatism.

As a member of Microsoft's new "Academic Alliance," the University of Waterloo was in line for a $2.3 million donation to its computer science program--which in turn would help develop software that could become a component of the company's Tablet PC operating system.

Students at the Canadian campus quickly protested, accusing administrators of selling out to the private sector. The university backtracked and promised that any new curricula, including a proposal to teach Microsoft's C# programming language, would go through the normal approval process before being put in place.

Microsoft, however, was unfazed. While the company said it never tried to force the curriculum change, executives stated plainly that they hoped the program would further their corporate agenda once it started last year.

Continued in the article.

Public schools: Why Johnny can't blog --- 
Even as teachers get pink slips, governments and companies throw money at classroom technology without clear evidence that computers are superior to traditional education methods.

Evergreen Valley High School has been touted as the future of education in the heart of Silicon Valley, its 1,500-odd students outfitted with school-issued laptops that would create a new learning experience bridging life on and off campus. Since the pioneering public school opened last year, however, a bit of youthful reality has confounded the technology evangelists and educational theorists behind the Evergreen program. Teenagers, it seems, often break things.

"They treated the laptops more like their own personal computer instead of school property," said Dennis Barbata, the principal at Evergreen Valley's School of Science and Technology, which recently banned students from taking the machines home. "I'm not convinced that the laptop is the interface device at this point for a 24/7 computer access program for students."

Continued in the article.

Company towns: The cost of tax breaks 
Regions regularly offer multimillion-dollar incentives to lure businesses, hoping that they will bring jobs and other benefits. But does this reliance drain resources from cash-strapped schools? Coming November 13, 2003.

November 12, 2003 reply from Gerald Trites [gtrites@STFX.CA

The students (at the University of Waterloo) did the right thing in protesting and in fact the faculty and administration should have been protesting it as well. The contract contained a clause that impinged on the academic freedom of the university and that should not be tolerated. At the same time, I feel that Universities should be pursuing agreements of this type. They don't need to sign contracts they don't agree with, and the benefits to the university and the students of the agreements can be considerable. Most people are acutely aware of the risk that agreements with business enterprises can pose to academic freedom and some shy away from them for that reason. This is simply allowing fear to rule behaviour. I am aware of at least one case where a major ERP vendor had in the contract that they would have the right to visit and enter classrooms to monitor the manner in which their product was being handled in class. This being a blatant violation of academic freedom and perhaps an insult to the integrity of the educators, the institution insisted the clause be removed. It was, and everyone was happy.

Most institutions can use to good advantage the technology and expertise that can be obtained through agreementsof this type. All that needs to happen is that the terms of any contracts be properly negotiated. Most companies are accustomed to negotiating and can accept that.

Jerry Trites

Gerald Trites, FCA 
Website - 

From Risk News on November 14, 2003

A surge in interest rate swaps transactions helped the global over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market to grow by 20% during the first half of this year, according to figures released this week by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The BIS said the total notional amount of all OTC contracts outstanding at the end of June was $169.7 trillion, up from $141.7 trillion at the end of December. Gross market values for these contracts rose by 24% to $7.9 trillion. There was growth in all risk categories except gold, according to the BIS’s semi-annual report into OTC market activity. The report highlighted the continued growth in interest rate swaps, by far the largest single group of OTC products with $95 trillion in notional amounts outstanding. Interest rate contracts represented 56% of all market risk categories. Foreign exchange derivatives also grew strongly, with notionals up 20% on the previous six months. Currency options rose by 42%. The BIS said the forex derivatives market had never before shown more than single-figure growth in the time it has been collecting statistics. But the growth in OTC contracts failed to match the pace set in the regulated market. Exchange-traded derivatives grew by 61% in notional amounts outstanding during the first half of 2003, the report said.

Bob Jensen's threads and tutorials on interest rate swap and other derivatives accounting can be found at 

Smithsonian Institution: Love & Yearning (History of Persia) 

Arab Culture and Civilization (History, Religion, Islam, Moslem) ---  

"Study of Two Cholesterol Drugs Finds One Halts Heart Disease," by Gina Kolata, The New York Times, November 13, 2003 --- 

The first study to compare two powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs head-to-head in coronary artery disease finds that one appears to be superior.

In patients taking Pravastatin, or Pravachol, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb, atherosclerosis worsened slowly over 18 months. But the disease was halted in those who took the highest dose of atorvastatin, or Lipitor, the drug made by Pfizer.

"We saw something extraordinary," said Dr. Steven Nissen, the cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who directed the study of 502 patients.

"All statins are not alike," Dr. Nissen said, adding that with pravastatin, heart atherosclerosis will worsen, but with the highest dose of atorvastatin, that is unlikely.

At the study's start, the middle-aged, mostly male heart disease patients in the study had levels of low density lipoproteins, or L.D.L., of 150, on average. L.D.L. carries cholesterol to arteries. Atorvastatin lowered participants' L.D.L. levels to 79, while those taking pravastatin had an average level of 110.

Continued in the article.

Note from Bob Jensen
Viagra pays for the lion ' s share of R&D at Phizer!  Phizer not only helps men live longer with Lipitor.  Phizer helps men enjoy their longer life with Viagra (at least that's what the advertisements claim). One unnamed wife reports that with her husband it's like playing with his old toys.

What's in a name?

A Selected Listing of Accounting Textbooks from --- 

There are very surprising omissions.  For example, under Financial Statement Analysis, I view Stephen Penman ' s Financial Statement Analysis and Security Valuation Book (Irwin McGraw-Hill) as the best book available, but left it out of the list in favor of  books I respect much less such as the Palepu, Healy, and  Bernard book (which has a recent cheap shot inferior revision) and the badly outdated Foster Book (1986).  

Under Managerial Accounting, the lead selling book by Garrison and Noreen (McGraw-Hill) is not included in the list.

What's in a name?

The above misleading listing of names and books led me to ask a question.

What is the value of a big research name or a name from a prestigious university?

There is shock and short term value, but if the "big name" does not deliver with what customers expect of a "big name," the market is fairly efficient.   The LA Laker's have a dream team of big names (Shaq, Cobe, Malone, Payton, Mott).  See "With the Addition of Mott, the Laker's Dream Team Should be Hard to Beat" --- .  Last week with its star players all out due to injuries, literally all no-names on the San Antonio Spurs took the Lakers' "Dream Team" into overtime.

This made me think of how some dream team authors lend their names to books that surge in sales at first before users discover that the dream teams' books are inferior or die on the vine for other reasons.  How often we find relative no names who start books that carry on for ten or more editions relative to star-named books that never get past the first or second editions.  For example, a relative no-name author named Garrison back in the 1960s started a managerial accounting book  at the same time stars from Stanford (Jaedicke), Cornell (Bierman), Yale (Demski), Chicago (Dopuch), and Northwestern (Drebin) started managerial accounting texts that soon died while Garrison's book is still surging upward in its 10th edition.  Without further naming names, I just want to warn instructors that in the textbook game, Emperors sometimes "wear no clothes."  Top faculty from prestigious universities are sometimes so into administration, consulting, research, or other activities that their commitment to the dogged details of textbook writing may not extend much further than lending their name to a mediocre book.  At the same time, however, there are some top researchers who also write enduring textbooks, but this is not very common.

I think what disturbs me the most along these lines is where a publisher finds a manuscript from a no-name that might fly, but the publisher feels that adding two or more "dream" names from a very large university or a very prestigious university will help sell the text.  I am suspicious of the time and attention some dream teams added to some textbooks.

November 9, 2003 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM

For a no name, getting a "dream name" on board is next to impossible. It is then very difficult for the no name to get a book out.

David Albrecht

November 9, 2003 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

I don't think so if a leading publishing firm finds the "dream name" and cuts the deal. This is the common procedure for marrying no-names with dream names on books.

Also the no-name may actually be a dream name who figures that an even dreamer name will help sell the book even more.

A few joint-authored research papers have also been written with the same thing in mind.

Back when I was a no-name MBA student at the University of Denver, I was also an instructor. A publishing firm contacted two dream names to write a basic accounting text. Neither person had much interest in writing the text. However, one of those dream-named professors contacted me to ghost write parts of the book. I got paid to write a couple of modules before moving to the west coast, and the book never was finished by me or anybody else.

Bob Jensen

October 10, 2003 reply from Linda Kidwell, Charles Stuart University, Australia [lkidwell@CSU.EDU.AU]  
(while visiting in Australia)

Don't you hate it when people ask, "Business ethics -- isn't that an oxymoron?"

I always try to treat it as a teachable moment, and this string is a classic case in point. When businesses try to rip off their customers or behave unethically in some other way, word gets out and the business is damaged. So are businesses like McGraw-Hill unethical? Perhaps sometimes, but if they always used this approach, they wouldn't be a top textbook publisher for long, because we wouldn't select their books. Let's hope someone from McGraw-Hill is paying attention to AECM (or gets alerted by a concerned textbook author) and gets back on the right path. There's enough new material in accounting on a regular basis that publishers shouldn't have to resort to these shenanigans.

Linda Kidwell 
Visiting Professor 
Charles Sturt University 
Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia

Three new inductees into the Accounting Hall of Fame --- 

Congratulations to David Stout and Williamson College of Business at Youngstown State University.

Firstly, I want to congratulate Williamson College on earning AACSB Accreditation --- 

Secondly, I was reading the November/December issue of BizEd published by AACSB International and noticed on Page 13 that our David Stout (from Villanova) is now the Andrews Chair holder of Accounting at Williamson.  He will be responsible for "establishing new partnerships with the accounting profession and business community; enhancing the curriculum, faculty development, strategic partnerships, and student services; and increasing visibility of the YSU accounting program through speaking engagements." 

David is not only a good friend, he is a highly respected former editor of Issues in Accounting Education.  He not only produced some of the best editions of that journal, he took a stand (albeit a futile stand) that I think is essential for respect in accounting research.  He actually stood for publication of replications of accounting research, which runs counter to virtually all top research journals in accounting.  You can read a December 5, 2002 message from David Stout on this important issue at 

David also came out strongly against the ill-fated attempt by the Executive Committee of the American Accounting Association to abandon the journals  Issues in Accounting Education and Accounting Horizons.  His message is one of the most emotional replies at 

Congratulations David and hang tough!

-----Original Message-----
Graves, Diane J.
Friday, November 14, 2003 10:46 AM
To: Trinity Faculty
Crisis in Scholarly Communication

  To the Trinity Faculty:

In recent months, the higher education press has provided coverage of the “crisis” in scholarly publishing and communication.  Early this week, the Library Activities Committee agreed to pursue this issue.  We are in the process of planning a faculty forum on Scholarly Communications, New Models and Alternatives for early in the spring semester.   We will be distributing information about the forum, as well as background material, in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, we received word that Cornell University (with faculty support) has decided to cancel hundreds of their Elsevier subscriptions. Cornell made this decision following much deliberation, and after calculating that the over $1.7 million they would spend for Elsevier subscriptions in 2004 amounted to 20% of their periodicals budget, but represented only 2% of their titles!

Coates Library faculty have created a web page with links to a number of sites that address this issue, either from the perspective of higher education, or from publishers that seek to provide alternatives to the extremely expensive (and highly profitable) corporate publishers.  

I encourage you to take time to read some of this information. If you publish, or if you use scholarly material in your teaching and research, the scholarly publishing system affects you.

This site is available from the library website. Go to FACULTY CORNER, and click on MORE…  

Then click on Issues in Scholarly Communication.

Diane J. Graves, Professor & University Librarian
Elizabeth M. Coates Library,
Trinity University
One Trinity Place , San Antonio , TX 78212

Follow up from Diane

For those who are following this, I am sending the following link. It provides more information on how research institutions are addressing the serials pricing issue, and Elsevier’s pricing in particular.  

By sharing this, I do not mean to suggest that Trinity should undertake a wholesale cancellation of Elsevier’s titles. However, this is an issue of growing concern in the academic community, and the library faculty feels it is important to share news and information on the topic with our campus. We would like to hear from you if you have strong feelings on trends in scholarly communication. For more on this subject, see: 

The U.S. Labor department says that textbook prices have increased by 65% on average over the last decade.  What are the main reasons.


Some reasons are suggested at


Rising Oligopoly: What's Good and Bad about It?


LEAD STORY-DATELINE: The Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2002.


American industries are consolidating into oligopolies at a time when U.S. antitrust cops, regulators and judges seem less antagonistic toward business bigness. More to the point, the trend has hit economics students where it hurts - in their pocketbooks. As recently as 1990, three big publishers of college textbooks accounted for 35 percent of industry sales. Today they have 62 percent. Oligopoly, a prevalent form of market structure, happens where only a few firms account for most or all of total production and sales. Thus, for a textbook case of the pros and cons of oligopoly, we need look no further than the industry that produces the textbooks. Today, three companies - Britain's Pearson PLC, Canada's Thomson, and New York-based McGraw-Hill - dominate the U.S. college-textbook business. Pearson PLC may be taking a page from the above textbook chapters that it publishes.

The industry says consolidation helps shareholders and students. In a bigger company, sales reps are more specialized and know more about the books they're hawking. Moreover, these days publishers must complement their textbook offerings with Internet services that make each textbook somewhat more expensive. Publishers post online simulations, practice tests, "In the News" items such as this one, and Power Point presentations for professors. Not surprisingly, the best-selling introductory economics textbooks go for more than $100. The Labor Department says that textbook prices have climbed 65 percent over the past decade. This does not reveal anything that students don't already know. In defense of the textbook publishers, the textbook industry has been an industry with very low profit rates prior to these consolidations.

Textbook publishers are not alone, even if there are fewer of them. Today, a pending merger would leave three companies in control of nearly two-thirds of the cable TV market. Today, five titans dominate the defense industry. When congress deregulated telecommunications, there were eight Baby Bells. Today there are four, and dozens of small rivals are gone. In 1999 more than ten firms had help-wanted Web sites; today, there are three who dominate. Can this trend be defended in its economics? First, during eras of rapid technological change such as that of the Internet, it is difficult to know who the winners and losers will be. Firms, therefore, want to control their markets. Second, many industries face staggering costs. A semiconductor-fabrication plant now costs $2 to $3 billion, compared with $1 billion five years ago. Thus, a maker of memory chips must sell far more to justify its investment. And so, the companies are merging. Third, in an industry with large fixed costs such as telecommunications, serving each additional consumer costs very little (low marginal costs). Thus, huge economies of scale are possible, whereby the greater the number of customers, the lower the unit supply costs. Five companies now control 71 percent of the wireless phone market.

Continued in the article.

"Two Economists Have New Publishing Model For College Textbooks," by Charles Goldsmith, The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2003 ---,,SB106859460794239900,00.html?mod=technology%255Ffeatured%255Fstories%255Fhs 

Forget "cost-push inflation" and other economic theories studied in academia. From their respective perches at Princeton and Stanford universities, economists Paul Krugman and Paul Romer are threatening to shake up the real-life economics of the $3.9-billion-a-year U.S. college textbook industry.

Few would dispute that the industry is in need of reform. As college texts have soared beyond the $120 mark, students have been rebelling -- by not buying them, or by purchasing them online through foreign Web sites (thus taking advantage of publishers' lower prices in less-wealthy markets). "We know this: that in a course with 50 kids, we are no longer selling 50 textbooks," says Mark Oppegard, president of Nebraska Book Co., which operates 112 U.S. college bookstores.

Enter Messrs. Krugman and Romer with -- what else? -- a new economic model for marketing college textbooks. The two economists plan next year to sell a combined textbook-online learning product, at about half of the price of a traditional textbook.

Prof. Krugman is teaming up with his wife, fellow Princeton economist Robin Wells, on an introductory college text, "Economics," to be published in 2004 by academic specialist Worth Publishers of New York, a unit of Germany's Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH. (Holtzbrinck has a small equity stake in The Wall Street Journal Europe.) The 800-page hardback book will sell for the traditional price of about $100. But it also will be offered in full online, at just $60, mixed in with teaching software and lessons developed by Prof. Romer and his three-year-old company, Aplia Inc. of San Carlos, Calif. Aplia's educational software and materials are already being used by some 65,000 students in 400 colleges.

"This is an attempt to get ahead of the curve," says Prof. Krugman, who also is a columnist for the New York Times. "Over decades if not years," he says, traditional textbook publishing "will be a less and less viable model."

Hyped years ago as the textbook industry's death knell, e-books so far have failed to gain traction. Still this new effort will be watched with interest in the publishing industry. The new venture is expected to have an unusually high profile compared with several previous online text-worksheet "hybrids."

Prof. Krugman is co-author of a top-selling text in its field, "International Economics," now in its sixth edition and a fixture on many campuses. As a writer, he is popular for his ability to simplify complicated and sometimes dry concepts. "The attempt here is to remove some of the aridness that is typical of these books," Prof. Krugman says. "Every major concept is immediately followed by a real-life example."

Assignments are woven into the online textbook, and professors can tell whether students are reading it. (The software automatically grades a lot of the assignments.) Even students adept at illegally downloading can't get by on the text alone: They have to pay to get the unique registration and login needed to complete the coursework.

The new publishing model, if it catches on, holds both pitfalls and opportunities for the industry's biggest players -- Pearson PLC of the U.K., Thomson Corp. of Canada and McGraw-Hill Cos. of the U.S.

For big publishers, the lower price would instantly slash revenues per book. The model also would overturn the practice of "bundling" software and other extras with print textbooks, efforts to stem used-book sales by making a used book, without the extras, less valuable.

Continued in the article.

Parallel Press -- University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) Libraries 

UW-Madison Libraries' Parallel Press combines book publishing traditions with new technology to provide print-on-demand books and a series of chapbooks (small, inexpensive books featuring the works of authors and poets with a Wisconsin connection)

What message do you want to leave in anticipation of checking out of life?

You can leave it at 

It is advised that you request readers not to reply unless you have pre-arranged for an after-death email service provider.  To date, I don't think any of those are working.

I don't think they accept video attachments.  

Actually is a serious service.  Don Van Eynde called my attention to "Last Word From the Beyond:  You've Got Mail," San Antonio Express News, November 11, 2003, Page 15A.

Why do hackers hack? They say it's to learn about technology and how computers work. That's small comfort to security pros. 

"A Patent Claim That May Cost Millions:  A company says it owns the rights to a common
Internet technology, and it wants a share of colleges' revenue"
by: Scott Carlson
The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 7, 2003, Page A25.

Few people have heard of Acacia Research Corporation, but John H. Payne III has given the company a lot of thought ever since it threatened the heart of his courses at the University of Virginia.

Acacia has sent Virginia and other colleges a letter making an audacious claim: that the company owns long-forgotten patents covering the use of sound and video on the Web and is entitled to 2 percent of the revenue from courses that use such technology.  The patents, which expire in 2011, cover the concept behind storing and transmitting sound and video, not the technical details.

"It's as though they claim they hold the patent on air," says Mr. Payne, who runs the university's distance-education program.  He says online audio and video are integral parts of not just distance education but of many classroom-based courses.

"Those technologies are being incorporated into libraries and general-studies courses on campus," he says.  "In more-traditional courses, we archive a lot of materials, so if a student misses a course, they might be able to see the lecture online."  If Acacia's 2-percent fee were applied to courses and programs all over the university, "that would add up to a whole lot," he says.  The University of Virginia will earn about $240-million in tuition this year, although university officials don't know how many courses use online audio and video technology.


Acacia's demands, which have also been issued to companies that use the technology, have made college officials wonder about the future of online video and audio, two Internet features that many have taken for granted until now.  They say Acacia's licensing demand, backed by the threat of lawsuits, would add a huge new expense to colleges' technology programs, which are already running under tight budgets.  And officials say that such costs could force colleges to stop adding new media features to course sites, which could hamper innovation in higher education.

College lawyers are scrambling to figure out how to respond to Acacia, and in the meantime they're saying little.  It's possible that they will find a silver bullet that will shoot down Acacia's claims.

But they don't seem to have found it yet, and more and more colleges are getting letters from the company.  Some college lawyers have hinted that they might fight Acacia's patent in court, but doing so could be an expensive and risky process.  Acacia has already won some battles outside of higher education: It persuaded dozens of online pornography companies, as well as a popular on-line radio station and a major pay-per-view video company, to sign licensing agreements that turn over portions of their revenues.

Ben Rawlins, general counsel for the Oregon University System, which received letters from Acacia, says that although the licensing claims ask for only 2 percent of gross revenue, a seemingly small proportion, that fee would hit colleges hard.  "When you're talking about your entire distance-ed budget, 2 percent of that on an annual basis would get up there," he says.

Continued in the article.

A U.S. District Court rules that it's OK to use a universal remote to open a garage door, despite the plaintiff's claim that the DMCA prohibited it ---,1367,61232,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html 

"Colleges Get a Cut From Being Kicked When They're Down," by Jeffrey Zaslow, The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2003 ---,,SB106859395461108200,00.html?mod=home%5Fpage%5Fone%5Fus 

Sports Fans Snap Up Souvenirs Of Winners Beating Losers; Mascot Boiled or Grilled? 

The moment the clock runs out at next week's big football game between the University of Alabama and Auburn University, the big business of loser taunting will begin.

At a T-shirt factory in Leesburg, Fla., 20 employees will spring into action and produce 3,000 shirts designed to embarrass the conquered team. Throughout Alabama, thousands of fans will display figurines depicting Auburn's tiger mascot strangling the Alabama elephant, or vice versa. Some 6,000 rocks, ranging from paperweights to boulders and featuring the winner's logo, will appear on fans' desks and front lawns with the likeness of a defeated player squashed underneath like a pancake.

You might expect the losing college to be upset about the violence directed its way. To the contrary, it'll be cashing in.

In the $3 billion college-logo retail market, there's growing demand for "rivalry merchandise" in which two schools allow their trademarks to appear on the same item, even if one team is being throttled, humiliated or labeled as a loser. The schools share revenue and say the products highlight the traditions of their rivalries. But getting merchandise to market can be a convoluted process as universities struggle to reconcile the lure of commerce with the boundaries of taste.

Schools say if they don't license rivalry products, fans will buy even grosser knockoffs from bootleggers. Still, decision making is inconsistent. Why did 25 colleges approve products depicting their mascots being boiled alive in soup pots, while many remain sensitive about allowing their mascots to be shown cooked on a grill?

"Sometimes their logic is elusive," says Ron Bohler, licensing director of Memory Co., Phenix City, Ala., the market leader in nonapparel rivalry products. This year, rivalry items account for 15% of its sales, up from 5% in 2002.

Atlanta-based Collegiate Licensing Co., which represents 180 schools, receives pitches each year from about 2,000 companies proposing 150,000 designs, more and more of which exploit rivalries. Schools earn about 8% of the wholesale value of licensed products. The school being mocked usually earns a smaller cut than the school being celebrated because the celebrators do most of the buying.

Continued in the article.

Ever since a best-selling book and movie immortalized the covered bridges of Madison County, visitors from around the world have come to see them. Now, somebody is burning them down.
"Burning Bridges: In Madison County, It's Serious Business," by Patricia Callahan, The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2003 ---,,SB106911992371827400,00.html?mod=home%5Fpage%5Fone%5Fus 

Commentary of the Day - November 11, 2003
Harsh Advice. Guest commentary by Conrad Geller --- 

No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning by Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom (Simon & Schuster, 2003), looks squarely at the problem, reviews the dismal record of accomplishment in this area, and proposes solutions.  Unfortunately, the wisdom of the solutions doesn't match the meticulous scholarship of the exposition.

Black students, urban, rural, even those from the affluent suburbs, continue to lag behind their white peers in all academic areas as measured by standard test like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  These discrepancies don't seem to have been lessened by massive programs like Title I, which since 1965 has allocated billions in an effort to upgrade urban education, nor by smaller classes, new facilities, or upgraded technology.

For example, in the most recent assessments for twelfth graders, between 1998 and 2001, black students scored "Below Basic" at two to three times the rate for whites in all areas: reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, civics, and geography.  Hispanics failed at about the rate for blacks, while Asians' scores were comparable to that of whites, and actually better in math.

The Thernstroms, whose earlier America in Black and White broke somewhat the same ground, reject offhand the notion that innate differences between the races explain any part of the difference in academic performance.  Instead, they focus on some schools that seem to have succeeded.

It is culture and expectations, they find, that account for both the gap in the general population and for the accomplishments of the few schools cited.  Parental attitudes are crucial; as one Asian parent remarked, "Parents who say, " 'Obey your teachers,' 'Do your schoolwork,' 'Keep trying harder," and kids who actually follow parental orders: what an advantage when it comes to academic achievement!"  One significant measure of the way parental involvement affects student achievement,  the authors discovered, was the "trouble threshold" -- the grade below which the student reported that he would "get in trouble" with his parents.  That threshold was found to be, on average, C- for blacks, B- for whites, and A- for Asians.
In sum, the authors concluded that  ". . . it was a student's family -- parental education, occupation, income, and race -- that made the real difference.  Compared to these huge influences, none of the school-related variables counted for very much."

By way of contrast with what they see as the general mediocrity of American schools, the authors chose several schools, all supported by public money -- some charter schools, the so-called KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) academies in the South Bronx and elsewhere, and one isolated classroom with an unusual teacher, Rafe Esquith, who teaches fifth grade in an otherwise undistinguished central Los Angeles public school.

These exemplary islands of excellence, for their part, maintained a school culture that didn't tolerate disruptive classroom behavior, demanded preparation, and created an expectation of success.  In all of them, parents and children must agree to the rules, as well as learn the expectations.  Once enrolled, the students are indoctrinated vigorously into academic values, sometimes, Mao-like, chanting the school's slogans in unison.  Finally, perhaps most important, they can always leave if they can't or won't comply.  As one administrator told incoming students, "See that back door?  See any locks on it?  Is this a prison?  Am I forcing you to be here? . . . If you cannot live by our rules, if you cannot adapt to this place, I can show you the back door."

The title of the book, in fact, and to a large extent its theme, come from this attitude of demanding attention and hard work from students: No excuses, no second chances.  The authors say, finally, "Schools cannot do their job unless students get to school on time, attend classes faithfully, work hard, finish their homework, pay attention to their teachers and honor the rules governing civility and decorum."

So far, so good.  But In the last chapters, unfortunately, when the authors make suggestions for change, they reveal biases that make their solutions less than helpful.  Abigail Thernstrom is a member of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, and so she seems to have an understandable bent toward believing that good administrators, free to fire teachers at will, can fix everything.  In this vein they see teacher unions, along with tenure laws and a lack of merit pay, as a big part of the problem, impeding reform.  Too often they find the virtue of charter schools not in their ability to attract interested students and parents, not in their no-nonsense approach to learning,  but in their freedom from union contracts. They ignore, for example, such counter-examples as the Boston Latin School, a thoroughly unionized part of the Boston Public School System, that in response to court-ordered integration has performed magnificently in bringing its black students up to its very high academic standards.

This book, in any case, is well worth the time of anyone interested in bringing out the academic best in all students, even if the reader doesn't believe, as they authors seem to, that teachers without contracts will lead to students without boundaries.

American Journeys -- Eyewitness Accounts of Early American Exploration and Settlement: A Digital Library and Learning Center (History) --- 

The Invention of the Aerial Age (history) 

14 to 42 (Advertising Billboards in NYC) ---

Bob Jensen's threads on advertising are at 

BBC: WW2 People's War (History) --- 

American RadioWorks: The President Calling (audio replays of actual telephone conversations of presidents) --- 

"When Applications Play 'Let's Pretend' It's inexcusable for systems to go through the motions without actually doing the work.," by Peter Coffee, eWeek, November 10, 2003.

It's bad when something refuses to do its job, but the scene is set for greater catastrophe when something appears to be working--and isn't.

This fact of life is beyond the understanding, it seems, of all too many software developers and IT system builders, who fail to consider the ways that the world may fall short of their expectations--or perhaps they just don't bother to detect those differences, or warn users of the resulting risks of non-performance.

This blind spot becomes a more serious problem as enterprise systems become more distributed--not just geographically, but more importantly in ownership and control of IT assets that function as paid services. I suspect that experienced developers assume, subconsciously, that users are able to watch the blinking lights to confirm that something is actually happening; the systems that we propose to build tomorrow, and that we attempt to build today, require more explicit self-assessment and verification.

Data backup, or rather non-backup, is the most vicious example of what I've sometimes called "success-oriented design"--that is, the assumption that things will work, and that this need not be confirmed at the time that an operation takes place. I remember a conference in 1988--the second annual PC Tech Journal confab, in San Francisco, for the benefit of my fellow dinosaurs--when I first heard a user's saga of faithfully making regular backups...only to discover, the first time it really mattered, that the resulting tapes could not be successfully restored.

A driver update, he speculated, had resulted in the system continuing to go through all the motions, but to no useful purpose. Neither the backup application, nor the procedures that his department had devised for its use, included any verification that valid and effective backups were actually being produced.

Just to get some sense of the measure of this continuing problem, I Googled the search term "backup" along with the exact phrase "unable to restore": I got 10,700 hits. Some of them may seem like obsolete, individual-user issues like "Windows 98 unable to restore a file from multiple diskettes." Others, though, have a more alarmingly enterprise-level presence, like this one: "Any backup job containing EFS encrypted files that is being restored to a FAT/FAT32 volume or a previous version of NTFS (i.e. NTFS in NT 3.1 - NT 4.0) will generate an error...It is only possible to restore encrypted backup sets to NTFS 5.0 volumes."

I mention this particular example because it brings up an important point. If a backup is needed because the primary hardware is down, it's important that the backup be usable on secondary hardware--which may not be running the very latest version of a software platform. Only in the laboratory do we have the luxury of saying that a proper experiment only changes one thing at a time: real-world survival tests will typically hand us a fistful of simultaneous misfortunes, and it's important that our survival tools be able to handle a certain degree of stone-age regression.

I'm at a loss to explain why any application doesn't bother to audit its own contracts, so to speak, by ensuring that its requirements are met before it wastes time and destroys valuable work. For example, Apple's iMovie appears to work just fine when a project is created on an external FireWire drive, but I wasted quite a bit of time the other day when iMovie failed to save the results of an hour of careful editing. Apparently, it's known to at least some users that iMovie requires the Mac's own file system for full function, while my external drives are FAT32-partitioned for maximum flexibility in moving data among my various machines: that requirement is rather deeply buried, though, in Apple's support forum, and it may surprise my fellow multi-platform videographers. And Apple, I regret to observe, is on thin ice at the moment when it comes to the subject of protecting users' data.

My larger point, which I hope will be taken to heart by other application developers, is that iMovie should have detected and notified me of the problem--instead of merely pretending to save my project when I gave that command. If the shoe fits, wear it--and start walking in a better direction.

It's up to the developer, though, to decide whether the correct approach is fault prevention or fault tolerance. For example, many developers take it for granted that TCP is the protocol of choice on the Internet, presumably because of its guarantees of packet delivery and packet order preservation, but there's also something to be said for the oft-dismissed UDP alternative that's sometimes called the "message in a bottle" protocol. With its minimal overhead, broadcast capabilities and well-defined data boundaries, UDP gives developers some useful advantages--as long as they also accept the responsibility for making sure that what's supposed to happen, actually does happen.

And that's a responsibility that should always be taken to heart.

What other responsibilities should systems take more seriously?

"A Sketch of Arab-Americans: Who Should Study Whom?" by Felicia R. Lee, The New York Times, November 15, 2003 ---

What is NetLedger's new name?

NetSuite (a video is available)

Bob Jensen is a strong advocate of WebLedgers.  NetSuite is only one of various worldwide alternatives.  WebLedgers are accounting systems that are available on the Web for companies who do not want to go to the time and trouble of maintaining their own hardware and software for accounting purposes (including account collections, inventories, and payrolls).  There are enormous advantages in that small and medium sized firms do not have to pay for high cost hardware and specialists in accounting systems.  There are also tremendous protections against system failures.  Another main advantage is that authorized personnel can access the system over the Web from anywhere in the world.  Webledgers commenced as the NetLedger (now NetSuite) brain child of the CEO  of Oracle.

Bob Jensen’s threads on the controversies of Webledgers can be found at 

BBC Online - Legacies (History, Diversity, Sociology, Ethnic Lifestyle) --- 

Chess champion Garry Kasparov battles a computerized foe named Fritz in the latest installment of man versus silicon beast 
Wired News, November 10, 2003 ---,1284,61097,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html 

"Machine tops Kasparov in second 3D chess game Friday, November 14, 2003  --- 

After a three-hour battle against a computer, international chess master Garry Kasparov made a mistake late in the game and his challenger "pounced."

Kasparov's loss in the "Man vs. Machine" series leaves the Russian-born champion at a disadvantage after a draw in the first game: X3D Fritz has 1.5 points, and Kasparov has a half-point, with two games left to play.

Learning Vocabulary Can Be Fun --- 

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at 

Huge Magazine's Thrift Store Art Gallery (Flea Market, Clothing) --- 

Dear Professor Jensen,

Hello, and I hope you're having a great day!

I rececently learned about your classes, and wanted to let you know about our videos and cd-roms on international business and cultural diversity.

Big World Media offers more than 125 titles, and our customers include hundreds of leading universities and corporations worldwide. Our top-quality videos and cd-roms help make teaching more effective and enjoyable.

May I send you our free catalogue?

Sherry Eastburn 
Big World Media cultural learning for global business  
voice 1.800.682.1261 or 1.303.444.6179 fax 1.303.444.6190 4204 
Tamarack Court Boulder, CO 80304 USA

Ice Ages (History, Geology) With Great Animations and Pictures --- 

Changing the Face of Medicine (Women, Science)  --- 

NOVA: Magnetic Storm ---

Greenwood's Map of London 1827 (History, Geography, Economics) --- 

Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, History --- 

100 Scariest Movie Scenes of All Time (would you believe that one of them is from Dumbo?) --- 

Stupid Quotes --- 

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."
- Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

"Rotarians, be patriotic! Learn to shoot yourself."
- Chicago Rotary Club journal, "Gyrator"

"As Deng's health is now failing, many matters have been passed to Wan Li, who despite his age is still alive."
- company report, China Inc.

"Football players win football games."
- Chuck Knox, football coach

"My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an uncle or an aunt."
- Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice.

"These people haven't seen the last of my face. If I go down, I'm going down standing up."
- Chuck Person, NBA Basketball player


Forwarded by Don



"And now, will y'all stand and be recognized?"  
Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis to a group of handicapped people in wheelchairs

"We ' ll run it up the flagpole and see who salutes that booger."  
Speaker Gib Lewis

"There ' s a lot of uncertainty that ' s not clear in my mind."  
Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis

"I can explain it for you, but I can ' t understand it for you."  

"Some of these folks just snuck into the gene pool."  
State Rep. Ron Wilson

"That bill is deader than last summer ' s love..."  

"Yeah, I miss the stress.  You can miss hemorrhoids, too.  That doesn ' t mean you ' re not glad that you don ' t have them anymore."  
Former Rep. Allen Hightower of Huntsville , on not being stuck in the maelstrom of the closing days of the legislative session.

"It just makes good sense to put all your eggs in one basket."  
Texas Rep. Joe Salem speaking on an amendment requiring all revenues to go into the state treasury

"No thanks, once was enough."  
Governor Bill Clements, asked if he had been born again

"I ' d just make a little bit of money, I wouldn ' t make a whole lot."  
House Speaker Gib Lewis defending himself against the charge that he would personally profit from a bill he had introduced

"I am filled with humidity."  Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis

"I move we recess to go outside and throw up."  
House Speaker Gib Lewis during a budget hearing

"It ' s the sediment of the House that we adjourn."  
House Speaker Wayne Clayton

"Let ' s do this in one foul sweep."  
Texas House Speaker Wayne Clayton

"This is unparalyzed in the state ' s history."  
Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis

"I want to thank each and every one of you for having extinguished yourselves this session."  Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis

November 17, 2003 reply from Denny


One of my favorites (not from Texas) was from President Reagan's press secretary. One of the reporters was having a hard time understanding what the press secretary was saying. The secretary replied, "I'm speaking as clearly as I want you to understand."

Denny Beresford

"I'm not technically saying he's wrong.  but I'm not technically saying he's right, either."
Pop star Britney Spears, on former boyfriend Justin Timberlake's hinting that she had been unfaithful to him.
As quoted in Newsweek, November 24, 2003 on Page 29.

Forwarded by Auntie Bev

The Man's Periodic Table (Male Chemistry) --- 

An ebook by Matthew Saul --- 

Take the following quiz to see if you need Prozac

You know what time the train comes by every night because you...

a. take it into the city sometime

b. live so close to the tracks it makes the floor shake

c. may want to jump in front of it if things get any worse

d. know it's the best way to lose the cops after they found your stash

You see an ad for new Draino foamer and you think to yourself...

a. those graphics of the drain being washed out are really cool

b. that bathroom is despicable, but I think that sink is clogged beyond a quick fix like that

c. slammin' a bottle of that stuff might curb a lot of pain

d. this could breathe life into your old Chemistry set

You do something you hate because if you don't do it, you'll become a reject. You think to yourself

a. I am totally free even though I do what everyone my age does

b. I can either hate myself for giving in to everyone else or love myself and usher in rejection from everyone else

c. this makes me feel dead, but I'd rather be dead than some loser who nobody respects

d. Nothing at all

"Hanging out" to you consists of

a. a few buds and a few friends

b. a lot of buds and Home Improvement reruns

c. an extension chord looped around a tree and your neck

d. driving through town trying to get 13 year old girls' phone numbers

If I went through your CD collection I would find albums by:

a. Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20, Britney Spears, Sixpence None The Richer

b. John Mellencamp, Barenaked Ladies, Everclear, Eve 6

c. Nirvana, Radiohead, Jane's Addiction, Nick Drake

d. Eminem, Limp Bizkit, Outkast, Cypress Hill

If you answered 'c' to more than two of these, you may need Prozac! If you answered 'b' or 'd' you have cheaper ways of dealing with your pain.

Forwarded by Dick Haar

Tiny Bubbles!
My wife gets mad because every Saturday night I take a bath with bubbles in it. 

I mean, if Bubbles doesn't mind, why should she?

Forwarded by The Happy Lady

The Origin of Pets Adam and Eve said, "Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day. Now we do not see you any more. We are lonesome here, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us."

And God said, "No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves."

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve. And it was a good animal. And God was pleased. And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal."

And God said, "No problem. Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."

And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them. And they were comforted. And God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well."

And God said, "No problem! I will create for them a companion who will be with them forever and who will see them as they are. The companion will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration."

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.

And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat's eyes, they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings. And Adam and Eve learned humility. And they were greatly improved. And God was pleased.

And Dog was happy.

And Cat didn't give a damn one way or the other.

Forwarded by Dr. B.

While visiting his niece, an elderly man had a heart attack. The woman drove wildly to get him to the emergency room.

After what seemed like a very long wait, the E.R. doctor appeared, wearing his scrubs and a long face. "I'm afraid that your uncle is brain dead, but his heart is still beating."

"Oh, dear," cried the woman, her hands clasped against her cheeks with shock. "We've never had a Democrat in the family before!"

Forwarded by Paula

You can't get more accurate than this!

The Government announced today that it is changing its emblem at national, local, and local levels to a condom.  A condom more clearly reflects long-standing Government policy of standing up to inflation, halting productivity, destroying the next generation, protecting a bunch of you-know-whats (the p-word), and giving a false sense of security while you're really being screwed.

Forwarded by Dr. G.


22. THINGS I LIKE ABOUT FRANCE by Bill O'Reilly (Fox News)


20. MY BEAUTY SECRETS by Janet Reno



17. THINGS I LOVE ABOUT BILL by Hillary Clinton




13. MY WILD YEARS by Al Gore



10. DETROIT: a Travel Guide




06. ALL THE MEN I HAVE LOVED BEFORE by Ellen de Generes





And the number one World's Thinnest Book:

01. MY BOOK OF MORALS (with a forward by Jesse Jackson) - by Bill Clinton

Forwarded by Barb Hessel

YEAR OF 1903    

The year is 1903, one hundred years ago... what a difference a century makes. Here are the U.S. statistics for 1903....

The average life expectancy in the US was forty-seven.
Only 14 percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.
With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour.
The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian  between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births in the US took place at home.   
Ninety percent of all US physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."
Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee cost fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
The five  leading causes of death in the US were:

1. Pneumonia  and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars. 
Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and  Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
There was no Mother's Day or Father's  Day.
One in ten US adults couldn't read or write.   
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Coca Cola contained cocaine. Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives  buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels,and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."
Eighteen percent of households in the US had at least one full-time servant or domestic.
There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire US.

Just think what it will be like in another 100 years.

It boggles the    mind............I'm not tense, just terribly, terribly alert.

Here's what Auntie Bev thinks:

1. Q. What should you do if you see your ex-husband rolling around in pain on the ground? 
A. Shoot him again.

2. Q. How can you tell when a man is well-hung? 
A. When you can just barely slip your finger in between his neck and the noose.

3. Q. Why do little boys whine?
A. Because they're practising to be men.

4. Q. How many men does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. One - he just holds it up there and waits for the world to revolve around him.
OR Three - one to screw in the bulb, and two to listen to him brag about the screwing part.

5. Q. What do you call a handcuffed man?
A. Trustworthy.

6. Q. What does it mean when a man is in your bed gasping for breath and calling your name? 
A. You didn't hold the pillow down long enough.

7. Q. Why does it take 100,000,000 sperm to fertilise one egg?
A. Because not one will stop directions and ask directions.

8. Q. Why do female black widow spiders kill their males after mating? 
A. To stop the snoring before it starts.

9. Q: Why do men whistle when they're sitting on the toilet? 
A: Because it helps them remember which end they need to wipe.

10. Q: What is the difference between men and women... 
A: A woman wants one man to satisfy her every need. A man wants every woman to satisfy his one need.

11 Q: How does a man keep his youth? 
A: By giving her money, furs and diamonds.

12. Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail? 
A: Rename the mail folder as "instruction manuals"

Forwarded by Paula

City cop was on his horse waiting to cross the street when a little girl on her new shiny bike stopped beside him. "Nice bike," the cop said "did Santa bring it to you?" "Yep," the little girl said, "he sure did!" The cop looked the bike over and handed the girl a $5 ticket for a safety violation.The cop said, "Next year tell Santa to put a reflector light on the back of it." The young girl looked up at the cop and said, "Nice horse you got there sir, did Santa bring it to you?" "Yes, he sure did," chuckled the cop. The little girl looked up at the cop and said, "Next year tell Santa the dick goes underneath the horse, not on top."

Music forwarded by Paula 

Jesse's Great Music (Scroll Down!)---

Forwarded by Tom Watson

Subject: Letter for bounced checks

What a Lady! Below is an actual letter sent to a bank. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times.
 Dear Sir:
 I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it.
 I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire salary, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.  You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $50 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.
 My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, prerecorded faceless entity which your bank has become.  From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.
 My mortgage and loan repayments will, therefore and hereafter, no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate. Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.
 Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.
 Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and th mandatory details of his/he financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.
 In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
 Let me level the playing field even further. Press buttons as follows:

 1.- To make an appointment to see me.

 2.- To query a missing payment.

 3.- To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.

 4.- To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.

 5.- To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.

 6.- To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.

 7.- To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer  is required.  Password will be communicated at a later date to the authorized contact.

 8.- To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.

 9.- To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While  this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.
 May I wish you a happy, if ever-so-slightly less prosperous day,
 Your Humble Client

Forwarded by Debbie


A blonde called her boyfriend and said, "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get it started."

Her boyfriend asked, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The blonde says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a tiger."

Her boyfriend decided to go over and help with the puzzle. She let him in and showed him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table. He studied the pieces for a moment, then looked at the box, then turned to her and said, "First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a tiger."

He took her hand and said, "Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of hot chocolate, and then............", he sighed, "Let's put all these Frosted Flakes back in the box."

Oh! Oh!   The above one didn't put an end to blonde jokes.

Paula sent this one about the Handy Woman

A blonde, wanting to earn some extra money, decided to hire herself out as a "handy-woman" and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighborhood.

She went to the front door of the first house, and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for her to do.

"Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint my porch," he said, "How much will you charge me?"

The blonde quickly responded, "How about $50?"

The man agreed and told her that the paint and everything she would need were in the garage.

The man's wife, hearing the conversation, said to her husband, "Does she realize that our porch goes all the way around the house?"

He responded, "That's a bit cynical, isn't it?"

The wife replied, "You're right. I guess I'm starting to believe all those dumb blonde' jokes we've been getting by e-mail lately."

A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money. "You're finished already?" the husband asked.

"Yes," the blonde replied, "and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats."

Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the $50.00 and handed it to her.

"And by the way," the blonde added, "it's not a Porch, it's a Lexus."

Congress Raises Executive Minimum Wage To $565.15/Hr

 WASHINGTON, DC9 Congress approved a bill to increase the executive minimum
wage from $515.15 to $565.15 an hour, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
(R-TX) announced Monday. The move marks the first increase in the wage
since 1997.

     "This is good news for all Americans who work in the upper levels of
commerce," DeLay said. "Almost a third of America's hard-working
executives toil at corporations day after day, yet still live below the
luxury line. It was about time we gave a boost to the American
white-collar worker."

     The wage was calculated to help executives meet the federal
standard-of-easy-living mark of $1.1 million a year. DeLay said that,
although his goal is to ultimately reach an executive minimum wage of $800
per hour, he was satisfied with what he characterized as a "stop-gap

     "Many of the thousands of Americans overseeing the nation's
factories, restaurant chains, and retailers can't even afford a jet,"
DeLay said. "It's our long-term goal to ensure that no one who sees to it
that others work hard for a living will have to go without the basic
necessities of the good life."

     Under the new law, the executive-minimum salary will increase to more
than $1.175 million a year, plus mandatory overtime for executives who
work more than seven minutes after 5 p.m., on holidays, outside of their
home offices, or from a limousine or non-chartered private aircraft. A
separate section of the bill includes concessions for second- and
third-housing credits, as well as single-player health-spa coverage.

     Top executives nationwide have repeatedly called for wage increases
in recent years.

     "Our lifestyles are expensive to maintain," Boeing senior
vice-president of international relations Tom Pickering said. "The costs
of even the most basic executive transportation, food, and clothing are
staggering. Since 1993, the average cost of maintaining a household of
six, including a butler, a cook, a maid, a driver, and a groundskeeper,
has increased by 14 percent. All this, even after we work our fingers to
the bone for hundreds of hours a year, painstakingly assembling our
benefits packages. It shouldn't have to be this hard."

     Some executives called for even more support, in the form of
increased benefits and reimbursements.

     "Well, it's a good start," said Abby Kohnstamm, IBM senior
vice-president of marketing. "But I still don't get a transportation
allowance for my company-owned limo. And no one has addressed the fact
that almost 8 percent of my income disappears after taxes."

     Nick Scheele, Ford president and chief operating officer, said he
looks forward to February 2004, when the wage increase is slated to take
effect.  "It's about peace of mind," Scheele said. "Executives like myself
are sick of living quarterly statement to quarterly statement, forced to
check our bank balances before every little real-estate purchase. We're
not asking for the world, just the overseas vacations that we so
desperately need."

     The pay hike marks a rare instance of bipartisan cooperation in one
of the most polarized congresses in U.S. history. In the U.S. Senate, only
Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John McCain (R-AZ) opposed the bill.

     "This proves that politicians can work together when it involves the
welfare of the citizens most responsible for keeping them in office," U.S.
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) said. "Those of us who hold higher office don't
ever forget where we came from, and how we got where we are today. This
wage hike is our way of giving something back to the American people who
are most important."

 - from The Onion

"Whatever is coming at you is coming from you."
As quoted in a recent email message from William Herrmann

-----Original Message----- 
From: Blystone, Robert V. 
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2003 4:00 AM 
Subject: This is one of those times.

Dear List:

The following link will take you a Nov. 5th article in The New Scientist. 

There is an associated sound file that goes with the article at 

With this you and I will have now heard of everything.

Enjoy, I hope.

Bob Jensen just try to top this one.

Bob Blystone

There is something that I first noted about Bob Blystone’s scientific update message --- it was sent this morning at 4:00 a.m. this morning. That alone calls for special mention.  He really went "overboard" trying to top me.

Bob Blystone has helped me add to my Internet collections. I now have D-Cup breasts, an 18-inch penis, $45 million dollars transferred from to me by Queen Mabooba from a Nigerian bank, and an aquarium full of farting fish.

It really pays to find friends on the Web.

December 2, 2003 reply from Paula


In case you missed this in Sunday's SA Express-News, here is Dave Barry's response to the scientific study on how herring communicate:

It's Windy Under the Sea, by Dave Barry


And that's the way it was on December 3, 2003 with a little help from my friends.


Jesse's Wonderful Music for Romantics (You have to scroll down to the titles) ---


I highly recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free newsletter from a very smart finance professor) --- 


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


For accounting news, I prefer AccountingWeb at 
I also like SmartPros at 


Another leading accounting site is at 


Jack Anderson's Accounting Information Finder ---


Gerald Trite's great set of links --- 


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

The Finance Professor --- 


Walt Mossberg's many answers to questions in technology ---


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 


Click on for a complete list of interviews with established leaders, creative thinkers and education technology experts in higher education from around the country.


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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November 15, 2003

 Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on November 15, 2003
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

The AECM is spaced out ---

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at 

Quotes of the Week

How mean can it get?
Leaflets (in Baghdad) with threats of attacks on schools were found around the city convincing many parents to start keeping their children home.  That's similar to what they did in the spring when a wave of street crime hit Baghdad.

San Antonio Express News, October 31, 2003, Page 7A

The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react.
George W. Bush when interpreting the surge of violence in Iraq as a sign of American success.  (Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2003, Page A17)

If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens.
Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, on an alternative solution to keeping the peace in Iraq.  As quoted in Newsweek, November 10, 2003, Page 23.

Israel to raze Palestinian homes with robot bulldozers.
Gavin Rabinowitz, USA Today, October 30, 2003 ---  

"It's become necessary to destroy the town in order to save it," says a U.S. Army major.
The Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2003, Page A17

Then progress came and destroyed everything, even more than the war, because if the war destroyed our property, progress destroyed our very way of life. 
Bruno Ugolotti

The GUID -- like its predecessor, the cookie -- is a network tool used to detect when machines and their users come and go to networks and dot-com addresses.
Wired News, November 11, 1999 ---,1282,32389,00.html 

Singapore Expands PC Control:  Government Gets Power To Scan Computer Activity In Effort to Detect Threats
The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2003 ---,,SB106860932145547800,00.html?mod=technology%5Fmain%5Fwhats%5Fnews 

Big Employer Is Watching 
More employers use tracking systems to make sure people are working. A growing number of employers are embracing sophisticated electronic tracking systems to ensure their workers are at their desks and work stations when they are supposed to be.
Kris Maher, "Big Employer is Watching," The Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2003 ---,,SB106790367748260400,00.html?mod=technology%255Ffeatured%255Fstories%255Fhs 

Still wary of the anthrax attacks through the mail, Washington bureaucrats push the Postal Service to trace every piece of mail. Citing privacy concerns, the post office is resisting. But for how long?
Ryan Singel, Wired News, November 12, 2003 ---,1848,61140,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html


1984+50: Screwed and Tattooed
Commentary by Bob Jensen
Technology is becoming available to put an end to most dissident acts (such as attacks on children in schools), but the price will be the total loss of freedom to Big Brother.  George Orwell may have been right even if his predicted timing was 50 years too soon.  Sadly, we went to war in Iraq in the name of fighting for freedom and, in the process, probably did more to bring an end to freedom than anything Saddam's family  would've ever done.

I think the future of freedom and democracy is in great peril due to the power of a few dissidents, aided by the frenzied media,  to paralyze any society within its own borders in the 21st Century.  

Big Brother technologies (e.g., zapped-you un-removable electronic tattoos and tracking devices connected to audio/video surveillance, Webcams and low altitude observation devices feeding into Big Brother from everywhere, watch-thy-neighbor whistle blowing rewards, etc.) are becoming available to seemingly put an end to most dissident acts and evil conspiracies, but the implementation price will include the total loss of freedom to the ever-watching Big Brother.  George Orwell's Big Brother scenario was probably right on even if his 1984 timing was a several decades off.  "It's become necessary to destroy the town (read that the free society) in order to save it," says a U.S. Army major." (Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2003, Page A17).

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells;
The search compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

"The Sunlight on the Garden" by Louis MacNieice, Poems 1925-1940 (Random House, pp. 139-140, 1937).  
Also see 
I also quoted the above poem in my 1976 Phantasmagoric Accounting monograph published by the AAA  as Accounting Research Study #14 at )

It's easier to disintegrate an atom than a prejudice.
Albert Einstein

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely re-arranging their prejudices.
William James as quoted in a November 10, 2003 email from Mark Shapiro --- 

Sure. This company could create a disease that wipes out half of the people on earth, but if you're in the half that survives, don't you want to be RICH?
Louie DePalma (played by Danny Devito) trying to be a stockbroker on the TV show Taxi --- as quoted in a recent email message from Mike Gasior.

A Billion Here, A Billion There:  Where's the real money?
An EDS accounting change over revenue booking wiped out $2.24 billion in past profits at the computer-services company.
Gary McWilliams, "EDS Cuts Profits Of $2.24 Billion For Rule Change," The Wall Street Journal, October 29=8, 2003 ---,,SB106728827489759900,00.html?mod=technology_main_whats_news 
Bob Jensen's threads on revenue accounting are at 

The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself.
Ben Franklin

My studies of emotion, conducted with my colleagues Andrew Ortony and William Revelle, Professors in the Psychology Department at Northwestern University – suggests that these human attributes result from three different levels of brain mechanism: the automatic, prewired layer, the visceral level; the part that contains the brain processes that control everyday behavior, the behavioral level; and the contemplative part of the brain, the reflective level6. Each level plays a different role in the total functioning of people. And, as I discuss in detail in chapter 3, each level requires a different style of design.
Donald A. Norman (See my book recommendation below.)

The Rich Get Richer, The Poor Get Students 
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has announced the successful completion of the Campaign for Sustained Leadership, a $425 million fund-raising initiative, launched in June 1996, and completed in June 2003. A total of $445,774,603 was raised, completing the largest campaign in business school history. The original campaign goal of $350 million was raised to $425 million following a successful "quiet phase."
News Release --- 

Rich Colleges Receiving Richest Share of U.S. Aid
About three hours and a world away sits Stanford. Far fewer of its students are poor, yet the federal government gives it about 7 times as much money to help each one of them through college under one program, 28 times as much in another and almost 100 times as much in a third, government data show.

Greg Winter, The New York Times, November 9, 2003 --- 

At most top schools, alumni relatives are accepted at two or three times the rate of other applicants.
Daniel Golden, The Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2003, Page B1.

A U.S. appeals court upholds FCC requirements that TV manufacturers install high-quality digital broadcast signals in new sets starting July 2004. Under the new rules, the lagging transition to digital TV will be completed by July 2007.
Wired News,
October 28, 2003 ---,1282,60997,00.html 

I like the generosity of numbers.
The way, for example,
they are willing to count
anything or anyone:
two pickles, one door to the room,
eight dancers dressed as swans.

I like the domesticity of addition--
add two cups of milk and stir--
the sense of plenty: six plums
on the ground, three more
falling from the tree.
Mary Cornish --- 
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools --- 

People in the field realize the old adage that "whatever gets measured also gets delivered."
Stefan Reichelstein and Sunil Dutta (See below)

Bob Jensen's working draft of accounting and finance scandals for October-December 2003 can be found at 

FAS 133 Trips Up Freddie Mac

"Freddie Mac Attack Critics are calling for greater oversight -- or even a breakup," Business Week, July 7, 2003 --- 

The improper use of hedge accounting to amortize gains -- and thus smooth ragged ups and downs in quarterly earnings -- was Freddie's downfall. As a June 25 press release deadpanned: "Certain capital market transactions and accounting policies had been implemented with a view to their effect on earnings in the context of Freddie Mac's goal of achieving steady earnings growth." Translation: Steady earnings help Freddie convince investors and lenders that management has its eye on the ball. They also help ward off politicians who might point to volatility as a reason to tighten regulation or even break Freddie up. 

The company's quest for smooth earnings, plus its admitted lack of accounting expertise and weak management controls, proved to be a fateful combination. That became clear to PricewaterhouseCoopers auditors soon after they replaced longtime Freddie auditor Andersen LLC in 2002. The new audit team soon discovered suspicious hedge accounting involving Treasury securities.

FAS 133 Trips Up Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae had previously argued that it had a far better lock on its accounting than Freddie Mac, hoping to cast itself as a more responsible and sophisticated operation that didn't need much more scrutiny. Fannie Mae went so far as to hold an accounting "tutorial" earlier this month to explain derivatives accounting to investors, analysts and reporters. Yet it was in derivatives accounting that its stumble came.
Patrick Bartta and John D Mckinnon --- 

Hedging Paradox:  
In finance, there is no way to cover your Fannie without exposing your Fannie somewhere else.
Gypsy Rose Lee would've said her fan (hedge) could only cover one Fannie cheek at a time.

The Word "Hedge" is the Most Misleading Term in Finance! FAS 133 and IAS 39 may be misleading the public into thinking that firm-wide risk is being accounted for when risk is merely being shifted about with hedging --- 

"A Road Test of 'Keychain' Drives," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2003 ---,,SB106859680934255000,00.html?mod=gadgets%255Flead%255Fstory%255Fcol 

Small, Portable Devices Can Pack a Lot of Files; Speedy Data Transfers In the past few years, the once-ubiquitous floppy disk, for decades the standard medium for transferring files from one personal computer to another, has been disappearing. Rarely do new computers even come with floppy drives. PC makers instead urge people to e-mail files, or, if a physical transfer is desired, to buy a machine with a CD recorder that can "burn" files to blank CDs.

But there's a better way. In the past 18 months, small companies in Asia have been producing gadgets called keychain drives -- also known as thumb drives. These are small plastic fobs, about the size of a key, stuffed with memory chips that retain their contents without electrical power. They hold between 16 megabytes and two gigabytes of data. On the end is a standard USB connector that fits into the USB ports built into every Windows and Macintosh PC for the past four or five years.

When you pop one of these keychain drives into a USB port, any PC or Mac with a recent operating system instantly recognizes it as a disk drive -- without the need to install any software. You can easily drag and drop all sorts of files back and forth between your PC to the keychain drive. When you're finished, simply pull the thing out and walk away. Many people carry them in pockets or purses or -- yes -- on keychains.

And now, new keychain drives are showing up with much larger capacities, at much lower prices. Keychain drives with about 64 MB of capacity were going for $99 just over a year and a half ago, when these gadgets were new. Now, a 64 MB device costs just $30.

Other reviews by Walt Mossberg can be found at 

The lead developer of Macromedia's Dreamweaver stated the following in a November 11, 2003 email message:

With all the improvements in Dreamweaver MX 2004, the point was to create a faster, better way to get your work done. We've actually made some pretty dramatic changes from Dreamweaver MX. Some of these are readily apparent. Some aren’t. Most importantly, there are things you can do with the new Dreamweaver that you just couldn't before. But it would be impossible to list them all here.

The Dreamweaver homepage is at 

Sample a Tegrity-powered algebra lecture created by Dr. Lindsey ---
(At one point you have to click on your download speed.)

How can course lectures be recorded and delivered on demand?

It is possible to use Camtasia to make videos of what appears on computer screens and instructor narrations.  Alternately, it is possible to take live video of an instructor for playback at any time, but this does not work well for recording computer screens.  Actually, the best alterative probably is a system designed for the purpose of recording everything.  

Enter Tegrity at 

Tegrity® WebLearner is the leading solution for automatically
  turning natural teaching into effective multimedia e-learning,
  for on-demand and live delivery.

What makes Tegrity so unique?

Learn more... --- 

See Customer Content in Demo Center --- 

Note From Bob Jensen:  I downloaded the Video Demos at 
These are quite good.  In an algebra class you can even view the instructor telling a student to "put the candy away"

"On-Demand Lectures Create an Effective Distributed Education Experience," by Stanley D. Lindsey, T.H.E. Journal, November 2003, pp. 16-19 --- 

I began teaching senior-level structural engineering courses at the Georgia Institute of Technology's Georgia Tech Regional Engineering Program two years ago. The program is a unique partnership of four universities - Georgia Tech, Savannah State University, Armstrong Atlantic State University and Georgia Southern University - with classes taught live at one of the partner universities. Currently, students in remote classrooms at the other universities receive the live class through various room-to-room audio and video network setups; thus, most classes are of the distributed education (DE) type.

When I began teaching, I tried to make sure that students would receive the best possible educational experience in my classes by trying various standard DE teaching techniques. I noticed the typical student profile and expectations had changed over the years, with today's students demanding a great deal of quality and convenience in their educational offerings. Naturally, the institution will benefit if its students, who are located in and around Atlanta, can get a Georgia Tech degree without always having to travel to the Atlanta campus. However, I felt that the standard DE techniques were not fully reaching all of the students. This is especially true with the methods currently available, because they lacked a way to efficiently record live teaching sessions and make them available for on-demand access.

I quickly found the standard production-based methods for creating and delivering engaging e-learning content were not sufficient, and surmised there must be a better way to do it. I needed something that would not overburden me or my support staff; would not consume tremendous monetary resources; could adapt to my personal teaching style; and could provide anytime, anywhere convenience for the instructor as well as a valid learning experience for the student.

I spent the better part of six months doing intense research into the tools and software for developing DE courses with one of my graduate students. We evaluated partial solutions such as electronic whiteboards, desktop authoring and video-editing software, but nothing provided a complete, integrated solution that would meet our needs. We even looked at experimental open source software, but it could not deliver the quality and ease of use that we required.

Creating Lecture 'Shells'

In our research, we discovered the Tegrity WebLearner solution ( for on-demand and live e-learning, which seemed to provide everything that was needed to achieve our goals. We purchased the Tegrity solution using a major portion of my start-up funds. This solution offered a unique approach that combined do-it-yourself e-learning software with a tablet PC, which enabled me to create effective Web lectures that went far beyond typical slide-show presentations with "talking head" video or audio. The key difference was in its ability to interact with my content - writing and drawing in multiple colors, pointing and highlighting on diagrams - all while explaining concepts at my natural speed. The resulting video modules were actually more powerful than what I could have taught with a blackboard in a traditional classroom.

Content can be created anywhere with the portable, pen-based Toshiba Portégé 3500 tablet PC ( and Tegrity, because we have a floating license for the Tegrity software that I can use at work or check out for use at home. I create freehand text, sketches and/or calculations using the tablet; then, simply paste them into Microsoft PowerPoint to make lecture "shells." There's even a document camera that can be used to import images into Tegrity from books or freehand-drawn graphs on grid paper, which I can annotate later as I am recording the lectures. I have found that the tablet PC shortens my preparation time, as I no longer have to design elaborate slides or graphics in PowerPoint; now, they can be done quickly in freehand on the tablet. There is also no need for administrative support or assistance in preparing these PowerPoint shells for my lectures. Thus, lectures can be recorded and uploaded anyplace I have Internet access - even wirelessly.

Creating these video modules and making them available online for repeated viewing has helped transform the way I teach in the classroom. The lectures are recorded in advance and are required viewing before students come to class. After we have spent self-paced time understanding the key concepts in class, I spend time offering personal assistance to those who need it most. With the Tegrity modules available online, I no longer have to invest the entire class time lecturing to the whole group during each class period. Now, class time is used more effectively for discussions, working directly with students, solving homework problems and discussing real-world, practical applications of the content from the streamed video lectures that are designated for the scheduled class.

Course Management Software

Another aspect of my approach to DE is the use of course management software. The logistics of collecting and distributing homework with students in three different cities can be quite a task, so using course management software allows me - without any administrative staff assistance - to post and access all course materials, information, tests and homework in a single place on the Web. I create units in the course management software for Tegrity lectures, online quizzes, homework and homework solutions, schedules, document sharing, drop boxes, announcements, and threaded discussions.

Typically, a Tegrity lecture is recorded and then linked to a unit of the course management software. The student, using a browser with Microsoft Windows Media, clicks on the established link to view the lecture from the streaming server without any special software plug-ins required. Homework and quizzes are posted in the same manner, but with a drop box created for each assignment. In addition, dates are established for access to the box.

Students send an electronic file (PDF) of their assignment to the drop box where I mark and grade it on the tablet PC screen. The marked and graded file is then saved, and an electronic copy is placed in the student's drop box where he or she can electronically access it and print a copy. The ability to write directly on the file using the tablet PC saves me the time and hassle of having to print the assignment, grade it, scan it, save the scanned copy and then e-mail it back to the student.

Expanding the Teaching Horizon

The students who were taught using some or all of these approaches have given very favorable responses to my class. I have taught steel design three times - twice by conventional methods and once this last semester using Tegrity, the tablet PC and course management software. My last class covered more material than the previous two, and students performed better overall. Their performance this last semester has convinced me of the merits of my approach.

To gather student reactions to the problem-based class, an assessment form was devised. The following are some of the results and comments from the final student survey:

This is only the beginning of DE using this methodology. I am currently planning new courses that will take advantage of Tegrity's ability to deliver lectures live via the Internet. Students will log on to the lectures as they are being given and ask questions that will be heard by those using voice-over IP and chat functions. These live lectures will be automatically recorded and stored on the server for on-demand access by remote students located anywhere with an Internet connection. I also plan to deliver Tegrity live lectures to classrooms and place the automatic recordings in the course management software for the students to view again if they wish, which requires no additional work.

In conclusion, by using Tegrity and the tablet PC, I have been given the tools to develop on-demand lectures quickly and easily. This ability allows me to focus on the needs of individual students in class, rather than spending all my class time "chalking and talking." My experience to date indicates that we can do a better job educating and reaching our students with this methodology. It can only get better as new technical innovations become available and as more teachers are willing to expand the horizon of teaching using these innovations.

Click here to view a sample of a Tegrity-powered lecture created by Dr. Lindsey.

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

"Business School Records Lectures and Lets Students Review Them Online," The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 8, 2003, Page 39.

Administrators and professors in Baruch's Zicklin School of Business have discovered that making digital-video recordings of lectures available online can help undergraduates succeed in large lecture courses.

Students use the online versions for review or if they have missed a lecture.

Most colleges that record lectures do so for the benefit of distance-education students.  Baruch is unusual because it records lectures for some courses that it teaches in classrooms, and spends very little money doing so.

For recording purposes, the business school selects one of the professors who teaches microeconomics and one who teaches macroeconomics.  Their lectures are available online a day

You can read more about this and download samples from accounting classes from links provided at 

Amazon’s ability to search through millions of book pages to unearth any tidbit is part of a search revolution that will change us all.
Steven Levy, MANBC, November 10, 2003 --- 

Note from Bob Jensen
This is a Fantastic Book Searching Tool.  

Beginning October 23, 2003, offers a text search of entire contents of over 120,000 books (over 10 million pages).  There are some prizes to be awarded to early users of this service --- 

How It Works --- 
A significant extension of our groundbreaking Look Inside the Book feature, Search Inside the Book allows you to search millions of pages to find exactly the book you want to buy. Now instead of just displaying books whose title, author, or publisher-provided keywords that match your search terms, your search results will surface titles based on every word inside the book. Using Search Inside the Book is as simple as running an search. 

Hints from Bob Jensen

"Amazon's Text Search Feature Helps Boosts Sales of Some Books," bu Nick Wingfield, The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2003 ---,,SB106755615055816900,00.html?mod=technology_main_whats_news Inc. said a new program that allows customers to search the contents of some books has boosted sales growth by 9% for titles in the program above other titles that can't be searched.

The news from the Seattle-based Internet retailer suggests that concerns among some book publishers that the search service might hurt sales haven't materialized. Amazon last Thursday introduced the service, called Search Inside the Book, which gave its customers a way to scour complete copies of 120,000 books from 190 publishers, a major advance over the searches customers were previously limited to, such as searches by title and author name.

Some book publishers have stayed out of the new Amazon search service because of concerns that users can easily scan Amazon's electronic copies instead of buying the books. In the days since the service launched though, Amazon monitored sales of 120,000 book titles that can be searched through its new service and says growth in sales of those books significantly outpaced the growth of all other titles on the site. Amazon said 37 additional publishers have contacted the company since the search service launched asking to have their books included in the program.

"It's helping people find things they couldn't otherwise find," Steve Kessel, vice president of Amazon's North American books, music and video group, said in an interview. "There are people who love authors and who are finding things, not just by the author, but about the author."

Although its customers can search entire books with the new service, Amazon has restrictions that limit the ability to browse entire books online. Once a user clicks to a book page containing terms that they've search for -- "Gulf War," for instance -- Amazon doesn't let them browse more than two pages forward or back. Users may jump to other pages containing the terms, but the same restrictions on browsing apply.

Search technology is becoming an increasingly important focus for Amazon and for online shopping in general. The company recently established a new division in Silicon Valley, called A9, which is developing searching technology for finding products to purchase on the Internet. (See article.) The project is getting underway at a time when more shoppers are using search engines like Google and comparison shopping sites like to locate products.

Amazon has a head start on another big Internet company in the book search department. Google Inc. is also talking to publishers about allowing searches of the contents of books, according to people familiar with the matter. A Google spokesman declined to comment.

Bob Jensen's search helpers at 

The New York Times Book Reviews (free) --- 

The Google Gourmet --- 
Add your own recipes.

Hey, he's supposed to be favored by the rich and powerful!
"Billionaires Back Online Activists' Anti-Bush Ads:  Soros, Lewis Pledge up to $5 Million In Matching Gifts to Fund Campaign," The Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2003 ---,,SB106850823672393700,00.html?mod=technology%5Fmain%5Fwhats%5Fnews 

Sharing Professor of the Week --- John Hull (who writes about financial instrument derivatives) --- 

His books (not free) are great, and he also shares (for free) some software and data.

From Syllabus News on November 4, 2003
Graduate Program Popularity:  And the winner is --- Psychology!

Graduate School Rankings 

Graduate studies in computer science climbed from last place (20th) to thirteenth in a ranking of the popularity of fields of post-graduate academic study, according to in its 2003 Third Quarter Top 20 list. The most popular field of graduate study is now psychology, according to the service. Electrical engineering came in second.

Mark Shay, president of Educational Directories Unlimited, Inc., the parent company of, said the rankings reflect fast changes occurring in the social and international spheres.

"It is apparent that the education world, in response to international public affairs and ever-evolving digital technologies, is in a pivotal position as top student interest is comprised of a diverse mix including the social sciences, engineering, humanities and business. The hoopla of the digital world is stabilizing and students are once again recognizing the arts and humanities."

Comment by Bob Jensen

I guess I'm suspicious of because of some of the questionable programs that are promoted at --- 

Many of the programs promoted at this site are for-profit academic degree programs in the gray zone between outright diploma mill frauds and legitimate accredited programs in a traditional sense.  The gray zone for-profit programs tend to give academic credit for life experience and claim licenses and accreditations of dubious merit.

Incidentally, when promoting these gray zone colleges and universities, also provides links to where students can have term papers written for them --- 

I shortened the above link to
It would be shame if my students missed this golden opportunity.

I thought that I was at the only Trinity University (i.e., the one in San Antonio has a copyright on the name and the one that for the past twelve years has been ranked in first place in the West under a classification scheme used by US News and World Reports) --- 

Apparently this is not  the only Trinity University even though US News does not list any other Trinity University.

I recommend taking the information at with a grain of salt (read that with skepticism).   For example, there is a promotion for Trinity College/University (where you can choose whether you want "College" or "University" in your diploma).  Trinity College/University offers degrees based heavily of life experience --- 

Trinity College and University gives qualifying adults the opportunity to convert what is learned in life into college degrees, whether that knowledge is from professional or other accomplishments, work, religious or military training or other sources. You may have qualifications now to earn a college degree or college credits by our assessment of your prior learning, testing or portfolio. Our evaluation and assessment may lead to the award of a degree! Or perhaps a Certificate in certain specified areas of study.

There may be online partnering courses in some sense of the word, but at Trinity College/University you can receive an Executive MBA diploma in as little as six months as follows:

Trinity College & University announces a special collaborative arrangement with Ashington University, a state licensed graduate university in a suburb of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, that enables students to earn their MBA degrees in as few as 6 months—without interrupting careers to attend classes full-time!

Through on-line distance learning using the Internet and other modern technology, students can study at home, enroll anytime during the year, and complete courses at their own pace, with the guidance of qualified, experienced and real-world professors.

Best of all, because there is no need for buildings or classrooms, Ashington University can offer tuition rates that are among the lowest in the world. When combined with no residency requirement, a whole new world is opening up for countless middle managers who want to further their education and advance their careers.

What is a "state licensed graduate university" in Louisiana?  See 
I am also suspicious of what an AOAEX Accreditation actually entails --- 

In fairness, has a wealth of information about both for-profit and not-for-profit online graduate programs in colleges around the world.  However, the tendency to mix very legitimate accredited programs among programs that I view with suspicion makes me dubious of anything coming out of  

This leads me to question reported surveys and most anything else coming out of   For example, consider the survey mentioned above where Psychology is reported to be the most popular graduate program followed by Electrical Engineering.  How many of students got academic credit  while learning about people when bartending (for a Psychology degree)?  How many got academic credit for repairing television sets (for an Electrical Engineering degree)?

Judge for yourself at 

And lastly, is there any way a school like Trinity University can prevent newer online programs from using the same name on their diplomas?  Historically, there are prestigious Trinity Colleges around the world (e.g. in Dublin and in Hartford ), but I thought there was only one Trinity University until now (other than an outright diploma mill fraud that operated for a short time in Ireland).

Bob Jensen's links to online training and education programs are at 

One protection that Congress has imposed to protect against distance education frauds is to require that schools must have at least 50% of their courses onsite rather than online.  The largest corporation with combined training and education alternatives, Kaplan, and others are lobbying hard to repeal this law.  Should it be repealed?


Kaplan is also lobbying Congress to repeal another federal law -- the so-called 50% rule, which prohibits colleges receiving federal financial aid from offering more than half of their courses via distance education rather than in the classroom. Kaplan, which has a waiver from the rule until 2005, says the restriction -- aimed at fraudulent correspondence colleges -- is an anachronism that could impede its long-term growth.


"Kaplan Transforms Into Big Operator Of Trade Schools," by Daniel golden and Matthew Rose, The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2003 ---,,SB106815531020138300,00.html?mod=home%5Fpage%5Fone%5Fus 

Washington Post Co. Unit, Known for Test Coaching, Bets on Online Learning

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- In a call center here, 148 sales representatives work the phones, following their training manual's exhortation to "sell the dream." Their jobs and raises hinge on meeting quarterly sales goals. They adorn their cubicles with colored flags, denoting completed interviews with prospects and allowing supervisors to check progress at a glance.

These marketers are pitching something unusual: an education. Known as admissions advisers, they seek online students for Kaplan College, the largest of 57 colleges owned by Kaplan Inc., a company better known for coaching students on entrance exams to selective colleges and graduate schools.

Kaplan has transformed itself into one of the fastest-growing players in the booming business of for-profit higher education. Its colleges, mostly two-year trade schools and all acquired or opened in the past five years, serve more than 40,000 students and generate $250 million in annual revenue.

At the same time, Kaplan's swift expansion into adult education has transformed its parent, Washington Post Co. Kaplan says it expects higher revenue this year than Washington Post's venerable flagship newspaper -- or any other unit of the company.

Kaplan's growth is taking Washington Post into a market with a new set of risks for the media giant. Trade schools such as Kaplan's play an important economic role by giving workers new skills that help them get jobs. But the entire for-profit adult-education industry is rebounding from scandals in the early 1990s involving schools that didn't deliver on job training. Those failures saddled many low-income students with debts they couldn't pay. Because for-profit colleges depend heavily on federal grants and loans for their tuition, the failures left the U.S. government with piles of defaulted student loans.

. . .

Lobbying Congress

Mr. Grayer says the federal-aid programs that boost Kaplan's revenue were designed "to give individuals access to the education they need to better their lives. That's exactly what Kaplan does." In some months this year, the share of Kaplan College's revenue coming from the government has climbed to 87% or 88%, the company says. The proximity to the federal 90% limit recently motivated Kaplan officials to lobby Congress to abolish or modify the ceiling.

Kaplan is also lobbying Congress to repeal another federal law -- the so-called 50% rule, which prohibits colleges receiving federal financial aid from offering more than half of their courses via distance education rather than in the classroom. Kaplan, which has a waiver from the rule until 2005, says the restriction -- aimed at fraudulent correspondence colleges -- is an anachronism that could impede its long-term growth.

The Department of Education reported in July that not applying the 50% rule to Kaplan and the 15 other educational institutions with waivers hasn't "resulted in any problems." Possible changes to the 50% rule and the 90% federal-funding limit are expected to be debated next year when Congress reauthorizes overall federal aid for higher education.

Continued in the article.

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

Astrophysicist Brian Greene argues that the utterly elegant yet mind-boggling string theory explains the very fiber of time, reality, and the universe at large. Despite stellar credentials, Greene and others couldn't resolve the incompatibility between quantum mechanics and general relativity (as currently understood, both can't be correct).  Which one is correct?

NOVA: The Elegant Universe --- 

Viewpoints on String Theory --- 

Fantastic Zoology --- 

Borges bequeaths a prolific body of literature, paradoxically distinguished by its internationalism and the nostalgic love for some mythical or minimal places: Buenos Aires, the "South", Iceland, England, the Far East, some courts, some street-corners. Passionately interested in Nordic mythology and languages, he systematically undertook the study of the old Scandinavian tongue. European intellectuals discovered and proclaimed his originality, even before he was recognized at home.

Political Theory Daily Review --- 

Political-economic used books  ---  A

Arab Culture and Civilization (History, Religion, Islam, Moslem) --- 

The NITLE Arab World project is divided into ten modules, listed below. While the modules are organized by theme, you will find many cross-links between items in different module, which you can follow at your leisure. While all of the material is presented for an English-speaking audience, you can learn more about the Arabic language in our module on the subject.

This is an account of the forces that have shaped the Arab world into the kind of society it is today. Although the emphasis is on modern history since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, some materials, most notably our timeline, will provide historical background since the rise of Islam.

Ethnicity and Identity
This unit begins with the question, "Who are the Arabs?" It then moves on to address the status of those Arabs who are not Muslim, as well as the status of those non-Arabs, both Muslim and not, who form the minority communities of the region.

By far the vast majority of Arabs are Muslim, yet most non-Muslims in the West know very little about the religion. This unit will introduce you to the basic principles of the Islamic faith, as well as a sense of how it functions on a social level.

Arab Americans
This unit provides a history of Arab communities in the United States, their accomplishments and the challenges they have faced. It also addresses the concerns of the Arab-American community in a post-September 11 context.

Literature and Philosophy
This unit will introduce you to the literary and philosophical tradition of the Arab World, both by providing sample readings of translated primary texts and by providing critical and historical analyses of the Arabic literary tradition. You will also find samples of writing by Arab-Americans, of the Francophone tradition in the Arab World, and even writing by non-Arabs who use Arabic as their literary language.

Popular Culture and the Performing Arts
This unit focuses on music, film, theater and dance, with lots of video clips, audio files and images to bring it all alive for you.

Family and Society
This unit looks at the role of the family in Arabic society and the changes it has undergone in recent history. In this unit, as well, you will find discussion of gender roles in the region.

Art and Architecture
This unit provides an introduction to the aesthetic and artistic traditions of the Arab world, especially calligraphy, architecture, and other visual arts.

The Arabic Language
Few cultures place more emphasis on their language as a unifying factor than do the Arabs. In this unit you will find resources about the language, its structure and development, as well as materials to help those who wish to study the language.

Geography, Demographics, and Resources
This unit focuses on the land and its people, to provide a basic sketch of the physical, social and economic geography of the region, both as a whole and in terms of specific nations.

"A Sketch of Arab-Americans: Who Should Study Whom?" by Felicia R. Lee, The New York Times, November 15, 2003 ---  

Book Recommendation 1

Mastery of the Financial Accounting Research System (FARS) Through Cases by Wanda A. Wallace (Wiley, 2004) --- 

The CD Financial Accounting Research System (FARS) is a CD of five separate infobases, each of which is designed to resemble the printed version of the original documents as much as possible: 

Book Recommendation 2 (I ordered this book even though it won ' t be shipped until 2004.  You can download wonderful excerpts from the links below).  Don Norman is a great scholar, computer scientist, and writer.

I think this is something that accounting educators as well as educators in general have ignored the importance of emotion in design.

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things, by Donald A. Norman, D.( New York: Basic Books, 2004) 

By the author of The Design of Everyday Things, the first book to make the connection between our emotions and how we relate to ordinary objects-from juicers to Jaguars. Did you ever wonder why cheap wine tastes better in fancy glasses? Why sales of Macintosh computers soared when Apple introduced the colorful iMac? New research on emotion and cognition has shown that attractive things really do work better, a fact fans of Don Norman's classic The Design of Everyday Things cannot afford to ignore.

In recent years, the design community has focused on making products easier to use. But as Norman amply demonstrates in this fascinating and important new book, design experts have vastly underestimated the role of emotion on our experience of everyday objects.

Emotional Design analyzes the profound influence of this deceptively simple idea, from our willingness to spend thousands of dollars on Gucci bags and Rolex watches to the impact of emotion on the everyday objects of tomorrow. In the future, will inanimate objects respond to human emotions? Is it possible to create emotional robots?

Norman addresses these provocative questions-drawing on a wealth of examples and the latest scientific insights-in this bold exploration of the objects in our everyday world.


Three Teapots
(Draft copy available here, in PDF format --- 

I: The Meaning of Things

1. Attractive Things Work Better
(Draft copy available here, in PDF format --

2. The Multiple Faces of Emotion & Design

II: Design in Practice

3. Three Kinds of Design: Visceral, Behavioral and Reflective

4. Fun & Games

5. People, Places, and Things

6. Emotional Machines

7. The Future of Robots

Epilogue: Emotional Design

We Are All Designers
(Draft copy available here, in PDF format --- )

October 3, 2003 reply from Cynthia Mundy

Here is another book you might like. I just bought it, but have not read it yet. It is called, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven", by Mitch Albom. 

What do you get when you marry a pornographic sensibility with a conservative world view? Take a look at today’s alternative youth magazines.

Disturbing news on sex and violence in magazines targeted for youth.
"The New Cool," by Tim Wilson, Newsweek, September 25, 2003 --- 

The entirely reasonable suspicion that somewhere else people more attractive than oneself are having the time of their lives reaches its apogee in late adolescence but never fully abates.

. . .

Contrary to the efflorescence of baby-boomer youth culture, which espoused liberal ideals both in the bedroom and at the ballot box, bright young things now seem to want to mate pornographic values with conservative political ones. These two may appear incompatible, but if viewed as part of the young (a phase that can now last beyond your 21st birthday) trendsetter’s desire for freedom from the norm, they are more readily equated. Being an autonomous individual means you can make love as well as war. Sometimes you can do both at once. WYWS, for example, has a theme issue on “Sex and Violence” with the explanation, “This issue ... is for ‘resentment sex,’ the only sex worth having ... It’s for how much I like f—king you because I hate you.” Vice has famously published a guide to anal sex between men and women, accompanying it with a piece, written by young women on how your common hetero guy will respond to his girlfriend—how to put this?—taking charge from behind. A fashion spread in the usually more design-orientated Tokion shows a bare-breasted girl-child holding a steak over her right eye. The text on the opposing page has the disturbing S&M formulation, “I can’t tell you yes if I can’t tell you no.” The next image shows two girls locked in a Sapphic clutch; one is blowing the marijuana smoke that she has inhaled from a phallic bong at her delirious friend who is, of course, also inhaling. Count me in as apoplectic if it helps. Fornication is a standard interest for kids, though I can’t imagine what this generation, having worked its way through light S&M, B&D, gentle sodomy and role-playing in their callow years, will have to look forward to in their 30s and 40s. (Chastity perhaps; now there’s a turn on.)

But more notable is the regularity with which these titles employ conservative (as opposed to traditional) positions and sources. Maybe it’s a sign of the times. Conservatism in America currently enjoys a rewarding diffuseness, simultaneously providing the lingua franca of the disenfranchised, of atavistic humor—by invoking “political correctness”—and of the reigning political establishment. So Tokion will quote a Japanese bare-knuckle fight promoter explaining the popularity of his sport by saying, “Because pride doesn’t exist in Japan these days.” When WYWS interviews G. Gordon Liddy, the first question is, “How do you talk to a 25-year-old today who is on the cusp of conversion [to conservatism]?” Later in the magazine, two birds are killed with one stone when a leading porn Web master says, “I love the NRA, less government, less taxes, supply-side economics and freedom.

Continued in the article.

What do you get when you merge English and Spanish?

"The Meaning of Spanglish," by Silvana Paternostro, Newsweek, September 18, 2003 --- 

The ’70s had Doonesbury, the ’80s had Bloom County and the ’90s had Dilbert. But what will be the comic strip of this decade?

To be honest I never heard of the supposed winner.  Guess I'm from the "Boondocks." --- 

What is Sufism?
Hint: Think religion.

"The Real Sufism Islamic mysticism may be gaining a hip following in the West but that’s a bowdlerized version. To see it today in Iraq, where it’s freely practiced again, is more ambiguous --- 

What former U.S. President likes best to be remembered as a book author?
Hint 1:  He wrote 18 books of non-fiction, fiction, and poetry.
Hint 2:  He's a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Hint 3:  Aside from being a former President, he's best known as a nut case.
Hint 4:  He received a Nobel Prize.
Hint 5:  He has a biblical set of initials for his first and last names (same as another famous carpenter)
Hint 6:  He and Bob Jensen have in common daily routine.

Hint 1:  He wrote 18 books of non-fiction, fiction, and poetry ---  his latest and first work of fiction was just released.  It has extremely favorable reviews that call it historically controversial.  It is entitled The Hornet's Nest : A Novel of the Revolutionary War --- 

See "Heading in a Novel Direction," by Malcolm Jones, Newsweek, November 10, 2003, Page 64.

(The former President states that his books are) "my family's major source of income ... I never have been on the lecture circuit, I never have been on a corporate board.  I don't criticize other who have.  But most of our income is from that source (books).  And the books have been quite successful.  Even the poetry book has been a good-selling book."

Hint 2:  He's a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy --- but did not get the best grades because pleasure reading of literature got in his way of concentrating for top course grades.

Hint 3:  Aside from being a former President, he's best known as a nut case --- he was the world's most famous peanut farmer.

Hint 4:  He received a Nobel Prize --- his Nobel Lecture in Oslo on December 10, 2002 is at 

Hint 5:  He has a biblical set of initials for his first and last names (same as another famous carpenter) --- Jimmy Carter 
His Presidential Library Link is 

Hint 6:  He and Bob Jensen have in common daily routine --- both Jimmy and Bob are generally at their desks writing at 5:00 a.m. long before their wives have awakened for the day.  "So by 8 or 8:30 in the morning, when Rosalynn and I might have breakfast together, I've already put in three solid hours of work.  I turn out a lot of words." Newsweek, November 10, 2003, Page 64.

His latest book and first work of fiction is called The Hornet's Nest : A Novel of the Revolutionary War --- 

From Publishers Weekly

With this intricately detailed novel of the American South and the Revolutionary War, President Carter becomes our first chief executive, past or present, to publish a work of fiction. By concentrating on Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas from 1763 to 1783, Carter takes a fresh look at this crucial historical period, giving life and originality to a story usually told from the viewpoint of the northern colonies. There's a large cast of characters, but the focus is on the families of Ethan and Epsey Pratt and neighbors Kindred and Mavis Morris, backwoods Georgia homesteaders who are swept up, albeit reluctantly, in the revolution against the British. Among many other subjects, Carter covers military tactics, natural history, 18th-century politics, celestial navigation, the causes of the war, the sexual practices of both Indians and pioneers and how to tar and feather a man without killing him. Fascinating tidbits about well-known historical figures abound: "After some New Jersey militia actually mutinied [George] Washington decided to set an example of stern discipline; he forced the top leaders to draw lots, and the winners shot the losers." Carter's style leans toward the academic ("Mr. Knox, what's the difference between Whigs and Tories?"), but readers who can put up with the occasional lecture will learn fascinating truths about this exceedingly brutal war and the stories of the men and women who lived and died in the course of it. Those seeking a riveting prose style would be advised to look to more experienced fiction writers, but anyone who has ever wondered about the difference between a Whig and a Tory will find this an interesting and informative read. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist 

Carter continues to have one of the most productive and varied post-political careers of any former U.S. president. A prodigious writer with 16 works of nonfiction to his credit, Carter turns to fiction with this account of the Revolutionary War as fought in the Deep South. Because most of the accessible literature revolves around battles fought in New England and the Middle Atlantic colonies, it is easy to overlook the fierce fighting that took place in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. The... read more

Book Description

The first work of fiction by a President of the United States -- a sweeping novel of the American South and the War of Independence

In his ambitious and deeply rewarding novel, Jimmy Carter brings to life the Revolutionary War as it was fought in the Deep South; it is a saga that will change the way we think about the conflict. He reminds us that much of the fight for independence took place in that region and that it was a struggle of both great and small battles and of terrible brutality, with neighbor turned against neighbor, the Indians' support sought by both sides, and no quarter asked or given. The Hornet's Nest follows a cast of characters and their loved ones on both sides of this violent conflict -- including some who are based on the author's ancestors.

At the heart of the story is Ethan Pratt, who in 1766 moves with his wife, Epsey, from Philadelphia to North Carolina and then to Georgia in 1771, in the company of Quakers. On their homesteads in Georgia, Ethan and his wife form a friendship with neighbors Kindred Morris and his wife, Mavis. Through Kindred and his young Indian friend Newota, Ethan learns about the frontier and the Native American tribes who are being continually pressed farther inland by settlers. As the eight-year war develops, Ethan and Kindred find themselves in life-and-death combat with opposing forces.

With its moving love story, vivid action, and the suspense of a war fought with increasing ferocity and stealth, The Hornet's Nest is historical fiction at its best, in the tradition of such major classics as The Last of the Mohicans.

November 6, 2003 reply from XXXXX

-----Original Message----- 
Subject: RE: The Hornet's Nest

Bob, I have often wondered where you got the energy/inertia to compose these linked pages. With your discipline of writing hours each morning, do you ever hold writing workshops? Speak to any groups or your classes about this soon-to-be lost-to-the-younger-generation skill? Could I talk to you about the discipline sometime? Thanks again for all you do in disseminating so much info to us. 

Very best, 
Helen XXXXX 

November 6, 2003 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Helen,

I do hold workshops on technical issues and have made presentations to over 350 colleges around the world ---

However, nobody has ever asked me to do a presentation on reading or writing. One reason is that I read/write fast but not necessarily skillfully.  I have started several abandoned novels and greatly respect those that can see them to the finish.  I did write one short story in a style that is what I would like to write more of if I had more time ---

A Paradox
I spent two of my least productive years in a think-tank (the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences on the
Stanford University campus), and these were the least productive years of my life (although I did write a “phantasmagoric” monograph published by the AAA).  I think I was less productive in a think tank because the environment was too ideal (no teaching, no telephones, no meetings, lots and lots of uninterrupted time, etc.)

Why Was I Less Productive in a Think Tank?
I think the reason is that I am like many others who are more productive when there is less time and more pressures.  Some of my most productive years arose when I was Chair of an Accounting Department (FSU), teaching full time, supervising doctoral students, raising horses, raising young children, etc.  I’ve no explanation for why I (we) are more productive in less ideal circumstances except to say that the adrenalin flows more under pressure.   

Is it Worth My Time to Continue Striving for Top Research Journals?
There was a time when both writing for and refereeing for top research journals were my highest priorities.  These still would be at a certain stage of my life (younger and rising in academe).  But I am now at a stage where word crafting of a single article and going round and round in battle with referees/authors on submissions to top journals is no longer worth my time.  The reason is that there are too few precious years left in me to spend most of it on a very few papers that probably would be far less important to the world than what I do now generating around 5,000 pages a year for the public at my Website ---
I am also of the opinion that some of my worst efforts got into top journals (they were mathematical and I’m not sure anybody read them), and some of my best efforts denied --- 
In fairness, I get very bored rehashing and rewriting old stuff.

The thousands of pages I burp out each year at my Website are not word crafted to perfection and often contain a lot of conceptual and writing errors that often (but not always) get corrected later on when I re-read them and/or when friends and strangers suggest ways in which I can make them better.  I might add that I get a whole lot of evidence of readership of what I put out at my Website than I ever did on papers published in top tier journals and other academic journals.  One possible reason is that my former research papers focused more on sophisticated method (with lots of missing variables that were assumed away in the models) than interesting content (in accounting this happens most of the time in our top journals).  My Website focuses more on interesting content for which sophisticated research methods/models are not feasible without omitting the tough variables that complicate the real world.  I made my case previously that if findings in our top accounting journals were more important, those journals would promote rather than deny replications.  See “Are Accounting Researchers Really Seeking Truth” ---  

I guess my main point about writing for academe is that there is no single optimum for either every individual or a single individual over time.  I think that it is very sad that tenure and promotion criteria at most universities try to force an optimum upon us such as “three articles per year, one of which must be in a top tier journal.”  This is entirely dysfunctional, and I can say that having strived for that optimum over much of my career.  What is unfortunate is that I had to wait until I had an endowed chair and got old enough and independent enough to change my opinion regarding what “optimal” is for me.  Younger faculty members do not have the luxury of having my alternatives when it comes to research and writing. 

I also admire people who write successful textbooks, but this has not been for me because the more successful a textbook becomes the more it takes over its authors.  I have a friend who had a leading textbook in another discipline.  As a result of the mergers and oligopolization of textbook publishing, his textbook was dropped since his merged publisher acquired the very leading textbook in the same field.  He now says in looking back that being dropped was the luckiest day of his life, because now he is at long last free to pursue other scholarly interests and write about other things.

Now what is it you asked me in the first place?
I’m not quite sure, and I’m not quite sure I gave you an answer.  I guess my main point is that word crafting should be left to the poets.  Word crafting in research is great in some contexts, but it can also be dysfunctional.  For me it is better to focus upon scholarship and sharing of ideas interactively such that if you don’t quite get the point across you can jointly fix it up as you go along rather than having to have it gold plated before it leaves the factory.  I’m not sure you would want me to say this to the “younger generation.”  Most certainly the folks in charge of the AAA’s New Faculty Symposium probably think my opinions constitute heresy even though some of them visit my Website almost daily.

Thanks for the kind words.

 Bob Jensen

Wharton Technology Featured on CNBC (Video) --- 

"Deafness cure is nearer, by Angus Howarth, " The Scotsman, October 28, 2003 --- 

Scientists have taken a step towards finding a cure for permanent deafness by growing inner-ear hair cells in the laboratory, it was disclosed last night.

Tiny hairs inside the ear that respond to sound are an essential part of the hearing apparatus, but they degrade throughout life and may be damaged by birth defects, drugs and constant exposure to loud noise.

Once the hair cells are destroyed, the body cannot replace them. Damage to the cells is the leading cause of permanent hearing loss. It can also cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Scientists in the United States described last night how they grew new hair cells from mouse embryonic stem cells. Stem cells are "master" cells that can develop into different kinds of tissue.

Continued in the article.

One of my students complained about the resolution of my XBRL Demo video wmf file that is intended to play back on Windows Media Player.  The XBRL Demo file is at

I explained that with compressed files of any kind, some resolution is lost relative to a non-compressed avi file.  However, I explained that wfm resolution can be improved somewhat by going to a “Full Screen” view in Windows Media Player by clicking on the menu path (View, Full Screen).  You can get out of the Full Screen view by hitting the Esc key on your keyboard.

Most of you probably know this, but many of you probably forget it when you are using Windows Media Player or some other playback software.

One purpose of compressing avi files is both to save on disk storage space and to greatly speed up downloading speed on the Internet.  In Camtasia you first generate an avi file in Camtasia Recorder, edit it in any way you like in Camtasia Producer (e.g., increase the audio), and then use Camtasia Producer to generate compressed video versions in wmf Windows Media, rm Real Media, and swf Flash Video.  I no longer recommend rm Real Media, because rm playback generally entails having to endure delays while Real Media tries to sell you an upgrade. 

In case you’ve forgotten about the XBRL demo, take a look at

Bob Jensen's other video tutorials are linked at 


November 9, 2003 reply from Neal Hannon [nhannon@COX.NET

Hi Bob,
Thanks for making your XBRL presentation available.  In my experience, students and business professionals alike finally "get it" when they see the quickness and power of XBRL at work.  One thing you might add to the instructions, however.  The demo requires the use of macros.  Most student labs have set their Microsoft Office products to the highest level of protection against macros.  The NASDAQ demo will only run if the macro security level is set to either medium or low.  Go to Excel/Tools/Options/Macro Security/Click on Medium or Low.  This action should precede the installing of the Investor Assistant file from the web site.
You might also want to add the following press release (see below) concerning Microsoft and Edgar-online teaming up to create a repository of over 10,000 company SEC filings available for the last 5 years, tagged in XBRL.  These files will work with the Office Business System's Excel 2003 and the XBRL accelerator, which will be available in the first quarter of 2004.  Imagine having all the data (10Q, 10K, annual reports) available in XBRL and have an easy to use tool available for processing the XBRL.  We are truly entering a new era of financial information availability.
Microsoft to Team With EDGAR Online to Facilitate Financial Analysis On the Desktop
Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for XBRL and EDGAR Online Services Demonstrate Seamless Financial Analytics

SEATTLE - Nov. 5, 2003 - Today at the XBRL International Conference, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to work with EDGAR® Online®, Inc., on a new offering and gave the first public demonstration of the prerelease version of the Microsoft® Office Solution Accelerator for XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language), which will revolutionize the way companies author and analyze financial data. Microsoft also distributed prerelease code for the Accelerator to all attendees at the conference.

Microsoft's Chris Kurt, standards diplomat for Web Services, demonstrated how EDGAR Online, a financial information company specializing in making complex regulatory reporting by public companies actionable and easy to use, would deliver financial information in XBRL format to Microsoft Office 2003 applications using the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for XBRL. Kurt showed how XBRL will enable investors and financial analysts to analyze company and industry financial performance with unprecedented ease and accuracy.

"The Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for XBRL will allow people to more easily author and analyze financial documents using Microsoft Word 2003 and Microsoft Excel 2003," said Peter Rinearson, vice president of the Information Worker New Markets group at Microsoft. "It's one of a series of solution accelerators we're developing to help our customers and partners meet specific needs by building on the low-cost, high-value foundation of Microsoft Office System. We expect that many companies will deploy the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerators as a foundation for business solutions."

The alliance announced today is an early example of a world-class company building on the foundation laid by the Office Solution Accelerator for XBRL. EDGAR Online will extend the accelerator's capabilities by utilizing XML Web services to allow companies to seamlessly extract, dissect and review financial information contained in EDGAR Online's extensive information repositories directly from within Microsoft Excel 2003.

The EDGAR Online service provides direct access to financial information on more than 12,000 public companies to help investors and analysts make informed investment decisions. By leveraging the Microsoft XBRL accelerator and Microsoft's Web Services Enhancements for Visual Studio® .NET (WSE), EDGAR Online's secure XML Web service will transmit XBRL financial statement data from EDGAR Online's subscription financial analysis service, EDGAR Online Pro, to Excel 2003 through the Office Solution Accelerator for XBRL. This will allow investors and analysts to use EDGAR Online's extensive financial information for analysis directly on their desktop. The security and integrity of the XBRL financial data is protected using advanced specifications, including WS-Security and WS-Addressing.

"This planned collaboration between EDGAR Online and Microsoft will enable our subscribers to leverage vast quantities of financial information in new and powerful ways," said Susan Strausberg, CEO and president of EDGAR Online. "Financial information has never been so easy to work with. This announcement is exciting news for anyone analyzing financial performance of publicly traded companies."

Traditionally, corporate financial reporting is a labor-intensive process involving the compilation of data from a variety of sources and formats. XBRL is an open, XML-based electronic language that solves this problem by allowing companies to report financial data in a format that is ready for the Web or for import into other applications. Companies stand to save significant amounts of time and money using the XBRL standard to publish their financial statements automatically in one document that has multiple uses, instead of manually creating separate documents for each format.

"We see a lot of value in the use of XBRL for financial analysis, and that's why we are working closely with Microsoft and EDGAR Online to establish stronger support for XBRL throughout the industry," said Paul Penler, global XBRL lead for Ernst & Young and vice chairman of the XBRL U.S. Organization. "The adoption of XBRL promises to help companies make faster and better decisions. As adoption becomes more widespread, XBRL will permit financial analysts, investors, accountants, government agencies, internal users and other interested parties to access, compare and analyze data in ways that currently are not practical or even possible."

The combination of the XML Web service and the solution accelerator is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2004. All attendees at the conference received a prerelease copy of the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerator for XBRL. Microsoft expects other financial-services companies to build powerful features on top of the Solution Accelerator for XBRL in the future.

About Microsoft Office Solution Accelerators
Designed for and built on the Microsoft Office System, Office Solution Accelerators comprise an integrated set of software components, templates and best practices guidance designed to solve specific problems common to organizations. Each accelerator facilitates an end-to-end solution that addresses a key enterprise need, such as proposal creation, recruiting or financial reporting. More information on Office Solution Accelerators is available at

About EDGAR Online, Inc.
EDGAR Online, Inc. (Nasdaq "EDGR,", is a financial information company specializing in making complex regulatory reporting by public companies actionable and easy-to-use. The company makes financial information and a variety of analysis tools available via online subscriptions and licensing agreements to professionals in financial institutions, corporations and law firms.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft and Visual Studio are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. EDGAR is a federally registered trademark of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). EDGAR Online is not affiliated with or approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. EDGAR Online Pro is a product of EDGAR Online, Inc. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:
Jay Sears, EDGAR Online, (203) 852-5666, 
Mike Mitchell, Waggener Edstrom for Microsoft, (503) 443-7000, 
Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom, (503) 443-7070, 

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft's corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at


I created a video tutorial for XBRL.  You can download the xbrldemos.wmv file from the following path

Audit and tax firm KPMG LLP announced Tuesday that it has placed a representative from the company to an inaugural XBRL fellowship at the Financial Accounting Standards Board.
November 10, 2003 ---

"Now in Living Color:  How Life Can Affect Certain Genes in Brain," by Sharon Begley, The Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2003 ---,,SB106754951867486800,00.html?mod=todays%255Fus%255Fmarketplace%255Fhs 

Pick a gene, any gene. Tinker with it so that whenever and wherever it turns on in the brain, it emits a bright green glow (visible under a special microscope) that would do Times Square proud.

Follow all the glowing neurons in the brain as they travel like migrating fireflies from their place of birth to their final niche in the neural circuitry, and see how neurons take wrong turns during brain development.

Or, map the green glows that correspond to a gene believed to be involved in a disorder like schizophrenia and see exactly which neurons contain the suspect gene -- and thus which are impaired by the miscreant DNA.

In one of those made-in-heaven marriages, two of the hottest fields in science -- genetics and neurobiology -- are joining forces. It's an auspicious match. In people, an estimated two-thirds of our 30,000 or so genes are active in the brain, estimates neurobiologist Daniel Weinberger of the National Institute of Mental Health, but scientists have little idea which genes play starring roles in which brain structures and neurons.

A new project called Gensat (Gene Expression Nervous System Atlas) is changing that, scientists report this week in the journal Nature. The "atlas" will map gene activity in the mouse brain, explains project leader Nathaniel Heintz of Rockefeller University in New York, showing how and where genes shared by mice and men -- including those implicated in mental illness, thinking and learning -- go to work.

"Neuroscientists can see where their favorite gene is expressed, which might show the consequences of its loss," says neurobiologist Huda Zoghbi of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

They might also see how nature and nurture interact to shape the brain. "We are gradually learning that the expression of genes in the adult brain is dynamic, changing as a result of experience," adds Dr. Zoghbi. With Gensat, scientists can see in living color how experiences such as suffering a trauma, becoming a parent, or learning a skill change gene expression, perhaps by activating genes that play a role in circuits for fear, compassion, or movement.

By substituting the Day-Glo DNA for mouse genes, Gensat scientists have so far traced where and when 150 genes are expressed in both the fetal and adult mouse brain. (The National Institutes of Health funded the project years before it was clear the technology would work, so all the data are freely available at .)

One gene shared by mice and men, for example, is missing in people with DiGeorge syndrome, a congenital disorder marked by heart defects and learning disorders. Gensat has identified a specific class of neurons that express this gene (called Gscl), pinpointed where in the embryonic mouse these neurons are born and followed their migration, to everyone's surprise, into the region of the brain that regulates the dream-stage of sleep known as rapid-eye-movement sleep. That suggests a new place to search for the roots of the cognitive aspects of DiGeorge.

For nearly a century, brain cells have been classified by appearance, which is only a little less crude than classifying CDs by color. It's much more important to know what music the CD holds -- and what active genes a neuron holds. "Cells that we lump together based on appearance might not really be the same," says Gerald Fischbach, dean of medicine at Columbia University in New York. Already, Gensat has identified the main cell types (based on gene expression, not looks) in the mouse's striatum, a brain region affected in Parkinson's disease. That should let scientists track how gene expression degenerates in this disease.

Seeing which neurons express which genes "should give us a much more refined understanding of brain circuitry," says Dr. Fischbach, especially when that circuitry shorts out as the result of a genetic flaw. "In schizophrenia, for which we have candidate genes, knowing where and when those genes are expressed will let us refine our hypotheses about what's going wrong."

That would build on studies that link genes to mental illness or to healthy functions such as learning. At NIMH, for instance, Dr. Weinberger and his colleagues have shown that one variant of a gene called BDNF, which is involved in fetal brain development, is associated with abnormal function in the brain's hippocampus and with poorer recall on memory tests. Other studies have linked genes to intelligence, Alzheimer's disease or bipolar disorder. Today, scientists are reporting that too much of a gene called a-synuclein may cause Parkinson's disease.

Continued in the article.

From Syllabus News on November 11, 2003

Georgia Tech to Offer eCommerce Professional Certification

Georgia Tech's Electronic Commerce Resource Center will offer an eCommerce Professional Certificate Program, designed to give participants the opportunity to learn from industry and educational professionals the framework for eCommerce integration. Instructors include an eCommerce attorney, a spokesman on Internet security, large portal planner and developer, and university financial and marketing professionals. The program includes the role of eCommerce in the business organization, eCommerce as a sales tool, the latest search engine techniques, and financial eCommerce security.

Bob Jensen's threads on training alternatives are at 

November 1, 2003 message from Douglas Ziegenfuss [dziegenf@ODU.EDU

The GAO published a report "Measuring Performance and Demonstrating Results of Information Technology Investments" publication # GAO/AIMD-98-89.

You can retrieve this report from the GAO website at  and look under reports. Hope this helps.

Douglas E. Ziegenfuss 
Professor and Chair, 
Department of Accounting 
Room 2157 Constant Hall 
Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0229

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at 

-----Original Message----- 
From: Joseph Albert Brady [mailto:brady@UDEL.EDU]  
Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 8:36 AM  
Subject: comparison of undergrad CIS programs  My step-son is interested in taking computer science whenhe goes to college in two years.  

I am looking for a service that describes CIS programsat US universities. If the service had rankings that would be a bonus.  

Does anyone know of such a service?  Thanks in advance,

Joe Brady 
University of Delaware

Hi Joe,

US News and World Reports offers some pretty good startup advice at

Sets of rankings are given at

Top computer science programs often accompany top engineering programs ---

Also top computer science undergraduate programs often accompany top graduate schools in science ---

A school comparison service is offered at

Hope this helps!

Bob Jensen

"Is obesity a disease?"
Insurance, drug access may hinge on answer

The IRS has the first answer.

by Rob Stein, The Washington Post,  November 10, 2003 --- 

PROPONENTS ARGUE that new scientific understanding has clearly established that obesity is a discrete medical condition that independently affects health. Officially classifying obesity as a disease would have a profound impact by helping to destigmatize the condition, much as the classification of alcoholism as a disease made it easier for many alcoholics to get treatment, experts say. But equally important, the move would immediately remove key economic and regulatory hurdles to prevention and treatment, they say. 

Opponents contend that obesity is more akin to high cholesterol or cigarette smoking — a risk factor that predisposes someone to illness but is not an ailment in itself, such as lung cancer or heart disease. Labeling it a bona fide disease would divert scarce resources, distract public health efforts from the most effective countermeasures and unnecessarily medicalize the condition, they say.

Nevertheless, the move to classify obesity as a disease appears to be accelerating. The Internal Revenue Service ruled last year that, for tax purposes, obesity is a disease, allowing Americans for the first time to claim a deduction for some health expenses related to obesity, just as they can for those related to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other illnesses.

Continued in the article.

Should a doctoral student be allowed to hire an editor to help write her dissertation? 
If the answer is yes, should this also apply to any student writing a course project, take home exam, or term paper?

Forwarded by Aaron Konstam
"Academic Frauds," The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 3, 2003 --- 

Question (from "Honest John"): I'm a troubled member of a dissertation committee at Private U, where I'm not a regular faculty member (although I have a doctorate). "Bertha" is a "mature" student in chronological terms only. The scope of her dissertation research is ambiguous, and the quality of her proposal is substandard. The committee chair just told me that Bertha is hiring an editor to "assist" her in writing her dissertation. I'm outraged. I've complained to the chair and the director of doctoral studies, but if Bertha is allowed to continue having an "editor" to do her dissertation, shouldn't I report the university to an accreditation agency? This is too big a violation of integrity for me to walk away.

Answer: Ms. Mentor shares your outrage -- but first, on behalf of Bertha, who has been betrayed by her advisers.

In past generations, the model of a modern academician was a whiz-kid nerd, who zoomed through classes and degrees, never left school, and scored his Ph.D. at 28 or so. (Nietzsche was a full professor at 24.) Bertha is more typical today. She's had another life first.

Most likely she's been a mom and perhaps a blue-collar worker -- so she knows about economics, time management, and child development. Maybe she's been a musician, a technician, or a mogul -- and now wants to mentor others, pass on what she's known. Ms. Mentor hears from many Berthas.

Returning adult students are brave. "Phil" found that young students called him "the old dude" and snorted when he spoke in class. "Barbara" spent a semester feuding with three frat boys after she told them to "stop clowning around. I'm paying good money for this course." And "Millie's" sister couldn't understand her thirst for knowledge: "Isn't your husband rich enough so you can just stay home and enjoy yourself?"

Some tasks, Ms. Mentor admits, are easier for the young -- pole-vaulting, for instance, and pregnancy. Writing a memoir is easier when one is old. And no one under 35, she has come to suspect, should give anyone advice about anything. But Bertha's problem is more about academic skills than age.

Her dissertation plan may be too ambitious, and her writing may be rusty -- but it's her committee's job to help her. All dissertation writers have to learn to narrow and clarify their topics and pace themselves. That is part of the intellectual discipline. Dissertation writers learn that theirs needn't be the definitive word, just the completed one, for a Ph.D. is the equivalent of a union card -- an entree to the profession.

But instead of teaching Bertha what she needs to know, her committee (except for Honest John) seems willing to let her hire a ghost writer.

Ms. Mentor wonders why. Do they see themselves as judges and credential-granters, but not teachers? Ms. Mentor will concede that not everyone is a writing genius: Academic jargon and clunky sentences do give her twitching fits. But while not everyone has a flair, every academic must write correct, clear, serviceable prose for memos, syllabuses, e-mail messages, reports, grant proposals, articles, and books.

Being an academic means learning to be an academic writer -- but Bertha's committee is unloading her onto a hired editor, at her own expense. Instead of birthing her own dissertation, she's getting a surrogate. Ms. Mentor feels the whole process is fraudulent and shameful.

What to do?

Ms.Mentor suggests that Honest John talk with Bertha about what a dissertation truly involves. (He may include Ms. Mentor's column on "Should You Aim to Be a Professor?") No one seems to have told Bertha that it is an individual's search for a small corner of truth and that it should teach her how to organize and write up her findings.

Moreover, Bertha may not know the facts of the job market in her field. If she aims to be a professor but is a mediocre writer, her chances of being hired and tenured -- especially if there's age discrimination -- may be practically nil. There are better investments.

But if Bertha insists on keeping her editor, and her committee and the director of doctoral studies all collude in allowing this academic fraud to take place, what should Honest John do?

He should resign from the committee, Ms. Mentor believes: Why spend his energies with dishonest people? He will have exhausted "internal remedies" -- ways to complain within the university -- and it is a melancholy truth that most bureaucracies prefer coverups to confrontations. If there are no channels to go through, Honest John may as well create his own -- by contacting the accrediting agencies, professional organizations in the field, and anyone else who might be interested.

Continued in the article.

Why not hire Google to write all or parts of her dissertation? ---

November 3 reply from David R. Fordham [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

Bob, there are two very different questions being addressed here.

The first deals with the revelation that “her dissertation research is ambiguous, and the quality of her proposal is substandard”.

The editing of a manuscript is a completely different issue.

The ambiguity of the research and the flaws with the proposal should be addressed far more forcefully than the editing issue!

Care should be used to ensure that the editor simply edits (corrects grammar, tense, case, person, etc.), and isn’t responsible for the creation of ideas. But if the editor is a professional editor who understands the scope of his/her job, I don’t see why editing should be an issue for anyone, unless the purpose of the dissertation exercise is to evaluate the person’s mastery of the minutiae of the English language (in which case the editor is indeed inappropriate).

Talk about picking your battles … I’d be a lot more upset about ambiguous research than whether someone corrected her sentence structure. I believe the whistle-blower needs to take a closer look at his/her priorities. A flag needs to be raised, but about the more important of the two issues.

David R. Fordham
PBGH Faculty Fellow
James Madison University

November 3, 2003 reply from Sam A. Hicks [shicks@VT.EDU

While I am normally a lurker, this one bothers me. Why should the teaching of writing skills be the responsibility of the paid-by-university-professor advisor, but not the paid-by-student editor? I was ABD during the writing of my dissertation. I submitted a draft of most of my dissertation to my advisor, who told me to hire an editor to clean up the writing and then give it back to him for distribution to the remainder of the committee.

I hired an editor of a college business magazine and had several sessions where the editor explained to me why my golden words were if fact poorly written. Those sessions were the only time in my entire education that someone explained writing to me. [I skipped freshman English because I was placed in an honors English class where we read literature the entire time.] I still highly value those meetings and I would argue that those sessions were an important part of my education.

In no way did the editor write my dissertation. My nature is to assume that I am right in all things and to argue my position until I am convinced by the preponderance of evidence that I am in fact wrong. The editor did edit, perhaps on the behalf of the committee, but I believe that I am a better writer because of that editor. When the committee wanted changes, I changed and did not argue. When the editor told me to change, I argued and learned.

Ms Mentor is in error on this.

Have a Good Day!

Sam A. Hicks, PhD CPA
Department of Accounting and Information Systems
Mail Code 0101, 3011 Pamplin Hall
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061

November 3, 2003 replies from Richard Newmark [richard.newmark@PHDUH.COM


Reply 1
I disagree with you on this one. One of the most valuable skills that I learned during the dissertation process was learning how to write. My writing mentor was a marketing professor. He was brutally honest with me--he told me when my writing was terrible, but he also told me when I did a good job. When he first started working with me, his comments were very specific, but as time went on and my writing skills improved, his comments became more vague. He would write "IDU" (I don't understand) in the margin next to a paragraph and expected me to examine the paragraph, determine the problem, and correct it. This process was one of the most positive academic experiences that I have ever had. I shudder to think about my what would have happened to me if I simply hired an editor to address my writing deficiencies.

Reply 2
In your case, it seems that the two of us received similar writing educations. But, it seems that "Bertha" is not interested in learning how to write (unfortunately, I think that Bertha represents many who seek a doctoral degree). I think Bertha-types are likely to have the editor do the editing without educating the student. I also believe that these Berthas would not hesitate to have the editor do more than just edit, especially if it means the difference of finishing and not finishing (or having to take a lot longer to finish).

Personally, I believe that part of the doctoral process is to hone (sp?) students' writing skills and that responsibility should be the University's (e.g., one or more committee members, a writing center). Moreover, sometimes it is difficult to completely separate content discussions from writing discussions and vica versa. This is where a skilled academician can provide better guidance than an editor, who is likely not well-versed in your specific discipline.

Richard Newmark 
Assistant Professor of Accounting 
University of Northern Colorado 
Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business 
Campus Box 128 Greeley, CO 80639

November 3, 2003 reply from Steven [stevenb-cpa@COMCAST.NET

I am a finance and accounting practitioner, and I lecture and facilitate graduate level finance and accounting courses at two Universities. Over the years, I have seen a "dumbing" down of the quality of individuals entering the work force, and I suspect that it is this mentality of hiring others to do the heavy lifting in school that is partly to blame. I would not endorse having a graduate student hire an editor any more than I would endorse having a graduate student hire someone else to take an exam. In the real world, one does not hire someone else to do their writing. If Bertha hopes to teach our future workers, she is setting a terrible example.

November 4, 2003 reply from Patricia Doherty [pdoherty@BU.EDU

I think we have proved pretty clearly that questions like these cannot be answered “generically.” It is something I try very hard to teach my management accounting students: don’t give me a generic “textbook” answer if you want full credit. Relate your answer to the specific case in hand. Hiring an editor as a “writing tutor” to help you develop better skills is a good thing. Perhaps that sort of help is not available in your department, or not in the quantity you need. Hiring an editor to polish up your paper to make it something you could never make it – to essentially write it for you – is not a good thing, because you are presenting it (presumably “Bertha” was not submitting a co-authored dissertation) as your work, when it is not.



Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at 

November 3, 2003 message from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM

Readers of the NYTimes will remember last week's Op-Ed piece on university competitions to attract the top academic stars. In today's NYTimes, there are six letters to the editor. One laments that it would be nice if existed a similar competition for master teacher.

Of course, many will argue that top researchers are sometimes the top teachers. But we all know of cases where top researchers are not top teachers, and where top teachers are not top researchers.

David Albrecht

Opinion: Academic Stars: Worth the Price? (6 Letters)
Academic Stars: Worth the Price?.

Full Story:

Down in Texas We Have a Different Definition of a "Long Horn"

"First look at future of Windows," BBC News, October 28, 2003 --- 

Microsoft has given programmers a peek at the next version of Windows. Codenamed "Longhorn", the software was shown to developers by Bill Gates, the technology giant's chairman and chief software architect.

Microsoft said the new version will have better security, make it easier to organise and find files and need to be restarted much less often.

Although programmers are getting an early look at Longhorn, it is unlikely to go on sale before 2006.

Microsoft said the new version will have better security, make it easier to organise and find files and need to be restarted much less often.

Although programmers are getting an early look at Longhorn, it is unlikely to go on sale before 2006.

Programming peep

Longhorn was shown off on Monday at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.

The audience for the demonstration was made up of 7,000 programmers many of whom will be writing applications that take advantage of the new technologies in Longhorn.

Some of the gloss was taken off the unveiling because early versions of Longhorn were leaked on to the net the day before the conference began.

Bill Gates said the release of Longhorn would be Microsoft's largest software launch this decade and would mean big changes to the way Windows works.

He said the creation of Longhorn had been conducted around four key areas:

Security and scalability Graphics File storage Web services The security changes aim to make Windows less vulnerable to malicious viruses and worms and will give system administrators features for limiting what machines can do and what users can do with particular files or documents.

Also included are technologies that speed up the installation of software and make programs launch quicker.

Longhorn will also have a completely re-written presentation system, called Avalon, that removes many of the memory and graphics limitations that remain from earlier, less powerful generations of machines.

Bill Gates said that Longhorn will have a unified storage system called WinFS. This will use web-derived technology to make it possible to search for and categorise any type of file with just one system instead of separate ones for every application.

Such a flexible system would be needed, said Mr Gates, because in the future people are likely to generate 'oceans' of information that they will need to search through quickly.

Finally, Longhorn will have built in many of the technologies needed to make it easy to set up sophisticated web services.

As well as outlining the new technologies in Longhorn, Microsoft also demonstrated how it would look.

One of the key features of the new desktop is a smart panel that sits at the side of the screen and can be configured to hold essential information such as instant messenger buddy lists, time, links to favourite websites as well as news and stock tickers.

Continued in the article.

Bob Jensen's Technology Glossary is at 

October 31, 2003 message from Carolyn Kotlas [


The American Federation of Teachers publication, AFT ON CAMPUS, is running a series of articles on distance education trends.

In "Trends in Distance Education" (September 2003, ) Thomas J. Kriger, State University of New York, writes about how "critics of asynchronous courses and programs within higher education have recently found unexpected support in the corporate sector." Learners in corporations are increasingly expressing dissatisfaction with online-only classes. This is leading to the creation of "blended learning" -- courses that combine "face-to-face teaching with software and Web-based teaching." Such courses also allow faculty to retain greater control in their distance classes.

The October 2003 issue continues the theme with "Making the Pedagogical Case for Blended Learning" by Cynthia Villanti, assistant professor of humanities at Mohawk Valley Community College, New York ( ). She presents five primary pedagogical arguments for blended, or hybrid, courses. These arguments include: -- enabling a balance between faculty-centered and student-centered models; -- enabling faculty and students to develop a strong sense of classroom community both online and in person; -- allowing for both the "reflectiveness of asynchronous communication and the immediacy of spoken communication;" -- helping to alleviate faculty concerns about academic dishonesty and plagiarism.

AFT On Campus is published eight times a year by the American Federation of Teachers, 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001 USA; tel: 202-879-4400; email: ; Web:  Current and back issues are available at no cost at



This month, SYLLABUS magazine began a new, free email publication, CMS REVIEW: A RESOURCE ON ELEARNING AND COURSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS. This bi-monthly newsletter will provide information, analysis, case studies, and technical tips on course management systems (CMS) in higher education. To subscribe, go to 

Syllabus [ISSN 1089-5914] is published monthly by 101communications, LLC, 9121 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 USA; tel: 650-941-1765; fax: 650-941-1785; email:; Web: . Annual subscriptions are free to individuals who work in colleges, universities, and high schools in the U.S.; go to  for more information.


Bob Jensen's threads on distance education are at 

Chronophotographical Projections (graphics, animation) --- 

"Selling Content on the Internet: It’s Happening, But Is It Profitable?" Knowledge Wharton --- 

The early portions of this article are not quoted below.

Googling for Free Information

The argument over the validity of some of the numbers notwithstanding, the debate over the willingness of consumers to pay for their information or content fix is far from settled.

During the Internet boom a vast number of sites lured Internet surfers by offering them lots of free information – news, business data, sports statistics. But with the bust of the dot.coms, much of that free information disappeared. Some surveys show that consumers who once feasted on no-cost data are not necessarily resigned to paying for it now that it has a price tag attached. In one such survey, conducted by Jupiter Research in 2002, more than 60% of the respondents said they would not be willing to pay a dime for online content they liked if the free versions were to disappear. The belief is still strong among many Internet surfers that they can Google their way into finding what they want for free somewhere among the billion-plus web sites still out there.

But experts – and owners of information – are convinced, more than ever, that the tide has turned and that information and content will, increasingly, carry a price tag. Wharton professor of marketing Peter S. Fader says that may be especially true for consumers and businesses seeking highly specialized information and for those who need run-of-the-mill information, but are willing to spend money to get it because they don’t want to invest time and effort in online searches. Sites – ranging from, which sells transcripts of interviews with digital mavens, to, which sells esoteric data about men’s and women’s basketball statistics – are finding success selling the information they own, according to Fader. “We are seeing providers put up dollars against content, with little pushback from consumers. For (many consumers) it’s not ‘What can I steal?’, but ‘What can I get in the form I want because time is more important to me than money?’”

The flip side to the declining resistance to paying for information may be that increasing numbers of businesses generating information are concentrating on very specialized content that is difficult, if not impossible, to get easily elsewhere. And that may be the right way to go, according to eMarketer, a research firm. In late 2002 eMarketer, using data collected by the OPA as well as several independent research companies, rated the three-to-five-year revenue growth potential for 15 categories of paid online content. Eleven of those categories – news, adult information, diet and health advice, personal investment and financial information – have only so-so potential for revenue growth potential. Just four sites – including those offering educational and reference material and those with unique content and services – have a high revenue growth potential, according to the research firm.

Online publishers who know how to add value to mundane products are also best poised to generate meaningful revenues online. Take Congressional Quarterly, which has been a must-read for Washington, D.C. politicians, political insiders and others for almost half a century.

When CQ decided to also publish online during the mid-1990s and charge the same price for its Internet publications as for the printed ones delivered all over Washington, the reaction and the revenues realized were underwhelming, says Keith A. White, Sr. CQ’s vice president and general manager.

The failure of CQ’s online effort to add to the bottom line was especially ironic. Beginning in 1984, long before the world wide web turned the Internet into a public phenomenon, CQ was making a tidy sum gathering free printed government documents and then charging for making them available to its customers via what was then a far more restricted Internet. When the world wide web became more available to all, federal bureaucracies began posting their documents online, easing access for everyone at no charge. “That cut into our electronic revenues severely,” says White.

But the fact that CQ’s customers had once been willing to pay for what became freely-available data was not lost on CQ. At the end of the 1990s, the Y2K bug loomed. Though it would have been easy to just spend money on updating its computers, CQ decided that it would use the opportunity to expand its technological capabilities. The result of that decision was the acquisition of a unified data repository, including a massive computer-based collection of public documents. A story about a bill pending in Congress, for example, is studded with an array of hyperlinks that take the reader to relevant documents such as an analysis of the bill and a full version of the proposed legislation’s text, not to mention amendments that have been offered, accepted or dropped. Says White: “For people who are following Congress, that is a powerful tool.” In other words, CQ has, once again, found a way to use free government documents to its advantage, this time to add value to its online proprietary products and pump up its flagging online effort.

As a result, CQ’s online business now generates 50% of its revenues, compared to 20% in 1999. White declines to give a dollar figure, noting that CQ does not make public any financial details.

Has the online effort cannibalized the print versions of CQ’s publications, which cannot offer as much? Yes, says White. But he is far from worried. In addition to already existing online publications, CQ can now turn on a dime and make available, for a fee, special reports geared to developing events. Thus, during the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, CQ was able to put together an online package that included, among other things, the proposed budget for the agency and the regulations promulgated for it in the Federal Register. “The repository allowed us to respond to the market with a robust product,” White says. “That is the future for us, to create and expand high-end government information.”

Continued in the article.

"The Price is Right, or Is It? Determining the Impact of Price on Sales," Knowledge Wharton --- 

When Wharton professor Marshall Fisher and colleague Vishal Gaur did a controlled pricing experiment in 18 stores belonging to the Zany Brainy retail toy chain, they came away with a surprising result. The experiment, which had been designed to measure how demand for three separate products varied with price, showed, among other things, that pricing is not always logical. In a paper entitled, “In-Store Experiments to Determine the Impact of Price on Sales,” Fisher and Gaur discuss their findings and present a methodology that they say will improve the accuracy of in-store testing.

The Downside of Electronic Commerce and Technology:  Psychological Implications --- 

Does Technology Need to be Curbed? Has society become the captive of technology? Just because we can work technological wonders isn't a good enough reason to do so. Professor Harold Leavitt argues that mankind's insatiable curiosity could become a danger.

"Who’s in Control Here?" by Harold J. Leavitt, Stanford Graduate School of Business,  November, 2002 --- 

Organizations, especially for-profit organizations, now play a curiously dual role in promoting the unfettered acceleration of technology. They are technology’s most powerful driver and also its hogtied prisoner. That combination generates more and more acceleration, with potentially disastrous downside effects.

The resultant maelstrom of technological products and processes is beginning to look like a runaway locomotive, or worse—more like a whole horde of runaway locomotives hurtling ahead along multidirectional, multidimensional, ever-changing networks of tangled tracks. Now and again one runs out of fuel, but by then a host of newcomers has already begun to roll. And most of us, both individually and organizationally, as well as the media, seem so caught up in this technological tsunami that we mentally push aside any small prodromes of impending, down-the-road dangers. Science and technology (S/T) have hastened globalization, shortened many organizations’ life spans, and revolutionized the notion of what constitutes an individual’s career. Yet, even as it drives organizations to distraction, S/T also empowers them. The potent “military-industrial complex” that President Eisenhower warned against in 1960 has given way to the even more potent “technology-industrial” complex of the 21st century.

TECHNOLOGY AND ORGANIZATIONS have always been important to one another, but until recently, organizational change was at least as much a matter of managerial choice as of pressing necessity imposed by science/technology. And the serious entry of organizational money onto the S/T scene has caused a shakeup in S/T’s internal culture. Technologists, traditionally lower in the pecking order than “real” scientists, are now approaching status parity. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are almost as much cultural emperors as Nobel laureates are cultural aristocrats.

Technology’s rising status also signals a shift in the thought-to-action ratio. Science has traditionally been mostly about thinking. But it is technology that carries the ball from thinking to doing, from learning to building, from solving the problem to implementing its solution. Ideas, in and of themselves, have certainly triggered revolutions, but technology builds the cars, makes the pills, and puts together the navigational systems. From the printing press to the light bulb to time and motion study to the pc, cheap, transferable technology has always been a major propellant of societal change.

Pure, unadulterated human curiosity was the initial motivator for much of both science and technology. Scientists and technologists, by training and by inclination, were intrinsically driven to search and explore. Their work provided its own reward. They liked money too, but gold was not the prime motivator. Indeed, the whole notion of grubbing for money was antithetical to the ethos of science. Yet perhaps it should have been obvious that greed would eventually become a camp follower of exploding technology. The money magnet attracts us all, but its pull is especially strong on financial types, marketers, and MBAs. Even Silicon Valley’s fabled young crusaders have been infiltrated by people with more “pragmatic” priorities. We are thus becoming doubly entrapped. Our limitless curiosity has coupled with our equally limitless avarice.

The effect of both has been to push technology ahead of science, while also blurring the distinction between the two. Would any private organization today build the equivalent of the old science-driven Bell Labs? That institution had a five-year moat of safety from the incursions of at&t’s marketers and finance folks. Yet that magnificent scientific resource gave way, more and more, to “directed” research, largely a euphemism (as scientists complained in Bell Labs’ declining days) for the demand that they devote themselves to designing Mickey Mouse telephones. While that shift at Bell and other corporate labs began somewhat earlier, the Japanese manufacturing challenge of the 1980s sped up the process. So did the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act, which streamlined and encouraged technology transfer from federally funded university research to industry.

ALL OF WHICH BRINGS US to these questions: Where are some of the danger spots? What else can and should we do about technology’s surging speed and spread? What shall we worry about? Here are a few items:

Until now, when new technology was blamed for some real or imagined downstream trouble, it got itself off the hook by offering a standard medication: large doses of even newer technology. Are high-powered cars on overcrowded highways killing too many of us? Invent seat belts and air bags! Are “rogue” states threatening us with nuclear missiles? Develop Star Wars antimissile technology! That nostrum is still being peddled. For example, many private companies, long hostile to efforts to control the greenhouse gases that their factories emit, have recently reversed their position. They now see an opportunity for profit by developing new technologies to control the negative impact of their own earlier technologies.

Such technological cures for technologically generated ills are no longer the panacea they once were. S/T must live in the interconnected global village it has helped create. Deep social and political anxieties are growing around S/T’s perimeter, and many are becoming technology-resistant. The “digital divide” between the have and the have-not segments of the world may be growing, but the have-nots have enough technology to be quite aware of how much more the haves have. Indeed, several have-nots already have enough technical know-how to build horrendous nuclear and chemical weapons. That great segment of humanity will not stand passively by while our S/T rushes blithely onward. They will want more, and they may have the population power to get it.

Consider some recent projections by knowledgeable S/T people about what lies ahead: a now widely cited article in Wired by S/T insider Bill Joy, chief scientist at Sun Microsystems, and a 1999 book by Ray Kurzweil on soon-to-arrive “spiritual machines.” They assert—and they should know (or should they?)—that machines will soon be able to do almost everything humans can, but more and better. They may be overstating both the case and the timetable, but can we blandly discount their informed judgments.

As S/T continues to proliferate and accelerate, the interactions among its parts will become more and more complex, perhaps exponentially. So what have been called “normal accidents”—like the Challenger, Bhopal, and Chernobyl disasters—will become more probable and more frequent.

More “control” of S/T is being taken by a shrinking number of enlarging organizations. A century ago we tried, with only moderate success, to cope with excessive concentrations of economic power via antitrust laws and such. Can we handle increasing concentrations of S/T power with the equivalents of antitrust?

The sweeping tide of technology threatens the independence of science’s traditional home, the university. As S/T accelerates, that academic birthing ground requires more resources. Corporations are willing to contribute, but almost always in exchange for partial control over universities’ research programs. A more intimate relationship is bound to have negative impact on the autonomy and, of course, the tenure of academic scientists and engineers. It’s appropriate to end this set of worries on a more positive note: Somehow, over the years, we humans have managed to survive most technological dangers, although sometimes—as in the Cuban Missile Crisis—only by a hair’s breadth. Maybe, if we use our collective heads, we can continue to muddle through, despite S/T’s acceleration.

Continued in the article.

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of technology are at

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic commerce are at 

Spending time on the Internet can have a negative effect on personal life such as reducing time spent socializing with friends says political scientist Norman Nie.

"Journal Explores Life in the Electronic Age," by Norman Nie, Stanford Graduate School of Business,  November, 2002 --- 

 Almost one-third of an average adult American's day is spent with electronic devices—TV, radio, telephone, computer—that did not exist a century ago, says Norman Nie, a Stanford political scientist who studies the impact of information technology on society. Nie, who holds a courtesy appointment at the Business School, finds that in some cases, spending time on the Internet can have negative effects on personal life.

In research partly funded by the School's Center for Electronic Business and Commerce, Nie and doctoral student Sunshine Hillygus report: "Internet use at home has a strong negative impact on time spent with friends and family as well as time spent on social activities, while Internet use at work has no such effect. Similarly, Internet use during weekend days is more strongly related to decreased time with friends and family and on social activities than Internet use during weekdays."

Their report is one of the research articles in a new interdisciplinary online journal, IT& Society (, launched in August by the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society and the University of Maryland's Survey Research Center. Nie, who directs the Stanford institute, said the goal is to encourage scholars of different disciplines to share their research.

Future issues will deal with psychology, sociology, and economics. According to Nie, subjects may include the future of the workplace as society becomes saturated with broadband technology, enabling more people to work at home, and how the phenomenon of oppression has been altered by access to information technology.

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of technology are at

Bob Jensen's threads on electronic commerce are at 

"Measuring Executive Accountability" 
Stefan Reichelstein Professor of Accounting Stanford Graduate School of Business
Sunil Dutta Assistant Professor of Accounting Haas School of Business University of California, Berkeley
Stanford Graduate School of Business, May 2002 --- 

Over the past decade, companies increasingly have been called on to create more value for their owners. Led by aggressive institutional shareholders like the California Public Employees Retirement System and fueled by widely published reports of overcompensated executives, shareholders are demanding that managers be given incentives to focus on corporate value creation. Consulting firms have responded with a host of new performance metrics. Some of the most popular are known as "economic value added," "flow return on investment," and "economic profit."

Whatever they're called, they're catching on fast. "The number of firms that have chosen to adopt value-based performance measures in recent years has shot up dramatically," says Stefan Reichelstein, professor of accounting at Stanford Graduate School of Business." According to some estimates, around 200 of the Fortune 1000 firms are now using some value-based metric to measure the performance of their top-level managers."

Economic value added has become so popular a concept that its acronym actually has been trademarked by consulting firm Stern Stewart & Co. Still, it's not really new. "The concept of economic value added has been known for quite some time in the accounting literature as 'residual income,'" Reichelstein says. "It's really a very simple formula: accounting income, properly measured, less a capital charge for the assets used by that particular business or division.

"In contrast to ordinary accounting income, residual income is fundamentally compatible with present value considerations. That aspect in turn is critical in motivating managers to make long-term decisions that enhance the overall net present value of the firm."

Which is all well and good. But the problem remains that managers may not be willing to engage in projects that increase value way down the line, value that isn't measured—and therefore rewarded—now. "This is where the accounting rules come in," Reichelstein says. "Good accounting rules allocate current and expected future cash flows so as to reflect value creation in the performance measure early on and consistently over time. That way, it is of less importance whether managers have shorter planning horizons than shareholders."

Economic value added and similar formulas proposed in the "war of the metrics" all make adjustments to the accounting rules used for external financial reporting. But which of these adjustments is most effective in aligning the objectives of managers and shareholders remains a subject of lively debate.

In a paper that won the Best Paper Award at the Review of Accounting Studies conference at Cornell University last year, Reichelstein and Sunil Dutta, assistant professor of accounting at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, analyze a model that compares the effectiveness of alternative performance metrics and accounting rules. The study, "Controlling Investment Decisions: Depreciation and Capital Charges," focuses on capital investment decisions and the choice of depreciation method to account for these investments.

Dutta and Reichelstein establish that residual income, or economic value added, is indeed an efficient performance metric. When combined with particular depreciation schedules, residual income can align the objectives of shareholders and management consistently over time. In general, these depreciation schedules will differ from the common straight-line method used for external financial reporting purposes. The model analysis also shows how the capital charge rate used for performance evaluation purposes should vary with the riskiness of the investment project.

The authors believe their theoretical framework is useful for sorting out the many recommendations and prescriptions expressed in the growing field of value-based management. "Controlling Investment Decisions" analyzes one particular problem, capital investment decisions. But for other assets, such as receivables, inventory, or multi-year construction contracts, similar issues arise.

"So once again the question is: To make the performance measure as effective as possible, how should the accounting be done?" says Reichelstein. He and Dutta broaden their inquiry in a related paper, "Stock Price, Earnings, and Book Value in Managerial Performance Measures."

"The setting in this paper is richer," says Reichelstein, "in that you can base performance evaluation on both stock price and the accounting numbers. Stock price obviously is what shareholders ultimately care about. From a performance evaluation perspective, however, one drawback of stock price is that it aggregates all value-relevant information even though some factors are beyond the manager's control. Accounting-based performance measures can mitigate that problem, and therefore you want both." In this second paper, the authors identify the need for performance measures that are calculated as a properly weighted average of market value added and economic value added.

There is growing evidence that value-based management does deliver for shareholders. Reichelstein and his colleagues in academia predict that further analytical and empirical research will explain why and how. They believe that the interest in these metrics isn't likely to lessen. After all, Reichelstein says, "People in the field realize the old adage that 'whatever gets measured also gets delivered.'"

 "The Psychology of CEO Pay," Charles O'Reilly, Stanford Graduate School of Business ---'reilly/oreilcom.htm 

 To really understand CEO pay, you need to look at the social setting in which decisions about salaries, bonuses, and long-term incentives are made. "CEO performance is often very ambiguous," says psychologist Charles O'Reilly, professor of human resources management and organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. "All the economists would have us believe there is a very active labor market for CEOs, and the reason they're getting paid so much is that that's what they're supposed to be paid. That's not very likely. It's pretty clear that social psychology accounts for a reasonable amount of what is happening." Most decisions about CEO pay are made by a compensation committee of a company's board of directors. Typically, says O'Reilly, the CEO hires a compensation consultant to determine what executives in the company "should" be paid and make a presentation to this committee, which almost always consists of company outsiders. Following the presentation, the committee asks the CEO to leave the room so it can come to a decision. Social forces in this room are what drive CEO pay, says O'Reilly. Assuming that economic factors like company size and profitability are constant, he found that social dynamics within the compensation committee - not the labor market - have a dramatic effect on CEO compensation.

First, says O'Reilly, there is a strong element of peer-group comparison in determining how much the CEO is paid. The chairman of the compensation committee is typically the chief executive of another company, and his best gauge for what a CEO ought to be paid is his own salary. "There's this natural anchoring effect," says O'Reilly. "The first number is set and you adjust off that." O'Reilly found that the more the chairman of the compensation committee was paid, the more the CEO could expect to make. Controlling for all other factors - company size, performance, CEO tenure - a CEO could get the same pay increase by doubling the company's return on equity from 15 to 30 percent - a Herculean feat - or by appointing someone to chair the compensation committee who made $100,000 more in salary. Says O'Reilly, "I leave it to you which is easier to do."

A feeling of indebtedness to the CEO is also a strong determinant of high CEO pay. "There is a widespread norm of reciprocity across all societies," says O'Reilly. In other words: you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. The people sitting in the room deliberating over the CEO's pay package tend to feel obligated to the CEO, often, quite simply, because she gave them a plum position on the board. So they want to reciprocate by awarding her a good salary. "Ostensibly, these compensation committee members are independent, but they are almost always appointed by the CEO," says O'Reilly. To support this theory, O'Reilly found that in cases where the chairman of the compensation committee was appointed before the CEO had joined the board - and had therefore never been subject to her approval - the salary approved for the CEO was roughly 12 percent less. In other words, committee members who owe their position to the CEO tend to be more generous with the CEO than committee members who do not feel indebted to her.

Finally, social status turned up as a factor. "People of higher social status generally get more," says O'Reilly. He went to Who's Who and the social register and, based on various factors, such as whether a person went to an elite university, devised an index of executives' social status. All other things being equal, he found that if the CEO was of higher status than the chairman of the compensation committee, he tended to get more money. Conversely, if the chairman of the compensation committee was of higher status, the CEO got less money.

"The economists' models are very elegant," says O'Reilly. "And they are abstractions. I didn't construct some abstract model at 30,000 feet; I looked at how decisions are actually made." But although he disagrees with "tournament theory" and other economic theories of executive compensation, the presence of leading economists at Stanford is important to O'Reilly. He believes it is the mingling of very different perspectives on executive pay - from the sociological to the economic - that is helping to bring the complicated issue into focus.

"The CEO, the Board of Directors and Executive Compensation: Economic and Psychological Perspectives," Industrial and Corporate Change, vol. 4, no. 2 (1995), pgs. 293-332.

Ethics 101 at Wharton:  Putting Rich Alumni on a Pedestal

Wharton's Project on Selecting the Most Influential Business Persons of the Past 25 Years --- 

While the panelists are reviewing the entries to select the Most Influential Business Persons of the Past 25 Years, we thought you might be interested in delving into the selection criteria.  What makes these five concepts important? We'll try to answer that question on this site by displaying articles that discuss the concepts, changing every week or so, along with links to additional resources at Wharton.


Selection Criteria:

Created new and profitable ideas

Affected political, civic or social change through achievement in the business/economic world

Caused or influenced dramatic change in a company or industry

Created new business opportunities or more fully exploited existing ones

Inspired and transformed

October 28, 2003 reply from Robert Holmes Glendale College [rcholmes@GLENDALE.CC.CA.US

I see Wharton included Michael Milken as one of the 4 "Titans" of business. Why do we continue to lionize this convicted felon whose primary contribution to the business world was to convince executives to screw other executives and their shareholders for personal gain? I routinely ask my students if they would go to jail for 4 years if they could come out with $10 million in profits. Many say they would, and I guess Milken is their poster boy. When we hold people like Milken in high regard we turn ethics into a discussion of how much money should you hope to get for how much jail time, IF you get caught. No wonder the Fastow's, and soon our own students will continue to ply their schemes. 

October 28 reply from Bob Jensen

Ethics 101 at Wharton:  Putting Rich Alumni on a Pedestal
You must remember Robert that Mike Milken is a billionaire alumnus of Wharton. If you were raising $425 million for your business school, would you not put all of your billionaire alums on a pedestal?

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has announced the successful completion of the Campaign for Sustained Leadership, a $425 million fund-raising initiative, launched in June 1996, and completed in June 2003. A total of $445,774,603 was raised, completing the largest campaign in business school history. The original campaign goal of $350 million was raised to $425 million following a successful "quiet phase."
News Release --- 

"Tied to Milken, the Ride Still Can Be Bumpy," by Patrcick McGeehan, The New York Times, November 12, 2003 ---  

Mr. Fischel (professor of law and economics at the University of Chicago) wrote a 1995 book that argued that Mr. Milken was not guilty of any crimes, even though he pleaded guilty to six felonies and served two years in prison. Its title is "Payback: The Conspiracy to Destroy Michael Milken and His Financial Revolution" (HarperBusiness).

University of Pennsylvania: University Archives 

Business Valuation:  This Might Be An Interesting Student Project

"Beauty and the Beast," by Robert MacMillan, The Washington Post, October 31, 2003 --- 

The New York Times leads off this morning's trick-or-treat story with talk of a possible Google-Microsoft merger, a story with the somewhat understated headline, "Microsoft and Google: Partners or Rivals?"

Perhaps a better header would have been "Dances With Wolves." After all, Microsoft reportedly built its empire employing some of the most steely-eyed, carnivorous business tactics the high-tech industry has ever seen, while Google has come to dominate the Internet search engine space with an unparalleled capacity to play the coy flirt.

The Times tells us today that marriage, for now, is unlikely, with Google giving a cold shoulder to Microsoft in favor of the risky business of going public. "While the overture appears to have gained little traction ... it demonstrates the enormous importance that Google represents as both a competitive threat to Microsoft and as Silicon Valley's latest hope for a new financial boom," the Times reported. "Though seemingly spurned, Microsoft may still be interested in pursuing Google at a later date, according to an executive briefed on the discussions."

The Times explains what makes Microsoft view Google as a rival worthy of buying: "Google has a clearly dominant position in Internet searching, which has served as the foundation of a fast-growing and highly profitable advertising business built around placing specific text ads close to Web queries on similar subjects. Its rapid revenue growth, however, has begun attracting large competitors like Yahoo, which has acquired Overture, a leading search ad provider. While Microsoft and are both considering getting into the business, the growth in Google's Adwords keyword business has, at least for now, started to slow, according to a person with knowledge of the company's business. Microsoft as a search competitor could change the market's assessment of Google's value. Moreover, if Microsoft attempts to integrate Web search features directly into its coming Longhorn operating system, it could restart the bitter feud that led to the government antitrust case that grew out of Netscape's failure."

The Times said that Google could sell a 10 percent to 15 percent stake to the public and raise about $2 billion, and that some of the real big boys of the investment community are in line to underwrite the IPO -- Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse First Boston, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Thomas Weissel Partners. Goldman Sachs, the newspaper also wrote, might not make it to the final cut because Google reportedly is concerned about the firm's close relationship with Microsoft and rival Yahoo Inc.

But let's leave aside the venture capitalists, analysts and experts for a moment. A quick check of the Googlism Web site -- a kind of magic eight-ball for the Internet, offers a quite revealing result when you enter "Microsoft and Google" -- "Microsoft and Google is quite faulty."
The New York Times: Microsoft and Google: Partners or Rivals? (Registration required)

Continued in the article.

"What's Google Really Worth?" by Alex Salkever, Business Week, October 30, 2003 ---  

Some on the Street say the search engine's IPO might fetch $25 billion. Use a different yardstick, and that sum seems way too high

You don't need a search engine to find opinions about this topic: How much Google would command if it were to go through with a much-anticipated, first-time sale of stock to the public -- which many believe could happen as early as the first quarter of 2004. The fascination with Google's initial public offering is a no-brainer since it could prove the most lucrative and successful IPO since the dot-com crash.

Informed speculation says Google will issue an initial $1 billion worth of shares, which would represent what analysts think is about a year's worth of sales. That's a huge deal considering how unfriendly the IPO climate remains for tech concerns. The more enthusiastic sorts on Wall Street say an IPO may be worth as much as $25 billion, based mainly on a comparison with successful Web giants, such as Yahoo! (YHOO ), Amazon (AMZN ), and eBay (EBAY ). Other experts respond that such an appraisal is wishful thinking.

"As a point of reference, Internet leaders eBay and Yahoo currently command share-price-to-sales ratios of 19 and 22, respectively. If Google is in fact close to the $1 billion in sales mark, then a $15 billion to $20 billion valuation is probably a reasonable estimation," according to an Oct. 24 research note by Renaissance Capital, which manages the IPO Plus Aftermarket Fund (IPOSX ). That assessment has been echoed elsewhere on Wall Street.

APPLES AND ORANGES?  However, it has one drawback in that eBay and Yahoo may not make the best benchmarks. eBay is a commerce outfit with a completely different business model. And while Yahoo derives much of its revenues from searches, it gets 30% from other functions, such as listings and fees. Additionally, growth rates at both eBay and Yahoo have been quite different from that of Google. Nevertheless, some experts seem to be looking at their price-earnings ratios to come up with a valuation for Google of near $25 billion. Yahoo has a p-e of 82.7, and eBay's is 55.9.

Other companies may be more useful benchmarks in trying to figure out how much Google is worth. One is Overture, Google's head-to-head competition in getting companies to pay for search-engine listings. Overture is expected to bring in $862 million in revenue for 2003. Each has been growing at a comparable rate, according to analysts, with Google perhaps having a slight edge. Yahoo finalized its acquisition of Overture in early October, but premerger market stats on Overture, which was public before the acquisition, shed light on the calculations about what Google might be worth.

Then there's Verity (VRTY ), whose software provides information-management products to help companies manipulate and use data in their computer networks. One of Verity's core functions is enterprise search. Google gets anywhere from 10% to 30% of its revenues from providing search to companies or Web sites, so this comparison seems apt.

THE OPTIONS ISSUE.  These two outfits together represent a fairly accurate picture of where Google gets its revenue. Prior to the Yahoo-Overture merger, the market figured Overture's forward p-e was 44.4. And Verity's is a relatively conservative 38.8, given that it's a high-growth tech concern. If Google's hypothetical p-e is more in the range of Overture or Verity, then its valuation would be much lower than the numbers now bouncing around Wall Street, experts say.

Analysts also seem to be ignoring two potential challenges that could hinder Google coming in at the high end of these IPO price scenarios. Microsoft (MSFT ) has been buying talent in the search sector and is expected to launch its own product in the not-so-distant future. While experts say Google is well run, competition from Microsoft could affect its bottom line.

Another thing to watch for is what the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) does regarding stock options. No one knows for sure, but industry experts say it's more than likely that Google has a significant number of stock options outstanding. In the aftermath of the corporate scandals of the past two years, should FASB decide that companies need to list stock options as a balance-sheet expense, Google might well look like a less profitable -- and less enticing -- investment.

Continued in the article.

Bob Jensen's threads on business valuation and ROI are at 

Google Deskbar (Beta) makes searching much faster and easier than anything I’ve ever seen before!  

Google Deskbar:  Search Without Having to Use Internet Explorer or Any Other Internet Browser
A great free download from Google --- 

Google Deskbar enables you to search with Google from any application without lifting your fingers from the keyboard. Installs easily in your Windows taskbar. 

Jensen Comment
The free Beta download is fast and easy.  But there is a confusing part.  After it is downloaded, it will say "Wait, you are not done yet!".  Now you have to jump in and do exactly what the looped instructions tell you to do.  You right click on the clock at the bottom of your screen (hopefully you have a clock showing).  Then you have to click on Toolbars and then Google Search like the looped instructions explain to you.  Then you are done.  It's neat!

When you are done, you will get a permanent Google search box at the bottom of your screen.  You type in or paste in the URL and click the button to the right.  After you type in the first few letters of a site that you have visited before, you will see a pop-up option that allows you to click on the URL without having to type the rest of it in the search box.  

When you enter a search phrase like "Cost Accounting" in quotations, note the arrow in the upper left side of the pop-up search screen.  When you click on that arrow, the search page comes up in your browser (probably Internet Explorer).  Then slide your mouse onto the browser page and you will probably prefer to continue in your browser.

"New Google Web-Search Software Doesn't Need an Internet Browser," The Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2003 ---,,SB106817236275821700,00.html?mod=technology_main_whats_news 

SAN JOSE, California -- Internet search engine Google has unveiled free software that lets people search the Web quickly -- without launching a Web browser.

Google Deskbar ( ), released Thursday, appears as a search box in the Windows toolbar. After the search words are entered, a resizable miniviewer pops up with the results. Users can jump to the site within the miniviewer or launch their browser.

Unless a program is filling the screen or the user has set the taskbar to automatically hide, the search box is always visible. With a keyboard shortcut, the cursor can be moved to it without moving the mouse.

Though the software is free, Google does get some exposure on the desktop: The company's logo appears faintly in the search box when words aren't being typed into it.

Beyond Google's main search, the box can be set to search Google non-U.S. sites, Google News, Google Images and others. There are options to find stock quotes, movie reviews, word definitions and synonyms. Users can add custom sites to search, too.

The software, which is about 400 kilobytes, requires a personal computer with Windows XP or Windows 2000 software, at least Internet Explorer 5.5 and an Internet connection. Windows 95, 98 and ME aren't supported. Google Deskbar doesn't run on Macintosh or Linux computers.

November 10, 2003 message from Charlie Betts [cbetts@COLLEGE.DTCC.EDU

There's a free (my favorite word) Power Point tutorial on Google available at: 

Written by a Patrick Crispen, it starts with a basic explanation of how Google works and then goes into some of the advanced features such as boolean searches and ends with explanations of a lot of the special operators. I've quickly looked through it and it seems pretty comprehensive and suitable as supplementary material for students. I'm not familiar with Patrick Crispen, but appartently he has done a lot of writing on internet topics, and he does seem to have a sense of humor, which is a plus when dealing with this type of topic.

There are also other free (that magic word again) downloads on this website.

Charlie Betts 
Delaware Technical & Community College 
Terry Campus 100 Campus Drive Dover DE 19904 

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at 

"A Good Deal Depends on Preparation," by Rod P. Burkert, Journal of Accountancy, November 2003, pp. 47-56 --- 

A SPECIALIST SUCH AS A CPA/ABV can optimize results for owners who want to sell to an outsider for the maximum the market will reasonably bear. HOW THE CLENT WILL USE A BUSINESS VALUATION (BV) determines the procedures a CPA/ABV will follow to produce the end result. At the outset of the engagement, a practitioner should know whether the valuation is for a sale or for some other function.

MARKET VALUE IS WHAT OTHERS HAVE PAID for comparable businesses; asset value is how much it would cost to acquire the operating assets of the client’s company; and income value is how much money a buyer could make from the business.

A CPA/ABV SHOULD OBTAIN clients’ financial statements for five to seven years—or even ten if the nature of the business justifies it—and recast them to clearly distinguish operational business value.

A FORECAST OF THE COMPANY’S most likely future economic earnings is the underpinning of its sale value. A CPA/valuator for a selling client should project future earnings with some level of synergy from an industry buyer.

A BUYER ASKS FOUR KEY QUESTIONS: What are the revenue and income of the company? What is the consistency of its growth? How stable is the workforce? What’s the probable return on investment vs. the risk of being in that particular business?

Bob Jensen's threads on business valuation and ROI are at 

Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, November 2003, Page 29 --- 


Resources Revisited

First listed as a Smart Stop a year ago this issue, this Web site still offers CPAs and business valuation (BV) professionals all the features they have come to expect, such as its BVLibrary, definition of the week, online forums, and gratis articles and downloads. Now it also includes a free section, Shannon’s Tip of the Week, by Dr. Shannon Pratt, who established the Business Valuation Update newsletter available online or in print for a fee.

Tools to Start or Sell Your Business

CPAs advising clients who want to start their own companies—as well as small business owners looking to sell—can visit this e-stop for financing and legal information, market and profitability assessments and links to checklists, financial spreadsheet templates, IRS tax forms and model business documents. Users with specific questions can “Ask Alice!” the site’s advice columnist, or visit her frequently asked questions section.

Find the Value of a Business

The Web stop of this Annapolis, Maryland-based BV company offers clients and financial advisers free over-the-phone consultations, links to databases of firms that buy and sell public limited partnership interests and audio tutorials on valuation topics for business owners. Visitors also can link to free articles, such as Inc.’s “What’s Your Company Worth Now?” and get a complimentary adviser information kit.


Register Here to Testify

CPAs looking to become—and lawyers looking for—expert witnesses can do both at this Web site. Users can read the titles “The Art and Science of Expert Witnessing” and “The Correct Way to Present Exhibits,” to name a few, and witnesses who register for a fee with the site can submit their own articles.

An Expert Site

CPA expert witnesses can advertise their services here. Witness seekers can search by category and location. Also, registered expert witnesses can post topical articles, such as “Full-Time Professional and Part-Time Expert” and “Selecting and Retaining Experts,” as well as receive a free newsletter.


Macs are Going Gobble, Gobble Before Thanksgiving!

Good thing I haven’t purchased by Mac G5 just yet.
Apple ' s Panther has a serious bug that wipes out external FireWire drives during the upgrade procedure. Worse, many Mac users are backing up to external drives before upgrading. Some are losing everything.

"Bye-Bye Data: Glitch in Panther," by Leander Kahney, Wired News, October 31, 2003 ---,2125,61031,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html 

Mac users are roaring in rage because of a nasty installment glitch that erases data on external hard drives.

After upgrading to Mac OS X 10.3, better known as Panther, they are finding external FireWire drives are no longer recognized by the host machine. In many cases, all the data the drives stores are also gone.

The problem appears to be widespread, judging by dozens of posts on forums and websites like MacFixit and Macintouch. Apple's own discussion forums (Apple ID required) had more than 274 postings on the issue by Thursday afternoon, far more than any other issue.

No clear pattern has emerged about which particular Macs or drives are affected. The problem seems to affect all models and a wide range of drives, both older FireWire 400 and newer FireWire 800 drives, from a range of manufacturers.

"It's not a fluke or an isolated incident," said Ben Wilson, senior editor of Macfixit, a respected Macintosh troubleshooting site. "Based on reports we've seen, I'd say it was pretty serious."

The glitch is particularly troubling because many Mac users backed up their files to an external FireWire drive before installing the Panther upgrade. In some cases, the glitch erased files on the main machine and the external backup.

"Panther has managed not only to lose my iTunes Library and my iPhoto Library, but also their backups kept on -- you guessed it -- my external FireWire hard disk," reported John Irvine on Apple's discussion forums. "I've lost ALL of my baby pictures for my two small children. My children's BABY PICTURES.... I'm astonished.... It's a monster."

Apple is aware of the issue and says it is working on a fix. However, it claims the problem is limited to FireWire 800 drives (those capable of 800 megabits-per-second data transfers) using the Oxford 922 bridge chipset with firmware version 1.02.

Continued in the article.

An interesting case of power of cost accounting and control!

"What You Don't Know About Dell A look at the management secrets of the best-run company in technology," Business Week Cover Story, November 3, 2003 --- 

When Dell CEO Michael S. Dell and President Kevin B. Rollins met privately in the fall of 2001, they felt confident that the company was recovering from the global crash in PC sales. Their own personal performance, however, was another matter. Internal interviews revealed that subordinates thought Dell, 38, was impersonal and emotionally detached, while Rollins, 50, was seen as autocratic and antagonistic. Few felt strong loyalty to the company's leaders. Worse, the discontent was spreading: A survey taken over the summer, following the company's first-ever mass layoffs, found that half of Dell Inc.'s (DELL ) employees would leave if they got the chance.

What happened next says much about why Dell is the best-managed company in technology. At other industry giants, the CEO and his chief sidekick might have shrugged off the criticism or let the issue slide. Not at Dell. Fearing an exodus of talent, the two execs focused on the gripes. Within a week, Dell faced his top 20 managers and offered a frank self-critique, acknowledging that he is hugely shy and that it sometimes made him seem aloof and unapproachable. He vowed to forge tighter bonds with his team. Some in the room were shocked. They knew personality tests given to key execs had repeatedly shown Dell to be an "off-the-charts introvert," and such an admission from him had to have been painful. "It was powerful stuff," says Brian Wood, the head of public-sector sales for the Americas. "You could tell it wasn't easy for him."

Michael Dell didn't stop there. Days later, they began showing a videotape of his talk to every manager in the company -- several thousand people. Then Dell and Rollins adopted desktop props to help them do what didn't come naturally. A plastic bulldozer cautioned Dell not to ram through ideas without including others, and a Curious George doll encouraged Rollins to listen to his team before making up his mind.

WALKING DATABASES To some, the way Michael Dell handled sagging morale might seem like another tale of feel-good management. But to those inside the company, it epitomizes how this Round Rock (Tex.) computer maker has transformed itself from a no-name PC player into a powerhouse brand. Sure, Dell is the master at selling direct, bypassing middlemen to deliver PCs cheaper than any of its rivals. And few would quarrel that it's the model of efficiency, with a far-flung supply chain knitted together so tightly that it's like one electrical wire, humming 24/7. Yet all this has been true for more than a decade. And although the entire computer industry has tried to replicate Dell's tactics, none can hold a candle to the company's results. Today, Dell's stock is valued at a price-earnings multiple of 40, loftier than IBM, Microsoft, Wal-Mart Stores, or General Electric.

As it turns out, it's how Michael Dell manages the company that has elevated it far above its sell-direct business model. What's Dell's secret? At its heart is his belief that the status quo is never good enough, even if it means painful changes for the man with his name on the door. When success is achieved, it's greeted with five seconds of praise followed by five hours of postmortem on what could have been done better. Says Michael Dell: "Celebrate for a nanosecond. Then move on." After the outfit opened its first Asian factory, in Malaysia, the CEO sent the manager heading the job one of his old running shoes to congratulate him. The message: This is only the first step in a marathon.

Just as crucial is Michael Dell's belief that once a problem is uncovered, it should be dealt with quickly and directly, without excuses. "There's no 'The dog ate my homework' here," says Dell. No, indeedy. After Randall D. Groves, then head of the server business, delivered 16% higher sales last year, he was demoted. Never mind that none of its rivals came close to that. It could have been better, say two former Dell executives. Groves referred calls to a Dell spokesman, who says Groves's job change was part of a broader reorganization.

Above all, Michael Dell expects everyone to watch each dime -- and turn it into at least a quarter. Unlike most tech bosses, Dell believes every product should be profitable from Day One. To ensure that, he expects his managers to be walking databases, able to cough up information on everything from top-line growth to the average number of times a part has to be replaced in the first 30 days after a computer is sold.

But there's one number he cares about most: operating margin. To Dell, it's not enough to rack up profits or grow fast. Execs must do both to maximize long-term profitability. That means products need to be priced low enough to induce shoppers to buy, but not so low that they cut unnecessarily into profits. When Dell's top managers in Europe lost out on profits in 1999 because they hadn't cut costs far enough, they were replaced. "There are some organizations where people think they're a hero if they invent a new thing," says Rollins. "Being a hero at Dell means saving money."

It's this combination -- reaching for the heights of perfection while burrowing down into every last data point -- that no rival has been able to imitate. "It's like watching Michael Jordan stuff the basketball," says Merrill Lynch & Co. technology strategist Steven Milunovich. "I see it. I understand it. But I can't do it."

How did this Mike come by his management philosophy? It started 19 years ago, when he was ditching classes to sell homemade PCs out of his University of Texas dorm room. Dell was the scrappy underdog, fighting for his company's life against the likes of IBM and Compaq Computer Corp. (HPQ ) with a direct-sales model that people thought was plain nuts. Now, Michael Dell is worth $17 billion, while his 40,000-employee company is about to top $40 billion in sales. Yet he continues to manage Dell with the urgency and determination of a college kid with his back to the wall. "I still think of us as a challenger," he says. "I still think of us attacking."

Continued in the article.

October 29, 2003 message from Dr. James Fowler [

As part of a search I located an academic job site Academic Careers Online. You can search or announce faculty, post doc, library, endowed chairs, administrative and senior management jobs at colleges, universities and research institutes anywhere.

Applicants can use all their services without being charged and employers can post a job listing for up to three full months for US$175. This even includes email alerts to applicants.

To see the site go to 


Yum!  There's more than soup here!
Joy of Soup (Cooking, Recipes) --- 

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

"New Ways to Skirt DMCA … Legally!" by Katie Dean, Wired News, October 29, 2003 ---,1283,60996,00.html 

Busting open a digital lock to get hold of copyright works normally is forbidden, but the Librarian of Congress ruled Tuesday that there are exceptions.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, prohibits, among other things, bypassing any technology that controls access to copyright material. This provision is criticized frequently by digital-rights groups because they say it stifles many legitimate activities in the process, including academic research, competition and innovation.

The controversial law also recognizes that there are certain cases when circumvention should be permitted. Thus, it mandates that every three years, the U.S. Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress review and grant exceptions to the anti-circumvention provision.

Those who are exempt from the rule are those who are "adversely affected by virtue of such prohibition in their ability to make non-infringing uses of that particular class of works," according to the DMCA.

Basically, those who have a non-infringing, fair-use reason to circumvent copy protections should be allowed to do so.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Copyright Office released the four "classes of works" exempted from the anti-circumvention rule. People may bypass a digital lock to access lists of websites blocked by commercial filtering companies, circumvent obsolete dongles to access computer programs, access computer programs and video games in obsolete formats, and access e-books where the text-to-speech function has been disabled.

One programmer who testified at the Copyright Office rule-making proceedings in April was jubilant that the filtering exemption was renewed.

"How sweet it is," said Seth Finkelstein, a programmer and anticensorship activist. "Without the exemption, the DMCA would make it a violation to decrypt the blacklist to find out what (filtering companies) are actually censoring. The actual contents of these blacklists are an important censorship issue.

"The Copyright Office has recognized the importance of fair use in this area affected by the DMCA," Finkelstein said. "It's not a blanket declaration of being legal, but it's an ability to argue fair use."

Filtering advocates had hoped the exemption would be dropped.

"I'm disappointed because I thought we had made it clear that the exemption is unnecessary to conduct meaningful evaluations of filters," said David Burt, a spokesman for Secure Computing, which purchased N2H2, a filtering company.

He cited extensive studies from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Consumer Reports and the Department of Justice, among others, in his testimony and said that "these methods are adequate for evaluating filters."

Gwen Hinze, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the group was pleased that the Librarian of Congress renewed and granted important exemptions, but was disappointed that exemptions the EFF proposed on behalf of consumers were not granted.

Continued in the article.

Bob Jensen's threads on the DMCA are at 

From Syllabus News on October 31, 2003

MIT Review Names Top Innovators Under 35

MIT’s Technology Review has come out with its list of the World’s Top Young Innovators, researchers under 35 whose work it believes has a “profound impact on today’s world. The group includes a number of information technology researchers including:

-- Kathryn Guarini, an IBM researcher and Stanford grad, who developed a lithography technique that let engineers pattern integrated-circuit features smaller than 100 nanometers, which packed more circuits, and thus more power, onto chips.

-- Ayanna Howard of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, who writes software for planetary rovers,

-- Joseph Pompei, a former MIT researcher and the inventor of the Audio Spotlight directional sound technology. The system uses nonlinearly propagating ultrasound to create directional beams of sound in mid-air, which can be "shone" and "directed" much like light.

--Joseph Popovic, an MIT researcher, who is working on simpler, more powerful animation tools for novices and professionals. As an undergraduate, Jovan Popovic found that animated illustrations of math-problem solutions helped him master complex concepts.

Interstate Sales Taxes

Hi David,

The most significant and oft-cited Supreme Court ruling was the 1992 L.L Bean case. However, the Supreme Court decision emphasizes that it will not take a constitutional amendment to begin charging sales tax on interstate electronic commerce.

A good summary of this is given at 

It is interesting why Amazon moved from NY to Washington State. The reason given is that NY offers far more online customer revenue that is not taxed. My question in the past would have been to ask: Why Washington which has a sales tax for Washington residents versus New Hampshire which has no sales tax of any kind and cheap liquor? Now that I live in New Hampshire I can see why Amazon would not move there to save even more sales tax. I have to schedule electricians, plumbers, roofers, and carpenters six months to a year in advance because there is such a shortage of skilled workers in the Granite State. I was told that there is no commercial computer technician within 30 miles of where I live and most likely no systems engineer north of Concord.

There is a very small population in NH (just slightly over a million counting all adults, children, Dartmouth faculty, moose/meece, and bears) and a miniscule employment base for skilled technical workers needed by Amazon in the development of the enormous and creative software system at Amazon. Bill Gate's home state is loaded with systems engineers that continue to help Amazon become one of the most high tech online retailers in the world.

Here's something for California's new Terminator to consider. There are some positives (e.g., climate and high tech labor force) and many negatives about locating a business in California (e.g., enormous cost of Worker Compensation insurance, enormous risk of litigation, enormous real estate prices on the homes that survive the fires, taxes on breathing, etc.), but the main reason for Amazon's choice of Washington over California probably was the population difference between these two states. By not moving to California, Amazon saves a bundle that it would otherwise have to pay in sales taxes in the state having the highest customer base among all 50 states. The first thing Governor (Mr.) Universe should probably do is tear apart California into smaller states having lower populations and more U.S. Senators. Actually, the north half of the state has been trying unsuccessfully for years to get a divorce from the south half.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: David R. Fordham [mailto:fordhadr@JMU.EDU]  
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2003 12:39 PM 

-----Original Message-----  
From Terry Bechtel 
It appears that some, but not all, retailers who sell on the internet > are collecting state sales taxes. What is the mechanism by which the > states are made aware of such sales. How do the states make the > collections? How can the states audit such collections? Any insights that > you have on these matters would be greatly apreciated. Sincerely, Terry > Bechtel ----


I checked with several of the vendors that I do internet business with.

As the general rule, if you live in the state where the vendor is located, you will likely be charged sales tax, regardless of whether you place the order on the internet or walk in the front door or telephone.

In the case of multi-state vendors (such as Radio Shack, Best Buy, Staples, etc.), if the vendor has a physical presence in the state you live in, even though your particular order may be shipped from an out-of-state location, they will likely charge you sales tax for the state in which you live.

If they don't do business in the state in which you live (I believe someone responded the legal term is Nexus?), then they probably won't charge sales tax, and they wouldn't even if you placed the order by phone or letter!

Bottom line: ordering on the Internet doesn't appear to make any difference than ordering by phone or snail-mail letter.

The federal "cooling off" period outlawing "taxes" on internet commerce is just for special taxing of internet transactions, not normal state sales tax on plain-vanilla commerce which takes uses the internet as a replacement for telephones or envelopes.

This is based purely on observation confirmed by a quick sampling. Can a *lawyer* (pardon my foul language) confirm this or set me straight?

David R. Fordham 
PBGH Faculty Fellow 
James Madison University

October 30 reply from Richard Newmark [richard.newmark@PHDUH.COM

Based on some past research on internet taxation, locating your server in a particular location will not change the location of your business. If your offices are in New Jersey and your server is located in the Cayman Islands, your transactions will still be taxed in New Jersey (sales and income taxes).

The reason that internet transactions are often singled out for special treatment is that application of current tax laws (sales and income) are often difficult to apply when transactions take place in cyberspace AND the item being sold is digital. This is especially true when applying the source of income rules (where is the income earned?) that apply to interstate transactions (state income tax purposes) and international transactions (federal income tax purposes).

As for electronic transactions that involve tangible goods, and services, the current rules are much easier to apply. The reason that these rules were not previously applied to catalog sales is that the cost of enforcement was likely greater than the additional revenue that such enforcement would bring in.

By the way, almost all research on internet taxation has applied to sales tax. There is very little written about the effect of electronic transactions on income taxation at either the state or federal level.

Richard Newmark 
Assistant Professor of Accounting 
University of Northern Colorado 
Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business 
Campus Box 128

Forwarded by Bob Blystone on October 30, 2003

U.S. National - AP Academics Make Case to End Credit Hour Thu Oct 30, 4:10 AM ET
Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!
By STEVE GIEGERICH, AP Education Writer
Lead Story at Yahoo --- 

Developed about a century ago, the credit hour has become a building block of American academic life.  

It is used to calculate faculty salaries, to determine the level of public money funneled to institutions and to establish a timetable for graduating with a degree.

But some academic experts now say the credit hour is a relic in a high-tech world with ever-more nontraditional students and learning methods.

"Having time- and space-bound measures that equate learning with a certain place and a certain time is clearly outmoded. And yet it is the DNA embedded in both the academic and funding system," said Jane Wellman, coeditor with Thomas Ehrlich of "How the Student Credit Hour Shapes Higher Education," a recently released collection of essays on the credit hour.

That system, she says, is increasingly at odds with modern teaching methods: More students are developing their own programs of study. An increasing number take courses online and away from the traditional classroom. And, unlike a time when students generally enrolled and graduated from the same institution, nearly two-thirds of all undergraduate degrees today are awarded to transfer students.

Experts say such factors have created a need for more flexibility in measuring students' work.

"Let's assess what the students have actually learned," said Clara Lovett, the president of the Washington-based American Association for Higher Education.

"It shouldn't matter where or how they learned it, nor should it matter that some students are going to master certain kinds of knowledge more rapidly than other students."

High schools started using the credit hour during the first decade of the 20th century. Then as now, the quality of high schools varied significantly, and the credit hour evolved as a way to determine whether students were ready for college by measuring how much time they spent in a class per week.

Within 10 years, colleges started embracing the concept. That set in motion a shift from standard curriculums ‹ in which schools dictated each student's course of study ‹ to the current system that allows students to accumulate enough credit hours to graduate through a combination of required and elective courses.

Once adopted, the credit hour became a driving force in higher education.

It presented students with a specific time frame in which they were expected to complete course work, usually one semester. And it supplied college administrations with a business model for scheduling, payroll and budgeting. Salary calculations were based on how many credit hours an instructor taught, for example.

But Wellman and Ehrlich, a senior scholar with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, argue in their book that using time to measure 21st century learning is ineffective.

The authors agree with Lovett that measurements that determine what a student has learned ‹ and not how long a student took to learn it ‹ are more effective.

"You don't have to have a time-based system," said Wellman, a senior associate with the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

Some experts say "competency-based" education programs are the best alternative to the credit hour structure.

Such programs, growing in popularity along with online education, replace the traditional semester with a structure that encourages students to work at their own pace on self-generated curriculums.

"It has given me the ability to take charge of my own education and to have the flexibility to study what I wanted without having to adhere to standard requirements or forms of learning," said J.P. Hitesman, a second-year student at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass.

Like other competency-based programs, Hampshire College uses faculty "assessments" to review course work, instead of the standard grading system.

The president of the New College of Florida ‹ a public institution where students fulfill a self-designed "academic contract" each year ‹ acknowledged that the system demands independence and discipline from students. It isn't for everyone, he said.

"Some kids need more structure," Gordon Michalson said in a phone interview from his office in Sarasota.

Lovett said the academic community also has resisted wholesale changes because that would require a major overhaul of the U.S. college structure.

"If you start moving one piece, you have to worry about the rest of the system," Lovett said. "And that's why educators have been reluctant to find a substitute."

One point to be noted in this thread is the distinction between testing for competency in mastering a given course versus the formal concept of "Competency-Based Learning" ---

As I see the new Google service (see below), its main attraction to me is in finding a quick map when I know a person's home or a business phone number.  Often I have a phone number but do not have an address.  Even if I have an address, it takes more time to bring up a mapping service (like Mapquest) and then type in an address.  

Google has implemented an address/map service.  If you type a phone number in the format (210)555-5555 you will then be given the address and links to a map of where this phone number is located.  Scary!  But this type of service has been available from some other services for years (although not necessarily with the quick map service).

It works for home phones and most business phones.  It will give you an address and map for some business phone numbers but not others.  It did not work for the main Trinity University phone number (210)999-7701.  It also does not work for my office phone or my cell phone.  It also does not work for unlisted numbers.

The phone numbers are  not extremely up to date.  When I type in a phone number (210)653-5055 that I cancelled in June, it still brings up my former address where I no longer live.  My wife and I had got a new phone number in New Hampshire in June.  It does not find our NH address, but other services like Switchboard are also not up to date in terms of "new" listings.

Note that if you have online documents with your phone number on them (e.g., a resume), Google will also find those documents like it does with any other search term.

Bob Jensen's search helpers at 

The Google Site Map has a lot of quick links --- 

Google offers many services for free and some services for a fee --- 

Froogle -  
Find products for sale from across the Web. More... 

Google Answers -  
An open forum where Researchers answer your questions for a fee. More...
Note from Bob Jensen:  I worry about this service --- 

Google Catalogs - 
Search and browse mail-order catalogs online. More...

Google Groups - 
Post and read comments in Usenet discussion forums. More...

Google Image Search - 
The most comprehensive image search on the web with 425 million images. More...

Google Labs - 
Prototypes and projects in development by Google engineers, including: Google Viewer - Google WebQuotes - Google Glossary - Google Sets - Voice Search - Keyboard Shortcuts. More... 

Google News - Search and browse 4,500 continuously updated news sources. More...

Google Special Searches - Narrow your search to a specific topic, such as BSD, Apple, and Microsoft.

Google University Search - 
Narrow your search to a specific school website.

Google Web Directory - 
The web organized by topic into categories. More...

Google Web Search -  
Relevant results fast from searching more than 3 billion web pages.

Google Wireless -  
Access Google's adaptable search technology from any number of handheld devices.

Google tools include the following:

Google Browser Buttons -  
Access Google's search technology by adding our buttons to your browser's personal toolbar.

Google in Your Language -  
Volunteer to translate Google's help information and search interface into your favorite language.

Google Toolbar - 
Take the power of Google with you by adding the toolbar to your IE browser. More...

Google Translate Tool - _tools 
Translate text or entire web pages.

Google Web APIs - 
A tool for software developers to automatically query Google. More

Google makes a lot of money from its services to advertisers and other business firms:

Google Advertising
Getting Started
 • Contact sales
 • Worldwide offices
Learn More
 • Overview
 • Industry metrics
 • Success stories
 • Premium Service FAQ
 • AdWords FAQ
 • In-depth look
 • Glossary of terms
 • Preview your ad
 • Campaign login

There are also "search appliances" 

Search Appliance
 • Overview
 • Product Info
       - Features
       - Hardware
 • FAQ
 • Customers
 • News
 • Support
 • Request Info

Google Fun Facts --- 

Google Fun Facts

Google sorts billions of bits of information for its users. Here are some little-known bits of information about Google:

What a lot of folks do not know about is the commercial Google Search Appliance --- 
Among other things this allows management to track employee searches and track incoming data when the outside world seeks employee Web pages.  Universities are now using this (by paying $28,000 or more per year) to track information about searches of university Web servers.  See the following reference:

"Universities Discover a New Use for Google:  Finding Out What People Want," by Dan Carnevale, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 24, 2003, Page A37.

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at 

Forward by David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM

New York Times, October 31, 2003
MICROSOFT EYES GOOGLE MERGER Microsoft reportedly approached Google within the past two months about the possibility of a merger. Google--the leader among search engines--generates significant ad revenues. Google, for the moment, appears to have rejected Microsoft's overture, focusing instead on its recently revealed intentions to pursue an initial public offering (IPO). Microsoft might still consider a merger after Google goes public, however, according to one source. Plans for Google's IPO remain undecided. Google's founders reportedly have considered an auction-style public offering, avoiding using financial institutions to underwrite the IPO. Many banks are continuing to bid for the IPO, however, believing that Google executives will ultimately opt for a traditional approach. 


Eugenics Archive (Science, Genetics, History) 

Here's a classic problem in cost accounting that may be useful in some courses.

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Educators' Reviews on October 31, 2003

TITLE: Luxury Cruises At Discount Prices 
REPORTER: Evan Perez 
DATE: Oct 29, 2003 
PAGE: D1-2 
TOPICS: Managerial Accounting

SUMMARY: Perez reports on one segment of the ocean cruise industry and the unusual practice of discounting the rates of late in an effort to more fully utilize the capacity of the luxury cruises previously aimed exclusively at the high-end consumer.

1.) Explain how the economy today and the build-up in capacity of recent years in the high-end cruise business has conspired to result in the discount prices offered by many of the luxury cruise lines. Discuss this in terms of variable versus fixed costs and whether either or both are avoidable within a relevant range.

2.) Compare what is happening in this business to a special order decision in which a potential customer offers to pay for a product or service at a discounted price. How is this situation similar? How does it differ?

3.) What costs would you think the luxury cruise lines could avoid when their volume is less than their capacity? Are any of your suggestions fixed costs?

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 managerial accounting threads are at 

A Matter of Ethics:  How to kill a nice U.S. Postal discount service!
Will UPS simply be taking your package to the post office?

"New UPS Delivery Service Sends Packages Through the Post Office," by Rick Brooks, The Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2003 ---,,SB106808310918827500,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 

Escalating its attack on the U.S. Postal Service, United Parcel Service Inc. is quietly rolling out a new, bare-bones service that will soon begin dumping thousands of packages a day into the mail system for regular letter carriers to deliver.

The new service, called UPS Basic, is designed to steal some of the post office's biggest customers, especially mail-order merchants that often avoided UPS because of its comparatively steep rates. UPS Basic, which has angered post-office officials and UPS's own Teamsters union, exploits a postal discount program that was designed for very different purposes. Because of the discount, customers pay UPS less for its new service than if they went straight to the post office.

The move underscores a growing campaign by UPS to recapture business lost during the past few years to the post office and smaller competitors that have pecked away at the company's longtime dominance in the $25 billion-a-year U.S. ground-shipping industry. If the initial rollout of UPS Basic is successful, the company could increase to hundreds of thousands a day the number of its packages whose final delivery is made by the mailman.

Continued in the article.

Forwarded by Debbie Bowling

"Sources: Penn State to Offer Free Music," by Alex Veiga,, November 6, 2003 --- 

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- In an apparent campus first aimed at undercutting the file-swapping craze, Penn State University will offer students free digital music listening and limited downloading from the relaunched Napster service, music industry sources said Wednesday.

However, if students wants to keep a song or burn it to a CD they will need to pay.

The university said Wednesday it had entered into an agreement with an unidentified party to provide digital music at no cost to students. University officials were expected to provide details of the deal Thursday during a conference in Anaheim.

Penn State, which has about 83,000 students on several campuses, has been testing the program with a select group of students, university spokeswoman Amy Neil said. Initially, only the 13,000 students living on campus will be eligible to access the free music, Neil said.

She would not identify the online music service or give further details. Music industry sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the provider was Napster.

A Napster spokesman declined to comment.

Bob Jensen's P2P threads are at 

November 1, 2003 message from James L. Morrison [

Below is a description of the November/December 2003 issue. Please forward this announcement to colleagues who are interested in using information technology tools more effectively in their work. Also, please encourage your organizational librarians to add The Technology Source to their e-journal collections.

Many thanks.

James L. Morrison

The Technology Source ---

Home Page:


Course management system upgrades are a mixed blessing: They typically introduce helpful new features, but they can also complicate the process of course revision. Jo Paoletti documents the challenges she faced as she adjusted to successive versions of her university's CMS. She concludes with an even-handed assessment of what instructors, IT support staff, and software designers can do to minimize the pain of course revision. (See )

Zane Berge and Greg Kearsley share the results of an important survey on the sustainability of distance training programs in professional organizations. According to respondents, factors that limit the long-term viability of these programs include employee turnover, limited budgets, lack of managerial involvement, and inadequate technical support. Berge and Kearsley summarize other valuable findings and suggest topics for future research. (See )

Henryk Marcinkiewicz interviews Robert Sylwester, whose research highlights the relationship between cognitive development and new trends in educational technology. Sylwester explains how an understanding of brain maturation over time can help parents and teachers find appropriate instructional strategies. He also proposes an apprenticeship model of technology instruction and touts the benefits of collaborative decision-making and reciprocal learning. (See )

Robert Sommer used to lecture with 35 mm slides and overhead transparencies, but he recently upgraded to PowerPoint slides and a digital projector. This seemed like a progressive step--until color distortion within the new system had unexpected consequences for his research on color perception and aesthetics. Sommer provides a diagnosis of the problem he faced and an account of how he bypassed it. (See )

It is not enough to possess technology skills for online teaching; faculty members must also have a comprehensive strategy of instructional design. Gail Weatherly and Randy McDonald describe how this combination is achieved in a 10-session series of workshops at their university, where the standard approach to course development keeps technology use rooted in sound pedagogical practice. The authors provide detailed workshop materials and resources. (See )


Steven Wicker and Beth Boyd outline the various programs that Wake Forest University (WFU) has sponsored to encourage its faculty to use information technology tools. The initiatives include funding for academic computing specialists and student technology advisors who work one-on-one with instructors; grant programs that give faculty members release time or summer support for technology-related projects; and opportunities to observe successful technology use at other institutions. (See

When it comes to assessment in higher education, establishing a campus-wide consensus on learning outcomes, evaluation criteria, and the institutional role of technology can seem nearly impossible. Colleen Carmean knows this all too well, and she illustrates the point by frankly describing 10 obstacles that she and her colleagues faced while trying to develop transformative assessment standards for their university. (See )

Some November 1, 2003 financial reading recommendations from Mike Gasior [



Although this book provides one of the better blueprints for actually picking stocks and formulating a mutual fund strategy, it could have been more thorough in explaining when is the appropriate time to sell a stock.


As much as Peter Lynch the author wants people to believe picking stocks is child's play, if you actually read and digest the book, you get a sense for Lynch's genius and discipline and come away knowing that it truthfully isn't as easy as it looks.




Lots of books get called "bibles" or their respective topics, but this seminal book is one that actually deserves that sort of accolade.  Hard core bond guys like me want to find the few flaws and errors contained in this Frank Fabozzi classic, the fact remains that this book is without peer.  Although you won't be renting a cabin in the woods and settling next to the fireplace to cuddle up with this 1373 page monster anytime soon, it does double as an amazingly effective doorstop.




Since I was already tooting the Frank Fabozzi horn, I might as well mention this volume as well, since it is probably MORE important than the previous book with respect to the particular market it focuses on.  This is another instance where there is no peer to this book and it sort of wins by default.  If you need to understand this market, you HAVE to own this book.  To that fact, there is no debate.




This book by John Hull is still the leading book in a field that has become more crowded in the last few years.  The former NASA, rocket science types complain that it lack intricacy, but I feel there is plenty of complexity to cause anyone to want to kill themselves.


Suicide attempts aside, this is a seminal book on a complicated topic and a tremendously useful guide to anyone who works with these products and I've enjoyed many parts of it.




I had to get this book onto the list since it was the book that spawned my life long love of options and derivatives in general.  It has been a huge book for 20 years and Larry McMillan manages to explain some fairly complex strategies without burying you alive.  I totally recommend this book.




This book has become required reading in many finance classes and Burton Malkiel recently put out the eighth edition of this classic.  Although I don't buy into Malkiel's theory that no one can actually beat the market (please see my previous comments on Buffett, Lynch and Soros), this book does tell the story of most major investment manias over the past 300 years including the most recent Internet bubble.  It gives the reader a serious history lesson and some perspective that was sadly missing during the second half of the 1990s for many people.




This book was written in 1923 and is the most required reading I could ever mention for anyone who wants to be a participant in the investment markets.  I will save you all the gushing, but this is one of those timeless books that is as completely relevant today as it was 80 years ago.  Remember my opinion of people who "don't know history..."




People might think I'm just being overly dramatic here, but no book will serve you better than this one for preparing you for a career on the street.  Sun-Tzu has been dead for the better of 2400 years, but his advice is direct and easy to understand.  Consider this passage:


"Lure them in with the prospect of gain, take them by confusion"


Obviously, any book that is quoted by Gordon Gekko and Tony Soprano isn't for everyone, but I have always enjoyed the book and make use of much if the guidance offered in it.  Worth checking out.




I could mention many books in this category including Liars Poker, Den of Thieves, Rogue Trader and many others, but this Roger Lowenstein volume that tells the story of the rise and fall of Long Term Capital Management is my favorite.


Although there seems to be oodles of detail, I actually wish Lowenstein had given even more.  This book reads like a novel and you have to remind yourself that this is a true story.  Excellent and entertaining.




This one is another monster at over 800 pages, but it tells the story of John D. Rockefeller and he lived to nearly 100 years old.


Written by Ron Chernow, this is another book that reads like a novel, and for those not old enough to remember how rich Rockefeller was this book will tell you.  In current dollar terms he would have at least 7 to 8 times more money than Bill Gates.  Perhaps closer to 10 times.  Like When Genius Failed, there will times when you will need to remind yourself that this is a true story.  I loved it.




I saw Harry Dent Jr. on PBS over 10 years ago humping the book of his that had just been released called The Great Boom Ahead.  He wrote it in 1992 and used demographic to PERFECTLY predict what would transpire during the 1990's including a Dow above 10,000 when it was barely 2,000.  I want you to read what he predicted would occur AFTER the bust of the late 90's (yes...he predicted that too).


You can get this book in paperback on Amazon for $10.95 or used for a buck and a half.  The best money you'll ever spend.




Easy one here since it is still the Wall Street Journal, which is much improved after their makeover almost two years ago.  I enjoy the Financial Times, but there is nowhere near the depth and breadth the Journal offers.




Business Week is a very close second, but I enjoy the detail in The Economist.




Although IDD (Investment Dealers Digest) is an outstanding read as well, Institutional Investor is still the premier magazine for the institutional community.




It is a pretty heavy-duty publication, but remember the audience it is geared toward.




You can see that I prefer detail, and The Nightly Business Report does the trick for me.  Obviously, CNBC is the King of financial television and I can really enjoy Squawk Box and Kudlow & Cramer.  But when I must narrow to a single show, you already heard my vote.  I still have to tune into to Lou Rukeyser because he still books the best guests.  Considering how CNBC is the King of financial television, I always wonder why their website is so awful.  Doesn't NBC have a relationship with Microsoft who they might want to call for some advice?





I think you will enjoy this one, and it took me a little while to focus on what the logic was before I could solve it.  I also got a wonderful suggestion that I should publish the answer to the previous month's brainteaser in the next month's issue and that will begin this month.


First this month's brain teaser:


"When Dr. Cohen finally finished typing her treatise 'The Sleeping Habits of the Columbian Edible Ants' she was rather surprised to notice that the number of digits she used to number the pages was exactly a multiple of the number of pages in the treatise itself.  This substantial piece of work contains over 1,000 pages, but fewer than 10,000.  Exactly how many pages does it contain?"


As always, give yourself a decent chance at figuring it out on your own before being a weasel and peeking at the answer.  You can view the solution at this URL: 


And the answer to last month's brain teaser is:


The beauty of last month's brainteaser is that you don't need to know anything about the boats' relative speeds to figure out the width of the river (although you can certainly deduce the relative speeds after obtaining the answer).


When the boats first meet, the total distance they have traveled equals the width of the river.  By the time they meet again, the total distance traveled equals three times the width of the river. (Draw a diagram to convince yourself.)  The boats are each traveling at a constant speed, so they each will have traveled three times as far by the second meeting as the distance they'd traveled by the first time they met.


Because the boat starting in New York had traveled 720 yards at the first meeting, it must have traveled 2,160 yards at the time of the second meeting.  But this distance is 400 yards from the other shore, so the width of the river equals 2,160 - 400 = 1,760 yards.  Conveniently, this is exactly one mile.


There's a hole in the bucket:  The "Old Sow" or the "Old Whirly"
The Atlantic Ocean's version of a black hole.

"It'll Thrill Ya, It'll Kill Ya," by Michelle Delio, Wired News, October 29, 2003 ---,2640,60987,00.html 

EASTPORT, Maine -- Chaos isn't just a theory in the Passamaquoddy Bay.

Here in the waters off of Eastport, Maine, lurks the Old Sow, the western hemisphere's biggest whirlpool.

She shows up wherever and whenever the spirit and tides move her, occasionally opening her maw suddenly in the form of a madly spinning, 40-foot-deep hole in the ocean, several hundred feet wide.

Sometimes she's more subdued, creating a funnel-shaped hole roughly 12 feet wide and 12 feet deep.

"A local fisherman summed it up pretty well when he said, 'I didn't mind so much getting caught in it. But I did resent having to row uphill to get out,'" said Robert Godfrey, the self-appointed president for life of the Old Sow Whirlpool Survivors' Association.

Godfrey, a website designer and photographer, figures about 100 people who have lived to tell of their experience with the whirlpool belong to the association. Some members have even been through the whirlpool more than once.

"Riding the Sow is fun," said survivor John Charlton. "But I have to admit that it's more fun after you're out of it than it is when it's actually happening."

The Old Sow is a tidal whirlpool, and so opens up at a location determined by each day's currents and tide height. New and full-moon high tides almost always bring Old Sow roaring out of her sty. Locals usually have a good sense of when and where the Sow will be spinning.

Charlton once went out looking for the Old Sow with his wife, Terry. The couple searched in all the usual places with no success.

They were about to give up the hunt when they suddenly realized they were surrounded by 12-foot-high walls of water. The whirlpool had opened up right beneath their 13-foot whaler.

"There was absolutely no sensation of dropping or falling," said Terry Charlton. "All of a sudden we were just inside a deep hole in the ocean, surrounded by water, right inside Old Whirly."

She added that the only time she calls the whirlpool the Old Whirly is when she happens to be inside it.

Continued in the article.

From the Scout Report on October 30, 2003

Creator of Simpsons Alleges Fox Almost Sued Itself Over Parody Fox Sought to Sue Self, 
Simpsons Scribe Says  

The Simpsons Archive  

Matt Groening’s Top Ten Episodes  

NPR: Interview with Matt Groening  
Metroactive Arts -- Life before Homer: An Interview with Matt Groening 

In an interview with Terry Gross of National Public Radio this week, Matt Groening (the creator of The Simpsons) commented that the Fox News Channel threatened to sue Fox Entertainment (its sister network) over a recent parody of the right-wing news channel. In this particular episode of the Simpsons, a rolling news ticker ran along the bottom of the screen, in the same fashion as on the Fox News Channel. The ticker displayed a number of headlines that parodied the channel's right-leaning perspective, such as Do Democrats Cause Cancer?, JFK Posthumously Joins Republican Party, and Oil Slicks Found to Keep Seals Young, Supple. Groening noted in the interview with NPR that "We called their bluff because we didn't think Rupert Murdoch [the owner of Fox] would pay for Fox to sue itself. So, we got away with it." Groening went on to note that "Now Fox has a new rule that we can't do those little fake news crawls on the bottom of the screen in a cartoon because it might confuse the viewers into thinking it's real news." [KMG]

The first link leads to a recent news piece about the supposed lawsuit from this week's Washington Times. The second link will take visitors to the delightful Simpsons Archive, which though not the official site, presents synopses of all the episodes, along with thousands of pieces of arcane information about the long-running show. The third site is in fact the official site presented by the Fox Network, and likewise, contains a staggering amount of material about the Simpson clan and the rest of the residents of Springfield. The fourth site is a feature that originally appeared in Entertainment Weekly where creator Matt Groening offers a list of his ten favorite episodes of the Simpsons, which is not surprisingly capped off by the much-lauded Bart the Daredevil program that appeared in the second season. The fifth link will take visitors to the audio archive of NPR's popular program, Fresh Air, where they may listen to the October 23, 2003 interview with Groening. The final link will take users to an interview with Groening from 1986 (culled from the archives of the Metro, a weekly newspaper in Silicon Valley) where he talks about his work and life -- which included the rather funny comic strip Life in Hell at that point.

Forwarded by Richard Newmark

Anita Wise (a comedian) had this to say about paranoia, "I had to move to New York for health reasons. I'm extremely paranoid and New York is the only place my fears are justified."

The following tale is somewhat interesting in that one way to detect a fraud or a system defect is to plant a marker somewhere and see if it gets accounted and/or detected correctly.

Forwarded by Dr. B.

Never Lie to Your Mother

Brian invited his mother over for dinner. During the course of the meal, Brian ' s mother couldn ' t help but keep noticing that Stephanie was very, very beautiful.  Mrs. Hester had long been suspicious of an intimate relationship between Brian and Stephanie, and this had only made her more curious.

Over the course of the evening, while watching the two react, Mrs. Hester ' s frowns became evident. Reading his mom ' s thoughts, Brian volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you Stephanie and I are just platonic roommates."

About a week later, Stephanie came to Brian saying, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I ' ve been unable to find our  silver gravy ladle. You don ' t suppose she took it, do you?"

Brian said, "Well, I doubt it, but I ' ll send her an e-mail just to be sure."

So he sat down and wrote:

Dear Mother,

I ' m not saying that you "did" take the gravy ladle from the house, I ' m    not saying that you "did not" take the gravy ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.


Several days later, Brian received a letter from his mother that read:

Dear Son,

I ' m not saying that you "do" sleep with Stephanie, and I ' m not saying that you "do not" sleep with Stephanie. But the fact remains that if you were sleeping in your own bed, you would've most certainly found the gravy ladle by now.



Forwarded by Bob Overn

Farmer Jones's cows had recently stopped giving good milk. So, he went around asking for advice, and someone told him that happy cows give good milk. So every morning he would go out and tell some jokes to his cows, and they would all laugh. But the rest of the cows in that community thought that the jokes were pretty stupid.

Because of this, his cows became the laughing stock of the town.

Forwarded by David Fordham,

You have to be careful sometimes when you adapt jokes to different settings! Here is a true story, no fooling. This happened to ME. Honest!

As the editor of my ham radio club's newsletter, I often adapt popular jokes to a ham radio setting to use as "fillers" to finish out a page. I'll change the words "blonde", "West Virginian", etc. to "ham operator, and it makes a humorous story applicable to my audience.

Since we have many females, and even teenagers, in our club, I am careful about which jokes I adapt.

That's why I was astounded one day when my printer, a fundamentalist Christian, returned the originals of the newsletter to me one day, and said, "I can't print that stuff. It's lewd, it's obscene, its immoral, and against my principles to print such filth." He referred to a joke that I had lifted from the Reader's Digest, a publication which I figured had some "borderline", but socially acceptable, jokes in it, and which I had merely changed a word or two.

That evening, I was complaining about the situation to our local Bishop. "Look here," I showed the man of the cloth. "Here is that exact same joke in the Reader's Digest! How come it is clean enough to be published in the Digest, but when I use it, it is filthy, lewd, and obscene.

The Bishop thought for a moment, then his eyes brightened. "I see the difference," he explained. "Your version is about ham radio operators. The Digest version was about lawyers!"

This is an oldie but goodie forwarded by good friend.  I am all in favor of this clever anti-terrorist effort! It may not work in every instance, but heck, it's worth a try.

We all know that it is a sin for a Taliban male to see any woman other than his wife naked, and that he must commit suicide if he does. So, this Saturday (not Sunday because of NFL competition) at 4:00 PM Eastern time, all American women are asked to walk out of their houses completely naked to help weed out any neighborhood terrorists. Circling your block for one hour is recommended for this anti-terrorist effort.

All men are to position themselves in lawn chairs in front of their house to prove they are not Taliban. This demonstrates that they believe it is acceptable to see nude women other than their own wives and also shows support for all American women.  Network television coverage is encouraged to over-ride all normal programming since some bored terrorist cells are known to be television addicts --- probably spying on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood around 4:00 p.m. next Saturday --- 

Additionally, since the Taliban does not approve of alcohol, a cold six-pack at your side is further proof of your anti-Taliban sentiment.

The American Government appreciates your efforts to root out terrorists and applauds your participation in this anti-terrorist activity.

God bless America!

Forwarded by Bob Overn

Three Little Pigs went out to dinner one night. The waiter comes and takes their drink order.

"I would like a Sprite," said the first little piggy. "I would like a Coke," said the second little piggy. "I want water, lots and lots of water," said the third little piggy.

The drinks are brought out and the waiter takes their orders for dinner.

"I want a nice big steak," said the first piggy. "I would like the salad plate," said the second piggy. "I want water, lots and lots of water," said the third little piggy.

The meals were brought out and a while later the waiter approached the table and asked if the piggies would like any dessert.

"I want a banana split," said the first piggy. "I want a root beer float," said the second piggy. "I want water, lots and lots of water," exclaimed the third little piggy.

"Pardon me for asking!," said the waiter to the third little piggy, "but why have you only ordered water all evening?"

You're gonna get a giggle over this....

The third piggy says -

"Well, somebody has to go 'Wee, wee, wee, all the way home!'"


Stupid Quotes --- 

"Lack of brains hinders research."
Columbus Dispatch, Headline

"Better make it six, I can't eat eight."
Dan Osinski, Baseball pitcher, when a waitress asked if he wanted his pizza cut into six or eight slices.
(Note from Bob Jensen:  There could be some logic in this if he wanted to eat 5/8 or 7/8 of the pizza.  But I don't think this is the way Dan was reasoning at the time.)

"Politics gives guys so much power that they tend to behave badly around women. And I hope I never get into that."
Bill Clinton, former U.S. president

"I don't think the Republicans can damage my character"
Bill Clinton, former U.S. President

"Outside consultants sought for test of gas chamber."
Ad in Arizona Republic

"Men, I want you just thinking of one word all season. One word and one word only: Super Bowl."
Bill Peterson, football coach

"I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada."
Britney Spears, Pop Singer

"Where the hell is Australia anyway?"
Britney Spears, Pop Singer

"Most lies about blondes are false."
Cincinnati Times-Star, headline

"My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an uncle or an aunt."
Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice.

"China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese."
Charles De Gaulle, former French President

"Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing - but none of them serious." 
Alan Minter, Boxer

"I think that the film Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."
Alicia Silverstone, Actress

"During the scrimmage, Tarkanian paced the sideline with his hands in his pockets while biting his nails." 
AP report describing Fresno State basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian

"I wish men had boobs because I like the feel of them. It's so funny - when I record I sing with a hand over each of them, maybe it's a comfort thing."
Baby Spice of the Spice Girls

"Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, "Thank God, I'm still alive." But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again." 
Barbara Boxer, Senator

Boogie Through Life (great music) ---


And that's the way it was on November 15, 2003 with a little help from my friends.


I highly recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free newsletter from a very smart finance professor) --- 


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


For accounting news, I prefer AccountingWeb at 
I also like SmartPros at 


Another leading accounting site is at 


Jack Anderson's Accounting Information Finder ---


Gerald Trite's great set of links --- 


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

The Finance Professor --- 


Walt Mossberg's many answers to questions in technology ---


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 


Click on for a complete list of interviews with established leaders, creative thinkers and education technology experts in higher education from around the country.


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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November 1, 2003 

Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on November 1, 2003
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

Quotes of the Week

New Hampshire Winter:  The First Ten Months Are the Hardest 
Seen on a poster in the Franconia Inn

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
Will Durant as quoted by Mark Shapiro --- 

Is this an open Google exam?
Question raised by one of my students.

Progressive Perspectives is the journal of the John Dewey Project at the University of Vermont, Dewey's alma mater. These folks voice some typical contemporary progressive opinions. Like many reformers, they're not keen on teaching kids facts. They're more ardent about "thinking skills" and "deep understanding." Somehow, although they contend that "every piece of knowledge depends on every other one," they don't want to teach kids very many pieces. They urge instead that students "experience life" and blame discipline problems on student "alienation" at the "utter meaninglessness" of school, preferring to imagine that the disruptive ten-year-old in the next row is having an existential crisis instead of just being obnoxious. They also exalt "a child's ability to reason, to care, and believe in her or his ability to act, think critically, and problem solve."
Poor Elijah (See below)

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
Forwarded by Dick Haar

In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.
Oscar Wilde

Investors also have a sense that the quality of earnings isn't high -- and they are correct. Traditionally, the difference between generally accepted accounting principles net income and operating earnings is 12% to 18%, according to S&P's number-cruncher Howard Silverblatt. After the awful track record of the bubble years when that gap blew out, earnings quality improved and the spread tightened. In the first quarter, the variance between operating earnings and net income was only 4.5%. In the second quarter it crept up to 14%, but it was still toward the low end of normal. But in this quarter, Mr. Silverblatt estimates it will be 18%. "It's on the warning track and it's a shock to go there. We've seen some pro forma, some strange items," he says.
Jesse Eisinger, The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2003 (Ahead of the Tape Section) ---,,SB106720612223767900,00.html?mod=todays%255Fus%255Fmoneyfront%255Fhs 

Irish saying forwarded by Paula Ward

I only hope that when I am free
As they
(leaves in the wind) are free to go in quest
Of the knowledge beyond the bounds of life
It may not seem better to me to rest

Misgiving, by Robert Frost (The above quotations is only a portion of the poem.)
I am fortunate to have the Robert Frost home and museum within a short walk from my new house in the White Mountains. You can see some pictures of his old home at

Bob Jensen's working draft of accounting and finance scandals for October-December 2003 can be found at 

Corporate America's Funniest (read that most boring) Home Video
The Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2003 
20-minute video of an extravagant birthday party for the wife of former Tyco CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski depicts what many consider the height of corporate excess. Three videos can be downloaded from links below:


Full:   Part 1 

Full:  Part 2): 
This is a Roman Orgy without the orgy.  Actually everybody looks pretty boring and bored.  Neither video shows the life-sized naked woman birthday cake.  And the sculpture of David peeing vodka was edited out of the flicks.  The cake and the sculpture were not shown to the jury in the Kozlowski trial.  Just why these were edited out is a mystery to me since they depict the sickness of this former Tyco CEO more than the tame stuff on the jury's videos where all the bored actors in togas wore underwear.  What's left on the tape isn't worth watching except to witness a boring waste of $2 million in corporate dough.  I've attended funeral parties (e.g., for my friend John Bacon) in Pilots Grill in Bangor, Maine where the guests had more fun..
Bottom Line Conclusion:  Success of a corporate party is defined as what it cost rather than what it bought.


A privacy group wants banks to know that they shouldn't be allowed to pass customer information around so easily. So they made their point above New York City by having a skywriter paint a bank CEO's Social Security number in the sky.
Wired News, October 24, 2003 ---,1367,60964,00.html 

In these times
a child's eye is our only hope
and hand.
To draw a window
jump through
and erase it from the other side

A portion of the poem "Bracing Myself to Hear the Day's News," Philip Pardi, The Texas Observer, September 12, 2003, Page 21 (I don't think the poems are online) --- 
I'm reminded by Anne Murray that we need a little good news ---  
See Below!

It's fun to play on words. I'm always inspired by an Anne Murray song entitled "Little Good News" --- 
Let's play on the words a bit.

I rolled out this morning...ACEMers had email systems on 
AccountingWeb tells of an audit failure long after old Enron 
SmartPros shows us how accounting careers have grown dicey 
It's gonna get worse you see, we need a change in policy

There's a Wall Street Journal rolled up in a rubber band 
One more sad story's one more than I can stand 
Just once, how I'd like to see the headline say 
Not much to print about, can't find any frauds today


Nobody cheated on taxes owed 
No lawsuits filed, no investors got POed 
No new FASB rules, no unaccounted stock options in our pay 
We sure could use a little good news today

I'll come home this evening...I'll bet that the news will be the same 
Ernst & Young's fired a partner, PwC's been found to blame 
How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair 
And how we cleaned up the everybody's playing fair

Whoa, tell me...

Nobody was cheated by their brokers 
And the mutual funds all played square 
And everybody loves everybody in the good old USA 
We sure could use a little good news today

Nobody embezzled a widow on the lower side of town 
Nobody OD'd, only the courthouses got burned down 
Nobody failed an exam...nobody cussed out FAS 133 
Now that would really be good news for me

Sorry folks!

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Richard C. Sansing [mailto:Richard.C.Sansing@DARTMOUTH.EDU]  
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 10:28 AM 
Subject: Re: An accounting parody

--- You wrote:

I am looking for an "accounting" song. I would like to be able to have a popular song and change some of the lyrics to include basic accounting principles but my creative juices do not flow in that way. Does anyone know of such a parody?

--- end of quote ---

Possibilities include "Enron-Ron-Ron" (on the Capital Steps CD, "When Bush comes to shove") and "When IRS Guys are Smilin'" (Capital Steps, "Unzippin' My Doodah"). Also, the first part of "I want to be a producer" (The Producers) deals with accounting.

Richard C. Sansing Associate Professor of Business Administration Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth 100 Tuck Hall Hanover, NH 03755

Office: Tuck 203A Phone: (603) 646-0392 Fax: (603) 646-0995 email:  URL:  
Luck is the residue of design--Branch Rickey

October 23, 2003 reply from Dan Stone [dstone@UKY.EDU

Re: songs about accountants.... Here's another:  

It's a parody of John Henry.... Called Henry the accountant

KEVIN WOODWARD Free Folksongs (audio clips) --- 
Includes part of the song "Henry the Accountant"
October 24, 2003 message from Dave Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM

A sound clip of Henry the Accountant can be found at ---

Other songs about an accountant:

The Ballad of Kenny-Boy ---

My Cat Accountant ---

Somehow, Says My Accountant ---

Bob Jensen's Enron and related humor threads are at 

What's one of the best way to avoid computer viruses?

This is going to be Bob Jensen's solution in our White Mountain cottage.

Computer viruses have become a major headache for Windows users. But there's a simple way to stop worrying about security issues: Buy an Apple Macintosh computer.

"If You're Getting Tired Of Fighting Viruses, Consider a New Mac," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2003 ---,,SB106685931255314300,00.html?mod=todays%255Fus%255Fmarketplace%255Fhs 

For consumers and small businesses, the burden of using Microsoft Windows just keeps getting heavier. After growing easier to use for several years, Windows PCs have taken a giant step backward because they are so insecure.

Windows is riddled with security flaws, and new ones turn up regularly. It is increasingly susceptible to all kinds of viruses, malicious Trojan horse programs and spyware. As a result, Windows users have been forced to spend more of their time and money supporting their computers.

Almost every week, they are supposed to install patches to the already patchy operating system to plug these security holes. And every few months, it seems, Windows users must quake in fear as some horrible new virus is created by the international criminal class that constantly targets Windows.

But for consumers and small businesses, there's a simple way out of this endless morass: Buy an Apple Macintosh computer. There are no viruses on the Macintosh's excellent two-year-old operating system, called OS X. And the Mac is a terrific computer -- as good as, or better than, Windows for the typical computing tasks important to mainstream users.

It isn't impossible to write a virus for the Mac. The system isn't impenetrable. Mac users should still use antivirus software. But any virus or security problem that does emerge on the Mac is likely to be much less serious than the Windows security crisis. "Mac OS X hasn't had any viruses since the OS was launched," says Bill Rosenkrantz, the head of Macintosh products at Symantec, the big antivirus firm. "It's more difficult to attack the Apple system than Windows."

Apple Corporation Tutorials for the Mac (including spreadsheet tutorials) ---  (use the search term "tutorial")

Understanding the Mac --- 

Creative Mac Tutorials (free multimedia software tutorials) --- 

Mac Tutorial for Dreamweaver --- 

"America's Growing Trade Deficit Is Selling the Nation Out From Under Us. Here's a Way to Fix the Problem—And We Need to Do It Now," Warren E. Buffett, Fortune, October 26, 2003 ---,15114,525644,00.html 

I'm about to deliver a warning regarding the U.S. trade deficit and also suggest a remedy for the problem. But first I need to mention two reasons you might want to be skeptical about what I say. To begin, my forecasting record with respect to macroeconomics is far from inspiring. For example, over the past two decades I was excessively fearful of inflation. More to the point at hand, I started way back in 1987 to publicly worry about our mounting trade deficits—and, as you know, we've not only survived but also thrived. So on the trade front, score at least one "wolf" for me. Nevertheless, I am crying wolf again and this time backing it with Berkshire Hathaway's money. Through the spring of 2002, I had lived nearly 72 years without purchasing a foreign currency. Since then Berkshire has made significant investments in—and today holds—several currencies. I won't give you particulars; in fact, it is largely irrelevant which currencies they are. What does matter is the underlying point: To hold other currencies is to believe that the dollar will decline.

Both as an American and as an investor, I actually hope these commitments prove to be a mistake. Any profits Berkshire might make from currency trading would pale against the losses the company and our shareholders, in other aspects of their lives, would incur from a plunging dollar.

But as head of Berkshire Hathaway, I am in charge of investing its money in ways that make sense. And my reason for finally putting my money where my mouth has been so long is that our trade deficit has greatly worsened, to the point that our country's "net worth," so to speak, is now being transferred abroad at an alarming rate.

Continued in the article.

From the Library of Commerce (History, Geography)
Rivers, Edens, Empires --- 

Bob Jensen's history bookmarks are at 

What's Special About This Number? (Mathematics) --- 

divisors    algebra   primes    sums of powers    powers/polygonal     matrices   graphs
  combinatorics    Fibonacci    digits    perfect/amicable    bases    repdigits   geometry

Plants-In-Motion (Botany, Science) --- 


How can you find a word's definition, synonym, antonym, rhymes, and many other helpers related to the word, including where it appears in literature?

This is a GREAT helper site!
Go to Lycos Zone's RhymeZone --- 

Find rhymes
Find synonyms
Find antonyms
Find definition
Appears in definition of
Find related words
Find similar sounding words
Find homophones (two words pronounced in the same way that have different meanings and/or spellings)
Find similar spellings
Match consonants only
Match these letters
Search in Shakespeare
Search for quotations

Another GREAT site is from the Link Grammar Group at Carnegie Mellon University --- 

Resources offered by the Link Grammar Group
at Carnegie Mellon

Resources offered by other groups at Carnegie Mellon

Resources offered by other institutions worldwide

"Vocabulary on the Web," by Carol S. Holzberg, Technology & Learning, September 2003, pp. 46-47 --- 

What is WordNet?

WordNet® is a large lexical database of English. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are grouped into sets of cognitive synonyms (synsets), each expressing a distinct concept. Synsets are interlinked by means of conceptual-semantic and lexical relations. The resulting network of meaningfully related words and concepts can be navigated with the browser. WordNet is also freely and publicly available for download. WordNet's structure makes it a useful tool for computational linguistics and natural language processing.

WordNet superficially resembles a thesaurus, in that it groups words together based on their meanings. However, there are some important distinctions. First, WordNet interlinks not just word forms—strings of letters—but specific senses of words. As a result, words that are found in close proximity to one another in the network are semantically disambiguated. Second, WordNet labels the semantic relations among words, whereas the groupings of words in a thesaurus does not follow any explicit pattern other than meaning similarity.


The main relation among words in WordNet is synonymy, as between the words shut and close or car and automobile. Synonyms--words that denote the same concept and are interchangeable in many contexts--are grouped into unordered sets (synsets). Each of WordNet’s 117 000 synsets is linked to other synsets by means of a small number of “conceptual relations.” Additionally, a synset contains a brief definition (“gloss”) and, in most cases, one or more short sentences illustrating the use of the synset members. Word forms with several distinct meanings are represented in as many distinct synsets. Thus, each form-meaning pair in WordNet is unique.


The most frequently encoded relation among synsets is the super-subordinate relation (also called hyperonymy, hyponymy or ISA relation). It links more general synsets like {furniture, piece_of_furniture} to increasingly specific ones like {bed} and {bunkbed}. Thus, WordNet states that the category furniture includes bed, which in turn includes bunkbed; conversely, concepts like bed and bunkbed make up the category furniture. All noun hierarchies ultimately go up the root node {entity}. Hyponymy relation is transitive: if an armchair is a kind of chair, and if a chair is a kind of furniture, then an armchair is a kind of furniture. WordNet distinguishes among Types (common nouns) and Instances (specific persons, countries and geographic entities). Thus, armchair is a type of chair, Barack Obama is an instance of a president. Instances are always leaf (terminal) nodes in their hierarchies.

Meronymy, the part-whole relation holds between synsets like {chair} and {back, backrest}, {seat} and {leg}. Parts are inherited from their superordinates: if a chair has legs, then an armchair has legs as well. Parts are not inherited “upward” as they may be characteristic only of specific kinds of things rather than the class as a whole: chairs and kinds of chairs have legs, but not all kinds of furniture have legs.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's links to language tutorials are at

Bob Jensen's helpers for writers are at


Bob Jensen's related bookmarks are at 

Sixth grade these days is not like the sixth grade I remember
See Mrs. Loy's home page --- 

Ideas for activities in Mrs. Loy's Sixth Grade --- 

Everything about Mrs. Loy's course sounds like a course that I would have preferred to have taken if given a choice back in the 1950s.  What I recall about my Mrs. Van Allen's sixth grade were the endless flash card drills in grammar and spelling.  Mrs. Loy encourages creativity where Mrs. Van Allen encouraged basic skills to a fault.  

Rhetorical question: 
Which type of teacher generates better readers and writers?  
Anecdotally based upon my perceptions of entering college students in 1950s versus the 21st Century, I think the students in 1950s were better writers in terms of basic skills.  However, they (we) may not have been as creative or had as much fun as the sixth grade.

October 26, 2003 reply from 

-----Original Message----- 
From: MacEwan Wright, Victoria University [mailto:Mac.Wright@VU.EDU.AU]  
Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2003 7:48 AM 
Subject: Re: Mrs. Loy versus Mrs. Van Allen

Dear Bob, You must have done more that just rote? I remember my days in 6th Grade in the late 1950's. We enjoyed a bit of everything; English (rote spelliong and grammar), Arithmetic (thank god for the calculator), Art (a great way to make a mess), History (of the world in 5 minutes?), and Geography - which made us understand that a melt down of a North Eastern USA nuclear facility would reappear around about Tasmania, not China? Why China? I suppose it sounded better that "the Tasmania syndrome?" 

Kind regards, 
Mac Wright

October 26, 2003 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Mac,

Yes but our education was not really "progressive" in the modern sense of the word. I highly recommend a recent commentary by Poor Elijah --- (See below)

On the kidding side Mac, you would've had more drill with Mrs. Van Allen ' s spelling cards --- "rote spelliong."

Actually we did more than just rote learning, but not much in Mrs. Van Allen's Language Arts class (I don't think it was called Language Arts in those days, but I've forgotten what they called our grammar course). My geography course consisted of mainly memorizing nation names and capitol cities. I think I predated the calculator, at least in a country town in Iowa. 

We did make messes in Miss Torkelson's art course, but I would hardly call it creative art to mush you fingers about in a glob of paint on a piece of cardboard.  I suspect that Miss Torkelson was the only "progressive" teacher that I had in the sixth grade where I could see a seemingly endless sea of corn stalks out the window.

Thanks for your comments.

Bob Jensen

October 26, 2003 reply from David R. Fordham [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

I am becoming accustomed to finding myself on the fringe. Upon reading some of these posts about early education, when I look back critically, I find that my experiences contrast greatly with most of the posts.

Sure, I enjoyed making the mess in art, and I enjoyed playing Ms. Harry's games to make geography palatable, and I remember the boredom of memorizing the "times tables" in Mr. Sanderson's class, and how I looked forward to music time because it was fun and diagramming sentences wasn't.

But when I look back and try to find the experiences where I actually LEARNED the most, which ostensibly is supposed to be the goal of education, I have to be honest in confessing that I learned more from reading, on my own, than I ever did sitting in a classroom -- any classroom, any teacher's classroom -- or more importantly, doing ANY activity that I thought was fun!

The value of my teachers, to me, was overwhelmingly to inspire and motivate. They did their best to "cover the material", or "to make things fun", or to "use new and different pedagogies". They tried their best to make the presentations interesting, to "show me how", to demonstrate, to explain, to describe. But all of that combined, when I am honest with myself, pales in comparison with the contribution they made in my life by getting me to WANT to learn. If they got me to WANT to learn it, it didn't matter whether they could teach it well or not -- I would go other places if I needed to, but I ended up learning it, and learning it well.

The good teachers I had are the ones that convinced me that learning certain things, understanding certain things, would be of greater benefit to me than the cost involved in learning those things.

It didn't matter how good or how poor the teacher was at explaining. It didn't matter whether the class was boring, or whether the teacher used TV or 16mm films or the old 35mm slides synchronized with the 33 rpm record, or games or coloring books or field trips. I wanted to learn, so I either paid attention in class, or I checked out books on my own, or I asked my parents to take me to the public library where I checked out books, or I used my allowance at the book fair, or I borrowed books from people. I sought out learning on the subjects which the teacher had convinced me were worth knowing.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dr. Frank Baxter on the AT&T films (Our Mr. Sun, Hemo the Magnificent, About Time, etc.), but I learned a lot because I wanted to know what the film was teaching, not because I enjoyed the films. I also enjoyed playing with the Flip-the-Circle card game in Ms. Gee's class -- I remember having fun, but I can't even remember the SUBJECT of that game! So much for "learning". I can remember a lot of other FUN and ENJOYMENT I experienced, but I can't remember what I learned, if anything.

However, I can remember reading books on astronomy, railroading, the Crusades, how airplanes fly, oceanography, horticulture, building engineering, public speaking, anatomy, the Civil War, jellyfish, -- and I can not only tell you the titles of those books, but all the stuff I learned from them! Perhaps hundreds or thousands. Because someone made me believe that knowing that stuff would somehow be worth my time to learn it.

Looking back, Ruth Andrews had to be the "worst" teacher in the world according to today's standards. She lectured, she wrote on the board, she assigned homework on those purple-plague spirit duplicator handouts, and that is about all I can remember her ever doing. But somehow, she told stories in her lectures, -- stories which apparently inspired a lot of students at Highlands Elementary School's third grade, since almost every one of my fellow students in Ms. Andrews class have been successes, whereas a large percentage of my fellow students in most of my other classes at that school are not (many are dead of drug overdoses, shootouts with police, cancer, AIDS, and lots are in prisons -- our school was in a ghetto.) Ms. Andrews' alums include an Air Force Colonel, a director of BellSouth, a consulting engineer, a research scientist, an executive of Winn-Dixie stores, a famous Blue-Grass musician, a bank vice president, not one but three high school science teachers, an elementary school art teacher, a first officer on a merchant marine vessel, a bank vice-president, and yours truly, -- and those are only the one's I've kept up with.) But no one today would think that Ms. Andrews was a good teacher, because her students were expected to sit in their seats and listen to her talk most of the time. But her stories had morals that made us believe that learning was good for us, and we were convinced.

My, how I wish she were still alive so I could ask her how she did it. I don't remember how she got us to want to read (it wasn't by sitting on the roof for a day or shaving her head if we all read five books, I know that!), but I remember WANTING to read books to learn more than just what she told us in her lectures. In fact, I can't even remember anything she told us in those lectures that sticks with me, but I remember third grade was the year I learned the most of all my years in school.

The really, truly sad thing is, I may be of a dying breed. -- Because I can't find ANYTHING in today's so-called "assessment" programs, or standards of learning, or anything else, which deals with motivating or inspiring students to learn on their own. As a result, today's teachers are concentrating on the "learning" content of Ms. Andrews lectures, and are probably ignoring the "motivational and inspirational" aspect of her lectures.

Or they are replacing that motivation with glitz, glamour, and media. I believe this is why today I have fewer students who WANT to learn when they arrive at my class than I did a scant 10 years ago. In my opinion, "Assessment" and "learning objectives" have done far more to interfere with good educators than they have to improve bad educators.

I do not see many calls for teachers like Ms. Ruth Andrews. Pity.

David R. Fordham 
PBGH Faculty Fellow
James Madison University

October 26, 2003 reply from Laurie Padgett [padgett8@BELLSOUTH.NET

David, I found your posting very interesting. I am young (but with lots of gray hair already), almost mid-30s with 2 children in school. One in the middle school and one in high school. Your comment about "assessment" spurred a thought I wanted to add. I live in "Florida" where every school, every teacher, and every student is geared towards "FCAT" Florida Comprehensive Assessment test. Each school is graded on this test & each year receives a "grade." Good grades result in funding/bonuses/etc for a particular school. My understanding is that this was put in place to increase the success of the education standards in our state. A student must pass it by their senior year or they can not graduate. This became a big issue last year.

As I think back to my days in high school, this was not a requirement. Back then, there was more flexibility given to teachers where stories such as yours could happen. Now, it is much more structured because they have to cover certain material in order to prepare students for the test. I should not forget to mentioned that there was an article in our local newspaper awhile ago that highlighted that some of the state representatives who put this in place either refused to take the test or failed it when they took it. I find this totally amazing.

Personally, I find the current school system in my area disgusting. It is "praised" as one of the better but the experiences that I have had to deal with make me frustrated.

The latest episode was the computer access situation with the older daughter in high school. She went back in forth between the office and teacher. Each telling her to go to the other. Finally, she came home frustrated and talked to me. Because she is older, she tried to handle much as she could to be "responsible." After the story she told me I was frustrated. Needless to say, within one hour of me calling the school she had the access. Might I add that parent permission is only required once (which was done last year). They "lost her records." I made sure that I politely let the office know that it is obvious that there was a lack of communication on their part. I also expressed to them that to put my daughter in a situation of back and forth between school personal was not fair to her and made it clear to me that someone did not know the appropriate processes to follow.

I could go on with the stories and the ones that my children come home and tell me about other students and teachers. I have sat down and thought about the situation but I can not honestly make the statement that the school system needs attention without mentioning that the morals and lack of respect from today's generation have negatively contributed to this. Then I think deeper on this subject. Ok, then why do I hear so many awful stories from my kids? Where are the parents? Well, I have noticed many parents, even ones that I know that are so caught up in "me" that they do not take the time out for their kids or they allow them to do whatever they want. For example, it is unbelievable that they are piecing all different body parts. My husband and I would never allow this as long as they live under our roof. Period.

Well, I guess I have expressed enough about this subject. I do want to say that I feel the same way as you have discussed. I think the one subject that has stuck with me through the years is band. It taught me alot beyond playing music. I learned responsibility, setting goals, team work, and hard work. We saw results for our efforts. In my senior year, we marched in the Macy's Day parade in NY city. What an experience - which I will never forget. While in my undergraduate study, I commuted to school 3 hours a day, 4 times a week, for 2 1/2 years. At the same time I worked 20 hours a week and had a small child. I think back to these days and contribute the ability for me to stick it out, not give up, and keep going towards my goals to my high school year's in the band.


October 27, 2003 reply from Patricia Doherty [pdoherty@BU.EDU

I think that for the most part the "school subjects" all become a blur after a while. So what I remember are the teachers who saw each student as an individual, and tried to build our strengths and overcome our weakesses. Ms. Spanbauer saw a silent 5-year-old in the first grade who was too timid to speak to a soul, and sent her around with notes to various teachers in the school so she'd "mingle" (using today's word) and get to know some people. Miss Olsen, the music teacher, recognized that the thing this little girl loved most was music, and she really took that and ran with it. When she phoned my mom to tell her I was going to do a solo of Silent Night at the school's Christmas pageant, my mom told her she must be thinking of the wrong kid! They actually arranged a ride to the school for my mom (we lived a long distance, and had no car) so she could see it. Miss Homan thought the fourth grade "me" was bored, and gave me "fifth grade," and then "sixth grade" math lessons until she found my "level" rather than send me to stand in the hall when I finished the assignment early and proceeded to make a nuisance of myself, gazing around, asking if I could get a book to read, etc. I really realized the value of these teachers, of course, when we moved to a different school district, where the idea of individuals was somewhat less developed and the way to deal with bored students was to make them outline the next chapter in the history book, or write the 2 thru 12 tables six times. It took me years after that to begin to realize how interesting history really could be if you did something with it besides memorize the chapter. I guess that goes along with your third grade teacher: her stories brought the subjects alive and "here and now," so that there was always something to pique your curiosity, so that the real learning could begin.

"Progress in the Wrong Direction"
Guest commentary by Poor Elijah (Peter Berger)
 October 26, 2003 --- 

"Progress" is a loaded word. My dictionary defines it as "movement toward a goal," with "movement toward a higher or better stage" as an amplification. This reminds me of an old Mad magazine cartoon that shows a moviegoer at a ticket booth confronted by two signs. One details the outrageous cost of a ticket, while the other banner proclaims, "Now at popular prices." The guy in the ticket booth replies to the patron's predictable question with a shrug. "Well, they're popular with us anyway."

When General Electric used to tell us, "Progress is our most important product," they didn't mean that their goal was to change the American consumers life in order to make it worse. Progressives like Woodrow Wilson also thought they were improving things. Whether or not that was the result of their policies and programs is a matter of opinion. It's just that very few candidates ever got themselves elected by calling themselves "regressives."

In education progressivism is characterized by some common principles and practices. Naturally, progressive educators think their goals and methods drive schools and students in a "better" direction.

This ain't necessarily so.

Progressivism is largely based on ideas outlined by John Dewey, a prodigious turn-of-the-last-century philosopher. Dewey opposed excessively authoritarian classrooms and encouraged teachers to focus on students as individuals. At the same time he saw education as the "fundamental method of social progress." The chief duty of teachers and schools was to prepare students to make their individually appropriate contributions to society. Modern reformers have heard the voice of Dewey, and much of what you hear today about "the whole child," "hands on," and "student-centered learning" rests on their interpretation of his ideas.

On the other hand, Dewey expected teachers to be in control of their students' education, disapproved of "amusement" as a classroom objective, and viewed "punishment" as a legitimate tool for "arousing" a student's "interest" and understanding. Many Dewey disciples have apparently missed that part of his message.

Progressives typically aren't big fans of No Child Left Behind. This, of course, makes them members of a rather large and varied non-fan club, which includes all sorts of teachers, parents, school board members, and politicians. Progressives especially don't like NCLB because it imposes standardized expectations on all students. This puts them at odds with Mr. Dewey's declaration that "all questions of the grading of the child and his promotion should be determined by reference to the same standard."

Progressive Perspectives is the journal of the John Dewey Project at the University of Vermont, Dewey's alma mater. These folks voice some typical contemporary progressive opinions. Like many reformers, they're not keen on teaching kids facts. They're more ardent about "thinking skills" and "deep understanding." Somehow, although they contend that "every piece of knowledge depends on every other one," they don't want to teach kids very many pieces. They urge instead that students "experience life" and blame discipline problems on student "alienation" at the "utter meaninglessness" of school, preferring to imagine that the disruptive ten-year-old in the next row is having an existential crisis instead of just being obnoxious. They also exalt "a child's ability to reason, to care, and believe in her or his ability to act, think critically, and problem solve."

Unfortunately, it's tough to think without some facts to think about. It also doesn't do much good to believe in your ability if nobody's helped you develop any.

One Project spokesman takes his anti-facts-and-standards campaign to a common progressive extreme. "I don't think there should be a curriculum," he comfortably declares. Kids should just "follow the interests that they have." The teacher's job is to "guide them to topics that follow from their original interest." This particular "guide," for example, objects to having been "forced to take math." He maintains that no student "should be compelled to study" a subject if he isn't "ready to appreciate" it. Instead teachers should help kids "identify and cultivate their natural, inevitable interests."

Attention all students. The line for nine-year-olds naturally and inevitably interested in long division forms over here.

This is how we've wound up with so many self-satisfied twelve-year-old specialists in whales, wizards, and dinosaurs. It's also why the intervals of progressive reign in our public schools, especially the past thirty years, have been such a disaster.

Progressives also emphasize the social mission of schools. As far back as the 1930s, the official goal of Los Angeles’ progressive "activity movement" was to "promote a happy and healthy group life." Today the Progressive Project expects teachers to be "socially responsible individuals." This means I'm supposed to lead "by example" and "encourage" my students to "promote change." I'm also supposed to "introduce" my students to "examples of injustice and suffering, while promoting empathy."

I'm all for responsibility, personal and social. I'm also in favor of empathy. In fact, my students often ask me how come I assign so many sad stories for them read. But I disagree that those goals constitute my job description. As an English teacher, my job is to teach kids to read and write. As a history teacher, I'm supposed to help them know and understand their nation's past. Hopefully along the way some of them will develop empathy, but that's not the primary task of school.

Another Project partisan complains about teachers who think that the point of school is "not about being nice or kind or helpful." She laments that "social responsibility has no place" in most schools, which, as she sees it, are instead "about being the best." She defines "best" as "getting the highest grade, doing the best work, following directions, and completing assignments in a timely manner."

It's tough to understand how doing your best, following directions, and doing your work on time aren't responsible traits that we ought to encourage. It's also easy to understand how educators and schools that deliberately discourage that kind of "best" wind up doing a lousy job.

I don't think that schools are about being nice, kind, or the best, though these are all worthy things. I think schools are for teaching kids a specific constellation of academic knowledge and skills while they're in the process of growing up.

It's true that we need to remember that they're growing up.

But we also need to remember that growing up isn't the reason that we send them to school.

"CPA2Biz Reduces Operating Loss By 90%," SmartPros, October 27, 2003 --- 

CPA2Biz, Inc., the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant's marketing and technology provider, reported significantly improved financial results at the AICPA Fall 2003 Council meeting last week.

For the year ending July 31, 2003, CPA2Biz reduced its operating loss by 90.5 percent from $33.8 million to $3.2 million. In addition, based on many initiatives led by the new management team over the past year, CPA2Biz is now projecting a break-even cash flow for the coming year on revenues of more than $14 million.

"We are very pleased that while we are able to bring our costs in order, we have also been able to significantly grow our customer base and online sales," said Erik Asgeirsson, CEO, CPA2Biz. "In the year ahead, we will continue to expand our services to CPAs and their clients with new programs like the recently announced CPA Partnership Program with Paychex."

CPA2Biz reported that its online customer base has expanded by 55 percent over the past year with 160,000 users.

The CPA2Biz home page is at*4/default.htm 

How can you get a Google definition of a word?

Go to Google --- 
In either the "Type all the words" box or the "With the exact phrase" box, type the word "define" with the quotation marks, then a space, and the word or phrase you want defined.  At the top of all the search hits, you will get the definition you were seeking plus a link to additional definitions.

For example, type "define" love

Interestingly, Google suggests typing "define" carcooning
However, Google cannot seem to find a definition of that word  (which appears to mean customizing one's car for travel comfort).

Note that you get a different result in Google when you use “define” with quotation marks versus define: with a colon.

It does not matter whether you are in Google’s main page or in Google’s Advanced Page.

"Google Further 'Defines' Search," by Colin C. Haley, Boston, October 21, 2003 --- 

Baffled by bling-bling? Perplexed by prairie-dogging? Confused by carcooning? Google can help.

The search engine powerhouse has introduced a glossary feature to troll the Web for definitions. The Mountain View, Calif., company says its particularly well-suited for slang and newer terms such as "search engine," that are likely to appear online before they do in print.

The technology was developed by Google Labs, a unit dedicated to new technology, and has been in testing for 18 months. International versions will be introduced in coming months.

"(A search command) emerges from testing when we feel it's ready for prime time," a Google spokesman told "Certainly, the quality and reliability have to be there."

Users type the word "define," then a space, and the word or phrase they want defined into the search pane. If Google has seen a definition on the Web, it retrieves and display it on a results page. The commands "what is" and "definition" also work.

Results are highlighted as "Web Definition" followed by the text of the Web-generated definition. If Google finds several entries, users are presented with a link to a complete list.

Google still has a deal with to provide its content. On the results page, users can click on the word they entered in the blue results bar and access the definition.

Of course, rival search engines routinely include definitions as part of their results. And there are other sites specializing in slang and new terms, including Urban Dictionary, which allows users to submit their own words, and Word Spy, which compiles and defines words and phrases popping up in the media.

Earlier this year, Word Spy ran afoul of Google's intellectual property lawyers who wanted to be sure when people "use 'Google,' they are referring to the services our company provides and not to Internet searching in general."

Lawyers weren't as upset with the definition as they were the lack of mention of the corporate entity. Word Spy's editor modified the entry by inserting trademark information, which satisfied Google.

October 23, 2003 reply from Charlie Betts [cbetts@COLLEGE.DTCC.EDU

Go to 
You can also get definitions without going to the advanced search option. Just enter the word define followed by a colon, a space, and then the word you want define. If there's more than one definition for a word, you'll get multiple answers. I'm sure everyone on the listserv can define accounting, but if you enter (define: accounting) (without the parentheses) you may be surprised at the varied definitions you'll get. This also works on some other search engines, but not all.

Charlie Betts 
Delaware Tech. & Comm. College  

Try a Mooter Search at 
For example, type "macro hedging" with the quote marks.

Australian Mooter takes on Google Staff writers, ZDNet Australia ZDNet Australia October 21, 2003 --- 

An Australian company plans to tackle Google's stranglehold on the domestic Web search market.

The company, Mooter Search, claims it will differentiate itself by offering "users a more intelligent and 'humanised' approach to finding information" in a grab for the growing online search market.

In what it claims is an implementation of "artificial intelligence", the Mooter search engine groups together information in logical clusters, which is designed to save time.

"We have built a powerful, smarter search engine that enables our users to do more... with considerably less hassle," the company's chief executive officer, Liesl Capper, said in a statement.

"Mooter focuses on the psychology of people, not machines," the chief executive added.

Mooter Search plans to include a paid listings service with its engine, Capper said, confirming that the company was "a few weeks off" finalising a deal with a provider.

Capper remained tight-lipped about which provider that might be, but it is probable that LookSmart Australia and Overture will be near the top of the list of contenders.

According to Capper, Mooter Search has been designed to anticipate advertiser needs for more "discriminating traffic".

"Rather than just pay for any old click, we're hoping to attract users that have 'smart'; have been on the Web for a while... basically focus hard on those sorts of eyeballs," she said.

Winning the deal would be a shot in the arm for LookSmart, which recently lost around 60 percent of its revenue when NineMSN's United States portal ended its partnership with the company.

US based search-giant Google launched into the Australian market softly last year, setting up a sales operation in Sydney to sell paid searches in the local market.

Google snapped up search personalisation technology start-up Kaltix last month in line with its strategy of driving towards personalised searches.

Mooter received a federal government research and development grant, as well as an AusIndustry Commercialising Emerging Technologies (Comet) grant to assist it in commercialising its technology.

Searching for Pictures and Images --- Click the image button at 

Searching for words and phrases at a particular university --- Scroll to the bottom of

Bob Jensen's other search helpers are at

October 24, 2003 message from David R. Fordham [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

We use Centra Symposium. It works astoundingly great. I was blown away by the fact that it really does work over dial-up phone lines from home! Honest-to-goodness, real-time audio conferencing, with the benefit of all kinds of signaling (raising hands, answering yes/no, symbols for laughing, agreement, applause, stepping out of the "room" momentarily, etc.), and has provision for still slides in real-time, too. It is supposed to allow the demonstration of separate programs (such as a Peachtree demo, or an Excel spreadsheet created in real-time during the conference for everyone to see) but that feature is not yet ready for prime time. But the conferencing (audio, slides, conversations, etc.) are extremely impressive. (So is the price tag, from what I've heard!)

I have used it for two semesters of my on-line Information Security course in our MBA program. We typically have about 16-20 students logged in simultaneously. The "leader" "passes the microphone around" as needed, as students raise their hand or as I call on them. There is even a nice provision for "breakout rooms" where I can assign each student to a separate sub-conference by dragging and dropping that student's icon from the main meeting room to the breakout room. The students can then confer in groups of 3-5 (or whatever number you want) for group work, during the class meeting time. The professor can "drop in" to any of the breakout rooms and listen or participate. Centra has a white-board, highlighting capability, and both a private and public text chat board which can be used during the class. (Students can pass notes to each other or post to the entire group. The prof can monitor everything if your mind is good enough to manage that many simultaneous situations!)

I absolutely love it. The only thing missing is video: I can't see the student's facial expressions, etc.

The on-line class meetings move much more slowly than the physical classroom meetings, but after some practice, the prof can become adept at recognizing hands, passing the mic, and taking back the mic fairly quickly. The first time I used it, I made the mistake of including a lot of "presentation" in the on-line meeting. BIG mistake. I now do all "presentations" (e.g., lecture-type material) offline using Tegrity Weblearner, or self-paced material delivered via Blackboard. That way, we use the on-line class meeting for discussion, round-tables, question/answer, and group case work. The student ratings went through the roof this last time: the highest ratings I've ever gotten in 16 years of teaching. Maybe a fluke.

I like Centra, now that I've had some practice.

David R. Fordham
PBGH Faculty Fellow
James Madison University

October 25, 2003 reply from Bob Jensen
Hi David,

I am curious whether Centra Symposium penetrates each user's firewall. Except for a half-hour experiment in which Trinity University shut down its firewalls, we've never been able to use Internet telephone services like DialPad.

On a home system, it is possible to temporarily shut off a firewall. It is virtually impossible to get our universities to shut off firewalls.

Bob Jensen

October 25, 2003 reply from Bob Jensen

Bob (et al), the answer is, as with most things, "Yes, however..."

Centra has been able to operate, astoundingly well, through every firewall that my students have been able to throw at it. My students sit in on the virtual class from their desks at their offices (such as Booz Allen, Accenture, Pacific Bell, etc., whom I know will have good firewalls), as well as one who was sitting on a U.S. Naval Destroyer in the Indian Ocean! JMU also has solid multi-layer firewall installations. Getting in or out is no problem, even through the tightest of firewalls. HOWEVER...

There ARE some firewall settings which can be made to interfere with Centra. For example, a year ago JMU decided to "throttle back" the Internet connections for student subscribers -- students were making so much use of Napster and the other file-sharing peer-to-peer networks (to almost-continuously download huge media files), it was slowing the entire broadband network. So the JMU tech people throttled the speed of each user's network connection back to the equivalent of a 56k modem. This would not have interfered with Centra normally, but they initially tried to do this at the firewall level where our on-campus network connects to the off-campus internet backbone. The setting they made messed up Centra, and started introducing long delays. The delays were not traced to the 56k limit on each user's line, they were actually being introduced at the firewall, because that was how the firewall was configured to throttle the transfer speeds: by deliberately delaying packets rather than truly slowing transfer speeds.

To solve the problem, they removed the firewall delays, and began throttling the student line speeds at the LAN level, using settings in the routers. The routers used a different strategy for throttling the speed, and Centra came back up to acceptable real-time operating speed, even for those students using the on-campus "throttled" 56k speed lines.

If you weren't able to follow all that, don't worry: the bottom line is, normal firewall operation does not impede Centra. Even tight firewall operation doesn't seem to impede Centra. None of my students have ever encountered any firewall problems except for that one time, and that was JMU's fault (the experiment also interfered with more than just Centra, by the way).

I agree with you that universities are probably not going to open their firewalls in order to use Centra.

David R. Fordham 
PBGH Faculty Fellow 
James Madison University

Source: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Country: United States Date: 21 October 2003 
Double Entries, Contributor: Andrew Priest --- 


For the sixth consecutive year, “finding and retaining qualified staff” is the top pressing issue for CPA firms, according to this year’s “Top Five MAP Issues” survey, conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Other issues that make the study’s list are “succession planning/developing future owners,” “marketing/practice growth,” “seasonality/workload compression,” and “fee pressure/pricing of services.” While it is not included in the top five, more than half of all respondents expressed concern about “the effect on smaller firms caused by the new [regulatory] standards.”

Released by the Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Committee of the AICPA, the survey polled CPA firms across the country ranging in size from one professional (sole practitioner) to 21 or more professionals, asking them to rank the most important practice management challenges facing firms today. More than 1,000 CPA respondents completed the survey, double the number that participated last year.

Firms of all sizes gave a high importance rating to “finding and retaining qualified staff.” However, large firms registered a particularly high level of concern, with 91% giving the issue a top importance ranking (four or five on a scale of five). This unease over staffing is rooted in a scarcity of accounting graduates. However, this trend has recently reversed, in part due to the AICPA’s five-year, $25 million student marketing campaign designed to increase the number of students majoring in accounting and, ultimately, becoming CPAs.

“Clearly staffing is an issue that is impacting the entire profession. Here at the AICPA, we are committed not only to providing resources to help firms overcome this hurdle, but also to exploring how to help firms of different sizes,” noted Jim Metzler, AICPA Vice President, Small Firm Interests. Details of the top concerns by firm size are listed below.

The AICPA, PCPS and MAP groups continue to conduct research and develop programs to address staffing shortages. In late 2000, PCPS sponsored a survey of leading non-partner CPA professionals, the “Top Talent” survey. This assessment was followed in 2002 by the AICPA’s Recruitment and Retention Survey of CPA firm partners, which identified the obstacles CPA firms face in attracting, hiring and retaining quality staff by evaluating trends and assessing current policies. 

Results from these surveys can be viewed at

The Natural Language Playground (Grammar, Poetry, Semantic Rhyming Dictionary, etc.) --- 

Google is auditioning dozens of banks for an initial public offering, possibly in the first half of 2004. Some say the company is aiming for a market value of $16 billion, putting the search engine in league with Yahoo and ---,1272,60959,00.html 

"ANTI-AGING The Secret Killer Scientists believe they may have found a common link in diseases from cancer to Alzheimer's to heart disease. Here's the story behind the search for that link. 
FORTUNE, October 13, 2003, by David Stipp ---,15114,517858,00.html 

Actuaries, not economists, are the truly dismal scientists. Consider some actuarial projections about the graying America of 2050: One in 26 of us will have Alzheimer's disease, compared with one in 64 people today. The annual incidence of strokes will almost double. Ditto for cancer. The diabetes rate will nearly triple. As for other diseases of aging, don't ask.

But an almost surreal turn of events in medicine is beginning to cast doubt on those gloomy predictions. Evidence is growing that drugs able to lower the risk of almost every major disease of aging aren't far off. In fact, a slew of studies suggest that rough drafts of those miracle pills are no farther away than your local grocery. They include aspirin, ibuprofen, and similar "nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs," commonly referred to by their acronym, NSAIDs (pronounced "en-sedz").

Over the past decade one galvanizing report after another has suggested that regular users of NSAIDs are less afflicted by aging diseases than are nonusers. In a 2001 study a Dutch team found that NSAID takers had an 80% lower risk of Alzheimer's disease. A recent review of aspirin's effects found that long-term users had 32% less risk of heart attacks. Other reports indicate that NSAIDs can cut the risk of colon cancer by nearly half, of lung cancer and prostate cancer by two-thirds, and of breast cancer in women by half.

And it's not just NSAIDs that seem to help. A second series of surprise findings involves statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs with names like Lipitor and Crestor. It now turns out that statins may lower the risk of Alzheimer's, diabetes, stroke, possibly cancer, and even depression—as well as heart disease, of course.

What's perhaps most exciting about these revelations is the light they shed on the aging process—and on how we might retard one of its most damaging aspects. Both NSAIDs and statins reduce inflammation, the immune response that causes pain, redness, and swelling at infection sites. That gives weight to the theory that much of what goes wrong as we age stems from smoldering, low-level inflammation in places like arterial walls and the brain. "We've spent billions of dollars and decades of work trying to treat diseases of aging after they appear," says Andrew Dannenberg, a cancer researcher at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "But the diseases don't just happen in one day. There's a long underlying process, and I fundamentally believe inflammation is an important part of it." Says Claudio Franceschi, scientific director at the Italian National Research Center on Aging in Ancona and coordinator of a massive, ongoing study on centenarians: "Inflammation is probably the background and driving force behind all major age-related diseases."

Franceschi was one of the first to voice that sweeping theory, which he calls "inflammaging." He began formulating it a decade ago when he and colleagues discovered that as people age, key immune cells become increasingly inflammation-prone. Recently the group has identified genetic variants in male centenarians that appear to mitigate the pro-inflammatory effect of aging. They and other researchers also have shown that frail, sickly oldsters are more likely to carry pro-inflammatory gene variants than their healthy peers. Elevated levels of pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood have been linked to heightened risk of osteoporosis, loss of lean muscle mass after middle age, anemia in the elderly, and cognitive decline after 70.

All that is enough to bring on a Ponce de Leon moment: Perhaps NSAIDs and statins at least partly mimic centenarians' genetic resistance to inflammation-driven aging diseases! If so, the drugs might qualify as the first credible semblance of anti-aging medicines. That's a leap, but not an Evel Knievel one. Though the apparent health benefits of anti-inflammatories haven't yet been rigorously vetted, some medical experts aren't waiting to start popping them. "I take an aspirin every day, and I do it because I think I'm reducing my aging," says a gerontologist who asked not to be named. If statins were as cheap as aspirin, everyone would be on them, says a physician, echoing a view that's becoming a kind of underground mantra in medicine. (The most frequently prescribed statins typically sell for about $3 a pill.)

If you're thinking of following suit, you'll be wading into murky waters (see What Should You Do?). There are frustratingly few guides on which anti-inflammatory pill to take, what is the right dose, or whether the pros outweigh the side-effect cons. Doctors generally tell healthy people not to take NSAIDs daily, for example, in part because they can cause serious gastrointestinal bleeding.

Continued in the article

From Syllabus News on October 21, 2003

Daily Jolt, Announce Joint Venture

The Daily Jolt, Inc. and formed a joint venture to cooperate in content sharing, link trading, and marketing. Both companies said the deal will give students a greater voice in the higher education online community, providing results that are “far more than the sum of its parts.”

The Daily Jolt is a community of 98 campus-specific Web sites, created and maintained by a team of students on each campus. Across the network, the "Jolters" provide day-to-day information and resources to their fellow students: everything from events listings to campus announcements to local restaurant reviews. calls itself America's largest collection of college professor ratings, providing an automated system for researching and rating over 200,000 professors across the U.S. and Canada.

Read more: 

From Syllabus News on October 24, 2003

Arkansas B-School Receives $1.25M Gift in Data Mining Tool

A New York City-based software firm is donating to the Sam Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas 1.25 million in software licenses for a genetic-based data analysis tool. With the technology, UA B-School students will be able to hone skills in mining business information from large databases. Fifty licenses of Gmax, software from MineTech Inc., will be used in a master of information systems course on decision support systems. The tool uses a technique called "genetic programming" to automate the laborious data testing and variable selection process required by statistical data modeling.

Sounds like a good idea.  Now let's simplify the English language itself.  For example, can't the letter c be replaced everywhere by the letter k or the letter s?

Typographer designs a typeface that makes it easier to distinguish letters with the same shape -- p and q, for example. The designer, a dyslexic herself, says the font could make the Web friendlier ---,1282,60834,00.html 

Borderland's Texas Poetry Review --- 

A judge sentenced an Arizona woman to 60 days home detention for intercepting her husband's ex-wife's e-mail, saying the penalty is a warning to others who might be tempted to do the same --- 

Are you getting frequent messages from Microsoft stating in effect that your system needs to be updated?  In most instances these are security updates.

"How You Can Tell if a Microsoft Security-Related Message Is Genuine?" AccountingWeb, October 20, 2003 --- 

Microsoft regularly sends e-mail to subscribers of our security e-mail notification services when we release a Microsoft Security Bulletin.

Unfortunately, malicious individuals have been known to send bogus bulletins that appear to be coming from Microsoft, a tactic known as spoofing. Some of these messages lure recipients to malicious Web sites to download malicious code, while others include a file attachment containing a virus.

Learn What to Look For:

Fortunately, there are ways to spot the imposters. Here's how to verify that a Microsoft security-related message you receive is legitimate:

The message contains no attachments. Authentic Microsoft Security Bulletin notifications never include software updates as attachments. Rather, we refer customers to the complete version of the bulletin on our Web site, which provides a link to the update. Most Microsoft software updates are made through Microsoft® Windows® Update, Microsoft Office Update, or the Microsoft Download Center.

The message is digitally signed. The Microsoft Security Response Center always signs its bulletin notifications before distributing them. You can verify the signature by using the key published on Microsoft TechNet. Verify the digital signature on TechNet (

The bulletin is listed on We never send notices about security updates until after we publish information about them on our Web site. If you are ever in doubt about the authenticity of a Microsoft Security Bulletin notice, check TechNet to see if the bulletin is listed there.

You may review the list of recent bulletins today at:

October 23, 2003 message from John Balden [baldenjo@UVSC.EDU

I have used West Federal Taxes and asked the publisher to give me the test bank questions in webct format. They sent me the file by E-Mail. I prepare the quizzed with alternative questions online. Each student gets a different quiz. It works great.

"Adobe Creative Suite: First Look," by W. T. Monkey, Webmonkey, September 29, 2003 --- 

If you've been paying attention to any of the current crop of Web development tools, you've probably come to the conclusion that integration is the wave of the future. And no, I'm not talking about our public schools, silly.

The integration of the tools we work with daily has its benefits: increased ease in the workflow, a shallow learning curve with new applications, and common file types. Microsoft realized this years ago and bundled Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, and PowerPoint together under the MS Office banner. They gave you one big chunk of software made up of smaller pieces, and by using those pieces together, you could get just about anything done. The applications could share data with one another, and they all looked and acted pretty much the same.

Macromedia introduced its Studio MX suite — a bundle of all of its major Web development tools — earlier this year. Adobe has followed suit with its Adobe Creative Suite, which is a bundle of its most popular and widely-used applications: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive, and Acrobat. Adobe has updated and integrated all of the applications within the suite, providing many new features as well as new workflow management tools. Just like Macromedia, Adobe has even ditched the standard numerical titling of its products: As of this release, all of the major Adobe products have "CS" attached to the end of their names. So, it's not Photoshop 8, it's Photoshop CS. Got it? Good.

The premium edition of the Adobe Creative Suite includes Photoshop CS, Illustrator CS, InDesign CS, GoLive CS, Acrobat 6.0 Professional, and Version Cue, the new file versioning system. The estimated street price is US$1229 for the premium edition. A standard edition, minus GoLive CS and Acrobat 6.0 Professional, should run around $999. Both suites ship in the fourth quarter of 2003, and all of the applications will also be available on their own. Of course, upgrades to individual applications will be on offer, and the entire suite available as a specially discounted $749 upgrade for Photoshop users and purchasers of any previous Adobe "Collections" bundle.

I've briefly touched upon some of the thumbs-up positives inherent to a suite environment, so now let's talk about what this coming-together means to Adobe users. Adobe applications are honored the world over for their pro-lever power, but they also come with a rather steep learning curve. Ever noticed that there are about seven different ways to do everything in Photoshop? And it can take a long while to learn what they are and which works best for you? Well, one of the very best things about application integration is that it smoothes out this learning curve.

Once you figure out the workspace, palettes, tools, keyboard shortcuts, and menu structures for one application, you can jump right into the next program with little difficulty. Also, applications can talk to each other with greater ease. You can edit a Photoshop file from within GoLive, or change an object's color in Photoshop and have that change reflected in GoLive without lifting another finger. Another major improvement is that all of the applications support each other's files, so Photoshop files can be dropped directly into InDesign or GoLive. Even better, there's no flattening of images required — Photoshop layer information is preserved and can even be edited and manipulated by the other applications in the Creative Suite.

Continued in the article.

GeoLytics Custom Data Sets (Census Data) --- 
Not free!

October 24, 2003 message from Risk Waters Group [

The credit derivatives market is set to hit $10 trillion in notional value within five years, with the number of actively traded credit default swaps set to double by 2007 to 600, according to Deutsche Bank’s global head of integrated credit trading Rajeev Misra. Speaking during a keynote address at Risk’s Credit Risk Summit Europe 2003 in London this morning, Misra said Deutsche Bank had commissioned consultants McKinsey to analyse the potential growth of the market. McKinsey’s findings predicted the credit derivatives market could grow to $10 trillion, based on strong demand from medium-sized banks to hedge their exposures to medium-sized corporates.

Vietnam: Journeys of Body, Mind, and Spirit (Art, History) --- 

Vindolanda Tablets Online (Archaeology, Anthropology) --- 

An Online Crime Game for Accounting Students 

October 22, 2003 message from Tracey Sutherland [


The AICPA's five year student recruitment campaign, Start Here Go Places, was designed to change students' perceptions about accounting and put them on the CPA path. Now, to generate even more interest and expose students to eye-opening career possibilities, the AICPA has developed the online forensic accounting game, Catch Me If You Can.

The game challenges students to put what they're learning into practice. It's also an opportunity for them to step into the intriguing world of forensic accounting and learn about an exciting career that they might not have been aware of - one that CPA certification can provide.

Catch Me If You Can will run for three weeks and is comprised of twelve different crime scenarios that will be posted two at a time, twice a week - each one slightly more difficult than the last. All require knowledge of basic accounting principles, an inquisitive nature and a love for problem solving. Students have a week to solve each scenario - they'll be given the details surrounding each crime, information to guide their investigations, and four possible solutions. Students in the top 20% of final scores will be eligible to win from of a total of $10,000 in prizes. Game play begins November 3rd.

This One Brought Tears to my Eyes

"My Turn: How Do I Move On Without My Soulmate?" by Harry Bernstein, Newsweek, October 27, 2003 --- 

     For 67 years, we had a happy marriage. Now Ruby’s gone, and I must learn to let go without forgetting At 93, Harry Bernstein is living alone for the first time in his life

     Coping with the death of a loved one is a terrible ordeal for anyone to go through. But when that loved one is your wife to whom you have been happily married for 67 years, then the ordeal is even harder to bear.

       I AM GOING THROUGH that experience. My wife of 67 years died just over a year ago of leukemia, and I still cannot reconcile myself to her loss. She was a beautiful and intelligent woman with a sweet temperament and a lovely smile, and we were more than husband and wife. We were friends, companions, lovers—as close as two human beings could be.

        It all began one hot summer night in 1934 when Ruby and I met for the first time at a dance in Manhattan. We fell in love right away. We were married one year later. It was the height of the Depression. Ruby had a job, I didn’t. But many couples in those days were getting married with that unconventional arrangement—the wife went to work while the husband stayed home to do the housework.

        Fortunately, it did not take too long before I found a job, and we were able to move out of our furnished room into an apartment. We had two children, first Charles, then Adraenne. We bought a house in a suburb of Queens, and the years sped by swiftly. The children grew up, went to college, got married, and we were alone together again, just as much in love as we had ever been.

        In our 60s we both retired from our jobs, sold the house and bought a new one in a retirement community in New Jersey. We made new friends. We were active physically and socially, both in the best of health. It seemed then as if life could go on forever, and it felt that way all through our 70s and 80s, and even into our 90s. But suddenly it all came to an end. Ruby was diagnosed with leukemia, and after a few months of useless treatments, she had to be rushed to a hospital one morning.

        Ten days later she died. I was in the room with her when it happened, and I will never forget that terrible moment. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I went to the bed and held her in my arms and wept. I couldn’t let go of her.

        And I still haven’t let go. The closets and dresser drawers are still filled with her clothing, her shoes, her purses, her jewelry. Her toothbrush is still in the bathroom. A book she was reading before she went into the hospital is still on the table in the living room, open to the page where she left off. She is with me all the time. I hear her voice. I see that lovely oval face of hers with those big brown eyes and that dark hair that never grew fully gray even when she was in her 90s, and that perennial smile of hers. And when I take a walk I can still feel her soft hand in mine.

        How does one let go of all that? How does one cope? At Mount Sinai Hospital, where Ruby died, there is a palliative-care program that counsels you on coping. Among the suggestions they give are to be with others, to talk about your loss, to share your feelings with those who have suffered the same thing. I have tried them all, and they don’t work for me. My sorrow is just too deep. I have the additional support of my son and daughter, both of whom are caring and insist on my staying with them as often as possible. But sooner or later I must come home to a house that is silent and empty, with all the reminders of Ruby surrounding me.

        For a younger man going through all this, there could be some solution in remarriage. But I am 93, and there is no possibility of romance’s coming to my rescue. I have never lived alone in all my life. Before my marriage I lived with my parents. I know nothing about cooking or taking care of a house. I must confess that there have been times when I wished I could join Ruby, and have given serious thought to ways and means of doing it.

        But one thing has saved me from that. It was a remark that my daughter made to me. Perhaps seeing the depressed state I was in, and speaking for her brother as well, she said, “Dad, you have lost a wife. But we have lost a mother, and you are the only one left to us, and we need you.”

        Until then I had not realized that I was not alone in my grief. They felt it as strongly as I did, and I did not realize how important or how necessary I was to them. It gave me the incentive to live and perhaps even to weather this thing out.

        Recently, I took some of Ruby’s clothes out of an overcrowded closet and gave them to a charitable organization. My appetite, which had all but disappeared, is slowly returning. This may be the start... of what? Coping? Forgetting? This last I will never do. There are the words of Helen Keller that express the way I feel:
   “What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.”

Forwarded by Debbie Bowling

Cleaning the Toilets (in Iowa)

I went off to college with a head full of mush and no money.

I needed a job. If there were no job, there would be no college. I found a part-time job and it was a dandy. It was a dream job-if you were the kind who had a lot of nightmares.

The job I had was cleaning the toilets in a dormitory. I was qualified because I grew up on a farm cleaning up after pigs, cows and chickens. All those animals were much easier to clean up after than were college students.

I didn't like the job very much, but I needed the money. It was good, honest work and nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes, I would be working away at my labor on a Sunday afternoon while it seemed like the rest of the world was relaxing and enjoying itself, and I would wonder. I would wonder how I ever came to be involved in such an endeavor. I would wonder why I couldn't have been born rich and have been able to bypass such menial tasks as scrubbing porcelain while on my knees. Maybe it was meant to be? Maybe it was fate?

My Great-grandfather Sundstrom left Sweden and headed to Iowa many years ago. Why Iowa? To quote a couple of characters in the movie, "Field of Dreams,"

"Is this heaven?"

"No, it's Iowa."

It sounded like heaven to a family struggling just to get by in Sweden.

Great-grandpa Sundstrom accompanied by his wife and five children boarded a boat and floated for days and days before arriving in New York. The voyage was made to seem even longer thanks to the seasickness that visited every family member. Once in New York, they boarded a train and headed towards the state where the tall corn grows. Algona was their destination. My great-grandparents had saved as much money as possible in order to give themselves a good start once they arrived in Iowa and had begun a new life. They spoke no English, only Swedish, but they had a sponsor in Algona who would be helping them adjust to their new home.

Then an odd thing happened. It was one of those occurrences that leads to an entire change of circumstances that alters lives dramatically. My Great-grandpa Sundstrom needed to use the bathroom on the train. The old toilets on the train had a pretty simple septic system. Whatever went into the toilet, went right out onto the tracks. When my Great-grandpa came out of the bathroom, he discovered that his wallet was missing. He went back to the bathroom and searched for it. It could not be found. There was no doubt that it had fallen onto the tracks. He talked to the conductor about his loss, but the conductor spoke no Swedish. My great-grandparents were in a country that they knew little or nothing about. They had five children who needing caring for and they were completely broke. At least they still had their sponsor who had promised my Great-grandpa a job once they arrived in Algona. Great-grandpa had already paid for the train tickets. They spent the trip being hungry. Some kind travelers gave the children crackers and bits of apple.

When they arrived in Algona, they were surprised to find that there was no one waiting for them. They thought that perhaps their wires had become crossed with their sponsor. My great-grandparents had nothing to go by except the address of their sponsor. They left the railroad depot and walked and walked, slowly making their way to their sponsor's home. There they were informed that their sponsor had died and along with him, so had the promise of a job.

My great-grandparents had many difficult years. My Great-grandma got a job cleaning houses. They were proud people who refused to ask for much help. They raised the children right there in Algona, Iowa. My great-grandparents refused to speak Swedish while the children were at home. They demanded that the children learned to speak English fluently. The five children all graduated from high school, something that neither of my great-grandparents had been allowed to do. The four girls all went on to further their education and became teachers. A flu epidemic took one of the girls during her first year of teaching. The son went to law school and became an attorney.

Oh, and what did my Great-grandfather Sundstrom do for a living that allowed all of his children to lead productive and rewarding lives? What did he do to make it possible for them to go to college?

He cleaned toilets.

Al Batt 2003

Al Batt is a husband, father and grandfather who lives on a farm near Hartland, Minnesota. 
He is a writer, speaker and storyteller. He writes a newspaper column. He does a regular TV and radio show, contributes to many magazines and newspapers. Al Batt can be reached at .


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Halloween Night:  Senior Citizen Trick or Treat

I get winded from knocking on the door.

I have to have someone chew the candy for me.

I ask for high fiber candy only.

When someone drops a candy bar in my bag, I lose my balance and fall over.

People say, "Scary  Mask!" and I'm not wearing a mask.

When the door opens I yell, "Trick or..." and I can't remember the rest.

By the end of the night I have a bag full of restraining orders.

I have to carefully choose a costume that won't dislodge my hair piece.

I'm the only Power Ranger in the neighborhood with a walker.

I avoid going to houses where my ex-wives live.

Forwarded by Paula

A young ventriloquist is touring the clubs and one night he's doing a show in a small town in Arkansas. With his dummy on his knee, he starts going through his usual dumb blonde jokes when a blonde woman in the 4th row stands on her chair and starts shouting: "I've heard enough of your stupid blonde jokes! What makes you think you can stereotype women in that way? What does the color of a person's hair have to do with her worth as a human being? It's guys like you who keep women like me from being respected at work and in the community and from reaching our full potential as a person because you and your kind continue to perpetuate discrimination against not only blondes, but women in general... and all in the name of humor."

The embarrassed ventriloquist begins to apologize, when the blonde yells: "You stay out of this, mister! I'm talking to that little guy with a big mouth who's sitting on your lap!"

Forwarded by Bob Overn

A Husband and wife are getting ready for bed. The wife is standing in front of a full length mirror taking a hard look at herself. "You know, love," she says, "I look in the mirror and I see an old woman. My face is all wrinkled, my boobs are barely above my waist, my bum is hanging out a mile. I've got fat legs and my arms are all flabby" She turns to her husband and says....."Tell me something positive to make me feel better about myself"

He thinks about it for a bit and then says in a soft voice........"well......there's nothing wrong with your eyesight"

Forwarded by Barbara

Slide Show and Audio Beer Warning --- 

Forwarded by Paula
Out of the Mouths of Children

The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture. "Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a doctor.' A small voice at the back of the room rang out, "And there's my teacher, She's dead. ".


And that's the way it was on November 1, 2003 with a little help from my friends.


I highly recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free newsletter from a very smart finance professor) --- 


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


For accounting news, I prefer AccountingWeb at 
I also like SmartPros at 


Another leading accounting site is at 


Jack Anderson's Accounting Information Finder ---


Gerald Trite's great set of links --- 


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

The Finance Professor --- 


Walt Mossberg's many answers to questions in technology ---


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 


Click on for a complete list of interviews with established leaders, creative thinkers and education technology experts in higher education from around the country.


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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October 21, 2003


 Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on October 21, 2003
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

New From Bob Jensen --- Video Tutorials on Accounting for Derivative Financial Instruments and Hedging Activities per FAS 133 in the U.S. and IAS 39 internationally --- 

Quotes of the Week

People commonly educate their children as they build their houses, according to some plan they think beautiful, without considering whether it is suited to the purposes for which they are designed.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. as quoted by Mark Shapiro at 

Here lives a free man. No one serves him.
Albert Camus

Only the dead see the end of war. (especially in the Middle East)

There are flowers everywhere for those who want to see them.
Henri Matisse

Far off, men swell, bully, and threaten; bring them hand to hand, and they are feeble folk.
Ralph Waldo Emerson as quoted by Mark Shapiro --- 

Net booms in Kabul:  In a country with precious little infrastructure, wireless technology is helping Afghans develop their economy,
Ben Hammersley, Guardian, October 15, 2003 ---,1284,1063620,00.html 

Where are universities going? New areas of knowledge and needs are opening before us -- the revolution in genetics, the continued building of democratic societies, the phenomena of globalization. Throughout the year Columbia will have symposia on these issues. But, if I had to select one change in the years ahead, I would point to the growing internationalization of our universities: More students from abroad (especially at the undergraduate level), and more research and teaching on global issues (trade, international institutions, poverty, environment, etc.). These will be the defining characteristics in coming decades. And just as the influence and involvements of Columbia have steadily widened over the last 250 years from the local (New York City) to the national, so will they now do so at the international level as well. The fundamental purposes and structure will not change, for they are enduring. But the problems to be solved and the pool of talent to solve them will broaden. This is our way to ensure we remain vigorous, and relevant, in a mercurial world.
"The Idea of a University," by Lee C. Bollinger (President of Columbia University), The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2003, Page A20 ---,,SB106617939829836100,00.html?mod=opinion%255Fmain%255Fcommentaries 

We make ourselves a place apart
     Behind light words that tease and flout,
But Oh, the agitated heart
     Till someone finds us really out.

Revelation, by Robert Frost (The above quotations is only a portion of the poem.)
I am fortunate to have the Robert Frost home and museum within a short walk from my new house in the White Mountains. You can see some pictures of his old home at

Bob Jensen's working draft of accounting and finance scandals for October-December 2003 can be found at 

For Halloween --- 

Can you become wealthier by taking the SuperForce into account when making investment decisions?

Answer:  Beware of the Full Moon's SuperForce?  
Before retiring, my wife was a surgical technician.  She made a statement one day that intrigued me.  She said that hospitals prepare for more emergencies (violent injuries, heart attacks, etc.) in full moon periods.  She provided no explanation, but she did claim that hospitals where she worked did prepare for full moon nights.  Later on I read that traffic accidents tend to increase in full moon periods and that police departments are well aware of "lunacy" problems on full moon days.    The following Website I suspect is highly controversial, but it is rather interesting in this regard --- 

Why does all hell seem to break loose on or around the Full Moon? --- 


I would be interested in hearing from scientists who may have studied these rather wild claims about the impact of Aero-Ions on human behavior.  It would also be interesting to learn about other theories of why there appear to be some behavior changes in full moon phases.  My initial inclination is that the theory of Aero-Ions is a snake oil theory.

Thanks Paula!
In my college days, I had a convertible like this.  Fond memories!! ---

"101 Incredibly Useful Sites," PC Magazine, October 1003 ---,4148,7488,00.asp 

Common Thread of Discovery:  Serendipity
Moments of Discovery (contains video) --- 

Will your college or university one day consider outsourcing some of its programs?  For example, might some courses or entire programs be outsourced to a corporate distance education provider like UNext?

"UNext and N.Y. Institute of Technology Create an Online College That Caters to Working Adults," by Scott Carlson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 10, 2003, Page A32.

You can listen to some top faculty and administrators from UNext that were taped in a workshop that I organized in Atlanta  in August 2001 --- 
UNext often employs top faculty from prestigious universities to both design and monitor its courses that give academic credit.  Sometimes the universities even "own" the courses even though UNext delivers these courses with its own instructors.

Spectacular Wildlife Photography
The California Academy of Science Presents the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land 

From Syllabus News on October 17, 2003

McGraw-Hill Higher Education's eLearning group will offer schools full access to the MicroSoft eLearning Library (MELL). MELL provides training and reference resources that includes the complete suite of Microsoft products. The service is being marketed as a way to optimize campus technologies by offering training, support, and administrative tools to faculty, students, and staff. Support tools include simulations, on-screen demos, and skill-building routines. MELL includes development and support in three editions: desktop, networking and programming.

Maybe so, but try finding MELL at the McGraw-Hill Website.  If it's there at all, it's effectively hidden.    

"Now, Even Your Watch Can Help You Carry Your Computer Files," by Kevin J. Delaney, The Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2003 ---,,SB106444067285498400,00.html?mod=Personal+Technology

Gadget makers are always trying to cram complicated, bulky features like phones and hand-held computers into wristwatches. They haven't been that successful. But one new device on the market suggests the time for high-tech watches has come.

For the past few weeks, I've been wearing a timepiece typically known as the USB Memory Watch. This watch is the latest permutation of a product -- made by a number of manufacturers -- that first made a splash last year: the key-chain-size USB flash-memory device, sometimes referred to as "thumb drives" or "memory keys."

I tested a handful of watches sold by different companies, although all were made by Xonix, of China. Xonix says it is doing a booming business, having sold over 100,000 pieces since March.

I was happy with the results.

Continued in the article.

What education technologies are (almost) “over and done with?” 

See "Going, Going, Gone" section below.  Forecasts for the demise of textbooks and teleconferencing are a bit surprising.

"Syllabus2003 Review Designing New Learning Environments," Syllabus, October 2003, pp. 28-30 --- 

“The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed.” This appraisal, quoting science fiction writer William Gibson, was offered by education consultant Judith Boettcher upon introducing the closing Syllabus2003 panel discussion, this past July, on the state of academic computing. It begged a question: If true, who holds the controlling share? By the end of the conference it was clear the answer was not planners but end users—the students and faculty power-users.

The creeping influence of end users over the choice of teaching tools and techniques was just one of the developments conference-goers grappled with at Syllabus2003. In other discussions, they peered into the classrooms of the future during a day at Stanford University. Campus chief information officers and technology leaders tore into research on the IT resource crisis at a Syllabus Executive Summit. And many heard Duke University law professor James Boyle advocate the virtues of disorder as a principle to cherish in the upcoming intellectual property wars.

But underneath the hub-bub, academic technologists expressed the growing awareness that a architectonic shift is underway in the academic IT community: that technology has now become embedded in the learning process; that end users are beginning to hold sway over campus IT directions; and that the learning and communications tools they are embracing are essentially consumer electronics. “For me the Holy Grail is the transformation from an institutional model to a learner or individual model,” said Frank Tansey, of “Right now the implementations are still institution-centric. But once people start seeing their information out there, they’re going to start saying, ‘No, that’s my information, not your information, and I want to use it the way I want to use it.’ It will be interesting to see.

Lois Brooks, director of academic computing at Stanford, when asked if she had experienced an epiphany at the conference, said she was struck by the changing role of campus IT organizations, “...particularly the influx of consumer electronics onto campuses, of technology becoming much more accessible for the faculty and students. They’re doing new and interesting things and quite often are far out ahead of our staff with what they want to do and try.”

So far, in fact, that IT has become a given, like power or heating. “We don’t have to think of technology as something special,” said Kathy Cristoph, assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. “Though it’s troublesome for faculty, the students are experiencing it as a natural part of their learning. So I feel, let’s get over this evangelism thing and just start dealing with that reality and using it to the best we can in learning.”

The theme seemed to reflect the feelings of rank-and-file faculty. Jerry Meisner, a physics professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, said, “We’re content people, we’re not education technology people. We’re delighted that there seems to be a growing emphasis among education technology people that we need to be much more concerned about learning and less concerned about the delivery systems and