Tidbits on April 18, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.

Bob Jensen's home page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

Campaign for Trinity University --- http://www.trinity.edu/departments/public_relations/case_statement/index.htm 


WOW (Breakthrough in interpreting Oxyrhynchus Papyri)
For more than a century, it has caused excitement and frustration in equal measure – a collection of Greek and Roman writings so vast it could redraw the map of classical civilisation. If only it was legible. Now, in a breakthrough described as the classical equivalent of finding the holy grail, Oxford University scientists have employed infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, and with it the prospect that hundreds of lost Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems will soon be revealed. In the past four days alone, Oxford’s classicists have used it to make a series of astonishing discoveries, including writing by Sophocles, Euripides, Hesiod and other literary giants of the ancient world, lost for millennia. They even believe they are likely to find lost Christian gospels, the originals of which were written around the time of the earliest books of the New Testament. The original papyrus documents, discovered in an ancient rubbish dump in central Egypt, are often meaningless to the naked eye – decayed, worm-eaten and blackened by the passage of time. But scientists using the new photographic technique, developed from satellite imaging, are bringing the original writing back into view. Academics have hailed it as a development which could lead to a 20 per cent increase in the number of great Greek and Roman works in existence. Some are even predicting a “second Renaissance”.
Arthur Silber, "WOW (Breakthrough in interpreting Oxyrhynchus Papyri)," Free Republic, April 17, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1385405/posts


Satellite Radio Craze
Satellite radio use has increased to 5 million subscribers and, by some estimates, will top 8 million by year's end. If that happens, adoption of the service will surpass the speed with which cell phone use took off.  Consider this for a moment: Users are rushing to pay for a service that has been available for free since listeners crowded around the first crackly transistors a century ago. That's because what they are paying for with satellite radio suits their tastes far better than the formulaic one-size-fits-all fare of the corporate-controlled commercial airwaves.
Pedro Pereira, "Vendors Targeting SMBs Must First Know Their Audience," The Channel Insider, April 8, 2005 --- http://www.thechannelinsider.com/article2/0,1759,1784555,00.asp


Distance Education Craze
The Education Department offered its findings in its third annual report to Congress on the Distance Education Demonstration Program, which Congress created when it renewed the Higher Education Act in 1998. Among other things, the program waives for participating institutions a regulation that bars from federal financial aid programs colleges that (1) offer more than half their courses via distance education or (2) enroll more than half of their students in online programs. The regulation, known as the “50 percent rule,” was drafted in 1992 to rein in the rapid growth of fraudulent diploma mills and correspondence schools.The demonstration program now includes 24 colleges: nine for-profit institutions, including five publicly traded ones; seven private nonprofit institutions; four public universities and one public system; and three consortiums. (Another four participants have left the program voluntarily and one, Masters Institute, was removed after it was found to have “improperly” administered federal aid funds, the department said.)
Doug Lederman, "Expanding Access Via Distance Ed," Inside Higher Ed, April 13, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/13/distance
 

Officials at the major higher education associations don’t disagree with the Education Department and Republican House leaders that the distance education project has been a success, and that the department should continue to waive federal financial aid regulations, including the 50 percent rule, for credible colleges. In fact, in the joint proposal for extending the Higher Education Act that they prepared in 2003, about three dozen college groups encouraged Congress to turn the Distance Education Demonstration Program into a permanent one.

But just because the program has been successful does not mean that Congress should abandon the 50 percent rule altogether, Becky Timmons, director of government relations at the American Council of Education, said in an interview Tuesday.

“One enormous opportunity for abuse in distance education is rapid expansion,” said Timmons. Right now, she said, “anybody who wants to go above 50 percent can with a waiver from the department, and we think that’s wise. It ensures an extra level of supervision by the department, but doesn’t stop anybody who has an authentic program to go above” that threshold.


Employees doing personal things on the job at an increasing rate
Eighty per cent of UK employees admitted to taking part in these sorts of non-work activities - termed 'desk skiving' - in a recent survey sponsored by Captor Group, an HR management solutions company. And they are spending considerable time on tasks such as browsing news sites, conducting personal research via search engines, sending personal texts and shopping online. Just how much? A third of respondents said they spent 15 to 30 minutes a day on personal activities - equivalent to 14 days per year - while eight per cent said they spent more than two hours a day.
Sylvia Carr, "'Desk skiving' popular with UK workers," Silicon.com, April 13, 2005 --- http://management.silicon.com/careers/0,39024671,39129512,00.htm

Labor officials doing personal things at an increasing rate
But Mr. Yud said that if the department (Department of Labor) had been doing audits as vigorously as in decades past, it might have prevented corruption like the embezzlement of more than $2.5 million by leaders of the Washington Teachers Union. Among the items bought with the stolen union money were a $57,000 Tiffany tea service for 24, a $13,000 plasma television and a $20,000 custom-tailored mink coat. There were also the 277 checks totaling $41,309 that the secretary of an autoworkers' local wrote to herself over two and a half years, and the dues money stolen by the office secretary of a Minnesota plumbers' local, who, in ultimately pleading guilty, agreed to repay $54,469. Since 2001, department officials say, more than 500 union officials have been indicted on charges including fraud and embezzlement.
Steven Greenhouse, "Labor Dept. Plans Increasing Scrutiny of Union Finances," The New York Times, April 17, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/NYTlabor


Davidson College's decision to allow non-Christian Board members
Two leading trustees of Davidson College have quit their positions to protest the board’s decision to allow non-Christians to serve on it. One of the trustees — John Belk — is Davidson’s most generous donor.Belk and the other trustee, Stephen Smith, were not available for comment Tuesday. The Charlotte Observer (free registration required) disclosed their resignations, which were confirmed by Davidson officials.The Observer quoted Belk as saying that he did not object to non-Christians teaching or enrolling at the college, but that he thought the board should remain entirely Christian. “I think Davidson ought to be a Christian school,” Belk said. “I think that is one reason why Davidson is special, a little different from anyone else,” he said.
Scott Jaschik, "Lose Faith," Inside Higher Ed, April 13, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/13/religion


The first tunnel to China has punched through the earth's crust
Scientist said this week they had drilled into the lower section of Earth's crust for the first time and were poised to break through to the mantle in coming years. The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) seeks the elusive "Moho," a boundary formally known as the Mohorovicic discontinuity. It marks the division between Earth's brittle outer crust and the hotter, softer mantle. The depth of the Moho varies. This latest effort, which drilled 4,644 feet (1,416 meters) below the ocean seafloor, appears to have been 1,000 feet off to the side of where it needed to be to pierce the Moho, according to one reading of seismic data used to map the crust's varying thickness.
Robert Roy Britt, "Hole Drilled to Bottom of Earth's Crust, Breakthrough to Mantle Looms." Live Science, April 7, 2005 --- http://www.livescience.com/technology/050407_earth_drill.html  


If they only realized how much this habit will hurt them if they try to advance upward in life
Dan Horwich's English class is a bastion of clean language, where students read the classics and have weighty discussions free of invective and profanity. But when the bell rings and they walk out his door, the hallway vibrates with talk of a different sort. "The kids swear almost incessantly," said Horwich, who teaches at Guildford High School in Rockford, Ill. "They are so used to swearing and hearing it at home, and in the movies, and on TV, and in the music they listen to that they have become desensitized to it."
Valerie Strauss, "More and More, Kids say the Foulest Things (swearing)? Washington Post, April 12, 2005 --- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1382181/posts


How to beat the alternative minimum tax
It is a very small club -- but one that has expanded rapidly in recent years. Its members: people earning $200,000 or more a year who manage, through perfectly legal means, to pay no federal income taxes. The key to admission into this exclusive group is eluding not only the regular income tax but also the alternative minimum tax, or AMT, which was designed several decades ago to prevent just this sort of thing from happening. It is possible despite the fact that the AMT's reach has been expanding rapidly. This year, nearly four million people will owe additional taxes because of the AMT. Next year, if Congress does nothing to change the rules, more than 20 million people will owe more.
"Earn $1 Million And Pay No Tax :  A Small but Growing Club Of High-Income Filers Legally Avoids IRS's Grasp, Despite the AMT, The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111334797905605211,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

How not to beat the alternative minimum tax
Steven D. Shanklin of Austin earned $876,398 in 1998 and filed a tax return claiming he owed none of it to Uncle Sam, according to a federal indictment. The Cisco Systems Sales and Services Inc. employee made $770,504 in 1999 and $681,955 in 2000 and didn't file a federal tax return in either year, the indictment says. Shanklin, 48, wrote in a letter attached to his 1998 return that he knew of "no section of the Internal Revenue Code that . . . establishes an income tax 'liability,' " according to the indictment, handed up by a federal grand jury in Austin last week. Internal Revenue Service agents and federal prosecutors disagreed, and Shanklin now faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of three counts of tax evasion.
Steven Kratak, "IRS: Man refused to pay his taxes Austinite earned $2 million, said he owed zero, indictment says," North American Statesman, April 13, 2005 --- http://www.statesman.com/news/content/metro/stories/04/13tax.html


Decline in MBA applications to elite schools is partly blamed on accounting boom
It may never be this easy to get into a top MBA program, according to an article in the new issue of Business Week. An analysis prepared for the magazine found that applications to the top 30 business schools are off 30 percent since 1998, with some experiencing declines of 50 percent. According to the magazine, some business schools are quietly reducing the size of their entering classes as a result. . . . Fernandes said that demand is especially high right now for accountants, and that many accounting majors who would have applied to business school a few years back no longer feel the need to do so. He also said that the quality of top business schools remains high — they may be rejecting fewer students, he said, but those that they admit are as talented as ever.
Scott Jaschik, "Are B-Schools Up or Down?" Inside Higher Ed, April 13, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/04/13/mba


He just wanted to give his wife a little token of his love
Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg gave $2.2 billion of American International Group Inc. shares to his wife -- or more than 90% of his stake -- a few days before stepping down as chief executive of the company, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing yesterday.  After making the gift and exercising the stock options, Mr. Greenberg reported retaining 1.95 million AIG shares directly, a stake valued at slightly less than $104 million at yesterday's New York Stock Exchange closing price of $53.20. In AIG's 2004 proxy filing, Mr. Greenberg reported owning or controlling 45.3 million shares as of Jan. 31, 2004. In addition to the shares transferred to his wife last month, Mr. Greenberg reported indirect ownership of 23.7 million shares -- valued at $1.26 billion -- including shares held in trust for children and grandchildren.
Theo Francis, "Greenberg Gives Wife $2.2 Billion Of AIG Shares," The Wall street Journal, April 13, 2005, Page C5 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111336044535705552,00.html?mod=todays_us_money_and_investing

Afterwards he takes his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination "dozens of times" --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/13/business/13insure.html


This is a brave cop with a low life expectancy:  His may be the toughest job in the world
Since taking charge of the new Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ribadu has pursued oil mobsters, Internet fraudsters and corrupt politicians. The former street cop has 185 active fraud and corruption cases working their way through the courts, up from zero before the commission started its work two years ago. Working in the capital of Abuja from an office overlooking goats grazing in a vacant lot, the wiry 44-year-old has locked up 200 alleged smugglers and seized $700 million in property, including a collection of office buildings, from suspects in oil smuggling and other crimes. Royal Dutch/Shell Group, whose joint venture with the state petroleum company pumps about half of Nigeria's oil, says the amount of crude stolen from its network has fallen by almost half since early last year.
Chip Cummins, "A Nigerian Cop Cracks Down On a Vast Black Market in Oil," Mr. Ribadu Pursues Smugglers Of Up to $3 Billion a Year; A Drain on Investment," The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2005, Page A1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111334157041705046,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one
Jensen Comment:  Mr. Ribadu also hopes to stop Nigerian mail and eMail Internet fraud.  We wish him great success, but we aren't holding our breath.


Nanotubes in your future
At IBM, Infineon (IFX ), NEC (NIPNY ), and a clutch of startups, the leading candidate to replace silicon is the ethereal carbon nanotube. This tiny molecule -- 100,000 lined up side by side are about as thick as a human hair -- promises to make circuits faster, less power-hungry, and more densely packed than anything possible today. And they could vastly simplify the way chips are made. Even though such transistors are still in their infancy, says IBM's Avouris, "Carbon nanotubes can get around most of the problems that doom very small silicon devices." In the lab, he has backed this statement up. It took him four years to assemble his current, third-generation prototype of a carbon nanotube transistor, but in the end, the device can carry up to 1,000 times the current of the copper wires used in today's silicon chips, making it vastly more efficient.
Adam Aston, "The Coming Chip Revolution Facing the limits of silicon, scientists are turning to carbon nanotubes," Business Week, April 18, 2005 --- http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_16/b3929120_mz018.htm


Is there an Apple in your future?  There probably will be in mine.
Apple Computer said on Tuesday that it would begin selling the fifth version of its Macintosh OS X operating system later this month . . . The program, which is named Macintosh OS X 10.4 Tiger and will sell for $129, has a variety of new features and some new internal technologies, as well as improved compatibility with Microsoft's Windows.
John Markoff, "Apple to Start Selling New Macintosh Operating System," The New York Times, April 13, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/13/technology/13apple.html?


Where have all the great programmers gone?
American universities -- once the dominant force in the information technology world -- fell far down the ranks in a widely watched international computer programming contest held this week. The University of Illinois tied for 17th place in the world finals of the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest. That's the weakest result for the United States in the 29-year history of the competition.
Birgitta Forsberg, "American universities fall way behind in programming Weakest result for U.S. in 29-year history of international technology competition," SF Gate, April 9, 2005 ---
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/04/09/BUG9EC5LBI1.DTL


Is she really serious?  This shows how twisted some Germans reason
Germany's highest ranking female member of parliament has a new theory: the US government set the Catholic pedophilia scandal in motion because it wanted to weaken an already frail pope. That's also why it made Poland its chief partner in the Iraq war: to make the Vatican look bad . . . First, in Sept. 2002, then-Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin compared George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. Then came Andreas von Buelow, the former federal education and research minister whose 2003 conspiracy theory alleging the CIA and Israeli intelligence were responsible for the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington made for a best-selling book. Now Vollmer comes along, implying that the US government chose to draw attention to the Catholic pedophilia scandal not because of the crimes in and of themselves, but because Washington wanted to weaken the pope.
"Trans-Atlantic Conspiracy Theory Du Jour," Spiegel Online, April 11, 2005 --- http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,350763,00.html
Jensen Comment:  These are just a few of the clues why Germans cannot solve their enormous economic crisis.  Some are too busy promoting outrageous conspiracy theories on how we deliberately killed thousands of our own people on 9/11 and created phony scandals about pedophile priests.  One thing is certain.  There is nothing on earth that would convince that woman that the United States is not responsible for all evils of the world. 
Bob Jensen suggests otherwise at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/hypocrisyEvilEmpire.htm


Study Finds Shortcoming in New Law on Education
One of the more ominous findings, the researchers said, is that the achievement gap between white and nonwhite students could soon widen. Closing the gap is one of the driving principles of the law, and so far states say they have made strides toward shrinking it. But minority students with the same test scores as their white counterparts at the beginning of the school year ended up falling behind by the end of it, the study found. Both groups made academic progress, but the minority students did not make as much, it concluded, an outcome suggesting that the gaps in achievement will worsen.
Greg Winter, "Study Finds Shortcoming in New Law on Education," The New York Times, April 13, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/13/national/13child.html


Help prevent discrimination against Mulims
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights called on Tuesday for combating defamation of religions, especially Islam, and condemned discrimination against Muslims in the West's war on terrorism. The 53-member state forum adopted a resolution, presented by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), deploring the intensification of a "campaign of defamation" against Muslims following the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.

Stephanie Nebehay, "U.N. Calls for Combating 'Defamation' of Islam,"
Reuters, April 12, 2005 --- http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=8157194


Wanted: Outgoing women to work in Antarctica
The organization is looking for female electricians, plumbers, carpenters, steel erectors, chefs and boat handlers to work for 6-18 months at its five research stations on and around the Antarctic. "Where else can you work in an environment surrounded by penguins, seals and icebergs and climb down a crevasse during your lunch hour?" said Jill Thomson, head of building services at the BAS.
"Wanted: Outgoing women to work in Antarctica U.K. organization seeks females for remote posts," Reuters, April 12, 2005 --- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7476938
Jensen Comment:  When we were staying in a hotel in Christchurch, New Zealand we met some women who had been trying for weeks to get across to the Antarctic. The weather just would not break for their flight. They would not see their families (including kids) for two years. I think the title “outgoing” is funny since the weather is not conducive to getting out much.  The women we met had recently retired from the Navy and were attracted by high pay as well as adventure.


Should prisons allow inmates to marry each other?
The state Department of Correction has denied permission to two male inmates to marry at a state facility for sex offenders, according to a letter signed by the prison superintendent and obtained by the Globe yesterday.  
Essie Billingslea and Bruce Hatt, committed to the Massachusetts Treatment Center, requested permission to marry in early February. Superintendent Robert Murphy denied it because of "very serious security concerns," and yesterday, Governor Mitt Romney's chief spokesman said the governor agreed with the decision. "A wedding/marriage between you and resident Bruce Hatt would present a significant security risk to the Massachusetts Treatment Center and the Department of Correction," Murphy wrote in a March 23 letter to Billingslea. "A marriage between two residents . . . would have a direct impact on the orderly running of the facility."
Y
vonne Abraham and Janette Neuwahl, "Male Inmates' Bid To Marry Denied," Boston Globe, April 13, 2005 ---  http://www.lexisone.com/news/nlibrary/b041305h.html


Our Post-Bubble World
The real puzzle is why required real rates of return are unusually low in the U.S. and abroad (as confirmed, for example, by the inflation-indexed yield of 1.8% offered in the U.K. government bond market). The answer is that we are to some extent still in a post-bubble world, in which there is an excess of global saving compared with perceived profitable global investment opportunities. In the late '90s bubble, the opposite was the case and rapid (in retrospect unsustainable) world investment rates surged ahead of savings, pushing up real interest rates (TIPS yields were at 4% in March 2000 when the bubble peaked). Although no one can say for sure how long the present imbalance between saving and investment will persist, it seems clear that this global imbalance is at the heart of the "conundrum." As Robert Mundell has taught us, in a world of excess saving relative to investment, not only will real interest rates be driven down, but some country or group of countries must run current-account deficits to absorb the excess saving. Because of the role of the dollar in international finance and the success of U.S. monetary policy at producing low and stable inflation, the U.S. capital markets are absorbing a great deal of this excess global saving via the current-account deficit. Were this deficit to fall in half overnight, the world saving-investment imbalance would worsen, and larger current-account deficits would be shifted elsewhere and/or a contraction in global growth would result. Mr. Greenspan's conundrum and the current-account deficit are really two sides of the same coin.
Richard Clarida, "Our Post-Bubble World," The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2005, Page A22 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111318380010303154,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep


Leaders push in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants
A move is under way to offer undocumented immigrants in-state tuition rates at North Carolina's public universities and community colleges. A bill introduced today in the N.C. House would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at campuses if they have attended a North Carolina high school for at least four years and graduated. Bill sponsors estimate about 500 to 1,300 students could apply each year under the rules. Students would have to meet academic qualifications to enroll. The bill has bipartisan support, with 31 co-sponsors, and prominent business leaders, school superintendents and university faculty backing it. At a news conference this morning at the legislative building, two Democrats and two Republican House sponsors spoke in favor of the bill. So did former Gov. Jim Hunt, who said it may be the most important economic development legislation in the General Assembly this year. "This bill is to benefit longtime residents of North Carolina -- students who have attended our schools, who have done well, who have qualified to get into our universities and who we need to have go there," Hunt said. "It is morally right and it is economically necessary for our state."
Jane Stancill, "Leaders push in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants," The News & Observer, April 12, 2005 --- http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/2305159p-8684090c.html


Forwarded message from a friend

Bob,
 
I talk to my brother with Yahoo! Messenger through a feature called "Voice Chat."
I was surprised the first time we tried it.  He sounds as if he's in the room with me. 
I don't know how skype works, but Yahoo! Messenger is really simple--
you only need DSL, a microphone, and speakers.

 

If you don't have Yahoo! Messenger, click here to try it. It's FREE.
The only downside I have found with Yahoo! Messenger is that if you sign in and your status is "available" you will get spam from other Yahoo! users (I guess you could call them Yahoos!).  However, there are many choices for "status" including:  "invisible to everyone", "busy", "stepped out", "be right back", "not at my desk", and "one the phone". 

 

We usually e-mail first, before signing in to Yahoo! Messenger.
I find the other features of Yahoo!Messenger to be a waste of time--too gimmicky--cutesy--teeny-bopper stuff.  You can also place calls through the Call Center, which has a rate schedule...I've never used that, so can't comment on it.  I suppose there are some issues with Voice Chat--haven't investigated, but I would guess privacy would be the main one.  Right?

Bob Jensen's threads on telephones and security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#UnlistedPhoneNumbers




Ole and Sven went fishing one day in a rented boat and were catching fish like crazy.

Ole said, "We better mark this spot so we can come back and catch more fish."

Sven then proceeded to mark the bottom of the boat with a large 'X'. Ole asked him what he was doing, and Sven told him he was marking the spot so they could come back tomorrow to catch more fish.

Ole said, " Ya big dummy, how do ya know ve are going to get da same boat tomorrow?"




Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
For earlier editions of New Bookmark s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm 
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm

Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search Site.
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.

Bob Jensen's home page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/

 

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