New Bookmarks
Year 2004 Quarter 4:  October 1 - December 31 Additions to Bob Jensen's Bookmarks
Bob Jensen at Trinity University

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

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 U.S. News Number 1 Ranking (for the 13th year in a row) http://www.trinity.edu/departments/public_relations/trinity_today/today.htm 

Of course the people don't want war. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Hermann Göring

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

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Choose a Date Below for Additions to the Bookmarks File

December 15, 2004       December 1, 2004

November 15, 2004       November 1, 2004 

October 18, 2004           October 1, 2004 

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December 15, 2004

Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on December 15, 2004
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

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.

Center for AIDS Prevention Studies --- http://www.caps.ucsf.edu/ 

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Do you have history questions?
Facts about any given year.  For example, what took place in 1938? ---  http://encyclopedia.calendarhome.com/1938.htm 
The main page is at http://encyclopedia.calendarhome.com 
Bob Jensen's history bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History 

Calendars for the years 1930-2005 (change the year) --- http://www.flicklives.com/Timeline/1939_cal.html 

Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 

 




Quotes of the Week

From Around the World

English - merry Christmas and a happy New Year
Albanian - gëzuar Krishtlindjet e Vitin e Ri
Aragones - goyoso Nadal e prospera añata nuaba
Asturian - bon Nadal y feliz añu nuevu
Basque - Zorionak eta urte berri on
Bolognese - bån Nadèl e un ân nôv pén ed felizitè
Brazilian Portuguese - feliz Natal e próspero ano novo
Bresciano - bon Nedal e bu an nof
Breton - Nedeleg laouen ha bloavezh mat
Calabrese - buonu Natali e filici annu nuovu
Catalan - bon Nadal i feliç any nou
Croatian - sretan Božic i uspješna Nova godina
Danish - glædelig jul og godt nytår
Dutch - prettige Kerstdagen en een gelukkig nieuw jaar
Esperanto - bonan Kristnaskon kaj felican novan jaron
Estonian - häid Jõule ja õnnelikku uut aastat
Ferrarese - auguri'd bon Nadal e bon an nòv
Finnish - hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta
Flemish - zalig kerstfeest en gelukkig Nieuwjaar
French - joyeux Noël et bonne année
Furlan - bon Nadâl e bon an gnûf
Galician - bo Nadal e próspero aninovo
German - frohe Weihnachten und ein schönes neues Jahr
Griko Salentino - Kalò Kristù ce na chrono nèo comào 'zze charà
Hungarian - békés karácsonyt és boldog új évet
Italian - buon Natale e felice anno nuovo
Judeo Spanish - Noel alegre i felis anyo muevo
Latin - Natale hilare et annum faustum
Leonese - Bon Nadal y Prestosu Añu Nuevu
Limburgian - ne zaolige Kiësmes, e gelèkkig Nauwjoër, ên al wo wènselek ès!
Lombardo - bon Natal e bon ann noeuv
Mapunzugun - ayüwün-ngechi lleqün antü ka küpalechi we tripantu
Mudnés - bòun Nadèl e bòun àn
Neapolitan - nu bbuono natale e felice anno nuovo
Norwegian - god Jul og godt nyttår
Occitan - polit Nadal e bona annada
Papiamentu - bon Pasku i felis aña nobo
Parmigiano - bon Nadèl e dla felicitè par al an nòv
Piemontese - Bon Natal e Bon Ann neuv
Polish - Wesolych Swiat i szczesliwego Nowego Roku
Portuguese - feliz Natal e próspero ano novo
Reggiano - boun Nadèl e boun an nòv
Romagnolo - bon Nadél e feliz 'an nov
Roman - bon Natale e bon anno
Sicilian - bon Natali e filici annu novu
Spanish - feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo
Swedish - god jul och gott nytt år
Venetian - bon Nadal e bon ano novo
Zeneize - bon Denà e feliçe anno neuvo

For Shame:  Tiny Tim should never have mentioned the word " God" one time.
A Kirkland, Washington high school principal has cancelled a performance of 'A Christmas Carol' for transparently shabby reasons, including a concern that it might unduly promote the cause of religion. His arguments don’t even impress non-believers.
World Daily Net, December 19, 2004 --- http://worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=41826 

Last month the National Marine Fisheries Service and ocean conservation group Oceana listed species that have declined as much as 90 percent from their estimated original populations. And earlier in the fall, the US Commission on Ocean Policy, a blue-ribbon panel appointed by President Bush, released a study warning that too many marine species are being extracted from the oceans faster than they can reproduce.
Jennifer C. Berkshire, "I won't take the cod, thank you," The Christian Science Monitor, December 8, 2004 --- http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1208/p15s01-lifo.html 

Someday everybody will want tattoos.
In 2020, whipping out your mobile phone to make a call will be quaintly passé. By then phones will be printed directly on to wrists, or other parts of the body, says Ian Pearson, BT's resident futurologist.
J
oe Twist, "When technology gets personal," BBC News, December 6, 2004 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4059011.stm 

Like countless other college students, Susannah Lloyd-Jones struggled with her choice of major. Finally, in her junior year at Loyola University in Chicago, she picked sociology, a decision that "opened my mind and introduced me to other cultures, " she said. More than two years after graduation, though, Ms. Lloyd-Jones, now a 24-year-old paralegal from Maplewood, N.J., occasionally wonders if she made the right decision. "It might have been easier if I had been a business major," she said, "because that's where the money is."
David Koppel (See below)

A survey by High Fliers Research of more than 7,000 graduating university students has ranked audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG as the top graduate employer out of 500 organisations.  
Double Entries, December 2, 2004 ---  http://accountingeducation.com/news/news5680.html  
Bob Jensen's threads on the two faces of KPMG are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#KPMG 

To access an article that appeared in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, for example, users will still need to visit a research library that subscribed to the publication. Those who live near Harvard University, though, would be out of luck: the school cancelled its subscription in January as a cost-cutting measure. So did Cornell University, citing the $2,178-a-year subscription cost.
"The Search for Science," Technology Review From MIT,  December 2, 2004 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/04/12/wo_asbrand120204.asp?trk=nl 
Bob Jensen's threads on monopoly publisher rip offs of scholarly journals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudreporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals 

That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.
Henri David Thoreau

Become Your Own News Reporter (Note that Wiki software allows input straight from you Web browser)
The folks behind the open-source reference site that's challenging the encyclopedia industry decide to give journalism a go. Through the experimental Wikinews site, anyone can take a stab at being a reporter.
Joanne Glassner, Wired News, November 29, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,65819,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1 
You can also write your own Encyclopedia modules or revise and existing module by typing only from your browser --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page 

One Nation's Solution to a World Health Epidemic
North Korea claims zero cases of HIV infection.

Designers.com, December 2, 2004 --- http://health.news.designerz.com/north-korea-claims-zero-cases-of-hiv-infection.html 

People are divided into two groups - the righteous and the unrighteous - and the righteous do the dividing
Oscar Wilde  

The great events of the world take place in the brain.
Oscar Wilde 

O public accountancy, whither goest thou?
 Here are some statistics Paul Bjorklund recently gathered (sources in parens):
 
Total CPA exam candidates, first-time and repeat takers: for 1991, 140,000; for 2002, 109,000 (NASBA)
U.S. population: for 1991, 253mm; for 2002, 288mm (Census Bureau)
U.S. labor force: for 1991, 190mm; for 2002, 214mm (BLS)
Total CPA registrants licensed in 54 jurisdictions, including multiple registrations: in 2004, 631,000 (NASBA)
Total membership of AICPA: in 2004, 335,000 (AICPA website)
Total accountants in U.S. labor force: in 2002, 1,055,200 (BLS)
Total financial mgrs: in 2002, 599,100 (BLS)
Total cognitors in the world: in 2002, zero (my estimate)Paul Bjorklund, CPA
Bjorklund Consulting, Ltd., Flagstaff, Arizona 

Colleges Can Ban the Army (pending appeal)
"The United States continues to believe that the Solomon Amendment is constitutional," Mr. Corallo said. "We believe that Congress may deny federal funds to universities which discriminate and may act to protect the men and women of our armed forces in their ability to recruit Americans who wish to join them in protecting their country." . . .
The appeals court said the law violated First Amendment rights of the schools in two ways.  First, Judge Thomas L. Ambro wrote, the schools are entitled not to associate with groups whose policies they oppose.
Adam Limtak, "Colleges Can Bar Army Recruiters," The New York Times, November 30, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/30/national/30recruit.html?hp&ex=1101877200&en=0069679a22f3e227&ei=5094&partner=homepage Jensen Note:  I think this fight is mainly one of principle rather than practice.  Colleges that put up a ban on Army recruiters in this case run the risk of backlash among private donors.  Even the most anti-Army college CEO would think twice about this.

Ducks lay their eggs in silence while hens cackle like madwomen. The result? Everybody eats hens' eggs.
Henry Ford
A report on advertising spending showed strong growth across most media in the first nine months of the year, with Internet advertising increasing the most.
The New York Times, November 30, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/30/business/media/30adde.html 

On Nov. 29, 2004, the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) experienced its best ever volume in a single day, surpassing 5.7 million contracts traded for the first time in its history, making November the highest volume month ever in exchange history. Additionally, the exchange’s premier electronic trading platform, as well as the CBOT U.S. Treasury complex, shattered previous volume records.  Total exchange trading volume climbed to 5,718,527 contracts on Monday, November 29, 2004, far surpassing the prior record of 4,403,218 contracts set on May 7, 2004. The CBOT’s electronic trading platform continued its record-setting trend, with 3,542,925 contracts changing hands electronically at the CBOT, compared with the prior record of 2,909,227 contracts set on November 5.
CBOT Newsletter on November 30, 2004

In Japan, where public confrontation is considered extremely distasteful, lawsuits have traditionally been something to avoid. So much for tradition. Threatened by the rapid advance of low-cost manufacturers in South Korea and Taiwan, Japanese companies are dropping their aversion to litigation and heading to court to protect their patents.
Todd Zaun, "Japanese Discover the Art of the Lawsuit," The New York Times, December 3, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/03/business/worldbusiness/03suits.html 

We think it was Justice Brandeis who said the states should be laboratories for reform. Regarding health care, Tennessee tried a decade ago and the price is now coming due. Hillary Rodham Clinton should call her pollster if she plans on carrying the state in 2008.  In 1994, Tennessee passed what was then a very hot New Democrat idea -- call it government managed care -- a version of the reform the former first lady was also pitching nationwide. TennCare promised the impossible dream of politicians everywhere: Lower health-care costs while covering more of the "uninsured." They got the impossible, all right. After 10 years of mismanagement and lawsuits, TennCare now eats up one-third of the state's entire budget and is growing fast. Governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, is preparing to pull the plug and return the state to the less lunatic subsidies of Medicaid.
"
HillaryCare in Tennessee," The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2004; Page A14

Toyota will start installing XM's satellite radios at the factory level in 2006, making Toyota the last big auto maker to commit to installing the devices early in the production process.
Sarah McBride, "XM Satellite Strikes Toyota Deal For Factory-Level Installation," The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2004, Page D4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110245320985993572,00.html?mod=gadgets%5Fprimary%5Fhs%5Flt 

Spine-damaged canines made to heal.
New Scientist, December 4, 2004 --- http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996755 

This is what happens when Republicans win elections (and I'm a Republican)
The SEC is facing resistance from two Republican commissioners over the stiff fines it has been imposing on companies.
Deborah Solomon, "As Corporate Fines Grow, SEC Debates How Much Good They Do," The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2004 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110021198122471832,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 
Bob Jensen's threads on why white collar crime pays (even when you get caught) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#CrimePays 

This is also what happens when Republican's win elections:  Academic Bias at Berkeley
Statisticians release an analysis debunking a previous Berkeley study that said President Bush received more votes than he should have in Florida counties that used touch-screen voting machines.
Kim Zetter. "Florida E-Vote Study Debunked," Wired News, December 7, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/evote/0,2645,65896,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2

By now, you're probably inundated with holiday gift suggestions. The problem is, most of those are so popular, you'll have trouble actually finding them. Nintendo's awesome DS, for example, has sold out, and it's difficult finding the RoboSapien, too. If you haven't shopped yet, you'll end up with the dregs. Even so, some products are worse than the others. I've put together my own personal list of the worst products of 2004 -- culled from the more than 1,500 products we reviewed this year at PCMag.com. Looking for what to avoid? Just want to gawk at a train wreck?
"Ten to Avoid—The Worst Products of the Year," by Jim Louderback, PC Magazine, December 3, 2004 --- http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1735287,00.asp 

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin announced a major relaxation of the controversial 35-hour working week, the key socialist reform that has come under attack for helping create the country's stubbornly high unemployment. At a televised news conference in Paris, Raffarin unveiled a government action plan dubbed "Contract France 2005", whose main provision is to make it easier for staff and companies to get round the last left-wing administration's compulsory cut in working hours.
Designerz.com, December 10, 2004 --- http://news.designerz.com/education 

Don't Swallow That Martini Until It's Straight Up
New York's Algonquin Hotel, once the haunt of 1920s literarti like Dorothy Parker, is making a fresh bid for notoriety by offering a 10,000-dollar martini cocktail.  The vodka, vermouth and olives are much the same as in any martini, but the twist lies in the "ice" -- in this case a diamond from the hotel's in-house jeweler, the Daily News reported Wednesday.
Designerz.com, December 11, 2004 --- http://weird-news.news.designerz.com/new-york-hotel-offers-10000-dollar-martini.html 

Online Dating Bubble Bursts
Feeling weary and, she said, "jerked around," Ms. Gold let her paid subscription to Match.com expire, and she has turned to real-life singles mixers for professionals. "I think I just burned out," she said. "It's kind of like communism. On paper, it's a perfect system."  Apparently, many others have also found that the god of online dating has failed.
Alex Williams, "E-Dating Bubble Springs a Leak," The New York Times, December 12, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/fashion/12DATE.html?oref=login 

WonderBras:  The Bubble Bursts
The creator of cleavage-making Wonderbra said it was recalling the latest invention after women complained their bras were snapping from the strain.
"Wonderbra recalls bra after cleavage plunger pops," WierdNews.com, December 13, 2004 --- http://weird-news.news.designerz.com/wonderbra-recalls-bra-after-cleavage-plunger-pops.html 

The End of TV as We Know It
Sit back on the sofa and get ready for packetized, on-demand, digital broadcasts.
Frank Rose, Wired Magazine, December 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.12/start.html?pg=7?tw=wn_tophead_5 

Now, there is nothing a weak man likes so much as to be as considered strong, nothing a henpecked man likes so much as to  regarded a tyrant. If you ever hear a man boast at his determination to rule his own house, you may feel sure that he is subdued. And a henpecked husband makes a great show of opposing everything that looks toward the enlargement of the work or privileges of women. Such a man insists on the shadow of authority because he cannot have the substance.
Edward Eggleston, In Love With a Dutchman,1872 Page 23




Fannie's Unethical Tone at the Top:  There's More Wrong Than Just Accounting Fraud
Fannie Mae, eager to unload a batch of fraudulent loans it purchased from a North Carolina lender, knowingly allowed the lender to resell the loans to a government mortgage agency, according to federal law-enforcement officials. A federal judge in Charlotte, N.C., has ordered Fannie Mae to forfeit $6.5 million for not informing the agency about the fraud.

Dawn Kopecki, "Fannie Is Ordered to Forfeit $6.5 Million," The Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2004 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110178387928686489,00.html?mod=home%5Fwhats%5Fnews%5Fus 


Consumers will be entitled, beginning as soon as Wednesday, to a free credit report every year, but the industry is not necessarily going to make it easy.  "Free" may just be another word for something else to buy, at least when it comes to credit reports.  Under a federal law passed a year ago, consumers will be entitled, beginning as soon as tomorrow, to a free credit report every year from each of three big credit reporting bureaus that maintain them.  But the industry is not necessarily going to make it easy, given that selling the reports, as well as ancillary services, has become a lucrative business. Indeed, in the process of getting a free report, many consumers will be bombarded with pitches to buy related products, including some that carry pricey monthly fees.

Jennifer Kingson, "Free Credit Reports Coming, With Pitches," The New York Times, November 30, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/30/business/30credit.ready.html?oref=login 


A warning from Herb XXXXX about variable annuity pushes from mutual funds and banks!  I recommended that he look at 

From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on October 8, 2004

TITLE: How Not to Outlive Your Savings
REPORTER: David Wessel
DATE: Sep 30, 2004
PAGE: D1
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109650287519832031,00.html
TOPICS: Accounting, Financial Literacy

SUMMARY: David Wessel discusses the benefits of insurance annuity contracts. Questions focus general definitions of annuities for use in teaching time value of money topics.

December 13, 2004 message from Herb XXXXX

The common practice of providing mutual funds inside variable group annuity "wrappers" where the 401 (k) pays the mutual fund and the insurance fees -- on top of 401 (k) administration) is a costly way to go, without tax justification for the cost, and probably shifts costs to unsuspecting employees.

I will read the article. I will also let you know if I learn anything specific.

Again, Thank you.

Herb

Bob Jensen's threads on mutual fund and insurance frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudRotten.htm#MutualFunds 


Bob Jensen's Updates on Frauds and the Accounting Scandals --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm 

Bob Jensen's American History of Fraud ---  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm


What a Great Idea in the War on Spam:  Unfortunately, Make Love, not Spam only covers Italy, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK to Date
Internet users fed up with spam can go on the offensive by downloading a screensaver aimed at hitting junkmailers in the pocket.  The screensaver, called Make Love Not Spam and launched by search engine Lycos, requests data from websites that are mentioned in bulk mailings.  Lycos Europe spokesman Frank Legerland says if thousands of users sign up, the websites' servers will run at nearly full tilt.  The demand will slow the websites' response and hike their bandwidth bills, yet derive no income for the accesses.  He says those costs may discourage the sites from hiring email spammers to advertise their wares.
ABC News, November 30, 2004 --- http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200411/s1254988.htm 
You can read reviews at http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/16592 
Also see http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1733446,00.asp 

Unprotected PCs can be hijacked in minutes," by Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz, USA TODAY, November 29, 2004

From Sept. 10 to Sept. 25, online intruders made 305,922 attempts to break into six computers connected to the Internet via broadband DSL.

Attackers successfully compromised the Dell Windows XP computer using Service Pack 1 nine times, and the Dell Windows 2003 Small Business server once. No other machines were breached.

Spam Bouncer 1.9 http://www.spambouncer.org/ 


Always Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

You've probably received hundreds over the years -- free CDs that come bagged up in magazines, in the mail from AOL or snatched from the counter at your favorite computer store. You probably never thought twice about whether they were safe, but think again. We've got a chilling story about viruses and bugs lurking inside those freebees that could kill your PC, Xbox or PS2. They may be free, but that doesn't mean they're safe. Our chilling tale may make you think twice before loading up another one.
"The Hidden Risks of Demo Discs,"  by Libe Goad, eWeek,  December 3, 2004 --- http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1735609,00.asp?rsDis=The_Hidden_Risks_of_Demo_Discs-Page001-140370 

"Security Issues Plague Windows-Based PCs, Impairing Ease of Use," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal,  December 9, 2004; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,personal_technology,00.html 

Thirteen years ago, this column was launched with the opening sentence: "Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it's not your fault." Since then, I have periodically stepped back to look at the progress of the technology industry in making computers easier to use.  

Obviously, we've come a long way since 1991. Personal computers, software and peripherals are much more stable and far simpler to operate. New products, like digital cameras, PDAs and music players, have come along as welcome additions, often integrating with computers.

But for the vast part of the public whose computers aren't bought and deployed by corporate computer departments, things have gotten much worse lately. For these consumers and small businesses, the burden of using personal computers has grown dramatically heavier in the past couple of years because of the plague of viruses, spyware and other security problems that now afflict the dominant Windows platform.

To cope with this assault from an international criminal class of virus and spyware writers, hackers and sleazy businesses, average users have had to buy and monitor an arsenal of add-on programs. They have been forced to learn far too much about the workings of their PCs. And too many users have had to take drastic steps, like wiping out their hard disks and starting all over.

So instead of being able to view their computers as tools for productivity, research, communication and entertainment, consumers have been forced to devote rising amounts of time and money just to keeping the machines safe. The PC has, in many cases, gone from being a solution to being, at least in part, a problem.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's updates on computer and network security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection 




The University of Phoenix, a network of colleges run by the Apollo Group, is drawing attention from regulators as well as Wall Street investors. 

"Can For-Profit Schools Pass an Ethics Test?" by Eryn Brown, The New York Times, December 12, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/business/yourmoney/12school.html?oref=login 

Over the last few years, the Apollo Group has watched its profile rise - mostly for the right reasons. It has expanded its University of Phoenix to 158 campuses, providing professional and technical degrees to working adults from Salem, Ore., to Guaynabo, P.R. Enrollment has doubled, to 255,600 students, in just the last four years. The market capitalization of the company, which earns a profit, has surged 374 percent over the same period.

But these days, the Apollo Group, based in Phoenix, may be gaining notice of a less desirable kind. In September, it agreed to pay the federal Department of Education $9.8 million to settle charges that its recruiting practices violated Title IV of the Higher Education Act, which regulates how almost $70 billion of federal grants, loans and work-study programs are distributed to students at colleges and universities each year.

A Department of Education report asserted that the school based its recruiters' pay on the numbers of students they brought in, and punished underperforming recruiters by isolating them in glass-walled rooms and threatening to fire them if they failed to meet management goals. Enrollment-based incentives and punishments are sometimes illegal under federal law.

Terri Bishop, a spokeswoman for Apollo, denied any wrongdoing by the company. "We were not required to change our compensation practices, because we were not found guilty of the allegations," she said.

Recently, a number of for-profit colleges have faced inquiries, lawsuits and other actions calling into question the way they pursue federal funds.

In the last year, the Career Education Corporation of Hoffman Estates, Ill., has faced lawsuits, from shareholders and students, contending that, among other things, its colleges have inflated enrollment numbers. The company, which said it considered the suits groundless, acknowledged that it was under investigation by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It declined to say what the federal officials were investigating. The Justice Department and S.E.C. declined to discuss this or any other active investigation.

In February, F.B.I. agents raided 10 campuses run by ITT Educational Services of Carmel, Ind., looking for similar problems; the company has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

A routine government audit in December 2003 of student aid programs at Bryman College in San Jose, Calif., part of Corinthian Colleges, found that it was too slow to return federal aid to the government after students withdrew from school, and it incorrectly calculated how much it owed the government and did not keep proper records, said a department spokeswoman, Jane Glickman.

After that, the Department of Education required Corinthian, which is based in Santa Ana, Calif., to give its own money to students and then seek reimbursement from the government. The requirement was lifted on Sept. 22, but the Corinthian Web site says the S.E.C. opened an investigation on Sept. 16 into its "projections, financial performance and communications with securities analysts and investors during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2004."

Such scrutiny may portend tough times for what has been a high-flying, profitable industry. According to Department of Education statistics, for-profit post-secondary schools, including those that grant degrees and those that do not, enrolled 765,701 students in the fall of 2001, the most recent year for which complete statistics are available. That is almost 30 percent more than the 589,600 they enrolled in 1996.

The schools say they offer practical career training in a time when job stability has vanished for many people. The Career College Association, an industry trade group in Washington, reports that 70 percent of the students at for-profit colleges are the first in their families to go to college. David Longanecker, a Department of Education official in the Clinton administration who is now the executive director of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, a research group in Boulder, Colo., said for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix "are emerging as an important part of the educational system."

For-profit education companies also had the best run of any group on Wall Street from 2000 to 2003, said Howard Block, an analyst at Banc of America Securities in San Francisco, which does not have a financial interest in Apollo, Career Education, Corinthian Colleges, or ITT Educational Services, though the bank has advised some of those companies. Over all, he noted, publicly traded postsecondary-education stocks rose 460 percent over that period, compared with a 24 percent loss for the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index.

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm 

December 13, 2004 reply from 

Dear Bob,

I greatly respect you and many others on this site. As an educator at a very small, privately owned, For Profit School, The PJA School, that has been reaccredited without stipulation for the last three times in a row thus being recognized as a "School of Distinction", I would ask that our industry not be painted with a broad brush. We are an Associate Degree granting institution that works co-operatively with both non-profit and for profit schools to encourage our students to continue on and receive their Bachelor's.

I would also suggest that if DE were to look in the not for profit sector basket, they could find some bad apples as well. Let us also remember that in America, one is innocent until proven guilty. Don't get me wrong, if there is impropriety, I want it fixed before we get a black eye too. Please keep in mind, it is time for renewal of HEA, that always seems to cause a bashing of our industry which truly serves an important purpose. Our population does tend to have a higher percentage of first geners, minorities, at-risks, and the poor.

John Hayden, CPA 
The PJA School 
Upper Darby, PA

 


Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States

"Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004," The Sloan Consortium --- http://www.sloan-c.org/resources/survey.asp 

Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004 represents the second annual study of the state of online education in U.S. Higher Education. This year’s study, like last year’s, is aimed at answering some of the fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education. Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and based on responses from over 1,100 colleges and universities, this year’s study addresses the following key questions:

-- Will online enrollments continue their rapid growth?

Background: 
Last year’s study, Sizing the Opportunity: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2002 and 2003 found that over 1.6 million students were studying online in the fall of 2002, and that schools expected that number to grow substantially by the fall of 2003. The nearly 20% growth rate expected in online enrollments far exceeds the overall rate of growth for the entire higher education student population. Would this very optimistic projection be realized, or would schools begin to see a plateau in their online enrollments?

The evidence
The online enrollment projections have been realized, and there is no evidence that enrollments have reached a plateau. Online enrollments continue to grow at rates faster than for the overall student body, and schools expect the rate of growth to further increase:

Over 1.9 million students were studying online in the fall of 2003. Schools expect the number of online students to grow to over 2.6 million by the fall of 2004. Schools expect online enrollment growth to accelerate — the expected average growth rate for online students for 2004 is 24.8%, up from 19.8% in 2003. Overall, schools were pretty accurate in predicting enrollment growth — last year’s predicted online enrollment for 2003 was 1,920,734; this year’s number from the survey is 1,971,397.

-- Are students as satisfied with online courses as they are with face-to-face instruction?

Background: 
Schools face the “if you build it will they come?” question: If they offer online courses and students are not satisfied with them, they will not enroll. Do academic leaders, those responsible for the institutions meeting their enrollment goals, believe that students are as satisfied with their online offerings as with their face-to-face instruction?

The evidence: 
Schools that offer online courses believe that their online students are at least as satisfied as those taking their face-to-face offerings:

40.7% of schools offering online courses agree that “students are at least as satisfied” with their online courses, 56.2% are neutral and only 3.1% disagree. Medium and large schools strongly agree (with less than 3% disagreeing). The smallest schools (under 1,500 enrollments) are the least positive, but even they have only 5.4% disagreeing compared to 32.9% agreeing. Doctoral/Research, Masters, and Associates schools are very positive, Specialized and Baccalaureate schools only slightly less so.

-- What role do schools see online learning playing in their long-term strategy?

Background: 
In order for online learning to enter the mainstream of American higher education, schools must believe in its importance and be willing to embrace it as part of their long-term institutional strategies. Will online learning be seen as a niche among higher education, or will schools see it as an important component of their future evolution?

The evidence: 
Schools believe that online learning is critical to their long term strategy. We asked if “Online education is critical to the long-term strategy” of the school. Every group with the exception of Baccalaureate schools agrees with this statement. Public and large schools were extremely strong in their opinions (only 3% disagreeing):

The majority of all schools (53.6%) agree that online education is critical to their long-term strategy. Among public and private for-profit institutions almost two-thirds (over 65% in both cases) agree. The larger the institution, the more likely it believes that online education is critical. Doctoral/Research, Masters, and Associates schools are very positive, Specialized schools slightly less positive, and Baccalaureate schools slightly negative.

-- What about the quality of online offerings: do schools continue to believe that it measures up?

Background: 
One of the earliest perceptions about online learning was that it was of lower quality than face-to-face instruction. The evidence from last year’s study showed academic leaders did not agree with this assessment. When asked to compare learning outcomes in online courses with those for face-to-face instruction, academic leaders put the two on very close terms, and expected the online offerings to continue to get better relative to the face-to-face option. Given the continued growth in the number of students online and the pressure that this growth brings in maintaining quality, do academic leaders still believe in the quality of online offerings?

The evidence: 
Schools continue to believe that online learning is just as good as being there:

A majority of academic leaders believe that online learning quality is already equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction. Three quarters of academic leaders at public colleges and universities believe that online learning quality is equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction. The larger the school, the more positive the view of the relative quality of online learning compared to face-to-face instruction. Three quarters of all academic leaders believe that online learning quality will be equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction in three years.

Distance Education Websites --- http://ejw.i8.com/distweb.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on the shocking future of distance education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on alternatives for distance education and training are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on technology in education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm 


December 12, 2004 message from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU

I was speaking with a colleague (and former student of Jay Forrester of Systems Dynamics and "magnetic core" fame at MIT). He showed me a fascinating game that is being used in hundreds of business schools (including the Sloan School at MIT) all over the world.

It is affectionately called the "Beer Game". In the OR/MS Today magazine in 1992 there was even an article on the game.

Those interested might like to visit www.systemdynamics.org 

I was wondering if any one is using the game (specially in managerial accounting), and if an accounting adaptation of the game has been worked out by any one.

Jagdish

December 12, 2004 message from Fisher, Paul [PFisher@ROGUECC.EDU

If it is an in-class course, I have the students form groups and construct a roller coaster out of paper, glue, etc. I use different colored and weighted paper on which I have copied the squares of graph paper. The students are responsible to track "R & D" time, construction labor time, and both direct and indirect material costs. The roller coaster must work work by sliding a coin down the track. The student is responsible for developing the sales price based on a predetermined mark-up rate.

Later in the course I use the same activity to have the students develop how many riders and at what entrance price to make the project viable.

It is about a six hour activity, but the students seem to like it and have a very good time doing it. If it would be useful I will send my directions sheet.

Paul Fisher 
Rogue Community College

December 12, 2004 message from JOHN STANCIL [mailto:jstancil@VERIZON.NET]

I use the "Management Accounting Simulation" ( http://www.microbuspub.com ). I have used it for several years. The students take over management of a troubled company that manufactures a single product and must make financial, production, and marketing decisions.

John Stancil 
Florida Southern College

December 12, 2004 message from neal hannon [nhannon@COX.NET

This semester, I started my managerial accounting students with a round of monopoly to provide a set of financial statements. Then we used Legos to illustrate the various concepts of basic cost accounting. With each of 4 build periods, various elements were introduced such as preparing a budget, CVP, operating variances, capital expenditures, performance bonus calculations and others. The students were asked to collect the information into a group project and summarize their entire experience in a paper, as well as summarize their performance into financial statements. I will receive the first set of papers tomorrow.

The hands-on experience was valuable, for most students had never been in a situation where they had to build anything beyond a fast food order. Next semester, I will have two classes of managerial accounting and I plan to use the Legos concept again.

Let me know if this is what you had in mind and I'll share more information with you.

Neal

Neal J. Hannon, CMA 
University of Hartford; 
Barney School of Business 
XBRL Editor, Strategic Finance Magazine 
U Hartford

December 13, 2004 message from Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on teaching tools --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm

The above site included Edutainment and Games.

Examples under Edutainment and Games are shown below:

Drama Simulations --- http://www.cob.tamucc.edu/ATABestPrac2K/drama-simulations.htm

Sherry Mills and Cathleen Burns won the American Accounting Associations Innovation in Accounting Education Award by using a Lego project to teach cost accounting --- http://aaahq.org/awards/awrd6win.htm

Also see http://cbae.nmsu.edu/~smills/Update_11_04/Westhafer03.htm

 

For video games, see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#Future 


Teaching Tools Websites --- http://ejw.i8.com/teachweb.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on resources are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/newfaculty.htm 


Roles of Mentors in Electronic Learning Environments,

"The Roles of Mentors in Electronic Learning Environments," AACE Journal, Vol. 13, 2004 --- http://www.aace.org/pubs/AACEJ/dispart.cfm?paperID=27 

This article describes the roles of mentors to meet the need for mentors in electronic learning (eLearning) environments. The existing literature has documented factors impeding effective eLearning and the multiplicity of the faculty’s roles that demands too much time on the faculty within eLearning environments. This article argues for the need for mentors to assist instruction and facilitate learning within eLearning environments. The roles of mentors built around the multiple roles of the faculty are then identifi ed as teaching assistants, social connectedness initiators, and technical supporters. A guideline for mentors outlining mentors’ roles, responsibilities, and contributions was proposed. This guideline may be adopted by mentors as a fundamental job-aid in practicing mentoring. An example of implementation of mentors in an eLearning environment, which resulted in higher learning achievement, was also presented. In conclusion, it is suggested that mentors should be employed within eLearning environments for assisting students overcoming eLearning barriers and achieving effective learning within eLearning environments.

Bob Jensen's threads on technology in education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm 


Journey of Mankind:  The Peopling of the World --- http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey/ 

The Bradshaw Foundation in association with Stephen Oppenheimer, presents a virtual journey of modern man over the last 160,000 years.  The map will show the first time interaction of migration and climate over this period.


"Surveying the Digital Landscape: Evolving Technologies 2004," Educause Review, vol. 39, no. 6 (November/December 2004): 78–92. --- http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm04/erm0464.asp 

Each year, the members of the EDUCAUSE Evolving Technologies Committee identify and research the evolving technologies that are having the most direct impact on higher education institutions. The committee members choose the relevant topics, write white papers, and present their findings at the EDUCAUSE annual conference.

December 9, 2004 reply from Ed Scribner [escribne@nmsu.edu

Bob,

Thanks for that EDUCASE link. Who among us old-timers from the mainframe BITNET days would have predicted that “spam management” would top the list of influential campus technologies in 2004?

While following the link you sent, I noticed that Wesleyan has a nicely crafted set of assessment links that you probably already have, but it didn’t turn up in my search of trinity.edu:

Information Technology Services Assessment --- http://www.wesleyan.edu/its/acs/assessment.htt 

Ed Scribner 
New Mexico State

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm 

Bob Jensen discusses the long term future of education technologies at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/updateee.htm#Future 


December 10, 2004 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu

E-LEARNING ONLINE PRESENTATIONS

The University of Calgary Continuing Education sponsors Best Practices in E-Learning, a website that provides a forum for anyone working in the field to share their best practices. This month's presentations include:

-- "To Share or Not To Share: There is No Question" by Rosina Smith Details a new model for permitting "the reuse, multipurposing, and repurposing of existing content"

-- "Effective Management of Distributed Online Educational Content" by Gary Woodill "[R]eviews the history of online educational content, and argues that the future is in distributed content learning management systems that can handle a wide diversity of content types . . . identifies 40 different genres of online educational content (with links to examples)"

Presentations are in various formats, including Flash, PDF, HTML, and PowerPoint slides. Registered users can interact with the presenters and post to various discussion forums on the website. There is no charge to register and view presentations. You can also subscribe to their newsletter which announces new presentations each month. (Note: No archive of past months' presentations appears to be on the website.)

For more information, contact: Rod Corbett, University of Calgary Continuing Education; tel:403-220-6199 or 866-220-4992 (toll-free); email: rod.corbett@ucalgary.ca ; Web: http://elearn.ucalgary.ca/showcase/


NEW APPROACHES TO EVALUATING ONLINE LEARNING

"The clear implication is that online learning is not good enough and needs to prove its worth before gaining full acceptance in the pantheon of educational practices. This comparative frame of reference is specious and irrelevant on several counts . . ." In "Escaping the Comparison Trap: Evaluating Online Learning on Its Own Terms (INNOVATE, vol. 1, issue 2, December 2004/January 2005), John Sener writes that, rather than being inferior to classroom instruction, "[m]any online learning practices have demonstrated superior results or provided access to learning experiences not previously possible." He describes new evaluation models that are being used to judge online learning on its own merits. The paper is available online at http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=11&action=article.

You will need to register on the Innovate website to access the paper; there is no charge for registration and access.

Innovate [ISSN 1552-3233] is a bimonthly, peer-reviewed online periodical published by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University. The journal focuses on the creative use of information technology (IT) to enhance educational processes in academic, commercial, and government settings. Readers can comment on articles, share material with colleagues and friends, and participate in open forums. For more information, contact James L. Morrison, Editor-in-Chief, Innovate; email: innovate@nova.edu ; Web: http://www.innovateonline.info/.

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm 


Physicists Just Don't Know How to Sell Books 
The secret of success that defies physics is to serialize your book into newer topics with the same writing and sales formula.  Physics can't explain Chicken Soup that never spoils.  Sornette should've serialized his works with titles Physics Stew for the ____________.

"Physics Model Predicts Book Sales," Technology Review from MIT, December 10, 2004 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/04/12/rnb_121004.asp 

When UCLA physics professor Didier Sornette looked at the way his 2003 book on stock market crashes sold, he saw something that needed further investigation.

A few days after Sornette gave an interview in mid-January 2003 to a high-diffusion Internet news network his book reached number five on Amazon, then quickly moved down the rankings, disappearing from the top 50 within a week.

Using the same statistical physics methods they used to study complex systems like earthquakes and financial markets, Sornette and his colleagues set out to explain the book-ranking behavior. They used the Epidemics-Type Aftershock Sequence model, which draws on statistical techniques for studying how diseases spread through populations in order to model earthquake aftershocks.

Information about a book travels through the network of potential buyers in two possible fashions: exogenous and endogenous.

Exogenous shocks come from sources outside the system they affect, like billboards or newspaper articles; endogenous shocks are made up of very small exogenous shocks that happen in a coordinated fashion, like word-of-mouth recommendations.

The model predicts how sales will decline after they peak according to how the peak occurred. The decline after an exogenous shock is fairly steep, while the decay after an endogenous shock is more gradual. The model was 84 percent correct in the researchers tests.

Book publishing houses and marketing firms could use the method to quantify how books will sell post-peak, and to time the market, according to the researchers.

Using the method to study complex non-physical systems like markets could, in turn, help scientists understand complicated life processes whose divisions between exogenous and endogenous shocks are difficult to distinguish, according to the researchers.

The method could be used in practical applications within six months to a year, said Gilbert.

The work appeared in the November 26, 2004 issue of Physical Review Letters.

Jensen Comment:  Physicists Just Don't Know How to Sell Books 
Chicken Soup book sales are over $110 million per year and soaring.

Physics can't explain Chicken Soup that never spoils from the endless stream of best selling books from Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises, Inc.    The endless stream of Chicken Soup for the _______ books takes up more shelf space in book stores (including Wal-Mart) than any other book sets.  The secret of success that defies physics is to serialize your book into newer topics with the same writing and sales formulas.

"Modern Media and Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises Announce Launch of New Magazine: Chicken Soup for the American Soul," Freelance Writing, September 8, 2004 --- http://www.freelancewriting.com/news-080904-01.html 

Today, their book series includes more than 100 titles in 39 languages that have touched the hearts and minds of more than 90 million readers worldwide. In 1996, the newly-formed Chicken Soup Enterprises, Inc., leveraging the success of book sales, branched into licensed products, and to date the company is responsible for more than 600 million dollars of retail revenue.

Independent Book Publishers Hall of Fame --- http://www.bookmarket.com/fame.html 

John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books and editor of the Book Marketing Update newsletter maintains this list of the top independent book publishers who do $50,000,000 in sales per year but less than $200,000,000. Also eligible to be featured in this Independent Book Publishers Hall of Fame are any publishers who reached this level of sales before being acquired by another company and losing their independence. Finally, I have also included several distributors who have reached this level of success.

Publishers of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, this publisher also publishes magazines. Specialties: psychology, self-help, inspiration, recovery. On May 14, 1998, they had their first USA Today #1 bestseller, Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul, as well as ten other books in slots 6, 7, 14, 22, 26, 53, 77, 105, 111, and 135. In 1998, their sales topped $95 million.


Scientific American's Listing of Readers' Favorites --- http://www.sciam.com/page.cfm?section=readersfavorites&chanID=sa009&lsource=topnav 

Scientific American's Listing of its Best Selling Books --- http://www.sciam.com/books/index.cfm?location=bestseller&lsource=topnav 


"The 10 Best Books of 2004," The New York Times, December 12, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/books/review/12TENBEST.html?oref=login 

But those are not necessarily the "best selling" books.  Even when called "best sellers," you cannot trust The New York Times or other ranking agencies.

A Stanford University Research Study
Misleading Bias in Book Best Seller Lists, including those of The New York Times

From the Stanford University Alumni Newsletter, October 2004 
What's With All the "National Best Sellers"? 
A recent study of best sellers by Alan Sorensen, an assistant professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, found 109 hardcover fiction books that did not make the The New York Times list in 2001 and 2002 but sold better than some that did. MSN.com, October 15, 2004

"What's With All the "National Best Sellers"? How so many books get to the top of the charts," by Sean Rocha, MSN.com, October 15, 2004 ---  http://slate.msn.com/id/2108296#ContinueArticle 

Note: Slate initially posted a version of this column before it was finished being edited. A correction at the end of the article details errors that appeared in the original.

Walk into a bookstore, and it can seem as though every book is billed as a "national best seller." It's not hard to explain why: There are numerous best-seller lists on which to base the claim, and the lists don't always anoint the same books. On Thursday, for example, six of the most prominent top-10 fiction lists included 22 different titles. How do these best-seller lists work? And why don't they all list the same books?

There hasn't always been such an abundance of lists. According to Michael Korda's Making the List, the first best-seller list in America began in 1895 as a monthly column in a now defunct literary magazine called The Bookman. The oldest continuously published list was introduced in 1912 by Publishers Weekly, and the New York Times Book Review began publishing its list as a regular weekly feature in 1942. Now there are more than 40 best-seller lists that report how well books are doing either nationally or in various segments of the market—in particular regions, at certain chain stores, at independent bookstores nationwide. However, no list-maker tracks every book sold in the country; even the national lists draw on a sample of actual sales data from booksellers and use it to extrapolate total national sales.

The industry bellwether is the New York Times list, due to the prominence of the newspaper and the scope of its sales survey. Each week, the Times receives sales reports from almost 4,000 bookstores, along with reports from wholesalers that sell to 50,000 other retailers, including gift shops, department stores, newsstands, and supermarkets. John Wright, the assistant to the best-sellers editor at the Times, said the paper does not reveal the precise methodology by which its list is compiled. But we do know that the rankings are based on unit, not dollar, figures and account for sales during a Sunday to Saturday week.

To report sales to the Times, booksellers use a form provided by Times editors. The form lists titles the editors think are likely to sell well. Although there is space below for writing in additional titles, this practice has been controversial. Some critics (particularly independent-bookstore owners and small publishers) believe the Times form makes it more difficult for quiet, word-of-mouth hits to make the Times list. Whatever the cause, the Times list certainly makes "mistakes": A recent study of best sellers by Alan Sorensen, an assistant professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, found 109 hardcover fiction books that did not make the Times list in 2001 and 2002 but sold better than some that did.

Other best-seller lists draw on smaller survey samples. The San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times (among other newspapers) publish lists that rank sales in their regions. Barnes & Noble and Amazon calculate best-seller lists based exclusively on their own sales—the Barnes & Noble list includes transactions both on the company's Web site and at its more than 870 stores. The American Booksellers Association's "Book Sense" list surveys only independent bookstores, compiling data from about 460 of the estimated 2,000 independent bookstores in the United States. (And Library Journal, a trade magazine, even launched a list recently that is not based on sales at all; instead, it ranks the books "most borrowed" from libraries.) Best-seller lists generally separate hardcover and paperback books and also parse by category: fiction, nonfiction, advice, children's, etc. There are exceptions: Barnes & Noble, for example, lumps together hardcover and paperback sales while retaining the distinction between fiction and nonfiction, and USA Today runs a single, unified list of the top 150.

Since the many lists represent different pieces of the total book-sales pie—and even those representing the same slice use different samples—there can be some startling divergences among the rankings. (Some lists are also faster than others to record sales, which can exaggerate these differences.) For example, on Wednesday, Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen ranked No. 10 among the ABA's independents but only came in at No. 121 on USA Today's list. The No. 7 book on Amazon, War Trash by Ha Jin, was not in Barnes & Noble's top 25 while the No. 3 book on Barnes & Noble, Anita Shreve's Light on Snow, was only No. 22 on Amazon—and neither book had yet made it onto the Times or Publishers Weekly lists.

Best-seller lists indicate how a book is selling relative to other books in a given geographical area or niche of the market, but they don't reveal how many copies a book has sold or how much money consumers have spent on a given title. Movie buffs can log onto the Internet Movie Database and find out how much money a film took in at the box office the week before. But readers who love The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, which just had a long run at No. 1 on almost every fiction best-seller list, have no way to tell from the rankings whether it is selling 1,000 copies a week or 1 million, or how much money it has made.

In part, definitive figures on book sales don't appear in best-seller lists because timely, authoritative data can be hard to come by, even for publishers. The larger companies, such as Holtzbrinck (FSG, Holt, Picador, St. Martin's) or Bertelsmann (Random House, Knopf, Doubleday) have increasingly sophisticated in-house systems that update sales data for their own titles on a weekly or daily basis, based on figures that sales reps get from book retailers across the country. These systems have blind spots, however: Airports and supermarkets, for example, are slower to report point-of-sale data, so it can sometimes take two to three months for publishers to obtain sales numbers from these venues. And publishing house bean-counters must also contend with the book world's peculiar return policy, which allows retailers to send any books they cannot sell back to the publisher—for a full refund. Only when a book is bought and retained by the customer does it count as a sale for the publisher. As a result, for the publisher, sales figures are always provisional pending a costly adjustment for returns—and returns can be huge, sometimes amounting to between 40 percent and 50 percent of books shipped.

So how many books do you actually need to sell to make it onto, say, the Times list? There is no defined threshold, but according to the Stanford study, one book made the hardcover fiction list selling only 2,108 copies a week; more typically, the median weekly sales figure in the study was 18,717. And most books can't keep even these modest sale rates up for long: Sales generally peak during a book's second week on the list and then steadily decline. Over a period of six months, the median best seller in the Stanford study averaged weekly sales of just over 3,600 copies.

Incidentally, the Stanford study would not have been possible even five years ago—the professor who conducted it would have had trouble obtaining accurate data. But in 2001, a Dutch company called VNU introduced Nielsen BookScan, which reports industry-wide sales figures and is available only by subscription. Like the national best-seller lists, BookScan relies on sampling—in their case, about 4,500 retailers—but BookScan reveals hard data on unit sales for books. The Washington Post bases its rankings on BookScan data, but Nielsen requires that the Post keep unit sales figures out of the paper. 

Continued in the article


Google Crawling in the Stacks
Google plans to begin converting the holdings of leading research libraries into digital files that would be searchable online

John Markoff and Edward Wyatt, "Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database," The New York Times, December 14, 2004 --- http://snipurl.com/GoogleLibrary  


Note that Huckleberry Finn is both the most banned and among the most widely held.  

TOP 1000 MOST WIDELY-HELD LIBRARY BOOKS (forwarded by Carolyn Kotlas)

OCLC Research, a division within the OCLC Online Computer Library Center, has compiled a list of the top 1000 titles owned by its 50,000+ member libraries. The top ten titles, in descending order, are the 2000 U.S. Census, the Bible, Mother Goose, Divine Comedy, Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, Huckleberry Finn, Hamlet, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Lord of the Rings. Many classics and canonical works of Western civilization and culture are represented, along with currently-popular works. You can view the list all 1000 titles at http://www.oclc.org/research/top1000/ 

Fun Factoids --- http://www.oclc.org/research/top1000/factoids.htm 

Fun facts about the OCLC Top 1000

How many works by Shakespeare made the list?
Forty.

How many works by Stephen King made the Top 1000 list?
Zero, to our surprise. Pet Sematary ranked 1165, though.

Which author has the most works on the OCLC Top 1000 list?
William Shakespeare (with 40 works). He is followed by Charles Dickens (16 works) and John Grisham (13 works).

How many different authors are on the OCLC Top 1000 list?
576 authors made the list, not counting the anonymous ones.

How many of the OCLC Top 1000 works are anonymous?
63 works are anonymous or do not have a single author. (In library parlance, there are 63 "title main entry" works.)

What work on the Top 1000 list has the richest publication history, i.e., the most manifestations, as represented by OCLC libraries' holdings?
The Bible, followed by the Haggadah. Divine Comedy was 3rd and the Koran 4th.

If all the Harry Potter books were bundled together, how would they have stacked up?
We didn't bundle them together, but if we had, these books would have ranked 8th on the Top 1000 list (and 2nd on the Top Fiction list, 3rd on the Top Children's list). Considered together, 39,010 Harry Potter items are held by libraries and they are represented by 407 different bibliographic records.

Who is the author most held by OCLC libraries?
William Shakespeare, followed by the United States government, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Giuseppi Verdi.

How far down the OCLC Top 1000 list do you have to go to get to a live author?
Jim Davis' Garfield is number 18 on the list. (Four of the 5 top works by living authors are cartoons!)

And in case you're wondering, Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird is the highest-ranking work by a living female author. It ranked 149.

What were the top works purchased (cataloged) in 2003 by libraries?

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J. K. Rowling
    Purchased by 2,406 libraries in 2003
  2. Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton
    Purchased by 2,101 libraries in 2003
  3. My Friend Rabbit, by Eric Rohmann
    Purchased by 1,847 libraries in 2003
  4. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
    Purchased by 1,843 libraries in 2003
  5. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, by Joseph Gibaldi
    Purchased by 1,807 libraries in 2003

For comparison, here are Publishers Weekly's bestsellers for the same year (Source: Bowker Annual, 2004, p. 575, from Publishers Weekly, March 22, 2004):

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling
    12.2 million units sold in 2003
  2. The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren
    11.3 million units sold in 2003
  3. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
    5.7 million units sold in 2003
  4. The South Beach Diet, by Arthur Agatston, M.D.
    4.4 million units sold in 2003
  5. The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
    2.9 million units sold in 2003

What is the highest-ranking work written by a woman?
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë ranks 29 on the list. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, is next on the list. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice ranks 33.

Who is the most written-about person in WorldCat?
Jesus Christ.

What's the top mystery novel held by libraries?
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It ranks 199.

You've acknowledged that the Top 1000 list has a United States slant. How many U.S. presidents authored works on the list?
John F. Kennedy (for Profiles in Courage), George Washington (for his Farewell Address), and Ulysses S. Grant (Personal Memoirs).

James Madison, who along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay co-authored The Federalist Papers under the pen name Publius, also made the list, though anonymously. (Madison and Hamilton also drafted Washington's Farewell Address.)

Abraham Lincoln is not on the list.

How does the U.S. constitution rank?
257.

Kissin' don't last, cookin' do...
The Joy of Cooking ranked 260 on the OCLC Top 1000 list. Joy of Sex did not make the Top 1000 list, or come anywhere close.

Fighting like cats and dogs...
Garfield is number 18 on the list. Snoopy is 70.

How about animals generally?
Garfield is the top-ranking animal overall. Moby Dick, at 35, was the second-highest ranking animal. Neither Lassie (ranking 1126) nor Bambi (1118) made the OCLC Top 1000 list. (The Yearling, though, ranked 281.)

What is the top-ranking bird?
Does Mother Goose count? She was third on our list.

What about plants?
Leaves of Grass ranked 45.

What's the top fruit? The top vegetable? The top mineral?
It's your turn to look.

Who is the top monster?
Dr. Frankenstein's monster. Ranking 44, he beat both Count Dracula (78) and Edward Hyde (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ranked 137). The vampire Lestat didn't make the OCLC Top 1000 list, and neither did Shrek.

It was a dark and stormy night...
The work Paul Clifford by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton did not make the OCLC Top 1000 list.

What cartoons made it to OCLC's Top 1000 list?

What was the 1001st item?
Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson.

 


Glossary of Book Collecting Terms --- http://hardyboys.bobfinnan.com/bookterms.htm 


Free Electronic Books --- http://www.awriteshop.com/e_reading.html 
Many of the books are scanned photographs of actual book pages.
For more see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#ElectronicBooks  


"100 Notable Books of the Year," The New York Times, December 5, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/05/books/review/1205books-notable.html?oref=login 


A great index of electronic journals (although admittedly not comprehensive)--- http://ejw.i8.com/ 

Supporting Campus, Community, and Distance Education

 
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If you cannot find information herein, you are encouraged to use a mega search engine such as 37.com, profusion.com, search.com, Google, or Alltheweb.
The Following Sites provide access to free journal articles online.
Find Articles.Com at http://www.findarticles.com where articles can be accessed using a subject search. For a mega-site of free e-journal sources.
Ejournal SiteGuide : a MetaSource http://www.library.ubc.ca/ejour/abc.html,
Electronic Journal Miner, http://ejournal.coalliance.org/
Highware Press, http://highwire.stanford.edu,
Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography, http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepb.html
Australian Journals Online, http://www.nla.gov.au/ajol/,
Journals - QQQ Research, http://www.qqqresearch.com/journals/
An Archive of Life Science Journals, http://www.pubmedcentral.gov/
GoArticles.com, http://www.goarticles.com  Over 7,200 articles that can be sent via e-mail
ArticleCity.com,http://www.ArticleCity.com Indexed collection of copyright-free articles on various subjects neatly organized by category.
To Translate This Site into another Language go to http://www.freetranslation.com/web.htm or http://babel.altavista.com/
and enter the address of this page http://ejw.i8.com
They do not do the best job but should help with any one of several languages
About Web Based Resources
Lewis' Curriculum Vit

Eyewitness to History --- http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/ 
Bob Jensen's threads on history are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History 


There’s a possible win-win situation for colleges who are willing to change with the times.  Professional programs could help by designing more innovative minors customized to integrate with humanities and science.  Humanities and science programs could help by allowing majors to take professional minors.

 

In 2002, workers with degrees in chemical engineering and accounting were on the high end, earning an average of $75,579 and $63,486, respectively. On the low end, philosophy majors made an average of $42,865 and elementary education graduates $38,746.
"Choosing a College Major: For Love or for the Money?" by David Koeppel, The New York Times, December 5, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/05/jobs/05jmar.html 

Like countless other college students, Susannah Lloyd-Jones struggled with her choice of major. Finally, in her junior year at Loyola University in Chicago, she picked sociology, a decision that "opened my mind and introduced me to other cultures, " she said. More than two years after graduation, though, Ms. Lloyd-Jones, now a 24-year-old paralegal from Maplewood, N.J., occasionally wonders if she made the right decision. "It might have been easier if I had been a business major," she said, "because that's where the money is."

. Lloyd-Jones says if she had it to do over, she would probably still study sociology but take more business classes and work some internships. She said students feel tremendous pressure over the choice of a major, which could be an important career decision, when many are just beginning to understand themselves.

Many students and career counselors say the pressure to choose the "right" major is more intense than ever because of factors like rising tuition costs and the uncertain economy. Parents and students today often consider college more an investment than a time of academic and personal exploration. Some students say they are education consumers seeking the best return on that investment, which is often financed with a student loan.

The annual cost of a four-year public college averages $11,354, a 7.8 increase from 2003-4, according to the College Board; a four-year private college averages $27,516, a 5.6 percent increase.

In their recently published "College Majors Handbook With Real Career Paths and Payoffs" (Jist Publishing), three economists from Northeastern University in Boston try to quantify just how much students with a variety of majors can expect to earn in their careers. The authors concluded that choosing a major was more crucial to future financial success than the college attended.

One of the authors, Paul E. Harrington, an economist and associate director at the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern, said that, on average, humanities and education majors fared far worse financially than students in business or engineering.

In 2002, workers with degrees in chemical engineering and accounting were on the high end, earning an average of $75,579 and $63,486, respectively. On the low end, philosophy majors made an average of $42,865 and elementary education graduates $38,746.

Mr. Harrington said the research was not intended to dissuade sociology majors from following their passions. Instead, he hopes the information will help students prepare carefully when choosing a major. He recommends that students contemplating majors in the liberal arts or humanities also take some business-oriented courses. A philosophy major, Mr. Harrington said, should probably get some real-world internship experience.

"The world is a more unforgiving place than it used to be, and investment costs are too high for four years of drift," he said. "If a student doesn't take the right sequence of math courses in high school, they can lose out on the best jobs."

But some people worry that choosing a career based primarily on economic factors can lead students to make poor choices. Jieun Chai, a 2000 Stanford University graduate, for instance, deeply regrets not majoring in Asian languages.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#careers 


Question
A four-letter term that came to symbolize the difference between old and new media during this year's presidential campaign tops U.S. dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster's list of the 10 words of the year.
What is that word?

Answer

BLOG 
The other nine top words are discussed at CNN, November 30, 2004 --- http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/internet/11/30/words.of.the.year.reut/ 

Student Blogs

"What Your College Kid Is Really Up To," by Steven Levy, Time Magazine, December 13, 2004, Page 12

Aaron Swartz was nervous when I went to interview him.  I know this is not because he told me, but because he said so on his student blog a few days afterward.  Swartz is one of millions of people who mainstream an Internet-based Weblog that allows one to punch in daily experiences as easily as banging out diary entries with a word processor.  Swartz says the blog is meant to help him remember his experiences during an important time for him --- freshman year at Stanford.  But this opens up a window to the rest of us.

Continued in the article.

See http://www.bloglines.com/blog/odinprotectsus?subid=675096 

See http://www.aaronsw.com/ 

Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs and Blogs are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Weblog 


 

VCR/DVD Player Copies Footage and Organizes It Into a Menu of 'Scenes'

"A New Way to Convert Those Old Home Videos," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2004, Page D4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110245792882793675,00.html?mod=gadgets%5Flead%5Fstory%5Fcol 

Many of us will be capturing memories on video this holiday season by using digital video cameras. But the tapes tend to be disorganized and can lie around for years. Wouldn't it be great to convert them to organized DVDs, divided into chapters, that could be popped into a DVD player whenever you want to watch them, or sent to relatives and friends with DVD players?

And what about that stack of old VHS tapes that's collecting dust in your family room? Those memories also deserve to be preserved on organized DVDs that last longer than tape and are easier to use.

Converting VHS tapes into DVDs isn't anything new or out of the ordinary, but because it usually involves a trip to your camera specialty store or the hassle of a send-away service, most of us choose to have only certain favorite tapes converted. Using a PC to do the conversion can be a hassle, requiring extra equipment in some cases. And using a standard DVD recorder usually just puts the same disorganized footage on disk.

So, this week, my assistant Katie Boehret and I tested a new type of DVD recorder that easily converts video content onto organized DVDs, complete with "chapters" accessible from a main menu, just like a Hollywood DVD. This machine incorporates the technology of a company called YesVideo Inc., whose automated scene detection and chapter creation had formerly been available only if you sent away your tapes or brought them into a store.

This new DVD recorder, by GoVideo, goes by the long-winded name of the "GoVideo VR2940 DVD Recorder + VCR with YesDVD." Though priced at about $350, GoVideo says it should sell for $300 at retail. This product's stultifying name doesn't reflect its simple-to-use functionality.

Like some other combo recorders, the VR2940 can play and record both VHS tapes and DVDs. It can record directly from TV to DVD. And it can copy directly from a camcorder with the click of a button.

But instead of just converting a blob of video from VHS or camcorder to DVD, GoVideo partnered with YesVideo to integrate YesVideo's automated DVD organization technology right into the VR2940. YesDVD was designed to detect where one scene in a home video ends and another begins, and designates each as a new chapter on a DVD menu.

YesDVD technology also creates three one-minute music videos from your footage, which can be real godsends for friends and family who are tired of sitting through hours of footage from your daughter's dance recital each year.

If you dropped your tapes off with one of YesVideo's retail partners to have all this done, you'd pay about $25 per YesDVD.

The VR2940, measuring about the size of an old VCR, isn't exactly sleek. We set it up next to a television, attaching the cable wire and AV cords. Then we turned it on and followed simple on-screen directions for channel detection and setting the clock.

Katie started out by recording about 35 minutes of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" directly onto a DVD. The VR2940 takes only DVD+R and DVD+RW disks, which cost about $1-$2 each. She simply inserted a DVD+RW disk and pressed "record," and we were in business. After the show ended, Katie pressed "stop" and waited a few seconds until an on-screen message asked us if we wanted to make our recording a YesDVD or just a regular DVD; we chose to make a YesDVD.

If you choose a regular DVD, you can still get chapters, but they are based only on time intervals, not on distinct scenes. And you don't get a menu screen, as you do with the YesDVD option.

Five minutes later, the YesDVD was done -- complete with 20 different chapters and three brief music videos in the DVD's menu. We scanned through the various scenes to see where chapters had been marked, but were disappointed to find that the chapters didn't coincide with the start and end of commercials, so we couldn't just watch the show commercial-free by skipping ahead through chapters.

YesVideo explained that the YesDVD technology in the VR2940 doesn't include commercial detection because it's geared toward usage with home-video footage, not recorded TV shows. Still, this is a flaw the company should fix.

We tested VHS to DVD conversion using three VHS tapes -- one of my son's sophomore-year high-school music production, another of my father telling stories of his service in World War II, and a third of old family gatherings. To simplify things, the VR2940 has two One Touch Copy buttons on the far left of its front side labeled "VCR to DVD" and "DVD to VCR," and after loading the tape and blank DVD, we had only to press "VCR to DVD" and choose the recording quality, and the information was copied.

When the tape is finished or when you press "stop," you can opt to create a YesDVD, which we did for both tapes. The starting points for the home-video chapters made more sense than the ones of the TV shows, but they still weren't perfect. Some chapters accurately began when my father started telling a new story or when my son's production started a new skit or song, but other chapters began in the middle of songs and stories.

YesVideo says its YesDVD software evaluates content according to changes in clarity or sharpness, motion, moments when the camera is turned on or off and other factors. Since these first two test tapes never involved the camera turning off, they didn't always trigger the scene-selection technology.

The third tape we converted contained just over two hours of family footage, and YesDVD did a much better job of marking chapters -- 35 total -- at appropriate places, partly because the camera was turned on and off much more often.

The GoVideo VR2940 can also convert data directly from a digital or analog video camera that you connect via the appropriate cable. In addition to creating a DVD, the YesVideo conversion also creates a template for a DVD case cover with tiny thumbnail images of each scene; you can print this out by inserting the DVD into any Windows PC.

The $300 price for the Go Video machine is hefty. But, if you have a lot of tapes to be converted, it can be cheaper to use this device than to lug them into the store, and quicker than doing the conversion on a PC or Mac. And, even after you've converted all of your VHS tapes into DVDs, the GoVideo VR2940 still functions well as a VCR and DVD player/recorder.

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob4.htm#Technology 

 


"Breaking B-School Gender Barriers," by Francesca Di Meglio, Business Week, December 8, 2004 --- http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/dec2004/bs2004121_4063.htm?c=bwmbadec8&n=link1&t=email 

Women have made great strides in business, but the glass ceiling is far from completely shattered. They still earn less than men, have a harder time getting promotions and venture capital, and have fewer role models. In addition, women typically continue to take on most of the burdens at home, which makes it even trickier for them to juggle a career, too.

Forwarded by 

"Japanese city to require dads to spend time with newborns," Asia Pacific News, December 2, 2004

TOKYO (AFP) - A Japanese city council will require male employees to take a total of six weeks of paid leave before their babies' first birthdays and then explain what they learned in a bid to end perceptions that child care is only a woman's job, officials said.

No male municipal worker in Ota, an industrial city north of Tokyo, has ever taken leave after having a child, a personnel division official said.

"We are to take the measure to get men involved in raising children," the official said, explaining there was "a persistent view in society that women should raise children."

The requirement will start on January 1 and several male employees have already shown readiness to take leave, during which they will be paid full salary, he said.

The men will take the leave a week at a time and will not be able to take the weeks off consecutively. They will have to submit a report to the city on child-rearing afterwards. There will be no punishment if the employees fail to take the leave.

Continued in the article

 

Bob Jensen's helpers for women's careers (especially from a positive perspective) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#careers 


December 8, 2004 message from the AACSB

AACSB International's popular online career marketplace targets business education careers in all business disciplines and from all around the world.  Browse this job market site:
Plus, you can sign up for automatic email notification of new postings - no need to browse the site on a daily basis!  And M.E.Jobs has links to other resources of interest to business school educators, such as school profiles, salary survey results, and seminars.
 
Check our services out at www.aacsb.edu/jobs2, or contact mejobs@aacsb.edu
 
Bob Jensen's helpers for careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#careers 

"Contrarian finding: Computers are a drag on learning," by Jeffrey MacDonald, The Christian Science Monitor, December 6, 2004 --- http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1206/p11s01-legn.html 

For all the schools and parents who have together invested billions to give children a learning edge through the latest computer technology, a mammoth new study by German researchers brings some sobering news: Too much exposure to computers might spell trouble for the developing mind. 

From a sample of 175,000 15-year-old students in 31 countries, researchers at the University of Munich announced in November that performance in math and reading had suffered significantly among students who have more than one computer at home. And while students seemed to benefit from limited use of computers at school, those who used them several times per week at school saw their academic performance decline significantly as well.

"It seems if you overuse computers and trade them for other [types of] teaching, it actually harms the student," says lead researcher Ludger Woessmann in a telephone interview from Munich. "At least we should be cautious in stating that increasing [access to] computers in the home and school will improve students' math and reading performance."

With the rise of computers in classrooms, has come a glut of conflicting conclusions about the actual value computers bring to timeless tasks of teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. For some in education, these results indicate how thoroughly this field of research has come to resemble that of the conventional wisdom about weight loss, which seems to shift with the tide. Yet others see hopeful signs of a maturing debate, where blind faith in the educational benefits of technology is giving way to greater appreciation for an understanding when computers are useful and when they're not.

"You could argue that's the big issue here: People need guidance in how to use [computers in education]," says Dr. Marcia Linn, professor of education and director of the Technology Enhanced Learning in Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley.

In surveying the gamut of research for his 2003 book "The Flickering Mind" (Random House), journalist Todd Oppenheimer [Editor's note: The original version misstated Oppenheimer's first name.] found most studies have overstated either the benefits or the drawbacks computers pose in education. The most thorough studies have found computers to have little effect either way, he said, although some guiding principles are beginning to emerge.

Computer technology "is used too much and very unwisely in the younger years, and not wisely enough in the older years," says Oppenheimer. For 15-year-olds, he says, "you'd be foolish not to use the [World Wide] Web" for a research project, but only alongside conventional information-gathering techniques. The big picture goal: help students use high-quality sources.

Against this backdrop, the German study stands out on account of two features: its unusually broad, international sample and its bid to isolate computers as a performance-shaping factor.

Mindful that computers are more common among affluent families, whose children often outperform more disadvantaged ones, the University of Munich researchers controlled for such variables as parents' education and working status.

When those were removed from the equation, having more than one computer at home was no longer associated with top academic performance. In fact, the study says, "The mere availability of computers at home seems to distract students from learning." Computers seem to serve mainly as devices for playing games.

Still, there were a few exceptions: Academic performance rose among those who routinely engaged in writing e-mail or running educational software.

To hear new questions raised about the educational value of technology is music to the ears at the Waldorf schools, an association of 350 schools where students don't touch computers until the 11th grade. There the priority lies with training students to think, says Patrice Maynard, leader for outreach and development, because problem-solving acumen and creativity lead to success and a joyful life.

Yet for educators in Maine, computers represent something far more promising. There they seem to hold the key to the type of skills employers want to see as the state says goodbye to textiles and other antiquated industries. Maine taxpayers are investing $37 million over four years to put laptop computers into the hands of every seventh- and eighth-grader, as well as their 3,000 teachers.

As the debate continues, consensus holds that more research is needed to know exactly where computers make the most difference in an educational process. "There's this sort of bizarre belief that computers cast a spell over students and teachers and schools," says Christopher Dede, professor of learning technologies at the Harvard School of Education. "Can you imagine what would happen if you had the same in business, asking if computers were interfering with performance? It would be a big joke."

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm 


December 2, 2004 message from Carla Carnaghan [cacarnag@UWATERLOO.CA

Diana Laurillard's book "Rethinking University Teaching: A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies" (Routledge) 2nd edition 2002 has a review of the various categories of learning technologies. Lourillard discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the tools largely in terms of her proposed framework for learning, and also has some general discussion of each tool and its merits from a learning perspective. It's an interesting book.

Regards, 
Carla Carnaghan 
School of Accountancy 
University of Waterloo Waterloo, 
Ontario Canada

Bob Jensen's threads on tools and resources for learning technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm 


"String Theory, at 20, Explains It All (or Not)," by Dennis Overbye, The New York Times, December 7, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/07/science/07stri.html?oref=login 

They all laughed 20 years ago.

It was then that a physicist named John Schwarz jumped up on the stage during a cabaret at the physics center here and began babbling about having discovered a theory that could explain everything. By prearrangement men in white suits swooped in and carried away Dr. Schwarz, then a little-known researcher at the California Institute of Technology.

Only a few of the laughing audience members knew that Dr. Schwarz was not entirely joking. He and his collaborator, Dr. Michael Green, now at Cambridge University, had just finished a calculation that would change the way physics was done. They had shown that it was possible for the first time to write down a single equation that could explain all the laws of physics, all the forces of nature - the proverbial "theory of everything" that could be written on a T-shirt.

And so emerged into the limelight a strange new concept of nature, called string theory, so named because it depicts the basic constituents of the universe as tiny wriggling strings, not point particles.

"That was our first public announcement," Dr. Schwarz said recently.

By uniting all the forces, string theory had the potential of achieving the goal that Einstein sought without success for half his life and that has embodied the dreams of every physicist since then. If true, it could be used like a searchlight to illuminate some of the deepest mysteries physicists can imagine, like the origin of space and time in the Big Bang and the putative death of space and time at the infinitely dense centers of black holes.

In the last 20 years, string theory has become a major branch of physics. Physicists and mathematicians conversant in strings are courted and recruited like star quarterbacks by universities eager to establish their research credentials. String theory has been celebrated and explained in best-selling books like "The Elegant Universe," by Dr. Brian Greene, a physicist at Columbia University, and even on popular television shows.

Last summer in Aspen, Dr. Schwarz and Dr. Green (of Cambridge) cut a cake decorated with "20th Anniversary of the First Revolution Started in Aspen," as they and other theorists celebrated the anniversary of their big breakthrough. But even as they ate cake and drank wine, the string theorists admitted that after 20 years, they still did not know how to test string theory, or even what it meant.

As a result, the goal of explaining all the features of the modern world is as far away as ever, they say. And some physicists outside the string theory camp are growing restive. At another meeting, at the Aspen Institute for Humanities, only a few days before the string commemoration, Dr. Lawrence Krauss, a cosmologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, called string theory "a colossal failure."

String theorists agree that it has been a long, strange trip, but they still have faith that they will complete the journey.

"Twenty years ago no one would have correctly predicted how string theory has since developed," said Dr. Andrew Strominger of Harvard. "There is disappointment that despite all our efforts, experimental verification or disproof still seems far away. On the other hand, the depth and beauty of the subject, and the way it has reached out, influenced and connected other areas of physics and mathematics, is beyond the wildest imaginations of 20 years ago."

In a way, the story of string theory and of the physicists who have followed its siren song for two decades is like a novel that begins with the classic "what if?"

Continued in article


Question
What is prosopagnosia?

Answer
"About Face," Economist, December 2, 2004 --- http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=3445743 

To people with prosopagnosia, the instant someone leaves their sight the memory of that person's face is blank—or, at best, a palette of muddled features. Face-blindness can be likened to tone-deafness: the tone can be heard, or the face seen, but distinguishing between different tones or faces is nearly impossible. The effects of prosopagnosia can be so bad that people with severe cases cannot recognise their own parents or children.

Understanding the face-recall mechanism in the brain would be a big step towards understanding this odd disorder. It might also throw light on human evolution, since the ability to recognise faces is more or less equal to the ability to recognise individuals, and that ability is the glue which holds societies together and which has enabled humanity to develop a complex culture unique in the animal kingdom. The question is whether this crucial ability has its own private brain mechanism, or whether it is simply one aspect of a general ability to recognise individual members of a particular class of objects.

Continued in the article


Issues in Group Grading

December 6, 2004 message from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU

When I have students do group projects, I require each team member complete a peer review form where the team member evaluates the other team members on 8 attributes using a scale from 0 to 4. On this form they also give their team members an overall grade. In a footnote it is explained that an “A” means the team member receives the full team grade; a “B” means a 10% reduction from the team grade; a “C” means 20% discount; a “D” means 30% discount; “E” means 40%, and an “F” means a 100% discount (in other words, the team member should get a zero).

I assumed that the form added a little peer pressure to the team work process. In the past, students were usually pretty kind to each other. But now I have a situation where the team members on one team have all given either E’s of F’s to one of their team members. Their written comments about this guy are all pretty consistent.

Now, I worried if I actually enforce the discount scale, things are going to get messy and the s*** is going to hit the fan. I’m going to have one very upset student. He is going to be mad at his fellow teammates.

Has anyone had similar experience? What has the outcome been? Is there a confidentially issue here? In other words, are the other teammates also going to be upset that I revealed their evaluations? Is there going to be a lawsuit coming over the horizon?

Glen L. Gray, PhD, CPA
Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems
College of Business & Economics
California State University, Northridge
Northridge, CA 91330-8372
http://www.csun.edu/~vcact00f 

Most of the replies to the message above encouraged being clear at the beginning that team evaluations would affect the final grade and then sticking to that policy.

December 5, 2004 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

Glen, the fact that you are in California, by itself, makes it much more difficult to predict the lawsuit question. I've seen some lawsuits (and even worse, legal outcomes) from California that are completely unbelievable... Massachussetts too.

But that said, I can share my experience that I have indeed given zero points on a group grade to students where the peer evaluations indicated unsatisfactory performance. My justification to the students in these "zero" cases has always been, "it was clear from your peers that you were not part of the group effort, and thus have not earned the points for the group assignment".

I never divulge any specific comments, but I do tell the student that I am willing to share the comments with an impartial arbiter if they wish to have a third party confirm my evidence. To date, no student has ever contested the decision.

Every other semester or so, I have to deduct points to some degree for unsatisfactory work as judged by peers. So far, I've had no problems making it stick, and in most cases, the affected student willingly admits their deficiency, although usually with excuses and rationales.

But I'm not in California, and the legal precedents here are unlike those in your neck of the woods.

If I were on the west coast, however, I'd probably be likely to at least try to stick to my principles as far as my university legal counsel would allow. Then, if my counsel didn't support me, I'd look for employment in a part of the country with a more reasonable legal environment (although that is getting harder to find every day).

Good luck,

David Fordham

December 5, 2004 reply from Amy Dunbar

Sometimes groups do blow up. Last summer I had one group ask me to remove a member. Another group had a nonfunctioning member, based on the participation scores. I formed an additional group comprised of just those two. They finally learned how to work. Needless to say they weren’t happy with me, but the good thing about teaching is that every semester we get a fresh start!

Another issue came up for the first time, at least that I noticed. I learned that one group made a pact to rate each other high all semester long regardless of work level, and I still am not sure how I am going to avoid that problem next time around. The agreement came to light when one of the students was upset that he did so poorly on my exams. He told his senior that he had no incentive to do the homework because he could just get the answers from the other group members, and he didn’t have to worry about being graded down because of the agreement. The student was complaining that the incentive structure I set up hurt him because he needed more push do the homework. The senior told me after the class ended. Any suggestions?

TEXAS IS GOING TO THE ROSE BOWL!!!!!!!!! Go Horns! Oops, that just slipped out.

Amy Dunbar
A Texas alum married to a Texas fanatic

December 6, 2004 reply from Tracey Sutherland [tracey@AAAHQ.ORG

Glen, My first thought on reading your post was that if things get complicated it could be useful to have a context for your grading policy that clearly establishes that it falls within common practice (in accounting and in cooperative college classrooms in general). Now you've already built some context from within accounting by gathering some responses here from a number of colleagues for whom this is a regular practice. Neal's approach can be a useful counterpart to peer evaluation for triangulation purposes -- sometimes students will report that they weren't really on-point for one reason or another (I've done this with good result but only with upper-level grad students). If the issue becomes more complicated because the student challenges your approach up the administrative ladder, you could provide additional context for the consistency of your approach in general by referencing the considerable body of literature on these issues in the higher education research literature -- you are using a well-established approach that's been frequently tested. A great resource if you need it is Barbara Millis and Phil Cottell's book "Cooperative Learning for Higher Education Faculty" published by Oryx Press (American Council on Education Series on Higher Education). They do a great job of annotating the major work in the area in a short, accessible, and concise book that also includes established criteria used for evaluating group work and some sample forms for peer assessment and self-assessment for group members (also just a great general resource for well-tested cooperative/group activities -- and tips for how to manage implementing them). Phil Cottell is an accounting professor (Miami U.) and would be a great source of information should you need it.

Your established grading policy indicates that there would be a reduction of grade when team members give poor peer evaluations -- which wouldn't necessarily mean that you would reveal individual's evaluations but that a negative aggregate evaluation would have an effect -- and that would protect confidentiality consistently with your policy. It seems an even clearer case because all group members have given consistently negative evaluations -- as long as it's not some weird interpersonal thing -- something that sounds like that would be a red flag for the legal department. I hate it that we so often worry about legal ramifications . . . but then again it pays to be prepared!

Peace of the season, 

Tracey

December 6, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

I once listened to an award winning AIS professor from a very major university (that after last night won't be going to the Orange Bowl this year) say that the best policy is to promise everybody an A in the course.  My question then is what the point of the confidential evaluations would be other than to make the professor feel bad at the end of the course?

Bob Jensen


"College Board Asks Group Not to Post Test Analysis," by Diana Jean Schemol, The New York Times, December 4, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/04/education/04college.html?oref=login 

The College Board, which owns the SAT college entrance exam, is demanding that a nonprofit group critical of standardized tests remove from its Web site data that breaks down scores by race, income and sex.

The demand, in a letter to The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, also known as FairTest, accuses the group of infringing on the College Board's copyright.

"Unfortunately, your misuse overtly bypasses our ownership and significantly impacts the perceptions of students, parents and educators regarding the services we provide," the letter said.

The move by the College Board comes amid growing criticism of the exams, with more and more colleges and universities raising questions about their usefulness as a gauge of future performance and discarding them as requirements for admission. The College Board is overhauling parts of the exam and will be using a new version beginning in March

FairTest has led opposition to the exams, and releases the results to support its accusation of bias in the tests, a claim rejected by test makers, who contend the scores reflect true disparities in student achievement. FairTest posts the information in easily accessible charts, and Robert A. Schaeffer, its spokesman, said they were the Web site's most popular features.

In its response to the College Board letter, which FairTest posted on its Web site on Tuesday, the group said it would neither take down the data nor seek formal permission to use it. FairTest has been publicly showing the data for nearly 20 years, Mr. Schaeffer said, until now without objection from the testing company, which itself releases the data in annual reports it posts on its Web site.

"You can't copyright numbers like that," Mr. Schaeffer said. "It's all about public education and making the public aware of score gaps and the potential for bias in the exams."

Devereux Chatillon, a specialist on copyright law at Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal in New York, said case law supported FairTest's position. "Facts are not copyrightable," Ms. Chatillon said. In addition, she said, while the College Board may own the exam, the real authors of the test results are those taking the exams.

Continued in article

2004 Senior Test Scores:  ACT --- http://www.fairtest.org/nattest/ACT%20Scores%202004%20Chart.pdf 

2004 Senior Test Scores:  SAT --- http://www.fairtest.org/nattest/SAT%20Scoresn%202004%20Chart.pdf 

Fair Test Reacts to the SAT Outcomes --- http://www.fairtest.org/univ/2004%20SAT%20Score%20Release.html 

Fair Test Home --- http://www.fairtest.org/ 

Jensen Comment:
If there is to be a test that sets apart students that demonstrate higher ability, motivation, and aptitude for college studies, how would it differ from the present Princeton tests that have been designed and re-designed over and over again?  I cannot find any Fair Test models of what such a test would look like.  One would assume that by its very name Fair Test still agrees that some test is necessary.   However, the group's position seems to be that no national test is feasible that will give the same means and standard deviations for all groups (males, females, and race categories).  Fair Test advocates "assessments based on students' actual performances, not one-shot, high-stakes exams."  

Texas has such a Fair Test system in place for admission to any state university.  The President of the University of Texas, however, wants the system to be modified since his top-rated institution is losing all of its admission discretion and may soon be overwhelmed with more admissions than can be seated in classrooms.  My module on this issue, which was a special feature on 60 Minutes from CBS, is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book04q4.htm#60Minutes 

The problem with performance-based systems (such as the requirement that any state university in Texas must accept any graduate in the top 10% of the graduating class from any Texas high school) is that high schools in the U.S. generally follow the same grading scale as Harvard University.  Most classes give over half the students A grades.  Some teachers give A grades just for attendance or effort apart from performance.  This means that when it comes to isolating the top 10% of each graduating class, we're talking in terms of Epsilon differences.  I hardly think Epsilon is a fair criterion for admission to college.  Also, as was pointed out on 60 Minutes, students with 3.9 grade averages from some high schools tend to score much lower than students with 3.0 grade averages from other high schools.  This might achieve better racial mix but hardly seems fair to the 3.0 student who was unfortunate enough to live near a high school having a higher proportion of top students.   That was the theme of the 60 Minutes CBS special contrasting a 3.9 low SAT student who got into UT versus a 3.0 student who had a high SAT but was denied admission to UT.

What we really need is to put more resources into fair chances for those who test poorly or happen to fall Epsilon below that hallowed 10% cut off. in a performance-based system.  This may entail more time and remedial effort on the part of students before or after entering college.  

For the 60 Minutes Show on CBS see  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book04q4.htm#60Minutes 


Congratulations to the University of Northern Colorado
December 5, 2004 message from Richard Newmark [richard.newmark@PHDUH.COM

I know this is bragging, but I am so proud to be a part of such a great group of people. We won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. We are only the second higher education institution (or unit) and the first College of Business ever to win the award. See story below in the USA today about us and the three other winners.

Rick

--------------------------------------

Richard Newmark
Associate Professor of Accounting
University of Northern Colorado
Campus Box 128
Kepner Hall, 2085B
Greeley, Colorado 80639

http://student1.mcb.unco.edu/phduh 
http://PhDuh.com 

 


Multimedia Design: Cool Kid Projects http://news.techlearning.com/cgi-bin4/DM/y/ek430FHYLa0HSn0CWwg0AM 


The U.S. government's weather data is now available in a more friendly XML format, so everyone can make use of it. --- http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ 

"Weather Data for the Masses," by Daniel Terdiman, Wired News, December 4, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,65919,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week began providing weather data in an open-access XML format, alleviating concerns that commercial providers would continue to play a dominant role in how weather data gets to the public.

Previously, the data was technically available to the public, but in a format that's not easily deciphered. Taxpayers fund the NOAA and the subsidiary National Weather Service, which gathers weather data from thousands of locations and uses massive computing firepower to predict the weather

Commercial weather providers like AccuWeather and The Weather Channel then massage the data, supplement it with their own and turn it into consumer-friendly websites and TV weather segments. The commercial weather providers make more than $1 billion in revenue each year from sales to media, transportation companies, farmers and financial traders, according to Barry Myers, AccuWeather's executive vice president.

That arrangement rankled some. "The public should not have to pay twice for access to basic government information that has been created at taxpayer expense," wrote Ari Schwartz, an associate director of the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology, in a July 28, 2004, essay.

Earlier this year, NOAA made the data available in XML as a test, called the National Digital Forecast Database. After receiving comments from the public and commercial providers, the agency made the decision permanent this week. Now anyone can get information in an XML format directly from the National Digital Forecast Database website.

"There was pressure on the National Weather Service not to make that information available," said Jamais Cascio, a writer for WorldChanging, an online pro-environment publication. But now "anyone with XML skills can build a reader," Cascio said. "It takes a minimal amount of XML knowledge to cobble together a weather program, and that's exciting."

The commercial weather companies disagree with charges that they had tried to discourage implementation of the new policy. In fact, they say the battle over the new policy had nothing to do with access to weather data.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's helpers on travel, maps, and weather are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob3.htm#Travel 


Several Interesting Items From the Scout Report on December 3, 2004

Center for AIDS Prevention Studies [pdf] http://www.caps.ucsf.edu/ 


The Price of Freedom: Americans at War [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf] http://americanhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/ 
There are numerous online exhibits that attempt to holistically address the experience of Americans at war, but few succeed as thoroughly as this recently released gem presented by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. With an admirable eye for integrating visual documentary evidence and short historical essays and descriptions, this website offers insights into the various armed conflicts that have engulfed the country from the Revolutionary War to the current conflict in Iraq. Entering the main area of the site, visitors encounter a visual timeline of the conflicts, and may elect to explore each one by clicking on its representative icon. Continuing on, each conflict contains a brief video clip exploring the main challenges and issues of each encounter, and also offers some general statistics, such as the number of casualties and troops deployed. Each conflict is primarily explored by allowing visitors to browse through a section of artifacts, such as an Apache shield from 1872 and the stuffed dog "Stubby", which later served as the inspiration for the Georgetown Hoyas mascot. As one might expect, visitors can search the entire collection of artifacts collected within this online archive and download various educational materials, such as a guide for teachers and an interactive "history mystery" feature titled "Who am I?"


Mathematical Fiction http://math.cofc.edu/faculty/kasman/MATHFICT/default.html 


RAND Review http://www.rand.org/publications/randreview/ 
The RAND Corporation has provided insightful and enlightened research into a host of topics for more than 50 years. Some of its core research areas include civil justice, education, energy policy, substance abuse, and international affairs. With such a broad agenda, it is not surprising that the organization has its own in-house publication dedicated to promulgating its research results. The RAND Review is published tri-annually, and each issue contains the text and graphics of each cover story, a message from the editor, several short news briefs, commentary pieces, and other features. Some of the more recent features have dealt with the provisioning of community health care initiatives, Selective Service, and the future of American civil justice. Visitors can search the RAND Review by date, topic, or keyword, and may also elect to receive a
free online subscription.


Center for Immigration Studies [pdf] http://www.cis.org/
Founded in 1985, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization which happens to be the United States' only think tank devoted "exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States." From the homepage, visitors can peruse a number of common topics in immigration, such as immigration history, statistics on immigrants, and citizenship. The site's homepage also contains links to current news articles addressing various aspects of immigration, and also contains a feature titled "This Day in Immigration", which highlights various important dates in immigration history and policy. Perhaps the most helpful section of the site is the "What's New" area of the site, which highlights various new policy briefs and papers released by the CIS.


American Garden Museum http://www.americangardenmuseum.com/ 


BBC Four: Interviews http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/interviews/ 

 


For those of you who think distance education is going downhill, think again.  The number of students switching from traditional brick-and- mortar classrooms to full-time virtual schools in Colorado has soared over the past five years…

"Online Ed Puts Schools in a Bind:  Districts Lose Students, Funding," by Karen Rouse, Denver Post, December 2, 2004 --- http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36%257E53%257E2522702,00.html 

The number of students switching from traditional brick-and- mortar classrooms to full-time virtual schools in Colorado has soared over the past five years.

During the 2000-01 school year, the state spent $1.08 million to educate 166 full-time cyberschool students, according to the Colorado Department of Education. This year, the state projects spending $23.9 million to educate 4,237 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, state figures show.

And those figures - which do not include students who are taking one or two online courses to supplement their classroom education - are making officials in the state's smallest districts jittery.

Students who leave physical public schools for online schools take their share of state funding with them.

"If I lose two kids, that's $20,000 walking out the door," said Dave Grosche, superintendent of the Edison 54JT School District.

Continued in the article

December 3, 2004 Reply from Steve Doster [sdoster@SHAWNEE.EDU

Are there any internal controls that would discourage an unethical distance learning student from simply hiring another to complete his distance learning assignments and essentially buying his grade?

Steve

December 3, 2004 reply from Amy Dunbar [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU

In the graduate accounting distance learning classes at UConn, the students work in groups in chat rooms. Students are graded on participation in these groups (by the other students in my classes). They meet each other in a one-week in-residence session at the beginning of the MSA program. If a student hired another student in his/her place, that impersonator would have to follow through on group work, which isn’t likely. I taught 76 students this past summer, and perhaps I am naïve, but I would be surprised if I had any impersonators. Working with the students through instant messenger and in chat rooms really creates strong relationships, and I think I could detect impersonators quickly. In fact, a sibling of a student logged on using his brother’s AIM login, and after two sentences, I asked who was on the other end. The brother admitted who he was. It’s harder to fake than you might think. All that said, I really am not all that concerned about online cheating. These courses are expensive, and if a student really wants to cheat, s/he can do it, whether the course is FTF or distance. I do not see myself as a monitor for graduate students. My attitude would be much different for undergrads, but I think that grads are far more goal oriented, and cheating is less of a concern.

December 3, 2004 reply from Bruce Lubich [blubich@UMUC.EDU

I would echo what Amy has said. At University of Maryland University College, our online courses are taught in asynchronous mode. It doesn't take long to learn the student's communication styles. When that changes, it stands out like a sore thumb. Of course, there are times when a student will submit someone else's work. I've had other students turn those students in. Whether I catch them or a student turns them in, it's handled very quickly and strictly. Students know the implications for cheating are very harsh. Having said all that, the other element is the students themselves. We deal with adult graduate students who have work experience and goals in mind. They are smart enough to know that they only cheat themselves from learning and reaching their objectives when they cheat. Does that sound ideal and naive? Maybe. But I've had many students say that to me. Mature students are not stupid.

I would also point out that when comparing 20 years of teaching in f2f classrooms, I have not experienced an increase in cheating. Let's face it. Students who want to cheat will find a way. Does it really matter whether they're online if all they have to do is use their camera phone to send a picture of the test answers to someone on the other side of the room?

I understand the skepticism and concern about cheating in the online environment. But as more and more of you move into that environment, you'll discover that the concern is no more than what exists in the f2f environment.

December 3, 2004 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

Steve,

Depends on how you define distance education.

At JMU's on-line MBA infosec program, we require an in- person meeting at the beginning and again at the end of each course. Everyone has to fly into Washington Dulles and meet at the Sheraton in Herndon every 8 weeks during the 2-year program. Friday afternoon and Saturday is the wrap-up of the previous course, and Saturday evening and Sunday is the start of the new course.

In between the in-person meetings, students meet weekly or twice-weekly on-line (synchronous) using Centra Symposium, supplemented by Blackboard-based resources, plus Tegrity recorded lectures and presentations.

During the very first in-person meeting, we take pictures of every student, mainly to help the professors put a face with the name before the courses begin. During the Saturday- afternoon-Sunday meeting at the start of a course, the instructor gets to know the students personally, putting faces with names and voices. Then, for the following eight weeks while on-line, the professor has a pretty good handle of who he's interacting with.

I believe it would be fairly easy for me to spot a phony on- line, not only by voice, but also attitudes, approaches, beliefs, experiences, and backgrounds. Our program is very interactive in real time, requires significant group work, and other inter-personal activities.

Then, at the end of the eight weeks, the students get back together for a Friday-afteroon-Saturday morning session with the professor for the final examination, case presentations, etc. Again, I would be able to easily recognize someone outside the class based on my 45 hours of interaction with them over the previous 8 weeks. It would be obvious if a student's level of knowledge and understand, energy, motivation, attitudes, opinions, reasoning and logic etc. were atypical of that student's experience with me in class.

So in our case, the in-person meeting requirement every 8 weeks serves, we believe, as sufficient internal control to prevent the substitution from going undetected.

I'm interested in other experiences and opinions.

David Fordham 
James Madison University

December 3, 2004 reply from Barbara Scofield [scofield@GSM.UDALLAS.EDU

As a member of the UT System MBA Online Academic Affairs Committee from 1998-2004, I watched new online faculty and instructors deal with the issue of how do you know who is doing the work over and over again new classes were added and board members rotated. The program was explicitly set up to require no synchronous communications and no proctored exams. (As the courses developed, at least one course did come to require synchronous communciation, but students were given wide lattitude to schedule their hearings in business law -- and the instructor grew to regret his choice of methodology as the enrollment increased.)

The control for unethical online students is basically that it is too much work if the online class includes regular interactions with both the instructor and other students. If an online instructor has regular interactions with his or her students, then the instructor has the usual information to evaluate whether a particular paper or test answer is written by the student or by a proxy. Some online students complain about "busy work" that involves reading, researching, and responding to narrative materials online as part of the "lecture" component of a class -- and online faculty find it time consuming to provide such interactivity with course content. But in my mind this type of material in an online course is the very "control" you are asking about.

Barbara W. Scofield, PhD, CPA 
Associate Professor of Accounting 
University of Dallas |1845 E. Northgate 
Irving, TX 75062 

December 3, 2004 reply from Chuck Pier [texcap@HOTMAIL.COM

Barbara I think your explanation of the controls is exactly what I have experienced. I have not taken an online course, or even taught one, but my wife completed her entire MS in Library Science online through North Texas. My observations from watching her were that the amount of work and asynchronus communication required were significant. The course required extensive reading and would be expensive to pay someone else to do the wrok for the student, although I am sure that it has been done, and will be done in the future. I know that my wife worked a lot more in this online environment than she did in the traditional classroom, and I felt thatmost of the work was an attempt to validate the lack of traditional testing, even in the online format.

This might also explain Laurie's comment about the virtual experience being more satisfying than the traditional courses. Based on my wife's experience and Barbara's comments I would think that the amount of work also creates a sense of "ownership" in an online students experience.

However, based on the amount of work required, I know that these programs are not for everyone. You have to be mature and dedicated to put in the time required to be succesful. Based on what I see in my classroom, I am not worried about on-line education supplanting me my colleagues anytime in the future.

Chuck

December 3, 2004 reply from Patricia Doherty [pdoherty@BU.EDU

I co-teach in a distance-learning program for Seton Hall, and echo what others have said. We have threaded discussions of cases online, and the students are also members of teams, with a separate thread for each team to discuss the week's written (team) assignment. They really do have "online personalities," and those are revealed to everyone in the class, after the first week of these dual discussions, not just to the instructors, but to the other students, so I think an imposter, unless they actually did the course from start to finish "as someone," would quickly be noticed.

We see the thought process they go through as they formulate assignments - they even upload preliminary work as they progress. So, a final version completely different from the preliminary would, again, be noticed. And each team works on the assignment together, with one person - sometimes a different person each week - delegated to submit the final version. Again, that's hard to cheat on. The final assignment is individual, and I think we'd notice immediately if the work were very different from what we have seen of a person for an entire course. That said, anyone motivated enough to cheat could find a way. The question is whether we want to waste our time devising ever more complicated schemes to thwart each new cheating plan, making the courses less pleasant for the students who don't cheat, as well as for the teachers. or whether we prefer to spend the time making the course as rich and productive and useful, and as close to a face-to-face experience, as we can.

p

December 3, 2004 reply from Charlie Betts [cbetts@COLLEGE.DTCC.EDU

Hi Steve,

I doubt that there are any 100% controls to prevent cheating in online courses, just as there are no 100% accounting control to prevent fraud throught collusion, but there are controls that can at least minimize the possibility that cheating will occur.

I agree with the comments of Amy and the other respondents to your question, and I would feel comfortable with what they are doing in their courses if I were teaching those graduate level courses. But I'm a teacher in a community college and one of the online courses that I teach on a regular basis is the first principles course. Over fifty percent of my students in a typical class are not accounting majors and are taking the course only because it's a requirement for graduation in their major. There's also usually a small precentage of students from other colleges and universities in the classes although for the summer session this percentage is often quite large. Given those circumstances, I feel that I have to have more safequards in place to ensure that the work I receive from students is their own.

The primary control that I use is a requirement that three of the six tests in the course must be proctored. This is not a problem with our own students since each of my college's (Delaware Tech) four campuses have testing centers that are open in the evenings and on weekends. All my tests are online, but I "password protect" the proctored tests. For each proctored test, I email each testing center a list of the students who will be taking the test, the password, and any special testing instructions. The testing centers check the students picture ID before they are admitted to the testing center.

Part of each students grade is a project somewhat similar to a traditional practice set, which I have modified so that it can be completed on Excel worksheets, which I provide. When the student has completed this work, I require them to take what I call an "audit" test on their work. This is a short test that asks them simply to look up certain figures from their completed work and to repeat certain calculations they had to make. This audit test must also be proctored. The audit test is a simple test for someone who has done their own work, but would be very difficult for someone to pass who had "hired" someone to do their work for them.

For students who are unable to take the proctored tests at one of our testing centers, I require them to provide a proctor whom I must approve. Since most schools have testing centers of some sort this is usually done through their school's testing center. Other proctors that students have provided have professor's at their school, school libraries, ministers, local CPA's etc. For one student who started the course as a local student and finished it on temporary duty in Iraq, the proctor was the student's company commander. The student is responsible for providing the proctor and the proctor must establish their identity in some why, usually by a letter to me on their school/company letterhead.

I've compared the scores from both the proctored and unproctored tests in my online courses with the scores of identical tests given in face-to-face courses and there is no significant difference, although the proctored online scores do tend to be slightly higher, a difference I attribute to the slightly better quality of student I find in the online classes.

I know this seems like a cumbersome system - I sometimes think it is myself - but for a beginning principles course I feel that these or similar safeguards are necessary, and in practice it really works much smoother than it would seem from my description.

I've really only had one problem and that occurred last summer. It involved a student at a university in a neighboring state, which I won't name because I hold the university in much higher regard than I do this particular student. After numerous emails which complained in a highly ungrammatical manner that the proctored tests were unfair and gave innumerable reasons why he should be exempt from this requirement, all of which were naturally rejected, I received an email from someone purporting to be be an employee in the school's library and offering to be a proctor for that student's test. Since the email was written in the same ungrammatical style as the student's prior emails, I didn't have to possess the acumen of a Shelock Holmes to be suspicious. But just to be sure I went to the school's web site, located the name and phone number of the libarian, and called her to "verify" the prospective proctor's employment. It was not really a surprise that the librarian had never heard of her "employee." I then emailed the "proctor" to express my surprise that the librarian had no idea who the "proctor" was. This email was shortly followed by another email from the student informing me that he was dropping the course. So even this tale had a happy ending.

Charlie Betts ----------------------------------------------------------- 
It's not so much what folks don't know that causes problems. It's what they do know that ain't so. -
Artemus Ward

Charles M. Betts DTCC, 
Terry Campus 
100 Campus Drive Dover DE 19904 
cbetts@college.dtcc.edu
 

 

Bob Jensen's threads on distance education are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on assessment are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm 


November 29, 2004 message from Diane Graves

You may have already heard of the Creative Commons licenses, but if not, take a look at this site: http://creativecommons.org/  Creative Commons licenses allow the author/creator to retain some rights, but don’t lock down the rights the way the traditional copyright agreements do. Here is how the site describes the options: “With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit -- and only on the conditions you specify here. If you want to offer your work with no conditions, choose the public domain.” You may want to look at the EDUCATION section on the site: http://creativecommons.org/education/ 

The Creative Commons has been enormously successful since it debuted in 2001. It has the potential to be very helpful in the higher education arena; it is already in use at MIT’s Open CourseWare and DSpace projects and at Rice University’s Connexions Project.

I encourage you to browse through the Creative Commons site and think about how you could use their licensing options with your own work. It’s an exciting development with the potential to revolutionize the way we share information in higher education.

Diane

P.S. Here are two short videos that describe the philosophy behind the Creative Commons: http://mirrors.creativecommons.org/ 

Diane J. Graves, Professor & University Librarian
Elizabeth M. Coates Library,
Trinity University
One Trinity Place , San Antonio , TX 78212
email: diane.graves@trinity.edu

Also see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudreporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals 

Bob Jensen's threads on the DMCA are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm#Copyright 


Two TIAA-CREF trustees quit amid SEC pressure over a business venture they formed with Ernst & Young, the firm's auditor  Note that one of them a the famous academic professor in mathematical economics and finance from MIT.  Steve Ross is probably best known for his writings on Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/149wp/149wp.htm 

Also note that, two the firm's credit, Ernst & Young reported this violation of auditor independence to TIAA-CREF.  My question would be why an auditing firm would engage in such a venture in the first place even if there was no conflict of interest with a client.  Ernst and Young was already in a deep hole with the SEC before this conflict of interest came to the attention of the SEC.

"Venture Snares TIAA-CREF, Ernst," by Jonathan Weil and JoAnn S. Lublin, The Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2004; Page A8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110204504468490286,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 

Two TIAA-CREF trustees have resigned amid pressure by the Securities and Exchange Commission over a business venture they formed last year with Ernst & Young LLP, the investing titan's independent auditor, in violation of SEC auditor-independence rules.

The nation's largest institutional investor, which manages $325 billion in assets, plans to disclose the resignations of William H. Waltrip and Stephen A. Ross in an SEC filing today, people familiar with the matter said.

The episode is likely to be a major embarrassment to TIAA-CREF, among the world's leading corporate-governance activists, and Ernst. This year the audit firm was suspended by the SEC from accepting new publicly held audit clients for six months over a business partnership it entered during the 1990s with PeopleSoft Inc., a former audit client.

According to federal auditor-independence rules, outside auditors are prohibited from forming business ventures with audit clients, including their executives, board members or trustees. According to people familiar with the matter, the SEC has agreed to allow Ernst to conclude its audit for this year, but TIAA-CREF will put its audit out for bidding by other firms next year and likely will hire a different accounting firm. Ernst has been TIAA-CREF's auditor for about seven years.

A board of overseers presides over TIAA-CREF's structure, which includes two other boards of trustees, one for the Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association of America and one for the College Retirement Equities Fund. Mr. Waltrip was a TIAA trustee, and Mr. Ross was a CREF trustee.

On Aug. 1, 2003, Ernst entered into an agreement with a company owned by Messrs. Waltrip and Ross, called Compensation Valuation Inc. Mr. Ross was CVI's chief executive and majority owner. Ernst formed the venture with the two trustees' company to sell services that help businesses determine the value of corporate stock options. Ernst paid the company $1.33 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

Ernst notified certain TIAA-CREF officials and the SEC about the independence violation Aug. 9, these people said. Aug. 20, the trustees' company ceased operations. However, the trustees' company wasn't actually dissolved until Nov. 17, and members of the TIAA-CREF board of overseers weren't told about the auditor-independence problem until this week, angering some of them, people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Ross is a finance professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a director at Freddie Mac. Mr. Waltrip is the former chairman of Technology Solutions Co. Neither man returned phone calls yesterday. Their resignations took effect Nov. 30. A TIAA-CREF spokeswoman, Stephanie Cohen-Glass, declined to comment yesterday. In a statement, Ernst said the firm had identified the matter itself and confirmed that it notified TIAA-CREF and the SEC. The Big Four accounting firm said it is "in the midst of implementing new independence procedures and identifying any client issues," but declined to discuss specifics.

Messrs. Waltrip and Ross were powerful trustees who played important roles in the recruitment of Herbert M. Allison Jr., the former Merrill Lynch & Co. president who became the huge fund's chairman, president and CEO in November 2002. Mr. Waltrip was chairman of the search committee, of which Mr. Ross was a member.

Continued in the article

TIAA-CREF Brass Failed to Inform Key Panel About Improper Deal With Ernst, Its Outside Auditor

The SEC's chief accountant, Donald Nicolaisen, last week told TIAA-CREF that Ernst could complete its 2004 audit, but that he would be very upset if it rehires Ernst for its 2005 audit, people close to TIAA-CREF said.  The saga marks yet another embarrassment for Ernst and its chairman and CEO, James Turley. In April, the SEC suspended the Big Four accounting firm from accepting new audit clients for six months because of a 1990s business venture with audit client PeopleSoft Inc. Under the SEC's auditor-independence rules, accounting firms aren't permitted to form business ventures with audit clients, including their officers, directors or trustees.
"TIAA-CREF Faces Question On Governance," by Jonathan Weil and Joann S, Lublin, The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2004, Page C1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110229989626191715,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 

 

TIAA-CREF, a longtime standard bearer for the corporate-governance movement, now has a governance mess of its own, sparked by two trustees' improper business deal with outside auditor Ernst & Young LLP and a decision by the investing titan's top brass not to promptly inform the fund's powerful board of overseers about the problem.

The conflict centers on a contract that the two TIAA-CREF trustees entered into with Ernst in August 2003 to jointly sell valuation services for corporate stock options, in violation of federal auditor-independence rules. Last week, the two trustees resigned, amid pressure from the Securities and Exchange Commission's office of chief accountant. Separately, the SEC's enforcement division has opened an inquiry into the events surrounding the violation, people familiar with it say.

TIAA-CREF Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Herbert M. Allison Jr. knew about the independence violation as of Aug. 9, when Ernst first notified the company and the SEC. However, before late last week, he had informed only one of his six fellow members on TIAA-CREF's star-studded board of overseers about the matter. The panel is one of three boards at TIAA-CREF that share control of the nation's largest pension system, which manages $326 billion of assets for 3.2 million people.

TIAA-CREF's general counsel, George Madison, on Friday said the other two boards' trustees were told in August and that, under TIAA-CREF's unique corporate structure, Mr. Allison wasn't obligated until last week to notify the full board of overseers. Messrs. Allison and Madison did tell Stanley O. Ikenberry, the president of the board of overseers, in September. But Mr. Ikenberry didn't tell the other overseers either, among them, former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt.

Instead, Mr. Ikenberry's colleagues were left in the dark until Thursday, one day before TIAA-CREF disclosed the violation in SEC filings. Corporate-governance activists long have pushed for companies to disclose any significant bad news as early and widely as possible.

Through a TIAA-CREF spokesman, Mr. Allison said: "I, along with my management team, continue to work for the best interests of the participants and our institutions to strengthen TIAA-CREF for the competitive challenges we are facing." He declined to comment further.

The saga marks yet another embarrassment for Ernst and its chairman and CEO, James Turley. In April, the SEC suspended the Big Four accounting firm from accepting new audit clients for six months because of a 1990s business venture with audit client PeopleSoft Inc. Under the SEC's auditor-independence rules, accounting firms aren't permitted to form business ventures with audit clients, including their officers, directors or trustees.

The SEC's chief accountant, Donald Nicolaisen, last week told TIAA-CREF that Ernst could complete its 2004 audit, but that he would be very upset if it rehires Ernst for its 2005 audit, people close to TIAA-CREF said.

Continued in Article

Bob Jensen's threads on Ernst & Young scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#Ernst 

Bob Jensen's threads on frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud.htm 


Ernst & Young's Chairman and CEO Jim Turley notes in a Wall Street Journal article that Section 404 of the US Sarbanes Oxley Act is a critical step in enhancing investor confidence. He adds that the law entails a major risk in its first year "that the opinions on internal controls provided by management and independent auditors may be misinterpreted by the market." But the bottom line is, "investors will derive significant benefits from the implementation of Section 404. And the markets, in turn, will benefit from the enhanced investor confidence."
E&Y Faculty Connection --- http://www.ey.com/global/content.nsf/International/Home 
Sarbanes-Oxley Reference Articles --- http://www.fmsinc.org/cms/?pid=3253
Bob Jensen's threads on proposed reforms are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm 


Two Videos from Stanford University (one has restricted distribution but you probably have a friend from Stanford)

On the Importance of Being Uncertain
2004 Alumni Weekend participants heard GSB Professor Jim Van Horne's perspective on uncertainty and the current role of the Fed in monetary policy.
Video File
, 34:32 minutes
Q&A Video File, 34:32 minutes

Best Practice - Alumni Learning Resource
Sports and Outdoor Recreation Panel
Dave Alberga, MBA’91, Hap Klopp, MBA ’66

Panelists discuss market trends, brand management, competitive advantages, and the role of technology in the recreation industry, as well as the unique passion that drove them to create and/or build their businesses. See Best Practice for this video and more alumni speaking on a wide range of industry topics. (GSB Alumni Only, log in required)


Microsoft will open a free consumer blogging service, its latest attempt to attract more users to its MSN online service and away from rivals such as Google.

"Microsoft Begins Free 'Blogging'," by Robert A. Guth, The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2004, Page D7 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110194455538888633,00.html?mod=technology_main_whats_news 

Microsoft Corp. today will open a free consumer "blogging" service, its latest attempt to attract more users to its MSN online service and away from rivals such as Google Inc.

Called MSN Spaces, the service will allow consumers to create Web logs, or blogs, that include pictures, music and text. Blogs are personal Web sites and opinion journals that have gained popularity in recent years. Early blogs focused largely on technology and politics, but millions of computer users have now at least experimented with the form.

The Microsoft service is aimed at those mainstream consumers. MSN Spaces lets users set up a personal Web site that can be shared with either a limited list of contacts or the general public. The service has tools for publishing online journals with links to other Web sites and to photos. Users of the service will be allowed to post as much as 10 megabytes of digital images -- the equivalent of as many as 250 photos -- to their MSN Spaces site.

Microsoft says the service available today is a test version that will be gradually upgraded in coming months.

The move adds MSN to a growing list of providers of technology for making blogs. The America Online unit of Time Warner Inc. offers a service called Journals. Google last year bought San Francisco-based Pyra Labs, which runs a service called Blogger; and several independent Web sites such as LiveJournal.com also offer services.

Phil Holden, a director at MSN, says that Microsoft hopes the new service will help drive new subscribers to MSN. Parts of the service will be linked to for-pay MSN services.


The holidays may mean food and decorating to some, but for the geek crowd, they're just another excuse to buy gadgets. Here's a collection of cool ones on my Christmas wish list.

"Gifts to Sate Your Technolust," by Xeni Jardin, Wired News, December 2, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/holidays/0,1882,65880,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2 

For geeks, the most telling signs of seasonal reality have nothing to do with a crisp chill in the smog, the scent of tofurkey roasting in the microwave or that scraping sound a super-sized fir makes when you're cramming it through the front door of your nano-apartment.

No. The sure sign it's time to move out of holiday denial and into holiday acceptance is the sight of all those fresh gadgets jamming shelves at the mall.

TrafficGauge -- Sometimes, simplicity is what makes a tech tool great, and the TrafficGauge handheld freeway map is proof positive. Its flat, rectangular display looks like a PDA, but instead shows only a fixed map of local freeways. The display dynamically fills with solid or blinking lines to indicate slow or stop-and-go road conditions. [Elaboration not quoted here]

DVX-Pod -- Yes, the name includes a familiar suffix, and the curvilinear white frame does look a little Apple-y. But the DVX-Pod has little in common with the rest of the current crop of handheld entertainment devices. And with a formidable array of features, this personal media player may be well-positioned to compete with Microsoft's portable offerings. [Elaboration not quoted here]

Sennheiser headphones -- Nothing says, "Go away, I'm watching a Kurosawa epic on my handheld" like an intimidating pair of noise-canceling headphones, a mandatory add-on for any personal media player purchase. Sennheiser offers an array of admirably equipped models, including our fave, the HD212Pro. Tight treble, buttery bass and helpful elimination of the rest of the world around you. [Elaboration not quoted here]

Apple, Apple, everywhere -- No list of gadget gift ideas would be complete without mention of the myriad iPod variants and accessories out this season. In addition to the now-ubiquitous mini, Apple Computer's holiday basket includes a U2-branded black-and-red edition iPod that features chrome-etched autographs and holds 5,000 songs, and the iPod photo edition, which stores and displays up to 25,000 pics on a color screen (music playback capabilities also included, natch.) If the person on your list is already packin' a pod, consider something from the long list of accessories -- knit "iPod socks," cute little leather cases that clip on to belts or purses, and helper devices like the Bose SoundDock Digital Music System. Dock your iPod into the device, and voilà: an instant digital stereo system. [Elaboration not quoted here]

Everquest Design space history bags -- What better to wrap your digital gewgaws in than a bag that's been floating around in space for a year? Everquest makes laptop bags, messenger packs and other handy carriers using fabric recycled from landing parachutes used on space missions. Editions from the International Space Station and the Russian Soyuz craft are available now, and a space shuttle line is coming soon. Bags are well-constructed, include plenty of pockets, and hold up well with hard use. If the fabric's good enough for cosmonauts, it's strong enough to carry your earthbound electronic burdens. [Elaboration not quoted here]

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob4.htm#Technology 


"Portable Media Center Is the Wrong Choice For Nontechie Users," by Walter Mossberg,  The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2004; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,personal_technology,00.html 

There's a tendency in the technology industry to think that, just because a product can be built, it should be built, even if all the necessary pieces to make it a success aren't in place. Sometimes these premature products eventually become hits. Sometimes they just fail.

It's too early to know which of those fates awaits the latest premature tech device: the handheld, hard-disk-based video player. But one thing is certain. It's not ready for prime time yet.

The most prominent hand-held video player is the Portable Media Center, a design dreamed up by Microsoft and built, with different hardware designs, by three companies so far -- Samsung, Creative Labs and iRiver.

The PMCs, which cost around $500, play back music and display photos. But their big claim to fame is that they can play videos -- even full-length TV shows and movies -- transferred from a Windows PC using Microsoft's new, free, Windows Media Player 10 software.

They are meant to compete with laptops and portable DVD players for watching video on planes or in the back seat of cars.

I've been testing the Samsung and Creative PMCs with two Windows PCs -- a standard Windows XP model and the new HP Media Center PC, which can receive and record TV programs.

Creative Zen PMC

The Samsung is a slim, light, silvery device that measures roughly 4 inches wide and long, and under an inch thick. The Creative is a thick, heavy rectangular black brick that's more than 40% larger and 50% heavier than the Samsung. Both have 20-gigabyte hard disks and bright, but small, color screens under 4 inches in size when measured diagonally.

I preferred the design of the Samsung, which includes a speaker and a built-in stand, accessories the Creative lacks. But the Creative has a removable battery, while the Samsung's is sealed in. And the Creative boasts better battery life -- seven hours of video playback, compared with three for the Samsung.

Based on my tests, I can't recommend either player for mainstream, nontechie users. This is not so much because of the design of the players themselves. It's because there's so little video content available to play on them, and Microsoft's software does a poor job of transferring commercial content to the players.

By the time Apple's iPod music player arrived three years ago, there were tens of millions of songs in the open MP3 format already stored on computer hard disks around the world. Most of these were downloaded from Web sites later ruled illegal, or copied from CDs people already owned.

By the time Apple's iPod music player arrived three years ago, there were tens of millions of songs in the open MP3 format already stored on computer hard disks around the world. Most of these were downloaded from Web sites later ruled illegal, or copied from CDs people already owned.

No such situation exists for the digital video that might fill up a Portable Media Center. Illegal downloading of movies and TV shows has been much less popular than illegal music downloads. And unlike CDs, DVDs are copy protected, so far fewer people have copied movies to their computers than copied music.

At the moment, the main types of video files available for transfer to a portable media center are home videos stored on a computer; free video clips downloaded from the Internet; TV shows recorded on the tiny percentage of all PCs capable of recording TV; and videos you can purchase from the online stores of Major League Baseball and a movie-downloading company called CinemaNow.

Baseball's MLB.com site offers videos of games and a few longer original videos. The CinemaNow site offers just 190 downloadable films for playback on Portable Media Centers. The selection is terrible, mostly obscure titles like "Shopping for Fangs" and "Redboy 13."

Microsoft hopes to announce some additional paid sources of video content early next year. But for now, you're stuck with old baseball and bad movies.

Continued in the article

"Making Portable Media Palatable," by John Gartner, Wired News, November 22, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/gizmos/0,1452,65720,00.html?tw=wn_story_related 

The latest portable media players strive to be the Swiss Army knives of digital content, giving you mobile access to your entire video and audio libraries. The Creative Zen Portable Media Center and the Datexx Pavio take very different paths to (almost) reach digital nirvana.

As with many other Windows-based devices, the PC controls the content of Creative's Zen, which uses Microsoft's just-released Portable Media Center and Windows Media Player 10 software. Before you connect the player, you have to install applications from the included CD and download the latest Windows Media components, a process that takes more than 30 minutes on a broadband connection and considerably longer using (gulp) dialup.

The Windows Media Player 10 software plays traffic cop for content, and can be set to automatically copy and transcode the audio and video files on your PC from MPEG, AVI and MP3, to their Microsoft equivalents (WMV and WMA) on the Zen.

The polished Windows interface provides familiar navigation that's replicated on the Zen, which uses four directional buttons, a back button, and Windows Start button. It's well organized and only a few levels deep, so you're never too far from where you want to be. Unfortunately you can't zoom images, and you can only delete or organize files when the Zen is connected to a computer. But the interface shows the cover art for albums and a small thumbnail screen previews photos.

The Zen's 3.8-inch LCD screen is very sharp and large enough to comfortably view JPEG pictures and video. Video is displayed at close to full motion speed, similar to watching videos using a fast online connection. The sound from the single integrated speaker is a tad tinny, but it vastly improves with the teeny included headphones.

The Zen is just a tad larger than a digital camera, and the 20-GB hard drive is enough to store a few dozen hours of video. The Zen connects to the PC using USB 2.0, and it includes a video-out port for showing presentations or videos on a TV.

The availability of compelling video content will likely make or break the success of portable players like the Creative Zen, which at $500 is nearly double the cost of the iPod. Microsoft signed up online movie distributor CinemaNow and Major League Baseball to provide content for players that use its software. CinemaNow has 185 titles on its website that can be downloaded to portable devices, but there's nary a blockbuster in the group as most are obscure films or concert videos.

For now you'll have to transfer your own digitized videos to fill the Zen with anything other than baseball and B-movies.

The Datexx Pavio sells for $100 more than the Zen, but added features make up the difference for consumers who appreciate utility.

The Pavio doesn't need a PC to be useful -- it directly captures and compresses video streams in real time. Inside the box is a handy cable splitter that enables you to plug a coaxial cable into the provided docking station. If you've successfully hooked up a VCR, you shouldn't have a problem getting video into the Pavio.

TV tuner and VCR functions allow the Pavio to automatically record programs. Video is stored as AVI files, and even at the highest quality setting you can see some minor pixilation and jumpiness on the 3.5-inch LCD screen. You must install the included Dr. DiVX software order in order to record video from copy-protected sources (not that I encourage such activity). The Pavio automatically assigns file names to video while it records, and it breaks up longer programs into one-hour chunks.

The only other software included is MusicMatch's application for accessing its online music library. Pavio can play back MP3 tracks, and it also includes a voice recording function that stores files in WAV format.

The 30-gigabyte hard drive can store up to 16 hours of video at the highest quality setting. The Windows OS recognizes the Pavio (which is also compatible with Macs) as an external hard drive, so you can manage files just as you do in other storage devices.

If your digital camera stores images on a Compact Flash or Secure Digital memory card, you transfer pictures without using your PC, another nice feature if you are frequently away from your desktop.

The Pavio's interface is a throwback to the DOS days of yore. While it lacks the polish of an iPod, I was able to navigate the Pavio's menus using the buttons without referring to the manual. The Pavio's file manager function enables you to delete or rename files, but using the onscreen keyboard is a deliberate process.

The Creative Zen and Datexx Pavio merge some of the best features from two popular niche products (iPod and TiVo) into devices priced for early adopters. If video to go is your thing, then give these two a long look.

Bob Jensen's threads on gadgets are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob4.htm#Technology 


Revival of a Failed e-Commerce Industry

"Web Sites Satisfy Late-Night Campus Snack Attacks," by Rachel Metz, The New York Times, December 2, 2004 --- http://snipurl.com/CampusDelivery 

One rainy night this fall, Krissy Canavan, a 21-year-old George Washington University student, had a craving for Diet Dr Pepper and an ice cream sandwich. She was loath to leave her friend's apartment - or the couch, for that matter. So she went online, and soon her soda and ice cream arrived at the door.

Campus Snacks, which has been delivering late-night snacks to George Washington students since March 2003, is one of many such businesses started by students to serve their peers. At the click of a mouse, they deliver items from freshly baked cookies to tampons, often after most local businesses have locked up for the night.

Unlike Pink Dot, a Web-based Southern California delivery service, and failed dot-com services like Kozmo and Webvan, these companies focus on a fairly small array of products and cater almost exclusively to a single college.

Those who have created the businesses say that using the Web cuts costs and increases efficiency. They can find fellow students to act as Web developers for far less than the cost of hiring a professional. With orders coming in through the Web site, they avoid having to staff telephone lines, and there is no storefront to maintain.

Some of these companies - CU Snacks, a late-night service at Columbia University, and DormSnacks, a bulk-delivery grocer at Brown - don't even take cash. Instead, they let customers pay online using debit or credit cards.

"As far as efficiency goes, and economic efficiency, it's prime," said Brandon Arbiter, 20, a co-founder of CU Snacks.

Gerry Hills, a University of Illinois professor and founder of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, estimated that tens of thousands of college students are running businesses of various sorts, at least half with a Web presence. The risk of failure is low, as most college-run businesses start out as simple part-time enterprises requiring less than $5,000 to get off the ground.

"The attitude of a lot of the students, a lot of these student entrepreneurs is, just give it a go, see what happens, and if the response is not what they hoped for, so be it; no big loss," he said.

Matthew Mandell is one recent college graduate banking on success. In March 2003 Mr. Mandell and a friend, Ed Cody, 22, started Campus Snacks at George Washington University, just blocks from the White House.

The required capital was small - about $1,000, from Mr. Mandell's savings and a loan from his parents, which they spent on supplies like a few cases of soda, some cookies, muffins and Vitamin Water, and some advertising brochures. Other online student delivery services reported similar or even lower costs.

"It started as just one HTML basic page, started with a laptop my father lent me and a freezer that my parents said, 'Yeah, you can borrow this because we don't need it right now,' " Mr. Mandell said. "And it's grown far beyond that."

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on e-Commerce and e-Business are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce.htm 


Is this professor being ethical?
In one such case, the U.S. steel company Nucor Corp. hired Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland, to argue in favor of steel tariffs put in place by the Bush administration. As a debate raged in 2003 about whether the steel tariffs should be kept in place, Mr. Morici, a former chief economist at the International Trade Commission, was quoted in scores of newspaper articles and wrote about two dozen letters to editors. He was most active in promoting his research showing that tariffs benefited the domestic steel industry and economy. In the vast majority of cases his role as a paid consultant to Nucor wasn't disclosed.
Michael Schroeder (See below)

"Some Professors Take Payments To Express Views," Michael Schroeder, The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2004, Page B1

If a professor takes money from a company and then argues in the media for a position the company favors, is he an independent expert -- or a paid shill?

It's not an academic question. Some companies have been paying professors to promote their points of view on TV shows, in newspaper and magazine articles and in letters to the editor. In many cases the arrangement between the professor and the company isn't disclosed.

In one such case, the U.S. steel company Nucor Corp. hired Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland, to argue in favor of steel tariffs put in place by the Bush administration. As a debate raged in 2003 about whether the steel tariffs should be kept in place, Mr. Morici, a former chief economist at the International Trade Commission, was quoted in scores of newspaper articles and wrote about two dozen letters to editors. He was most active in promoting his research showing that tariffs benefited the domestic steel industry and economy. In the vast majority of cases his role as a paid consultant to Nucor wasn't disclosed.

While it's difficult to ascertain how widespread the practice is, several Washington-based public-relations executives privately acknowledge that they routinely pay academics to speak on behalf of companies or issues, usually hiring experts who already espouse a certain viewpoint. A particularly popular tool is for PR firms to ghost-write opinion pieces to run on newspaper editorial pages and then solicit experts to lend their name to the articles.

Not all academics who speak out for company positions are paid for doing such work. When they are, the money changes hands either by direct cash payment or indirectly through sponsorship of an academic conference or contributions to a university.

The academics argue that there's nothing wrong with working with PR firms or interest groups when the opinions expressed match their views. In addition, they regard their newspaper quotes or opinion articles as a good plug for their research or university.

Continued in the article

December 11, 2004 reply from Robert Holmes Glendale College [rcholmes@GLENDALE.CC.CA.US

Is there anyone on this list who would not look differently on a written communication if it were known that the author had been paid for the work? If knowing that the author had been paid would change your opinion of the communication, then I believe it is absolutely unethical not to disclose the payment. We have seen time and again that ethics stop where the dollar begins. We have SOX because ethics only start up again when the fear of prison rears its ugly head.

December 12, 2004 response from Van Johnson [accvej@LANGATE.GSU.EDU

I think it is difficult to support a failure to disclose. If the user's response to the message WOULD be affected by knowledge of the relationship, disclosure is necessary. Alternatively, if the user's response to the message WOULD NOT be affected by knowledge of the relationship, then disclosure is harmless.

I suppose an individual or a department/school could go down the following path:

(a) person/school believes disclosure would not change the user's reaction. (b) The company paying person/school does not wish to disclose and would not pay if disclosure were required.

Therefore person/school's cost benefit analysis is that there is little to no user benefit from disclosure, and a significant cost in terms of lost income and prestige.

I think there is a flaw in the reasoning in that (b) calls into serious question the belief expressed in (a).

The closest parallel to this today is the requirement for the various guests on financial shows (CNBC MSNBC) to disclose whether they own a security or not. Based on this requirement an individual investor can decide whether the company research being presented by the analyst is compromised (or enhanced) by the knowledge that the analyst stands to benefit if the security price increases. This separates these shows from the various pump and dump schemes on the internet bulletin boards or via fax broadcasting.

Van Johnson 
School of Accountancy 
Georgia State University

December 12, 2004 reply from Dr. Jagdish Pathak/Odette School of Business/University of Windsor [jagdish@UWINDSOR.CA

The thread on ethical/unethical aspects of a certain individual's actions (as a paid academic!) has acquired good many responses from the list. I have a much simpler question about those academics who are especially holding chair positions endowed by most of these top auditing firms. What will you say if they speak out through their writings supporting the positions taken by their sponsoring firms? Or, these firms expect them to speak on issues related to these firms favorably in popular press?

Ethics need to be placed in the bounds of rationality or not? Will the business and political decisions have to be entirely guided by these unexplained but expected ethics differing radically from person-to-person, community-to-community, faith-to-faith and even nation-to-nation?

It is easy for popular press to vilify any individual or raise any one at their mercy, but these very press people are also controlled through payment for services by employer with its own brand of ethics!

I expect it to be my Canadian Dollar (raising sharply these days) worth of contribution to the discussion!

Jagdish Pathak, PhD Guest Editor- Managerial Auditing Journal (Special Issue) Accounting Systems & IT Auditing Faculty Accounting & Audit Area Odette School of Business University of Windsor 401 Sunset Windsor, N9B 3P4, ON Canada

December 12, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Jagdish,

Probably the best example of something similar was when Andersen's office in Phoenix threatened to (or perhaps did for a short time) stop recruiting at Arizona State University and donating to ASU because one of ASU's professors was an expert witness for the other side in a litigation.

I think cooler heads entered into this, possibly from Andersen's home office, and put an end to this nonsense.

We must remember that large firms like colleges and universities are comprised of individuals who sometimes take actions that their institutions/employers are not supportive of after the fact. For example, I doubt if the University of Maryland is proud of the fact that Professor Peter Morici allowed his name to be used for a fee by companies seeking higher steel tariffs. "Some Professors Take Payments To Express Views," Michael Schroeder, The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2004, Page B1

Another example is the highly publicized instance at the University of Rochester (which is heavily funded by Kodak) refused admission to a highly qualified candidate for the leading competitor of Kodak.  The University later apologized for what I'm certain was an act of only one or a few person(s).

I am certain that all accounting firms who provide endowed chairs or named professorships have policies against using this funding to lever the holders of those chairs.  The holders themselves, however, may be somewhat reluctant to offend their benefactors.  I've never known of an instance where an XYZ Professor became an expert witness on the other side of the table from the XYZ firm.

Bob Jensen

 

December 12, 2004 reply from a leading partner in a Big Four auditing firm

Bob:

I am aware of a couple of instances where XYZ Professors became expert witnesses against XYZ firm (or at least assisted counsel for the opposing party since the matters never actually went to trial).

December 13, 2004 reply from Morris, Roselyn [rm13@BUSINESS.TXSTATE.EDU

In the same vein, I have received a request for information (by email) in a research project in which the professors imply that they are conducting the research for a specific accounting body. Since I am on the body of the implied accounting body and know that no research was requested, the professors were contacted and requested to resend (by email) the request depleting all references to the accounting body. A week later the professors have done nothing about that request. The research project is being submitted to the American Accounting Association's 10th Ethics Research Symposium (August 6-August 7, 2005) chaired by Dr. Stephen Loeb. Since the research is being submitted to the Ethics Research Symposium, would it be too hopeful that the research is conducted in an ethical manner?

Roselyn E. Morris, PhD, CPA 
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs 
McCoy College of Business Administration 601 
University Drive 
San Marcos, Texas 78666 
email:
rmorris@txstate.edu 

December 13, 2004 reply from Barbara Scofield [scofield@GSM.UDALLAS.EDU

I received the email to which you refer and the cover letter offended me sufficiently that I did not respond. Your question was would it be too hopeful that the research is conducted in an ethical manner? My further question is how will the researchers evaluate the effect of their approach to gathering data on the results that they report?

Barbara W. Scofield, PhD, CPA 
Associate Professor of Accounting 
University of Dallas 
1845 E. Northgate Irving, TX 75062

 


Sightseers in major cities no longer need a tour guide or travel book to point out local landmarks. Several startup companies now offer tours delivered by cell phones.

"Cell Phones Work as Tour Guides," by Rachel Metz, Wired News, December 8, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/wireless/0,1382,65945,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_6 

Celebrity sightings may be a dime a dozen in New York City, but now visitors can extend that glimpse to almost an hour, with stars Sigourney Weaver and Jerry Stiller talking their ears off.

Weaver's and Stiller's voices pop up as narrators for Talking Street, a series of cell-phone tours that guide visitors through the Lower East Side, Lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center site.

Those in the industry agree these experiences probably won't replace traditional tour options like books and live guides. But they're confident that as air time gets cheaper and mobile technology improves, the popularity of such tours will grow.

"It's meant to be more vivid, more immersive, more enriching and more exciting than (books or live tours)," said Talking Street creator Miles Kronby.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's travel helpers area at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob3.htm#Travel 




 

Academics Versus the Profession

December 1, 2004 message from Dennis Beresford [dberesfo@TERRY.UGA.EDU
Denny is now a professor of accounting at the University of Georgia.  For ten years he was Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board and is a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame.

I've enjoyed the recent "debate" on AECM relating to the Economist article about the auditing profession.  I'm delighted to see this interest in such professional issues.  But I'm concerned that academic accountants, by and large, aren't nearly enough involved in actually trying to help solve professional issues.  Let me give an illustration, and I'd certainly be interested in reactions.

Last night our Beta Alpha Psi chapter was fortunate to have Jim Copeland as a guest speaker.  Jim retired as the managing partner of Deloitte a couple of years ago and he continues to be a leading voice in the profession through, among other things, his role in chairing a major study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the auditing profession.  Jim also serves as a director of three major corporations and on their audit committees.  In short, he is the kind of person that all students and faculty should be interested in meeting and hearing.

Students turned out in fairly large numbers, as did quite a few practitioners who always are there to further their recruiting efforts.  However, only four faculty members attended (out of a group of about 18) and this included our department head and the BAP advisor, both of whom were pretty much obligated to be there. No PhD students attended.  I'm sure that some faculty members had good excuses but most simply weren't sufficiently interested enough to attend.  Perhaps at some other schools more faculty would have been there but my own experience in speaking to about 100 schools over the years would indicate that this lack of interest is pretty common.

On the other hand, this coming Friday a very young professor from another university will present a research workshop and I expect that nearly all faculty members and PhD students will be there.  The paper being discussed is replete with formulas using dubious (in my humble view) proxies for real world economic matters that can't be observed directly.  The basic conclusion of the paper is that companies are more inclined to give stock options rather than cash compensation because options don't have to be charged to expense.  Somehow I thought that this was a conclusion that was pretty clear to most accountants and business people well before now.

I've heard some faculty members say that they feel obligated to attend such workshops even if they aren't particularly interested in the paper being discussed.  They want to show support for the person who is visiting as well as reinforce the importance of these events to the PhD students.  I certainly understand that thinking and tend to share it.  However, for the life of me I can't understand why faculty members don't feel a similar "obligation" to show respect for a person like Jim Copeland, one of the most important people in the accounting profession in recent years and someone who is making a personal sacrifice to visit our school.

My purpose in this brief note is not to belittle the research paper.  But I simply observe that it would be nice if there were a little more balance between interest in professional matters and such high level research among faculty members at research institutions.  As the Economist article noted, and as should be clear to all of us in the age of Sarbanes-Oxley, etc., there are tremendous issues facing the accounting profession.  Rather than simply complaining about things, it seems to me that academics could become more familiar with professionals and the issues they face and then try to work with them to help resolve those issues.

When is the last time that you called an auditor or corporate accountant and asked him or her to have lunch to just kick around some of the tremendously interesting issues of the day?

Denny Beresford

December 1, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Denny,

Jim gave a plenary session at the AAA meetings in Orlando. You may have been in the audience. I thought Jim’s presentation was well received by the audience. He handled himself very well in the follow up Q&A session.

I think academics have some preconceived notions about the auditing “establishment.” They may be surprised at some of the positions taken by leaders of that establishment if they took the time to learn about those positions. I summarized some of Jim’s more controversial statements at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book04q3.htm#090104  
Note that he proposed eliminating the corporate income tax (but he said he hoped none of his former partners were in the audience).

Faculty interest in a professor’s “academic” research may be greater for a number of reasons. Academic research fits into a methodology that other professors like to hear about and critique. Since academic accounting and finance journals are methodology driven, there is potential benefit from being inspired to conduct a follow up study using the same or similar methods. In contrast, practitioners are more apt to look at relevant (big) problems for which there are no research methods accepted by the top journals.

Accounting Research Farmers Are More Interested in Their Tractors Than in Their Harvests For a long time I’ve argued that top accounting research journals are just not interested in the relevance of their findings (except in the areas of tax and AIS). If the journals were primarily interested in the findings themselves, they would abandon their policies about not publishing replications of published research findings. If accounting researchers were more interested in relevance, they would conduct more replication studies. In countless instances in our top accounting research journals, the findings themselves just aren’t interesting enough to replicate. This is something that I attacked at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/book02q4.htm#Replicatio 

At one point back in the 1980s there was a chance for accounting programs that were becoming “Schools of Accountancy” to become more like law schools and to have their elite professors become more closely aligned with the legal profession. Law schools and top law journals are less concerned about science than they are about case methodology driven by the practice of law. But the elite professors of accounting who already had vested interest in scientific methodology (e.g., positivism) and analytical modeling beat down case methodology. I once heard Bob Kaplan say to an audience that no elite accounting research journal would publish his case research. Science methodologies work great in the natural sciences. They are problematic in the psychology and sociology. They are even more problematic in the professions of accounting, law, journalism/communications, and political “science.”

We often criticize practitioners for ignoring academic research Maybe they are just being smart. I chuckle when I see our heroes in the mathematical theories of economics and finance winning prizes for knocking down theories that were granted earlier prizes (including Nobel prices). The Beta model was the basis for thousands of academic studies, and now the Beta model is a fallen icon. Fama got prizes for showing that capital markets were efficient and then more prizes for showing they were not so “efficient.” In the meantime, investment bankers, stock traders, and mutual funds were just ripping off investors. For a long time, elite accounting researchers could find no “empirical evidence” of widespread earnings management. All they had to do was look up from the computers where their heads were buried.

Few, if any, of the elite “academic” researchers were investigating the dire corruption of the markets themselves that rendered many of the published empirical findings useless.

Academic researchers worship at the feet of Penman and do not even recognize the name of Frank Partnoy or Jim Copeland.

Bob Jensen

As you recall, this thread was initiated when Denny Beresford raised concern about the University of Georgia's accounting faculty lack of interest in listening to an on-campus presentation by the recently retired CEO of Deloitte & Touche (Jim Copeland).  A leading faculty member from another major research university raises much the same concern.  Jane F. Mutchler is the J. W. Holloway/Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting at Georgia State University.  She is also the current President of the American Accounting Association.


"President's Message," Accounting Education News, Fall 2004, Page 3.  This is available online to paid subscribers but cannot be copied due to a terrible policy established by the AAA Publications Committee.  Any typos in the following quotation are my own at 4:30 this morning.

I raise these questions because I worry that we are all too quick to blame all the problems on the practitioners.  But we must remember that we were the ones responsible for the education of the practitioners.  And unless we analyze the issues and the questions I raised, I fear that we won't make any changes ourselves.  So it is important that we examine our approaches to the classes we are teaching and ask ourselves if we are doing all we canto assure that our students are being made aware of the pressures they will face in practice and if we are helping them develop the skills they need to appropriately deal with those pressures.  In my mind these issues need to be dealt with in every class we teach.  It will do no good to simply mandate new stand alone ethics courses where issues are examined in isolation.  

Continued in  Jane’s Message to the Membership of the American Accounting Association

December 5, 2004 reply from Stone, Dan [Dan.Stone@UKY.EDU

I enjoyed Denny's commentary on the interplay between accounting research and practice, and, Jane's AAA President's statement on this issue.

A few thoughts:

1. Yes, accounting research is largely, though not entirely, divorced from accounting practice. This is no coincidence or anomaly. It is by design. Large sample, archival, financial accounting research -- which dominates mainstream academic accounting -- is about the role of accounting information in markets. It is not about understanding the institutions and individuals who produce and disseminate this information, or, the technologies that make its production possible. We could have an accounting scholarship takes seriously issues of accounting practice. The US institutional structures of accounting scholarship currently eliminate this possibility. Change these institutional structures and we change accounting scholarship.

2. There is a particular and peculiar hubris of financial accounting academics to assume that all accounting scholarship is, or should be, about financial accounting. Am I reading this into Denny's argument? Am I reading beyond the text here?

The unity model of accounting scholarship increasingly, which says that all accounting scholarship is or should be about financial accounting, is no coincidence or anomaly. It is by design. The top disseminators of accounting scholarship in the US increasingly publish, and the major producers of accounting scholars increasingly produce scholars who know about, only 1 small sub-area of accounting -- financial, archival accounting. Change the institutional structures of the disseminators and the producers and we change accounting scholarship.

Best,

Dan Stone 
Gatton Endowed Chair 
University of Kentucky 
Lexington, Kentucky

December 6, 2004 reply from Paul Williams [williamsp@COMFS1.COM.NCSU.EDU

To add to Dan's observations. He is correct that until we change the structure of the US academy nothing is going to change re practice. As Sara Reiter and I argued (with evidence) in our AOS piece, accounting in the academy has been transformed from an autonomous, professional discipline into a lab practice for a discipline for which lab practices are incidental to the main activity, i.e, accounting is an empirical sub discipline of a sub discipline of a sub discipline for which empirical work is irrelevant. The purpose of scholarship in accounting is now purely instrumental -- to create politically correct academic reputations. 

The powers that be are not interested in accounting research for its intrinsic value or for improving practice broadly understood, but only as a means to enhance their own careers (to get "hits" in the major journals). The profession is not powerless to assist in changing that structure. For example, KPMG funds (or at least used to) the JAR conferences. Stop doing that!! Why subsidize that which is doing you more harm than good? The profession has abandoned the AAA in droves -- in the mid-60s the AAA had nearly 15,000 members, 2/3 of which were practitioners. Now we are approximately 8,000 of which only about 1/7 are practitioners. If practitioners aren't happy about the academy they are not powerless to engage it. 

Bob sent us an excerpt from Jane Mutchler's presidential address suggesting things that should be done. They already have been. At the Critical Perspectives conference in New York in 2002 there were numerous sessions devoted to how academics have failed in their educational responsibilities (someone credentialed Andy Fastow). Do the firms help fund that conference? Of course not -- too left wing. Accounting Education: An International Journal dedicated an entire issue to accounting education after Enron, as has the European Accounting Review. Have any AAA journals done so? The insularity of the US academy is evident in that Jane doesn't seem aware that there already has been significant activity for at least the last three years, but none of it as visible as that which is promoted by AAA. Let's have genuine debates in Horizons where others besides those vetted for political correctness are permitted to speak to the issues. 

Let me remind you of the Briloff affair -- Abe wrote a piece for Horizons critical of the COSO report. Abe argued that the "problem" was not just small firms with small auditors. Was Abe right? Less than two years after he wrote that article we had Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Andersen's implosion, etc. See the special issue of Critical Perspectives on Accounting, "AAA, Inc." to see first hand how the structure of the academy handles candid discussion of the profession's problems. If people aren't happy with the way the AAA manages the academy, they are not powerless to change it. The structure stays the same because of the apathy of the membership. It only takes 100 signatures to challenge for an AAA office. Since less than 100 people bother to vote (out of 8,000) it wouldn't take much effort for someone with the resources to effect significant changes. Denny could get his colleagues' attention and get them interested in attending his guests' talks by running for president of AAA -- I will gladly sign his petition to be put on the ballot for 2005. That will shake them up! Change won't happen unless enough members of the academy recognize that we have some very real, serious problems that require candid, adult conversation and a willingness to accept responsibility. 

Realize that there are more of us than there are of them (that is the whole idea of the current structure - to keep the number of them very, very small). Change the executive committee, select editors of the AAA journals that aren't committed to the narrow notion of rigor that now predominates and, as Dan says, things will change. There are plenty of qualified, thoughtful people who could manage an academy more dedicated to the practice of accounting (in all its many manifestations besides financial reporting, likely the most insignificant of accounting's functions). It just takes people with the political and financial leverage to put their efforts into altering that intellectually oppressive structure. PFW

December 1, 2004 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU

I could not agree more. May be most "top" journals suffer a case of "analysis paralysis". In a practical field such as accounting, how do we know what relevant problems are if we have little contact with the real world (and I would not count sporadic consulting as contact).

There are ways in which the academia and industry mingle in a meaningful way. In the areas I am interested in (computationally oriented work in information systems and auditing), for example, I have found a very healthy relationship between the academia and industry, and in fact far more exciting research reported in computing journals during the past three years than in accounting/auditing journals during the past 30. (I can think of work in computational auditing done by folks at Eindhoven and Delloitte & Touche; work on role-based access control at George Mason and Singlesignonnet, work on formal models of accounting systems as discrete dynamical systems done also at Delloitte and Eindhoven, work on interface of formal models of accounting systems and back-end databases done at Promatis and Goethe-Universität Frankfurt & University of Karlsruhe, to name just a few). In fact it has got to a point where I attend AAA meetings only to meet old friends and have a good time, and not for intellectual stimulation. For that, I go to computing meetings.

The reason for the schism between academia and the profession in accounting, in my opinion, is the almost total lack of accountability in academic accounting research. Once the control of "academic" journals have been wrested, research is pursued not even for its own sake, but for the preservation of control and perpetuation of ones genes. We have not had a Kuhnian paradigm shift for close to 40 years in accounting, because we haven't found the need for anomalies. We use "academic" journals the same way that the proverbial Mark Twain's drunk uses a lamp post, more for support than for illumination.

Respectfully submitted,

Jagdish

December 1, 2004 reply from Paul Williams [williamsp@COMFS1.COM.NCSU.EDU

Bob is right that the accounting academy in the US (not so much the rest of the world) is driven mainly by the interests of methidoliters -- those that suffer from a terminal case of what McCloskey described as the poverty of economic modernism. Sara Reiter and I had a study published in AOS last summer that included an analysis of the rhetorical behavior of the JAR conferences through time to see if the discursive practices of the "leading" forum were conducive to progressive critique -- all sciences "advance" via destruction -- received wisdom is constantly under assault. When the JAR conferences started practiioners and scholars from other disciplines like law and sociology were invited to participate. These were the people that asked the most troublesome questions, the ones who provided the most enervating critique. How did the geniuses at JAR deal with the problem of heretics in the temple? They simply stopped inviting practitioners and scholars from other disciplines. The academy in the US is an exceedingly closed society of only true believers. Accounting academics are now more interested in trying to prove that an imaginary world is real, rather than confront a world too messy for the methods (and, it must be noted, moral and political commitments) to which they unshakeably devoted REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE SAYS! (As Bob notes, who in their right mind can still say market efficiency without a smirk on their face. The stock exchange, after all, has members. Does anyone know of any group of "members" that writes the rules of the organization to benefit others equally to themselves? Invisible hands, my a..)

But it must be said the profession is not without guilt in all of this. I avoid listening to big shots from the Big 4 myself because they are as predictable as Jerry Falwell. Accountants have a license, which is a privilege granted to them by the public to serve the broad society of which they are citizens. But whenever you hear them speak, all they do is whine about the evils of government regulation, the onerous burden of taxes on the wealthy (I have never heard a partner of a Big 4 firm complain that taxes were too regressive); they simply parrot the shiboleths that underlay the methodologies of academics. No profession has failed as spectacularly as accounting has just done. If medicine performed as poorly as public accounting has just done in fulfilling its public responsibilities, there would be doctor swinging from every tree. Spectacular audit failures, tax evasion schemes for only the wealthiest people on the planet, liability caps, off-shore incorporation, fraud, etc., a profession up to its neck in the corruption that Bob mentioned. But have we heard one word of contrition from this profession? Has it dedicated itself to adopting the skeptical posture toward its "clients" required of anyone who wants to do a thorough audit? Don't think so. All we still hear is the problem ain't us, it all those corrupt politicians, etc. (Who corrupted them?). And PWC has the gall to run ads about a chief courage officer -- do these guys have no shame? If the profession wants to engage with the academy with an open mind and the courage to hear the truth about itself, the courage to really want to become a learned profession (which it isn't now), then maybe we could get somewhere. But for now, both sides are comfortable where they are -- the chasm serves both of their exceedingly narrow interests. 

There are now 7 volumes of Carl's essays. Thanks to Yuji Ijiri's efforts, the AAA published the first 5 volumes as Studies in Accounting Research #22, Essays in Accounting Theory. A sixth volume, edited by Harvey Hendrickson, Carl Thomas Devine Essays in Accounting Theory: A Capstone was published by Garland Publishing in 1999. A seventh volume was being edited by Harvey when he died. I was asked to finish Harvey's work and that volume, Accounting Theory: Essays by Carl Thomas Devine has been published by Routledge, 2004. Carl also had a collection of Readings in Accounting Theory he compiled mainly for his teaching during his stint in Indonesia (I think). Those were mimeographed as well, but, to my knowledge, have never been published. I have copies of those 4 volumes but their condition is not good -- paper is yellowed and brittle. Thoughtful, curious, imaginative, humble, and kind -- we don't see the likes of Carl much anymore. His daughter Beth told me that he even approach his death with the same vibrant intellectual curiousity he brought to everything. 

PFW

December 6, 2004 reply from Ed Scribner [escribne@NMSU.EDU

Seems to me that most folks on this list take a pretty harsh view of the accounting research "establishment" for being closed, methodology-driven, irrelevant to practice, self-serving, and just generally in the wrong paradigm. Yet I see things like the following in the JAR and the AR that appear relevant and "practice-oriented" to me.

--- Journal of Accounting Research, Volume 42: Issue 3 "Auditor Independence, Non-Audit Services, and Restatements: Was the U.S. Government Right?"

Abstract Do fees for non-audit services compromise auditor's independence and result in reduced quality of financial reporting? The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 presumes that some fees do and bans these services for audit clients. Also, some registrants voluntarily restrict their audit firms from providing legally permitted non-audit services. Assuming that restatements of previously issued financial statements reflect low-quality financial reporting, we investigate detailed fees for restating registrants for 1995 to 2000 and for similar nonrestating registrants. We do not find a statistically significant positive association between fees for either financial information systems design and implementation or internal audit services and restatements, but we do find some such association for unspecified non-audit services and restatements. We find a significant negative association between tax services fees and restatements, consistent with net benefits from acquiring tax services from a registrant's audit firm. The significant associations are driven primarily by larger registrants.

---

I also see articles on topics other than financial accounting. Are these just window-dressing?

Journal editors are always saying that they want work that has "policy implications." Yet it seems to me that important questions in accounting tend to be more complicated than, "Does this medication cause nausea in the control group?" Tough questions are tough to address rigorously.

What are some examples of specific questions (susceptible to rigorous research) that academia should be addressing but is not?

Ed "Paton's Advocate" (am I alone?)

P.S. Many years ago a senior faculty member told me the "top" journals were a closed society, and hitting them was a matter of whom you knew. I made some naïve reply to the effect that the top journals reflected the best work--"the cream rises to the top." Next morning I found in my mailbox photocopies of the tables of contents of then-recent JARs, along with the editorial board, with lines drawn connecting names on the board with names of authors, as if it were a "matching question" on an exam.

December 1, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Paul,

During one of the early JAR conferences that I attended had an assistant professor present a behavioral research study. A noted psychologist, also from the University of Chicago, Sel Becker, was assigned to critique the paper.

Sel got up and announced words to the affect that this garbage wasn't worth discussing.

I'm not condoning the undiplomatic way Sel treated a colleague. But this does support your argument as to why experts from other disciplines were no longer invited to future JAR conferences.

Bob Jensen

December 1, 2004 reply from Roger Collins [rcollins@CARIBOO.BC.CA

Paul makes some excellent points. Sociologists are interesting to listen to because they tend to get folks' backs up (and if they didn't want to do that they probably wouldn't be sociologists in the first place). That's especially the case in accounting where both the profession and the academics are (with notable exceptions) hidebound in their own way.  If you want a new perspective on things, get a sociologist to comment, throw away any half of what's been said and the remainder will still be an interesting pathway to further thought, whichever half you choose.

The scorn that certain academics in other areas show for accounting academics (and indeed, business academics in general) may be justified (sometimes? often?)- but no-one ever built bridges out of scorn. I think that if Sel Becker was really interested in advancing the cause of academic enquiry he would have figured out that whatever was going on was, from his point of view, an immature contribution and taken the time to give his views on the gap between the contribution and the issues he considered important, and identify some "road map" to move from one position to another.

But then, Sel is a "big, important" person. (From what I can gather), instead of taking a little time to build bridges he indulged in a spot of academic tribalism. Trashing a colleagues paper (isn't that something a noted member of the Rochester School was famous for?) is cheap in terms of effort and may generate some petty self-satisfaction; it may even be justified if the presenter is arrogant in turn -but again, arrogance is a destroyer rather than a builder.

On the other hand, the JAR reaction is just as bad if not worse.  Closing one's ears to criticism will only lead to the prettification of the academy; the dogmatists will have won.

Question - is there a way of enticing the various parties out of their bunkers ? If there is, what are the chances that the "generals" of the profession and academia won't use their power to squash the proposals of the "subalterns" ?

Some years ago a University of Alberta prof. had the temerity to suggest that the local oil companies' financial statements weren't all that they should have been. He was promptly jumped on from every direction. Why ? I suspect, because there is a general (not inevitably true) assumption that business schools are the "cash cows" of the university, and other academics tolerate them on that basis. (Nowadays, pharmaceutical research departments seem to be vying for that label). Maybe the only way out is poverty; poor accounting profs will have less to lose and more reason to explore..

Regards - tongue partly in cheek,

Roger Roger Collins 
UCC (soon to be TRU) School of Business.

December 2, 2004 reply from Paul Williams [williamsp@COMFS1.COM.NCSU.EDU

How do we bridge the chasm?

Good question. We won't be able to do that in the US until we change the structure of the AAA. I was on Council when the great debate over Accounting Horizons occurred. Jerry Searfoss, a person who served time on both sides of the chasm, was a vigorous proponent for creating a medium through which academe and practice could communicate. If you peruse the editorial board of the first issues of Horizons, it reflected this eclectic approach to scholarship. What happened to it? Look at Horizons now. Its editorial board looks just like the editorial board at The Accounting Review and its editor is a University of Chicago PhD! The AAA has a particular structure -- an organizational culture that reproduces itself generation after generation. Horizons, as originally conceived by people like Searfoss, Sack, Mautz, etc., posed a threat to the overwhelmingly anal retentive, ideological commitments (the shadow of William Paton still chills the intellectual climate of the US academy) of the organization. Anti-bodies were quickly mobilized and, voila, Horizons looks just like TAR (two years ago a plan to eliminate Horizons and Issues and roll them into one ill-defined journal was proposed). This body will protect itself at all costs (even declining membership, banal research, etc. will not dissuade them from jumping over the cliff). 

The only way to change that is to create a structure that fosters a place where Sel Beckers and Big 4 partners can say what they have to say IN PRINT and be forced to defend it as often as the Dopuchs, Demskis, Watts and Zimmermans, and Schippers of the world (who never have to defend themselves in print). That will only happen when the selection of executive committees, editors, etc. is democratic. As long as the Politburo structure of the AAA exists and the culture of fear and suspicion of ideas remains, nothing will change. Good models for what the journals should look like are the proceedings of conferences like Tinker's Critical Perspectives conference, Lee Parker's APIRA, and the IPA sponsored by Manchester. Those conferences are so much more exhilirating than the AAA meetings. I'm like Jagdish -- I go to AAA to see old friends and work for the Public Interest Section. The "technical" sessions are of little interest. When the AAA gives Seminal Contribution Awards to "contributions" lifted wholesale from the radical Lockean/monetarist wing of economics, how can you take such an organization seriously. This is particularly true when there are genuinely seminal contributions possessed by the discipline itself, e.g., Ijiri's work, Paton's Accounting Theory, Andy Stredry's budget work, Bill Cooper's QM applications, Sterling/Edwards and Bell/Chambers, etc. (the copyrights on these tell you how long it has been since accounting acted like an autonomous discipline!). 

PFW

December 2 reply from Paul Williams (after a request that he elaborate on Bill Paton)

While Carl Devine was still alive, I used to visit him whenever I could. When Jacci Rodgers and I did our work on editorial boards at The Accounting Review I consulted Carl about how the review process worked at TAR since the first time TAR published the members of an editorial board was 1967 (I beleive). According to Carl, Paton edited TAR for many years after its founding via a process that was, shall we say, less than transparent. According to Carl, Paton and Littleton between them virtually hand picked the AAA presidents for years. You can see a pattern of early presidencies -- one president not from one of the elite 15, then two from, then one, etc. This encouraged the illusion that the AAA was open to everyone, but in fact it was pretty tightly controlled. Now there is no attempt whatsoever to create the illusion of an open organization -- every president for the last 30 years (save one or two) is an elite school grad. It was never permitted to veer too far from the nucleus of schools that founded it. 

Everyone should be familiar with Paton's politics -- he was conservative in the extreme (he published a book that was a rather rabid screed on the evils of Fabian socialism). There were competing root metaphors for accounting during the era of Paton, e.g., the institutionalism of DR Scott (whose spin on the role of accounting seems prescient now that we have a few years separating us from him), there was the accounting as fulfilling social needs of Littleton etc. But what clearly has emerged triumphant was the radical free market ideology of Paton. So, even though accounting seems clearly part of the regulatory apparatus and part of the justice system in the US, the language we use to talk about what accountants are for is mainly that of efficent markets, rational economic actors, etc. No wonder Brian West is able to build such a persuasive case that accounting currently has no coherent cognitive foundation, thus, is not a "learned" profession. Accounting enables market functions in a world of economic competitors whose actions are harmoniously coordinated by the magic fingers of invisible hands (a metaphor that Adam Smith didn't set too much stock in -- it was merely an off-hand remark to which he never returned). Carl Devine has a very useful essay in Essays in Accounting theory, volume six, edited by Harvey Hendrickson (Garland) where he provides an insightful analysis of the contributions to theory of those persons of his generation and his generation of mentors (he particularly admired Mattesich.) 

Carl noted that Paton was a very effective rhetorician, so was perhaps more influential than his ideas really merited (like the relative influence of the contemporaries Malthus and Ricardo; Ricardo, the much better writer overshadowed Malthus in their day). Paton influenced a disproportionate number of the next generation of accounting academics; he was, after all, a classicaly trained economist. 

There is, in my view, absolutely no compelling reason why accountants should be the least bit concerned with new classical economic theory, but Paton, because of his influence, set the US academy on a path that brings us to where we are today. It is an interesting thought experiment (ala Trevor Gambling's buddhist accounting) to imagine what we would be doing and talking about if we had taken the institutionalists, or Ijiri's legal imagery more seriously. But, as they say here in NC, "It is what it is." 

PFW

December 2, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Bill Paton was all-powerful on the Michigan campus and was considered an economist as well as an accountant.  For a time under his power, a basic course in accounting was in the common core for all majors.  One of the most noted books advocating historical cost is called Introduction to Corporate Accounting Standards by William Paton and A.C. Littleton (Sarasota:  American Accounting Association, 1940).  Probably no single book has ever had so much influence or is more widely cited in accounting literature than this thin book by Paton and Littleton .  See http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#UnderlyingBases

Later on Paton changed horses and was apologetic about once being such a strong advocate of historical cost.  He subsequently favored fair value accounting, while his co-author clung to historical cost.  However, Paton never became widely known as a valuation theorist compared to the likes of Edwards, Bell , Canning, Chambers, and Sterling .  (In case you did not know this, former FASB Board Member and SEC Chief Accountant Walter Scheutz is also a long-time advocate of fair value accounting.)

You can read about the Hall of Fame’s Bill Paton at
 http://fisher.osu.edu/Departments/Accounting-and-MIS/Hall-of-Fame/Membership-in-Hall/William-A.-Paton 

Bob Jensen

December 2, 2004 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU

My earlier posts unfortunately may have implied that every onbe I mentioned continued to be a historical cost advocate -- that is not true. Paton changed his mind, as Bob mentioned.

The point I was trying to make there was the approach to theory building in accounting (something that crudely initates the axiomatic approach) that Paton essentially started. However, Paton had a "theory" in the sense of a set of axioms, but no theorems. In other words it was a sort of laundry list of axioms with out a detailed study of their collective implications (this is what struck me most while I was a student, but that might have been my problem since I came to accounting via applied mathematics/statistics). In fact most of the work of Paton & Littleton, Ijiri, Sprouse & Moonitz,... never really followed through their thoughts to their logical conclusions. One reason might have been that they did not really state their axioms in logic. Mattesich, as I understand, went a bit further, but he must have realised that a field like accounting where most sentences are deontic (normative, stated in English sentences in the imperative mood) rather than alethic (descriptive, stated in English sentences in the indicative mood). In normative systems, as even Hans Kelsen has admitted, there is no concept of truth and therefore logical deduction as we know it is not possible.

I think this becomes clear in one of the later books of Mattesich on Instrumental Reasoning (all but ignored by accountants because it is more philosophical, but in my opinion one of his most fascinating works).

I would not put Paul Grady, Carman Blough,... in the same group. For Paul Grady, for example, accounting "principles" were no more than a grab bag of mundane rules.

Leonard Spacek, one of my heroes, on the other hand, tried to emphasize accounting as communication of rights people had to resources UNDER LAW. He also emphasized fairness as an objective.

One reason for this chasm between practice and academia is that almost all practice is normatively based, whereas in the academia in accounting, for the past 40 years we have cared just about only for descriptive work of the naive positivist kind.

I hate peddling my work, but those interested might like to take a look at an old paper of mine (I consider it the best that I ever wrote) where some of these issues are discussed :

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles: Perspectives from Philosophy of Law, J. Gangolly & M. Hussein Critical Perspectives on Accounting, vol. 7 (1996), pp. 383-407.

I think we need to realise that we are not the only discipline that has gone astray from the original lofty goals.

Consider economics in the United States. In Britain, at least till the 70s (I haven't kept in touch since then), it was considered important that Economics teaching devoid of political and philosophical discussions was some how deficient; probably the main reason popular Oxford undergraduate major is PPE (Politics, Philosophy, Economics, with Economics taking the third seat). Specially in the US, attempts to make Economics value-free (wertfrei) have, to an extent also succeeded in making it a bit sterile. In his critique of Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard ("Praxeology, Value Judgments, and Public Policy") states:

"The trouble is that most economists burn to make ethical pronouncements and to advocate political policies - to say, in effect, that policy X is "good" and policy Y "bad." Properly, an economist may only make such pronouncements in one of two ways: either (1) to insert his own arbitrary, ad hoc personal value judgments and advocate policy on that basis; or (2) to develop and defend a coherent ethical system and make his pronouncement, not as an economist, but as an ethicist, who also uses the data of economic science."

Or, that Economics is the "value-free handmaiden of ethics".

In accounting too, the positivists have worked hard over the past forty years or so to make it pretentiously value-free (remember disparaging references to non-descriptive work, and Carl Nelson's virtual jihad to rid accounting of "fairness" as an objective?). The result has been that it is perhaps not unfair to speak of "fair" in the audit reports just cheap talk.

Renaissance in accounting will come only when we look as much at Politics and Law as at Economics to inspire research.

Jagdish

December 3, 2004 reply from Paul Williams

For many subscribers this thread may have started to fray; to them I apologize, but I have to chime in to add a contrarian view to Bob's contention that Paton, Edwards and Bell ,etc. were advocates of fair value accounting. Fair value accounting is (in my view) a classic case of eliding into a use of a concept as if it were what we traditionally understood it to be while radically redefining it (see Feyerabend's analysis of Galileo's use of this same ploy). None of the early theorists were proponents of fair value accounting. 

They may have been advocates of replacement cost or opportunity cost, but never of "fair value," which is a purely hypothetical number generated through heroic assumptions about an undivinable future. As Carl Devine famously said, "No one has ever learned anything from the future." All subscribed to the principle that accounting should report only what actually occurred during a period of time -- this was the essence of E&B's argument that accounting data are for evaluating decisions; its value lies in its value as feedback and accounting data, therefore, categorically should not be generated on assumptions about the outcomes resulting from decisions that have already been made. The significant accomplishment of these theorists was to provide a defense of accounting's avoidance of subjective values. i.e., the accounting was in its essence objective (anyone remember Five 

Monographs on Business Income, particularly Sidney Alexander's critique of accounting measures of profit?). Now we accept seemingly without question the radical transformation of accounting affected by FASB to a system of nearly exclusively subjective values, i.e., your guess is as good as mine. In spite of the optimism people seem to express, we have no technology (nor would a believer in rational expectations theory ever expect there to be) that can divine the economic future. Perhaps a renaissance of some of these old ideas is overdo. I believe it was Clarence Darrow who opined that "Contempt for law is brought about by law making itself ridiculous." As writers of LAW (kudos to Jagdish's paper) the FASB seems to make accounting more ridiculous by the day.

 PFW

December 3, 2004 reply from David Fordham

For those who don't know, Paul is an FSU alum, and Bob is a former Seminole, too, although they pre-dated me and may have had some professional interaction with Carl Devine. ...

David Fordham

December 3, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

I arrived on the faculty at FSU in 1978. Carl was a recluse for all practical purposes. I don' think anybody had contact with him except a very devoted Ed McIntyre. Paul Williams was very close to Ed and may also have had some contact.  (Paul later reminded me that Carl grew interested in discussing newer directions with Ed Arrington.)

I think Carl was still actively writing and to the walls. His labor of love may have been lost if Ed and Paul didn't strive to share Carl's writings with the world. Carl was a classic scholar who'd lived most of his life in libraries.

Carl could've added a great deal to our intellectual growth and historical foundations if he participated in some of our seminars. He was a renaissance scholar.

It would've been interesting to know how Carl's behavior might've changed in the era of email. Scholars who asked him challenging questions might've gotten lengthy replies (Carl was not concise) that he would not provide face-to-face.

Bob Jensen

Decemeber 3, 2004 reply from Mclelland, Malcolm J [mjmclell@INDIANA.EDU

It almost seems there's a consensus on the AECM listserv on all this! Given the widespread interest and existng intellectual wherewithal among AECMs to do it, maybe it's time to start up the "Journal of Neo-Classical Accounting Theory"? Revisiting Edwards, Bell, Sterling, Chambers, Paton, et al. certainly seems worthwhile; especially if it can be fit into or reconciled with the more recent literature in accounting and finance.

Best regards,

Malcolm

Malcolm J. McLelland, Ph.D. 
mjmclell@indiana.edu
  
website: http://www.uic.edu/~mclellan  
research: http://ssrn.com/author=154711 

December 1, 2004 reply from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU]

Your story does surprise me. A few years ago I convinced Barry Melancon (President) and Louis Matherne (at that time, Director of IT) from the AICPA to come to L.A. and speak at a dinner meeting of the L.A. chapter of the California Society of CPAs. The meeting was at UCLA, not my campus, however, the chapter offered to waive the $35 dinner charge for any CSUN faculty who want to attend. Other than myself, one (out of about 20) other faculty member attended the dinner. I asked some of the faculty members why they did not attend. The most common answer was something like “We know what he (Barry) is going to say—use more computers in your accounting courses.”

December 1, 2004 reply from Richard C. Sansing [Richard.C.Sansing@DARTMOUTH.EDU

Two thoughts in response:

First, I agree with the gist of your sentiment. Hanging around real world accountants can inform both our teaching and research, and most of us underinvest in such activities.

Second, the effect of "citizenship" considerations looks like an easy cost-benefit tradeoff to me. Seminars are attended only by faculty and doctoral students, so one's presence in the room is more noticable for a research seminar than a presentation attended by lots of undergraduates. Furthermore, the personal cost of attending a daytime event is much less than a nightime event. So if one is driven by citizenship considerations, I expect many more faculty to attend the daytime research seminar than the nightime practitioner presentation.

Richard C. Sansing 
Associate Professor of Business Administration 
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth 
 
email: Richard.C.Sansing@dartmouth.edu

December 1, 2004 reply from Chuck Pier [texcap@HOTMAIL.COM]

Dennis,

I think that you have put your finger on, or maybe stumbled onto, one of the major splits in academic accounting today. You happen to be looking at this situation from one of the "research" universities. Most all of us (I use the term "us" to refer to academic accountants) have been associated with a research university. However, many of us have only been there as students during our doctoral studies. These universities place heavy premiums on both their faculties and students for what we call "basic research" that is quite replete with formulas and theories and the like. Faculty are tenured, promoted and financially rewarded to produce cutting edge research that is published in the top journals, and doctoral students are judged on their ability to analyze and conduct similar research.

On the other hand, many of "us" teach in "teaching universities" that place more emphasis on teaching and "professional" research. In other words, research that has a direct application to either the accounting profession or the teaching of accounting. There is usually not a penalty exerted on those who chose to do the more academic research, but there is also not any special rewartds for that research either.

I feel that many of "us" at teaching schools attend the lectures that you describe with a lot more regularity than your experience at your university. For example, at my school we have a weekly meeting during the fall of our Beta Alpha Psi chapter that inculeds a presentation on a topic by one of the firms in our area. These firms include all of the big four, as well as other national, regional, and local firms. The presentations run the gamut from interview techniques for the students to the latest updates on SOX or forensic accounting. As with any sample, some are better than others and many are appropriate to just the students. Despite the uneveness of the presentations I would estimate that at least 80% of our tenure track faculty are at each meeting, with the missing 20% having some other engagement and unable to attend. There is not a single member of our faculty that routinely does not attend. These meetings are not mandatory, but most of us feel that it supports both or students and the presenters, who hire our students to attend.

I am not trying to indite or point fingers at either side of the academic accounting community but it is obvious that we each have separate priorities. I for one chose the institution that I am at for the very reason that we do have a heavy emphasis on the practioneer and the undergraduate student. I know that many would abhor what I do and could not picture themselves here. They, like me have decided what they like and what they are best suited for. I do feel that at times we who are not at the big research schools feel that we are overlooked, but I wouldn't trade my place with anyone else. I think that I am providing a good service and enjoy the opportunities that it presents.

Chuck

December 3, 2004 reply from Robin A Alexander [alexande.robi@UWLAX.EDU

Interesting. I too came from a math background and fnally realized there was no accounting theory in the scientific sense. I also came to suspect it was not a system of measurement either because to be so, there has to be something to measure independent of the measuring tool. Rather it seemed to me accounting defined, for instance, income rather than measured it.

Robin Alexander 

December 3, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Robin,

I think the distinction lies not so much on "independence" of the measuring tool as it does on behavior induced by the measurements themselves, although this may be what you had in mind in your message to us.

Scientists measure the distance to the moon without fear that behavior of either the earth or the moon will be affected by the measurement process. There may some indirect behavioral impacts such as when designing fuel tanks for a rocket to the moon. In natural science, except for quantum mechanics, the measurers cannot re-define the distance to the moon for purposes of being able to design smaller fuel tanks.

In economics, and social science in general, behavior resulting from measurements is often more impacted by the definition of measurement itself. Changed definitions of inflation or a consumer price index might result in wealth transfers between economic sectors. Plus there is the added problem that measurements in the social sciences are generally less precise and stable, e.g., when people change behavior just because they have been "measured" or diagnosed.

Similarly in accounting, changed definitions of what goes into things like revenue, eps, asset values, and debt values may lead to wealth transfers. The Silicon Valley executives certainly believe that lowering eps by booking stock options will affect share prices vis-a-vis merely disclosing the same information in a footnote rather than as a booked expense. Virtually all earnings management efforts on the part of managers hinges on the notion that accounting outcomes affect wealth transfers. In fact if they did not do so, there probably would not be much interest in accounting numbers See "Toting Up Stock Options," by Frederick Rose, Stanford Business, November 2004, pp. 21 --- http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/bmag/sbsm0411/feature_stockoptions.shtml

Early accounting theorists such as Paton, Littleton, Hatfield, Edwards, Bell, Chambers, etc. generally believed there was some kind of optimal set of definitions that could be deduced without scientifically linking possible wealth transfers to particular definitions. And it is doubtful that subsequent events studies in capital market empiricism will ever solve that problem because human behavior itself is too adaptive. Academic researchers are still seeking to link behavior with accounting numbers, but they're often viewed as chasing moving windmills with lances thrust forward.

Auditors are more concerned about being faithful to the definitions. If the definition says book all leases that meet the FAS 13 criteria for a capital lease, then leases that meet those tests should not have been accounted for as operating leases. The audit mission is to do or die, not to question why. The FASB and other standard setters are supposed to question why. But they are often more impacted by the behavior of the preparers than the users. The behavior of preparers trying to circumvent accounting standards seems to have more bearing than the resulting impacts on wealth transfers that defy being built into a conceptual framework. Where science fails accounting in this regard is that the wealth transfer process is just too complicated to model except in the case of blatant fraud that lines the pockets of a villain.

It is not surprising that accounting "theory" has plummeted in terms of books and curricula. Theory debates never seem to go anywhere beyond unsupportable conjectures. I teach a theory course, but it has degenerated to one of studying intangibles and how preparers design complex contracts such as hedging and SPE contracts that challenge students into thinking how these contracts should be accounted for given our existing standards like FAS 133 and FIN 46. One course that I would someday like to teach is to design a new standard (such as a new FAS 133) and then predict how preparers would change behavior and contracting. Unfortunately my students are not interested in wild blue yonder conjectures. The CPA exam is on their minds no matter where I try to fly. They tolerate "theory" only to the point where they are also learning about existing standards. In their minds, any financial accounting course beyond intermediate should simply be an extension of intermediate accounting.

Bob Jensen

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting theory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory.htm 


December 7, 2004 message from Carnegie President [carnegiepresident@carnegiefoundation.org

A different way to think about ... Professional Education This month's Carnegie Perspective is written by Carnegie Senior Scholar William Sullivan, whose extensively revised second edition of Work and Integrity was just released by Jossey-Bass. The Perspective is based on the book's argument that in today's environment of unrelenting economic and social pressures, in which professional models of good work come under increasing strain, the professions need their educational centers more than ever as resources and as rallying points for renewal.

Since our goal in Carnegie Perspectives is to contribute to the dialogue on issues and to provide a different way to think and talk about concerns, we have opened up the conversation by creating a forum—Carnegie Conversations—where you can engage publicly with the author and read and respond to what others have to say.

However, if you would prefer that your comments not be read by others, you may still respond to the author of the piece through CarnegiePresident@carnegiefoundation.org .

If you would like to unsubscribe to Carnegie Perspectives, use the same address and merely type unsubscribe in the subject line of your email to us.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Lee S. Shulman President 
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Preparing Professionals as Moral Agents By William Sullivan

Breakdowns in institutional reliability and professional self-policing, as revealed in waves of scandals in business, accounting, journalism, and the law, have spawned a cancerous cynicism on the part of the public that threatens the predictable social environment needed for a healthy society. For professionals to overcome this public distrust, they must embrace a new way of looking at their role to include civic responsibility for themselves and their profession, and a personal commitment to a deeper engagement with society.

The highly publicized unethical behavior that we see today by professionals is still often thought by many—physicians, lawyers, educators, scientists, engineers—as "marginal" matters in their fields, to be overcome in due course by the application of the value-neutral, learned techniques of their profession. But this conventional view fails to recognize that professionals' "problems" arise outside the sterile, neutral and technical and instead lie within human social contexts. These are not simply physical environments or information systems. They are networks of social engagement structured by shared meanings, purposes, and loyalties. Such networks form the distinctive ecology of human life.

For example, a doctor faced with today's lifestyle diseases—obesity, addictions, cancer, strokes—rather than with infectious biological agents, soon realizes that he or she must take into account how individuals, groups, or whole societies lead their lives. Or in education, it is often assumed that schools can improve student achievement by setting clear standards and then devising teaching techniques to reach them. But this approach has been confounded when it encounters students who do not see a relationship between academic performance and their own goals, or when the experience of students and parents has made trusting school authorities appear a dubious bargain.

In order to "solve" the apparently intractable problems of health care, education, public distrust, or developing a humane and sustainable technological order, the strategies of intervention employed by professionals must engage with, and if possible, strengthen, the social networks of meaning and connection in people's lives—or their efforts will continue to misfire or fail. And not only will they be less effective in meeting the needs of society and the individuals who entrust their lives to their care, but they will also find in their midst colleagues who do not uphold the moral tenets of the profession.

The idea of the professional as neutral problem solver, above the fray, which was launched with great expectations a century ago, is now obsolete. A new ideal of a more engaged, civic professionalism must take its place. Such an ideal understands, as a purely technical professionalism does not, that professionals are inescapably moral agents whose work depends upon public trust for its success.

Since professional schools are the portals to professional life, they bear much of the responsibility for the reliable formation in their students of integrity of professional purpose and identity. In addition to enabling students to become competent practitioners, professional schools always must provide ways to induct students into the distinctive habits of mind that define the domain of a lawyer, a physician, nurse, engineer, or teacher. However, the basic knowledge of a professional domain must be revised and recast as conditions change. Today, that means that the definition of basic knowledge must be expanded to include an understanding of the moral and social ecology within which students will practice.

Today's professional schools will not serve their students well unless they foster forms of practice that open possibilities of trust and partnership with those the professions serve. Such a reorientation of professional education means nothing less than a broadening and rebalancing of professional identity. It means an intentional abandonment of the image of the professional as superior and detached problem-solver. It also requires a positive engagement. Professional education must promote the opening of professional life to meet clients and patients as also fellow citizens, persons with whom teachers, physicians, lawyers, nurses, accountants, engineers, and indeed all professionals share a larger, common "practice"—that of citizen, working to contribute particular knowledge and specialized skills toward improving the quality of life, perhaps especially for those most in need.

Professional schools have too often held out to their students a notion of expert knowledge that remains abstracted from context. Since the displacement of apprenticeship on the job by academic training in a university setting, professional schools have tilted the definition of professional competence heavily toward cognitive capacity, while downplaying other crucial aspects of professional maturity. This elective affinity between the academy's penchant for theoretical abstraction and the distanced stance of problem solving has often obscured the key role played by the face-to-face transmission of professional understanding and judgment from teacher to student. This is the core of apprenticeship that must not be allowed to wither from lack of understanding and attention.

A new civic awareness within professional preparation could go a long way toward awakening awareness that the authentic spirit of each professional domain represents more than a body of knowledge or skills. It is a living culture, painfully developed over time, which represents at once the individual practitioner's most prized possession and an asset of great social value. Its future worth, however, will depend in large measure on how well professional culture gets reshaped to answer these new needs of our time

The above module is permanently available at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#ResearchVerus%20Profession 


"Can We Go Back to the Good Old Days?" by Dennis R. Beresford, The CPA Journal --- http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2004/1204/perspectives/p6.htm 

Recently I visited my pharmacy to pick up eyedrops for my two golden retrievers. Before he would give me the prescription, the pharmacist insisted I sign a form on behalf of Murphy and Millie, representing that they had been apprised of their rights under the new medical privacy rules. This ludicrous situation is a good illustration of how complicated life has gotten.

I was still shaking my head later that same day when I was clicking mindlessly through the 150 or so channels that my local cable TV service makes available to me. I happened to land on The Andy Griffith Show, and the few minutes I spent with Andy, Barney, Opie, and Aunt Bea got me thinking about the Good Old Days. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, to go back to the Good Old Days of the profession in the early 1960s when I graduated from college?

Back then, accounting was really simple. The Accounting Principles Board hadn’t issued any standards yet, and FASB didn’t exist. So we didn’t have 880 pages listing all of the current rules and guidance on derivative financial instruments, for example. The totality of authoritative GAAP at that time fit in one softbound booklet about one-third the size of the new derivatives guidance.

In those Good Old Days, the SEC had been around for quite a while but it rarely got excited about accounting matters. Neither mandatory quarterly reporting nor management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A) had yet come into being, for example. And annual report footnotes could actually be read in an hour or so.

The country had eight major accounting firms, and becoming a partner in one was a truly big deal. Lawsuits against accounting firms were rare, and almost none of them resulted in substantial damages against the accountants.

In short, accounting seemed more like a true profession, with good judgment and experience key requirements for success.

Of course, however much we might like to return to simpler times, it’s easier said than done. And most of us would never give up the many benefits of progress, such as photocopiers, personal computers, e-mail, the Internet, and cellphones. But I think that accounting rules may have become more complicated than necessary.

Let me start with a mea culpa. You may remember the famous line from the comic strip Pogo: “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” Well, you may be tempted to rephrase that quote to “We have met the enemy, and he is … Beresford!”

I plead guilty to having led the development of 40 or so new accounting standards over my time at FASB. A number of them had pervasive effects on financial statements, and some have been costly to apply. I always tried to be as practical as possible, however, although probably few would say that I was 100% successful in meeting that objective.

In any event, more-recent accounting standards and proposals seem to be getting increasingly complicated and harder to apply. Even the best-intentioned accountants have difficulty keeping up with all of the changes from FASB, the AICPA, the SEC, the EITF, and the IASB. And some individual standards, such as those on derivatives and variable-interest entities, are almost impossible for professionals, let alone laypeople, to decipher.

Furthermore, these days, companies are subject to what I’ll call quadruple jeopardy. They have to apply GAAP as best they can, but they are then subject to as many as four levels of possible second-guessing of their judgments.

First, the external auditors must weigh in. Second, the SEC will now be reviewing all public companies’ reports at least once every three years. Third, the PCAOB will be looking at a sample of accounting firms’ audits, and that could include any given company’s reports. Finally, the plaintiff’s bar is always looking for opportunities to challenge accounting judgments and extort settlements. Broad Principles Versus Detailed Rules

I suspect that all this second-guessing is what leads many companies and auditors to ask for more-detailed accounting rules. But we may have reached the point of diminishing returns. In response to the complexity and sheer volume of many current standards, some have suggested that accounting standards should be broad principles rather than detailed rules. FASB and the SEC have expressed support for the general notion of a principles-based approach to accounting standards. (It’s kind of like apple pie and motherhood: Who can object to broad principles?) Of course, implementing such an approach is problematic.

In 2002, FASB issued a proposal on this matter. And last year the SEC reported to Congress on the same topic. Specific things that FASB suggested could happen include the following:

Standards should always state very clear objectives. Standards should have a clearly defined scope and there should be few, if any, exceptions (e.g., for certain industries). Standards should contain fewer alternative accounting treatments (e.g., unrealized gains and losses on marketable securities could all be run through income rather than the various approaches used at present). FASB also said that a principles-based approach probably would include less in the way of detailed interpretive and implementation guidance. Thus, companies and auditors would be expected to rely more on professional judgment in applying the standards.

The SEC prefers to call this approach “objectives-based” rather than “principles-based.” SEC Chief Accountant Donald Nicolaisen recently repeated the SEC’s support for such an approach, agreeing with the notion of clearly identifying and articulating the objective for each standard. Although he also suggested that objectives-based standards should avoid bright-line tests such as lease capitalization rules, he called for “sufficiently detailed” implementation guidance, including real-world examples.

Although FASB and the SEC may have reached a meeting of the minds on the overall notion of more general principles, they may disagree on the key point of how much implementation guidance to provide. FASB thinks that a principles-based approach should include less implementation guidance and rely more on judgment, while the SEC thinks that “sufficiently detailed” guidance is needed, and I suspect that would make it difficult to significantly reduce complexity in some cases.

In any event, FASB recently said that it may take “several years or more” for preparers and auditors to adjust to a change to less detail. Meantime, little has changed with respect to individual standards, which if anything are becoming even harder to understand and apply.

I’ve heard FASB board members say that FASB Interpretation (FIN) 46, on variable-interest entities (VIE), is an example of a principles-based standard. I assume they say this because FIN 46 states an objective of requiring consolidation when control over a VIE exists. But the definition of a VIE and the rules for determining when control exists are extremely difficult to understand.

FASB recently described what it meant by the operationality of an accounting standard. The first condition was that standards have to be comprehensible to readers with a reasonable level of knowledge and sophistication. This doesn’t seem to be the case for FIN 46. Many auditors and financial executives have told me that only a few individuals in the country truly know how to apply FIN 46. And those few individuals often disagree among themselves!

Such complications make it difficult to get decisions on many accounting matters from an audit engagement team. Decisions on VIEs, derivatives, and securitization transactions, to name a few, must routinely be cleared by an accounting firm’s national experts. And with section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOA) and new concerns about auditor independence, getting answers is now even harder. For example, in the past, companies would commonly consult with their auditors on difficult accounting matters. But now the PCAOB may view this as a control weakness, under the assumption that the company lacks adequate internal expertise. And if auditors get too involved in technical decisions before a complex transaction is completed, the SEC or the PCAOB might decide that the auditors aren’t independent, because they’re auditing their own decisions.

When things become this complicated, I wonder whether it’s time for a new approach. Maybe we do need to go back to the Good Old Days.

Internal Controls

Today, financial executives are probably more concerned about internal controls than new accounting requirements. For the first time, all public companies must report on the adequacy of their internal controls over financial reporting, and outside auditors must express their opinion on the company’s controls. Many people have questioned whether this incredibly expensive activity is worth the presumed benefit to investors. While one might argue that the section 404 rules are a regulatory overreaction, shareholders should expect good internal controls. And audit committees, as shareholders’ representatives, must demand those good controls. So this has been by far the most time-consuming topic at all audit committee meetings I’ve attended in the past couple of years.

Companies and auditors are spending huge sums this year to ensure that transactions are properly processed and controlled. Yet the most perfect system of internal controls and the best audit of them might not catch an incorrect interpretation of GAAP. A good example of this was contained in the PCAOB’s August 2004 report on its initial reviews of the Big Four’s audit practices. The report noted that all four firms had missed the fact that some clients had misapplied EITF Issue 95-22. As the New York Times (August 27, 2004) noted, “The fact that all of the top firms had been misapplying it raised issues of just how well they know the sometimes complicated rules.”

Responding to a different criticism in that same PCAOB report, KPMG noted, “Three knowledgeable informed bodies—the firm, the PCAOB, and the SEC—had reached three different conclusions on proper accounting, illustrating the complex accounting issues registrants, auditors and regulators all face.”

Fair Value Accounting

Even those who are very confident about their understanding of the current accounting rules shouldn’t get complacent: Fair value accounting is right around the corner, making things even harder. In fact, it is already required in several recent standards.

To be clear, I’m not opposed in general to fair value accounting. It makes sense for marketable securities, derivatives, and probably many other financial instruments. But expanding the fair value concept to many other assets and liabilities is a challenge.

Consider this sentence from FASB’s recent exposure draft on fair value measurements: “The Board agreed that, conceptually, the fair value measurement objective and the approach for applying that objective should be the same for all assets and liabilities.” In that same document, FASB said, “Users of financial statements generally have agreed that fair value information is relevant.”

So the overall objective of moving toward a fair value accounting model seems clear. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we will get there soon. In fact, in the same exposure draft the board said that it would continue to use a project-by-project approach to decide on fair value or some other measure. But in reality the board has been adopting a fair value approach in most recent decisions:

SFAS 142, on goodwill, requires that impairment losses for certain intangible assets be recognized based upon a decline in the fair value of the asset. SFAS 143, on asset retirement obligations, requires that these liabilities be recorded initially at fair value rather than what the company expects to incur. SFAS 146, on exit or disposal activities, calls for the fair value of exit liabilities to be recorded, not the amount actually expected to be paid. FIN 45, on guarantees, says that a fair value must be recorded even when the company doesn’t expect to have to make good on a guarantee. A fair value approach is also integral to other pending projects, including the conditional asset retirement obligation exposure draft. Under such a standard, a company might have to record a fair value liability even when it doesn’t expect to incur an obligation. Fair value is also key to projects on business combination purchase procedures; differentiating between liabilities and equity; share-based payments (stock options); and the tremendously important revenue recognition project.

I have three major concerns about such pervasive use of fair value accounting. First, in many cases determining fair value in any kind of objective way will be difficult if not impossible. Second, the resulting accounting will produce answers that won’t benefit users of financial statements. Third, those answers will be very difficult to explain to business managers, with the result that accounting will be further discredited in their minds.

The approach that FASB is using for what I would call operating liabilities is particularly troubling. Take, for example, a company that owns and operates a facility that has some asbestos contamination. The facility is safe and can be operated indefinitely, but if the company wanted to sell the property it would have to remediate that contamination. The company has no plans to sell the property. But FASB’s exposure draft on conditional asset retirement obligations calls for the company to estimate and record a fair value liability. This would be based on what someone else would charge now to assume the obligation to clean up the problem at some unspecified future date. The board admits that it might be difficult to determine what the fair value would be in this case, and companies could omit the liability if they simply couldn’t make a reasonable estimate.

Although FASB and the SEC expect most companies to be able to make a reasonable estimate, in reality I think that will be possible only rarely. Even more important, does it really make sense to record a liability when the company might believe that there is only a 5% chance that it will have to be paid? Consider how this line of reasoning might apply to litigation. Presently, liabilities are recorded only when it’s probable that a loss has been incurred and that a reasonable estimate of the loss can be made. So if a company were sued for $1 billion but there were only a 1% chance that it would lose, nothing would be recorded. The fair value approach would seem to call for a liability of $10 million in this case, based on 1% of $1 billion.

One might think this kind of accounting will apply only in the distant future, but FASB is due to release its proposal on purchase accounting procedures in the next few months, and I understand that the proposal will require exactly this kind of accounting.

In addition to the very questionable relevance of this, I don’t know how anyone would ever be able to reasonably determine the 1% likelihood I assumed. How would an auditor attest to the reliability of financial statements whose results depend significantly on such assumptions? And where would an auditor go to obtain objective audit evidence against which to evaluate such assumptions?

Fair value definitely makes sense in certain instances, but FASB seems intent on extending the notion beyond the boundaries of common sense. FASB also seems to have an exaggerated notion of what companies and auditors are actually capable of doing. Perhaps we should consider FASB’s faith in the profession to be a compliment. Rather than feeling complimented, however, I think that this just makes many of us long for the Good Old Days.

Fair Value Accounting and Revenue Recognition

Currently, asset retirement obligations and exit costs apply to only a few companies, and even guarantees are not an everyday issue. All companies, however, have revenues—or at least they hope to have them. And for the past year or so, FASB has been engaged in a complete rethinking of revenue recognition. This, of course, was precipitated by the numerous SEC enforcement cases on improper revenue recognition. Most cases, however, involved failure to follow existing standards, and most cases also resulted in premature recognition of revenue.

Now there’s no doubt that the current revenue accounting rules are overly complicated, with many specific rules depending on the type of product or service being sold. But FASB’s current thinking would replace these rules with an asset and liability–oriented approach based on fair value accounting. This may well make revenue accounting even more complicated than the detailed rules that we are at least used to working with.

For example, assume product A is being sold to a customer. It costs $50 to produce product A and the customer has agreed to pay a nonrefundable $100 in exchange for the company’s promise to deliver this hot product next month. What should the company record at month-end?

Most accountants would probably think first of the traditional approach and conclude that the earnings process had not been completed. Because product A hasn’t been completed and shipped to the customer, the $100 credit is unearned income. Some aggressive accountants would probably say that the company should record the sale now because the $100 is nonrefundable. In that case the company would probably also record a liability for the $50 cost that will be incurred next month.

FASB has a surprise for both. The board is presently thinking about whether revenue for what it calls the “selling activity”—the difference between the $100 received and the assumed fair value of the obligation to deliver the product—should be recorded now. This assumed fair value would be the estimated amount that other companies would charge to produce product A. In other words, it’s the hypothetical amount a company would have to pay someone else to assume the obligation to produce the product. The company would have to make this assumption even though it is 100% sure that it will make the product itself rather than have someone else make it.

If one could ever determine what other companies would charge, I suspect that the amount would be higher than the $50 expected cost, because another company probably would require a risk premium to produce a product that it isn’t familiar with. It would want to earn a profit as well. Let’s assume in this case that the fair value could be determined as $80. If so, the company would record now $20 of revenue and profit for what FASB calls the selling activity. Next month it would record the $80 remaining amount of revenue, along with the $50 cost actually incurred. It’s unclear when the company would record sales commissions, delivery costs, and similar expenses, but I assume these would have to be allocated somehow.

Given that this project was added to FASB’s agenda in large part because of premature recognition of revenue in some SEC cases—Enron recognized income based on the supposed fair value of energy contracts extending 30 years into the future—it is ironic that the project may well mandate recognition earlier than most accountants would consider appropriate. That kind of premature revenue recognition is now generally prohibited, but other examples could follow, depending on the outcome of this FASB project.

Although the revenue recognition project is still in an early stage and both my understanding and the board’s positions could change, FASB seems determined to use some sort of fair value approach to revenue recognition in many cases. If this happens, we will all be wishing for the Good Old Days to return.

Is All That EITF Guidance Really Necessary?

In early 2004, FASB’s board members began reviewing all EITF consensus positions. A majority of board members now have to “not disagree” with the EITF before those positions become final and binding on companies. This gives FASB more control over the EITF process, and it should prevent the task force from developing positions that the board sees as inconsistent with existing GAAP.

Although I think the task force has done a great deal of good over its 20-year existence (I was a charter member), I think it’s time to challenge whether everything that the EITF does is necessary or even consistent with its original purpose. Too many of the task force’s topics in recent years can’t really be called “emerging issues.” Rather, the task force often takes up long-standing issues where it thinks that some limitations need to be placed on professional judgment.

For example, a couple of years ago the SEC became concerned about the accounting for certain investments in other companies. For years we’ve had standards that call for recognition of losses when market value declines are “other than temporary.” The EITF discussed this matter at eight meetings over two years and also relied on a separate working group of accounting experts. Earlier this year, a final consensus position was issued. It includes a lengthy abstract that tells companies what factors to consider, including the following matters:

Evidence to support the ability and intent to continue to hold the investment; The severity of the decline in value; How long the decline has lasted; and The evidence supporting a market price recovery. So now we have a “detailed rule” on this matter. Will this result in more consistency in practice? Will investors and other users of financial statements receive better information as a result? Is the result worth the additional effort?

Moreover, after two years of effort on this project, FASB had to reconsider the whole thing because no one had considered the effect on debt securities held as available for sale by financial institutions. So now the board is developing even more specifics to deal with the unintended consequences of the rule.

Again, I support the EITF, and I believe it has generally done a great job. The members try to develop practical ways to deal with current problems. Nonetheless, both the task force and FASB may need to more carefully challenge whether all of the EITF’s projects are really needed. If FASB actually issued relatively broad standards, there probably would be a need for the EITF to provide supplemental guidance on some issues. But we now seem to have the worst of all worlds, with quite detailed accounting standards being accompanied by even more detailed EITF guidance.

A Multitude of Challenges

I don’t intend to seem overly critical of FASB and others who are working to improve financial reporting. It’s a tough job, and the brickbats always outnumber the bouquets. If I didn’t strongly support accounting standards setting I wouldn’t have spent 10 Qs years on the inside of the process. Still, those years at FASB, as well as my time before and after, have caused me to develop strong views on these issues. And I truly do believe that standards have gotten just too complicated.

The announced move to broader principles is one I fully support. That job won’t be easy, but it has to be tried or the sea of detail will become even deeper in the near future. FASB needs to actually start doing this and not allow its actions to speak otherwise. And companies, auditors, and regulators need to support such a move and resist the temptation to seek answers to every imaginable question. Furthermore, companies and auditors may have to become more principled before a principles-based approach will work.

Part of this process could be for the EITF to be more judicious in what it takes on. Also, I urge FASB to reevaluate its attitude toward fair value accounting. I believe FASB is moving much faster in this area than preparers, auditors, and users of financial statements can accommodate. Furthermore, the SEC and other regulators may not yet be on board with this new thinking.

In the final analysis, we won’t be able to return to my so-called Good Old Days. But we have to make sure that what accounting and accountants can do is meaningful and operational. We never want to look back and ask, “Remember the Good Old Days, when accounting was important?”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
CPA Journal Editorial Board member Dennis R. Beresford, CPA, was recently named the 2005 recipient of the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service from the AICPA. He received the award on October 26, during the fall meeting of the Institute’s governing council in Orlando. Beresford is the Ernst & Young Executive Professor of Accounting at the J.M. Tull School of Accounting at the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business. From 1987 to 1997, he was chairman of FASB. Prior to joining FASB, he was national director of accounting standards for Ernst & Young.ecently I visited my pharmacy to pick up eyedrops for my two golden retrievers. Before he would give me the prescription, the pharmacist insisted I sign a form on behalf of Murphy and Millie, representing that they had been apprised of their rights under the new medical privacy rules. This ludicrous situation is a good illustration of how complicated life has gotten.

Bob Jensen's threads on standard setting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#MethodsForSetting 

Bob Jensen's threads on theory are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm 




November 29, 2004 message from Dennis Beresford [dberesfo@terry.uga.edu

Bob,

I tried to forward a Barron's article on derivatives to you yesterday. In case it didn't get through, you can access it at: http://online.barrons.com/article/SB110151620676084545.html?mod=b_this_weeks_magazine_main

It includes some interesting perspectives on SFAS 133 and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Denny

November 29, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Denny,

The Barron's article is somewhat balanced and makes some very good points.

However, the capital market vested interests either do not or will not remember the bad stuff that was happening prior to FAS 133 (Orange County, Procter & Gamble, LT Capital, etc.) --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudRotten.htm#DerivativesFrauds 

Advocates of full disclosure in place of booking forget the "full disclosure" obfuscation about put options and SPEs in Enron's infamous Footnote 16 compliance --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#Senator 

It's a never ending cycle of patch and unpatch when it comes to regulation versus corruption. When the scandals die out, the lobbyists buy off the cops to where industry owns the FDA, agribusiness owns the Department of Agriculture, power companies own the FPA, and Wall Street more or less owns the SEC (in spite of Donaldson's futile efforts). These agencies rise up when scandals surface and faith in the system is at stake. But when the media lays off, industry crawls back in the dead of night and takes over once again to rip off consumers and investors. Where was Levitt when all the Wall Street scandals were taking place in mutual funds, insurance companies, and investment banking? Where will the new head of the SEC be when they same companies once again commence to take advantage reduced incentives to play fair? Now that the FASB is more dependent upon government funding, I suspect that it too will water down controversial standards.

In the table below, I try to counter or elaborate on some of the claims made by Ales Pollock in the Baron's article.  I might note that Mr. Pollock was President of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago until 2004.

"No Accounting for Hedging:  FAS 133 led Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac astray," 
by Alex J. Pollock, Barron's, November 29, 2004
http://online.barrons.com/article/SB110151620676084545.html?mod=b_this_weeks_magazine_main 

Pollock:  Since the time it was first proposed, many financial experts have criticized the fundamental concepts of FAS 133, which often push the accounting representation and the economic reality farther apart than before they were applied.

Point 1
Pollock:  FAS 133 marks to market only one side of what in fact are two-sided positions.


Jensen:  This begs the question about what one means by "one sided."  Two-sided positions may be cash flow or fair value hedges.  A cash flow hedge inevitably gives rise to fair value risk.  Prior to FAS 133, such fair value risk of a cash flow hedge was simply ignored (except in the case of futures contract hedges that clear for cash daily).  I would call the ignoring of fair value risk enormously one sided.  For example, when a farmer locked in the forward price of a corn crop with a forward contract, it eliminated the farmer's cash flow risk, but but the spot value of the crop could ultimately be much higher or lower than the locked in (forward) price.  Prior to FAS 133, neither the future sale nor the forward contract was booked.  Cash flow was hedged, but value risk was ignored.  Subsequent to FAS 133, the forward contract must be booked (usually at zero to begin with) and then revised to fair value for interim reporting prior to expiration.  FAS 133 allows a hedge accounting offset to OCI to the extent the hedge is effective.  Hence there is a "two sided" accounting that was non-existent before FAS 133.  If the farmer later on takes a second forward contract counter position to eliminate value risk, he must thereby create cash flow risk.  To the extent that the second hedge is effective, the value changes in the two forward contracts should perfectly offset.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would like to go back to the old days where fair value risk is ignored in the case of cash flow hedges and cash flow risk is ignored in the case of value hedges.  I would call this enormously one sided. 

Point 2
Pollock:  
It treats positions with identical net cash flows differently for accounting purposes.

Jensen:
This depends upon why FAS 133 treats something "differently."  Suppose an option perfectly hedges a hedged item such as a call option on the future price of fuel.  Both items have identical offsetting cash flows.  But the value of change of the hedged item may not be identical with the value change of the hedge.  For example, fuel prices are set in the commodities market.  Option prices are set in the options market.  Both are obviously correlated, but such value changes are rarely identical in the case of options due to inherent differences in the make up of buyers and sellers in both markets.  Hence a perfect cash flow hedge may not be perfect in terms of the changes in current values.  Similarly a perfect value hedge may not be perfect in terms of changes in cash flow risk.  Hence, looking at only "identical cash flows" may ignore value risks and vice versa.  FAS 133 tries to look at both cash flow and risk.

Point 3
Pollock:  
It requires the pretense that all hedging is "micro" hedging of specific items, while the reality is macro hedging of combined balance sheet risks.

Jensen:
This is an enormous problem that I deal with at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/acct5341/speakers/133glosf.htm#M-Terms 
Macro hedging is complicated when only a subset of the risks of the hedged item is hedged.  For example, interest rate risk may be the only hedged item in a portfolio of mortgage investments having varied termination risks, credit risks, etc.

Point 4
Pollock:  
It requires assigning hedges to specific assets or liabilities, although the real risk is the relationship between assets and liabilities.

Jensen:
Ultimately we would like to have hedge accounting rules for hedging entire balance sheets or entire income statements.  Accounting for this becomes so complex that at the moment no hedge accounting standards have evolved other than the FAS 133 requirement that specific derivative instrument contracts be carried at fair value.

Point 5
Pollock:  
It requires direct debits and credits to the capital accounts, bypassing the profit and loss statement.

Jensen:
If the FASB had its druthers this would not be the case.  Initially the FASB wanted to book all financial instruments, including derivatives, at market.  But opponents of fair value accounting, particularly bankers, put enormous pressures on the FASB to allow hedge accounting relief for effective hedges.  Hence, changes in the value of a perfect cash flow hedge may bypass the earnings statement and be charged to OCI in the capital accounts.  This arises from reluctance of the financial industry to market all assets to fair value.

Point 6
Pollock:  
It can cause overstatement or understatement of capital.

Jensen:
This is like arguing religion.  Mr. Pollock implies anybody can tell what the true statement of capital should be.  No such definitions exist operationally.  

Point 7
Pollock:  
It requires deferral of certain realized cash losses.

Jensen:
FAS 133 is no different that most other accrual accounting standards in this regard.  If American Airlines pays $100 million for a new airplane in cash, the airplane's cash cost is deferred by depreciation the $100 million over the expected life of the airplane.  It would very misleading to write off cash payments with no consideration of the estimated timing of expenses and revenues.

Point 8
Pollock:  
It moves accounting further away from cash flows.

Jensen:
One of the required financial statements is a cash flow statement.  If that alone were sufficient, financial analysts would simply ignore the accrual balance sheets and income statements.  The sad fact of the matter is that if the only statement was a cash flow statement, cheaters would really begin to cheat.  For example, cash payment and collection contracts would be easily manipulated for evil purposes.

Point 9
Pollock:  
It diverts organizational effort from risk management to complicated bookkeeping.

Jensen:
In some of my FAS 133 seminars given to CFOs, some of them admitted that they really did not understand some types of hedging until they had to deal with FAS 133.

Point 10
Pollock:  
Thus it obscures financial performance.

Jensen
Andy Fastow would've found obscuring a whole lot easier without being restrained by FAS 133.

 

 

Bob Jensen's documents on accounting for derivative financial instruments and hedging activities are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/caseans/000index.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud.htm 


Brain Teaser from Barb Hessel

November 29, 2004 message from Barb Hessell

The challenge is on. I figured this out in just a couple of minutes (and it should not have taken that long!). See how you do. 
Barb

Just click on the website below or type your chosen number.  Then watch for the coded symbol to appear.

http://www.dslextreme.com/users/exstatica/psychic.swf 

 

 

Barb had to give me the answer  (I thought it was a Wiki, which also may have worked)

Actually, it's mathematical. Whenever you add the digits of a number and subtract that answer from the original number, you get a multiple of 9 for an answer. If you go back and try the trick again, notice that each time, although the symbols change, the numbers 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, and 81 have the same symbol. These are the only answers you can get if you subtract correctly. Voila'

December 1, 2004 reply from David K. Dennis [DDennis@OTTERBEIN.EDU

I have been using this on and off for about three or four years in the intro financial accounting class to demonstrate a certain useful characteristic helpful in detecting accounting errors (I'm trying not to give away the secret).

David K. Dennis 
Otterbein College 
ddennis@otterbein.edu 

December 1, 2004 reply from Robert Holmes Glendale College [rcholmes@GLENDALE.CC.CA.US

A mathematician's answer. Start with a two digit number, 10a+b. Subtract the sum of the digits, a+b. You get 9a, i.e., nine times the first digit in every case. Now, look at the symbols for 9*1, 9*2, 9*3, ... 9*9. See how it's done? 

Bob

 




Definitions forwarded by Paula

ADULT: A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.

BEAUTY PARLOR: A place where women curl up and dye.

CANNIBAL: Someone who is fed up with people.

CHICKENS: The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead.

COMMITTEE: A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.

DUST: Mud with the juice squeezed out.

EGOTIST: Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.

HANDKERCHIEF: Cold Storage.

INFLAT ION: Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.

MOSQUITO: An insect that makes you like flies better.

RAISIN: Grape with a sunburn.

SECRET: Something you tell to one person at a time.

SKELETON: A bunch of bones with the person scraped off.

TOOTHACHE: The pain that drives you to extraction.

TOMORROW: One of the greatest labor saving devices of today.

YAWN: An honest opinion openly expressed.

WRINKLES: Something other people have. You have character lines.


Forwarded by Dick Haar

Climbing Up To Her

"Fire Company 51", said Fire Chief Adams, answering the phone at the firehouse.

"Help! Send someone over quickly!" an old woman screamed into the phone. "Two naked bikers are climbing up toward my bedroom window!"

"This is the Fire Department, lady," the voice replied. "I'll have to transfer you to the Police Department."

"No, it's YOU I want!" she yelled. "They need a longer ladder!"


Forwarded by Paula

Appropriate Dress...

Many of us "Old Folks" (those over 50, WAY over 50 or hovering near 50)
are quite confused about how we should present ourselves.  We're unsure
about the kind of image we are projecting and whether or not we are correct
as we try to conform to current fashions.

Despite what you may have seen on the streets, the following combinations
DO NOT go together and should be avoided.
1.      A nose ring and bifocals
2.      Spiked hair and bald spots
3.      A pierced tongue and dentures
4.      Miniskirts and support hose
5.      Ankle bracelets and corn pads
6.      Speedo's and cellulite
7.      A belly button ring and a gall bladder surgery scar
8.      Unbuttoned disco shirts and a heart monitor
9.      Midriff shirts and a midriff bulge
10.     Bikinis and liver spots
11.     Short shorts and varicose veins
12.     Inline skates and a walker

And last, but not least . . . my personal favorite...
13.     Thongs and Depends


Forwarded by The Happy Lady

As an old Italian Mafia Don lay dying he called his grandson to his bed. "Grandson, I wanna you lisin to me. I want for you to take my chrome plated .38 revolver so you will always remember me."

"But," whined the grandson, "I really don't like guns, Grandpa. How about leaving me your Gold Rolex Watch instead."

"You lisinna to me," responded the Don. "Somma day you goina be runna da business. You gonna have a beautiful wife, lotsa money, a big home and maybe a couple of bambino."

"Somma day you goina coma home and maybe finda you wife in bed with another man. Whatta do you goina do then? Point to you watch and say, 'Times up?'"


Men's Eyechart (forwarded by Paula)

Move cursor over the different eye problems.

http://www.menshealth.com/eyechart/index.html 


Maxine for President --- http://www.funtrivia.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=379935&Main=379931 

It is probably time we have a woman as President. I do have a gal in mind that has all the answers to all our problems. Give it a little thought when you have a moment....

Maxine For President. Maxine:That Grand Old Girl! Her philosophy...

1.Maxine on "Driver Safety" - "I can't use the cell phone in the car. I have to keep my hands free for making gestures."

2.Maxine on "Life" - "Life is like an oven. It burns my buns."

3.Maxine on "Housework" - "I do my housework in the nude. It gives me an incentive to clean the mirrors as quickly as possible."

4.Maxine on "Lawn Care" - "The key to a nice-looking lawn is a good mower. I recommend one who is muscular and shirtless."

5.Maxine on "the Perfect Man" - "All I'm looking for is a guy who'll do what I want, when I want, for as long as I want, and then go away. Or wait nearby, like a Dust Buster, charged up and ready when needed."

6.Maxine on "Work" - "My performance at work has really improved over the years. Now I can nail a coworker with a paper-clip shot from a rubber band at 20 yards."

7.Maxine on "the Technology Revolution" - "My idea of rebooting is kicking somebody in the butt twice."

8.Maxine on "Aging" - "Take every birthday with a grain of salt This works much better if the salt accompanies a large margarita

Now you must agree...she makes more sense than most men that you know!


Forwarded by Paula

A man and his wife are awakened at 3 o'clock in the morning by a loud pounding on the door. The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push. "Not a chance," says the husband, "it is three o'clock in the morning!" He slams the door and returns to bed.

"Who was that?" asked his wife. "Just some drunk guy asking for a push," he answers. "Did you help him?" she asks. "No, I did not, it is three in the morning and it is pouring outside!" "Well, you have a short memory," says his wife. "Can't you remember about three months ago when we broke down and those two guys helped us?" "I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!"

The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pouring rain. He calls out into the dark, "Hello, are you still there?" "Yes," comes back the answer. "Do you still need a push?" calls out the husband. "Yes, please!" comes the reply from the dark. "Where are you?" asks the husband. Over here on the swing!" replies the drunk.


Forwarded by Paula

Uh oh! I think I know some of these!!! Disclaimer: The ones I know are VERY nice people!!! VERY NICE PEOPLE!

Q What's the definition of an accountant? A Someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had in a way you don't understand.

Q What's the definition of a good tax accountant? A Someone who has a loophole named after him.

Q When does a person decide to become an accountant? A When he realizes he doesn't have the charisma to succeed as an undertaker.

Q What does an accountant use for birth control? 
A His personality.

Q What's an extroverted accountant? 
A One who looks at your shoes while he's talking to you instead of his own.

Q What's an auditor? 
A Someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets all the wounded.

Q Why did the auditor cross the road? 
A Because he looked in the file and that's what they did last year.

Q There are three kinds of accountants in the world. 
A Those who can count and those who can't.

Q What's an accountant's idea of trashing his hotel room? 
A Refusing to fill out the guest comment card.

Q How do you drive an accountant completely insane? 
A Tie him to a chair, stand in front of him and fold up a road map the wrong way.

Q What's the most wicked thing a group of young accountants can do? 
A Go into town and gang-audit someone.

Q What do accountants suffer from that ordinary people don't? 
A Depreciation.

An accountant is someone who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor. "Doctor, I just can't get to sleep at night." "Have you tried counting sheep?" "That's the problem - I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying to find it"

Thanks Paula,

Now I know why birth control worked so well for me.

My threads on accounting humor are at  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud001.htm#Humor

 


Maxine's quips forwarded by Paula

But jiggle is just my little way of waving goodbye!

I can't be bothered with a cell phone in my car.  I'm too busy making finger gestures at everyone.

My gas tank goes from $0 to $30 in less than a minute.

Don't like my attitude, send me an email at like_I_care@attitude.com 

If you must burn the flag, wrap yourself in it first.

When I "snap" you'll be the first to go!


Forwarded by Don

Why Lawyers should never ask a witness a question if they aren't prepared for the answer:

In a trial, a Southern small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand, a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"

She responded, "Why, yes I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've know you since you were a young boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The Lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"

She again replied, "Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women, one of them was your wife. Yes, I know him."

The defense attorney almost died. The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench, and in a very quiet voice, said, "If either of you bastards asks that bitch if she knows me, I'll throw your sorry asses in jail for contempt."


Forwarded by Barb Hessell

http://www.whistlerofnorway.com/
 
Check out the site above.  This guy can really whistle.  You should probably opt for English, then jukebox.  He has 3 CDs listed.  If you click on one, there will be a list of tunes.  Click on the Real Player button or Windows Media Player to hear 1 minute of the melody.  Truly remarkable.
 
Barb

Forwarded by David Fordham

Ways in which the Bible would be different if it had been written by College Students:

-- Instead of Ten Commandments, there would be only three, double-spaced, and written in a very large font, with a huge title page.  Two of the three would be pasted from some obscure document on the Internet.

-- A new edition would come out every two years, to limit reselling of used copies.

-- The forbidden fruit would have been eaten eagerly, because it didn't come from the cafeteria.

-- Paul's letter to the Romans would actually be Paul's email to "abuse@Romans.gov"

-- Cain's killing of Able would have been justified because they were roommates.

-- That unpleasantness described in the book of Revelation would be named "Finals Week", not "Armageddon".

-- The reason why Moses and his followers wandered in the desert for 40 years is that they forgot to download the map before they left.

-- Instead of God creating the world in six days, and resting on the seventh, he would have put it off until the evening before it was due, and then pulled an all-nighter.

-- The Book of Numbers would carry a name like, "Studies in Population Distributions of Ancient Hebrew Culture", and would require a calculator.

-- Everyone would be trying to get overrides into Habukkuk, Micah, and II Timothy because they are really short.

-- Instead of Luke, it would have to be DR. Luke.

-- The Sermon on the Mount would be accompanied by PowerPoint slides.

-- Instead of loaves and fishes, the twelve grad assistants would have distributed the PowerPoint handouts to the five thousand in the audience. Instead of picking up baskets full of leftovers, they would have gathered the broken pencils, empty Diet Coke cans, and five thousand copies of the campus newspaper.


Forwarded by The Happy Lady (now we know why she's haaaapy)!

For those of you who didn't get a flu shot!

Miss Bea, the church organist, was in her eighties and had never been married. She was much admired for her sweetness and kindness to all. The pastor came to call on her one afternoon early in the spring, and she welcomed him into her Victorian parlor. She invited him to have a seat while she prepared a little tea. As he sat facing her old pump organ, the young minister noticed a cut glass bowl sitting on top of it, filled with water. In the water floated, of all things, a condom. Imagine his shock and surprise. Imagine his curiosity! Surely Miss Bea had flipped or something...!

When she returned with tea and cookies, they began to chat. The pastor tried to stifle his curiosity about the bowl of water and its strange floater, but soon it got the better of him, and he could resist no longer. "Miss Bea," he said, "I wonder if you would tell me about this?" (pointing to the bowl).

"Oh, yes," she replied, "isn't it wonderful? I was walking downtown last fall and I found this little package on the ground. The directions said to put it on the organ, keep it wet, and it would prevent disease. And you know.. I haven't had a cold all winter."


Forwarded by Paula

If you are from the northern states and planning on visiting or moving to the South, there are a few things you should know that will help you adapt to the difference in lifestyles:

The North has sun-dried toe-mah-toes, The South has 'mater samiches.

The North has coffee houses, The South has Waffle Houses.

The North has switchblade knives, The South has Lee Press on Nails.

The North has double last names, The South has double first names.

The North has Ted Kennedy, The South has Jesse Helms.

The North has an ambulance, The South has an amalance.

The North has the Mafia, The South has the Klan.

The North has Indy car races, The South has stock car races.

The North has Cream of Wheat, The South has grits.

The North has green salads, The South has collard greens.

The North has lobsters, The South has craw dads.

The North has the rust belt, The South has the Bible Belt.

If you run your car into a ditch, don't panic. Four men in a four-wheel drive pickup truck with a tow chain will be along shortly. Don't try to help them, just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.

Don't be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the same store. Don't buy food at this store.

Remember, "ya'll" is singular, "all ya'll" is plural, and "all a'll's" is plural possessive.

Get used to hearing "You ain't from round here, are ya?" You may hear a Southerner say "Ought!" to a dog or child. This is short for "Ya'll ought not do that!" and is the equivalent of saying "No!"

Don't be worried at not understanding what people are saying. They can't understand you either.

The first Southern expression to creep into a transplanted Northerner's vocabulary is the adjective "big'ol," truck or "big'ol" boy. Most Northerners begin their Southern-influenced dialect this way. All of them are in denial about it.

The proper pronunciation you learned in school is no longer proper. Be advised that "He needed kill'n" is a valid defense here. If you hear a Southerner exclaim, "Hey, ya'll, watch this," stay out of the way. These are likely to be the last words he'll ever say.

If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the smallest accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store.

It doesn't matter whether you need anything or not. You just have to go there.

When you come upon a person driving 15 mph down the middle of the road, remember that most folks learn to drive on a John Deere, and that is the proper speed and position for that vehicle.

Do not be surprised to find that 10 year olds own their own shotguns, they are proficient marksmen, and their mammas taught them how to aim.

In the South, we have found that the best way to grow a lush green lawn is to pour gravel on it and call it a driveway.

If you do settle in the South and bear children, don't think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn't call 'em biscuits.


Forwarded by Dick Haar

Questions that really need answers...

4. If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?

5. Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?

6. Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point to their crotch when they ask where the bathroom is?

7. Why does your OB-GYN leave the room when you get undressed if they are going to look up there anyway?

8. Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

9. If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that Acme crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

10. If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?

11. If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?

12. If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

13. Why do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

14. Stop singing and read on..........

15. Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?

16. Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

17. Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?

18. Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

19. Do you ever wonder why you gave me your email address in the first place?


Forwarded by Paula

A man staggered home late after another evening with his drinking buddies.

Shoes in left hand to avoid waking his wife, he tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step in the darkened entryway. As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed heavily on his rump.

A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful.

Managing to suppress a yelp, the man sprung up, pulled down his pants, and examined his lacerated and bleeding cheeks in the mirror of a nearby darkened hallway, then managed to find a large full box of Band-Aids before proceeding to place a patch as best he could on each place he saw blood.

After hiding the now almost empty box of Band-Aids, he managed to shuffle and stumble his way to bed.

In the morning, the man awoke with searing pain in head and butt and his wife staring at him from across the room. She said, "You were drunk again last night."

Forcing himself to ignore his agony, he looked meekly at her and replied, "Now, Hon, why would you say such a mean thing?"

"Well," she said, "it could be the open front door, it could be the broken glass at the bottom of the stairs, it could be the drops of blood trailing through the house, it could be your bloodshot eyes, but, mostly....

it's all those Band-Aids stuck on the downstairs mirror!"


Forwarded by Betty Carper

Blonde School Girl

A girl came skipping home from school one day. "Mommy, Mommy," she called excitedly, "We were counting today, and all the other kids could only count to four, but I counted to 10. Listen, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!”

"Very good," said her mother.

"Is it because I'm blonde, Mommy?"

"Yes, sweetie, it's because you're blonde."

The next day the girl came running home from school.  "Mommy, Mommy,” she eagerly called, “we were saying the alphabet today, and all the other kids could only say it to D, but I said it to G.  Listen, a, b, c, d, e, f, g!"


"Very good," said her mother.

 

"Is it because I'm blonde, Mommy?"

 
"Yes, it's because you're blonde."


The third day, the girl came running home and very animatedly shouted, "Mommy, Mommy, we were in gym class today, and when we showered, all the other girls had flat chests, but I have these!" And she lifted her tank top to reveal a pair of 36Cs.

 

Embarrassed, her mother said, “Very good.”


"Is it because I'm blonde, mommy?"

 

"No Dear, it's because you're 25."


Forwarded by a blonde (possibly that is)

A DEAD BMW

      A blonde pushes her BMW into a gas station. She tells the mechanic
it  died. After he works on it for a few minutes, it is idling smoothly.
She  says, "What's the story?" He replies, "Just crap in the carburetor"
She  asks, "How often do I have to do that?"


      SPEEDING TICKET

      A police officer stops a blonde for speeding and asks her very
nicely if  he could see her license. She replied in a huff, "I wish you
guys would get  your act together. Just yesterday you take away my
license and then today  you expect me to show it to you!"


      EXPOSURE

      A blonde is walking down the street with her blouse open and her
right  breast hanging out. A policeman approaches her and says, "Ma'am, are you  aware that I could cite you for indecent exposure?" She says, "Why  officer?" "Because your breast is hanging out," he says. She looks down and  says, "OH MY ", I left the baby on the bus again!"


      RIVER WALK

      There's this blonde out for a walk. She comes to a river and sees
another blonde on the opposite bank. "Yoo-hoo!" she shouts, "How can I get  to the other side?" The second blonde looks up the river then down the  river and shouts back, "You ARE on the other side."


      KNITTING

      A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the
freeway.  Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the  wheel was knitting! Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights  and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and  yelled, "PULL OVER!" "NO!" the blonde yelled back, "IT'S A SCARF!"


      BLONDE ON THE SUN

      A Russian, an American, and a Blonde were talking one day. The
Russian  said, "We were the first in space!" The American said, "We were the first  on the moon!" The Blonde said, "So what? We're going to be the first on the  sun!" The Russian and the American looked at each
other and shook their  heads. "You can't land on the sun, you idiot!
You'll burn up!" said the  Russian. To which the Blonde replied, "We're
not stupid, you know. We're  going at night!"


      IN A VACUUM

      A blonde was playing Trivial Pursuit one night. It was her turn.
She  rolled the dice and she landed on Science & Nature. Her question was, "If  you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?" She  thought for a time and then asked, "Is it on or off?"


      FINAL EXAM

      The blonde reported for her university final examination that
consists  of yes/no type questions. She takes her seat in the
examination hall,  stares at the question paper for five minutes and
then, in a fit of  inspiration, takes out her purse, removes a coin and
starts tossing the  coin, marking the answers after each toss.

      Within half an hour she is all done, whereas the rest of the class
is  still sweating it out. During the last few minutes she is seen
desperately  throwing the coin, muttering and sweating. The moderator, alarmed,  approaches her and asks what is going on. "I finished the exam in half an  hour, but now I'm rechecking my answers."


      FINALLY, THE BLONDE JOKE TO END ALL BLONDE JOKES!

      A girl was visiting her blonde friend, who had acquired two new
dogs,  and asked her what their names were. The blonde responded by saying that  one was named Rolex and one was named Timex. Her friend said, "Whoever  heard of someone naming dogs like that?" "HelOOOooo," answered the blond.  "They're watch dogs!" 


Forwarded by Betty Carper

Here is what some of the lead news headlines might be in the year 2029. 

   
Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter  speed, they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.

Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh largest country in the world, Mexifornia formally known as
California .

White minorities still trying to have English recognized as Mexifornia's third language.

Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crops and livestock.

Baby conceived naturally . . . scientists stumped.

Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.

Last remaining Fundamentalist Muslim dies in the AmericanTerritory of the Middle East (formerly known as Iran , Afghanistan , Syria and Lebanon ).

Iraq still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.

France pleads for global help after being overtaken by Jamaica .

Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.

George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.

Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.

85-year, $75.8 billion study:  Diet and Exercise is the key to weight loss.

Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.

Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.

Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.

Average height of NBA players now nine feet, seven inches.

New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2036.

Congress authorizes direct deposit of formerly illegal political contributions to campaign accounts.

Capitol Hill intern indicted for refusing to have sex with congressman.

IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent.

Florida Democrats still don't know how to use a voting machine.


Oldies Forwarded by Paula

1. Dear God, please put another holiday between Christmas and Easter. There is nothing good in there now. Amanda

2. Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for was a puppy. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up. Joyce

3. Dear Mr. God, I wish you would not make it so easy for people to come apart. I had to have 3 stitches and a shot. Janet

4. God, I read the bible. What does beget mean? Nobody will tell me. Love, Alison

5. Dear God, how did you know you were God? Who told you? Charlene

6. Dear God, is it true my father won't get in Heaven if he uses his golf words in the house? Anita

7. Dear God, I bet it's very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it. Nancy

8. Dear God, I like the story about Noah the best of all of them. You really made up some good ones. I like walking on water, too. Glenn

9. Dear God, my Grandpa says you were around when he was a little boy. How far back do you go? Love, Dennis

10. Dear God, do you draw the lines around the countries? If you don't, who does? Nathan

11. Dear God, did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident? Norma

12. Dear God, in bible times, did they really talk that fancy? Jennifer

13. Dear God, how come you did all those miracles in the old days and don't do any now? Billy

14. Dear God, please send Dennis Clark to a different summer camp this year. Peter

15. Dear God, maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they each had their own rooms. It works out OK with me and my brother. Larry

16. Dear God, I keep waiting for spring, but it never did come yet. What's up? Don't forget. Mark

17. Dear God, my brother told me about how you are born but it just doesn't sound right. What do you say? Marsha

18. Dear God, if you watch in Church on Sunday I will show you my new shoes. Barbara

19. Dear God, is Reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know him through the business? Donny

20. Dear God, I do not think anybody could be a better God than you. Well, I just want you to know that. I am not just saying that because you are already God. Charles

21. Dear God, it is great the way you always get the stars in the right place. Why can't you do that with the moon? Jeff

22. Dear God, I am doing the best I can. Really. Frank

And, saving the best for last.

23. Dear God, I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday night. That was really cool. Thomas


Forwarded by Cindy Mundy (who's almost retarded)

RETARDED GRANDPARENTS

After Christmas, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their holiday away from school. One child wrote the following:

We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa. They used to live in a big brick house but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Arizona. Now they live in a tin box and have rocks painted green to look like grass. They ride around on their golf carts and wear name tags because they don't know who they are anymore.

They go to a building called a wrecked center, but they must have got it fixed because it is all okay now. They play games and do exercises there, but they don't do them very well. There is a swimming pool too, but in it, they all jump up and down with hats on, while they talk to each other. I guess they don't know how to swim.

At their gate, there is a dollhouse with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out. They go cruising in their golf carts. Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. And, they eat the same thing every night------early birds.

Some of the people can't get out past the man in the dollhouse. The ones who do get out bring food back to the wrecked center and call it pot luck.

My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday too. When I earn my retardment, I want to be the man in the dollhouse. Then I will let people out so they can visit their grandchildren


Forwarded by Aaron Konstam

Bubba Joe's first military assignment was to a military induction center, and, because he was a good talker, they assigned him the duty of advising new recruits about the government benefits, especially the GI insurance to which they were entitled.

Before long the Captain in charge of the induction center began noticing that Bubba was getting a 99% sign up for the top GI insurance. This was odd, because it would cost these poor inductees nearly $30.00 per month more for their higher coverage than what the government was already granting.

The Captain decided that he would not ask Bubba Joe about his selling techniques but that he would sit in the back of the room and observe Bubba's sales pitch.

Bubba Joe stood up before his latest group of inductees and stated, "If you have the normal GI insurance and go to Iraq and are killed, the government pays your beneficiary $6,000."

"If you take out the supplemental GI insurance (which will cost you an additional $30.00 per month), the government pays your beneficiary $200,000."

"NOW," Bubba concluded, "which bunch do you think they're gonna send into battle first?"


From Time Magazine, 13, 2004, Page 23

Question
What causes loss of libido in older women?

Answer
You mean besides older men?


T shirts from the 1970s --- http://www.nostalgiacentral.com/pop/tshirtslogan.htm 

I'm A Virgin 
This is a very old t-shirt

My girlfriend can't wrestle but you should see her box

It's not the beer mate - just a fat shirt

Mutate now - Avoid the rush

Life. Be In It

Smile if you're horny

Patience my ass . . . I'm gonna kill something

Save the whale

Let's Boogie

Sex Appeal - Give Generously


Forwarded by Paula

Here they are again, in case you misplaced this list from last year:

10 Holiday Eating Tips

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it....HELLO???

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position

yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!




And that's the way it was on December 25, 2004 with a little help from my friends.

 

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 

Jesse's Wonderful Music for Romantics (You have to scroll down to the titles) --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/

Free Harvard Classics --- http://www.bartleby.com/hc/
Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

 

I highly recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free newsletter from a very smart finance professor, Jim Mahar from St. Bonaventure University) --- www.FinanceProfessor.com 

 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for accounting newsletters are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#News 

News Headlines for Accounting from TheCycles.com --- http://www.thecycles.com/business/accounting 
An unbelievable number of other news headlines categories in TheCycles.com are at http://www.thecycles.com/ 

 

Jack Anderson's Accounting Information Finder --- http://www.umsl.edu/~anderson/accsites.htm

 

Gerald Trite's great set of links --- http://www.zorba.ca/bookmark.htm 

 

Paul Pacter maintains the best international accounting standards and news Website at http://www.iasplus.com/

 

The Finance Professor --- http://www.financeprofessor.com/about/aboutFP.html 

 

Walt Mossberg's many answers to questions in technology --- http://ptech.wsj.com/

 

How stuff works --- http://www.howstuffworks.com/ 

 

Household and Other Heloise-Style Hints --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob3.htm#Hints 

 

Bob Jensen's video helpers for MS Excel, MS Access, and other helper videos are at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/ 
Accompanying documentation can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/default1.htm and http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm 

 

Click on www.syllabus.com/radio/index.asp 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) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu  

 

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December 1, 2004

Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on December 1, 2004
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

 

Recently, Trinity University won the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) prize for best first year handbook of one color.  This is the first year that Trinity has entered into the contest, and, according to Assistant Director of Student Activities Marcella Leung, the handbook’s content is what caused Trinity’s book to stand out.
Trinitonian, November 12, 2004, Page 1 --- http://www.trinity.edu/departments/campus_publications/trinitonian/index.htm 

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

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.

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Do you have history questions?
Facts about any given year.  For example, what took place in 1938? ---  http://encyclopedia.calendarhome.com/1938.htm 
The main page is at http://encyclopedia.calendarhome.com 
Bob Jensen's history bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History 

Calendars for the years 1930-2005 (change the year) --- http://www.flicklives.com/Timeline/1939_cal.html 

Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 


To shake loose the country's hidebound labor market, Mr. Hartz went after its rigid work rules, implacable labor unions and, most controversially, its generous unemployment compensation, which makes life on the dole a reasonable alternative for millions of Germans

Mark Landler, "The Heart of the Hartz Commission," The New York Times, November 26, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/26/business/worldbusiness/26hartz.html?oref=login 
When comparing differences in regulation between Europe and the rest of the world, it is important to take into account that regulations are not always from government.  In Europe , banks set many customized accounting regulations they impose on customers and labor unions are all powerful with regulations.
Click here for the Fordham-Jensen Debate 


Our Sympathies to the Family of Clayton Trotter (former Business Law professor at Trinity University)
Clayton lost his wife to cancer a few years back and now he lost his son to a bullet in the head.  It is a tragedy that so many have to die on both sides.
The following is from the San Antonio Express News on November 15, 2004

Army Sgt. John Byron Trotter was eulogized Sunday afternoon as a man whose life was measured in equal doses of love of family, country and a good time.

Trotter, known by his Army friends as John and family as Byron, died Tuesday in Ramadi, Iraq, after his patrol came under small-arms fire. A graduate of Blanco High School, the 25-year-old was killed instantly.

On Sunday, about 200 people filled a chapel at Cornerstone Church and for 90 minutes reminisced on Trotter's life and his desire to fight terrorism in Iraq.

Trotter, who is survived by his father, six siblings and a toddler son, was to have been at the Pentagon on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, in the part of the building where one of the hijacked planes crashed. His meeting was moved, though, and Trotter was about a mile away when the plane struck.

We are very proud of you John!
When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.

Old Native American Saying


About a Home

I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

 It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,
 A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam
 Afore ye really ‘preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
 An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind. 
 It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be,
 How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury;
 It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
 Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.

Edgar A. Guest --- http://www.freep.com/jobspage/club/guest.htm 


Quotes of the Week

Future of Auditing --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#FutureOfAuditing

Accounting Grads Face Best Job Prospects in Years (increasing demand for an already short supply of accounting educators)
College graduates with accounting degrees are entering the working world at a good time - recruiters are eager, jobs are plentiful and offers are attractive.
AccountingWEB, November 22, 2004 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100115 
Bob Jensen's career helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#careers 

"There's no doubt the brain lights up when sexually aroused," Queen said.
Ryan Singel (See below)

"There's no doubt the brain lights up when sexually aroused," Queen said. Researchers tell a Senate hearing that internet porn is more addictive and harmful than street drugs. One calls for government-funded research into the "erototoxins." "Internet Porn: Worse than Crack?" 
Ryan Singel, Wired News, November 19, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,65772,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3   

[A] recent "porn is heroin" hearing, which concluded that porn bypasses the cognitive speechmaking part of the brain, turns men into rapists and . . . releases damaging "erototoxins" into the bloodstream.  The stated point of the hearing was to determine whether Congress should fund studies about the effects of pornography addiction on families and communities, and whether it should launch a public health campaign to warn people of the dangers of online porn . . . If nothing else, just think of the pool of brilliant problem-solvers we'll create, and the security experts that will arise out of a generation of Sneakers.
"Porn Prohibitionists Miss Point," Wired News, November 25, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,65831,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3 

Harvard professor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., after a 1982 visit to Moscow, said that he found more goods in the shops, more food in the markets, more cars on the street, "more of almost everything, except, for some reason caviar."  Clearly referring to the Reagan administration, Schlesinger said that those in the United States "who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of economic and social collapse, ready with one small push to go over the brink, are . . . only kidding themselves."  ... The most analytical skills of the most highly reputed economists about the Soviet Union were even more flawed that those of Schlesinger.  Following a two-month stay in Moscow in 1984, John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, "The Soviet system has made great economic progress in recent years" because, unlike Wester nations, the Soviet Union made "full use of its man-power."
"Still Bowing to the God That Failed," by Lee Edwards, The Intercollegiate Review, Fall/Winter, Page 9.

One damaging effect of the clash between the academic and IT cultures is that teaching and scholarship have remained relatively untouched by the new information technologies.
Edward L. Ayers, "The Academic Culture and the IT Culture: Their Effect on Teaching and Scholarship," EDUCAUSE Review, December 2004 --- http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm04/erm0462.asp 
(See Below)

It's no secret that the internet threatens the newspaper business. But there's increasing evidence that young people are dumping print in favor of screens at a faster clip than anyone suspected. 
Adam L. Penenberg, Wired News, November 24, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,65813,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3 

The cost of regulation is high, but the cost of corruption may be higher. Nov. 15 marked the implementation deadline for a key section of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for companies with fiscal years ending on or after that date. Under Section 404 of the law, publicly traded companies must have new financial monitoring controls in place, certified by auditors. Many chief executives are complaining loudly that implementing "Sox" is costing their companies heavily in time and money. But we should all be indignant at the broader economic "tax" imposed by corporate corruption on America.
Business Week
Editorial (see below, way down after the Fordham-Jensen debate)

The New York Times Book Review recently asked a handful of poets and critics to respond to this question: What book of poetry, published in the last 25 years, has meant the most to you personally -- the book you have found yourself returning to again and again?
The Poetry Symposium --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/21/books/review/21SYMPOSI.html?oref=login 

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Credit card companies are changing the terms of their accounts at a historically high rate, costing Americans millions of dollars.
Patrick McGeehan, "Soaring Interest Compounds Credit Card Pain for Millions," The New York Times, November 21, 2004 

Published: November 21, 2004

I did not expect this type of position when school children safety is at stake.
School bus drivers yesterday attacked a proposal to install GPS tracking equipment on buses, accusing city officials of promoting ''Big Brother" tactics and threatening to reject a labor union contract if the proposal moves forward…
The Boston Globe, November 9, 2004 --- http://snipurl.com/BusGPS 

Men shout to avoid listening to one another.
Miguel de Unamuno

To be perfect she lacked just one defect.
Karl Kraus

The four million inhabitants of the Arctic will have to change their way of life if warming trends in the region continue apace, leaders have warned. A four-year scientific assessment of climate change in the Arctic has been published, and says the area is warming at nearly twice the global average.
BBC News, November 9, 2004 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3995307.stm 

FAS 133 says Fannie can't get hedge accounting for non-homogenious portfolios.  Will the SEC let they (and auditor KPMG) get way with it anyway?
Fannie Mae estimated it will have to post a $9 billion loss if the SEC finds it has been accounting improperly for derivatives. Ofheo, the mortgage firm's regulator, said Fannie incorrectly applied accounting rules in a way that let it spread out losses over many years rather than taking an immediate hit.
James R. Hagerty, "Fannie Warns of $9 Billion Loss If Derivatives Ruling Is Adverse," The Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2004, Page A3 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110055804528874668,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 
Bob Jensen's threads on the Freddie and Fannie derivatives scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/caseans/000index.htm 

Best Practice in Non-Financial Reporting, a new publication, finds a significant improvement in corporate efforts to build trust with shareholders, consumers and other stakeholders through voluntary disclosure of non-financial performance.  
AccountintWeb,
November 16, 2004 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/item/100065 

Money Can Buy You Anything You Want in the U.S. Senate
You May Go to Jail for Taping and Skipping
No Fair Going to the Refrigerator During Commercials

As early as this week, the Senate may try to quickly pass a bill that would radically change copyright law in favor of Hollywood and the music industry. One provision: Skipping commercials would be illegal. Michael Grebb reports from Washington.
Wired News, November 16, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,65704,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2 
Bob Jensen's threads on the disastrous DMCA are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm 

The only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself.
Winston Churchill

Lyric from South Pacific:  Broad Where a Broad Shouldn't be Broooaaaad!
Women who are obese throughout their life are more likely to lose brain tissue, researchers have found.
"Obese women 'lose brain tissue'," BBC News, November 24, 2004 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4032261.stm

And the other 45% probably lied.
In a speech to an audience of business leaders, students and the media at the Millenium Biltmore, Quigley
(Deloitte and Touche CEO) said compliance with the new laws and regulations is required but will not be enough. The new age demands "principle-centered leadership and a values-based approach to individual action." Quigley summarized a survey of high school students conducted in conjunction with Junior Achievement. In the survey, students were asked "would you act unethically if you were sure you would never be caught?" Fifty-five percent of the students responded "yes," or "they were not sure."
SmartPros, "Deloitte CEO Outlines Direction for 'New Age of Accountability'," November 18, 2004 --- http://www.smartpros.com/x45888.xml 

Next year, when it's time for faculty members to stand up and be counted, I may discover that I've been marginalized to the extent that I'm standing in the hallway, outside the meeting. If called upon by the chair/director of my program/department/ division, however, I'll know just what to say: "I'm a non-science faculty member in a department formerly known as English, somewhere in the realm of despair.”
Carolyn Segal, Irreverent Commentary of the Day, November 24, 2004 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-11-24-04.htm 

When is a hand a mouse? Carrie Rigney’s fourth-grade students know. When they walk up to a board in the front of the room and move their hands over Arizona on a map of the United States — Arizona lights up. And Rigney herself certainly knows. When she’s teaching her students rotational symmetry (something that used to take her several days but now only takes one day) and moves her hand over a polyhedron on the same board — the polyhedron spins around. When she wants students to see the question first and then the answer on the board, she shows them the question and then moves her hand slowly down to reveal the answer little by little.  Rigney’s using a Rear Projection SMART Board interactive whiteboard with an integrated projector, a mobile cabinet, a 66” screen, and a crank that adjusts its height between 69 inches and 83 inches. And she loves it. “I use it all day,” she says. “I use it for everything.” Creating her lessons on the accompanying software, Rigney downloads text and images from the Internet and saves them for later application on the board. She can show videos on the board and even “write” over the top of them. Because the board is projected from the rear, she can also stand anywhere in the classroom and not cast a shadow.
T.H.E. Focus Newsletter, November 18, 2004
Bob Jensen's threads on teaching resources http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/newfaculty.htm#Resources 

I had to think twice when I saw this title:
"Birth Control Pill Might Save Knees," Better Humans, November 15, 2004 --- http://www.betterhumans.com/News/news.aspx?articleID=2004-11-15-2 

Friendship Should Never Be Free:  The President of France Wants the U.S. to Systematically Buy Favors from Allies
Well, Britain gave its support, but I did not see much in return.  I am not sure it is in the nature of our American friends at the moment to return favors systematically.
Jacques Chirac, President of France as quoted in Newsweek Magazine, November 29, 2004, Page 15.

I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood (1799 - 1845)

I remember, I remember The house where I was born, The little window where the sun Came peeping in at morn; He never came a wink too soon Nor brought too long a day; But now, I often wish the night Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember The roses red and white, The violets and the lily cups-- Those flowers made of light! The lilacs where the robin built, And where my brother set The laburnum on his birthday,-- The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember Where I was used to swing, And thought the air must rush as fresh To swallows on the wing; My spirit flew in feathers then That is so heavy now, The summer pools could hardly cool The fever on my brow.

I remember, I remember The fir-trees dark and high; I used to think their slender tops Were close against the sky: It was a childish ignorance, But now 'tis little joy To know I'm farther off from Heaven Than when I was a boy.




Bob Jensen's Updates on Frauds and the Accounting Scandals --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm 

It's a Shame:  Europeans follow rather than learn from Enron's lead on how to hide risk with unbooked derivatives
"Europe Closer to Adopting Uniform Accounting Rules," by Floyd Norris, The New York Times, November 22, 2004

The European Commission has formally adopted an emasculated accounting standard for derivatives, leaving it up to banks to decide whether they will fully comply with international rules aimed at preventing financial institutions from hiding losses.

The vote on Friday was a victory for banks, mostly but not all from France. They had opposed the accounting rule, voicing concerns that it would lead to volatility in reported profits and balance sheet values.

Even with the decision to change the rule, the European Union moved closer to a system of having all companies follow similar accounting standards beginning in 2005. Until now, each country has had its own rules, which have varied both in details and in how well they were enforced. Many companies are expected to report significant changes in profits under the rules.

The derivatives rule, known as International Accounting Standard 39, is similar to, but less restrictive than, an American rule that has been in force for several years. In an attempt to win European Commission approval, the International Accounting Standards Board watered down the rule in ways that would let companies keep most of the volatility away from their income statement. But that was not enough to satisfy some banks, which complained that the standard would still lead to lower or more volatile valuations that could alarm investors.

. . .

In announcing the decision, the commission rejected what it said were criticisms "that the relaxation of the hedge accounting provisions make the standard 'seriously deficient' and 'not credible.' " It said that the rule, even with the changes, was "a significant step forward" because no current European accounting rule "contains any hedge accounting provisions" at all.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's tutorials on accounting for derivative financial instruments are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/caseans/000index.htm 


Securities regulators have accused H&R Block Financial Advisors of fraud in selling customers nationwide some $16 million of Enron bonds in late 2001 and touting them as a safe investment when the energy-trading giant had begun to collapse.
SmartPros, November 9, 2004 --- http://www.smartpros.com/x45778.xml 
Bob Jensen's threads on the Enron scandal are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm 
Bob Jensen's Rotten to the Core threads are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudRotten.htm 


The Fraud Detectives Consultant Network --- http://www.frauddetectives.com/ 

Welcome to the Forensic Group LLC, host of the FraudDETECTIVES Consultant Network, the premier Web source for locating leading Forensic CPAs, Certified Fraud Examiners, Certified Turnaround Professionals, Crisis Managers, Litigation Specialists, and Bankruptcy Professionals.

Fraud Tips
Free Fraud Advice from the experts.

Fraud Tales
Forensic accounting true Tales:
"Back to Basics"
"The Case of the Shrinking Margins".

What Is Fraud?
Do you realize how much fraud costs organizations annually? Read What Every CEO Should Know about fraud.

KnowFRAUD?
Take A Short Quiz just for fun to test your knowledge of fraud.

Comment from Bob Jensen
This is a helpful site, although I might add that accountants, attorneys, and others can list themselves free at this site with no filtering with regard to skills and experience.

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud detection and reporting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm 

Future of Auditing --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#FutureOfAuditing




"Computers as Authors? Literary Luddites Unite!" by Daniel Akst, The New York Times, November 22, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/22/books/22fict.html?oref=login 

For some people, writing a novel is a satisfying exercise in self-expression. For me, it's a hideous blend of psychoanalysis and cannibalism that is barely potent enough to overcome a series of towering avoidance mechanisms - including my own computer. Writers and computers nowadays are locked in such an enduringly dysfunctional embrace that it can be hard to tell us apart. We both rely heavily on memory, for instance. We are both calculating, complex and crash-prone. And like Hebrew National hot dogs, we both seem to answer to a higher power: writers, according to Plato, were divinely inspired; computers have Bill Gates.

Occasionally you hear of a Luddite novelist who shuns computers, but the truth is that most of us would be lost without them. If I rail and curse at mine, it is partly out of resentment at our miserable co-dependence. Imagine, then, the blow to my scribbler's vanity when I discovered a while back that computers might get along just fine without writers.

Occasionally you hear of a Luddite novelist who shuns computers, but the truth is that most of us would be lost without them. If I rail and curse at mine, it is partly out of resentment at our miserable co-dependence. Imagine, then, the blow to my scribbler's vanity when I discovered a while back that computers might get along just fine without writers.

This is not science fiction. With little fanfare and (so far) no appearances at Barnes & Noble, computers have started writing without us scribes. They are perfectly capable of nonfiction prose, and while the reputation of Henry James is not yet threatened, computers can even generate brief outbursts of fiction that are probably superior to what many humans could turn out - even those not in master of fine arts programs. Consider the beginning of a short story dealing with the theme of betrayal:

"Dave Striver loved the university - its ivy-covered clocktowers, its ancient and sturdy brick, and its sun-splashed verdant greens and eager youth. The university, contrary to popular opinion, is far from free of the stark unforgiving trials of the business world: academia has its own tests, and some are as merciless as any in the marketplace. A prime example is the dissertation defense: to earn the Ph.D., to become a doctor, one must pass an oral examination on one's dissertation. This was a test Professor Edward Hart enjoyed giving."

That pregnant opening paragraph was written by a computer program known as Brutus.1 that was developed by Selmer Bringsjord, a computer scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and David A. Ferrucci, a researcher at I.B.M.

Or consider this sensitive reinterpretation of a literary classic:

"The road to grandmother's house led through the dark forest, but Little Red Riding Hood was not afraid and she went on as happy as a lark. The birds sang her their sweetest songs while the squirrels ran up and down the tall trees. Now and then, a rabbit would cross her path."

Continued in article

November 22, 2004 reply from Scott Bonacker [lister@bonackers.com

Interesting article, but it leads to an illustration of a potentially dangerous computer hijacking technique.

At the end of the article there is a reference to the "Monkey Shakespeare Simulator", but it doesn't warn that anyone visiting this website should be aware that the simulator program downloads to their computer, and continues running even while offline.

Snip: "you don't need to be connected to the internet once the simulator has started"

There are no instructions for cleaning it off of your computer except indirectly in these instructions on the results page for making sure you have the most current version of the simulator.

1) In the menu, choose: "Tools>Internet Options"

2) Under "General" press "Delete Files..." and choose "Delete all offline content".

3) You must then close all copies of Internet Explorer and restart it."

The URL of the Shakespeare simulator mentioned in the article follows, but be advised:

http://user.tninet.se/~ecf599g/aardasnails/java/Monkey/webpages/


Question
What grades do nearly 2,000 clients give to their outside auditors?

Answer
Nothing higher than a low C average.  The marks of all Big Four firms are shown below.

"Auditing The Auditors," Business Week, November 22, 2004, Page 160 --- http://www.businessweek.com/@@NGLIjWYQpcvg7RMA/premium/content/04_47/b3909150.htm 

In a world informed by the accounting scandals that engulfed Enron (ENRNQ ), Time Warner (TWX ), Freddie Mac (FRE ), and other formerly trusted giants, J.D. Power & Associates is now evaluating the very audit firms that are supposed to protect investors from such improprieties. And it's a report card no grade-schooler would want to take home to Mom and Dad.

Power surveyed nearly 2,000 chief financial officers and audit committee chairmen, asking them to rate auditing firms on 13 traits essential to reviewing the books properly. Among larger companies, Deloitte & Touche gets top marks, Ernst & Young comes in second, and PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG are third and fourth. But even at No. 1, Deloitte can't exactly celebrate. Out of a possible 1,000 points, it got 734, or roughly a "C." KPMG, which ranked last of the big firms, barely passed with a 673. Among smaller companies with under $1 billion in sales, Grant Thornton International and BDO Seidman LLP finished on top, with the smaller firms getting points for industry and company knowledge.

Most worrisome, only 44% of those surveyed said they were "extremely" or "very" confident in the accounting profession, down from 53% last year. Ron Conlin, the J.D. Power partner who headed up the survey, blames the fact that auditors are expected to do more work these days to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley and are getting stretched too thin. Auditors reached for comment say they're committed to boosting quality.

Deloitte did well largely because its most senior personnel handle its largest clients, and its auditors have the deepest knowledge of each customer's business and industry. Conlin, who hopes to sell the report to the audit firms, says there is a strong correlation between auditors that clients say ask the toughest questions and those that got the highest scores. That sounds good, but how would Enron's CFO and audit chair have rated their auditor?

Bob Jensen's threads on on how poor quality audits have become routine are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#IncompetentAudits 

Bob Jensen's threads on scandals in the large auditing firms are tracked at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud.htm#others

Hi XXXXX,
I am off campus on research leave until January 8. I claim no expertise on the issue of rules versus principles based accounting standards.   My priors are that principles based standards are too loose to be of much good. The Ten Commandments are nearly all violated in accordance with more rule-based law. For example, the law says murder is justified in self defense.

When push comes to shove, we need a rule of "law" even if it is established in common law (or generally accepted practice). Thus I guess I am more rules oriented because I like structure and clarity about what is right and wrong.

Rules with bright lines (such as FAS 13 lease criteria), on the other hand, give license to skating just up to the edge like when airlines write lease contracts that just barely keep them from being capital leases.

I've no simple answer in theory or practice. Agency theorists will argue that rules are not necessary since agents will work on behalf of owners to maximize shareholder wealth. The 1990s proved this to be wishful thinking as corporate executives looted their companies.

In the final analysis we need both guiding principles and specific rules in specific circumstances (where absence of a rule gives license to harm others). Debates should not be centered on "either/or" choices. Instead they should focus on how best to add transparency to the financial reporting process and internal controls.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From:  XXXXX
Sent: Monday, November 15, 2004 1:42 PM 
To: Jensen, Robert Subject: Rules vs. Principles Based Accounting Standards

Dear Bob Jensen:

My name is XXXXX, and I am a graduate student of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. I am conducting research on rules-based versus principles-based accounting standard setting in the U.S. I would really like to get your input on the subject from an educator's point of view. Could we set up a phone conversation for Tuesday or Wednesday if you are available? Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

XXXXX

"TRANSFERABLE STOCK OPTIONS (TSOs) AND THE COMING REVOLUTION IN EQUITY-BASED PAY"
by Brian J. Hall, Harvard Business School
This link was forwarded by Roger Collins --- http://www.sternstewart.com/content/journal/info/161hallfinal.pdf 
Trinity University students may access file on the path J:\courses\acct5341\theory\TransferableOptions.pdf
Bob Jensen's threads on employee stock options are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm 

Bob Jensen's American History of Fraud ---  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm


"Seven Ways To Foil ID Thieves, by Scott Reeves, Forbes, November 22, 2004 --- http://www.forbes.com/home/personalfinance/2004/11/22/cx_sr_1122idprevention.html 

 Don't let unauthorized charges on your credit cards knock the stuffing out of Santa this year.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission estimates that 27.3 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the last five years, including 9.9 million last year--and the number of new cases appears to be growing.

Identity theft last year cost businesses and banks about $47.6 billion and consumers an estimated $5 billion. The Fair Credit Billing Act limits the liability due to fraud to $50 per card if the creditor is notified within 60 days of the first bill containing fraud.

"Check your credit reports religiously," says Liz Pulliam Weston, author of Your Credit Score: How to Fix, Improve, and Protect the 3-Digit Number that Shapes Your Financial Future. "Many people discover that they've been the victim of identity theft only after they've been turned down for a loan or the interest rates on the credit cards go up. Experts used to advise consumers to check their credit report once per year, but now it's wise to check all three credit reporting agencies twice per year."

In many cases, thieves open an account under a stolen identity, run up thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges and have the bill sent to a phony address. It's never paid and that can wreck the victim's credit rating. Regional and major banks provide security and aggressive identity theft programs, including J.P. Morgan Chase (nyse: JPM - news - people ), Bank of America (nyse: BAC - news - people ), Wells Fargo (nyse: WFC - news - people ) and Citigroup (nyse: C - news - people ).

In 1988, the U.S. Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act making the unlawful use of another person's identity punishable by up to 15 years in prison. However, some studies suggest that identity thieves have a one in 700 chance of being caught by federal authorities. That means it's up to you to protect yourself by securing your computer, account numbers and hard copy receipts. Here's how.

As a child, your mother told you not to accept candy from strangers. As an adult, the variation on the theme is not to download files or click on links from strangers. Opening an unfamiliar file could hijack your records.


In recent weeks, some have been inundated with e-mails purporting to come from the customer service departments of Citi, SunTrust Banks (nyse: STI - news - people ) and eBay's (nasdaq: EBAY - news - people ) PayPal, asking us to update our account. Don't even hit "reply" to say you're not a customer. If you are a customer and get such an e-mail, call your bank on the service line listed on your monthly statement and report the attempted theft. Surprisingly, many fall for this "phishing" scam.

If you are shopping on the Internet--and who doesn't these days--make sure you're on a so-called secure browser. Look for a small padlock on the bottom of your screen and the letters "https" at the beginning of the Web site's address in the browser window. Many big online sites like Amazon.com (nasdaq: AMZN - news - people ) let you store your credit card information. Just say no. Yes, it means retyping your card number and address with each purchase, but an unsecured Web site is a tantalizing opportunity for hackers.

Most victims of identity theft aren't sure how their account numbers were stolen, but investigators believe many are stolen right before their eyes by crooked employees at legitimate businesses. A "skimmer" is an electronic device that can steal and record all the vital information from a credit or debit card with a single swipe. Therefore, it's wise to avoid using debit cards, which are linked to your checking account, at convenience or other stores where there's a high employee turnover because you don't know how carefully the workers have been screened. In most cases, banks will replace money stolen this way in a few days, but being without cash is a major inconvenience.

Continued in the article

(Note that you have to click on Seven Ways to see the seven ways)

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


"Accounting Education: Response to Corporate Scandals," by Pierrel L. Titard, Robert L. Braun, and Michael J. Meyer, Journal of Accountancy, November 2004, pp. 59-65 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/nov2004/titard.htm 

IN THE WAKE OF THE CORPORATE SCANDALS CAUSED by Enron, WorldCom and others, the CPA profession has taken numerous steps to turn crisis into opportunity. In particular colleges, universities and their accounting faculties have changed their course offerings and other aspects of the accounting program to better equip students to cope with the ethical challenges of the accounting profession. 

AVAILABLE DATA SUGGEST ENROLLMENT IN accounting programs around the country is stable and there was no immediate exodus of students following the scandals. Individual schools have addressed the new professional environment head on with new course offerings, real-life case studies, increased emphasis on ethics and guest speakers at seminars and lectures.

ACCOUNTING INSTRUCTORS SAY THE SCANDALS have helped them emphasize to students the importance of accounting. The attitudes of students themselves have not changed significantly in the postscandal period. In general, the more students knew about what had taken place the more positive their attitude toward accounting.

TO CAPITALIZE ON THESE CHANGES, SCHOOLS NEED to make introductory courses more relevant to the current business climate to encourage more students to major in accounting. Instructors need to offer students at all levels the opportunity to explore the social, political and ethical implications of accounting decisions.

AS STUDENTS GRADUATE AND TAKE JOBS IN INDUSTRY or public practice, employers need to reinforce the ethics lessons students learn in school in the workplace. This can be done through employer-sponsored ethics workshops and by making it clear that CPAs are free to raise questions when they suspect possible wrongdoing.

Bob Jensen's threads on proposed reforms are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm 


From T.H.E. Newsletter on November 17, 2004

With the crunch of midterms, finding time to write that history paper or analyze that Shakespeare poem may seem like an impossible feat.

But students will want to think twice before running to the Internet to download a paper in times of desperation, as UCLA renewed its license this year for the commonly used online anti-plagiarism service, Turnitin.com…

For the full story, visit: http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/news/articles.asp?id=30809 

Bob Jensen's threads on plagiarism are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/plagiarism.htm 




Free downloads of 27 novels by Wilkie Collins --- http://www.deadline.demon.co.uk/wilkie/etext/sites.htm 


Forwarded on November 23, 2004 by Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU

REPORT RAISES QUESTIONS OVER EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT OF COMPUTERS

A recent study of the effects of computer use on teenage students suggests that increased computer use may result in lower academic performance. The authors of the study, Thomas Fuchs and Ludger Woessmann of the CESifo economic research organization in Munich, looked at data on many thousands of students in 31 countries. Initial results indicated a positive relationship between computers and academic achievement, specifically in math and reading. When the results were adjusted, however, to compensate for the higher levels of wealth and education in homes where computers are more likely to be present, the data showed that the more computers there are in the home, the lower the student's performance. In addition, despite showing higher test scores for increased time spent using computers at home, the study showed that the more time students spent using computers at school, the lower their test scores. According to the report, "the initial positive pattern on computer availability at school simply reflects that schools with better computer availability also feature other positive school characteristics." BBC, 22 November 2004 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/4032737.stm>

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark sides of education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm 


A Test of 5 Stylish Designs With Added Controls For Greater Functionality

"Modern Mice Use Optical Sensors, Go Wireless," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal,  November 24, 2004; Page D5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110124970649182322,00.html?mod=gadgets_lead_story_col 


November 23, 2004 message from Liv Watson [lwatson@EDGAR-ONLINE.COM

My name is Liv Watson and the Vice President of XBRL Strategies here at EDGAR Online. Microsoft has chosen selective partners to develop the XBRL Add-in for Office. For more information please see announcement below.

On 17 November, during the 10th XBRL International Conference, Microsoft announced the intentions of several partners to build Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) solutions based on the Microsoft® Office System. Microsoft customers have long used Microsoft Office to create and consume documents as part of the business reporting process. XBRL, as a promising standard in this process, can help increase these customers’ productivity. Therefore Microsoft is pleased to work with these partners that recognize the value of building XBRL solutions on top of the Microsoft Office System.

These partners include Business Wire, Corporate Planning AG, EDGAR Online Inc., eReport, and Semansys Technologies B.V.

This announcement was published in a set of Frequently Asked Questions on www.microsoft.com - http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/newsroom/office/factsheets/11-17XBRLFAQ.asp 

EDGAR Online announced last week the launch of their Add-in. (see below for more information). If you have any further questions I can be reached at 203 852 5703. Best regards, 

Liv

Bob Jensen's threads on XBRL are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm#TimelineXBRL 


Functional MRI is helping researchers reveal how the human brain operates and the ways in which it affects emotion and reason.  However, I'm skeptical of alleged differences between brain activities of Republicans vs. Democrats.

What is more important is the possibility of applying this to learning research, e.g., how and when do students learn most efficiently and effectively.

"Clear Pictures of How We Think," Wired News, November 20, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,65775,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1 

We've all had recourse to say: "My head tells me to do one thing, but my heart says do the other." Sometimes we are forced to make a decision but we feel ourselves to be pulled in opposite directions by reason and emotion.

Thanks to an innovation that has transformed the study of the mind, scientists are now able to see precisely what happens in the brain in situations like this. For the first time in history we are getting close to answering the question of whether the heart rules the head.

The progress is due to functional magnetic-resonance imaging, or fMRI.

This technique allows the measurement of the level of oxygen in the blood, and tells scientists which parts of the brain are most active. It can show, for example, the parts of the brain that operate when we fall in love and when we have food cravings. It has even recently revealed the differences in the brains of Democrats and Republicans.

But the technique also holds out the promise of answering deep questions about our most cherished human characteristics. For example, do we have an inbuilt moral sense, or do we learn what is right and wrong as we grow up? And which is stronger: emotions or logic?

Before fMRI, information about the parts of the brain involved in different tasks could only be gathered by studying people who had suffered brain damage from trauma or stroke, and seeing how their brain function changed. Now, the brains of healthy people can be scanned as they are given different tasks.

"fMRI has provided striking evidence in favor of some theories and against others," said Joshua Greene, of Princeton University's Department of Psychology. "But I don't think the real payoff has hit yet. That will come when we have successful computational theories of complex decision-making, ones that describe decision-making at the level of neural circuits."

Greene, together with Jonathan Cohen, professor of psychology at Princeton, is using fMRI to look at the factors that influence moral judgment.

To do so, the researchers scan the brains of volunteers while posing them fiendishly tricky dilemmas. For example, imagine you and your neighbors are hiding in a cellar from marauding enemy soldiers. Your baby starts to cry. If he continues, the soldiers will discover your hiding place and kill you all. The only way to save yourself and the others is to silence your baby -- by smothering him to death. What do you do?

Clearly, you would feel intense emotions, and this shows on the brain scan. But you would also be forced to make a logical assessment of the situation, and this shows up on the brain scan too. Areas involved in abstract reasoning and those that process emotions light up.

In other words, when processing a difficult and personal moral dilemma, we really are of two minds. Greene found that if the dilemma is not so personal, the reasoning part of the brain is dominant.

When a dispute exists between two sides, say in a court of law or in a territorial land claim, there is often a mediator. So too, it seems, the brain has one too. Researchers found a region called the anterior cingulate cortex, believed to be involved in mediating conflict, was highly active in brains struggling with the crying baby scenario.

Greene and colleagues showed a neurological basis for the phrase "of two minds," and that both compete for dominance. So does the heart rule the head? Answer: Sometimes. But the head doesn't give in without a fight.

Continued in the article


Internet pornography is the new crack cocaine, leading to addiction, misogyny, pedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction, according to clinicians and researchers testifying before a Senate committee Thursday.

Witnesses before the Senate Commerce Committee's Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee spared no superlative in their description of the negative effects of pornography.

Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Cognitive Therapy, called porn the "most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today."

"The internet is a perfect drug delivery system because you are anonymous, aroused and have role models for these behaviors," Layden said. "To have drug pumped into your house 24/7, free, and children know how to use it better than grown-ups know how to use it -- it's a perfect delivery system if we want to have a whole generation of young addicts who will never have the drug out of their mind."

Pornography addicts have a more difficult time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts, since coke users can get the drug out of their system, but pornographic images stay in the brain forever, Layden said.

Jeffrey Satinover, a psychiatrist and advisor to the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality echoed Layden's concern about the internet and the somatic effects of pornography.

"Pornography really does, unlike other addictions, biologically cause direct release of the most perfect addictive substance," Satinover said. "That is, it causes masturbation, which causes release of the naturally occurring opioids. It does what heroin can't do, in effect."

The internet is dangerous because it removes the inefficiency in the delivery of pornography, making porn much more ubiquitous than in the days when guys in trench coats would sell nudie postcards, Satinover said.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), the subcommitee's chairman, called the hearing the most disturbing one he'd ever seen in the Senate. Brownback said porn was ubiquitous now, compared to when he was growing up and "some guy would sneak a magazine in somewhere and show some of us, but you had to find him at the right time."

The hearing came just days after a controversy over a sexually suggestive Monday Night Football ad that has many foreseeing a crackdown on indecency by the Federal Communications Commission.

It is unclear what the consequences of Thursday's hearing will be since it was not connected to any pending or proposed legislation.

Brownback, a conservative Christian, is also scheduled to be rotated off the sub-committee in the next session.

When Brownback asked the panelists for suggestions about what should be done, the responses were mild, considering their earlier indictment of pornography. Several suggested that federal money be allocated to fund brain-mapping studies into the physical effects of pornography.

Judith Reisman of the California Protective Parents Association suggested that more study of "erototoxins" could show how pornography is not speech-protected under the First Amendment.

The panelists all agreed that the government should fund health campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of pornography. The campaign should combat the messages of pornography by putting signs on buses saying sex with children is not OK, said Layden.

However, as the panelists themselves acknowledged, there is no consensus among mental health professionals about the dangers of porn or the use of the term "pornography addiction."

Many psychologists and most sexologists find the concepts of sex and pornography addiction problematic, said Carol Queen, staff sexologist for the San Francisco-based, woman-owned Good Vibrations.

Queen questioned the validity of the panel for not including anyone who thinks "pornography is not particularly problematic in most people's lives."

Queen acknowledges she can name people who have compulsive and destructive behavior centered on pornography, but argues that can happen with other activities, such as gambling and shopping.

Queen also criticized the methodology behind research showing that pornography stimulates the brain like drugs do, saying the research needs to take into account how sex itself stimulates the brain.

"There's no doubt the brain lights up when sexually aroused," Queen said.

Queen too would like to see more money devoted to research on sex, but thinks it is unlikely that researchers on either side of the divide are likely to receive large grants any time soon.

Studies intended to show the harmful effects of pornography must contend with ethical rules prohibiting harm to human subjects, while sex researchers have a hard time getting any funding, unless their study is specifically HIV-related, according to Queen.

Continued in the article.


Forwarded on November 22, 2004 by Booger Jack (who is also a leading biological scientist)

I have a new story on line. It’s on my web page at

http://www.geocities.com/jaward04@sbcglobal.net/dancfool.htm 

Copy and paste that address into your browser address window.

The web site has been organized so the newest story is on top. Click on the Title to go to the story, the Journal name to go to the home page, the Issue to go to the table of contents.

Thor Larsen, Doorknobs & Bodypaint, Issue 36, November 2004 The name of the story links directly to the story. The name of the ezine links to the ezine. The issue number links to the table of contents. If you see a syntax error message, just click the no button and it will go away. If you don't see the error message, you will probably be assaulted with a pop up add. Sorry about that. The free web hosting SBC promises is a GeoCities site that spams the unsuspecting user. Now for my disclaimer. I do not endorse any of the products advertised by GeoCities.

Send emails to me at jaward04@sbcglobal.net .

John A. Ward
(aka Booger Jack)

 


Luddism and the Neo-Luddite Reaction

Cultural change necessarily involves resistance to change. The term Luddite has been resurrected from a previous era to describe one who distrusts or fears the inevitable changes brought about by new technology. The original Luddite revolt occurred in 1811, an action against the English Textile factories that displaced craftsmen in favor of machines. Today's Luddites continue to raise moral and ethical arguments against the excesses of modern technology to the extent that our inventions and our technical systems have evolved to control us rather than to serve us and to the extent that such leviathans can threaten our essential humanity
Martin Rhyder, "Luddism and the Neo-Luddite Reaction" --- http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~mryder/itc_data/luddite.html 

One damaging effect of the clash between the academic and IT cultures is that teaching and scholarship have remained relatively untouched by the new information technologies.
Edward L. Ayers (, "The Academic Culture and the IT Culture: Their Effect on Teaching and Scholarship," EDUCAUSE Review, December 2004 --- http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm04/erm0462.asp 
Edward L. Ayers is Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and is Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History at the University of Virginia.

A year ago, my colleague Charles Grisham and I wrote an EDUCAUSE Review article entitled "Why IT Has Not Paid Off As We Hoped (Yet)." In short, we argued that information technology has not yet transformed higher education because the areas of teaching and scholarship, the "heart" of colleges and universities, have remained relatively untouched by the new technologies. In this article, I’d like to continue the discussion and also go further, exploring not only why these two areas continue to be, for the most part, resistant to the changes but also how technology can successfully address these core missions of higher education.1

The Invisible Success of IT Those of us who have been involved for a while in the long courtship between higher education and information technology can recall many ups and downs in the last thirty years or so.2 We remember when we first saw Mosaic, Netscape, and the World Wide Web. At each step along the way, some of the more impressionable among us thought that one innovation or another would push us over the top, that we would have finally gained the critical mass that would channel the undeniable power of information technology into higher education. We watched as commerce was transformed, as entertainment was transformed, as personal communication was transformed, and we kept waiting for the moment when higher education would be transformed in the same way.

In particular, we waited for the time when the very heart of education—the classroom and the scholarship taught in that classroom—would be transformed. Yet despite the tremendous investment that all institutions of higher education have made in information technology, despite the number of classrooms wired and the number of laptops mandated, the vast majority of classes proceed as they have for generations—isolated, even insulated, from the powerful technologies we use in the rest of our lives. Moreover, the form in which scholarship appears has barely changed. Across almost every field, researchers, no matter how sophisticated the technology they use in discovery, translate their discoveries into simple word-processed documents. Sure, they sometimes add JPEG images and other illustrations; and in the sciences, pre-prints rush around the world long before print journals would be able to publish the articles. But producing scholarly discourse in HTML and PDF formats has not changed scholarship in any significant manner. The nature of argument has remained remarkably resistant to innovation in rhetoric or form in every field of scholarly endeavor.

Very real technological accomplishments have tended to become invisible because they have been so successful. If you had told people a decade ago that card catalogs would virtually disappear within ten years and would be replaced by our current information-management systems, they would not have believed you. Librarians have been the real heroes of the digital revolution in higher education. They are the ones who have seen the farthest, done the most, accepted the hardest challenges, and demonstrated most clearly the benefits of digital information. In the process, they have turned their own field upside down and have revolutionized their professional training. It is testimony to their success that we take their achievement—and their information-management systems—for granted.

Similarly, college and university IT professionals have done more than anyone has asked them to do. The speed with which they have built networks and infrastructure, trained people, and created new student-registration and fiscal-management systems has been remarkable. And again, their success is taken for granted, with IT becoming almost as invisible as the electricity on which it runs. In a cruel irony, few faculty think "Ah, I will now use technology" whenever they check to see whether a book is in the library, or whether a student is enrolled, or whether their paycheck has been posted. And yet many do think: "I don’t want to use technology, or I can’t use technology, to teach in the classroom or to disseminate my scholarship." Those faculty who have ignored all the excitement up to this point have decided that they can withstand whatever else is put before them until the end of their careers. They go to their professional scholarly meetings and see only a few workshops and talks on the new technologies; they read the job ads and see that the jobs require exactly the same credentials as were required a quarter century ago.

The bottom line is that despite all the work and successes of IT professionals, teaching and scholarship at leading institutions of higher education remain relatively resistant to the possibilities of information technology.

The Academic and IT Cultures From the viewpoint of a dean who would love to see the transformation of higher education accelerated, and from the viewpoint of a long-time laborer in the technology vineyard who would love to see some of the fruit come to harvest, I’m struck by many faculty members’ resistance to the obvious benefits of the maturing technologies. From the viewpoint of a professor, however, I understand some of the more obvious reasons for this resistance: shortages of time, money, and energy. In addition, I see more systemic reasons, ones that we might call "cultural": deeply patterned, deeply entrenched habits of thoughts and behavior. The problem is that the academic culture and the IT culture simply do not mix together well.

Nobody seems to like the word academic. "That’s merely academic" is used as a dismissive description of something irrelevant to real life, something as pointless as counting angels on the head of a pin or writing an English composition paper on Beowulf. Any mention of the word academic in a book review is a kiss of death. In a particularly cruel twist, even when a nonacademic praises a book by a professor, the reviewer often dismisses the academy in the process: "Not the boring, self-indulgent, impenetrable, dithering book we always expect from an academic, this book is almost as good as one written by someone who knows a lot less about the subject."

When asked to identify ourselves, almost no professors choose "academic" as their first choice. "College teacher" can sometimes sound good, with its shades of the movie Dead Poets Society. "Professor" can be OK on occasion, bringing to mind John Houseman in the movie The Paper Chase. Saying that you work "at the college" or "over at the university" can usually get you through a casual conversation without too much loss of status at the tire store or supermarket.

But being more specific can often cause problems. When I’m on an airplane and tell someone that I teach history, all too often the response is: "Boy, I always hated history—all those names and dates." I got some notion of this when I started to work on the subject of the Civil War, and my mother-in-law, a very sweet woman, introduced me to one of her friends as a "Civil War buff." I carefully tried to explain the difference between a historian and a buff, with the main difference seeming to be that I don’t have another job from which the Civil War is merely a hobby.

As problematic as disciplinary nomenclature can be, adding "academic" makes it even more toxic. The title of "dean" sounds imposing, if faintly scary (satisfyingly enough), since so few people, including deans, know exactly what a dean does. But even I cringe when I think about defining myself as what I actually am during most of my waking hours: an "academic administrator." It’s hard to think of many job descriptions (for legally paying work) that have more negative connotations than that. The title conjures up all the mustiness of "academic" along with all the bureaucratic, paper-pushing, rubber stamp–wielding, red tape–entangling connotations of "administration."

On the other hand, as someone who has served on IT committees dominated by IT staff, I know how IT people speak about academics. I’ve seen the eye-rolling and heard the chuckling at some of the more clueless of my academic colleagues who can’t figure out how to empty the trashbin on their desktop computer. Still, my friends in information technology have their own struggles. You know the stereotypes. You’ve heard the whispers: "geek." As for me, I represent the worst of all worlds: I’m both a lifelong academic and a longtime IT geek. But perhaps this does give me the credentials to delve into the nomenclature of both the academic culture and the IT culture.

For a definition of geek, I turn to a very convenient authority, the dictionary function of Microsoft Word:

geek (n.): 
1. somebody who is considered unattractive and socially awkward (insult) 
2. a carnival performer whose act consists of outrageous feats such as biting the heads off live animals 
3. somebody who enjoys or takes pride in using computers or other technology, often to what others consider an excessive degree (informal disapproving) 

Leaving aside "biting the heads off live animals"—an activity that, in my experience, is indulged in by only a few academic administrators, and usually in private—I rest my case. When your own computer program tells you that by using that very program to "an excessive degree," you are becoming increasingly "unattractive and socially awkward," you might suspect that you’re in trouble. If you brush that warning aside to finish writing an article with that same program, you really are a geek.

As is often the case with oppressed groups, the disdain faced by those in the IT arena and those in the academic arena has not always brought the two together in a shared bond. The two cultures have so much to offer one another, so much to teach one another, if they would only look past the tweed and elbow patches on the one hand and the pocket protectors on the other. The IT industry and the academy share some obvious and important characteristics. Both deal with intangibles, especially ideas. Both are focused on networks and on the information those networks carry. Both are dedicated to innovation and competition. Both are extensible structures: build something once, and you can apply it everywhere.

But taking a clear-eyed view reveals that there’s more to the story. As shown in Table 1, information technology and the academy display competing characteristics.

Table 1.
Competing Characteristics

Information Technology

The Academy

  • everywhere and nowhere
  • strongly identified with a very specific location
  • brash young industry
  • a self-consciously ancient institution
  • highly unstable
  • the most stable institution across the world
  • new competitors continually emerge
  • impossible to break into top ranks
  • possibility of great profits
  • no possibility of profit at all
  • work performed by anonymous teams
  • centered on scholarly stars
  • obsolescence built in
  • designed to deny obsolescence
  • virtually instant results necessary     
  • patience a central virtue
  • designed to be transparent
  • opaque and labyrinth

Since information technology has infiltrated every nook and cranny of other parts of life, it seems to me that it must be the academy that resists. That is because several basic paradoxes lie at the heart of the modern American university—basic conflicts that make the academy a fascinating place to live and a hard place to administer:

Continued in the article

November 17, 2004 reply from Chuck White

Bob:

Hope all is well with you.

Just want to say that the Ayers article is so right on the money. I fear obsolescence is going to be our collective fate in colleges like TU when we combine the governance traditions of the faculty and the need for change via technology. There was a report circulating on the various listservs yesterday from the Sloan foundation about a huge increase in students enrolled in on-line courses and programs and noted that colleges like TU are the least like to se any value or rationale for doing that. We will be unprepared by virtue of no experience with the technology and the model. Combine that with 40K tuitions and the room and board costs compared to the costs of the online offerings and you have the makings of a sea change. We must do better at teaching with technology and extend our offerings beyond classroom seat time models.

If I had waited for the usual processes to renovate the library into an information commons we would still be standing still! Now, it’s hard to find anyone who thinks the coffee shop and the commons were a bad idea!

Stay warm, Nanook!

Charles B. White, Ph.D.
Vice President
Information Resources and Administrative Affairs
Trinity University
One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX 78212

November 17, 2004 reply from David Albrecht [albrecht@PROFALBRECHT.COM

I hate to say it, but I'm starting to stall on IT.

What, with time spent on moving from a teaching-centered to a learning-centered classroom, time spent chairing and participating on numerous service activities, and a new dean that publish or perish still applies to me, I'm getting to the end of my rope. And, my 55-year old body is starting to show about 65 years of use.

I still subscribe to PCWorld and numerous IT newsletters. I have delegated to my sons (21 & 16) the task of picking up on new IT and teaching me about it, or installing it and don't tell me about it if what it does is automatic. I recently asked my son to look into spyware detection for me, and he said that he had installed the necessary program on my computer months ago.

I no longer am on the cutting edge (if I was ever even close to it). I am reluctant to using new IT.

If I recall, I moved into IT because of its promise. It would help in teaching by making information more accessible by my students. After a few years of study, I decided that what I was doing in teaching was not be as effective as if I would focus on learning. I know what it sounds like, and it's true: I've become an assessment geek.

Given that I've switched Geek allegiance, I think now I need to become more familiar with learning. Perhaps sometime in the future I'll be able to apply IT to learning. But not now. How can I apply IT to learning before I discover how I can impact the student learning process.

But, IT has transformed my professional life. I view it as simply a tool. Now, I do my literature research on-line. Sometimes I access the BGSU library literature databases, or the BGSU (or Ohio Link) electronic-journals. I can now locate articles and read them online without leaving my desk (and my desk is at home when I'm doing my research). If I can't directly access something on-line, then I use an online form and order it via interlibrary loan. When it arrives at the library, the library sends me an e-mail. Then I e-mail my GA to go get it, and the GA brings it to me. Sometimes I receive the article in pdf format, which means my GA doesn't have to do the leg work. If my GA is also searching for related literature and finds something, then she sends it to me via e-mail or as an attachment. When I'm working on-line like this and I find something that is useful, I press a button and print it. I no longer have to go to a library's sometimes functioning photo-copy machines. I can even get in and highlight important passages before I print the document.

When I can't find something but can locate a name, I quickly send off an e-mail. I remember the first time I did this about six or seven years ago. Paul Pactor (in London) picked up my e-mail in about 20 minutes, and he replied within minutes attaching just the document that I needed. The last time was a couple of weeks ago when I asked Bob Jensen about something (thanks for the great answer, Bob).

I now use Google much more than ever. It hardly ever returns the information that I get in the library research databases, that is why I use it.

I stay in contact more with my students by using AIM. If a student needs a quick answer, they IM instead of e-mail, because it is much quicker. If I sometimes forget what I said in class, then I can IM one of my students (as I did earlier this evening).

Staying up to date in the profession is much easier and cheaper than ever. I use NYT news alerts, the WSJ web site, and Google news alerts to stay up to date. Google news alerts are the very best! I have about 20-30 search terms related to accounting. Every day I receive 15-20 e-mails containing links to news articles. Much of the time I don't want to read the article. But if I decide to read it, I merely click on the link. And I will be receiving news stories from papers all around the world. I found the different perspectives on the PCAOB auditor inspections very interesting.

I know what I know, but I'm not really out looking for anything new. I'm having enough difficulty staying up with what I have right now.

My job is still to get pubs, to teach effectively and to do service. The 45-40-15 merit emphasis in my department hasn't changed. However, my tools have changed. What I think has changed the landscape (much more than IT) is the 20-year movement toward a learning-centered classroom. This is huge. It really does change an important aspect of my job description. I can move to learning either using IT channels or traditional channels. I am using traditional.

Has IT changed education? Oh, it has helped on the peripherals, but not on the big picture.

I think it is similar to asking if electricity changed the academy, or if indoor plumbing changed the academy or if co-educational classrooms changed the academy. They didn't, but they did.

In closing, let me just say that IT never had a chance to change education. Theories or ideas about education have the potential to change education. Nothing else really matters. But having said that, I'm extremely glad to be doing my teaching using 2004 technology instead of 1894 technology.

David Albrecht

November 17, 2004 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

Bob, if I didn't already have such a bad reputation for being an argumentative, critical contrarian, I'd have to post a rebuttal saying, "is this a paper tiger, or do we honestly believe that, to quote, "teaching and scholarship have remained relatively untouched by IT?."

Is not this very list ITSELF a development of "IT", and do we not believe it has altered scholarship? (I'll bet that Barry and Jagdish get my drift, here...)

Do we not have access to databases, search engines and communications tools which are considered offshoots of IT and have they not altered, in some way, our habits, our approaches, our methodologies, our activities, of conducting your scholarship? Does not the ability to communicate, on this very list, count as an "academic" related activity?

Does not the access to so much more data, so much richer data, so much more contemporaneous data, so much more indexed, searchable, readily-retrieved data, let alone the speed of its mathematical analysis, statistical analyses, comparisons, and manipulations (all offshoots of IT) alter in any way our scholarship? (As an example, how many words do you promulgate on, say, an electronic forum such as this list, compared to the number of words you promulgate in the old-fashioned way: print journals? Does not that proportion say something about communicating your academic ideas?)

And for teaching, I cannot imagine myself teaching in a classroom without the animations, videos, and yes, even PowerPoint slides (used correctly, I hasten to add!) livening up the content and keeping the students of today's generation awake, -- a generation whose expectations have, ahhhh, been altered by, once again, IT. I cannot imagine teaching without expectations of my students being familiar with, and proficient with, ... I.T.

In fact, my very field of both teaching and research(the application of technology to accounting) and its very content have been inexorably altered by, again, IT. (I often wonder how many traditional accounting educators could say the same thing?)

And how much of my time is spent keeping up with ... IT? My father, the professor, occasionally had to break open a new box of chalk or maybe dust the erasers, and that was about it as far as using his technology. Does not all the "keeping current" activity which I engage in to be a satisfactory deliverer of knowledge, inspiration, motivation, example, and challenge count as a modification or alteration from my dad's generation?

If I weren't already such a negative, curmudgeonly stick-in- the-mud burr-under-the-saddle in the eyes of so many respectable denizens of this list, I'd have to wonder, hasn't I.T. really altered, in some material way, -- ANY material way --, the academy's scholarship and teaching?

(I apologize to everyone for my (once again) contrary- sounding post, but hey, I've been taking Belgian cold medicine today and boy, do I feel good right about now!)

David Fordham 
JMU Semester in Antwerp

November 17, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

I hope you are having a great semester in Antwerp.

I certainly do not disagree with your main points, and I think Dean Ayres would probably agree as well. However, my anecdotal experience has been that you and "geeks" like you are still exceptions in academe. Those, like you, who have been most successful applying newer technologies, have aptitudes and motivations for self-learning of these technologies.

The vast majority of faculty in academe has lesser aptitude and motivation to learn how to use new IT technologies. More importantly they will not take the time to participate in free training sessions and make use of help that is available. Most certainly the vast majority use email, search engines, word processors, standard spreadsheets, and some publisher aids. Many use the simpler features of Blackboard or WebCT. Certainly serious researchers have learned how to use statistical packages and databases.

I think Ayres is focusing on faculty might be able to send email, search the Web, and word process but "can't figure out how to empty the trashbin on their desktop computer." And I think he's correct in implying that these are the vast majority of faculty taken as a whole. Perhaps the proportion is not quite as high among business faculty, but in many universities where I've made presentations I've encountered faculty who not only are not interested in learning as much about technology as their students, they are proud of it.

So many faculty have closed minds about learning more about how others have experimented successfully in new learning technologies (e.g., Camtasia tutorials on technical procedures). They rejoice when a paper appears about failed experiments in learning technologies and distant learning. They cannot possibly understand how distant learners might become closer with teachers than face-to-face learners. And even if there is evidence that learning might be improved, these teachers are not about to take the time, trouble, and risks involved in using it unless it is utterly simple. I think Ayres must have encountered some of the same luddites as me over the past two decades.

See "Luddism and the Neo-Luddite Reaction" --- http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~mryder/itc_data/luddite.html 

November 17, 2004 reply from Ed Scribner [escribne@NMSU.EDU

Bob,

I don't know that the academy is unique. Notwithstanding the paperless audit and tax software, the same seems true in accounting practice--lots of older practitioners depending on the "youngsters" for IT knowledge.

Younger faculty members are more attuned to IT, much of which was not available when many older faculty members started their careers. It's hard to learn new things. Will academe achieve the revolution Ayers desires when the "youngsters" take over, or will it always be behind?

Ed

November 17, 2004 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

Ed, I couldn't help responding, even though it is almost midnight here, and with a cold, I ought to be in bed. (In fact, some have suggested I stay in bed even when I don't have a cold!)

You asked whether the new generation of educators might help education "catch up" or whether we will always be behind the 8-ball when it comes to adapting to change, I assume technological change specifically.

I believe the answer is to be found in the answer to a different question: Is technological adoption in education a result of "push" or "pull"?

Do educators adopt technology because of a need? Or do they adopt it because it suddenly becomes available, and a few adopt it as an option and then find that it works, resulting in a few more, and a few more, and finally a lot more adopting it?

If the answer is the former ("pull"), then one day education will catch up, and will be in the forefront of technological adoption.

But my personal opinion (in which I agree with Bob far more than my reputation on this list will allow), educators adopt technology because of "push". Salesmen, hawkers, demo runners, and others come onto campus, pay visits to administrators who like glitz and gleam and have "technology money" from the state (or donors) to spend, and educators are "pushed" into adopting it. A few (Bob J, Bob C., Dave A., yourself, Patricia, me, and a lot of others on this list) adopt it for our various personal reasons (geekiness being one of my many), and most of us end up benefiting from it.

We then, usually be virtue of our positions in the informal pecking order (respect, admiration, adoration, worship, jealousy, whatever you call it, that your colleagues bestow upon you) tend to "push" our colleagues into adopting it.

Ayer's observation, however exaggerated for effect in the article, probably isn't going to change much until educators begin "demanding" technology, -- which, because of the very nature of education, and especially the characteristics of educators in the first place (I'll let your imagination run wild here, but think broadly, not narrowly!), probably isn't going to happen in my lifetime. Educators aren't likely to be the ones clamoring for revolution of any sort, especially revolutionary technology, just by the very nature of what they do and why they do it.

So my guess is that we'll probably always lag behind the I.T. industry. But I still don't agree that I.T. hasn't already had a major impact on academe. I can't believe that James Madison University is so far ahead of the rest of the educational world, and I'm sure that a huge majority of our professors (even the liberal studies, who I admit tend to lag business, engineering, and other "professional" colleges) are actively utilizing technology in ways they wouldn't have dreamt of a dozen years ago, both in scholarship as well as teaching. Sure, there are Luddites out there, and always will be, but their presence doesn't nullify my contention that higher ed has been altered by technology more than Ayer's admits.

If I had the time, it would be nice to gather some truly valid statistics on this, not just voluntary surveys. (Can you imagine the "Dewey Beats Truman" result of running an Internet Survey on this topic!?) ;-)

Two quickie points:

First, you sound like you are at the exact point which I see myself fast approaching, and probably being at by the time I reach your age in a couple of years, with one exception, and that exception is my second point.

Second: even though I've been to the AACSB pep rallies, and was once publicly described as "the dean's challenge is to get David Fordham to become the Billy Graham of assessment", and have been forced unwillingly to serve as our program's assessment coordinator, I'm not yet at the "believer" stage you are with assessment, as contained in the Gospel according to AACSB.

I haven't yet seen how the move from "teaching" to "learning" has affected education, and haven't yet seen anything that I accept as empirical evidence that it works to provide excellence in education, as advertised.

I have seen much, very much, that convinces me that assessment programs can turn bad teaching into acceptable teaching. But there are lots of other things that can also turn bad teaching into acceptable teaching, and most of them have more side benefits than assessment programs.

I have also seen evidence that assessment generally, almost always, takes emphasis *away* from those activities which diffentiate *excellent* teaching from mediocre teaching.

Why does ssessment put emphasis on those activities which consistute *acceptable* or *satisfactory* teaching, and completely ignores those traits which turn a fair teacher into an outstanding one? Because it is so very difficult to "quantitatively measure" those traits, that's why... so assessment ignores them.

And unfortunately, the adage is true: if you want people to spend time on something, start measuring it and reporting it.

Thus, I see asessment programs as trying to turn outstanding teachers into mediocre ones by encouraging teachers to "make the numbers".

And the worst aspect of all: It is the STUDENTS (!) who have to learn, not the teachers. If you want to start working on assurance of learning, why don't the administrators start working with the individual whose JOB it is to learn?

(And I have to add at this point, much of IT is focussed on helping the student learn, suporting the learning process, and supporting the motivation of the student to learn. So in a way, I guess I'd say that IT has helped this paradigm shift more than assessment programs!)

So ask yourself... how do YOU learn? How much of real learning is a result of "teaching"? Hmmmm? Be honest now. How much of what an individual *learns* is totally because of a teacher? In my mind, excellence in teaching is more of being a "motivator" and an "inspirer" and "ethusiasm spreader" for learning. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is almost always *overlooked* in assessment programs, and is slipping through the cracks. Anyone, even a computer, a journal, a listserv, can "deliver knowledge and understanding", which is what most assessment programs measure and look at. It takes a good teacher to be a motivator, an inspirer, an enthusiasm builder, a stimulator. And because these things are so hard to measure, assessment programs don't address them.

So the bottom line: I don't yet see how the shift from teaching to learning has changed education, nor do I see benefits from the shift, whereas I personally have seen many benefits from I.T.

Once again, I am posting a contrary point of view which, because of the volume being devoted to it, far overshadows the 99% of agreement with which I find myself vis-a-vis Dave A.'s post. (Another vivid illustration of my point about assessment, for those who can catch nuances...!)

David Fordham (again)

November 18, 2004 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU

David,

You force me to wear my good old luddite hat!

I have always felt that "IT" in the classroom is a boondoggle (except to make very large classes manageable). I also liked it when the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Clinton admonished the powerpointers of the world (and I in turn admonished an Air Force Colonel in one of my Ph.D seminars who continued to be a powerpointer; he is now a Professor in a War College and hope has stopped compulsive powerpointing). I also dislike people using laptops while attending meetings (I wonder if they are taking notes, playing freecell, or clandestinely practising voyeurism in public). It comes close to shouting to cell phones in public.

That having been said, I firmly believe IT has enriched our lives, and certainly has facilitated learning by efficient access to resources that would not have been possible before. IT has made knowledge easily and often freely accessible, and to an extent made materials in print academic journals often as current as those in cuneiform tablets, and made journal sections at college libraries like abandoned archeological digs. The time lapse between the conception of an idea and getting up to speed in all work done in the area has shrunk dramatically. For example, yesterday, in less than an hour, without getting up from my chair, I put together a small library of work done (all within the past 3 years or so, and mostly too recent to have been published in journals) in the area of computational models of trust in networks. Ten years ago the same job would probably have taken me over a week, and I would never have gotten more than a handful unpublished items.

I therefore simply can not understand any claim that IT has had not had much impact on scholarship or teaching or the way we teach or the students learn. If it is true, at least some academics must be Rip Van Winkles.

I also found it interesting that the author of the article is from the discipline of Humanities from the University of Virginia, one of the world's best repositories of free electronic versions of works in the Humanities 
( http://www.iath.virginia.edu/ , and http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/ ).

Now let me wear my curmudgeon's hat and claim that IT "IN" the classroom, specially in small classes, may be hindering student learning :-)). Any thoughts?

Respectfully submitted

Jagdish

Closing Quotes from Bob Jensen
Teachers are not the only luddites resisting technology.
School bus drivers yesterday attacked a proposal to install GPS tracking equipment on buses, accusing city officials of promoting ''Big Brother" tactics and threatening to reject a labor union contract if the proposal moves forward…
The Boston Globe, November 9, 2004 --- http://snipurl.com/BusGPS 

Cultural change necessarily involves resistance to change. The term Luddite has been resurrected from a previous era to describe one who distrusts or fears the inevitable changes brought about by new technology. The original Luddite revolt occurred in 1811, an action against the English Textile factories that displaced craftsmen in favor of machines. Today's Luddites continue to raise moral and ethical arguments against the excesses of modern technology to the extent that our inventions and our technical systems have evolved to control us rather than to serve us and to the extent that such leviathans can threaten our essential humanity
Martin Rhyder, "Luddism and the Neo-Luddite Reaction" --- http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~mryder/itc_data/luddite.html 

Bob Jensen's threads on the dark side of education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm 


November 18 from Bob Overn (my very distant cousin)

Bob and Erika,

Nancy is my niece, Nancy nee Randolph,

She writes:

**********
Dear Family,

Some of you must have written notes to C-SPAN, and it paid off! Thanks very much. If you did not catch C-SPAN's Book TV program on Total Truth, I just learned that it will be broadcast a second time this Saturday, November 20, at 4:30 pm (a much more accessible time period). For more information, see _http://www.booktv.org/schedule/_ (http://www.booktv.org/schedule/) .

Nancy

------------------------------------------ 
Nancy R. Pearcey Francis A. Schaeffer 
Scholar World Journalism Institute 
www.totaltruthbook.com  
( http://www.totaltruthbook.com/ )


"Business Valuation: 20 Steps For Pricing a Patent," by Timothy Cromley, Journal of Accountancy, November 2004, pp. 31-34 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/nov2004/cromley.htm 

Some patents are very valuable, while many are not. Because patents often are quite complex, appraising one usually is a highly detailed and expensive process that requires the input of lawyers and advisers with specific technical knowledge and experience. The makeup of valuation teams will vary by engagement, but it is axiomatic that before an appraiser can value something, he or she has to understand what it is. Here are 20 steps to help valuators such as CPA/ABVs do that:

From Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, November 2004, Page 23 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/nov2004/news_web.htm 

BUSINESS VALUATION SITES

Add a New Credential
bvfls.aicpa.org
Institute members looking for a new challenge can register at this section of the AICPA Web site to take the November 15 or 30 Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) exam. Other resources include the BV Competence Assessment Tool, Exam Candidate’s Reference Guide and Content Specification Outline, a BV glossary and explanations of exam terminology.

What’s It Worth?
www.bvresources.com
CPAs can help clients value their businesses by taking advantage of the free valuation court case downloads at this Web stop. Other offerings include an international dictionary of business valuation terms, IRS guidelines and links to the AICPA, Appraisal Foundation and Institute of Business Appraisers. Users also can join the discussion forum and read more definitions of BV terms and tips of the week.

Valuable Valuation Data
www.valuationresources.com
Does your client have an industry-specific valuation question? Find the answer at this e-stop for information on a variety of topics such as divorce, estate and gift taxes, limited partnerships and technology valuations. The Industry Resources section has reports on compensation and salary surveys, financial and operating ratios and sector outlooks covering more than 250 industries. The legal and tax resource sections have links to the federal tax code and regulations, state and federal case law and tax court decisions.

SUCCESSION PLANNING SITES

Plan a Successful Exit
www.strategyletter.com/cp_0100/cp_fa.asp
Visitors can enter the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning Web site through this backdoor to go directly to the article, “The Strategy of Succession Planning,” which teaches retiring executives about some advantages and possible pitfalls of succession planning. There’s also a detailed outline of the article’s main points if readers want to cut right to the chase. CPA/ABVs can click on the link at the end of the story for a free subscription to the site’s e-zine Course and Direction.

Get the Buzz on the Family Biz
www.familybizz.net
CPA/ABVs can go to the Business Issues section of this site and click on succession planning for information on topics such as bringing in the next generation or developing a written succession plan. Visitors also can read up on the seven development stages of succession and find answers to the questions “What are the options?” and “Can there be more than one successor?”

Bob Jensen's threads on valuation theory and practice are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/roi.htm 

 


Question
What would it tell us when a student passes the CPA exam and flunks (or is more afraid of) the AIPB certification exam?

Answer
I'm afraid to mention my answer.  There was a time when some elitist law professors took pride in having a graduating class have a low proportion of passes on the State Bar Exam.  The prided themselves as being more theoretical than practical.  I think the graduates themselves weren't quite as enthused when the failed the exam the first time around..

"Certification Puts Bookkeepers in Key Financial Role," AccountingWeb, November 5, 2004 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=99988 

The bookkeeper, once viewed as a crotchety toiler in a green eyeshade who kept the books for a small business, today has emerged as an essential professional relied upon as a key source of advice for best accounting practices and protection against embezzlement and fraud. Small businesses often have only a bookkeeper as their sole financial officer. Now they can rely on that de facto CFO as a highly qualified and certified expert, complete with the experience, training and qualifications provided by a program established by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers ( http://www.aipb.org

"Certification tells a business owner that the bookkeeper is a true professional with a clear understanding of correct accounting practices that are so crucial for small businesses seeking investors, loans or simply tax returns," says AIPB Co-President Steve Sahlein. "Even more important is the protection that Certified Bookkeepers bring to company assets because of their training in internal controls and preventing fraud by employees, customers and vendors."

More than 100 colleges and universities today have courses that prepare bookkeepers for the AIPB certification exam. Another 150 colleges and community colleges offer on-line courses to bookkeepers who typically previously had little more than a high school diploma.

But certification is changing the lives of bookkeepers as much as the companies they work for.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#careers 

Does AIPB stand for Always in the Proper Box/Book while CPA means Can’t Place Anything? At my age I think I’ve become more of a CPA.


Google's Scholarly Search Engine and Some Publisher Ripoff Reasons Why It Has Big Problems

Be sure to bookmark  http://scholar.google.com

"Google to Launch Scholarly Search," The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2004, Page A8 --- 

Google Inc. today is set to introduce a service allowing computer users to search the content of scholarly publications. The free service, called Google Scholar, searches academic literature available on the Web or through Google's agreements with publishers. Search results will include dissertations, peer-reviewed papers, articles and books. To rank the results, Google will consider such factors as where a document was published and how many other scholarly works cite it, factors that aren't a part of its usual ranking system for Web pages. In some cases, publishers require consumers to pay a fee to see the full text of a document. In Google's current test version, the service doesn't include advertisements.

"Google introduces new tool for scholarly research," The Miami Harold, November 18, 2004 --- http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/business/national/10209308.htm?1c 

Online search engine leader Google Inc. is setting out make better sense of all the scholarly work stored on the Web.

The company's new service, unveiled late Wednesday at http://scholar.google.com, draws upon newly developed algorithms to list the academic research that appears to be most relevant to a search request. Mountain View-based Google doesn't plan to charge for the service nor use the feature to deliver text-based ads - the primary source of its profits.

"Google has benefited a lot from scholarly research, so this is one way we are giving back to the scholarly community," said Anurag Acharya, a Google engineer who helped develop the new search tools.

Although Google already had been indexing the reams of academic research online, the company hadn't been able to separate the scholarly content from commercial Web sites.

By focusing on the citations contained in academic papers, Google also engineered its new system to provide a list of potentially helpful material available at libraries and other offline sources.

The scholarly search effort continues Google's effort to probe even deeper into content available online and offline. Just last month, Google expanded a program that invites publishers to scan their books into the search engine's index, enabling people to peek at the contents online before deciding whether to buy a copy.

November 19, 2004 reply from Roger Debreceny [roger@DEBRECENY.COM

I did a search on XBRL and found that Google did an excellent job of finding research on this specialist area. I will be recommending this site to my students in future,

Roger

November 19, 2004 reply from Clifford Budge  

I have just screened through its offerings in relation a a single topic: Cash Flow. 100 screens full of references - must be 800 or more. It took over an hour to screen through all the titles!

Let me give a very rough impression of what came out of screening through the topic.

For a Google search approach, there are very few ref's that seem to be totally irrelevant to the title "Cash Flow".

Most of the articles are from journals with a wide, business interest.

Many report possibilities to implement academic studies for practical use, on topics probably of interest to the financial markets, specific industries.

Some focus on developing methods of forecasting cash flows - for control, or calculating investment opportunities etc.

There are at least a dozen articles of academic research in the area, up to 12 or so years old. Most of them discuss theory of applying various aspects of CF in investing/business situations.

Academics looking for a research area in the field might well locate something with a potential for closer consideration.

OVERALL, this topic has probably been well-served by Google.

Clifford Budge 
Macquarie University, 
Sydney Australia
Email: cbudge@efs.mq.edu.au 

November 26, 2004 message from Cliff Budge [cbudge@EFS.MQ.EDU.AU

As you may have read on AECM, I've aready used this new Google search to assess it against my own interests in Cash Flow Statements.

It would be wise for us "wise men" to put Google to the test:

Could a number of readers, in different aspects of accounting research, put the system to the test?

My own very quick test on Cash Flow research presented a huge majority of articles from magazines without a research focus. - Some of them considered the possible application of research articles to business situations - which isn't the same thing, is it? - I was mystified at the low proportion of articles from the "recognised" research journals: perhaps someone might correlate the "hit rate" for their topic of interest back to the journals? (I have records of articles over the period reported that did not reach their site).

The whole job took me less the two hours! What about some other analyses to spread our knowledge?

Clifford Budge 
Email: cbudge@efs.mq.edu.au 

November 26, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Cliff,

You raise some very good points.

One of the real problems of scholarly research is that scholarly research journals think the only way they can make money and control copying losses is to restrict publications to hard copy.  This prevents Internet search crawlers like Google from finding key words buried in text.

Pogo got it right.  "The enemy is us."  In particular our worst enemies are faculties who still insist on publication in "elite" journals that shut out easy searches for literature via the Internet.  What is worse is that scholarly journal publication has become a monopoly of the worst kind (rip off pricing of libraries) that some universities and virtually all librarians are fighting as best they can.

For details see http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals 

Bob Jensen

November 26, 2004 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU

Ted Bergstrom, an economist at UCSB expains this phenomena (where free entry and existence of free or cheaper non-profit journals does not preclude monopoly profits by academic journal peddlers) via a parable that illustrates the wellknown co-ordination game in the Theory of Games. The equillibrium is a situation where everyone is worse off. You can see the paper at http://www.econ.ucsb.edu/~tedb/Journals/jeprevised.pdf . I am giving below just a snippet that explains the concept through a parable.

Bob, we do not have to go very far to find the effects of this. Look at AAA and how it extracts monopoly rents by restricting knowledge, if there is much of it, in its journals.

Jagdish

_______________________________________________ 
The Anarchists' Annual Meeting: A Parable

This tale is intended to illustrate the workings of coordination games, and to show that in such games, the presence of potential competitors does not necessarily prevent monopoly pricing.

A large number of anarchists find it valuable to attend an annual meeting of like-minded people. The meeting is more valuable to each of them, the greater the number of other anarchists who attend. A meeting attended by only a few is of little value to any of them. At some time in the past, the anarchists started to gather on a particular day of the year in one hotel in a certain city. Other hotels in this and other cities would have served equally well for the meeting, but since each anarchist expects the others to appear at the usual hotel, they return every year to the same hotel on the day of the meeting.

A few years after the anarchists had established their routine, the hotel that served as their meeting-place increased its prices for the day of their annual meeting. Most anarchists valued the annual meeting so highly that they continued to attend, despite the price increase. A few decided that at the higher price, they would rather stay home. The hotel owner observed that although attendance was slightly reduced, the fall in attendance was less than the proportional to the price increase and thus his revenue and his profits increased. In subsequent years, after some experimentation, the hotel owner learned that he could maximize his annual profit by setting a price on the anarchists' meeting day that was much higher than that of other hotels. After setting this price, the hotel owner proclaimed that he was offering a uniquely valuable service to the anarchists.

The anarchists were annoyed at having to pay tribute to the hotel owner for services no better than other hotels offered more cheaply. Moreover, since all of the anarchists prefer larger attendance to smaller, they were all made worse off by the fact that high prices caused some of their number to stay home. But what else could they do? Each anarchist was aware that he or she would be better off if they could all meet at one of the many other hotels offering equal physical facilities at a lower price. Given their beliefs and temperaments, the anarchists were resistant to making and obeying centralized decisions. Lacking central direction, the anarchists were unable to coordinate a move to another hotel. No individual, nor even any small group of anarchists, could gain by moving to another hotel because small meetings, however cheap, are not worth much to any of them.

Pessimistic anarchists speculated that even if they were somehow able to re-coordinate at a cheaper hotel, this victory would be shortlived. The new hotel like its predecessor would raise its prices to take advantage of the anarchists' disorderly ways. More optimistic anarchists suggested that the problem of organizing a meeting at a new hotel is not insurmountable, even for anarchists. Therefore, argued the optimists, once it is demonstrated that the anarchists will move their meeting if prices become excessive, the hotel at which they settle will moderate its prices rather than provoke another mass defection.

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm 


How to Find a College or University

Probably the best way to search for a college, university, or any other school is to enter the name into the Advanced Search  box at http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en 

You can search within a college or university using the search engine at http://www.google.com/options/universities.html 

International (Cross-Border) Education Links --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm 

From The Scout Report on November 2, 2001

AltaVista Education Search http://www.altavista.com/sites/search/edu 
This new page from AltaVista allows users to search for terms from within the university and college sites in AltaVista. Searches from this page will cover the more-than-20 million university and college sites held here. Users can also browse the three categories, Education, Colleges & Universities, and K-12 Education, though admittedly the links here, while annotated, are not extensive.

How to Find a College That's Right for You

"Going to College? First, Go to the Web," by Anne Field, The New York Times, November 25, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/25/business/25sbiz.html?oref=login  

Two months ago, Gregory Waldorf and his mother, Toby, began a start-up whose time, they hoped, had come.

The company, Destination-U.com, helps high school students identify the colleges that might be best for them. For $39.95, students fill out a 10-minute questionnaire that focuses on matching their personalities with colleges and also considers grades and extracurricular activities. In seconds, the students receive a list of about 15 four-year colleges they might want to consider.

In devising the questionnaire, the Waldorfs relied on three things - the expertise of Ms. Waldorf, a longtime independent college counselor for high school students; interviews with some 18,000 college juniors and seniors; and the insights of eight college counselors.

Mr. Waldorf, a venture capitalist with an interest in businesses that provide Web-based matching services, says the company, based in Menlo Park, Calif., can take advantage of overlapping social trends: the fluency of teenagers in using the Web and the competitive frenzy among students to get into the best colleges

Continued in the article

For a Fee:  The Odds of Admission Among 80 Elite Universities
"Thick Envelope," The New York Times --- http://thickenvelope.com/ 

There are many free helpers for finding colleges.

US News has a comprehensive set of helpers --- http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/cohome.htm 

Bob Jensen's helpers for finding online colleges and training programs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm 

Randall Hansen provides helpers at http://www.quintcareers.com/choosing_major.html 

Thomas Sowell has some outspoken views at http://www.amatecon.com/etext/cac/cac.html 

Petersen's College Bound guide --- http://www.petersons.com/ugchannel/ 

The Princeton Review --- http://www.princetonreview.com/college/research/articles/find/specifics.asp 

Search helpers from the Harvard Business School http://www.library.hbs.edu/ 

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm 


Forwarded by David Coy
The Time Machine at Nostalgia Central --- http://www.nostalgiacentral.com/ 

Most families own a box or a scrapbook full of tokens and mementoes of their lives. Every object unlocks an attic in the mind, a storehouse of reminiscence. Nostalgia Central is a scrapbook providing a trip from the Swinging Sixties, via the Mirror-balled Seventies, to the Day-Glo Eighties.

The word 'Nostalgia' comes from two ancient Greek words: nostos (homecoming) and algos (pain) and is a term suggesting a longing for a lost era. It springs from the heart rather than the mind, and confines itself to living memory. Once there was a time to set aside childish things, to shut them away in the box of memory and get on with life's journey. But our childish things are no longer easily set aside.

The past, it has been said, is another country. If so, it is a place in which all of us have travelled. We remember its customs. We recognise its highways. We all know people there. If the past is another country, then each of us is a passport-carrying citizen of that land.

It was Homer (Simpson) who said "Every time you learn something new it pushes something old out of your brain" . If that is true, where does it leave our nostalgic memories? Worry no longer, because that is why Nostalgia Central is here - We remember for you!

Nostalgia Central does not say everything there is to say about the 60s, 70s and 80s, but it touches on everything significant - that is if you believe that the joy of a new Batman episode or the feel of a Raleigh Chopper are at least as important as the annual rate of inflation or the winning majority at an election . . .

You can use this website like a travel guide, a library, or (if you want to do yourself some permanent damage) it can be read end-to-end like a long, bizarre story.

This truly is your ultimate internet reference guide to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Happy reminiscing!

Bob Jensen's threads on history are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History 


November 18, 2004 message from Irv Gleim

Bob:

The first CPA Exam window (April/May) is now complete. Grades are scheduled to be released in July by individual State Boards, after the AICPA sends scores to NASBA for database entry.

As in the past, we have found many ways candidates can improve scores and avoid problems at the exam. The solutions to these problems, updated weekly, can be found in our CPA Exam Candidate Forum, located at:

http://www.gleim.com/account/cpaforum/?prof0609049764 

Please take a look, and then forward this email to your students.

If you have any questions, or if we can be of assistance in helping your students PASS the CPA Exam, please let me know.

Thank you, and have a great day!

Irv

Irvin N. Gleim Gleim Publications, Inc. 
P.O. Box 12848 
Gainesville, FL 32604 352-375-0772, x.110 800-87-GLEIM, x.110 352-224-1310, direct 352-870-2742, 
ell Fax 888-375-6940
http://www.gleim.com 


At my age, it won't be long until I need one of these.

November 18, 2004 message from Jim Borden

Bob,

Not sure if you came across this, but it sounds fascinating. Hopefully we'll be around to see such technology and to see how well people adapt to it.

http://www.primidi.com/2004/11/18.html 

Jim


Sauerkraut Recipes --- http://www.sauerkrautrecipes.com/ 
Other recipes (including vegetarian recipes) --- http://eserver.org/recipes/ 


"Technical Adviser: Tips for the Video Editor," by Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2004, Page R14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110027883986772689,00.html?mod=gadgets%5Flead%5Fstory%5Fcol 

In my last column, I promised that the topic of this current one would be video editing. While I am being true to my word, I need to begin by acknowledging that I am not going to be answering one important question: "Which editing software should I use?"

My response, I'm afraid, is "I don't know," because I haven't done the days of side-by-side comparisons I'd need to do before being comfortable making any sort of recommendation.

But this cop-out isn't as bad as you might think. Most of the major video-editing packages -- from Adobe, Pinnacle Systems, Sonic Solutions, Sony Vegas and Ulead (note the noncommittal use of alphabetical order) -- allow you to download and try them free before having to actually buy them.

In truth, if you have a relatively simple and straightforward video-editing project in mind, any of the major software packages ought to work fine. Packages aimed at home users are usually in the $100 range; some companies also offer professional packages for around $500. Macintosh users can take advantage of Apple's iMovie video-editing offering, which comes standard on Macs.

Before turning to the editing tips that I actually do have, let's recap the last column, which covered transferring movies to your computer. In brief, the best thing to do with film is to have a professional transfer house do the transfer for you; you can get a list of them at HomeMovieDay.com. For videotapes, you can burn them to a DVD using a living-room DVD recorder, or else use your camcorder as an intermediary between your VCR and your PC.

Another alternative, not mentioned last time, is a small external device like the Pinnacle Systems Dazzle DVC -- around $140 online -- which converts VCR and other video files to the MPEG-2 file format. This means you end up with files that are smaller, and thus easier to work with, than with the other approaches.

Demanding Gigs

Which brings up one of the facts of life in video editing: Your files can get very, very big. Depending on the file format you use to save your work, an hour of video can fill up to 15 gigabytes of storage. It's thus important, before contemplating a video-editing project, to know that you have enough disk space. You may want to buy a new disk drive; if you do, get an internal one that spins at least 7,200 RPM. While there are many models of 5,400 RPM drives, as well as drives that hook up to your computer externally through a USB port or similar link, they usually aren't fast enough for video-editing purposes. (They are perfectly fine for everything else, though, including backing up files and storing music MP3s.)

Then there's processor speed. In general, video editing is the most demanding thing you can do on a computer, and you'll need all the speed you can get. In fact, a video-editing project is a perfect excuse for a new computer -- and this is the one time you'll want to pay more for extra CPU power. Get a gigabyte of RAM memory, the biggest hard drive you can, and a DVD burner, too.

Once you get started, you'll quickly discover that -- despite what you see in the commercials and brochures -- video editing is a long, slow haul. Making a documentary from your trove of old movies, for instance, is a project that can take you the entire winter. You'll need to first get comfortable with the software; then you'll need to do the actual viewing and editing.

Like any hobby, it can have its tedious moments. If the prospect of spending a lot of time in front of a computer doesn't appeal to you, this is probably not something you should undertake. Video editing isn't all drudgery, of course; most people who take the time to do it find it deeply rewarding, if only for the final product. Just be prepared to bring a lot of patience to your work.

In the last column, I asked readers to write in with suggestions or tips gleaned from their own video-editing projects. One of the most common themes was to keep things simple.

"Just because you have 50 different transitions [ways to switch from one scene to another] doesn't mean you should use 25 of them in your 10-minute video," wrote Jim Parks, of Rogers, Ark. "It's the same thing with type fonts in titles. Pick one or two transitions and type fonts, and stick with those." He's spot-on accurate; in fact, any graphic designer will tell you the same thing.

Concord, Calif., resident William Mero says the best approach to an editing project is to first assemble your scenes in the general order you want them to appear. Wait till you've done that before moving on to more advanced steps, like working in transitions and other extras. Otherwise, you may have to delete all your transitions and then redo them once you've rearranged everything.

Remarkable Fixes

While I don't have nearly the experience with video editing that some of my readers do, I have a few tips of my own to pass along.

The first is to realize that most video-editing software packages do more than simply allow you to arrange clips in a sequence and then add titles. Increasingly, they come with sophisticated color- and lighting-correction capabilities that allow you to greatly improve the look of the original film or video. If your scene is too dark, for instance, you may be able to lighten it, allowing you to see people or objects you didn't even know were there. The moral is to spend time getting to know what your software can do for you; you may well be surprised by its functionality.

The second idea is something of a corollary, but involves audio. I was recently looking at a bit of family VCR footage that I had digitized, and was distressed to hear that throughout an otherwise charming dinner-table scene, you could hear a loud, annoying buzz. I thought the scene was ruined.

It turns out that there is a vast library of software out there that allows you to clean up sound files -- just like you can remove "red eye" from pictures. (Goldwave, available at Goldwave.com, is one such program; it costs $45, and you can try it free.) My point is that computers give you all sorts of magical powers with video; the more you know, the more you will be able to do.


-----Original Message
From: XXXXX
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 2:32 PM 
To: Jensen, Robert 
Subject:  The Mind of Small Business Owners

Hi Bob

I've been part of your web site for a few years and I've written you a few times on minor topics. This time I'm wondering (based on years of personal experience in this area of accounting/consulting) has anyone ever written a course, perhaps a Graduate course or written a paper or article on the topic of working with and understanding the "mind" of small business owners/entrepreneurs? My reason is that, recently, when sitting with a client I've been advising for about three years, it occurred to me (like the light-bulb switching on) that their attention span and mental inquisitiveness have a limited window of opportunity for the CPA or financial advisor to present whatever is the topic of the meeting In fact, as a teacher of accounting, the feeling is very similar as to when you feel the class has understood the lecture and examples as compared to a day when the class seems to have glazed eyes about the topic de jour. I would imagine that other professionals who have worked with business people who may be the best in their area of expertise, only seem to have limited patience (perhaps due to time constraints) when listening and absorbing financial information, unless there were educated in the process of "reading" financial statements or tax return and understanding their implications.

Any thoughts on this topic. 
Thanks 
Sincerely 
XXXXX, CPA

Reply from Bob Jensen

Hi  XXXXX

There's a lot of anecdotal literature, some of which is quite convincing about personality traits of entrepreneurs. For example see http://snipurl.com/EntrepeneurPersonaly 

A slightly more academic reference is available at http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0OGT/is_2_2/ai_113563670 

Also see http://www.nuses.org/publications/article_02.html 

Unfortunately, the question you are asking is much more complex than a personality issue, which in itself is terribly, terribly complicated. What you are suggesting is that entrepreneurs differ from bureaucratic types in attention and receptiveness to technical presentations (oral or written). My hypothesis would be the some bureaucrats may become just as bored and inattentive as some entrepreneurs.

I think the distinction lies more in background and aptitude. Decision makers who have little education and training in accounting and finance often sidestepped opportunities in college and on the job simply because the either have no interest in those topics or they have not aptitude. Somewhat similarly, many accounting and finance majors have little interest or aptitude in managing people.

As the first reference above mentions, entrepreneurs often are impatient and results oriented people with little time and tolerance for long-winded analytical explanations and technical details. They would rather hire techies to filter out the nuggets on which to act. But the same can be said about managers of large corporations (the bureaucrats).

The bottom line is that I don't think the distinction lies in size of firm or ownership of the firm. The distinction lies in educational background, type of business, span of control, and very unique circumstances that are hard to generalize.

Bob Jensen


Question
What helps university executives most when it comes to relieving job stress and long hours?

Answer
Note that the article below seems to ignore the other perks:  Mansions, Cars, Entertainment Budgets, Shower Curtains
"Ivory Tower Executive Suite Gets C.E.O.-Level Salaries," by Sam Dillon, The New York Times, November 15, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/15/education/15salary.html?oref=login 

The earnings of many top university presidents are spiraling up toward $1 million a year, according to an annual survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education, rising far more quickly than faculty salaries.

Forty-two presidents of private universities were paid $500,000 or more in the 2003 fiscal year, the most recent for which figures are available, compared with 27 presidents the previous year. Just two earned half a million in 1994.

The highest-paid private university president, William R. Brody of Johns Hopkins University, earned $897,786 in university compensation, not counting at least $100,000 in annual pay for membership on several corporate boards. At least five other university presidents earned more than $800,000, including Judith Rodin, who has since left the presidency of the University of Pennsylvania, and Gordon Gee, the chancellor of Vanderbilt. They received the second- and third-highest compensation packages.

The presidents of public universities, too, are earning salaries that would have been inconceivable a few years back, although they remain lower than on private campuses. At public universities, 17 presidents earn more than $500,000, compared with 12 last year and 6 the year before that.

Mark A. Emmert of the University of Washington is the highest-paid public university president, earning $762,000 this academic year. Carl V. Patton of Georgia State, who receives $722,350, and Mary Sue Coleman of the University of Michigan, who receives $677,500, rank second and third.

"These huge salaries feed into the ongoing corporatization of the academy," said Roger Bowen, general secretary of the American Association of University Professors, who earned about $120,000 a year when he was president of the State University of New York at New Paltz during the last decade. "Universities do not exist to make money but to educate our students and citizens, a role that is central to our democratic society. We send the wrong message when we transmogrify our campus presidents into C.E.O.'s."

The Chronicle based its listings of private university presidents on the most recently available university federal tax filings, for the 2002-2003 fiscal year. It collected its data on public university presidents by conducting telephone interviews with officials at 131 public research universities and colleges, said Julianne Basinger, who compiled this year's special section. The figures for public university presidents reflect their current compensation, she said.

The median compensation for presidents of private research universities rose to $459,643 in 2003 from $314,944 in 1999, or 46 percent, The Chronicle reported.

Several members of university boards said their presidents deserve the compensation because their responsibilities are increasingly complex, with oversight of thousands of employees, as well as vast research budgets and fund-raising campaigns. Dr. Brody of Johns Hopkins, who has a medical degree and a doctorate in engineering, manages Maryland's largest private work force, with 45,000 employees, and the largest research budget of any American university, more than $1 billion.

"He deserves his compensation," Raymond A. Mason, chairman of the Johns Hopkins board, said in a statement.

But the rising salaries of presidents appear to be opening a social and financial breach with professors. The average compensation for full professors at public and private universities last year was about $100,000, Dr. Bowen said.

The rising presidential salaries at public universities come as many legislatures have slashed their states' higher education budgets. Public four-year colleges raised tuition on average 14 percent last year and 10 percent this year, according to the College Board.

Still, trustees at public universities say that to attract talented leaders they must compete with the private universities. The University of Washington Board of Regents enticed Dr. Emmert to leave the chancellorship of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he was paid $590,000, by matching that figure and adding a $160,000 one-time incentive to move, Jeff Brotman, the chairman of Costco who is the president of the board of regents, said in an interview.

"We think we got tremendous value," Mr. Brotman said. "It's like going into Costco and you see a bottle of Dom Perignon for $90. That's a great value, but it's not cheap."

At many universities, the most highly compensated official is not the president. At Duke in the 2003 fiscal year, for instance, Nannerl O. Keohane, who was the president then, received $528,622 in total compensation, while Mike Krzyzewski, the basketball coach, received $853,099.

The highest-paid person in American academic life, according to The Chronicle, was Maurice Samuels, who received $35.1 million, including a bonus of $14.5 million for reaching investment goals, as senior vice president of the Harvard Management Company, which manages Harvard University's $22.6 billion endowment. Lawrence H. Summers, the Harvard University president, received $529,397 in total compensation.

Two top educators at Boston University made the list of highest-paid presidents for the 2002-2003 year. Jon Westling, who left the Boston University presidency in July 2002, received $700,626 in total compensation. John R. Silber, the chancellor who had served as president from 1971 through 1996 and who assumed the duties but not the formal title of president when Dr. Westling stepped down, received $808,677 in total compensation during the same fiscal year.

A year later, in October 2003, Boston University paid $1.8 million to Daniel S. Goldin, a former NASA administrator, to walk away from his contract as university president the day before he was to assume the duties from Dr. Silber.

November 16, 2004 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU

This is very interesting, considering that a few years ago, our dean was very proud of "reorganizing" the college of business so that it would "resemble" business. At the time, there were calls to "reform higher education" by using the principles of management applied to corporations, to become "lean and mean", and to "identify constituencies", and to "develop mission statements" and other buzzwords typically associated with trendy business fads.

Reminds me of my former program director's (department chair, for the unreorganized) warning to "be careful what you wish for, sometimes you get it!"

David Fordham

November 16, 2004 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU]

David and Bob,

There was a time when administrative positions in the university were reawrds for a lifetime of contribution to knowledge. Nowadays, it is a career track to escape the "market" (the students in the classroom) and make hay while the sun shines.

No wonder at the old English schools (Oxbridge for instance) dons couldn't even marry and keep their academic positions (for they might get too greedy for material possessions).

And now the status of an academic is measured not by how profound a thinker one is, but by one's "hourly rate" and bank balance.

Some of us might like to read Rosovsky's "University: An Owners Manual".

Here is also some food for thought, in a well-known poem by one of my favourites, T.S. Eliot. I wonder how much this brilliant piece added to Eliot's bank balance or his "market value", or if he even cared.

 ___________________________________________________
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying! The endless cycle of idea and action, Endless invention, endless experiment, Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; Knowledge of speech, but not of silence; Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to death, But nearness to death no nearer to God. Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

The lot of man is ceaseless labor, Or ceaseless idleness, which is still harder, Or irregular labour, which is not pleasant. I have trodden the winepress alone, and I know That it is hard to be really useful, resigning The things that men count for happiness, seeking The good deeds that lead to obscurity, accepting With equal face those that bring ignominy, The applause of all or the love of none.

'Choruses from The Rock' by T.S.Eliot _____________________________________________________

Jagdish


Connecticut History Online --- http://www.cthistoryonline.org/ 

Bob Jensen's history bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History 


Northern Lights as witnessed in Blair, Nebraska --- http://www.extremeinstability.com/04-11-8.htm 


November 16, 2004 message from mitchell.levy@valueframeworkinstitute.org 

Hello Bob,

I wanted to send you a quick update on the eZine this month. We are currently working on two books. First, we're finishing up the details of an outsourcing book. We've titled the book Happy About™ Outsourcing to coincide with the start of our new publishing company Happy About™. The official release date is January 18, 2005, however, you can enjoy the book now for $3.95 ($1 off the retail price).

"Happy About™ Outsourcing: Over 25 Postive Impact Stories from Executives Who Have Offshored and Outsourced" explores the controversial topic of Outsourcing. It contains 80 pages with quotes and contributions from executives who have "Been There and Done That!". You will learn from some insightful stories and case studies. This book comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Read more and order today! http://www.happyabout.info/outsourcing/ 

Second, we are working on a book on the 2005 economy. Stay tuned for more info.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.

Best regards,

Mitchell Levy 
CEO & Chief Strategist, 
Value Framework® Institute
http://www.valueframeworkinstitute.org 


European vs. U.S. Business Regulation Controversies

November 20, 2004 message from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU
David on on leave in Antwerp

Wow, MRI's, poetry, European ancestry... this list sure is enlightening on a broad array of subjects. And some people think accounting is boring!

I finally found an interesting article before Bob did, perhaps the only time it'll happen this decade...

From the Front Page of the International Herald Tribune, Saturday-Sunday issue, November 20-21, 2004.

"Some German Firms Want Out of U.S. Markets", by Mark Landler. Dateline Frankfurt:

"Add another entry to the list of how Americans and Europeans are parting ways. Several German companies who rushed to list their shares in the U.S. during the bull market of the late 1990's are now seriously thinking about abandoning the market.

"The companies are disenchanted by the U.S. as a source of capital, and are offended by what they view as oppressive new regulations adopted in the wake of Enron and other corporate scandals.

"With trading volumes in America that are, in many cases, a fraction of their level in Europe, they are less willing to bear the cumbersome legal costs, liability, and onerous red tape of complying with the new rules.

"They believe they can raise money more cheaply outside of the U.S.," said Alastair Ross Goobey, the chairman of the International Corporate Governance Network. "Why would you expose yourself to much greater regulation, and much more risk when you don't have to?"

"Until recently, the public discontent had been limited to little-known companies like Lion Bioscience and SGL Carbon. But last week, German newspapers reported that Siemens was considering whether to delist its shares from the New York Stock Exchange, where it has traded since 2001.

"Siemens refused to confirm or deny the report. But the mere suggestion that such a household name, with more than 70,000 employees in the U.S., would take such a step has increased the debates.

French and British companies are also unhappy about the new rules. ...

The tipping point is new regulations mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, a law which generates heavy legal costs and make executives accountable for the accuracy of financial statements. As one example, German executives take umbrage at the requirement that the chief executive and chief financial officer sign off on financial reports. They argue that this is directly at odds with the structure of German corporations, which have management committees that function as a collective.

"Porsche, the sports-car maker, cited this very requirement as the main reason it opted not to seek a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

"The chemical giant BASF, which has traded in New York since 2000, is also unhappy about the rules. It's chairman, Jurgen Hambrecht, described them in a news conference this week as "bureaucratic overkill". ...

Lion Bioscience, a biotech company based in Heidelberg, said it spends over $1.95 million (US) per year on legal and other fees related to the registration of its U.S. securities. Compare this to its grand total annual expenses of roughly $20 million (US), according to a spokesman, Gunter Dielmann. Last month, Lion's entire top management walked out because the liability issue. Lion ... announced this past week that it would voluntarily delist its American depositary shares from Nasdaq on December 22.

(more in the article)

Fordham's observations:

Being in Europe right now, and having dinner last month with the senior partner of KPMG in Brussels, center of the European Union, I can say that it is difficult to find anyone on this side of the pond who thinks that Sarbanes- Oxley is anything more than another (like HIPPA and ADA) sad example of the U.S. Congress's utter insanity. The European business leadership, or at least that portion of it that I've been lucky enough to hold discussions with, cannot understand the U.S.'s perceived response to every problem that comes along by passing volumes of legislation which in actual practice and implementation does little more than pad the pockets of lawyers while unduly burdening businesses with added (and non-value-adding) expenses, in their views.

In short, no one here believes Sarbanes Oxley was needed, nor do they believe it will one whit of good in stopping real corporate scandal.

I know this is a very different perspective than that of a New Orleans dock worker whose pension fund lost $16 billion over the last two years, but as the article states in its opening paragraph, it is just another example of the ways that the U.S. and the Europeans are "parting ways".

Over dinner tonight at the home of a major Belgian fund manager, he mused that if Congress keeps up with the trend they've followed for the last 10 years, democracy is going to acquire a really bad name.

Another guest pointed out that Bush's foreign policy is alienating the greens, socialists, labor, and the liberals, and Congress is doing a just as good, or even better, job of alienating business, the capital market, and the conservatives. As he joked, "this accounts for just about everybody in Europe except the illegal immigrants from Turkey!"

Pity, since close economic ties and doing business together have historically been the best way for mutual growth and avoidance of wars between nations...

David Fordham

November 21, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

Thank you for this interesting set of observations.

I have a couple of off the wall reactions. European business may be bothered by new U.S. regulations, but nothing in more bound up in regulations than European business. Whether you view it as good or bad, Europe has the toughest environmental and labor regulations in the world. Europe has the most antiquated labor unions and worker benefit requirements in the world. And the Economic Union is showing cracks in the seams. The European economies are in deep doo doo at the moment. Germans now must work extra hours for free in their companies as a result of a new law intended to save their economy. The world is not flocking to Europe for capital.

It is interesting that a KPMG partner would complain about Sarbanes-Oxley. Most CPA firms view this as a wonderful means of increasing hours and rates on audits. The Big Four leaders declaring are declaring Sarbanes a success. Wonder why?

Sarbanes has also increased hiring demand and salaried, which came as a relief to most accounting majors.

Certainly most corporations complain in general about most any increases in government regulation. But some of this is myopic since capital market reforms in 1930s and early 2000s (following the tech stock meltdowns). Without reforms, millions of investors would have abandoned the equity markets. If so many Main Street investors abandoned the equity markets, corporations would be criticizing the government for not acting to save capitalism from itself.

The fact of the matter is that in the 1990s, greed and excesses became so commonplace that we could no longer rely upon corporations, Wall Street, and CPAs to police their own professions. The U.S. was bad, but some of the biggest scandals took place and are still taking place in Europe. I think it will take a lot of time and reform before we view Europe as having the best model for business or accounting regulation.

Bob Jensen

November 21, 2004 reply from David Fordham, James Madison University [fordhadr@JMU.EDU
David on on leave in Antwerp

Bob, I'll have to take exception to this. I'll get the exact quote, but one of the opening paragraphs in the student's European Business book they are using this semester says something like "America has more than XX times the number of pages of regulations and laws governing business than the average European country", where XX is a two digit number, and I can't remember whether it was twenty or eighty, but I'll check and get the citation, too.

Plus, another major difference is that European regulations tend to operate at the macro level, and European business is tied much closer to the culture, emphasizes personal responsibility far more, and relies on ingrained ethical and moral behavior for a lot of its control. America by contrast, passes regulations that operate at the micro level, micromanaging right down to the "receptionist" level (my wife was office manager for a dentist's office, and said it is ridiculous what their receptionist now has to do as a result of a federal law!)

Another difference: America assumes there is no ethical or moral controls. Americans believe if it isn't illegal, you can do it with impunity! My friend at KPMG, (who by the way is American but has lived in Brussels for 20 years) said that he bemoans his firm's (and all the others', too!) attitude that their job is to lead their clients right up to the very edge of legality in avoiding taxes. But he quickly adds that he understands perfectly why they do it, because the American way of thinking is to rely on the lawyers to tell you where to stop. And, as brought up in class the other day, American lawyers have no concept of ethics or morality -- their only two guiding principles are (1) if the law doesn't say it is illegal, you can do it and (2) if someone does something that you don't like, sue them and see if you can persuade a judge or jury to make them stop and/or make you (and your lawyer) rich. Thus, America has to have micro-managing laws because of the cultural attitude that nothing is wrong unless it is specifically written down as being against the law.

(This is, of course, an oversimplification, but captures the gist of the discussion.)

Another reinforcement of my contention that Europe has nowhere near the regulation of America is found in the relative paucity of "advocats", or attorneys. In Antwerp, a city of well over half a million people and Europe's second largest port, with yellow pages over two inches thick, there are only eight pages listing lawyers, including the full-color advertisements. How many pages of attorneys are there in the Austin, Texas yellow pages? And being Europe's second largest port (after Rotterdam), I dare say that Antwerp handles a lot more trade than Austin and thus it would seem would have more business for lawyers.

David Fordham

November 21 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi Again David,

Antwerp has more freighters coming in than Austin for the obvious reason that there's not much shipping on the Colorado River.  How does Antwerp compare with LA where the backup of ships that cannot unload and load has hit an all time record?

You failed to answer my basic question. If the U.S. Government (SEC, Congress) had done nothing in the wake of the many huge scandals (in accounting charades, audit failures, investment banking frauds, executive looting of corporate assets, mutual funds rip offs, insurance rip offs, etc.), what would have happened to our capital markets? Would the left wing media and investor cynicism have run completely amuck? Something had to be done to restore investor confidence. Unfortunately the only place to turn was government. The AICPA and the Public Oversight Board were not seriously leading the charge to restore confidence in audits. The NASD was not leading the charge to seriously restore confidence in equity trading. Evidence keeps surfacing about how the entire financial industry was rotten to the core --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudRotten.htm 

The bottom line lies in economic progress after the scandals and where it would be if the government did nothing to restore confidence in capital markets by restraining the greedy. If you wrote back and told me that GDP is soaring in Europe relative to the U.S., and that capital and labor opportunities abound due to Europe's relatively loose regulation and enforcement, then I would be more impressed by your argument. If you showed me how capital is gushing into Europe from the outside world, I would sit up and listen with greater interest. Accounting regulations are straw men. Relative to the Iraq war and terrorism fears, Sarbanes is a grain of sand in the landslide of European hate for the U.S.

And you seem to be on the attack of only government regulations. Corporations in Europe still rely much more heavily on banks for capital. European bankers can live with less government regulation of accounting, because European bankers will not finance corporations without having their own say about customer accounting. There is less government regulation of the accounting but not necessarily less regulation of the accounting when you consider what the banks privately demand from the system. European bankers may not like IAS 32 to be imposed on their banks, but all of the IAS 32 and 39 risks of their customers are known by the bankers.

Trade barriers and labor unions greatly stifle economic progress in Europe. The thickness of their documentation does not impress me as much as the effect on investment opportunity.

If you showed me how European accounting innovations and technologies are racing ahead of the rest of the world I would be more impressed. I'm not trying to knock Europe's progress. What I'm arguing is that economic progress that is being made in Europe is not due to relatively loose regulations in terms of the environment, labor, and financial reporting. European bankers, particularly in France, have had great success fending off IAS 32 and 39, but one has to seriously ask the question why those bankers are so in favor of being allowed to hide financial risk. They object in terms of reporting their own risks rather than in terms of reporting their customers' risks.

Accounting regulations might be as serious or more serious in Europe if people had more savings to put into equity markets. But Europe tends to tax a greater share of income (see below) and then return much of it in the way of goods and services. The typical investor on the streets in Europe has less to be concerned about by accounting manipulation and risk avoidance simply because corporate accounting has less impact on citizens than in the U.S. where pension funds and personal portfolios are more equity laden. I repeat that European bankers can live with less government regulation of accounting, because European bankers will not finance corporations without having their own say in corporate accounting. There is less government regulation of the accounting but not necessarily less regulation of the accounting.

Respectfully,
Bob Jensen

Readers should always be skeptical when making international comparisons of tax bites without also comparing government-paid goods and services (e.g., health care, medication, and commercial-free TV) as well as such things as deficit financing and inflation rates.  Be that as it may these are the rankings given by Nationmaster.com --- http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/tax_tot_tax_as_of_gdp 

01. Sweden 54.2% of GDP
02. Denmark 48.8% of GDP
03. Finland 46.9% of GDP
04. Belgium 45.6% of GDP
05. France 45.3% of GDP
06. Austria 43.7% of GDP
07. Italy 42.0% of GDP
08. Netherlands 41.4% of GDP
09. Norway 40.3% of GDP
10. Germany 37.9% of GDP
11. United Kingdom 37.4% of GDP
12. Canada 35.8% of GDP
13. Switzerland 35.7% of GDP
14. New Zealand 35.1% of GDP
15. Australia 31.5% of GDP
16. Ireland 31.1% of GDP
17. United States 29.6% of GDP
18. Japan 27.1% of GDP

November 22, 2004  reply from David Fordham

Just for variety, this time I'll comment where I agree as well as disagree! This may ruin my reputation, but what the heck, I'm known as the Al Sharpton of this list anyway... ;-)

> Antwerp has more freighters coming in than Austin > for the obvious reason that there's not much > shipping on the Colorado River. How does Antwerp > compare with LA where the backup of ships that > cannot unload and load just hit an all time record?

Antwerp is number four in the world, behind Singapore, Rotterdam, and Hong Kong. L.A. is not even listed on the top ten ports in terms of tonnage.

> You failed to answer my basic question. If the U.S. > Government (SEC, Congress) had done nothing in the > wake of the many huge scandals (in accounting > charades, audit failures, investment banking frauds, > executive looting of corporate assets, mutual funds > rip offs, insurance rip offs, etc.), what would have > happened to our capital markets?

I can't say for surety, but I would hate to think that Congressional action is the only (or even best) cure for a problem. Why are MORE laws required? Aren't there better solutions than simply passing laws which involve "punishment" of those who are not engaging in the mischief?

> Would the left wing > media and investor cynicism have run completely > amuck?

Okay, here is where I agree. In addition to the socially dysfunctional legal system, we have a socially dysfunctional media. But I'll spare those few readers of this message the pain of my rants on that...

> Something had to be done to restore investor > confidence. Unfortunately the only place to turn was > government.

Why?

> The AICPA and the Public Oversight Board > were not seriously leading the charge to restore > confidence in audits.

Again, why? Has anyone asked that question? Why do we Americans always expect our government to come to our rescue when a problem surfaces? This is one of my main complaints.

> The NASD was not leading the > charge to seriously restore confidence in equity > trading. Evidence keeps surfacing about how the > entire financial industry was rotten to the core --- > http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudRotten.htm

A contention of media and media pundits, not the conclusion of very many businessmen of my acquaintance, including investors such as Luther Tison, former treasurer of investments for the billion-dollar retirement fund associated with the Masons and Shriners for the southeast U.S. He, too, fails to see how the additional trouble of S- O will be worth the effort, and doesn't delude himself into believing we have seen the last of the financial scandals, even with S-O in place.

... > If you wrote back and told > me that GDP is soaring in Europe relative to the > U.S., and that capital and labor opportunities > abound due to Europe's relatively loose regulation > and enforcement, then I would be more impressed by > your argument.

Okay, I'll call you on this one. Let's try removing the ridiculous taxes they have in Europe and replacing them with the U.S. corporate tax policies, and THEN let's see what happens! I'd bet that within a year, Europe would outstrip the U.S. in every business category, although the speculation is moot because the recipients of Europe's gracious social transfer payment and subsidy structure would have rebelled and destroyed the continent!

> If you showed me how capital is > gushing into Europe from the outside world,

-??- From where? Outside of Europe and the U.S., where would it gush from? And I believe the taxation situation fueled by socialism is the culprit, not regulation.

> I would > sit up and listen with greater interest. Accounting > regulations are straw men. Relative to the Iraq war > and terrorism fears, Sarbanes is a grain of sand in > the landslide of European hate for the U.S.

I agree with you here that foreign policy tends to receive most of the attention of the common citizen in Europe. But not necessarily the business leaders. Surprisingly, most of the business people I've dealt with here, even in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, privately applaud the removal of Saddam and believe the world is better off now.

> > And you seem to be on the attack of only government > regulations.

Oh, sorry. I'm actually against a lot of things in addition to government regulation.

Corporations in Europe still rely much > more heavily on banks for capital. European bankers > can live with less government regulation of > accounting, because European bankers will not > finance corporations without having their own say > about customer accounting.

These are two little known facts that I and my students were surprised to learn! And not just accounting, but operations of the business in general.

> There is less government > regulation of the accounting but not necessarily > less regulation of the accounting when you consider > what the banks privately demand from the system.

Yes, yes, definitely.

> European bankers may not like IAS 32 to be imposed > on their banks, but all of the IAS 32 and 39 risks > of their customers are known by the bankers.

Yes, yes, I agree. So why can't we rely on this type of market-based solution in a country which likes to blow its horn about "free markets" and capitalism?

> Trade barriers and labor unions greatly stifle > economic progress in Europe.

This is also a matter of interpretation. My friends here all admit that labor unions are a more powerful force here than in the U.S., but they believe it is with the consent of management. They see the unions as assisting with the "socialistic" side of business, taking care of people in addition of taking care of the capital market. They see the U.S. businesses as taking care of the capital market to the complete exclusion of benefits to everyone else in the chain.

> The thickness of their > documentation does not impress me as much as the > effect on investment opportunity.

Point acceded.

> If you showed me how European accounting innovations > and technologies are racing ahead of the rest of the > world I would be more impressed.

Hmmmm.... we need MORE accounting innovations? We need MORE accounting technologies? Again, why is the solution MORE of something which is not considered by most businessmen as a "value-adding" activity? (And I assume by accounting technologies, you mean methodologies, not data-gathering or processing, where Europe is indeed ahead of the U.S. in many, many respects, including the ubiquitous nature of debit cards and the rarity of paper checks.

I'm not trying to > knock Europe's progress. What I'm arguing is that > economic progress that is being made in Europe is > not due to relatively loose regulations in terms of > the environment, labor, and financial reporting.

I won't disagree, but this doesn't refute my contention that S-O is not worth the effort, like most of the recent federal legislation that I've knocked on the listserv.

> European bankers, particularly in France, have had > great success fending off IAS 32 and 39, but one has > to seriously ask the question why those bankers are > so in favor of being allowed to hide financial > risk. They object in terms of reporting their own > risks rather than in terms of reporting their > customers' risks.

France has had its own financial scandals, but they deal with them differently. There is no "government on a white horse riding to the rescue of society." But then again, my experience here has not really bolstered my opinion of the French at all... ;-)

> Accounting regulations might be as serious or more > serious in Europe if people had more savings to put > into equity markets. But Europe tends to tax a > greater share of income and then return much of it > in the way of goods and services. The typical > investor on the streets in Europe has less to be > concerned about by accounting manipulation and risk > avoidance simply because corporate accounting has > less impact on citizens than in the U.S. where > pension funds and personal portfolios are more > equity laden.

Yes, yes. Keep going... does this bring to mind any solutions to the original problem that don't require congressional action? And no, I'm not suggesting socialism, because that has its own disadvantages.

I repeat that European bankers can > live with less government regulation of accounting, > because European bankers will not finance > corporations without having their own say in > corporate accounting. There is less government > regulation of the accounting but not necessarily > less regulation of the accounting.

Ahhh, ahhhh, okay, our disagreement seems to be hinging on semantics, and thus we probably agree more than I made it sound. I was speaking of regulation in terms of *governmental* regulation, wheseas you are speaking of regulation in terms of *influence and control* by the combination of governtal AND non-governmental private- contractual "covenents", for lack of a better term. If we use the word regulation in this manner, then you and I don't really disagree on this point.

> Readers should always be skeptical when making > international comparisons of tax bites without also > comparing government-paid goods and services (e.g., > health care, medication, and commercial-free TV) as > well as such things as deficit financing and > inflation rates.

Another very good point.

. . .

I do admit again that taxes are what most business people over here see as their limiting factor. A joke was told a week or two ago, and because it was in flemish, I didn't get it, but it dealt with Americans at the Boston tea party, rebelling against taxes and trading high taxes under a king for an elected Congress. The punchline, which I missed, had something to do with high taxes under a king being preferable because of something to do with women of loose moral values. Anyone on this list speak Vlaams or familiar with the joke?

Oh, and in case anyone wonders where I go after this message, I'll limit my future replies on this topic to just Bob, Jagdish, and anyone else who is still reading! I don't want to imply that others should do the same, but I figure once I've posted five times on the same subject, it's time for me to let the dust (and dirt!) settle a while.

In case you can't tell, I'm enjoying the first day off I've had since I got here! Participating in spirited conversations like this is a favorite pasttime over business dinners here in Belgium, and I assume, the rest of continental Europe. They don't generally get personal with the politics, but there is nothing like discussion to make you stop and seriously consider your own opinions and hone them in light of others' communications.

David Fordham

November 22, 2004 reply from Bob Jensen

Hi David,

Just a quick comment. 

The New York State Board withdrew CPA licenses only for drunk driving convictions. Did this profession ever truly police itself for bad audits? While I lived in Florida in the early 1980s, the Florida State Board of CPAs made some serious efforts, including taking on Andersen on occasion. But shortly thereafter the Florida Legislature stripped the FSB of its autonomy and placed it under the same executive who also doled out licenses for psychologists and funeral directors.

I think we got Sarbanes because something had to be done FAST before we had a stock market crash after Enron like we had in 1929.  Waiting for the CPA profession to police itself would have been like waiting for summer in New Hampshire .  Waiting for Wall Street to police itself had less probability than having a literally true Santa Claus Miracle on 34th Street . 

Really preventative white collar crime punishments will probably never happen. In spite of all the new legislation and SEC action, that just has not happened --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#CrimePays 

And just as an aside David, I don't think business would flood to Europe even if taxes were reduced. Europe's militant labor unions demand too much pay and benefits for too few hours of labor to be serious contenders for world economic dominance. Labor has way too much power in erecting trade barriers.

And I picked the LA port off the top of my head.  I had no idea that LA had such puny shipping docks.  I guess that's why hundreds of ships are now waiting to load and unload in LA LA Land.

Bob Jensen

November 22, 2004 reply from Paul Williams

How reluctant we are to doubt those things we believe with such religious zeal. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Lincoln Steffens book, The Shame of the Cities, in which he observed: "In all cities, the better classes - the business men - are the sources of corruption, but they are so rarely pursued and caught that we do not fully realize whence the trouble comes." History may not repeat itself, but it sure as hell rhymes. 

PFW

November 21 reply from Jagdish Gangolly

David,

You said:

_________________________________________________________ 
... And, as brought up in class the other day, American lawyers have no concept of ethics or morality -- their only two guiding principles are (1) if the law doesn't say it is illegal, you can do it and (2) if someone does something that you don't like, sue them and see if you can persuade a judge or jury to make them stop and/or make you (and your lawyer) rich. Thus, America has to have micro-managing laws because of the cultural attitude that nothing is wrong unless it is specifically written down as being against the law. _________________________________________________________

That is true not just in America but in fact in all of common law countries. That in common law 'what is not prohibited is permitted' is a well-known maxim.

I realise that it is a favourite sport among the accountants in the US to point a finger at lawyers for all our ills. But we need to realise that in common law countries, lawyers' obligation is to protect the client and give him/her the benefit of doubt whenever the law is silent. How many of us would support a change to a situation where the job of lawyers is strictly to uphold the law? We have the judiciary and the executive branch for that.

The fundamental problem as I see it is the change in the tone set by AICPA. In the not so old days, we had a 'Code of Professional ETHICS' prominently adorned by the exhortation of Marcus Aurelius that man must BE upright and not HELD upright. Then AICPA was shy of ethics and changed the name to Code of Professional Conduct (I wonder what was wrong with Ethics), and dumped the exhortation of Marcus Aurelius (as if conduct does not have to be ethical, or that one does not have to be upright and it is OK to be held upright).

If we lack a backbone, is it moral to outsource the job of holding us upright to lawyers?

Jagdish


To shake loose the country's hidebound labor market, Mr. Hartz went after its rigid work rules, implacable labor unions and, most controversially, its generous unemployment compensation, which makes life on the dole a reasonable alternative for millions of Germans
Mark Landler, "The Heart of the Hartz Commission," The New York Times, November 26, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/26/business/worldbusiness/26hartz.html?oref=login 


Denny Beresford pointed out this really timely editorial from Business Week

The cost of regulation is high, but the cost of corruption may be higher. Nov. 15 marked the implementation deadline for a key section of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for companies with fiscal years ending on or after that date. Under Section 404 of the law, publicly traded companies must have new financial monitoring controls in place, certified by auditors. Many chief executives are complaining loudly that implementing "Sox" is costing their companies heavily in time and money. But we should all be indignant at the broader economic "tax" imposed by corporate corruption on America.

"The High Cost Of Corruption Rigged markets, as well as regulation, can hurt growth," Business Week, November 29, 2004 --- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_48/b3910144_mz029.htm 

The cost of regulation is high, but the cost of corruption may be higher. Nov. 15 marked the implementation deadline for a key section of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for companies with fiscal years ending on or after that date. Under Section 404 of the law, publicly traded companies must have new financial monitoring controls in place, certified by auditors. Many chief executives are complaining loudly that implementing "Sox" is costing their companies heavily in time and money. But we should all be indignant at the broader economic "tax" imposed by corporate corruption on America. 

Corruption makes markets less efficient, more costly, and less innovative. Take the latest insurance scandal unearthed by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Bid-rigging and secret payoffs among insurance brokers have undermined much of the competition in the insurance market. Instead of analyzing different policies and bringing the best and cheapest to their clients, major brokers gave the business to those who paid them off.

Think about this for a moment. We now know that Corporate America is paying far more than it should for property and casualty insurance. We have just learned that both companies and employees are paying more than they should for disability, life, and other insurance in the employee benefits market. The next uproar may well be in medical insurance, which has been in a crisis for years. Doctors find it increasingly impossible to pay high premiums and are dropping out of the profession. Expensive medical malpractice lawsuits are partly to blame. But is this crisis due to rigged markets for medical insurance as well?

The truth is economists don't usually compute the tax that is imposed on economic growth by corruption. They should. In the past few years, we have witnessed conflicts of interest and manipulation within the initial public offering, mutual-fund, investment banking, and insurance markets. These rigged markets stifle innovation, erode discipline in the markets, channel money into less productive activities, add expense, and undermine national competitiveness.

We know that government regulation places a heavy burden on America's companies. We should recognize that market corruption may place an even heavier burden on the nation's economic growth.

Bob Jensen's threads on corruption are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudRotten.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on proposed reforms are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudProposedReforms.htm 

Future of Auditing --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#FutureOfAuditing




Forwarded by Paula

Me And You Is Friends ...

You Smile, I Smile .....

You Hurt, I Hurt ....

You Cry, I Cry ...

You Jump Off A Bridge ...

I Gonna Miss You


Forwarded by Paula

A man goes to a party and has too much to drink. His friends plead with him to let them take him home. He says no -- he only lives a mile away.

About five blocks from party, the police pull him over for weaving and ask him to get out of the car and walk the line. Just as he starts, the police radio blares out a notice of a robbery taking place in a house just a block away. The police tell the party animal to stay put, they will be right back and they hop a fence and run down the street to the robbery.

The guy waits and waits and finally decides to drive home. When he gets there, he tells his wife he is going to bed, and to tell anyone who might come looking for him that he has the flu and has been in bed all day.

A few hours later, the police knock on the door. They ask if Mr. Joe is there and his wife says yes. They ask to see him and she replies that he is in bed with the flu and has been so all day. The police have his driver's license. They ask to see his car and she asks why. They insist on seeing his car, so she takes them to the garage.

She opens the door. There sitting in the garage is the police car, with all its lights still flashing.

True story, told by the driver at his first AA meeting.


Forwarded by Dick Haar

I've sure gotten old. I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement,new knees. Fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I'm half blind, can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation, hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends. But, thank God, I still have my driver's license!


Forwarded by Dick Haar

Don't know if y'all saw the satirical cartoon on the national editorial pages of the newspapers over the weekend? A man and his wife, an obviously rural and unsophisticated couple, are sitting in the living room in their recliners. He's watching the TV while she reads the newspaper. She starts out saying "Gee, with all this arguing over gays and lesbians it sure is surprising to find out the president is a homosexual." The husband flies out of his chair knocking over the TV set screaming "What ??!#$*%" To which she replies, "Yea, it's right here on the front page headlines that the president has a mandate."


Forwarded by Auntie Bev

Living in this fast-paced global society of mobile phones and Hi-Speed Internet, it is easy to forget about a time when things were a lot simpler. Take a long sweet relaxing journey back in time and "Remember When" life moved a whole lot slower.

http://www.thestatenislandboys.com/U_thrill_me/index.htm 


Forwarded by Dick Haar

A cowboy in Montana got pulled over by a State Trooper for speeding. The trooper started to lecture the cowboy about his speeding, and in general began to throw his weight around to try to make the cowboy feel uncomfortable. Finally, the trooper got around to writing out the ticket. As he was doing that, he kept swatting at some flies that were buzzing around his head. The cowboy said, “Having some problem with Circle flies there, are ya?”

The trooper stopped writing the ticket and said, “Well yeah, if that’s what they are. I never heard of Circle flies.”

So the cowboy says, “Well, circle flies are common on ranches. See, they’re called circle flies because they’re almost always found circling around the back end of a horse.”

The trooper says, “Oh,” and goes back to writing the ticket. Then after a minute, he stops and says, “Are you trying to call me a horse’s ass?”

The cowboy says, “Oh no, officer. I have too much respect for law enforcement and police officers to even think about calling you a horse’s ass.”

The trooper says, “Well that’s a good thing,” and goes back to writing the ticket.

After a long pause, the cowboy says, “Hard to fool them flies though.”


Paula forwarded this for Yankees Who've Not Got a Clue

What is a Grit? 
Noboby knows. Many people feel that grits are made from ground up bits of white corn. This is obviously a lie. Nothing as good as a Grit can be made from corn.

The most recent research suggests that the myserious Manna that God rained down upon the Isrealites during their time in the Sinai Desert was most likely Grits.

Critics disagree, stating that there is no record of butter, salt, or cheese raining down from the sky, and that God would not punish his people by forcing them to eat Grits without these key ingredients.

How Grits are Formed?
Grits are formed deep underground under intense heat and pressure. It takes over 1000 years to form a single Grit. Most of the world's grit mines are in Southern Georgia, and are guarded day and night by armed guards and fierce attack dogs. Harvesting the Grit is a dangerous occupation, and many Grit miners lose their lives each year so that Grits can continue to be served morning after morning for breakfast (not that having Grits for lunch and dinner is out of the question).

Yankees have attempted to create a synthetic Grit. They call them Cream of Wheat. As far as we can tell the key ingredients of Cream of Wheat are Elmer's Glue and shredded styrofoam. These synthetic grits have also been shown to cause nausea, and may leave you unable to have children.

Historical Grits As we mentioned earlier, the first known mention of the Grit was by the Ancient Israelites in the Sinai Desert. After that, the Grit was not heard from for another 1000 years. Experts feel that the Grit was used during this time only during secret religious ceremonies, and was kept from the public due to it's rarity.

The next mention of the Grit was found amidst the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii in a woman's personal diary. The woman's name was Herculaneum Jemimaneus (Aunt Jemima to her friends.)

The 10 Commandments of Grits 
I. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits II. Thou shalt not eat thy Grits with a spoon or knife III. Thou shalt not eat Cream of Wheat and call it Grits, for this is blasphemy IV. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors Grits V. Thou shalt use only Salt, Butter, and Cheese as toppings for thy Grits VI. Thou shalt not eat Instant Grits VII. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits VIII. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits IX. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits X. Thou shalt not put sugar on thy Grits either

How to Cook Grits For one serving of Grits: 
Boil 1.5 cups of water with salt and a little butter. Add 5 Tbsp of Grits. Reduce to a simmer and allow the Grits to soak up all the water. That's all there is to cooking grits.

How to Eat Grits 
Immediately after removing your grits from the stove top, add a generous portion of butter or margarine. (WARNING: Do NOT use low-fat butter or margarine.) The butter should cause the Grits to turn a wondrous shade of yellow (Hold a banana or a yellow rain slicker next to your Grits; if the colors match, you have the correct amount of butter.) Next, add salt. (NOTICE: The correct ration of Grit to Salt is 10:1 Therefore for every 10 grits, you should have 1 grain of salt. Cheese is optional. However if you wish to add cheese, cut it into 1/4" squares and add immediately before you eat your Grits. You do not want your cheese to melt completely. Now begin eating your grits. Always use a fork, never a spoon, to eat Grits. Your grits should be thick enough so they do not run through the tines of the fork. The correct beverage to serve with Grits is Milk or Chocolate Milk (WARNING: Use whole milk only - DO NOT use 2% or, God forbid, Skim Milk.) Your grits should always be eaten in a bowl. Never use a plate to eat Grits.

Ways to Eat Leftover Grits: (Leftover grits are extremely rare.) 
Spread them in the bottom of a casserole dish, Cover and place them in the refrigerator overnight. The Grits will congeal into a gelatinous mass. Next morning, slice the Grits into squares and fry them in 1/2" of cooking oil and butter until they turn a golden brown. Many people are tempted to pour syrup onto Grits served this way. This is, of course, unacceptable.

 


The Costs of Wine
Costs per bottle may range from $2 to $265,000 --- http://www.winepros.org/aftertaste/laughing.htm 
You may also lose your job, your spouse, your dignity, your brain, and your liver.

The Benefits of Wine (costs be damned)
You may lose your spouse and your dignity.

Martha Steward discovered it improves prison slop --- http://www.winesimple.com/cartoon.htm 

"Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink I feel shamed, then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the winery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this wine, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver."
Jack Handy

When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
HennyYoungman

"24 hours in a day, 24 bottles in a case. Coincidence? I think not."
Stephen Wright

"When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. Sooooo, let's all get drunk and go to heaven!"
Brian O'Rourke

"Wine is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
Benjamin Franklin

"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is wine. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
Dave Barry

"What she meant was that she ate like a queen for a whole month, exercised very little, and never gained a pound. The reason: 2 to 3 glasses of red wine per day with her meals."
Joshua Levine --- http://www.askmen.com/sports/health/14_mens_health.html 

For more benefits see The Joys of Wine. by Clifton Fadiman. ISBN: 0-8109-0545-0 / 0810905450


Wife 101 software --- http://wowwifeswine.com/wifejokes.html 


Kids Food Jokes --- http://www.funnyfood1.com/jokes.php 

What does the richest wife in the world make for dinner every night?
Reservations.

What did the mother ghost tell the baby ghost when he ate too fast?
Stop goblin your food.

What do you get when you put three ducks in a box?
A box of quackers.

Why couldn't the sesame seed leave the gambling casino?
Because he was on a roll.

Why did the student eat his homework?
The teacher told him it was a piece of cake.

What did the hungry computer eat?
Chips, one byte at a time.

Why do fish avoid the computer?
So they don't get caught in the Internet.

What did the cannibal order for take-out?
Pizza with everyone on it.

How can you tell if an elephant has been in your refrigerator?
Footprints in the cheesecake.

I trained my dog not to beg at the table.How did you do that?
I let him taste my cooking.

What's in an astronaut's favorite sandwich?
Launch meat.

What do cats call mice on skateboards?
"Meals on Wheels."

Why do you eat so fast?
I want to eat as much as possible before losing my appetite.

What did the mayonnaise say to the refrigerator?
Close the door, I'm dressing!

What did the left eye say to the right eye?
Between us, something smells.

Jack: Would you like some Egyptian Pie? Jill: What's Egyptian pie? 
Jack: You know, the kind mummy used to make.

The customer asked: "Do you serve crabs here?" "
Yessir," replied the waiter. "We'll serve just about anybody."

What starts with "t" ends with "t" and is filled with "t"?
A teapot.

Why did the man eat at the bank?
He wanted to eat rich food.

Why don't chickens play sports?
Because they hit fowl balls.

What has ears but can't hear a thing?
A cornfield.

Where does a bat eat his dinner?
On home plate, and he has a ball.

What's the worst thing about being an octopus?
Washing your hands before dinner.

What did one knife say to the other?
Look sharp!

Why did the man stare at the can of orange juice?
Because it said 'concentrate.'

How does the man in the moon eat his food?
In satellite dishes.

Did you hear the joke about oatmeal?
It's a lot of mush.


Forwarded by Paula

Things I have learned in Texas:

Armadillos sleep in the middle of the road with all four feet in the air. There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 live in Texas. There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in Texas, plus a few no one has ever seen before.

Raccoons will test your melon crop and let you know when they are ripe. If it grows, it will stick you. If it crawls, it will bite you! Nothing will kill a mesquite tree.

There are valid reasons some people put razor wire around their house. A tractor is NOT an all terrain vehicle. They do get stuck. The wind blows at 90 mph from Oct 2 till June 25; then it stops totally until October 2.

Onced and twiced are words. Coldbeer is one word. People actually grow and eat okra.

Green grass DOES burn. When you live in the country you don't have to buy a dog. City people drop them off at your front gate in the middle of the night. The sound of coyotes howling at night only sounds good for the first few weeks.

When a buzzard sits on the fence and stares at you, it's time to see a doctor. Fix-in-to is one word. A TANK is a dirt hole that holds water for irrigation, watering the cows, or swimming.

There ain't no such thing as "lunch". There is only dinner and then there's supper. "Sweetened ice tea" is appropriate for all meals and you start drinking it when you are two. Backwards and forwards means I know everything about you.

"Jeet?" is actually a phrase meaning, "did you eat?" You don't have to wear a watch because it doesn't matter what time it is. You work until you're done or it's too dark to see.

You measure distance in minutes. You can switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day. Stores don't have bags, they have sacks.

You see a car with the engine running in the Wal-mart parking lot with no one in it, no matter what time of the year. You use "fix" as a verb. Example: I am fixin' to go to the store. (note: in the portion above "fix-in-to" is one word....)

All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit or a vegetable. You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked. You carry jumper cables for your own car. You know what "cow tipping" and "snipe hunting" are.

You only have four spices in your kitchen: Salt, Pepper, Catsup, and Tabasco. You think everyone from north of Austin has an accent. Sexy underwear is a tee shirt and boxer shorts.

The local paper covers national and international news on one page but requires six pages to cover Friday night high school football.

The first day of deer season is a national holiday. You know which leaves make good toilet paper. You find 100 degrees a "tad" warm.

All four seasons are: Almost summer, summer, still summer and Christmas. You know whether another Texan is from East, West, North, or South Texas as soon as he opens his mouth.

Going to Wal-mart is a favorite past-time known as "goin Wal-Martin" or "off to Wally-world." You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good chili weather. A carbonated soft drink isn't a soda, cola, or pop....It's a Coke regardless of brand or flavor.


Forwarded by Walt Bernards

Subject: Some More Facts About Golf

 Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

When your shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls.

If you're afraid a full shot might reach the green while the foursome ahead of you is still putting out, you have two options: you can immediately shank a lay-up, or you can wait until the green is clear and top a ball that skips only halfway there.

The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing.

No matter how bad you are playing, it is always possible to play worse.

The inevitable result of any golf lesson is the instant elimination of the one critical unconscious motion that allowed you to compensate for all of your many other errors.

If it ain't broke, try changing your grip.

Golfers who claim they don't cheat also lie.

Everyone replaces his divot after a perfect approach shot.

A golf match is a test of your skill against your opponents' luck.

 It is surprisingly easy to hole a fifty foot putt...for an 8.

Counting on your opponent to inform you when he breaks a rule is like expecting him to make fun of his own haircut.

 Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

It's not a gimme if you're still away.

The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree.

 There are two kinds of bounces: unfair bounces, and bounces just the way you meant to play it.

You can hit a two-acre fairway 10 percent of the time and a two-inch branch 90 percent of the time.

If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age. The game of golf is 90 percent mental and 10 percent mental.

 Since bad shots come in groups of three, a fourth bad shot is actually  the beginning of the next group of three.

When you look up, causing an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

Every time a golfer makes a birdie, he must subsequently make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.

Hitting a 7 iron as far as Tiger Woods is easy. Simply try to lay up just short of a water hazard.

To calculate the speed of a player s downswing, multiply the speed of his backswing by his handicap. For example: backswing = 20 mph, handicap = 15, downswing = 600 mph.

There are only two things you can learn by stopping your backswing at the top and checking the position of your hands: how many hands you have, and which one is wearing the glove.

Fundamental physics of golf: Hazards attract, fairways repel.

 You can put "draw" on the ball, and you can put "fade" on the ball. But no golfer can put "straight" on the ball.

A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is never yours.

 If there is a ball in the fringe and a ball in the bunker, your ball is in the bunker. If both balls are in the bunker, yours is in the footprint.

Never buy a new putter until you've had a chance to throw it.


Forwarded by Paula

A visiting minister spoke eloquently during the offertory prayer. "Dear Lord," he began, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. "Without you we are but dust."

He would have continued but at that moment my very obedient daughter (who was listening!) leaned over to me and asked quite audibly in her shrill little girl voice……."Mom, what is butt dust?"

 

Bob Jensen thought butt dust was cigarette ash!


Forwarded by Bob Overn

Indiana Cow

The only cow in a small town in Arkansas stopped giving milk. The people did some research and found that they could buy a cow up in Crawfordsville, Indiana for $200.00.

They bought the cow from Indiana and the cow was wonderful. It produced lots of milk all of the time, and the people were pleased and very happy.

They decided to acquire a bull to mate with the cow and produce more cows like it. They would never have to worry about their milk supply again.

They bought a bull and put it in the pasture with their beloved cow. However, whenever the bull came close to the cow, the cow would move away. No matter what approach the bull tried, the cow would move away from the bull and he could not succeed in his quest. The people were very upset and decided to ask the local Vet, who was very wise, what to do.

They told the Vet what was happening. "Whenever the bull approaches our cow, she moves away. If he approaches from the back, she moves forward. When he approaches from the front, she backs off. And if he approaches from the side, she walks away to the other side.

The Vet thinks about this for a minute or two and asked, "Did you buy this cow in Indiana?"

The people were dumbfounded, since they never mentioned where they bought the cow. "You are truly a wise Vet," they said. "How did you know we got the cow in Indiana?"

The Vet replied with a distant look in his eye, "My wife is fromIndiana."


Movember 18, 2004 message from Richard Sansing

What is a Yankee, you ask?

To someone outside the U.S., a Yankee is someone from the U.S.

To someone in the southern part of the U.S., a Yankee is someone from the northern part of the U.S.

To someone in the northern part of the U.S., a Yankee is someone from New England.

To someone in New England, a Yankee is someone from Vermont.

And to someone in Vermont, a Yankee is someone who eats pie for breakfast!

Richard C. Sansing 
Associate Professor of Business Administration 
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth 
100 Tuck Hall Hanover, NH 03755

November 18 reply from Chuck Pier

My mother used to say that "Yankees" live up north and come south to visit. 
"Damn Yankees" used to live up north and came south to live!


Forwarded by Ed Scribner

The pilot of a Continental flight approaching Indianapolis said, “Well, folks, we’re beginning our descent into Indianapolis. The airport is reporting clear and 78 degrees. If you’d like to adjust your watch to the local time, just set it back about 20 years.” (The complaint from the chamber of commerce members on board resulted in only a two-week suspension for the pilot.)




And that's the way it was on December 1, 2004 with a little help from my friends.

 

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 

Jesse's Wonderful Music for Romantics (You have to scroll down to the titles) --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/

Free Harvard Classics --- http://www.bartleby.com/hc/
Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

 

I highly recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free newsletter from a very smart finance professor, Jim Mahar from St. Bonaventure University) --- www.FinanceProfessor.com 

 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for accounting newsletters are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#News 

News Headlines for Accounting from TheCycles.com --- http://www.thecycles.com/business/accounting 
An unbelievable number of other news headlines categories in TheCycles.com are at http://www.thecycles.com/ 

 

Jack Anderson's Accounting Information Finder --- http://www.umsl.edu/~anderson/accsites.htm

 

Gerald Trite's great set of links --- http://www.zorba.ca/bookmark.htm 

 

Paul Pacter maintains the best international accounting standards and news Website at http://www.iasplus.com/

 

The Finance Professor --- http://www.financeprofessor.com/about/aboutFP.html 

 

Walt Mossberg's many answers to questions in technology --- http://ptech.wsj.com/

 

How stuff works --- http://www.howstuffworks.com/ 

 

Household and Other Heloise-Style Hints --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob3.htm#Hints 

 

Bob Jensen's video helpers for MS Excel, MS Access, and other helper videos are at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/ 
Accompanying documentation can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/default1.htm and http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm 

 

Click on www.syllabus.com/radio/index.asp 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) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu  

 

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November 15, 2004 

Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on November 15, 2004
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

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.

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Do you have history questions?
Facts about any given year.  For example, what took place in 1938? ---  http://encyclopedia.calendarhome.com/1938.htm 
The main page is at http://encyclopedia.calendarhome.com 
Bob Jensen's history bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History 

Calendars for the years 1930-2005 (change the year) --- http://www.flicklives.com/Timeline/1939_cal.html 

Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 


Our Sympathies to the Family of Clayton Trotter (former tenured Business Law professor at Trinity University)

Clayton Trotter, General Counsel of the Justice Foundation, just received the tragic news that his 20-year-old son, Byron Trotter was shot in the head outside Fallujah, Iraq.

Thank you for your prayers!


I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

Many sunrises and sunsets are spectacular from our vantage point looking out on the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont.  Some views at morning and evening are similar, but every view is unique in some way and is never repeated.  And each view lasts for only a matter of minutes before transforming into something else and never to return again except when a portion of it is captured in a picture.  In a similar way each person is unique and lasts in that unique form for only a a short span of time before evolving into something else.  A portion may only be captured in a memory or perhaps a memoir.  I fear the same is true for nations.  The election-day sunrise on November 2, 2004 is one of those unique times from the vantage point of my desk where I'm overlooking the top of a computer monitor at 6:16 a.m.  The tops of Mt. Lafayette and Cannon Mountain are obscured in clouds, but the sky above looks like a blazing battle.  Perhaps this is a reflection coming all the way from Iraq.  God Bless America and our troops everywhere in the world who would much rather be home with their families today.
Bob Jensen from the White Mountains

The November 2, 2004 sunrise picture is the first picture among the Summer and Autumn 2004 pictures added at  http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/NewHampshire/2004Autumn/2004autumn.htm 

PS later on at 7:50 a.m. when I wrote the above module, everything turned gray and wintry.  Mt. Lafayette and Cannon Mountain both woke up with snow caps.

I apologize that I did not get any autumn pictures in the peak of the color foliage.  Erika was in the hospital at for over two weeks, and I just didn’t get out with my camera.  

I am slowing adding Winter 2005 pictures at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/NHcottage/2005winter/2005winter.htm


Quotes of the Week

Half of Some Pages are Blank Just for Stuffing
When the fiction nominees (for the National Book Award) were announced, there was much grumbling about their sameness - all women, all living in New York City, all little-known names. But the minor resemblances of sex and city are nothing next to what really makes this one of the least varied lists of nominees in recent years: a short-story aesthetic. Not one of these books is big and sprawling. And not one has much of a sense of humor.

Caryn James, "Book Award Becomes a Feast of Canapés," The New York Times, November 11, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/11/books/11fict.html?oref=login 

This is what happens when Republicans win elections (and I'm a Republican)
The SEC is facing resistance from two Republican commissioners over the stiff fines it has been imposing on companies.
Deborah Solomon, "As Corporate Fines Grow, SEC Debates How Much Good They Do," The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2004 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110021198122471832,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us 
Bob Jensen's threads on why white collar crime pays (even when you get caught) are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm#CrimePays 

Microsoft's new Web search service isn't as good as Google, the search leader the software giant is targeting, but it shows all the signs of becoming a very serious challenger.
Walter Mossberg, "Microsoft Web Searcher Isn't as Good as Google, But in Time It Could Be," The Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2004, Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110012154967970501,00.html?mod=gadgets%5Fprimary%5Fhs%5Flt 
On November 11, 2004, Microsoft unveiled its new search engine.  The link is http://beta.search.msn.com/ 

U.S. companies must do a far better job of disclosing financial information, the chief of a federal accounting oversight board said Thursday.
SmartPros, November 5, 2004 --- http://www.smartpros.com/x45750.xml 
Bob Jensen's conclusions on the future of accounting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudConclusion.htm

"OK," I said, "Imagine it's the end of a football game, and the announcers say, 'Well, our home team carried or passed the ball for a total of 1,100 yards, and the other team only moved the ball 980 yards, so our team is the real winner—but a technicality in the rules only gives points for moving the ball across the lines at the ends of the field, so the referees have declared the other team the winner.'"
Peter Coffee, "Why Measure What Can't Matter," eWeek, November 1, 2004

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
Henry Ford as quoted by Daniel Eisenberg, "After the Flood," Time Magazine, November 8, 2004, pp. A16-A20.
(Every company likes to think of itself as the model of success.  But the most successful firms also know what it takes to fail.)

Starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals are expected to increase next year, according to the just-released 2005 Salary Guide. Public accounting professionals will see significant increases in average starting salaries in 2005 as accounting firms strive to meet clients' demand related to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance initiatives. AccountingWeb, November 2, 2004 http://www.accountingweb.com/item/100000 

Maybe its those salary increases that are making accountants more colorful
The image of the dull, grey accountant has been shattered by a survey that claims to have evidence that they are more interesting and adventurous than other people. They are more likely to socialise, they watch less television and enjoy more sex, according to a "monotony monitor" aimed at exposing those whose life was more rut race than rat race.
NewsTelegraph.com, August 11, 2003 --- http://snipurl.com/ColorfulAccountants 
Jim Borden forwarded this link.
Bob Jensen's threads on accounting humor are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#Humor 

Some of the reasons we're more colorful include our new job titles:
From the Financial Times, 28th June 02

EBITDA Earnings Before I Tricked the Dumb Auditor 
EBIT Earnings Before Irregularities and Tampering 
CEO Chief Embezzlement Officer 
CFO Corporate Fraud Officer 
NAV Nominal Andersen's Valuation 
FRS Fantasy Reporting Standards 
P/E Parole Entitlement 
EPS Eventual Prison Sentence

he latest news was that Google had acquired the Keyhole Corporation, a small company with a vast database of high-resolution satellite and aerial images of Earth's surface. Since its debut on the Internet three years ago, Keyhole has had a high gee-whiz factor.
James Fallows, "The Stock? Whatever. Google Keeps On Innovating," The New York Times, October 31, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/31/business/yourmoney/31tech.html 

Google Plans Desktop Search Tool for Apple PCs
Reuters, The New York Times, October 29, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/technology/tech-tech-google-mac.html 
Bob Jensen's threads on the existing version Windows Desktop Search are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm#WebDesktop 

It's not clear who got the earnings game going (meeting earnings forecasts by one penny): executives or investors. But it's past time for it to stop. As the Progressive example shows, those companies that continue the charade do it by choice.
Gretchen Morgenson, "Pennies That Aren't From Heaven," The New York Times, November 7, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/07/business/yourmoney/07watch.html?ex=1100836709&ei=1&en=8f6b67cd8cfe4757 
Bob Jensen's threads on earnings management are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm

The Play for Younger Candidates 
The world is moving fast and so is our business school profession. The signal received by numerous colleagues involving the dramatic decrease of MBA applicants needs to be heard throughout management education. We must address the question, “Have we increased the fees so much that we have put ourselves out of the market?”
Pierre Tapie, "MBAs and the Marketplace," eNEWSLINE from the AACSB, November 2004 --- 
http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/enewsline/Vol-3/Issue9/deans-corner.asp 
Pierre Tapie is dean and president of ESSEC in Paris

Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors and miss.
Robert Heinlein

The reason for the resistance (to Harvard's research findings on diabetes), Dr. Faustman and some colleagues believe, was simple: her findings, which raise the possibility that an inexpensive, readily available drug might effectively treat Type 1 or juvenile diabetes, challenge widespread assumptions. Many diabetes researchers insist that a cure lies instead in research on stem cells and islet cell transplants.
Gina Kolata, "A Diabetes Researcher Forges Her Own Path to a Cure," The New York Times, November 9, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/09/health/09diab.html 

Cash in those frequent flier miles soon
Experts report that "mileage programs" are losing some of their value.
http://g.msn.com/0MNBUS00/2?http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6363050&&CM=EmailThis&CE=1 

Forwarded by Debbie Bowling

LUCKENBACH, Texas -- They like to say around here that you can't find a place more laid-back without being unconscious. 
http://www.cnn.com/2004/TRAVEL/DESTINATIONS/11/05/luckenbach.texas.ap/index.html
  
Forwarded by Debbie Bowling

I know many of you don't believe this, but I think it's true!  One problem is that we can't outsource our wars.  Sigh!
In the Age of Globalization, outsourcing becomes just another way for U.S. companies to remain competitive with foreign counterparts—and ultimately keep jobs at home
David Kirkpatrick, " Why Outsourcing Isn’t Really the Issue In the Age of Globalization, Fortune, October 29, 2004 --- http://www.fortune.com/fortune/fastforward/0,15704,735922,00.html 

The Irascible Professor  is not quite ready to pack his bags and head to Canada in response to the results of the recent presidential election that seems to have turned on the extraordinarily strong turnout of the "moral values" vote -- comprised not just of evangelical Christians, but also of conservative Catholics and orthodox Jews. However, the IP is concerned that we may be heading towards an era in which policies driven by religious and political dogma trump those based on the pragmatic and reasoned evaluation of evidence, especially in the area of education. ...
Read all of the Irascible Professor's commentary on the effects of the 2004 election on education at:
http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-11-09-04.htm 

We are just so frivolous and skeptical. Men hold themselves cheap and vile: and yet a man is a fagot of thunderbolts. All the elements pour through his system: he is the flood of the flood, and fire of the fire; he feels the antipodes and the pole, as drops of his blood: they are the extension of his personality. His duties are measured by that instrument he is; and a right and perfect man would be felt to the centre of the Copernican system. ’Tis curious that we only believe as deep as we live. We do not think heroes can exert any more awful power than that surface-play which amuses us. A deep man believes in miracles, waits for them, believes in magic, believes that the orator will decompose his adversary; believes that the evil eye can wither, that the heart’s blessing can heal; that love can exalt talent; can overcome all odds. From a great heart secret magnetisms flow incessantly to draw great events. But we prize very humble utilities, a prudent husband, a good son, a voter, a citizen, and deprecate any romance of character; and perhaps reckon only his money value,—his intellect, his affection, as a sort of bill of exchange, easily convertible into fine chambers, pictures, music and wine. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson. (1803–1882), Beauty, 1860

Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait. Beauty, without expression, tires. Abbé Ménage said of the President Le Bailleul, “that he was fit for nothing but to sit for his portrait.” A Greek epigram intimates that the force of love is not shown by the courting of beauty, but when the like desire is inflamed for one who is ill-favored. And petulant old gentlemen, who have chanced to suffer some intolerable weariness from pretty people, or who have seen cut flowers to some profusion, or who see, after a world of pains have been successfully taken for the costume, how the least mistake in sentiment takes all the beauty out of your clothes,—affirm, that the secret of ugliness consists not in irregularity, but in being uninteresting. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson. (1803–1882), Beauty, 1860

In the Leviathan, Hobbes developed his political philosophy. He argued from a mechanistic view that life is simply the motions of the organism and that man is by nature a selfishly individualistic animal at constant war with all other men. In a state of nature, men are equal in their self-seeking and live out lives which are “nasty, brutish, and short.” Fear of violent death is the principal motive which causes men to create a state by contracting to surrender their natural rights and to submit to the absolute authority of a sovereign. Although the power of the sovereign derived originally from the people—a challenge to the doctrine of the divine right of kings—the sovereign’s power is absolute and not subject to the law. Temporal power is also always superior to ecclesiastical power. Though Hobbes favored a monarchy as the most efficient form of sovereignty, his theory could apply equally well to king or parliament. His political philosophy led to investigations by other political theorists, e.g., Locke, Spinoza, and Rousseau, who formulated their own radically different theories of the social contract. 
About Thomas Hobbes http://www.bartleby.com/65/ho/Hobbes-T.html  
Also see http://www.bartleby.com/34/5/    

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Sometimes I think Picasso was thinking joke..
I paint things as I think them, not as I see them.
Pablo Picasso




Bob Jensen's Earlier Updates on Frauds and the Accounting Scandals --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm 

Two months ago, shortly before Japan ordered Citigroup to close its private banking unit there for, among other things, failing to guard against money laundering, Charles O. Prince, the chief executive, commissioned an independent examination of his bank's lapses. When he received the assessment in mid-October, he got an eyeful.
"It's Cleanup Time at Citi," by Timothy L. O'Brien and Landon Thomas, Jr., The New York Times, November 7, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/07/business/yourmoney/07citi.html  
Bob Jensen's threads on "Rotten to the Core" are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudRotten.htm 

From Orange County to Enron and Beyond
Whenever a huge financial scandal surfaces, more often than not Merrill Lynch pays up.
Eliott Spitzer once said that his smoking gun could have shot Merrill completely out of the water if the economic consequences would not have been so enormous.  When will Merrill ever clean up its act?
A jury has convicted four former Merrill Lynch executives and a former Enron finance executive for helping push through a sham deal to pad the energy company's earnings
"5 Executives Convicted of Fraud in First Enron Trial," The New York Times,
November 3, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/business/03WIRE-ENRON.html

Crime in the United States: 2003 [Microsoft Excel, pdf] http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/03cius.htm 

Although somewhat dated, Corporate Scandal provides a nice summary of many of the recent scandals --- http://www.econstats.com/scandal.htm 

More on How Large Stock Brokerages are Rotten to the Core
The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at brokerage firms suspected of failing to get customers the best stock prices, people briefed on the inquiry said.

"SEC said to eye broker trading," CNN Money, November 8, 2004 --- http://money.cnn.com/2004/11/08/markets/sec-brokerage.reut/index.htm 

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating about a dozen brokerage firms that may have failed to obtain the best price for stocks traded for customers, the New York Times reported Monday, citing people briefed on the inquiry.

The brokers under scrutiny include Morgan Stanley (down $0.03 to $53.75, Research), Merrill Lynch (up $0.22 to $56.42, Research), Ameritrade Holdings (Research), Charles Schwab (up $0.10 to $9.72, Research) and E.Trade Financial Corp. (down $0.25 to $13.19, Research), the report said.

Regulators are looking specifically at the way these companies traded Nasdaq-listed stocks during early morning trade, the report said.

After examining trading data from the last four years, the investigation found evidence that trades were often processed in ways that favored the firms over their clients, the Times said, citing unnamed sources.

The newspaper's sources said regulators are examining two methods of executing trades known as internalization and payment for order flow.

Internalization is when a broker executes an order from securities in its own account rather than from a market order. Payment for order flow occurs when retail brokers send aggregated small orders to market makers. In some instances, some stock exchanges or market makers will pay for routing the order

Bob Jensen's American History of Fraud ---  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm


Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection




Sharing Site of the Week --- The Stanford University Department of Psychology

From the Scout Report on November 11, 2004

Stanford Psychology [RealPlayer] http://www.vodium.com/MediapodLibrary/library/stanford_psychology/index.asp 

A host of online educational initiatives during the past few years have brought lectures from all over the world into the homes into many persons who may not have access to such programs in their own local communities. One such website brings the insights and collected knowledge of various members of Stanford University's renowned psychology department to the Internet- browsing public. The lectures address such topics as the psychology of evil, the role of parents in their children's lives, and the role of personal and collective efficacy. Along with these individual talks presented by various members of the psychology faculty, there are several nice panel sessions on the nature of language and the cultural shaping of emotion. Finally, the site also contains the lively question-and-answer sessions that followed each panel session.

November 12, 2004 reply from Paula Hertel 

A member of Panel 1 in the Stanford package (see below) is Brian Knutson, one of our (Trinity University's) Psychology majors from the late 80’s. Some of you might remember his band; he played the trumpet, I think. Anyway, he’s doing fascinating research on emotion at Stanford.

Paula


Also from the Scout Report on November 11, 2004

Roald Dahl [Macromedia Flash Player] http://www.roalddahl.com/ 

With several trumpet choruses and the appearance of a few of his most beloved characters, visitors to the official Roald Dahl website are greeted in a fashion that befits one of the 20th century's most loved authors of creative and intelligent books for children. Of course, Dahl's career did not start out that way (as most know), but rather with a harrowing tale of his experiences in World War II written for the Saturday Evening Post in 1942. It would be several decades before Dahl began to write the modern children's classics that are synonymous with his name, such as James and the Giant Peach and Matilda. Created and designed in the same spirit as his writing for young people, this website contains a host of lovely features, including a photo gallery of Dahl at various moments throughout his life, a number of fine interactive features (including several games based on incidents in his writings), and some great selections from an audio interview conducted with Dahl in 1988, two years before he passed away. This site is positively delightful and those who aren't already fans of his work may find themselves making a trip to their local library to delve into his books.


Teaching Tips and Specific Class Tips from The Finance Professor --- http://www.financeprofessor.com/teaching/Teachingtips.html 

Interesting Speeches and Interviews --- http://www.financeprofessor.com/financenotes/speeches/speechesmainpage.html 

Jim Mahar's home page --- http://www.financeprofessor.com/ 


On December 2, Ernst & Young invites everybody to a free Webcast on Year 2004 financial reporting reviews --- http://snipurl.com/EYdec2 


Free Harvard Classics --- http://www.bartleby.com/hc/

Especially Note the Great Free Videos
Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp


November 12, 2004 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@BONACKERS.COM

The Journal of European Industrial Training has a special issue on e-learning. A little dry for me, but maybe something for someone else.

http://zerlina.emeraldinsight.com/vl=535273/cl=23/nw=1/rpsv/jotw/ 

Scott E Bonacker, CPA


Question
What is the best path to becoming a CFO? And which companies have produced the most finance executives?

Answer

Contrary to popular belief, working in the audit divisions of Big Four accounting firms does not appear to be a good path to becoming a CFO in a large multinational corporation.  A few made it from the consulting divisions of those accounting firms.  It appears that a better career path routes through financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, brokerages, etc.)

"Career Tracks:  Where CFOs got their start.," by Kate O'Sullivan, CFO Magazine, November 01, 2004 --- http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/3329154/c_3348416?f=magazine_featured 

Some finance chiefs simply found a company and stuck with it, climbing the ladder from finance trainee to finance leader. But for others, the stops were many and varied. The record? Honeywell's David Anderson, with nine different companies on his resume.

As these career maps show, there is no one right way to get to the top.


Research by Stanford University accounting and economics faculty add empirical evidence on how firms manipulate ("Gaming of the System") footnote disclosure of employee stock options under FAS 123.  The study add strong empirical support to the forthcoming FASB new standard that will require booking of options on the date of vesting.

"Toting Up Stock Options," by Frederick Rose, Stanford Business, November 2004, pp. 21 --- http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/bmag/sbsm0411/feature_stockoptions.shtml 

Accounting for employee stock options thus has been a riddle. After some 30 years of dispute and countervailing pressures, options are once again the focus of accounting debate. Companies currently must follow a Financial Accounting Standards Board ruling cobbled together in 1995, when the last major battle over options accounting was fought. Forces that favored compulsory expensing lost that earlier policy debate. The current rule, known as FAS 123, came into effect for fiscal years ending after December 15, 1995, and began to lift the veil around options. But, while FAS 123 requires employers to disclose some calculations for employee options grants in financial notes, there is no stipulation that costs be expensed on the corporate income statement. The FASB and its supporters were routed at the last minute and compelled to permit a giant loophole. The loophole frees employers to avoid income statement recognition of options expenses by opting for the 1972 Opinion 25 that had allowed avoidance of options expensing in the first place. FAS 123 added the requirement for footnote disclosures.

Now, the Financial Accounting Standards Board is again moving toward requiring options expenses. “Let the mud-slinging begin—again,” CFO Magazine sniped earlier this yearAnd indeed it did. Global pressure played a hand this time. The International Accounting Standards Board—Business School professor and associate dean Mary Barth is a member—has adopted requirements much like those of FAS 123, but stipulating that the calculations be used to determine income statement expenses. The international standards will come into force January 1, at which time American accounting standards could be weaker than elsewhere if solutions aren’t set in the United States.

But on this round of debate there has been new insight. In a potential breakthrough, two Stanford professors created a key to the accounting quandary. An approach proposed by economists Jeremy Bulow and John Shoven identifies a feature common to virtually all current employee option programs and uses that to overcome many of the problems of uncertainty that blocked options expensing in the past. Accounting and securities regulators expressed considerable interest in Bulow and Shoven’s proposal, and earlier this year a Financial Times opinion piece endorsed the approach. Importantly, the Financial Times piece was written by a triumvirate of options experts that included Robert Merton, who with Myron Scholes was awarded the 1997 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciencesfor groundbreaking options valuation analysis developed with the late Fischer Black that has emerged as the “Black-Scholes” formula.

Bulow, who is the Richard A. Stepp Professor of Economics at the Business School, and Shoven, the Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics and director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, opened up this accounting approach by chopping up the continuous time of an option’s run into discrete units. We’ll consider the theory in more detail, but it is important to first look at present accounting problems with options.

Accounting Dissected
Graduate School of Business research has produced disconcerting evidence that while current accounting footnotes influence investors and add to their understanding of a company, they appear to have been used at times in distorted ways that fail to fully reflect the weight of employee stock options. Mary Barth and Ron Kasznik, together with David Aboody of the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, in a paper this year found that options—even where they are absent from the income statement—are viewed by investors as a cost to the firm. The study sampled more than 750 companies between 1996 and 1998 with elaborate statistical checks.

Barth, Kasznik, and Aboody used footnote disclosures required by FAS 123 to consider assumptions used by the reporting companies. These notes require an estimated value of options grants using the Black-Scholes formula. The calculation appraises the time value of options through an assumed risk-free interest rate, projected volatility of the stock, and forecast dividend yield. There is thus considerable guessing about future periods as much as a decade ahead. If investors believed that options stimulated employees to substantially improve performance—rather than just dipping into the shareholders’ cookie jar—companies with substantial employee options outstanding should perform better, not worse. Yet the Stanford researchers found that the market performance of those stocks with higher estimated options expenses lagged stocks with less. In short, whether the numbers are right or wrong, investors have their opinions, do react, and often don’t like what they see.

GSB researchers moreover unearthed distressing signs that investor faith in FAS 123 footnotes could be misplaced. A separate work by Barth, Kasznik, and Aboody finds that wide management discretion over assumptions used in calculations has at times understated publicly reported options expenses. Analyzing over 3,800 corporate financial results during the years 1996 to 2001, the researchers concluded that understatement of these expenses was more likely in cases where companies granted large quantities of employee options and were active in capital markets, thus exposing themselves to more scrutiny by banks and investors.

Manipulation of key numbers is easy. While Barth, Kasznik, and Aboody noted little fudging of interest rate assumptions, which can be compared with other forecasts, they found that company estimates of future stock volatility, dividend yield assumptions, and expected option life were subject to “downward management” by firms anxious to keep perceived option costs low and implicit earnings high.

Moreover, research by Kasznik and Aboody several years ago found that company managers tend to stick a thumb on the scales when it comes time to set stock option exercise prices—either releasing bad news shortly before options were usually granted or holding off good news until options were set. In either case, exercise prices would be depressed—to the prospective advantage of management option recipients.

Timeline Solutions
Such “gaming of the system” could be substantially reduced under the Bulow and Shoven approach. In their central thesis, the two economists write: “Most companies’ long-term options are not really very long term at all. While an option may technically expire after 10 years, the employee only has 90 days to exercise if he either quits or is fired. Therefore, what an employee with a vested option really owns at any given time is a 90-day option.” This understanding of a short, finite period greatly simplifies options accounting. With this short window, a Black-Scholes calculation can be based on far firmer estimates, using well-established short-term interest rates, recently observed stock volatility, and current dividend rates—and for larger firms, direct market prices of publicly traded options—to yield a firm expense number.

To implement this method, firms would expense the value of 90-day options at the beginning of each quarter, the value determined by the exercise price and the current stock price. This expense would be offset partially by the ending (intrinsic) value of any 90-day options expensed in the previous quarter and not exercised. Firms would have some flexibility in choosing when to begin expensing unvested options, but they would be taking the risk of a large charge if the stock price rose before expensing began because there is no offset in the first quarter that an option is expensed.

This approach prompted keen interest. “The Bulow-Shoven method appears to remove one of the last valid arguments against expensing options. In the coming months, all sides of this debate will have to reconsider their views and positions,” wrote Financial Engineering News in a recent article.

But the Bulow-Shoven proposal arrived late on the scene and conflicted in some important parts with standards the FASB had put forth in draft policy earlier this year. It also differed from the International Accounting Standard that is to come into effect on January 1 after extensive efforts to coordinate with U.S. standards. While the economists found substantial initial interest among regulators, the FASB in early August voted to stick with its earlier proposed revisions. Minutes of the board’s meeting indicate the board—contending in part that elements of the approach were at odds with current accounting concepts—sidestepped the economists’ proposals.

Bulow is sympathetic with the FASB’s position. “It’s very tough for these regulators,” he notes. “Accounting rules pre-date modern financial theory, and the regulators must develop each rule with an eye toward how it affects everything else.” He likens the problem to computer coding complexity. Microsoft’s current Windows software is far bulkier and more convoluted than modern Linux coding “in part because it must be made backward compatible to previous systems, which in themselves were developed to be backward compatible all the way back to DOS.” Even so, once opened up, the economic interpretation of options accounting may yet give rise either to restructured employee incentives or eventually to yet another accounting change, he suggests. “For a variety of reasons, most people not in the business of charging for option valuation software or suing companies would be better off if we adopted some version of Bulow-Shoven,” he says.

Continued in article

Bob Jensen's threads on accounting for employee stock options are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/theory/sfas123/jensen01.htm 


Question
What proportion of the operating budget of the University of Colorado comes from state funds?  What is the definition of Colorado's "enterprise status?"

Answer
With state funds now providing just 9% of the University of Colorado's budget, the legislature in July granted it "enterprise status," giving it more freedom to raise tuition and manage itself.
Jay Dickman, Business Week, November 15, 2004, Page 100.

Somewhat similar moves have been made at the University of Virginia, William & Mary, Virginia Tech, and all 11 state universities in North Dakota.

November 11, 2004 reply from Glen Gray [glen.gray@CSUN.EDU

As accountants we should know better than to trust numbers without footnotes. Colleges like to under report that percentage—so they can say, “Oh, poor is me.” States pay a MUCH higher percent of “instructional” cost. What colleges include also include in their overall calculation are their research labs and their teaching hospitals, which receive large grants and other outside revenues—so this distorts both the numerator and denominator (but not by equal amounts) in the calculation of percents received from the state.

November 11, 2004 reply from Patricia Doherty [pdoherty@BU.EDU

What bothers me about it is that they use those "poor me" situations to raise tuition and fees. I'm bothered by the creep upward in tuition that could put college farther and farther from the reach of students from families who just cannot afford the numbers we are seeing. When you add up tuition, fees, books, board - more and more students are out of the loop.

p

November 11, 2004 reply from Bill Mister

The University of Colorado has been granted "enterprise" status as reported. However, the Governor held back control of tuition as I understand it. Colorado State University is near the magic 10% requirement and, it appears, will soon follow CU to enterprise status. This is all a product of the Tabor Amendment, which is a California Prop 13 type of restriction with both a spending and revenue limitation. To avoid the restrictions of the Tabor Amendment entities in the state can become enterprise funds. Hence, enterprise funds are encouraged. However, when the governor controls the tuition, the benefits become less clear.

Colorado has also issued vouchers to high school graduates to attend state higher ed institutions.

I used to believe Vermont or New Hampshire would be the first public institutions to go private. It now seems to be an open race. It is a far cry from the 1970s when Pitt and Temple, both private, became public because of financial problems.

I agree the social ramifications can be far reaching and long lasting.

William G. (Bill) Mister 
William.Mister@colostate.edu 

 

 


Women to Watch
"Through the Glass Ceiling, The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2004 --- http://online.wsj.com/page/0,,2_1110,00.html?mod=home_in_depth_reports 

The ranks of women who are making their mark on the corporate front lines has swelled in recent years, but the vast majority aren't well known outside their companies, even though they wield considerable power within them. This report looks at 50 women, some who have moved steadily up the rungs at one company; some who jumped across businesses and industries. See how these women got where they are -- and why they bear watching.

Bob Jensen's thread on why accountancy offers great opportunities for women --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#careers 


Trinity University Settles Diploma Mill Law Suit

On November 10, 2004, Sixty Minutes (CBS mid-week) aired a module on diploma mill frauds and why they can't be stopped. Estimates of the fraudulent revenue range up to $500 million per year. The Hamilton (later Richardson) University featured in the show operated out of a motel in Wyoming with the sole owner living in Key West. There were no classes, examinations, or courses. Students could write a four page essay and buy the diploma in any specialty they desired. Masters and doctoral degrees were also available for a higher fee.

The real kicker is that this guy built a small empty chapel in the motel's parking lot in order to get tax exemption on an estimated $1 million to $2 million in diploma sales.

See "Diplomas for Sale" at  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/08/60II/main654319.shtml  

Diploma mills are selling phony degrees as fast as they can print them. They're often nothing more than a Web site and a P.O. box. But Correspondent Vicki Mabrey reports on one diploma mill that claims to have an actual campus. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hamilton University is located in Evanston, Wyo., an old railroad town that calls itself the hub of western hospitality. Just off the main road is Hamilton’s campus. Hamilton University is not affiliated with Hamilton College in New York.

On the day 60 Minutes Wednesday visited, the campus was empty. There were only two cars in the parking lot, and no sign of faculty or students. We spotted one employee and asked for a campus tour. The employee told us to wait outside, then locked the door and called police.

We left, but not before noticing that Hamilton doesn’t look like a typical university. It looks more like an old motel, which is exactly what it was. But that's not mentioned on the university's Web site, which looks very official, complete with a university seal and a list of degree requirements. Hamilton, it says, has grown to be a truly international institution.

"The campus doesn't exist," says Dawn Curtis, who along with Tracy Robirds, once did clerical work for Hamilton University. She says they were two-thirds of the entire staff, and they left after realizing the school wasn't quite as advertised.

"We never saw any faculty advisers at all. We never saw faculty at all, ever," says Curtis. "There aren't any teachers."

When did she start to figure out that Hamilton Campus wasn't a legitimate college? "When I started reading some of the paperwork that started coming back from the students," says Curtis. "And I started seeing that the turnaround between receiving the papers and the graded papers, the promise, and the degrees going out was very fast – pretty much as soon as the checks cleared." 

How do you get a degree from Hamilton? You start by filling out a form on a site that claims to be an independent referral service. But it really was set up to funnel business to Hamilton. You’ll then be offered dozens of degrees. If you’re accepted, and chances are good you will be, it can take as little as a week or two to get a diploma. Your main assignments are to write a short paper and a big check.

How were some of the papers? Are some of them pretty good? "Probably 80 percent of them. It's not quality work," says Curtis. "Some of them actually really put a lot of work into this, really put a lot of work into their dissertation. I mean, seriously a lot of work. I feel sorry for those people, because they thought this was the real deal."

Laura Callahan says she thought Hamilton was real, just one of many of legitimate schools that offer courses and degrees through the Internet.

"I wanted to finish college. It was a completely personal goal of mine," says Callahan. "All through my professional career, there was never a job requirement that required me to have an educational degree."

The former Homeland Security executive says she couldn’t afford the time or the money for a traditional school, so she checked the Internet for an online university: "Hamilton is advertising themselves as being a four-year school, and even had advanced degrees in computer information systems through their distance learning. Sounded like a good match."

Hamilton’s Web site claims the school is accredited, so Callahan says she thought it was a safe bet. She also thought she knew her way around a campus, even if it was a cyber-campus. She'd taken dozens of correspondence and distance learning courses, enough to earn a junior college degree.

All those credits and her "life experience," over 15 years with the government working with computers, qualified her, according to Hamilton, to get her bachelor's and master's degrees. All she needed was to take a 10-question ethics quiz and write a 2,000-word thesis, which amounts to just four pages.

Did that send a red flag? "To me, it wasn't a matter of meeting the minimum," says Callahan. "To me, it was a matter of satisfying my own personal sense of, 'Did I do it, the best job I could?'"

With degrees in hand, Callahan wanted more, and Hamilton was happy to oblige. She wrote a lengthy dissertation and sent another check, and $7,000 later, she was Dr. Laura Callahan, Ph.D.

Did she feel like she was just buying a degree? "I would feel that way if I didn't do the work, if I didn't transfer in all the other prior learning experiences, and if I didn't put in an honest effort into the papers and the work that I did with Hamilton," says Callahan. 

Though she didn’t know it, Callahan had put her trust in Dr. Rudy Marn. You won’t find him on campus. He doesn’t live in Wyoming. He runs the school from Key West, Fla., and he doesn't give interviews.

But don’t let that empty parking lot fool you. According to documents obtained by 60 Minutes Wednesday, Hamilton is making between $500,000 and $2 million a year – tax-free.

Why is it tax-free? Because of a little church Marn built in the parking lot. Even though it has no pews, and townspeople can’t recall ever seeing services here, it qualifies Hamilton as a tax-exempt religious institution.

Robirds and Curtis say thousands have gotten degrees from Hamilton University, including business executives like Jack Pelton, CEO of Cessna Aircraft, – who lists two Hamilton degrees on his resume.

There are also police officers, college professors, and government workers. And then, there’s Andrew Michael. He has three degrees from Hamilton, and he was enrolled in a Liberia-based online medical school called St. Luke. He goes on trial in Nevada in November, charged with practicing medicine without a license. If convicted, there’s a good chance he could meet some other Hamilton alumni.

"A lot of these prospective students were in prison," says Curtis.

"A lot. And then, the particular degree was forensic psychology, criminology, some sort of justice field. And sent three diplomas to a federal prison," says Robirds. "You need to know how to do that. And then we find out they're on death row. It's like, 'Whoa, where are you going to hang this?'"

And with hundreds of schools like Hamilton, it doesn’t take a math major to figure out that online diploma mills are big business -- at least half a billion dollars a year.

How slick are these operations?

"As slick as you want it," says Allen Ezell, who's retired, but used to track diploma mills for the FBI. "It can range from an Internet ad. It can range from spam to a domestic telephone number. You call the number, the registrar calls you back, asks you in 60 seconds, 'What have you done in life? How long you've been in your occupation? Well, I find you qualified.' It's that simple. It took you less than two minutes. He's qualified you for a bachelor's, master's and doctorate." 

And Americans are buying degrees as fast as they can be printed, which has become an enormous problem for legitimate colleges and universities. Distance learning is booming, and the Internet is providing college at your convenience.

But as the Web becomes more sophisticated, it’s also getting harder to tell the real schools from fakes. And while some people know exactly what they’re doing when they buy a degree, John Bear, who’s written books on diploma mills, says a lot of others are just being scammed.

"The line that the telemarketers use with the little smirk, in fact, the telemarketing script we have actually says, 'chortle now.' I love that line. When they say, 'Well, of course, you know Harvard Ph.D.s who can hardly tie their shoes and can't program their VCRs -- 'chortle now,'" says Bear.

"So you, with all your experience and your 20 years in business in selling life insurance, or preachin,g or teaching, sure that you know as much as a Harvard Ph.D. So 'chortle again,' we'll give it to you. We'll honor your lifetime experience by giving you the doctorate."

Callahan thought Hamilton was legitimate because it claimed to be fully accredited. But it turns out the accreditation board, like the referral service, was set up by Hamilton, for Hamilton.

How did Callahan get taken in by this? "I think it's just my willingness to believe in people and my naivete," she says.

Continued in the article


Trinity University in San Antonio sued a diploma mill in Louisiana where degrees can be purchased under various names such as Trinity College, Trinity University, etc.  This suit was settled in favor of Trinity University in San Antonio.

"Trinity Trademark Lawsuit is Settled," by Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express News, October 27, 2004 --- http://www.uh.edu/ednews/2004/saex/200410/20041027trinityuni.html 

There is now only one Trinity University — and there's the entity formerly known as Trinity College & University.

The San Antonio institution has reached a settlement with Trinity College & University in which the alleged diploma mill is to drop "Trinity" from its name.

The deal ends a lawsuit in which the university said Trinity College & University — registered in the British Virgin Islands, but with purported offices in Louisiana — infringed on the Trinity University trademark.

"Trinity got everything it was asking for without having to go forward with the lawsuit," said university spokeswoman Sharon Jones. "The university will continue to uphold its trademark in order to protect its reputation and its name."

Both parties pay their own costs, said lawyer Dan Harkins, who represented the school.

Among other things, Trinity University alleged that the use of "Trinity" by Trinity College & University caused confusion in the higher education community, and that the confusion "diminished" the value of a degree from Trinity University.

As part of the deal, Trinity College & University President Thomas P. Williams agreed to a permanent injunction requiring his business to destroy all materials — mugs, pens, pencils, sweatshirts, book bags, bumper stickers, and other items — bearing "Trinity" in the logo.

The agreement does not say what Trinity College & University will be renamed, but Williams got permission to include "Formerly Trinity College & University" at the bottom of the business' home Web site for six months.

Attempts to reach Williams were unsuccessful. His lawyer, Albert Nicaud of Metairie, La., did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Trinity University No. 1 for more than 10 years among colleges and universities that offer a full range of undergraduate and master level programs in the western United States.

Trinity College & University hasn't quite received the same acclaim.

Recently, the Department of Defense joined the state of Oregon in warning that Trinity College & University may be nothing more than a diploma mill — an unaccredited entity that offers college credit for life experiences rather than formal education. The warning came after the Department of Defense noted that Trinity College & University was targeting soldiers in Iraq.

Trinity College & University offers a bachelor's degree for $695, according to its Web site.

Records show Trinity College & University is registered with the Secretary of State in Louisiana, but officials there say it is not licensed to operate as an educational institution.

Bob Jensen's threads on diploma mill frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudreporting.htm#DiplomaMill 


Question
Where will the new Hampton Inn be located in Littleton, New Hampshire?

Answer
Next to Littleton's Wal-Mart.  Retail balance of trade for Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine is horrible relative to New Hampshire due to the absence of a sales tax and significantly lower liquor prices in New Hampshire.  Couple that with Vermont's ban on building new discount stores, notably Wal-Mart stores, and you have a steady stream of cars flowing across New Hampshire's borders for the sole purpose of spending millions of dollars.  There are exits on I93 and I95 in New Hampshire that only route into enormous state-owned liquor stores.  There are New Hampshire motels, hotels, gas stations, and other retail centers centered around border town discount stores, Home Depot stores, etc.  Often shoppers rent huge trucks to haul the goods back across the borders  of their very taxing home states.  I've never been in Littleton's Wal-Mart parking lot when more than 50% of the license plates weren't Vermont green.  And now you have a clue as to how New Hampshire can continue to avoid a state sales tax.

Yes and quite a few higher income workers commute from New Hampshire to those other bordering states.  You would be surprised how many wealthy Harvard and MIT professors work in Cambridge but live in New Hampshire in order to avoid a taxing experience, especially a state income tax.  They can avoid income taxes on book royalties, investments, and consulting fees even though they may have to pay a Massachusetts income tax on their MIT and Harvard salaries.


15 Things a man can do at Wal-Mart -- While his wife is taking her own sweet time

1. Get a dozen boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they are not looking.

2. Set all the alarm clocks in housewares to go off at five-minute intervals.

3. Make a trail of tomato juice leading to the restrooms.

4. Walk up to an employee and tell him/her in an official tone: "Code three in Housewares," and see what happens.

5. Go to the service desk and ask to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.

6. Move a "Caution - Wet Floor" sign to a carpeted area.

7. Setup a tent in the Camping department... tell other shoppers you're sleeping over, invite them in if they bring pillows from the Bedding department.

8. When a clerk asks if they can help you, begin to cry and ask: "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"

9. Look right into the security camera, and use it as a mirror to pick your nose.

10. While handling guns in the Hunting department, ask the clerk if he/she knows where the anti-depressants are.

11. Dart around the store suspiciously, while loudly humming the theme from "Mission: Impossible."

12. In the Auto department, practice your "Madonna look" using different sized funnels.

13. Hide in a clothing rack, and when people browse through, say: "Pick me! Pick Me!"

14. When an announcement comes over the PA, assume the fetal position, and scream, "NO!...It's the voices again!!"

15. Go into a fitting room, shut the door and wait a while. Then yell loudly, "There's no toilet paper in here!"

 


"Photo Finish: The Latest Printers," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2004, Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110004106715169413,00.html?mod=gadgets%5Flead%5Fstory%5Fcol 

We Test Three Portable Models Aimed at Holiday Shoppers; The Cost of Paper and Ink

The easiest way to print digital photographs in your home is by using a portable photo printer. These small devices are specifically designed to produce snapshot-size prints of digital photographs, without a computer. They can sit anywhere convenient, like on a kitchen counter, and can be packed up quickly for easy transportation to a friend's house or family event.

This week, my assistant Katie Boehret and I tested three portable photo printers that are new for this holiday season. We looked at the latest model from the leader in this category, the $200 Hewlett-Packard Photosmart 375, as well as a new model from Sony, the $150 DPP-FP30. We also tested Dell Computer's very first entry in this category, the $189 Photo Printer 540.

Our verdict: The Dell is a fair first effort, but it's no match for the H-P, which is our overall pick for features, picture quality and price. Despite its low price and decent picture quality, we can't recommend the Sony, which is way too limited and yielded the costliest prints.

These three printers are designed primarily to print in the most common format -- 4x6-inch snapshots. They can print smaller photos if you choose, but not larger ones. Each uses its own photo paper and ink technology. The Dell and Sony use dye-sublimation printing, which works as a piece of photo paper passes quickly through the printer four times, while a color ribbon applies the image. The H-P 375 uses ink-jet cartridges to apply the image as the paper slowly passes through just once.

The ink supply on these models is designed to last only long enough to cover one pack of paper, so you buy them together in special packs. Over time, this periodic expense far outweighs the cost of the printers themselves. When the cost of paper-and-ink packs is compared, Sony's prints turn out to be the most expensive by far, at $45 for 80 prints, or 56 cents apiece. Dell sells a 120-print pack for $47, for a price-per-print of 39 cents. And $45 buys you a 125-print pack from H-P, for the lowest per-print price at 36 cents.

The H-P 375 is the most portable of all three. Its paper trays are built-in, hinged doors that simply prop open for use. Photo paper feeds in from the top of this toaster-size printer and slowly passes through the machine, similar to many desktop printers. The Dell and Sony use removable paper trays, which make them a bit more complicated to set up and disassemble.

Continued in the article


Gadgets
The New York Times Product Reviews --- http://tech.nytimes.com/top/news/technology/products/index.html 

MUSIC The iPod's New Trick: Photo Show By DAVID POGUE A look at the sound and range of wireless speaker kits from four companies. • All Music Reviews

COMPUTERS IBM NetVista A Series By CNET.com The highly configurable IBM NetVista A series offers both basic workstations and high-end PCs equipped for work and play. • All Computer Reviews

SOFTWARE Google Takes On Your Desktop By DAVID POGUE Google has just introduced its latest invention: software that applies its search technology to what is on your own hard drive.

CAMCORDERS Panasonic VDR-M70 By CNET.com The VDR-M70 doesn't shake the belief that mini-DVD camcorders still are not ready for prime time. • All Digital Camcorder Reviews

DIGITAL CAMERAS Form and (Some) Function By CNET.com If you can live without a zoom lens or an optical viewfinder, this is stylish ultracompact shooter. • All Camera Reviews

HOME VIDEO Great TV. Unbroken Bank. Thanks primarily to the DVD, home theaters have come within reach of many shoppers in the last few years. So why choose one over another? • All Home Video Reviews

CELLPHONES AT&T's LG L1150 By CNET.com The LG L1150 for AT&T Wireless is an affordable, multipurpose camera phone for new users. • All Cellphone Reviews

HANDHELDS Ogo From AT&T Wireless By DAVID POGUE The new Ogo, from AT&T Wireless, is designed to meet the e-mail and messaging needs of teenagers. They may be left unsatisfied. • All Handheld Reviews

PERIPHERALS Bargain Printer for Home Users By CNET.com With good output quality, fast print speeds, and low ink costs, the Epson Stylus 384 is a great bargain for home users. • All Peripherals Reviews

WI-FI A Router Makes Wireless Access Easy By CNET.com The Linksys WRT54GS Wireless-G Broadband Router with SpeedBooster makes it easy to set up a typical home or office network. • All Wi-Fi Reviews

cnet recently reviewed products NEC MultiSync FE2111SB-BK This reasonably priced jumbo CRT performs well, but it's hard to adjust and lacking in pizzazz. •Compare Prices •Full Review

Dell Dimension 3000 It's a configurable and well-supported budget PC, but the Dell Dimension 3000 trails eMachines in terms of performance and features. •Compare Prices •Full Review

Sony Network Walkman NW-HD1 (20GB) Sony's 20GB HD1 looks, sounds, and feels amazing, but you'll have to sacrifice an extra wad of cash, not to mention native MP3 and WMA file support. •Compare Prices •Full Review


Free online tutoring helps when the lessons get tough.  Priscilla Hernandez didn't really know where to start.  Assigned to write an essay on the history of money, the Del Dios Middle School student was stumped.  Fortunately, Hernandez found out that help is now just a mouse click away.
"Free online tutoring helps when the lessons get tough," by Craig Gustafson, The San Diego Union Tribune, October 29, 2004 ---  http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20041029/news_1mi29lib.html 


New Research in Transfer Pricing

From the Stanford University Alumni Newsletter, October 2004 --- http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/research/acctg_transferpricing.shtml 
Use Weighted Averages to Determine Transfer Pricing In a prize-winning research paper, Stefan Reichelstein, the William R. Timken Professor of Accounting at the GSB, with co-authors Tim Baldenius and Nahum Melumad, both of Columbia University, have developed a real-world answer to transfer pricing that balances both the economic criteria confronted by Hirshleifer and the puzzle of international tax rates.


A Stanford University Research Study
Misleading Bias in Book Best Seller Lists, including those of The New York Times

From the Stanford University Alumni Newsletter, October 2004 
What's With All the "National Best Sellers"? 
A recent study of best sellers by Alan Sorensen, an assistant professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, found 109 hardcover fiction books that did not make the The New York Times list in 2001 and 2002 but sold better than some that did. MSN.com, October 15, 2004

"What's With All the "National Best Sellers"? How so many books get to the top of the charts," by Sean Rocha, MSN.com, October 15, 2004 ---  http://slate.msn.com/id/2108296#ContinueArticle 

Note: Slate initially posted a version of this column before it was finished being edited. A correction at the end of the article details errors that appeared in the original.

Walk into a bookstore, and it can seem as though every book is billed as a "national best seller." It's not hard to explain why: There are numerous best-seller lists on which to base the claim, and the lists don't always anoint the same books. On Thursday, for example, six of the most prominent top-10 fiction lists included 22 different titles. How do these best-seller lists work? And why don't they all list the same books?

There hasn't always been such an abundance of lists. According to Michael Korda's Making the List, the first best-seller list in America began in 1895 as a monthly column in a now defunct literary magazine called The Bookman. The oldest continuously published list was introduced in 1912 by Publishers Weekly, and the New York Times Book Review began publishing its list as a regular weekly feature in 1942. Now there are more than 40 best-seller lists that report how well books are doing either nationally or in various segments of the market—in particular regions, at certain chain stores, at independent bookstores nationwide. However, no list-maker tracks every book sold in the country; even the national lists draw on a sample of actual sales data from booksellers and use it to extrapolate total national sales.

The industry bellwether is the New York Times list, due to the prominence of the newspaper and the scope of its sales survey. Each week, the Times receives sales reports from almost 4,000 bookstores, along with reports from wholesalers that sell to 50,000 other retailers, including gift shops, department stores, newsstands, and supermarkets. John Wright, the assistant to the best-sellers editor at the Times, said the paper does not reveal the precise methodology by which its list is compiled. But we do know that the rankings are based on unit, not dollar, figures and account for sales during a Sunday to Saturday week.

To report sales to the Times, booksellers use a form provided by Times editors. The form lists titles the editors think are likely to sell well. Although there is space below for writing in additional titles, this practice has been controversial. Some critics (particularly independent-bookstore owners and small publishers) believe the Times form makes it more difficult for quiet, word-of-mouth hits to make the Times list. Whatever the cause, the Times list certainly makes "mistakes": A recent study of best sellers by Alan Sorensen, an assistant professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, found 109 hardcover fiction books that did not make the Times list in 2001 and 2002 but sold better than some that did.

Other best-seller lists draw on smaller survey samples. The San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times (among other newspapers) publish lists that rank sales in their regions. Barnes & Noble and Amazon calculate best-seller lists based exclusively on their own sales—the Barnes & Noble list includes transactions both on the company's Web site and at its more than 870 stores. The American Booksellers Association's "Book Sense" list surveys only independent bookstores, compiling data from about 460 of the estimated 2,000 independent bookstores in the United States. (And Library Journal, a trade magazine, even launched a list recently that is not based on sales at all; instead, it ranks the books "most borrowed" from libraries.) Best-seller lists generally separate hardcover and paperback books and also parse by category: fiction, nonfiction, advice, children's, etc. There are exceptions: Barnes & Noble, for example, lumps together hardcover and paperback sales while retaining the distinction between fiction and nonfiction, and USA Today runs a single, unified list of the top 150.

Since the many lists represent different pieces of the total book-sales pie—and even those representing the same slice use different samples—there can be some startling divergences among the rankings. (Some lists are also faster than others to record sales, which can exaggerate these differences.) For example, on Wednesday, Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen ranked No. 10 among the ABA's independents but only came in at No. 121 on USA Today's list. The No. 7 book on Amazon, War Trash by Ha Jin, was not in Barnes & Noble's top 25 while the No. 3 book on Barnes & Noble, Anita Shreve's Light on Snow, was only No. 22 on Amazon—and neither book had yet made it onto the Times or Publishers Weekly lists.

Best-seller lists indicate how a book is selling relative to other books in a given geographical area or niche of the market, but they don't reveal how many copies a book has sold or how much money consumers have spent on a given title. Movie buffs can log onto the Internet Movie Database and find out how much money a film took in at the box office the week before. But readers who love The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, which just had a long run at No. 1 on almost every fiction best-seller list, have no way to tell from the rankings whether it is selling 1,000 copies a week or 1 million, or how much money it has made.

In part, definitive figures on book sales don't appear in best-seller lists because timely, authoritative data can be hard to come by, even for publishers. The larger companies, such as Holtzbrinck (FSG, Holt, Picador, St. Martin's) or Bertelsmann (Random House, Knopf, Doubleday) have increasingly sophisticated in-house systems that update sales data for their own titles on a weekly or daily basis, based on figures that sales reps get from book retailers across the country. These systems have blind spots, however: Airports and supermarkets, for example, are slower to report point-of-sale data, so it can sometimes take two to three months for publishers to obtain sales numbers from these venues. And publishing house bean-counters must also contend with the book world's peculiar return policy, which allows retailers to send any books they cannot sell back to the publisher—for a full refund. Only when a book is bought and retained by the customer does it count as a sale for the publisher. As a result, for the publisher, sales figures are always provisional pending a costly adjustment for returns—and returns can be huge, sometimes amounting to between 40 percent and 50 percent of books shipped.

So how many books do you actually need to sell to make it onto, say, the Times list? There is no defined threshold, but according to the Stanford study, one book made the hardcover fiction list selling only 2,108 copies a week; more typically, the median weekly sales figure in the study was 18,717. And most books can't keep even these modest sale rates up for long: Sales generally peak during a book's second week on the list and then steadily decline. Over a period of six months, the median best seller in the Stanford study averaged weekly sales of just over 3,600 copies.

Incidentally, the Stanford study would not have been possible even five years ago—the professor who conducted it would have had trouble obtaining accurate data. But in 2001, a Dutch company called VNU introduced Nielsen BookScan, which reports industry-wide sales figures and is available only by subscription. Like the national best-seller lists, BookScan relies on sampling—in their case, about 4,500 retailers—but BookScan reveals hard data on unit sales for books. The Washington Post bases its rankings on BookScan data, but Nielsen requires that the Post keep unit sales figures out of the paper. 

Continued in the article


Video from the Stanford University Alumni Newsletter, October 2004 
Best Practice - Alumni Learning Resource "Rules for Success," Debi Coleman, MBA '78 Debi Coleman, Managing Partner, SmartForest Ventures, acknowledges how she has spent the last 25 years in the high-tech world learning the difference between "management" and "leadership", shares her "rules for leadership success". See Best Practice for this video and more alumni speaking on a wide range of industry topics. (GSB Alumni Only, log in required) --- https://alumni.gsb.stanford.edu/lifelonglearning/bestpractice/index.html 


For K-8 Teachers
TeacherNet --- http://www.teachernet.com/ 


Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress --- http://www.carouselofprogress.com/main.htm 

Welcome, to Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. You're in for a real treat. The Carousel of Progress was Walt's own idea from beginning to end. He loved it. He introduced the show at the World's Fair in New York City in 1964 and it was an immediate smash hit. Millions of people came to see it and since then, the Carousel of Progress has had more performances than any other stage show in the history of American theater. You know, Walt loved the idea of progress and he loved the American family. He himself was probably as American as anyone could possibly be. He thought it would be fun to watch the American family go through the twentieth century experiencing all new wonders as they came. And he put them together in a show called Carousel of Progress, which we are about to see. Although our Carousel family has experienced a few changes over the years, our show still revolves around the same theme - and that's progress. May the century begin.


"When Good Technology Means Bad Teaching Giving professors gadgets without training can do more harm than good in the classroom, students say," by Jeffery R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 12, 2004 --- http://chronicle.com/temp/email.php?id=6d2oggey6xn03usc8d31jgby7uqxgiky 

Though many colleges offer optional training sessions or workshops on how to use technology in teaching, some professors say they are too busy with research to participate, especially when tenure committees put so little emphasis on effective teaching.

"Faculty learned in an environment much like Charlie Brown's teacher -- I talk, you listen," says Mr. Arbogast. "Now we roll in an electronic gadget and say, 'Use this.'"

A few colleges are working to improve the training faculty members get, and to offer more incentives for the effective use of technology in the classroom, says Mr. Arbogast, who believes that such efforts are the only way to realize the promise of the investments institutions have made.

"Those that are doing it," he says, "are seeing the rewards."

Dull Presentations

The most common technology used in the classroom seems to be PowerPoint, and it is also the most criticized by students.

A good PowerPoint presentation can enliven a lecture by offering imagery to support key points, and having a prepared set of slides can keep professors from straying off on tangents. Many students also praise PowerPoint slides for being easy to read, noting that professors' chalkboard scrawls can be illegible.

But students say some professors simply dump their notes into PowerPoint presentations and then read them, which can make the delivery even flatter than it would be if the professor did not use slides.

"Sometimes they don't use it to make their points," says Sara E. Sullivan, a sophomore at Suffolk County Community College. "They use it in lieu of their lesson plan."

As one student told researchers in the Educause study: "The majority are taking their lectures and just putting them on PowerPoint. ... With a chalkboard, at least the lights were on and you didn't fall asleep."

And unlike overhead transparencies, which professors can annotate with a pen during a lecture, PowerPoint slides cannot be easily changed during class.

Reply from Bob Jensen

The author, Young, concentrates mostly on PowerPoint presentations accompanying lectures.  Firstly, this assumes a lecture pedagogy which in itself is widely shown to be deadly in class for an enormous proportion of teachers.  Secondly, it assumes that students must read the screens and take as many notes as as possible.  If the professor also hands out hard copy of the presentations days before class, students can both read the material in advance and take annotated notes as the lecture proceeds.  The same can be said of other presentations such as Excel or Access.

The author does make a good point about professors not tending to make use of training seminars.  This is to be expected with busy faculty having highly varied daily schedules.  Far better is to make Camtasia tutorials and other tutorials available on demand so that professors can study them as much and as often as they like within individual schedules.  Also, key points can be made in short messages to faculty listservs about dos and don'ts of teaching.

What the author also fails to mention are the more deadly aspects of education technology --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm 

About a hear ago, I posted the module below to the above link at  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/theworry.htm 

"What's wrong with PowerPoint--and how to fix it," by David Coursey, Executive Editor, AnchorDesk September 10, 2003 --- http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stories/story/0,10738,2914637,00.html 
(Thank you Ed Scibner for pointing to this link.)

Are PowerPoint slides making us stupid? Are all problems really just a few bullet points away from their solutions? Or is the medium having a bad effect on the message? I'm no Marshall McLuhan or Edward Tufte (I will pause here to let you all shout, "Damn straight!"), but I do know something about business presentations and how they're put together. And I know that PowerPoint too often gets in the way of the message, replacing clear thought with unnecessary animations, serious ideas with 10-word bullet points, substance with tacky, confusing style.

I DON'T KNOW what McLuhan would think about PowerPoint, him being dead and all. But Tufte is very much alive and, in an essay appearing in the September issue of Wired, minces no words: "PowerPoint is evil," says the Yale professor whose books have set the standard for graphic presentation in the computer age.

Tufte says that slideware programs like PowerPoint (there aren't many others left) "may help speakers outline their talks, but convenience for speakers can be punishing to both content and audience." The standard PowerPoint deck, he says, "elevates format over content, betraying an attitude of commercialism that turns everything into a sales pitch."

This is especially true given that many presenters--who really shouldn't be presenting in the first place--use PowerPoint as a crutch. PowerPoint becomes a tool to separate the presenter from the audience and from the message.

But it doesn't have to be this way. It's possible to use PowerPoint as a tool (just like the projector you probably use to display your presentation), and as a real complement to what you're saying, without dumbing down your ideas. Today I'd like to offer some advice to help you do just that.

 

My point here is that PowerPoint glitz alone does not an effective presentation make. While your decks shouldn't be boring, they aren't entertainment, either. A few staging and showbiz skills help, but most presentations are won or lost in the actual content. Your job is to control PowerPoint. If you don't, PowerPoint will control your presentation.

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm 


For a Fee:  The Odds of Admission Among 80 Elite Universities
"Thick Envelope," The New York Times --- http://thickenvelope.com/ 

This site will help you unravel the mystery of the college admissions process and reduce the anxiety that comes with it.

You can learn confidentially whether you have a realistic shot at Princeton or Brown and which colleges are your best choices as target and safety schools.

But depending on credentials, some seniors will learn that they have better odds of getting into the two Ivy League schools than at a college with a less imposing name.

For some users, ThickEnvelope provides a first assessment of their prospects; for others, a sophisticated and informed second opinion.

Option A: Probabilities of admission at all 80 colleges for $39.95 and unlimited repeat access for $19.95 per use.

Option B: Probabilities of admission at any 10 colleges for $29.95.

Footnote

There is no need to pay the above fee for any Texas high school students who aspire to go to top Texas universities.  Admission is automatic to any Texas university provided the students graduate in the top 10%.

Sixty Minutes on CBS recently ran a feature on how the University of Texas may soon lose virtually all discretion on who is admitted to the undergraduate program.  Currently about 65% of the admissions are automatic for students who graduate in the top 10% of any Texas high school.  As more and more students take advantage of this option, the President of the University of Texas claimed that the school will be "run over" by the 10% law.  

See "Is The "Top 10" Plan Unfair?" at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/15/60minutes/main649704.shtml 


Center for History of Physics --- http://www.aip.org/history/index.html 
Bob Jensen's threads on history are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History 


The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government ---  http://spa.american.edu/bestplacestowork/ 

The Office of Management and Budget is at Rank 3.  The Department of Education is near the bottom.


Personality theories glossary --- http://college.hmco.com/psychology/engler/personality_theories/6e/students/glossary.html 

Bob Jensen's threads on glossaries are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245gloss.htm 


Hi Randy,

My vote is the original Arthur Andersen because he was such a great role model for accountants of any generation. You can read about him and other Hall of Famers at

http://fisher.osu.edu/departments/accounting-and-mis/hall-of-fame/accounting-hall 

The following is taken from http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#Quotations  
In his eulogy for Arthur Andersen, delivered on January 13, 1947 the Rev. Dr. Duncan E. Littlefair closed with the following words:

********************* 
Mr. Andersen had great courage. Few are the men who have as much faith in the right as he, and fewer still are those with the courage to live up to their faith as he did...For those of you who worked with him and carry on his company, the meaning is clear. Those principles upon which his business was built and with which it is synonymous must be preserved. His name must never be associated with any program or action that is not the highest and the best. I am sure he would rather the doors be closed than that it should continue to exist on principles other than those he established. To you he has left a great name. Your opportunity is tremendous; your responsibility is great. 
*********************

Eliot Ness had a partner named Oscar Wallace who was both an accountant and a treasury agent.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From:  Randy Elder 
Sent: Friday, October 29, 2004 3:31 PM 
To: AECM@LISTSERV.LOYOLA.EDU 
Subject: Famous accountants

The local paper is Syracuse plans to run an article about opportunities in accounting. The writer asked me to provide the names of famous accountants. Her question, "if there were accounting trading cards, who would be on them?" I think she is looking for names with the stature of a Honus Wagner baseball card. She also specifically asked about the name of the accountant who helped Eliot Ness bring down Al Capone. Please send me the names of any great accountants, especially turn of the century examples or people who uncovered a major fraud.

Thanks,

Randy Elder

***************************************** 
Randy Elder 
Associate Professor and Director Joseph I. Lubin School of Accounting 
Martin J. Whitman School of Management 
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 13244-2130 
Email: rjelder@som.syr.edu 

 


Help for Teenagers
Teen Chicago --- http://www.teenchicago.org 


"The Death of Postmodernism?" by Sanford Pinsker --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-10-31-04.htm 

Jacques Derrida, the founder of deconstruction, died on October 8, 2004.  Because he seemed to many to be such a complicated thinker and difficult writer, a good deal of ink was spent on his obituary.  No doubt there are many questions yet to be answered about the shy, nearly reclusive Mr. Derrida, a man who enjoyed lecturing to audiences in the thousands, but who was very uncomfortable during a one-on-one interview.  But one question, perhaps the only one that matters to academics, is this: What did Jacques Derrida mean to the American academy?  And the answer is easy:  a disaster.  And, when I say a disaster,  I  mean one that spread from literary studies to nearly every academic discipline in the years  between the late l960s  and the early l990s.

 Why so?  Because Derrida set out -- and some would say, succeeded -- in so destabilizing language that the very foundations on which knowledge rested were shaken.  No doubt some would argue that this is a good thing, and in other instances, academic reconsiderations and revisions are valuable.  But what Derrida meant to declare, once his muddy  paragraphs were decoded,  was the meaninglessness of meaning.  In a shot, everything connected with humanistic values and humanistic studies was rendered suspect.  The "hermeneutics of suspicion," which simply meant that all intellectual arguments -- with the exception of deconstruction, of course -- should be viewed with suspicion.

 During the first waves of canon busting, Derrida's assertions about meaningless joined identity politics to  overturn those DWM's (dead white males) who had so dominated the great book lists for far too long.  After all, who could now use words such as "better" -- much less best -- and who would want to talk  about  the  "meaning" of King Lear when words such as "honor" or "courage" -- much less "love" -- were no longer a part of critical discourse?  Besides, Shakespeare's play was, at bottom, meaningless.

Granted, some  things  continued to "matter" to  Derrida and his  followers -- a paycheck for one thing, and academic power for another.  In the hey day of deconstruction, all of academia was a playground and those who knew the right "theory talk" ruled the kingdom they created.  In this hot house atmosphere Derrida was the cat's meow among American academics (he was considerably less  revered in France) and the "Yale school of  criticism," as it then was known, made stars of literary critics such as Geoffrey Hartman, J. Hillis Miller, and the controversial Paul de Man.  Of the three, de Man was closest to Derrida, and when it was revealed in l987 (three years after de Man's  death) that he had  written Nazi propaganda for Belgian newspapers during the war, deconstruction began to fall out of favor.  After all, if a man wanted to erase his past, and wanted to construct a series of identities, deconstruction was  the perfect way to avoid both history and responsibility.

Continued in the article

November 1, 2004 reply from Steven Filling [steven@SAMSARA.CSUSTAN.EDU

One can only imagine the plethora of cries of relief after a certain cup of hemlock was drained. All those intellectual wannabes [oops, sorry, I mean learned pontificators] jubilant that Socrates would no longer be perverting the thought patterns of the youth....

cheers 
s.

November 1, 2004 reply from Jagdish Gangolly [JGangolly@UAMAIL.ALBANY.EDU

I wonder how much Mr. Pinsker knows about whatever music that Michael Jackson does. Can one deconstruct something without having a good understanding of whatever it is that one is deconstructing? I suggest he "suffer" a course or two of contemporary popular music before deconstructing Michael Jackson or pretending to deconstruct deconstruction.

Jagdish

PS: I am no fan of Michael Jackson kind of music. I remember asking my once Dean in the School of Information Science here (who a long time worked with Aaron Copeland) why I liked western music composed before 1750 best, that composed between 1750 and 1900 next best, and that composed after 1900 least. His answer was revealing: composers before 1750 wrote for "The Gods", those between 1750 and 1900 wrote for "The man" and those after 1900 wrote for "ME". Was he deconstructing contemporary "classical" music? I wondered, but told him that may be because the first was contemplative, the second was pompous, and the third was "all variation and no theme". Am I deconstructing music? Wonder what Pinsker would say?

 


From the University of Wisconsin
The Arts Collection http://libtext.library.wisc.edu/Arts/ 


I'm Singing in the Snow
November 5, 2004 from the White Mountains
The low pressure system which brought rain and mixed with snow to the region will continue to intensify as it slowly begins to pull away into the Canadian Maritimes today. With this deepening area of low pressure and a strong area of high pressure moving in behind it, the winds will increase with gusts to 45 mph today and tonight. A wind advisory has been issued, so I've made sure any lightweight objects are properly secured.  Fortunately, I'm not a lightweight object.  My physician (Virginia Jefferyes) says she wishes that I would be less secured in high winds.  Following winds in excess of 100 mph last week atop Mt Washington, it's a relatively "calm" day up there.  Some ski areas will be opening this weekend.

Here's what I can sing by the fire today.

Math And Science Song Information, Viewable Everywhere ---  http://www.science-groove.org/MASSIVE/ 

The MASSIVE database (last updated on 10-26-04) contains information on over 1700 science and math songs. Some of these songs are suitable for 2nd graders; others might only appeal to tenured professors. Some songs have been professionally recorded; others haven't. Some are quite silly; others are downright serious. To find songs that will interest you, proceed to the search page. Or check out our companion site, MASSIVE radio, an Internet radio station devoted entirely to science/math songs (requires a connection speed of at least 64 kilobits per second).

MASSIVE is maintained by Greg Crowther, who is affiliated with the University of Washington, Science Groove, and the Science Songwriters' Association. MASSIVE itself is part of the National Science Foundation's National Science Digital Library and has been featured in the NetWatch section of Science magazine.

Additional details about MASSIVE are posted to the FAQ page. If you have corrections, comments, or questions not addressed by that page, please send them to greg@science-groove.org.

 


For Business History Buffs (Good site, but the search engine is useless)
The history dates back to 1886, but the archived annual reports include only the years 1998-2002.

Sears Archives --- http://www.searsarchives.com/ 

Once again, Sears has made history. For the first time, Sears has opened the doors to its vast archival collection and invited the public to peek inside. More than 100 years of stories, product and brand histories, photographs, catalog images are now available online. Sears has a rich, long history to tell dating back to 1886 when Richard Sears sold the first batch of watches. The milestones, introductions and stories fill volumes. However, we've boiled Sears history down to a short narrative and event timeline for you: Sears narrative history tells the story of the founding of Sears and the Sears chronology is an up-to-date primer of Sears milestones and events. Both sections span from 1886 to today.

The site will be updated frequently, so be sure to bookmark www.searsarchives.com .

In 1993, the following was published (I think it is out of print, but used copies are available from Amazon and probably eBay) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0394444116/ref=ase_digitalpoints-20/104-9645591-9105564?v=glance&s=books 

1897 Sears Roebuck Catalogue

Edited by S. J. Perelman, Sears, Fred L. Israel

Bob Jensen's threads on history are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob2.htm#History 


For American Art History Buffs

Color Images in Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog ---  http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/catalog.html 


Two Questions
How did Bob Jensen spend his summer vacation?
What can physicists do when they can't find jobs in physics?

Answers

I've spent a great deal of my summer and my Fall 2004 Semester leave plowing through a book entitled Quantitative Finance and Risk Managment:  A Physicists Approach by Jan W. Dash, by Jan W. Dash (World Scientific Publishing, 2004, ISBN 981-238-712-9)
This is a great book by a good writer.

For a more introductory warm up I recommend Derivatives:  An Introduction by Robert A Strong, Edition 2 (Thomson South-Western, 2005, ISBN 0-324-27302-9)

And what about opportunities for physicists?
See "A Geek's Walk on Wall Street," by Peter Coy, Business Week, November 15, Page 26.  This is a review of a book entitled My Life as a Quant, by Emanuel Derman (Wiley, 2005) --- http://www.businessweek.com/@@x3mnUmYQYMjg7RMA/premium/content/04_46/b3908024_mz005.htm 

As one of Wall Street's leading quants, Derman did throw off some intense gamma radiation. He worked at Goldman from 1985 until 2003 except for one year at Salomon Brothers. At Goldman, he moved from fixed income to equity derivatives to risk management, becoming a managing director in 1997. He co-invented a tool for pricing options on Treasury bonds, working with Goldman colleagues Bill Toy and the late Fischer Black, who co-invented the Black-Scholes formula for valuing options on stocks. Derman received the industry's "Financial Engineer of the Year" award in 2000. Now he directs the financial-engineering program at Columbia University.

Derman failed at what he really wanted, which was to become an important physicist. He was merely very smart in a field dominated by geniuses, so he kicked around from one low-paying research job to another. "At age 16 or 17, I had wanted to be another Einstein," he writes. "By 1976...I had reached the point where I merely envied the postdoc in the office next door because he had been invited to give a seminar in France." His move to Wall Street -- an acknowledgment of failure -- brought him financial rewards beyond the dreams of academic physicists and a fair measure of satisfaction as well.

In the tradition of the idiosyncratic memoir, My Life As a Quant is a grab bag of the author's interests. It quotes Schopenhauer and Goethe while supplying not one but three diagrams of a muon neutrino colliding with a proton. There is a long section on the brilliant and punctilious Fischer Black; a glimpse of physicist Richard Feynman; and an embarrassing encounter with finance giant Robert Merton, who sat next to the author on a long flight (Derman treated him rudely before realizing who he was).

Derman's mood seems to vary from bemused on good days to sour on bad ones. The chapter on his postdoc travels is titled "A Sort of Life"; his brief career at Bell Labs, "In the Penal Colony"; his tenure at Salomon Brothers, "A Severed Head." Pre-IPO Goldman Sachs comes off as relatively gentle yet stimulating. He writes: "It was the only place I never secretly hoped would crash and burn."

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads (including video tutorials) on derivative financial instruments and the Freddie and Fannie scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/caseans/000index.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on the trillions of dollars of worldwide frauds using derivative financial instruments are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudRotten.htm#DerivativesFrauds 


History from PBS Television

Broadway: The American Musical --- http://www.pbs.org/wnet/broadway/ 


November 3, 2004 message from neal hannon [nhannon@COX.NET

If anyone would like a very current update on the status of XBRL, a visit to the SEC’s website will be enlightening. The SEC recently asked several probing questions about the health and stability of XBRL to the public. The comments from PwC, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Microsoft, IMA, FEI and the AAA are now posted on their website at http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/s73504.shtml  . Reading the comments will give readers a most current view of the XBRL from the eyes of organizations poised to help companies voluntarily file with the SEC in XBRL. The SEC’s voluntary XBRL filing program will most likely begin with first quarter 2005 SEC filings. Stay Tuned!

Neal

Neal J. Hannon, CMA
University of Hartford; Barney School of Business
XBRL Editor, Strategic Finance Magazine

Bob Jensen's threads on XBRL are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm#TimelineXBRL 


Anybody care to challenge this data from Graduation Watch --- http://www.graduationwatch.org/select.php

TRINITY UNIVERSITY - www.trinity.edu
San Antonio , Texas
Transfer Rate: N/A
Graduation Rates
4 Year - 65.0%
5 Year - 75.0%
6 Year - 75.4%
Costs
Annual Total Costs Out-of-State: $28,550
Annual Total Costs In-State: $28,550

SAINT OLAF COLLEGE - www.stolaf.edu
Northfield , Minnesota
Transfer Rate: N/A
Graduation Rates
4 Year - 73.3%
5 Year - 78.9%
6 Year - 80.4%
Costs
Annual Total Costs Out-of-State: $30,050
Annual Total Costs In-State: $30,050


STANFORD UNIVERSITY - www.stanford.edu/
Stanford , California
Transfer Rate: N/A
Graduation Rates
4 Year - 77.1%
5 Year - 89.0%
6 Year - 92.5%
Costs
Annual Total Costs Out-of-State: $40,591
Annual Total Costs In-State: $40,591

"Suffering the Pornographers," by John Leland, The New York Times, October 31, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/31/fashion/31CHUR.html 

Mike Gross and Mike Foster, two young pastors from California, were looking for direction when one day in 2001, Mr. Foster said, God came to him in the shower and said one word: "Pornography." Mr. Foster, 33, said he did not often get such visits, and so he treated it as a divine calling. Since it came with no further instructions, the two reasoned that it was up to them to figure out what to do next.

And so it came to be that on a Sunday afternoon three years later, Mr. Gross, 28, and Mr. Foster were tooling around a mall parking lot here in a black Scion xB festooned with ads declaring, "XXXChurch.com: The No. 1 Christian Porn Site." An air freshener with an image of Jesus dangled above the dash.

"You can see people checking us out," Mr. Gross said.

For Mr. Gross and Mr. Foster, who sometimes refer to themselves as "the goofballs," it was just another day of 21st century ministry, combining technology, self-promotion, sensationalism and humor to address what they see as an equally up-to-date scourge on modern society: Internet pornography. Their approach bears little resemblance to what most people think of as church.

The two started their online ministry, XXXChurch.com, shortly after Mr. Foster's experience in the shower. Instead of posting Scripture online, they flashed, "Porn. Sex. Girls. Guys," in order to reach the people who wanted to see pornography, not ban it. Once the curious visit the site, they can download a free computer program called X3watch, one of several "accountability" programs designed for people who want to stop looking at Internet pornography but cannot do so on their own. Whenever a user visits a pornographic Web site, the program alerts his or her designated "accountability partner."

So far, Mr. Gross and Mr. Foster said, 100,000 people have downloaded X3watch, including all of the pastors at the church Mr. Gross attends. In his own case, his wife gets a list of every site he visits.

Continued in the article

The site is located at http://www.xxxchurch.com/ 
Like most evangelical sites, this site also appears to be a money making venture.  The products for sale cross a range of interests.


Chronic Teacher Turnover in Urban Elementary Schools --- http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v12n42/v12n42.pdf 


From The Wall Street Journal Accounting Weekly Review on November 5, 2004

TITLE: Tracking Liquid Assets: New Ways to Monitor a Wine Collection 
REPORTER: Don Clark 
DATE: Nov 03, 2004 
PAGE: D1 
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109943570769662793,00.html  
TOPICS: Accounting, Inventory Systems, Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting

SUMMARY: The article describes various services and products designed to provide a perpetual inventory of wine collections. One service even uses a bar code system. The questions focus on showing students how accounting practices can be used in everyday life. Some may find the topic of alcohol to be of concern for classroom discussion.but discussion can be directed towards responsible consumption of wine.

QUESTIONS: 
1.) What is the meaning of the term "liquid assets" as it is typically used in accounting?

2.) Do you think these types of services were performed before the introduction of the personal computer? For whom? How do you think the work was accomplished? Why is it only now that the services could be used for handling a vast number of personal wine collections?

3.) One service described in the article allows for a photograph of each bottle to be posted on line and for the user to update the system either by entering it into a PC or "waving a wand-like device over the bottle." Where have you seen similar systems in use in business? How are bar codes used for this purpose?

4.) Define the terms "perpetual inventory system" and "periodic inventory system." Which of these systems is being used to track wine holdings? Why would the other not be useful for wine collectors' purposes?

5.) Define the term "inventory cost flow assumption." Is any such assumption being used in these services? Why must a cost flow assumption be used for business practices?

Reviewed By: Judy Beckman, University of Rhode Island


Archival Photographic Files of the University of Chicago Campus --- http://photofiles.lib.uchicago.edu/ 


Fact and fiction about Hanoi Jane Fonda ---  http://vikingphoenix.com/military/JaneFonda/boguspowstory.htm




Forwarded by Aaron Konstam

From time to time, airline flight attendants and other flight crew members have made an effort make the in-flight "safety lecture" and other announcements a bit more light-hearted entertaining.   

Here are some real examples that have been heard and/or reported:   

An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the Passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline." He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?" "Why, no, Ma'am," said the pilot. "What is it?" The little old lady said, "Was this a pilot training flight or were we shot down?"   

After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal."   

On a Southwest flight (SW has no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, "People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!"   

On a Continental Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."   

On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have."   

There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane"   

"Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."   

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"   

After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted."   

From a Southwest Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight 245 to Tampa. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."   

"In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."   

Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."   

"Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."   

"As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."   

And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"   

Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City: The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt."   

Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"   

Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."   

Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of US Airways."   

Heard on a Southwest Airline flight. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing and if you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em."

Reply from John Stancil

One I heard on a SW flight “Please check the cabin for all your belongings. If you leave anything behind you can get it on eBay next week.”

Reply from Ed Scribner

Here’s one I heard from a retired pilot:

The pilot of a Continental flight approaching Indianapolis said, “Well, folks, we’re beginning our descent into Indianapolis. The airport is reporting clear and 78 degrees. If you’d like to adjust your watch to the local time, just set it back about 20 years.” (The complaint from the chamber of commerce members on board resulted in only a two-week suspension for the pilot.)

Ed


Forwarded by Paula

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five!

That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.

"How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . . YOU BECOME 21 YESSSS !!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

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

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

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!

You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime.

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

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

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

HOW TO STAY YOUNG

1.Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay "them"

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

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

4. Enjoy the simple things.

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

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

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

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

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

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:

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


Forwarded by Dick Haar

Subject: Public Service Announcement

Those planning to attend the Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Barbara Streisand Concert hosted by Michael Moore on the White House lawn are hereby notified that it has been cancelled.


I might add that the Dixie Chicks will not be headlining the White House Fourth of July Concert as was prematurely announced before midnight on November 3, 2004.


Forwarded by Paula

15 Things a man can do at Wal-Mart -- While his wife is taking her own sweet time

1. Get a dozen boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they are not looking.

2. Set all the alarm clocks in housewares to go off at five-minute intervals.

3. Make a trail of tomato juice leading to the restrooms.

4. Walk up to an employee and tell him/her in an official tone: "Code three in Housewares," and see what happens.

5. Go to the service desk and ask to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.

6. Move a "Caution - Wet Floor" sign to a carpeted area.

7. Setup a tent in the Camping department... tell other shoppers you're sleeping over, invite them in if they bring pillows from the Bedding department.

8. When a clerk asks if they can help you, begin to cry and ask: "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"

9. Look right into the security camera, and use it as a mirror to pick your nose.

10. While handling guns in the Hunting department, ask the clerk if he/she knows where the anti-depressants are.

11. Dart around the store suspiciously, while loudly humming the theme from "Mission: Impossible."

12. In the Auto department, practice your "Madonna look" using different sized funnels.

13. Hide in a clothing rack, and when people browse through, say: "Pick me! Pick Me!"

14. When an announcement comes over the PA, assume the fetal position, and scream, "NO!...It's the voices again!!"

15. Go into a fitting room, shut the door and wait a while. Then yell loudly, "There's no toilet paper in here!"


Think Hokey Pokey --- http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/hokey.htm 

Forwarded by Paula

With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person which almost went unnoticed last week.

Larry La Prise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey," died peacefully at age 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in, and then the trouble started.


There's a new and successful hormonal patch for menopausal women. Now guys in bars are looking for women who need a shave, have husky voices, and bad acne. All of these are purported side effects of the patch designed to make older women horny. Heck, I've got a razor, hear low better than high sounds, and have years of experience popping pimples.

This is the way us oldsters should dance. However, you have to click on the people or the record player in order to make them feel young again. 

Forwarded by Paula 

Make sure you click on the picture, the people, or the record player for "special effects."
 http://albinoblacksheep.com/flash/jah.php  


Messages like this keep me pumped.

Did Anyone Ever Tell You, 
Just How Special You Are 
The Light that You Emit 
Might even Light a Star

Did Anyone Ever Tell You 
How Important You Make Others Feel 
Somebody out here is Smiling 
About Love that is so Real

Did Anyone Ever Tell You Many Times, 
When They were Sad 
Your E-mail made Them Smile a bit 
In Fact It made Them Glad




And that's the way it was on November 15, 2004 with a little help from my friends.

 

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 

Jesse's Wonderful Music for Romantics (You have to scroll down to the titles) --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/

Free Harvard Classics --- http://www.bartleby.com/hc/
Free Education and Research Videos from Harvard University --- http://athome.harvard.edu/archive/archive.asp

 

I highly recommend TheFinanceProfessor (an absolutely fabulous and totally free newsletter from a very smart finance professor, Jim Mahar from St. Bonaventure University) --- www.FinanceProfessor.com 

 

Bob Jensen's bookmarks for accounting newsletters are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#News 

News Headlines for Accounting from TheCycles.com --- http://www.thecycles.com/business/accounting 
An unbelievable number of other news headlines categories in TheCycles.com are at http://www.thecycles.com/ 

 

Jack Anderson's Accounting Information Finder --- http://www.umsl.edu/~anderson/accsites.htm

 

Gerald Trite's great set of links --- http://www.zorba.ca/bookmark.htm 

 

Paul Pacter maintains the best international accounting standards and news Website at http://www.iasplus.com/

 

The Finance Professor --- http://www.financeprofessor.com/about/aboutFP.html 

 

Walt Mossberg's many answers to questions in technology --- http://ptech.wsj.com/

 

How stuff works --- http://www.howstuffworks.com/ 

 

Household and Other Heloise-Style Hints --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob3.htm#Hints 

 

Bob Jensen's video helpers for MS Excel, MS Access, and other helper videos are at http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/ 
Accompanying documentation can be found at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/default1.htm and http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/HelpersVideos.htm 

 

Click on www.syllabus.com/radio/index.asp 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) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax: 210-999-8134  Email:  rjensen@trinity.edu  

 

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November 1, 2004

Bob Jensen's New Bookmarks on November 1, 2004
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

For earlier editions of New Bookmarks, go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 

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.

Facts about the earth in real time --- http://www.worldometers.info/ 
Sure wish there'd be a little good news today.

Real time meter of the U.S. cost of the war in Iraq --- http://www.costofwar.com/ 


Update on Erika

Wonder Woman is home. She was discharged from the Rehab Hospital yesterday. This was a week ahead of schedule. She’s very happy to be home and is taking it easy. She still hurts a great deal and is medicated for pain. Her incision is about 18 inches long and we can feel the two rods under the skin. She cannot bend or twist much at all, and she must wear her back brace for two more months or more.  But she loves being back home in "her" mountains.

Thank you for your prayers!


Quotes of the Week

Congratulations to Denny (He Earned This the Hard Way)
DENNIS BERESFORD RECEIVES AICPA GOLD MEDAL FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE
Dennis R. Beresford, a professor at the University of Georgia and former chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, is the 2005 recipient of the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
 
More details at http://accountingeducation.com/news/news5580.html 

Congratulations to Petrea (She Earned This the Hard Way)
Published in the Express & News on September 29, 2004 Trinity University associate professor Petrea Sandlin, director of the accounting program, has been named the 2004 recipient of the Dr. and Mrs. Z.T. Scott Faculty Fellowship in recognition of her abilities as a teacher and adviser ---
http://www.trinity.edu/departments/business_admin/whats_new.htm 

Congratulations to Trinity University's Norman Sherry (He Earned This the Hard Way)
"Damned Old Graham Greene," by Paul Theroux, The New York Times, October 17, 2004 --- http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DE3DF143BF934A25753C1A9629C8B63 

THE LIFE OF
GRAHAM GREENE
Volume Three: 1955-1991.
By Norman Sherry.
Illustrated.
906 pp.
Viking. $39.95.

Aware that he led a hidden life, Greene developed a habit of evasion, an almost pathological inability to come clean. His secretiveness led him at times to keep a parallel diary, in which he might chronicle two versions of his day, one rather sober and preoccupied, the other perhaps detailing a frolic with a prostitute. Betrayal was one of Greene's obsessive subjects. Reluctant, too weary or too wary to write an exhaustive autobiography, Greene appointed Norman Sherry, an acclaimed biographer and a professor of English, as his official biographer. Greene had read and admired Sherry's books about Joseph Conrad -- and had been impressed by Sherry's stamina in following in Conrad's footsteps to fictional settings and old stomping grounds.

With his customary circumspection, Greene summoned Sherry for drinks and meals in 1974, and after considerable scrutiny offered him unlimited access. (Greene said: ''No lies please. Follow me to the end of my life.'') In 1976, after two years of spadework, Sherry started writing his life of Graham Greene, and in 1989 published the first volume (covering the years 1904-39). Greene lived to read that book, but he had been dead three years by the time the second volume (1939-55) appeared in 1994. After 28 years, with the publication of this long-awaited third volume (1955-91), Sherry's work, a total of 2,251 closely printed pages, is now complete.

For anyone interested in Greene's life and work, this three-volume biography is incomparable; as an intellectual and political history of the 20th century it is invaluable; as a literary journey, as well as a journey across the world, it is masterly; as a source book and rogues' gallery it is fascinating. Sherry is not the stylist Leon Edel was when he wrote his five-volume life of Henry James, but this work can be compared with Edel's achievement. It is as satisfying and as exhaustive, and evokes a much more intimate and physical sense of his subject.

Continued in the book review

 

FASB DETAILS PLANS FOR THREE INITIATIVES 
The FASB has added to its project listing a description of other activities, including the GAAP hierarchy, codification and retrieval of US GAAP and a principles based approach to standard setting.
More details at http://accountingeducation.com/news/news5576.html 

While most people agree on Web logs' value for promoting student expression and critical thinking in schools, there's no consensus on the amount of control over access and content that educators should exercise.
Kevin J. Delaney (See below)

So where was Levitt before Spitzer did his job?  While heading up the SEC, Levitt always seemed willing to take on the CPA firms, but he treaded lightly (really did very little) while the financial industry on Wall Street ripped off investors bigtime.  It never ceases to amaze me how Levitt capitalizes on his failures.
Forget Enron, WorldCom or mutual funds. The crisis enveloping the insurance industry is "the scandal of the decade, without a question" and "dwarfs anything we've seen thus far."
Arthur Levitt as quoted by SmartPros, October 25, 2004 --- http://www.smartpros.com/x45590.xml 
Bob Jensen's threads on insurance frauds are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudRotten.htm#MutualFunds 

This definitely seems to be the case in accountancy.
The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.

Andrew S. Tanenbaum

To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. 
Theodore Roosevelt (as quoted in a a recent message from Ceil Pillsbury)

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.
Charlotte Whitton 

In seeking the good of others, we find our own.
Plato

Fraud detection can only improve with diligent auditors combined with whistleblowers who are unafraid of retaliation because their rights are protected. According to a survey of members of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, less than 20 percent of fraud that is caught is turned up by internal controls versus 40 percent for inside tipsters, the Seattle Times reported.
"Fighting Fraud Calls for Assertive Auditors, Whistleblowers," AccountingWeb, October 4, 2004 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=99860 
Bob Jensen's updates on fraud detection are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm 

Please, Please, Hurry
Researchers working with slices of rat brains come up with a microchip that mimics the part of the brain responsible for creating memories. They hope to create a prosthesis for the human brain within 15 years.
"Chips Coming to a Brain Near You," by Lakshmi Sandhana, Wired News, October 22, 2004 --- http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,65422,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html 

Finland remains the most competitive economy in the world and tops the rankings for the second consecutive year in The Global Competitiveness Report 2004-2005, released last week by the World Economic Forum. http://www.accountingweb.com/item/99906 

"Some memories can be very disruptive. They come back to you when you don't want to have them -- in a daydream or nightmare or flashbacks -- and are usually accompanied by very painful emotions," said Roger K. Pitman, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who is studying the approach. "This could relieve a lot of that suffering."  Skeptics, however, argue that tinkering with memories treads into dangerous territory because memories are part of the very essence of a person's identity, as well as crucial threads in the fabric of society that help humanity avoid the mistakes of the past.
"Is Every Memory Worth Keeping?" by Rob Stein, The Washington Post, October 19, 2004 --- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43210-2004Oct18.html?sub=new 

An Australian journalist kidnapped in Iraq was freed after his captors checked the popular internet search engine Google to confirm his identity.
BBC News, October 19, 2004 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3755154.stm 

Even his biggest fans might see Steven P. Jobs, Apple Computer's chief executive, as a brilliant dunce.
"Pixar's Mr. Incredible May Yet Rewrite the Apple Story," by Randall Stross, The New York Times, Apple 24, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/24/business/yourmoney/24digi.html 

No longer. Last week, Google took the wraps off its latest invention: Google Desktop Search. As the name implies, it's software that applies the famous Google search technology to the stuff on your own hard drive. It's free, it's available right now for Windows XP and 2000 (desktop.google.com), and it's terrific.
David Pogue, The New York Times, October 21, 2004 (See below)

Cynthia Cooper, the former vice president of internal audit at WorldCom who exposed the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history, will lead the list of three new inductees into the 2004 American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) Business & Industry Hall of Fame, an annual event sponsored by staffing services company Ajilon Finance.
SmartPros, October 21, 2004 --- http://www.smartpros.com/x45564.xml 
Bob Jensen's threads on Worldcom's scandals are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudEnron.htm#EnronLinks 

But they don't cover much!
Naked News, which features nude presenters reading the day's headlines, could soon be available on mobile phones.  Executive Producer David Warge said: "Naked News is the most successful transition from internet to television ever. We have shown that we offer a unique programme that attracts a large and loyal audience.
Ananova --- http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1147689.html 

From Dilbert (as forwarded by Richard Newmark
How Accountants Explain Expenses
It's the base ten counting system with a full range of even and odd digits .
Tastes like HP printer ink ... high gloss paper four hours old.




Bob Jensen's Earlier Updates on Frauds and the Accounting Scandals --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm 

Bob Jensen's American History of Fraud ---  http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/415wp/AmericanHistoryOfFraud.htm

Sharing Site of the Week --- http://www.dartmouth.edu/~msimmons/ 
Thank you Mark Simmons at Dartmouth for sharing internal auditing and fraud investigation resources.

Web Site of Mark R. Simmons, CIA CFE

 

This site focuses on topics that deal with Internal Auditing and Fraud Investigation with certain links to other associated and relevant sources. It is dedicated to sharing information.

Internal Auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations.  It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. (Institute of Internal Auditors)

Fraud Investigation consists of the multitude of steps necessary to resolve allegations of fraud — interviewing witnesses, assembling evidence, writing reports, and dealing with prosecutors and the courts. (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners)

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraud.htm 

Bob Jensen's threads on fraud detection and reporting are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm 

The link below was forwarded by Helen Terry
"Digital mafia hitting Web sites in protection racket," by Joseph Menn, Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2004 --- http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/2867289 

To an old-time bookie like Mickey Richardson, $500 in protection money was chump change.

So when he got an e-mail from gangsters threatening to bring his online sports betting operation to its knees, he paid up.

Before long, though, the thugs wanted $40,000. And that ticked him off.

"I'm stubborn," said Richardson, who runs Costa Rica-based BetCRIS.com. "I wanted to be the guy that says, 'I didn't pay, and I beat them.'"

Richardson couldn't figure the odds, but he was determined to fight what's fast becoming the scourge of Internet-based businesses: high-tech protection rackets in which gangs of computer hackers choke off traffic to Web sites whose operators refuse their demands.

Rather than brass knuckles and baseball bats, the weapons of choice for these digital extortionists are thousands of computers. They use them to launch coordinated attacks that knock targeted Web sites off-line for days, or even weeks, at a time.

The shakedowns generate millions of dollars. Many Internet operators would rather pay protection money than risk even greater losses if their Web sites go down.

After more than a year perfecting their techniques on gambling and pornographic Web sites, the gangs are starting to turn their talents to mainstream e-commerce operations.

"It's pretty much a daily occurrence that one of our customers is under attack, and the sophistication of the attacks is getting better," said Ken Silva, a vice president at VeriSign Inc., the company that maintains the ".com" and ".net" domain name servers and provides security to many firms.

• Last month, Authorize.net, one of the biggest credit-card-services processors for online merchants, was hit repeatedly over two weeks, leaving thousands of businesses without a means to charge their customers.

• In April, hackers silenced Card Solutions International, a Kentucky company that sells credit card software over the Web, for a week after its owner refused to pay $10,000 to a group of Latvians. Only after switching Internet service providers could the company come back online.

• In August, a Massachusetts businessman was indicted on charges of orchestrating attacks on three television-services companies -- costing one more than $200,000. The case against Saad Echouafni is one of the rare instances in which alleged attackers have been identified and charged. Echouafni skipped bail.

Many more attacks go unreported. "You're just seeing the tip of the iceberg," said Peter Rendall, chief executive of the Internet filter maker Top Layer Networks.

Richardson was intent on keeping his ship afloat.

BetCRIS, short for Bet Costa Rica International Sportsbook, takes about $2 billion in bets every year from gamblers around the world. Most are placed online. After customers complained early last year that the Web site seemed sluggish, Richardson felt a little relieved when an anonymous hacker e-mailed an admission that he had launched a denial-of-service attack against BetCRIS.

The hacker wanted $500, via the Internet payment service e-Gold.

That seemed like a bargain to Richardson. He paid up and promptly spent thousands more on hardware designed to weed out unfriendly Web traffic. "I was thinking if this ever happens again," he said, "we won't have a problem."

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, Richardson found out how wrong he was. An e-mail demanded $40,000 by the following noon. It was the start of one of the biggest betting weeks of the year, with pro and college football as well as basketball.

Richardson didn't respond.

The next day, BetCRIS crashed hard.

About the same time, other betting sites were getting hit too. The threats came in mangled English: "In a case if you refuse our offer, your site will be attacked still long time." Some sites were shut down for weeks.

Costa Rican law enforcement was ill-equipped to deal with computer hackers thousands of miles away. Given the shaky legality of offshore betting, seeking help from U.S. authorities wasn't an attractive option.

So the bookie in Costa Rica turned to Barrett Lyon, a spiky-haired philosophy major from Sacramento.

Continued in the article


From Technology Review on October 28, 2004 
Apple's Got a Virus? Congratulations!
Whenever Windows users grouse about the latest virus or spyware attack, Macintosh devotees good-naturedly tease that they don't have worry about such nonsense. Well, the Apple-heads can't say that anymore. Last week, astute Mac users discovered a program dubbed "Opener"--a nefarious piece of code embeds itself onto Macs using OS X, disables the computer's firewall, and collects any password information it can find. The Apple community should not be upset about this malware news, writes Eric Hellweg, but celebrating it. Finally, a virus writer thinks Macs matter enough to merit attack!
http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/04/10/wo_hellweg102804.asp?trk=nl

Bob Jensen's threads on computing and networking security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection




Higher Education Jobs --- http://www.higheredjobs.com 


From Texas A&M:  Best Photographs of 2004 --- http://ops.tamu.edu/x075bb/BestOf2004/ 


This is an exciting site from the standpoint of history, photography, and an interactive learning pedagogy!

Picturing Modern America, 1880-1920 --- http://www.edc.org/CCT/PMA/ 


From the Scout Report on October 29, 2004

Prescription Drugs Online --- http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Prescription_Drugs_Online.pdf 

The cost of prescription drugs and related concerns have become issues in this year's presidential race, and there is a growing interest in learning more about exactly how many American use the Internet to find out about prescription drugs, and additionally, how many Americans may be purchasing prescription drugs over the Internet. The Pew Internet & American Life Project has recently released a 17-page report (authored by Susannah Fox) that highlights the results of a 2200-person telephone survey that took place from May to June 2004 on just this subject. Some of the findings include the observation that close to 64 percent of American households contain a regular user of prescription drugs, and that approximately 26 percent of these households have used the Internet to look for information about prescription drugs. Perhaps the most interesting finding from the report is that 62 percent of Americans think purchasing prescription drugs online is less safe than purchasing them at a local pharmacy.


Odden's Bookmarks http://oddens.geog.uu.nl/index.php 

Created in 1995 by Roelof Oddens, a curator of the map library at Utrecht University, the Oddens Bookmark database now contains over 22,000 links about maps, cartography and GIS data. Users can search the resources by keyword, country, category, or by browsing through subject headings. Besides the abundance of maps and map data, visitors can find links to cartography departments, libraries, literature, and societies. Because the links span the entire world, this website is a great starting point for anyone interested in maps and mapping. [RME] This site is also reviewed in the October 29, 2004 _NSDL Physical Sciences Report_


Annenberg/CPB: Life Science-Bottle Biology http://www.learner.org/channel/courses/essential/life/bottlebio/ 

>From Annenberg/CPB, this website shares Bottle Biology construction >methods and learning activities with K-6 educators. Bottle Biology is an experiential-based learning technique that was originally developed by Paul Williams, a professor of Plant Pathology at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bottle Biology utilizes "recyclable containers as building blocks that can be put together to form any number of bottle systems to explore science, nature, and the environment." This site offers four Bottle Biology systems, each developed as companions for sessions in a larger Life Science Course "designed to provide teachers with learning opportunities that will directly inform their own classroom practice." The Course Sessions are coupled with free instructional videos (registration required), and presented with suggested hands-on activities. The first Bottle system is designed to reinforce concepts regarding the classification of living things and definitions of life; the second addresses the interconnection of animal and plant life cycles; the third focuses on evolution, and the fourth explores interdependence. [NL] This site is also reviewed in the October 29, 2004 _NSDL Life Sciences Report_.


Treasures in Full: Shakespeare in Quarto http://www.bl.uk/treasures/shakespeare/homepage.html

With this website, the British Library brings collation (the comparison of variant texts in different copies of a printed book), formerly the province of literary scholars, into the hands of any interested novice. Shakespeare in Quarto presents digitized versions of all 21 of Shakespeare's plays that were published in quarto before 1642. These 21 plays appeared in more than 70 quarto editions, and in many cases the British Library owns more than one copy. Altogether, 93 copies can be viewed on this site. Comparing the texts could hardly be easier - select the Texts section of the site, choose a play from the drop down menus on the left, and then choose another copy to compare on the right. In addition, see the Expert Views part of the site to read essays comparing different quartos of Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew and King Lear. There is also a background section, with information on all things Shakespeare - the author's life, theatre, plays not in quarto and Shakespeare's other works.


October 29, 2004 message from Carolyn Kotlas [kotlas@email.unc.edu]

MEET THE MILLENNIALS

The Millennials have arrived on our campuses. Who are the these students? "Millennials are those born in 1982 or later. They expect to have access to the same technology they have now -- computers, cell phones, pagers, and PDAs. This group likes to be connected. They also prefer the interactive to the passive, hence their preference for the Internet over television. The biggest difference between this current generation and previous ones is the type of technology they know intimately. This generation is the digital group -- the technology they grew up with is the technology we are getting used to as adults."

"Meeting the Millennials" is the theme of the collection of articles in the October issue of SIDEBARS. Read about them and how to reach and teach them at http://online.bcit.ca/sidebars/04september/index.htm 

 


REWARDING FACULTY WHO USE TET TOOLS

"[T]o get tenured, spend more time on real scholarship and teaching, and don’t waste time on this technology fad." The rewards for using technology-enabled teaching (TET) tools are still elusive at many institutions. In "Faculty & Technology: Rewarding TET" (CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY, October 2004), David Starrett, Southeast Missouri State University, outlines the concerns not-yet-tenured faculty have in using TET tools. Drawing on his own institution's situation, he describes the undervaluing of TET tools usage in promotion-and-tenure reviews and provides some suggestions for changing the current situation. The article is available online at http://www.campus-technology.com/article.asp?id=10067.


Carolyn Kotlas pointed out that as of the October 2004 issue, Syllabus has changed its name to Campus Technology. It is published monthly by 101communications, LLC, 9121 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 USA; tel: 818-734-1520;

fax: 818-734-1522; email: info@101com.com; Web: http://www.101com.com/.


"Moving Ideas Off Campus," by Shira Boss-Bocal, The New York Times, October 28, 2004 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/28/business/28sbiz.html 

It was the University of Arizona business school's annual Fame or Flame day, and faculty members were rating business ideas pitched by students in an entrepreneurship program as either first rate or feeble.

To the disappointment of Sara Conrad and Daniel Berger, who were both juniors in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program three autumns ago, the rating on their idea to develop customer-service kiosks in retail stores was flame. The judges said the project was unfeasible because it would be too easy to copy and would have a low return on investment. "We had to start all over again," Ms. Conrad said.

To help them, a professor gave them a catalog compiled by the university's Office of Technology Transfer that described dozens of technologies developed in the university's physics, engineering and other scientific laboratories with the potential for being used commercially.

The invention that grabbed their interest involved two professors in the medical school who had designed a portable device able to peer into children's eyes and photograph the retinas to detect shaken-baby syndrome. The two students reached an agreement with the researchers to develop a business plan to sell the product.

The two students conducted focus groups, analyzed competing products, determined a target price and estimated the market size. The doctors had envisioned selling the device to ophthalmologists; the students added pediatricians, hospitals and emergency rooms as potential customers.

"They had a device that was outstanding," Ms. Conrad said. "Dan and I took what they had and built it a little more to take it to a market they hadn't thought of, and built a financial plan they hadn't thought of."

They proposed a price of $5,500, a third of what the least-expensive competing product was selling for. They incorporated the company as Optica Inc. and laid out an exit strategy with details of how the ownership would be divided among the founders if the company was acquired.

After Mr. Berger and Ms. Conrad graduated the following year, the doctors sold the prototype and business plan to a local business group in return for shares in the company for themselves as well as Mr. Berger and Ms. Conrad. The company, now called Optica Technologies Inc., expects to have the Prism1 retinal camera instrument on sale within six months.

"With the University of Arizona being such a center of research, there are all of these wonderful ideas there," Ms. Conrad said. "We were able to celebrate what we were learning with a real, tangible device to work on. It was just waiting there."

Since Congress passed the Bayh-Dole technology-transfer law of 1980, universities have enjoyed the ownership of research breakthroughs that were developed on their campuses with the help of federal financing and have been scrambling to turn them into commercial ventures.

This transfer of technology from the campus to the capitalist marketplace has been a financial windfall for many schools. The top earners in the 2002 fiscal year, the most recent with figures available from the Association of University Technology Managers in Northbrook, Ill., were Columbia University ($156 million), the University of California system ($82 million) and New York University ($63 million). For all universities, the revenue generated from their researchers' inventions has nearly doubled, to $1.3 billion in 2002 from $699 million five years earlier.

With the number of patents issued to universities rising to more than 3,600 in 2002 from fewer than 250 before the Bayh-Dole law was passed, the offices of technology transfer at universities are becoming overwhelmed with discoveries to assess and market. And increasingly, they are turning to a previously underused resource to investigate their potential: students in the entrepreneurship departments of their business schools.

"We all want to increase productivity,'' said Ken Smith, interim dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. "We do that by improving the relationship between the scientist and the business entrepreneur."


While most people agree on Web logs' value for promoting student expression and critical thinking in schools, there's no consensus on the amount of control over access and content that educators should exercise.  Blogs may become more of an issue in college courses when and if students begin to keep Weblogs of day to day classes, teacher evaluations, and course content.

"Classroom Blogs Raise Issues of Access and Privacy," by Kevin J. Delaney, The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2004 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109882944704656461,00.html?mod=technology%5Ffeatured%5Fstories%5Fhs 

First graders at Magnolia Elementary School used a Web log earlier this year to describe their dream playgrounds. Monkey bars were heartily endorsed, and live animals and bumper cars also made the cut.

Students in a handful of other classes at the Joppa, Md., school also used blogs, some trading riddles about book characters with peers at a school in Michigan.

Now, county administrators have frozen the use of blogs in the classroom amid concerns about oversight of what students might post online. Michael Lackner, a teacher who jump-started blog use at Magnolia last year, is optimistic that a technological fix will be found.

But the school's experience highlights some of the issues that educators and parents face as blogs -- simple Web sites that follow a diary-like format -- gain entry into the nation's classrooms. While most agree on blogs' value for promoting student expression, critical thinking and exchange, there's no consensus on the amount of control over access and content that educators should exercise. As blogging spreads, it could revive debates over student expression similar to those that have cropped up around school newspapers.

The issues surrounding blogging and related technology in the classroom are "pretty much uncharted," says Will Richardson, an educational-blogging advocate and supervisor of instructional technology and communications at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, N.J.

The use of blogs in schools remains limited but is growing, as scattered programs piloted by tech-savvy educators generate buzz and followers. Teachers are attracted to blogging for some of the same reasons blog use has exploded among techies, political commentators and would-be pundits. Blogs are cheap, thanks to free or inexpensive software packages and services -- Hunterdon, for example, pays just $499 a year for software to run hundreds of student blogs. And their simple format makes them easy to set up. Using tools from Six Apart Ltd., Google Inc. and others, consumers can create a blog in less than 10 minutes and post messages to it over the Web or by e-mail. By some estimates, five million or more Americans already have created their own blogs, with some prominent bloggers even influencing the news and political agendas.

Students in Mr. Richardson's high-school journalism classes, for example, never turn in hard copies of their homework. They post all assignments to individual blogs. Their blogs also notify them when other students complete writing assignments, so they can read and comment on them.

Meredith Fear, 17 years old, has created two blogs for classes taught by Mr. Richardson. The 12th grader says posting her work online for others to see motivated her to do better and increased her parents' involvement in her education. "I don't often get a chance to talk with her about school, so having the opportunity to check her blog and see what she was up to was a great way for me to keep up on things," says Jonathan Fear, Meredith's father. He adds that was one factor in overcoming his wife's original concerns that ill-intentioned outsiders could see Meredith's writings through the blog.

Recognizing such worries, some teachers at Hunterdon protect blogs with passwords so only they and their students can see them, particularly for creative-writing classes for which the subject matter is more likely to be personal. There are other blogging precautions: Parents have to sign releases giving permission, and only students' first names are used online. Mr. Richardson says the school has hosted more than 500 student blogs in the past three years without incident.

Mr. Richardson is planning a session with parents later this fall to teach them about the technology and set up blogs and Web-text feeds so they can gain access to a broader range of information from teachers and see what their children are up to. "Kids like it. And I can see more enhanced learning on their part," Mr. Richardson says.

At Magnolia, teachers were happy with their classroom blogging and had plans to expand it this school year. But Harford County public school officials notified them this summer that such projects appeared to fall afoul of policies regulating student communication. In particular, they were concerned that students and others could post comments to the blogs before they were reviewed by a teacher.

"What we want to see is a Web log where a teacher has final control, acts as a filter for any postings or comments," says Janey Mayo, technology coordinator for Harford County Public Schools. "We're trying to be very cautious with this because we're working with kids." School administrators also want to see further research on whether blogging has educational value at the elementary-school level, but so far haven't found any.

Mr. Lackner believes there is potentially a quick technical fix to the problem: A blogging service could add a function that would forward any online comments to a teacher for review before posting them.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on Weblogs and blogs are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/245glosf.htm#Weblog 


Hi Steve,

I personally am very excited about Web Desktop Search from Google. I've been away from my computer due to my wife's surgery and have not yet had time to download and play around with Web Desktop. Finding documents on my computer using this search engine sounds very exciting.

There are noted phishing dangers and related security risks --- http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1682396,00.asp 
You can listen to some of NPR's concerns at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4120489 
With great respect too Google, I might note that the links to these risks came up first when I Google-searched Web Desktop Search.  You can read the following at http://www.vnunet.com/news/1158908 

Google's newly released desktop search application creates profound security and privacy risks for any companies with public access PCs, security experts have warned.

"In a shared environment people can use this powerful Google search tool to deeply mine data from public access terminals," John McIntosh, managing consultant with IT and security consultancy Heulyn, told vnunet.com.

"Firms need to be aware of ways in which this type of software is used and what impact it may have. Credit card details can be easily unearthed, together with other personal data.

"This can easily lead to identity theft and this is clearly a fast-growing problem. There is no skill needed to do it, and it makes it very easy to gain access to potentially sensitive data."

Unveiled last week in a beta test version, the free Google Desktop search application is designed to enable users to search local email, files, web history and chat details.

In spite of all the concerns, I think I am going to download the beta version.

You can download the beta version free from http://desktop.google.com/ 

Google's summary of Web Desktop Search is at http://desktop.google.com/about.html 

Google Desktop Search is how our brains would work if we had photographic memories. It's a desktop search application that provides full text search over your email, computer files, chats, and the web pages you've viewed. By making your computer searchable, Google Desktop Search puts your information easily within your reach and frees you from having to manually organize your files, emails, and bookmarks.

After downloading Google Desktop Search, you can search your personal items as easily as you search the Internet using Google. Unlike traditional computer search software that updates once a day, Google Desktop Search updates continually for most file types, so that when you receive a new email in Outlook, for example, you can search for it within seconds. The index of searchable information created by Desktop Search is stored on your own computer.

In addition to basic search, Google Desktop Search introduces new ways to access relevant and timely information. When you view a web page in Internet Explorer, Google Desktop Search "caches" or stores its content so that you can later look at that same version of the page, even if its live content has changed or you're offline. Google Desktop Search organizes email search results into conversations, so that all email messages in the same thread are grouped into a single search result.

We're currently working to fine tune our algorithms and to add more capabilities to Google Desktop Search, including the ability to search for more types of information on your computer. Your opinions and feedback can help us with this process. What types of files or other information would you like to be able to search? What new features would be helpful? Please contact us and let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Google Desktop Search do? Why is this useful? Where do I go to do a Desktop Search? What are the system requirements for running Google Desktop Search? How long will the download take? How easy is it to install? After installing, how soon can I search my computer? Will Google Desktop Search affect my computer's performance? What about my privacy? Does Google Desktop Search share my content with anyone? How come Google Desktop Search doesn't search all my communications and files? Is Google Desktop Search available in languages other than English? How do I uninstall?

It is good to hear from you after all this time.

Thanks, 

Bob Jensen

October 22, 2004 message from Steve Tucker

Bob: 
A voice from the past. Glad to hear that Erika's recovery is going well. Lucy and I were in southern NH (a near-oxymoron) last month. (That's my family home.) We beat the weather. A question: Do you have any advice/opinion regarding the Google software mentioned in the WSJ article. I'm tempted but wary. 

Steve Tucker

Bob Jensen's search helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/searchh.htm 


"AICPA Launches New Website '360 Degrees of Financial Literacy'," AccountingWeb, October 26, 2004 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=99979 

As part of its on-going efforts to improve the financial health of Americans across all life stages and socio-economic levels, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the CPA profession went live this week with its new consumer website.

The 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website allows visitors to immediately pinpoint the financial information they need because it is organized by common life stages that trigger financial issues: childhood, college, career, military and reserves, couples and marriage, parenthood, home ownership, entrepreneurs, life crisis, sandwich generation and retirement.

The website is the linchpin of a coordinated program, 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, sponsored by the AICPA and state societies of CPAs across the nation in which CPAs volunteer their time and talents to educate members of their
community about life-stage related financial issues.

Visitors to the site will be able to access information geared toward empowering them to make better financial choices to meet their present and future needs. Each life stage contains: articles; easy-to-use financial planning and assessment tools, worksheets and calculators; and frequently asked questions. In addition, the site allows visitors to access topics of general financial interest such as strategies for saving and investing, financing a
car, managing credit and getting out of debt.

You may visit the site at www.360financialliteracy.org

Bob Jensen's helpers for investing are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#022119Financial%20Markets%20and%20Investing 


I would not recommend zapping the TV in a Boston bar during the World Series.

A new keychain gadget lets people zap most televisions, whether in an airport, a restaurant, a doctor's office or elsewhere.

"Hello Out There in TV -- ZAP!" The Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2004, Page D5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109831683173851397,00.html?mod=gadgets%5Fprimary%5Fhs%5Flt 

Ticked off by the TV? Turn it off -- even if it isn't yours.

A new keychain gadget lets people zap most televisions, whether in an airport, a restaurant, a doctor's office or elsewhere.

The keychain fob works like a universal remote control, but one that turns TVs only on or off. Press a button and the device runs through a string of about 200 infrared codes that controls the power of about 1,000 television models. Mitch Altman of San Francisco, the inventor of TV-B-Gone, said the majority of TVs should react within 17 seconds, though it takes a little more than a minute for the gizmo to emit all the trigger codes.

The 47-year-old Mr. Altman first got the idea for TV-B-Gone a decade ago when he was out with friends at a restaurant and they found themselves all glued to the perched TV instead of talking to one another. No one was around to turn the TV off. The $14.99 TV-B-Gone gadget, sold through CornfieldElectronics.com, is the company's only product.

Continued in the article


From Syllabus News on Octiber 26, 2004

UVa. Testing Tablet PC-Hosted Digital Courseware Program

The University of Virginia is hosting the test of a state-of-the-art educational delivery platform this fall in a collaboration with three companies holding a big stake in the higher education community. The project involves Thomson Learning, which is supplying Web-based courseware developed with UVa. faculty based on the firm's iLrn platform. Course packages will include Web sites with online tests, diagnostic tools for personalized learning and planning, and links to reference materials via Thompson Gale's InfoTrac service.

Students will be equipped with Tablet PCs from HP running Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC software and Microsoft OneNote digital note-taking application. In one application, OneNote templates are being used to record biochemistry lectures. The university expects a professor's ability to gauge students' comprehension of the course material immediately via their online performance will improve student retention.

"The academic environment has changed dramatically in the last decade as a result of numerous social, cultural and economic factors," said Edward L. Ayers, dean of Arts and Sciences at UVa. "The rise of technology has affected how students learn, how instructors teach and how course materials are developed and presented. Greater numbers of students, as well as significant changes in the demographics of those students, necessitate new approaches and instructional models." The program will continue through the spring 2005 semester.

Bob Jensen's threads on the tools of learning technology are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm 


College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay for It, Edited by Caroline M. Hoxby --- http://www.nber.org/bookstoc/hoxb04-1.html 

The University of Chicago Press, 2004
Cloth: $65.00
435 pages
ISBN: 0-226-35535-7 (cloth)

Table of Contents:


Your cell phone is three years old and your camera still uses film. Who ya gonna call? Walt Mossberg helps an ordinary guy -- who happens to be his boss -- find the five gadgets you really need. It's Walt's eye for the low-tech guy. 

"The Mossberg Makeover," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2004, Page W1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109840191237352696,00.html?mod=gadgets%5Flead%5Fstory%5Fcol 

Peter Kann is staring at the fish. Not real fish, mind you. These are animated fish, colorful and vivid, swimming around on a laptop computer screen at a CompUSA store, where I am trying to help him buy a computer.

It's an old sales gimmick, but it has hooked Peter, who has spent little time in computer stores. As I gently try to explain that the fish don't tell you very much about the computer, I wonder if this is going to be a long, long day. We have only just started on an afternoon-long technology shopping spree designed to outfit Peter with a shiny set of new gadgets to upgrade his digital lifestyle.

Peter is eventually able to free himself from the hypnotic spell of the virtual aquarium, and by the end of the afternoon he has become a savvier technology shopper. It's all part of a "technology makeover," undertaken in the spirit of the popular shows on television, like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," or "What Not to Wear." Instead of helping some style-challenged person buy new clothes and furniture, I am helping a technology-challenged person buy new gadgets.

I decide to focus on the five core tech products that I believe constitute the basic tool kit for anyone seeking to live a digital lifestyle: a laptop, a digital camera, a photo printer, a digital cellphone and a digital music player.

Peter is the perfect subject for this experiment. An old friend and colleague, he's the chairman and CEO of Dow Jones & Co., the media concern that publishes The Wall Street Journal. And, as a lifelong journalist, he's willing to venture into uncharted waters for a good story. Like many people of a certain age, and especially CEOs, he isn't exactly a gadget freak. He knows the importance of technology, and presides over a stable of major electronic news properties. And, he has adopted the technology he needs in the office -- a computer and a BlackBerry. But, in his personal life, he's an analog kind of guy, and doesn't own the kind of tech gadgets I review weekly in my columns.

In fact, years ago, at my invitation, Peter filled in for me when I was on vacation from my column. Instead of reviewing a new tech product, he wrote an ode to the manual typewriter, the tool he used to win a Pulitzer prize earlier in his career.

Still, Peter enthusiastically agrees to participate in this makeover project. He even clears two afternoons on his schedule for it. The first day is to be devoted to shopping for the gadgets around New York City, the second to setting them up and teaching him the basics of how to use them.

My plan isn't to overwhelm him with dozens of gadgets, or to get him to change his life dramatically. I hope merely to introduce him to the core set of tech products, get him going on using them, and in the process maybe learn something myself about how all of this looks to a someone getting into personal technology for the first time. My mantra is: Keep it simple.

Language Barrier

Our first stop is the big, fancy CompUSA store on Fifth Avenue. It doesn't exactly look like the typical CompUSA, which is situated in a suburban shopping center. But it roughly approximates for Peter the normal technology-buying experience endured by most people.

Continued in the article

 


October 19, 2004 message from Mark H. Shapiro [mshapiro@irascibleprofessor.com

Dear Irascible Professor Readers, Writers, and Colleagues.

This week we present a review of Patrick Allitt's new book by Beverly Lucey that focuses on grade inflation.

... I seem to be in a self-righteous snit at the moment. The snit causing incident? I finished reading Patrick Allitt's book I'm the Teacher, You're the Student: a Semester in the University Classroom; and, until Chapter 17, it was quite enjoyable.

Allitt is a professor of U.S. History at Emory University and holds a Chair for Teaching Excellence. A friend of mine who used to teach at Emory, but left for Notre Dame, tells me that Allitt was his son's favorite history professor. He's funny, he uses music and literature in his classroom, and he is very generous with his time. He even trots off to teach an informal night class to bright, eager senior citizens in a nearby suburb just because they asked him to. The man loves to teach. He is strong and bright and good. He is tenured.

Even so, unfortunately, he's a grading wuss. ...

Read all of guest commentator Beverly Lucey's take on Allitt's new book and grade inflation at:

http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-10-20-04.htm 

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark H. Shapiro 
Editor and Publisher The Irascible Professor http://irascibleprofessor.com 


"PalmOne Unveils New Treo Phone," by Nick Baker, The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2004 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109873265265554907,00.html?mod=technology%5Fmain%5Fwhats%5Fnews 

PalmOne Inc., the world's largest maker of hand-held computers, announced a new version of its Treo mobile phone as it attempts to fend off competition from Research In Motion Ltd.

PalmOne's new Treo 650, an upgrade to the year-old Treo 600, adds features including an improved display and camera, short-range wireless networking and a removable battery, palmOne said in a statement Monday.

Sprint Corp. plans to begin selling the device in November for $599.99. Sprint customers will be able to opt for a version without a camera.

The Treo, which has a full keyboard, is popular among business customers, who like the combined functionality of a phone with e-mail, Web-browsing and other capabilities of personal digital assistants.

Earlier this month, Research In Motion began selling the BlackBerry 7100t, a slender, more phone-like version of the BlackBerry with a smaller keypad and a lower price tag.

Continued in the article


October 22, 2004 message from Dr. Geoffrey Fowler [drgeoffreyfowler@pcsservers.net

I used the academic job site Academic Careers Online recently for a search and liked it.

You can search or announce faculty, post doc, researcher, library, and administrative jobs at colleges, universities and research institutes anywhere.

I especially liked their Diversity/Affirmative Action Applicant Email alerts.

Applicants can use all their services without being charged and employers can post a job listing for up to three full months for US 195 (about CAD 234) or one month at US 145.

To see the site go to www.AcademicCareersOnline.com 

Regards and I hope you have a great weekend. Geoffrey

Dr. Geoffrey Fowler 
Geoffrey@professorfowler.com
 

Reply from Bob Jensen

Hello Geoffrey,

Thank you for the added information.  I've had a link to this site for some years at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#careers 

Thanks,

Bob Jensen


Forwarded by Helen Terry

Check this out. 

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/10/19/cellphonejammers.ap/index.html  partial quote: In four Monterrey churches, Israeli-made cell phone jammers the size of paperbacks have been tucked unobtrusively among paintings of the Madonna and statues of the saints. The jarring polychromatic din of ringing cell phones is increasingly being thwarted -- from religious sanctuaries to India's parliament to Tokyo theaters and commuter trains -- by devices originally developed to help security forces avert eavesdropping and thwart phone-triggered bombings. In Italy, universities started using the blockers after discovering that cell phone-savvy teenagers were cheating on exams by sending text messages or taking pictures of tests.

Bob Jensen's threads on cell phone cheating are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/plagiarism.htm#CellPhone 


This cell phone technology may have wide ranging education and training possibilities.

"Cell-phone lessons prompt students to prepare for SAT," by Tanya Schevitz, San Francisco Chronicle, October 19, 2004 --- http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/10/18/MNG3S9BHPN1.DTL&type=tech  

A new program started this month by the Princeton Review, a test preparation company, and wireless application developer VOCEL allows students to do practice drills in math, reading and grammar by having the questions sent to their phones. Students can download a bank of questions and minidrills or have the phone call them at set intervals with practice test questions.

The program can also be set up to call or e-mail parents with the results.

"When you are sitting waiting for the football game or whenever you have a few minutes, instead of carrying around a big book, it is all right in the palm of your hand," said San Diego high school senior Brian Plavnicky, 17, who tried the phone during a Princeton Review SAT preparation class. "Since you are able to use it whenever and wherever you are, it is convenient for you and you are able to study more often."

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on education technology tools are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/thetools.htm 


October 26, 2004 message from Saeed Roohani [sroohani@COX.NET

For reference to XBRL Articles from 01/01/00 to 04/30/2004, please visit: http://bryant2.bryant.edu/~xbrl/XBRL_Articles.pdf  There are four categories of articles in above site, I am currently updating references to XBRL articles for November 1, 2004, please let me know if you wish to have another category/information added to the list. In addition, if you think I missed something, please let me know too.

Also, please note that Intent to Submit Form deadline is November 5, 2004 for the Fifth Global XBRL Academic Competition 2004-05, http://bryant2.bryant.edu/~xbrl/index.html

Saeed Roohani 
Bryant University

Bob Jensen's threads on XBRL are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm#TimelineXBRL 


"Users Size Up Tax Software, by Stanley Zarowin, Journal of Accountancy, October 2004, pp. 70-80 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/oct2004/zarowin.htm 

Although AICPA tax practitioners rated this year’s crop of tax-preparation software superior to the products they used last year, they gave lower grades to vendors’ technical support. But for many tax practitioners, the bigger story was that the number of tax-software products continued to decline, forcing newly orphaned customers to go through the agony of selecting a new package and converting their client tax files to make them compatible. Such were the highlights of the Journal of Accountancy’s spring 2004 survey of 2,010 AICPA tax-department members. The average satisfaction rating for the nine professional products included in the survey was 4.09—out of a possible 5.00—up from last year’s average of 3.61, with Intuit’s Lacerte posting the highest overall ratings with a score of 4.43 (see exhibit 2). Three products tied for third place with a score of 4.35: Drake Software, Thomson Creative Solutions’ UltraTax and CCH Tax and Accounting’s ProSystem fx Tax.

The average cumulative rating for technical support slipped sharply to 2.44 from 3.50 last year, although respondents reported an improvement in the way their software ran on their networks—4.09, up from 3.50.

For a list of the vendors included in the survey, see exhibit 1.

SHRINKING MARKET The survey also revealed that not only is the field of vendors dwindling, but the existing market is becoming more concentrated, with four products appearing to lead the field with the most customers: Intuit’s Lacerte and ProSeries, CCH’s ProSystem fx Tax and Thomson Creative Solutions’ UltraTax.

Evidence of the growing concentration can be deduced from the data in exhibit 2. Although more than twice as many tax practitioners responded this year than last (2,010 vs. 993), making the 2004 data more statistically reliable, only nine products received the 10 or more responses needed to qualify for inclusion in the survey. That’s down from 12 last year.

In addition, tax year 2004 will see at least three fewer tax software products on the market. Thomson Creative Solutions, which owns UltraTax and RIA’s GoSystem Tax RS, acquired the customer lists of Tax Relief and Exact Tax, both of which withdrew from the market. Also, Best Software sold its CPA Software Visual Tax customer list to CCH, which will be attempting to migrate those customers to its ProSystem fx Tax.

Caveat: The lopsided response in favor of just four products makes the individual scores of the remaining five products statistically unreliable. GoSystem Tax RS received just 50 responses, Max Plus 44, TaxWorks 29, Drake 17 and TaxWise 12. However, we believe the cumulative average of all nine product scores in exhibit 2 is statistically reliable.

Currently, there are only 16 tax software products on the market that provide all the necessary federal forms and can calculate taxes for every state with an income tax. That’s down about 20% in the past decade. Aside from the packages reviewed in this survey, other products on the market include GreatTax, Orrtax, Dunphy, Taxslayer, Petz Crosslink, TaxSimple and TaxAct.

When a software publisher acquires a competitor, it usually just wants the customer list; the acquired product usually becomes defunct and the buyer seeks to convert the orphaned customers to its brand. But when Intuit acquired Lacerte a few years ago, it took a different tack: Because both the Lacerte brand name and product were so popular, Intuit decided to continue the package under a joint name.

TROUBLE FOR PRACTITIONERS The current turnover rate—the percentage of customers voluntarily moving to a new product or being forced to switch because their current product was being withdrawn—ran at about 13% last year (see exhibit 3).

Most tax practitioners are not happy about market consolidation—and for good reason. Switching tax packages is no small matter. First of all the CPA firm has to install the new product on its network, praying its computer system is sufficiently robust to handle the change; if it isn’t, the customer must go through the often difficult and expensive process of upgrading the hardware.

Then, since each tax package operates differently, the firm’s tax professionals must learn to run the new software and become familiar with all its unique technical nuances. And finally, the firm has to put all its client tax data through the new vendor’s conversion software to make the returns compatible with the new package—all the while worrying whether the conversion process will leave it with hours of work tracing for evidence of errors.

Continued in the article

Bob Jensen's threads on accountancy software are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#AccountingSoftware 


Taxation Sites from Smart Stops on the Web, Journal of Accountancy, October 2004, Page 19 --- http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/oct2004/news_web.htm 

Links for Professionals
www.taxsites.com
CPAs and tax preparers will want to bookmark this directory to accounting, payroll and tax Web sites. In the tax software category, users can find many links to electronic programs for income tax preparation, payroll and 1099s, estate, trust and retirement, and sales and use taxes. Other topics include federal tax laws, rates and tables, tax forms and publications and tax associations such as the Institute for Professionals in Taxation.

E-Filing Help
www.autotax.com
Tax preparers who electronically file returns will find links to federal forms and instructions, www.irs.gov and state e-file application requirements here. Users can find their way to all state revenue and tax e-sites, and download Form 8633, Application to Participate in the IRS e-file Program. Shoppers can view a free demo of Tax Link’s AutoTax Pro software.

Wealth Preservation Resources
www.estateplanninglinks.com
Elder law attorney Dennis Toman’s e-stop offers estate planners links to Web sites with current and archived IRC section 7250 rates, estate tax calculators and IRS tax tables. Visitors can get a free seven-part course on estate planning subjects including joint tenancy, living trusts and probate, as well as find estate planning glossaries, articles such as “Top Seven Estate Planning Questions” and the e-pamphlet Life Advice About Making a Will.

Calculators Aplenty
www.completetax.com
CPAs and tax preparers will want to bookmark this Web stop for a useful offering—free calculators. Visitors can find auto expense, home and personal finance, investment, lease, refinance and retirement calculators. Other site resources, such as the 2004 tax guide, current and archived tax news, forms, tables, worksheets and a tax glossary, also will come in handy.

For Gift Tax Returns
www.709accountant.com
CPAs and their clients can read a comprehensive guide to the federal gift tax at this e-stop. Topics of discussion include annual exclusions, charitable deductions, due dates and extensions, generation-skipping transfers and marital deductions. Visitors also can access gift tax rate and unified credit tables for Form 709, United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, as well as look into purchasing 709 Accountant’s federal gift tax software.

Bob Jensen's threads on taxation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation 


Hi XXXXX

As you point out, high honors are usually bestowed on either a ranking system (e.g., military academies) or on arbitrary gpa ranges. For example, see http://www.wiu.edu/users/miuhon/handbook/honorsrec.php 

I'm really not an expert on the history of Latin honors, but you might find what you're seeking at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magna_Cum_Laude  
I often start with Wikipedia for history lessons.

As far as honoring many or an elite few, this is a matter over which opinion varies. When many people get an honor, there is not much pride in the honor (like when nearly every contestant gets a blue ribbon).

In colleges like Harvard, finding the top students becomes a joke because so many graduate with a 4.00 gpa.

If a competitive university has a macro cum laude system across all colleges, the system may become a joke. Almost nobody in physics or chemistry gets a 4.00 gpa in a non-Ivy college, whereas half the College of Education graduates may have 4.00 gpa. Should most of the cum laude graduates come from the College of Education? I don't think so.

Hope this helps.

Bob Jensen

-----Original Message----- 
From: Professor XXXXX
Sent: Sunday, October 17, 2004 12:51 PM 
To: Jensen, Robert 
Subject: needing help

Bob,

I'm sorry to bother you about this. I've looked and looked, and I've found absolutely nothing on graduation honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude, or the English equivalents of highest distinction (or honor), high distinction, distinction). I have been to dozens of university and college web sites, and I know that about 70% use an absolute GPA criterion for classification (e.g., 3.90, 3.75, 3.6) and the others use a percentage (e.g., 5%, 10%, 15%).

What I don't now is the history of the designation, and arguments for having many students recognized (30+%) or few students recognized (<10%). It appears as if the 30+% group is much more common (about 80-90%) than the restrictive group).

Can you help me? If you can locate any sources (electronic or paper) for me, I'd appreciate it. I've tried some basic Google searches and library searches.

XXXXX

 


"Microsoft Program Lets Macs Run Windows, Easing Switch to Apple," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2004, Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,personal_technology,00.html 

The plague of viruses and spyware that afflicts computers running Microsoft Windows has sparked new consumer interest in