Tidbits on April 8, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

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Oh! Oh!  I've been found out!
Doesn't it scare you, a world of ignoramuses with no memory other than that of their computers?
Harold Irving Bloom


It may not be a good idea to open up Web greeting cards sent by your friends
Beware of Web postcards bearing greetings. That's the advice from the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center, which is warning about e-mail messages that pose as Web postcards and then direct recipients to a Web site that installs a Trojan horse proThe new attacks use sophisticated social-engineering techniques to trick users into installing Trojan horse remote-access programs that can fool antivirus and firewall software by appearing to be authorized applications like Internet Relay Chat software, according to the Internet Storm Center (ISC).
"Web Postcards Hide Trojan Horse Programs:  Instead of friendly greetings, malicious software installs on your PC," PC World, April 5, 2005 --- http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,120296,00.asp


It's allegedly in the Koran:  Scholar claims the United States will cease to exist in 2007
Explaining his theory about the approaching extinction of the US, the scholar went on to analyze many numbers and letters mentioned in the Koran. He said a careful reading and analysis of words appearing in the Opening and Yusuf suras show that the US will exist for only 231 years. How did he reach that number? Silwadi said that by combing a number of suras hinting at US sins he reached the numbers 1776 (the year the US achieved independence) and 231. He added the two numbers and the result was 2007, the year when the US is expected to disappear.
Kgaked Abu Toameh, "Koran scholar: US will cease to exist in 2007," Jerusalem Post, March 29, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/DeathOfUS
What are suras and ayas? See http://www.arches.uga.edu/~humayra/Koran syllabus 2003.html


Some evangelists are betting on their faith:  I think maybe they've been swindled
"Most blessed of sons be Asher. Let him be favored by his brothers and let him dip his foot in oil," Brown quotes from Moses's blessing to one of the 12 Tribes of Israel in Deuteronomy 33:24. Standing next to a 54-meter (177-ft)-high derrick at Kibbutz Maanit in northern Israel, Brown said the passage indicated there is oil lying beneath the biblical territory of the Tribe of Asher, where the agricultural community is located. Geological surveys and an attempt by an Israeli-based company to find oil at the same site 10 years ago, a venture he said was abandoned for lack of funds, led Brown to pick the spot where new drilling will begin this week. Brown said he raised money for "Project Joseph" from fellow evangelical Christians in the United States. "From the investment standpoint, they certainly hope to have a return of the money," he said. "But the basis of it is Genesis, chapter 12." In that passage, God promises to shower blessings on those who bless the "great nation" sired by the Hebrew patriarch Abraham.
Reuters, April 6, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/IsraelOil


Chili pepper may help you get out of bed in the morning
Injections of the active ingredient found in red-hot chili peppers may produce lasting pain relief in people with knee osteoarthritis.knee osteoarthritis. And injections of Botox, the popular wrinkle-smoothing drug, may treat many painful ailments, say experts who presented evidence at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society in Boston.
Denise Mann, "Chili Pepper, Botox Injections Help Ease Pain:  Capsaicin Injections Soothe Osteoarthritis; Botox Helps Many Types of Pain, WebMDhealth, April 6, 2005 ---
http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/104/107237.htm?z=1727_00000_5024_hv_03


Boy was he compensated for bad performance:  I think his parents should've cut back on his allowance
$51,600,000+  total compensation of John Antioco, CEO of Blockbuster video chain in 2004
$1,250,000,000 net loss of Blockbuster video chain in 2004 that was accompanied by a 47% decline in share prices.

Time Magazine, April 11, 2005, Page 16


Salary differentials among female college graduates on the job in 2003
$43,656 among Asian American women
$41,066 among African American women
$37,761 among white American women

Time Magazine, April 11, 2005, Page 16
Jensen Comment:  The lower mean for white women might be due in part to size differentials in these groupings.  There are many more white women applying for jobs.  It may also be due to other factors such as affirmative action and the speculation that non-white women who finish college often had more of a struggle and are, therefore, more motivated toward high job performance.  Always remember that the biggest liars of the world, outside of accountants and lawyers, are statisticians.


The Female Early Life Career Crisis:  Announcing a Webcast on this crisis
You have likely seen the considerable attention the press has given to the notion that large numbers of highly-qualified women are opting out of mainstream careers. The recent coverage is spurred by a new research study published in this month's Harvard Business Review. The research was co-funded by Ernst & Young LLP, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, all members of the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force, a private sector initiative that is investigating this phenomenon. Now you can learn more about it from the people who can provide an inside look: The co-authors of the report, Ernst & Young's Carolyn Buck Luce and the Center for Work-Life Policy's Sylvia Ann Hewlett, as well as Catalyst's Ilene H. Lange. The numbers reveal why this is a critical topic: nearly four in 10 women with a graduate degree, professional degree or high-honors undergraduate degree have left the workforce voluntarily. As many as 93 percent of those who leave want to return to work, but only 74 percent find jobs, and just 40 percent return to full-time, professional jobs. An especially worrying statistic for the business sector in an increasingly tight labor market – none of these women want to return to their former companies. Join Ernst & Young LLP for an innovative Thought Center Webcast that will discuss what companies can do to keep talented women on the road to success and offer ongoing support for them as they pursue their careers. Our panelists will offer insights into practical steps employers can take to redefine the workplace, including: Alternative “pathways to power” that provide less linear career paths Flexible work arrangements that provide interesting, meaningful work Ideas and insights into how companies can help women reclaim and sustain ambition Elimination of "push" factors that can make women want to leave your organization And much more!
Message from E&Y announcing the April 15, 2005 Webcast http://www.ey.com/webcast?ir&pid=69 


The Female Midlife Crisis
The "midlife crisis" has long been thought of as something that afflicts men and often involves expensive toys and second wives. But the Wall Street Journal's Work & Family columnist, Sue Shellenbarger, says that as gender roles change, women are increasingly experiencing their own version of these upheavals. What follows is adapted from her new book, "The Breaking Point: How Female Midlife Crisis Is Transforming Today's Women."
Sue Shellenbarger, "The Female Midlife Crisis:  More Women Than Men Now Report Upheaval by Age 50; The ATV Tipping Point," The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2005; Page D1


Jane Fonda's entire life was mostly a staged performance 
When I was on the faculty of the University of Maine, the Bangor Daily News made a big, daily, deal when Jane Fonda stayed in Bangor for several weeks with her children in tow.  I never met her, but our best friends had two daughters on the Bangor High School swim team.  Their swimming coach was the reason Jane came to town.  She worked every day trying to perfect the dive that ultimately appeared near the end of one of my favorite films --- On Golden Pond --- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082846/
Purportedly she was a very good mother and a very good person who was not at all like the picture of her painted by the media.

Her new biography entitled My Life So Far (Random House) is amazingly candid for an autobiography and really held my attention.  What stands out the most is the difference between her public persona and her inner reality.  Our image of Jane is that of a highly-talented, fiercely independent, and deeply rooted anti-establishment female.  She, however, portrays herself as a rejected, insecure, naive, and flubbery woman whose public image arose out of trying to mold herself to what the men in her life (famous father and three tabloid husbands) wanted her to be. She wanted desperately to please them in ways they wanted to be pleased.  Her husbands, in turn, were enormously and openly promiscuous and unfaithful while married to Jane.  Her French husband (Roger Vadim) wanted her to be a sex toy and she became remarkably good at it, often in threesome romps with his prostitutes.   Her second husband (Tom Hayden) was a notorious anti-establishment politician who pushed her four-square into the Viet Nam anti-war movement to a point where she became known as the Hanoi Jane who played into the hands of the enemy propaganda machine.  She will never be forgiven by many military veterans who allege that she aided and abetted the torture and killing of American prisoners of war.  Her third husband (Ted Turner) mostly wanted her bagged  in his vast trophy case.  What is most interesting is what a highly atheist turned Christian Jane Fonda has now become in the autumn of her life without a husband or any other man in her private life.  She's had botched face lifts and is suffering from arthritis and is awaiting a hip transplant.

I recommend that you buy her book.  The money is going to a good cause for troubled young women.

Jane Fonda quotations from her book:

On her life-long, bulimia, obsession to be skinny
I remember (as a young girl) cutting out a magazine ad that said with $2 and some box tops they would send you a special kind of gum that had tapeworm eggs in it and when you chewed it the worms would hatch and eat up all the food you consumed.  It sounded like a splendid idea to me --- a way to have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.

French Orgies
Sometimes there were three of us, sometimes more
(women in bed with her and Vadim).  Sometimes it was even I who did the soliciting.  So adept was I at burying my real feelings and compartmentalizing myself that I eventually had myself convinced that I enjoyed it.  I'll tell you what I did enjoy:  the mornings after, when Vadim was gone and woman and I would linger over our coffee and talk.  For me it was a way to bring some humanity to the relationship, and antidote to objectification. 

Hanoi Jane
It is possible the Vietnamese had it all planned.  I will never know.  If they did, can I really blame them?  The buck stops here.  If I was used, I allowed it to happen . . . and I continue to pay a heavy price for it . . .   I realize that it's not  just a U.S. citizen laughing and clapping on a Vietnamese antiaircraft gun;  I'm Henry Fonda's privileged daughter who appears to be thumbing my nose at the country that provided me these privileges.  More than that, I am a woman which makes my sitting there even more of a betrayal.  A gender betrayal. 

Trophy Wife
It was not encouraging (before her marriage to Ted Turner).  Someone gave me an article about his life that revealed he probably had a drinking problem.  Not what I needed --- again.  A friend of one of his children whom I happened to know told me he liked only younger women and if he was interested in me, it would only be as a notch in his belt.  Of course there were lots of positives as well:  his environmentalism, his global vision, his work for peace.

The Real Jane
I didn't find something revealing about the real Jane in this most revealing autobiography.  Perhaps there is not a real Jane Fonda other than a woman who succumbed to impulses in her life-long and always failing quest to be accepted and loved.  Money and fame do not always, or even usually, buy happiness.  She does seem much more content and happy in the autumn of her life at a time when it is no longer necessary to mold herself to any one man.


Not so willing to forgive Jane Fonda
But that picture--dreadful as it was--was hardly the only appalling thing about that trip and the truth is she probably was ready and willing to shoot down American pilots. At the time she was in Hanoi, Fonda, for all practical purposes, was a Communist herself. She was certainly rooting for Ho Chi Minh's military to defeat the "imperialist" United States of America involved in the supposedly "criminal" war against that lovely Red regime in the north. She fully embraced Communists, communism and revolutionaries in 1972 and way beyond that date. Her heroes were Black Panther thugs such as Huey Newton and Red dictators such as Fidel Castro.  We know of her revolutionary ardor because she used to run off at the mouth about her views. The Detroit Free Press, for instance, quotes her as saying in a Nov. 22,1969, Michigan State University speech: "I would think that if you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become Communist." That statement has been quoted for years (in HUMAN EVENTS among other places) and has never been denied and is certainly not apologized for (or explained away) in her new memoir.  Here's another Fonda gem. On July 18, 1970, the People's World, the West Coast's Communist Party publication, carried a telephone interview with Fonda in which she said: "To make the revolution in the United States is a slow day by day job that requires patience and discipline. It is the only way to make it. . . . All I know is that despite the fact that I am one of the people who benefit from a capitalist society, I find that any system which exploits other people cannot and should not exist."
Allan H. Ryskind , "Sorry, Jane, Apology Not Accepted," Online Human Events, April 8, 2005 http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=7093


Up in my home in Sugar Hill, I'm thinking of replacing some of my maple trees with palm trees
As temperatures rise and weather patterns become more erratic, New England's maple trees are facing growing threats that may eventually force syrup aficionados and leaf-peepers out of the region and into Canada.
Christa Farrand, "Climate change could sour US maple sugaring," The Christian Science Monitor, April 6, 2005 --- http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0406/p11s01-sten.html


You will never hear the end of Bob Jensen:  I plan to keep posting daily Tidbits on my tombstone
If you want your tombstone to be about you, you'd better speak up. Otherwise, whoever is in charge of picking out your marker might decide to chisel something along the lines of: "Enough about him. Let me tell you about me." Gravesites such as Mr. Astaire's are worth considering because, with grave markers going high-tech, it's getting even more crucial for us to articulate how we want to be memorialized. We have entered the age of customized tombstones that can feature audio-taped messages from the deceased, and laser-etched portraits of their pets or cars.
Jeff Zaslow, "Having a Say in Your Epitaph: The Challenge of High-Tech Tombstones," The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111283344036700294,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal


On Campus, Free Speech at Odds With Tax Funding
On March 10, an event titled "Patriarchy Slam" was held by the radical Feminist Action League in a room reserved by a second and recognized student group. (The significance of this is that the free room was used in violation of UNH policy.) Posters across the campus advertised the meeting as a public event, with no indication of "Women Only."
Wendy McElroy, "On Campus, Free Speech at Odds With Tax Funding,"  Fox News, April 07, 2005 --- http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,152553,00.html


Confessions of a Politically Incorrect Professor
I am European and came to America in 2002, where I teach at an elite Liberal Arts College. My native country is among the most socialized in the world, with strong leftist parties, from democratic socialists to outright communist. All across Europe the left – the far left, somewhere between Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean – has a very strong political position, as well as a clearly visible presence on university campuses. Despite my European background I found myself deeply surprised by the political bias on college campuses here in America. Left-wing bias is almost undetectable among European college faculty compared to America’s academic institutions. The bias that I have encountered has so many facets that I am still encountering new ones.
Anonymous, "Confessions of a Politically Incorrect Professor," FrontPageMagazine.com. April 6, 2005 --- http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=17622


At last there is a logical explanation why the academy is liberal:  Republicans are too anti-science to become good professors.
Republicans are too anti-science to become good professors. That's the essence of Paul Krugman's recent New York Times column explaining why there are so few Republican college professors. Of course, recent events at Harvard indicate that it's the academic left that rejects science. Harvard's President Larry Summers was castigated for suggesting that politically incorrect science be conducted. Dr. Summers infamously suggested that researchers consider the possibility that biology partially explains the dearth of female science professors. For this comment, his Arts and Science faculty passed a resolution expressing lack of confidence in him, and the presidents of Stanford, MIT and Princeton published a letter saying that "speculation that 'innate differences' may be a significant cause of under representation by women in science and engineering may rejuvenate old myths and reinforce negative stereotypes and biases." So acting with the approval of their leftist faculties, the presidents of Stanford, MIT and Princeton have condemned Larry Summers for the crime of politically incorrect speculation. Nothing could possibly be more anti-scientific then rejecting speculation.
James D. Miller, "Font Size: The Science Haters," Tech Central Station, April 6, 2005 --- http://www.techcentralstation.com/040605B.html


Do we logically conclude that no member of the Republican party should be allowed into the academy just in case self selection is not working well?
Claims that liberal bias keeps conservatives off college faculties almost always focus on the humanities and social sciences, where judgments about what constitutes good scholarship can seem subjective to an outsider. But studies that find registered Republicans in the minority at elite universities show that Republicans are almost as rare in hard sciences like physics and in engineering departments as in softer fields. Why? One answer is self-selection - the same sort of self-selection that leads Republicans to outnumber Democrats four to one in the military. The sort of person who prefers an academic career to the private sector is likely to be somewhat more liberal than average, even in engineering.
Paul Krugman, "An Academic Question," The New York Times, April 5, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/opinion/05krugman.html?oref=login
Jensen Comment:  I don't think it is fair to blame Republican professors for the outrageous claims of the lunatic right any more than it is fair to blame all Democratic professors for the lunatic fringe that applauds every time the U.S. military loses in battle.  My experience is that most professors of all political persuasion pride themselves on individualism and academic pride that sets it apart from dogma.  Paul Krugman needs to learn how to back up his claims with research.


These NASA scientists had to be liberal according to Paul Krugman's reasoning
Now top researchers at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) say the calcified clumps of primitive bacteria lurking in its pools could provide important clues in their search for extra-terrestrial life. The network of 170 cactus-ringed lagoons around the town of Cuatro Cienegas have intrigued evolutionary biologists for decades because their fish, snail and turtle species rival the Galapagos Islands in their uniqueness.
"Mexican lagoons intrigue Nasa," Aljazeera, April 5, 2005 ---
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/435D892D-C3BB-4A3D-834A-DC5CD47FCEEE.htm


No self-respecting conservative scientist would publish this research:  But I like the findings from Down Under
But a new study shows that sex leads to faster evolution. To demonstrate this, a team of scientists created a mutant strain of yeast that, unlike normal yeast, was unable to divide into the sexual spores that allow yeast to engage in sexual reproduction. Yeast can reproduce either sexually or asexually. When testing this mutant strain in stress-free conditions, the scientists found that it performed as well as normal yeast. In more extreme conditions, however, the normal yeast grew faster than the asexual mutants. This shows "unequivocally that sex allows for more rapid evolution," said Matthew Goddard of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Goddard led the study, which is reported in this week's issue of the science journal Nature.
Stefan Lovgren, "Sex Speeds Up Evolution, Study Finds," National Geographic News, March 30, 2005 --- http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/03/0330_050330_sexevolution.html


Where are all the guys on each Canadian campus?  (Similar disparities are arising in the U.S.)
Where are all the guys on campus? If men outnumbered women 515,000 to 375,000 in colleges, there'd be an uproar The Edmonton Journal Fri 01 Apr 2005 Page: A18 Section: Opinion Byline: Lorne Gunter Of the 52 traditional bricks-and-mortar universities in Canada, only one has more male students than female. Just one. Ontario's University of Waterloo has a male-female ratio of 54 to 46, according to Maclean's magazine's 2005 Guide to Canadian Universities. At all the rest -- every last one of them -- women outnumber men. At Carleton University in Ottawa, it's nearly equal. The numbers there reflect the...
Lorne Gunter, "Where are all the guys on campus?" Edmonton Journal, April 1, 2005 --- http://www.canada.com/edmonton/edmontonjournal/columnists/lorne_gunter.html


Does Professor Orr really think our business education goal is to teach students how to "bust unions?"
Economics Professor Douglas Orr gave a short speech highlighting some of the things that are happening in American universities. “Almost every university in the United States has a school of business, and what do they teach? They have got faculty members who teach how to bust unions. They have faculty members who teach how to make your workers work harder for lower wages, and if they protest, how do you suppress them. These things are taught in every single business school in the United States, but then you ask the question, how many of these schools teach how to organize a union? How many of these schools teach how to organize resistance to oppression?” said Orr. He continued by emphasizing what Professor Dean mentioned earlier. “What is going on with Ward Churchill is the start of what we saw in the 1950s. It is a systematic attempt to drive any voices of opposition out of the university in this country; to give in an inch is to let them get started.”
Thomas Coghlan, "Rally draws hundreds for Ward Churchill," The Easterner, March 28, 2005 --- http://www.easterneronline.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/03/28/424a490538f5e
Jensen Question:  Dear Professor Orr:  I've been on the business faculties of four universities.  I've yet to see a course or even a course module on "How to bust unions."  Virtually all the courses I've seen are on how to improve relationships between management and unions.  Have you got a single example of a business course in an AACSB-accredited university that teaches how to bust unions? 
 

Professor Orr denied my appeal to provide an example of one accredited business education program or course that teaches how to bust up unions.


Bob Jensen's threads on the saga of Ward Churchill are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyChurchill.htm


GM is one tiny step from the junk pile and Ford is on its way
Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday cut General Motors Corp.'s (GM.N) debt rating to a step above junk status, citing the world's largest automaker's profit warning last month, and cautioned that it may downgrade rival Ford Motor Co.
Reuters, The New York Times, April 6, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/business/business-autos-ratings.html


Just a few less calories may extend your life
Now, though, work done by Marc Hellerstein and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that it may be possible to have, as it were, your cake and eat it too. Or, at least, to eat 95% of it. Their study, to be published in the American Journal of Physiology—Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggests that significant gains in longevity might be made by a mere 5% reduction in calorie intake. The study was done on mice rather than people. But the ubiquity of previous calorie-restriction results suggests the same outcome might well occur in other species, possibly including humans. However, you would have to fast on alternate days.  Why caloric restriction extends the lifespan of any animal is unclear, but much of the smart money backs the idea that it slows down cell division by denying cells the resources they need to grow and proliferate. One consequence of that slow-down would be to stymie the development of cancerous tumours.
"All you can't eat," The Economist, March 31, 2005 ---
http://www.economist.com/science/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3809652


How to select hospitals in your city/region compare (you choose the criteria and the hospitals)?
When I compared San Antonio's Baptist Health System with the Methodist System, I got some surprising results.

In a move to provide clear, unbiased information about the quality of hospital care, Medicare is launching a Web-based database that consumers can use to see for themselves how local institutions stack up against each other. The Web site, Hospital Compare, went live late yesterday, offering data on 17 widely accepted quality measures in treating heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. It shows how most of the nation's general hospitals perform compared with state and national averages, as well as against their peers. "This is another big step toward supporting and rewarding better quality, rather than just paying more and supporting more services," says Mark McClellan, a physician who heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees federal health-care programs for seniors and low-income people. The government "ends up paying more when a patient gets poor-quality care and is readmitted" to the hospital, he added.
Rhonda L. Rundle, "Medicare Puts Data Comparing Hospitals Onto Public Web Site," The Wall Street Journal,  April 1, 2005; Page B1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111231128175394880,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
The Hospital Care comparison site is at http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/


I don't think academic freedom militants will rally behind Warrior and well they should not
Warrior, a former professional wrestler who goes by that single name, gave a lecture at the University of Connecticut on Tuesday that degenerated into a shouting match when he criticized gay people and made comments about needing a towel while answering a question from an Iranian student, according to an article in The Daily Campus (free registration required).
Scott Jaschik, "Talk Degenerates at UConn," Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/07/quicktakes
The “vulgarity debate” among bloggers
The “vulgarity debate” that broke out among Persian bloggers in late 2003 (discussed in my last column) has no exact parallel in the American scene. But as Henry Farrell pointed out last week, some of the same tensions can be felt along the borders where blogging intersects with established  professions and institutions of journalism and scholarship. And no surprise, either: While Iranian academics and writers were initially provoked by the bad grammar and guesswork spelling that prevailed in Weblogestan, the deeper issue is structural — a divide that cuts through any culture.
Scott McLemee, "Of Blogs and Dialogues," Inside Higher Ed, April 5, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/04/05/mclemee

Opinions of the best and the brightest young people
A sample of 40 exceptional students -- 10 of whom got perfect scores on their SATs -- can't capture the talents or attitudes of all 1,600 students who entered the competition. It's an even blurrier reflection of all the high schoolers around the country who seriously pursue science. But the sample does show what's possible when gifted kids are nurtured by caring parents, challenged by high expectations in school, encouraged to explore what interests them, and given a chance to work with mentors at universities and U.S. national laboratories. And by surveying the finalists, BusinessWeek was able to glimpse how top-performing students would shape government science policies if they were handed the opportunity . . . After all, most children aren't math wizards, any more than they're musical prodigies. But that doesn't mean mediocre performance is destiny. Schools need to foster more interest in science in the lower grades. And middle-school teachers should toss tougher challenges at girls, in particular. Greater emphasis should also be placed on mentors, the students say, with colleges expanding outreach programs; and high schools with no nearby university could form volunteer mentoring clubs staffed with their best students and parents. Ultimately, America's educational system needs to pay as much attention to bright students as it does to slow learners. That would give more U.S. kids a better chance to stand tall in international comparisons. And it just might help counteract the scientific illiteracy that threatens to drag down the performance of American businesses.
"Meet The Best And Brightest:  Forty gifted U.S. high school science students told us what matters to them," Business Week, March 28, 2005 --- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_13/b3926401.htm
Also see http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/toc/05_13/B39260513sts.htm


Why do many investors prefer concentrated rather than diversified portfolios?
It is always nice when research confirms what we had theorized. For instance Ivkovich, Sialm, and Weisbenner show that when investors take highly undiversified positions, they on average earn higher returns than when they are diversified. However before you scrap all diversification theory, these higher returns come at the expense of added risk. Why would investors hold a "concentrated" portfolio? It could be because of fixed transaction costs or because of information advantages, or because of what collectively could be called behavioral reasons.
Jim Mahar commenting on "SSRN-Portfolio Concentration and the Performance of Individual Investors," by Zoran Ivkovich, Clemens Sialm, and Scott Weisbenner , TheFinanceProfessor.com, April 5, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/


Should the Fed prick the bubbles?
There is always a debate as to the role of the Fed when it comes to asset "bubbles." For instance, the Fed was criticized by many after the internet bubble. What is the correct role? Hands off? Active interventionist? Fed Governor Edward Gramlich gave his view to a "conference hosted at Princeton University." His view? Basically hands off:
Jim Mahar, "What is the role of the Fed with respect to asset price bubbles?, TheFinanceProfessor.com, April 2, 2005 --- http://financeprofessorblog.blogspot.com/


Nation’s humanities and social sciences departments suffer from a lack of intellectual and programmatic diversity?
This “Selig Strategy” could also describe the academy’s response to indications that the nation’s humanities and social sciences departments suffer from a lack of intellectual and programmatic diversity. Calls for outside inquiries have been denounced as violations of academic freedom, while few if any signs exist that the very internal academic procedures that created the problem can successfully resolve it. Instead of imitating baseball’s strategy of trying to cover up relevant information, the academy should bring transparency to the now-cloaked world of faculty hires and in-class instruction, compiling and publicizing the necessary data, probably through college and department Web sites. Such a response would allow the educational establishment to employ the habits of the academic world, namely reasoned analysis through use of hard evidence, to address (and, when false, disprove) specific allegations of ideological bias. At the same time, the exposure associated with greater transparency might deter those professors inclined to abuse their classroom authority for indoctrination.
K.C. Johnson, "Transparency or a ‘Selig Strategy’?" Inside Higher Ed, April 1, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/04/01/johnson


Self selection versus discrimination:  In any case there is little evidence of efforts for diversity
Harvard’s facetious moniker, “The Kremlin on the Charles,” may be more accurate than previously speculated, according to a report released last week. The study, published in The Forum, an online social science journal, concluded that discrimination may account for a reported dearth of conservatives in academia. According to the study, 72 percent of professors at U.S. universities identify themselves as liberal and just 15 percent as conservative. At elite schools, the gap was more pronounced, with 87 percent of faculty self-identifying as liberal and only 13 percent as conservative. The study was based on a 1999 survey of 1,643 full-time faculty at 183 four-year schools . . . Kenan Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield ’53 says he is not surprised by the report’s findings. “Conservatives have a hard time in academia,” Mansfield said. “Just look at my department. There are fifty professors, and two or three are Republicans. How is that possible?” But Graduate School of Education professor Julie A. Reuben, who had not fully examined the study, said she was skeptical of the argument that discrimination is to blame for the weak conservative voice on campus. “I would have assumed that there is a high degree of self-selection rather than discrimination,” Reuben said.
Sarah E.F. Milov, "Study Finds Academia May Favor Liberals," The Crimson from Harvard University, April 7, 2005 --- http://thecrimson.com/today/article506877.html


The lawyers always get the best part of the carrion or control who gets the choice parts
What's received less notice is where Mr. Hevesi has been steering the gargantuan legal fees associated with the (WorldCom) settlements. According to the New York Sun, which has been virtually alone in covering the matter, the state retirement fund happens to be represented by law firms that have made very generous political donations to the comptroller. Such activity isn't illegal, but as the Sun put it in a March 7 editorial, "It's enough to tempt one to speculate that these proceedings aren't so much about the rule of law as they are about enriching, via fees, Mr. Hevesi's class-action lawyers, who are also major contributors to the comptroller's campaign." There's also the question of whether Mr. Hevesi's moonlighting as lead plaintiff in the WorldCom class action is in direct conflict with his day job as trustee of the state pension fund. The New York retirement fund never owned WorldCom bonds, the basis for the suit against underwriters like J.P. Morgan. But it did own J.P. Morgan stock, as well as the stock of several other underwriters named in the class action. Mr. Hevesi's fiduciary responsibility as class representative is to get maximum recovery from the underwriters. But to the extent that these large settlements harm investment banks and drive down their stock price, the retirement fund suffers. The only group that makes out no matter what are the comptroller's plaintiffs' bar pals. That's something U.S. District Judge Denise Cote might want to consider before signing off on Mr. Hevesi's latest settlement with J.P. Morgan, which could generate more than $300 million in new trial-lawyer fees.
"Comptrolling Legal Authority," The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111232186552295168,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion


What caught my attention was his claim that, because of U.S. taxes, Intel could build and operate a plant in "Europe" cheaper than in the U.S.  I find this hard to believe.
Otellini, who will become Intel's chief executive in May, testified Thursday at a hearing of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform that over the 10-year life of a modern chip factory, the company would save $1 billion by placing the factory in Asia or Europe rather than in the United States. He said Intel, the world's largest chip maker, would make its decision this year. There would be some advantages to building in this country, near Intel's other factories, Otellini said. But while trade barriers and wage factors were significant issues in earlier decisions, taxes are now an important consideration, he said.
John Markoff  (article originally appeared in The New York Times), "Otellini warns taxes could send plant overseas," CNET.com, March 29, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/IntelMarch29


Earnings Management Deception
The 1999 bulletin also said that if accounting practices were intentionally misleading "to impart a sense of increased earnings power, a form of earnings management, then by definition amounts involved would be considered material." AIG hinted some errors may have been intentional, saying that certain transactions "appear to have been structured for the sole or primary purpose of accomplishing a desired accounting result."
Jonathan Weil, "AIG's Admission Puts the Spotlight On Auditor PWC," The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111231915138095083,00.html?mod=home_whats_news_us
Bob Jensen's threads on earnings management are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#Manipulation
Bob Jensen's threads on the AIG mess are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudRotten.htm#MutualFunds


The business of education
Some other higher education businesses are not seeing the same level of activity as for-profit higher education, the report said. There were very few purchases or mergers in the textbook or digital content industries. However, Eduventures noted a strong investment year for companies that provide technology infrastructure or software to colleges. Blackboard, for example, pulled off an IPO, while Jenzabar had a $35 million investment package.

Scott Jaschik, "For-Profit Interest," Inside Higher Ed, April 1, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/01/finance


Does your university have a system for investigating medical insurance excess billings?
Investigators found that Fortis erroneously used occupation as a factor in determining small group insurance rates. Wisconsin state law bars insurers from considering occupation in determining those rates, although factors including age, sex and health of the group can be considered. Excluding certain factors in setting rates helps insure more common rates and smaller rate swings for small businesses, state regulators said. The amount that was overbilled will be better known by early June, when Assurant must report a more detailed account of the error to Wisconsin regulators, Susan Ezalarab, director of the insurance commissioner’s Bureau of Market Regulations, told the Business Journal of Milwaukee. Ezalarab declined to estimate how many customers were affected, or how large Assurant’s reimbursement to those clients might be.
"Is Your Health Insurance Provider Overbilling You?" AccountingWeb, March 30, 2005 --- http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=100728


Make the French drink more wine --- or else more dynamite!
French winegrowers have set off dynamite in government offices to highlight their financial plight. Members of the radical CRAV committee of winegrowers threw the explosives into a government agriculture office in the southern town of Carcassonne, in France. France's wine sector, which supports 75,000 jobs, is suffering from dwindling sales due to health concerns and a campaign against drink driving. Exports have also fallen off due to the weak dollar and competition from 'New World' wines. Producers say people are now only drinking 58 litres per head, compared to 100 litres in the early 1960s. The government has promised 70 million euros in aid for embattled winegrowers and 3.5 million euros to promote exports.
"Not Drinking Enough Wine," Sky News, April 1, 2005 ---
http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30200-13318981,00.html?f=rss


The brain's center of trust
The results suggest that a brain region called the caudate nucleus lights up when it receives or computes data to make decisions based on trust. The Baylor College of Medicine team based their findings on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans of volunteers playing a money game.
BBC News, April 1, 2005 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4397269.stm


Bravo Rami
An Israeli Arab schoolboy has outshone Jewish counterparts to grab a share of victory in a school quiz on the history of Zionism and the creation of Israel. Rami Wated, 12, and Jewish teammate Guy Gothertz clinched a joint first place with an all-Jewish pair after being quizzed on the history of Jewish nationalism, said Kobby Barda, spokesman for the city of Tel Aviv, which sponsored the contest. Wated was the only Arab among the 12 finalists. His prize was a modest plaque. "Despite the fact that many did not believe that I would win, I prepared well ... It doesn't matter if you are Jewish or Arab, just as long as you can prepare properly," Wated said on Wednesday. He is a pupil at an Israeli Arab state school where the curriculum on Jewish history is limited compared with that offered in Jewish schools.
"Arab boy wins Israeli school quiz on Zionism," Reuters UK, April 6, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/ArabBoyApril6


Bush assassins' escape jail time
Oslo police officer Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby said on Tuesday that the "United States embassy did not want to press charges". As the US election campaign was in full swing in late October 2004, the group Gatas Parlament - whose name means "the parliament of the streets - called for donations on the website www.killhim.nu  in order to pay anyone who succeeded in murdering Bush. "
'Bush assassins' escape jail time," Aljazeera, March 31, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6571DC08-B494-4DD8-8E12-32F352ED41AA.htm 


A Media Intelligence Failure
We'll need time to dig through the details in the 600-plus-page Robb-Silberman report on intelligence that was released yesterday. But one important conclusion worth noting, even on a quick reading, is that the report blows apart the myth that intelligence provided by Iraqi politician and former exile Ahmed Chalabi suckered the U.S. into going to war. That myth was a media and antiwar favorite last year, before the U.S. and Iraq elections, and when all of Washington thought President Bush was a one-termer. CIA and State Department sources peddled the idea that an Iraqi defector code-named "Curveball" had planted bad information about Saddam's WMD. "Curveball" was widely broadcast as an agent of Mr. Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress, with the not-so-subtle implication that his intelligence was used by the Pentagon to deceive Mr. Bush into going to war.
"A Media Intelligence Failure," The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2005, Page A10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111232202355295177,00.html?mod=todays_us_opinion


When Bill Bennett listens, people talk
In just one year, Bennett - variously known as America's "drug czar" or, if you're The New York Times, the nation's "leading spokesman" of traditional values - has managed to land 116 markets, including 18 of the top 20. By comparison, Al Franken's "Air America," conceived as the antidote to conservative talk radio and launched a week before Bennett's show, airs in just over 50 markets.
Kathleen Parker, "When Bill Bennett listens, people talk," Town Hall, April 6, 2005 --- http://www.townhall.com/columnists/kathleenparker/kp20050406.shtml


Nude Pix Put Cops In a Fix
Houston police officer Christopher Green, after arresting a woman on suspicion of drunken driving, allegedly downloaded sexually explicit pictures from her confiscated cell phone onto his PDA and then showed them to several colleagues. Internal investigators have stepped in to examine the situation and reports that Green's partner, George Miller, later called the woman and asked her for a date. Both officers have been pulled from their usual patrolling duties. "We're sort of waiting to see what's going to happen," Houston Police Officers' Union attorney Aaron Suder told the Houston Chronicle, which broke the story Friday.
Libe Goad, "Nude Pix Put Cops In a Fix," eWeek, March 25, 2005 --- http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1779743,00.asp
Jensen Questions:  Why was he looking in her cell phone in the first place?  Did he suspect a small flask was hidden there?


Citigroup Faces Gender-Bias Suit Over Assignments
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by one current and three former California employees of Smith Barney, alleges that the brokerage firm discriminated against women when its "virtually all-male branch management" assigned accounts to brokers. The complaint seeks class-action status on behalf of all Smith Barney female brokers in the U.S., as well as some former brokers, a total of about 5,000. If class-action status is granted by the federal judge handling the case, it would raise the stakes for Citigroup, which already is busy trying to resolve problems stemming from several unrelated scandals. "These claims are entirely without merit," a Citigroup spokeswoman said. She maintained that "significant initiatives" undertaken in recent years had made Smith Barney one of the industry's "most progressive" workplaces with respect to equal opportunities.
Mitchell Pacelle, "Citigroup Faces Gender-Bias Suit Over Assignments," The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2005; Page C4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111230963365294827,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing


Absurd quotes of the day:  Interspecies marriage is on the way
A Loveland Republican on Thursday warned that same-sex marriage could one day lead to interspecies marriage, if the state fails to ban gay nuptials. "Where do you draw the line?" Rep. Jim Welker asked. "A year ago in India, a woman married her dog." Welker's comments were made at a news conference called by Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, to promote Lundberg's proposal for a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
Jim Hughes, "Gay-marriage foe irks fellow lawmakers with "extreme" talk," Denver Post, April 1, 2005,  http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~61~2792661,00.html


Jim Mahar posted the following at his blog on March 31, 2005

A summary article on volatility forecasting

When I was looking at research-Finance.com,I stumbled upon this one by Andersen, Bollerslev, Christoffersen, and Diebold.

They provide a very interesting look at the volatility forecasting. The piece is largely a summary article that shows what has been done and the results. VERY good! It is part of a forthcoming Handbook of Economic Forecasting edited by Elliott, Granger, and Timmermann.

A warning: it is LONG! 114 pages.

The paper is also available through the UPenn site

Suggested Citation
Andersen, Torben G., Bollerslev, Tim, Christoffersen, Peter and Diebold, Francis X., "Volatility Forecasting" (February 22, 2005). Penn Institute for Economic Research (PIER), Research Paper Series http://ssrn.com/abstract=678861

 


Computers Obeying Brain Signals  (forwarded by Debbie Bowling)
Researchers and volunteers around the world are taking early steps toward a complex but straightforward technological goal: to use electrical signals from the brain as instructions to computers and other machines, allowing paralyzed people to communicate, move around and control their environment literally without moving a muscle. Most dramatically, that could help "locked-in" patients - those who've lost all muscle movement because of conditions like Lou Gehrig's disease or brainstem strokes. Take a look at what other people have accomplished lately with signals from their brains:
Malcolm Ritter, "Computers Obeying Brain Signals," IWON News, April 4, 2005  --- http://apnews1.iwon.com/article/20050404/D898IAF80.html


Flashback on AIG Fraud (forwarded to me by Miklos Vasarhelyi [miklosv@andromeda.rutgers.edu]
American International Group Inc. agreed to pay a $10 million fine to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that the insurance company participated in an accounting fraud at Brightpoint Inc. The SEC also alleged that New York-based American International, the world's largest insurer by market value, failed to cooperate with its investigation. The SEC charged Brightpoint with accounting fraud in a scheme to conceal losses by using an AIG insurance policy. "AIG worked hand-in-hand with Brightpoint personnel to custom-design a purported insurance policy that allowed Brightpoint to overstate its earnings by a staggering 61 percent," said Wayne M. Carlin, director of SEC's Northeast Regional Office in New York. Carlin said the transaction amounted to a "round-trip" of cash from Brightpoint to AIG and back to Brightpoint. In the past year, the SEC also has charged energy companies, such as Reliant Resources Inc. and Reliant Energy Inc., in "round-trip" arrangements that misled investors.
Reuters, "AIG Pays $10 Million Fine in Brightpoint Accounting Fraud," The New York Times, September 11, 2003
You can read more about the recent AIG scandals at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudRotten.htm
You can read more about round tripping at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/eitf01.htm#RoundTripping
I have a longer quotation on this article at the above link.  You can also read about Enron's round trips to the plate.


Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may no longer be possible
A Palestinian legislator has warned that a genuine solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may no longer be possible, due to what he called Israel's wanton settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Khalid Amayreh, "Fatah legislator paints bleak scenario," Aljazeera, April 6, 2005 --- http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/2DB81B23-1E90-4A0B-99F8-0143B62F0289.htm

Ramallah, West Bank -- Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas expressed satisfaction yesterday after U.S. President George W. Bush warned Israel against expanding any of its settlements in the occupied territories. Mr. Abbas called on Israel "to take rapid measures for the implementation of the road map and to stop totally its construction of the wall and settlements on the ground in order to create the necessary conditions to relaunch the peace process."
"Abbas applauds U.S. stand against Israeli settlements," Globe and Mail, April 7, 2005 --- http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050407/WORLD07-1/TPInternational/Africa


Palestine:  The People and the Land ---
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/8B6EB4AA-E7C3-49AC-9F3E-A70603635511.htm


April 2005 report from the U.S. Department of Transportation --- http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/reports/2005/0504atcr.doc

NUMBER OF
AIRPORTS
REPORTED

PERCENT OF
ARRIVALS
ON TIME D/

NUMBER OF
AIRPORTS
REPORTED

          HAWAIIAN AIRLINES S/V/

7

83.6

          SKYWEST AIRLINES S/

15

82.3

          ATA AIRLINES S/

16

82.1

          AMERICAN AIRLINES S/

32

80.0

          UNITED AIRLINES S/

32

80.3

          SOUTHWEST AIRLINES S/

17

79.0

          COMAIR S/

23

78.9

          AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES S/

23

79.0

          INDEPENDENCE AIR *

11

80.8

          CONTINENTAL AIRLINES S/

30

76.8

          DELTA AIRLINES S/

33

75.8

          NORTHWEST AIRLINES S/

32

76.3

          AMERICA WEST AIRLINES S/

29

75.8

          EXPRESSJET AIRLINES S/

25

72.5

          ALASKA AIRLINES S/

16

75.6

          US AIRWAYS S/

27

73.6

          JETBLUE AIRWAYS S/

14

72.0

          AIRTRAN AIRWAYS S/

20

68.4

          ATLANTIC SOUTHEAST AIRLINES S/

20

64.8

 


Forwarded by Aaron Konstam

* Vanity plate seen on a California car:.. WAS HIS

* Wealthy folks miss one of life's greatest thrills: making that last car payment!

* You heard about the new Govt. bonds? The new Newt Gingrich bond has no maturity, The Dole bond has no interest, and the Clinton bond has no principle.

* If I save the whales, where do I keep them?

* In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: IT GOES ON.

* If you can't keep a secret, then you don't need to know it.

* When your dreams turn to dust, then it's time to vacuum.

* If you want the world to beat a path to your door try taking a nap on a Saturday afternoon.

* Quote from the boss: "I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame it on you."

* I thought I'd try Computer Dating. Tomorrow night I'm meeting someone named Packard Bell.

* My son told his teacher he didn't understand how the Indians served popcorn to the Pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving when they didn't have microwaves back then.

* Why hate yourself in the morning? Sleep till noon.

* When computer cryptography is outlawed, bay! bhgynfrt jywq odrt.

* I need someone to refresh my memory. How many cars are allowed through an intersection after the light turns red? Is it 3 or 5?

* What did the instructor at the school for suicidal terrorists say to his students? "Watch closely. I'm only going to do this once!"

* Sometimes the garbage disposal Gods demand the offering of a spoon.

* You think your highschool was tough? My highschool was so tough that when the teacher asked, "What comes at the end of a sentence?" three guys said, "You appeal."

* How can we have a National Debt AND a budget surplus? If my plastic money is maxed out at $10,000, that $100 in my wallet can hardly be considered a surplus.

* If idiots could fly, this place would be an airport.

 

 

 

 




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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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