Tidbits on May 25, 2005
Jensen at Trinity
Fraud Updates ---
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Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
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Security threats and hoaxes ---
Music for the Quiet of Summer: If
You Ever Leave Me ---
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
Update on Erika
Erika had her surgery on May 17 and remained in
the hospital until May 23. Now that the metal rack has been
removed from her spine, we are more optimistic about this surgery
outcome than ever before. She's still in considerable recovery
pain with a 20-inch incision, but the outlook is very good that she will
have greatly reduced permanent pain (if I can keep her from climbing
ladders and lifting heavy bags of dirt and fertilizer.) She's home
now and making great progress. Thank you for your prayers for her.
She will be able to travel with me to the American Accounting
Association annual meetings in San Francisco in early August. An
added incentive will be the chance to visit eight little grandchildren
nearby before the meetings begin.
Forwarded by Dick Haar
The next time you hear a politician casually use the word "billion,"
think about whether you want that politician spending your tax money.
A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising
agency did a good job of putting that figure into perspective in one of
A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion days ago no-one walked on two feet on earth.
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate
the government spends it.
"Avoid 'Pharming' Scams," The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2005; Page
An identify-theft technique called "pharming" is particularly hard to
With pharming, no matter what Web address you type in, scamsters are able to
redirect you to fraudulent Web pages where they then try to capture your
personal financial information. To protect yourself, if you're using sites
where you have to give over a credit-card number or other sensitive data,
make sure the sites are secure. One sign of security: the Web address begins
with "https:" not just "http:".
While other scams such as phishing and spyware are
still more prevalent, there is a danger that pharming will become
increasingly common, security experts say. That's because thieves alter
Internet routing information such that it appears as if you're still going
to the correct Web address. Another sign that you're on a secure site: A
small padlock icon will sometimes appear along the bottom edge of the screen
when you view a Web page.
Bob Jensen's threads on computer and network security are at
Paying for Health Care in the Emeritus Years
Fidelity Investments and Aetna announced a new program
Tuesday in which employees at a consortium of colleges will have the chance to
create special retirement accounts to pay for health care. The Emeriti Program
will be open to employees at the members of Emeriti Retirement Health Solutions,
a consortium of colleges that aims for more clout in negotiating with benefits
companies by combining the employees of their institutions. Most of the 29
members are private liberal arts colleges, although scores of other institutions
are considering joining, and membership will not be restricted to certain types
of colleges. Under the program, employers and employees could make voluntary
contributions to special accounts with the employer contributions not taxed. The
funds are then invested, and upon retirement, employees can select among several
insurance plans to supplement their Medicare coverage. Besides paying for the
supplemental coverage, the accounts can also be used to pay for some
out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by either Medicare or the additional
Scott Jaschik, "Paying for Health Care in the Emeritus Years," Inside Higher
Ed,May 25, 2005 ---
Getting Drunk = Getting Hurt, Study Finds
College students who get drunk regularly are likelier
than other students — even those who drink alcohol — to physically injure
themselves, or to be hurt by other drinkers, according to researchers at Wake
Forest University Baptist Medical Center. In a study presented Monday at the
annual meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, the researchers
found that students who acknowledged being drunk at least once a week were three
times likelier to be hurt or injured because of their own drinking than were
students who drink alcohol but do not get drunk weekly. Such students were also
twice as likely to fall and need medical care and 75 percent more likely to be
“sexually victimized.” (The question posed to the students defined getting drunk
as “being unsteady, dizzy, or sick to your stomach.") Students who said they got
drunk once a week were also more susceptible to being hurt by others — three
times more likely, for instance, to be in an “automobile accident caused by
someone else’s drinking,” and twice as likely “to be taken advantage of sexually
by someone who was drinking.” Mary Claire O’Brien, a physician and assistant
professor of emergency medicine and public health sciences at the Wake Forest
medical center, said in an interview Tuesday that the study’s goal was to try to
identify a single question that college medical centers and student health
officials could ask incoming patients to help identify potentially at-risk
Doug Lederman, "Getting Drunk = Getting Hurt, Study Finds," Inside Higher Ed,
May 25, 2005 ---
Cheaper Sex: Germany's discounted price cure for mental depression
Germans on the dole are being offered a 20 per cent discount at brothels.
People looking for the discount sex just need to show their unemployment benefit
card to qualify for the reductions. Brothel manager Silvia Rau who runs the
Villa Bijou bar in Dresden said that the previous average number of 150 guests
per week has sunk to 80 in recent months. She hopes that the new policy will
bring back the customers and also provide them with some comfort in "difficult
times". According to Rau, the initiative came from the prostitutes' union, who
proposed the discount measure as a way of helping the long-term jobless out of
"Unemployed offered brothel discount," Ananova, May 23, 2005 ---
Forget Your Troubles, Come On, Get Happy
Too Much Stress Affects Memory and Thinking Skills
Living under too much stress may harm your brain as
well as your body. Previous studies have already shown that stress hormones,
such as cortisol, can increase the risk of heart disease and other ailments,
stress hormones, such as cortisol, can increase the risk of heart disease and
other ailments, but a new study shows that stress hormones may also shrink the
brain. Researchers found that older adults with high levels of cortisol
performed poorly on memory tests and had a smaller hippocampus, the part of the
brain responsible for learning and memory.
Jennifer Warner, "Long-Term Stress May Shrink the Brain: Too Much Stress
Affects Memory and Thinking Skills, WebMd, May 20, 2005 ---
Class mobility in the U.S. remains frozen in place
The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times featured
stories over the last week about class and mobility in the United States.
Despite drawing on largely different research, the conclusions of both features
were the same. Overall class mobility has been coming to a screeching halt.
According the Journal, "... Americans are no more or less likely to rise above,
or fall below, their parents' economic class than they were 35 years ago." The
Times quotes similar data, while also pointing out that at the same time the gap
between rich and poor is increasing. From 1979 to 2001, after-tax income of the
top 1 percent of American households increased 139 percent, the middle fifth by
17 percent and poorest fifth by 9 percent. According to the research, whereas at
one time parents' economic status contributed by a factor of about 20 percent to
where a child wound up, today this is more in the range of 50 percent. In other
words, in today's America, the rewards for being born into the right
circumstances and the penalties for being born into the wrong circumstances are
becoming increasingly greater. Perhaps the operative question to ask is if
conventional American wisdom is wrong, and if a genuinely free, capitalist
society over time becomes increasingly less free and fair. Those born into the
right circumstances, whether those circumstances be the right parents or the
right genes, will evolve to the top and then the game is over.
Star Parker, "Pushing a formula for getting poor," WorldDailyNet, May 24,
"The College Dropout Boom," The New York Times, May 24, 2005 ---
Medicaid may go soft on sex offenders
New York's comptroller urged the nation's top health
official Sunday to ban high-risk sex offenders and convicted rapists from
receiving Viagra paid for by Medicaid. "Federal, state and local reimbursement
for the cost of erectile dysfunction drugs for sex offenders raises serious
policy considerations and has the potential to place the public at risk,"
Comptroller Alan Hevesi wrote Michael Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human
"Sex offenders get Viagra paid for by Medicaid," CNN, May 23, 2005 ---
Some news outlets "magnify every mistake the military makes in order to
hammer the Bush administration"
The bashing of Newsweek over its horribly handled item
on Koran desecration has mushroomed into a sweeping indictment of the media,
which some conservatives now accuse of deliberately slandering the military.
Newsweek "wanted the story to be true," says Rush Limbaugh, because the media
"have an adversarial relationship with America" and "end up siding with the bad
guys." Some news outlets "magnify every mistake the military makes in order to
hammer the Bush administration," says Bill O'Reilly. The Wall Street Journal
editorial page blames "a basic media mistrust of the military that goes back to
Vietnam." Columnist Jonah Goldberg decries "the media's unreflective willingness
to undermine the war on terror."
Howard Kurtz, "Media vs. the Military," The Washington Post,
May 23, 2005 ---
U.K. State schools 'failing brightest pupils'
The brightest children in the country are being let
down by (United Kingdom) state schools,
according to research conducted for a government advisory body. The study found
that children in the top 5% nationally for their academic ability do far better
in schools where they are grouped together. But in schools without many such
pupils, bright children score much lower in exams, according to the study for
the Specialist Schools Trust. Professor David Jesson, from York University,
tracked the progress of 28,000 children in England who received the highest
marks in national English and maths tests taken, aged 11, in 1999.
"State schools 'failing brightest pupils' ," The Guardian, May
23, 2005 ---
Duke University Ends iPod Learning Experiment
After an internal review, the university recently
decided to scale back its iPod program, giving the device to freshmen, juniors
and seniors enrolled in classes that incorporate it into their pedagogies.
Sophomores will use the iPods they received in the 2004-05 academic year.
Perhaps the most stinging criticism came from Duke’s independent student
newspaper, The Chronicle. An editorial Feb. 28 editorial titled “iPod Program
Did Not Deliver” proclaimed: “The much-hyped iPod program — for which the
University spent $500,000 on iPods for the entire freshman class — was far from
the overwhelming academic success the university hoped for, and the experiment
should not continue next year.” The editorial criticized “the product itself,”
noting that iPods are great portable digital music players that “do not seem to
translate well into academic use and benefit few students.” That was my initial
opinion, too, along with that of a former university president for whom I used
to work at Ohio University and a virtual reality guru with whom I work now at
Iowa State University of Science and Technology.
Michael Bugeja, "The Medium Is the Moral," Inside Higher Ed, May 20, 2005
Bob Jensen's threads on education technology is at
Academics declare war on scholarly journal publication fraud
Scholarly journals are finding their privileged
position as arbiters of academic excellence under attack. These days, research
is increasingly available on free university Web sites and through start-up
outfits . . . The 10-campus University of California system has emerged as a
hotbed of insurgency against this $5 billion global market. Faculty members are
competing against publishers with free or inexpensive journals of their own. Two
UC scientists organized a world-wide boycott against a unit of Reed Elsevier --
the Anglo-Dutch giant that publishes 1,800 periodicals -- protesting its fees.
The UC administration itself has jumped into the fray. It's urging scholars to
deposit working papers and monographs into a free database in addition to
submitting them for publication elsewhere. It has also battled with publishers,
including nonprofits, to lower prices. "We have to take back control from the
publishers," says Daniel Greenstein, associate vice provost for the UC system,
which spends $30 million a year on scholarly periodicals. The clash
between academics and publishers was exacerbated last year when the
taxpayer-funded National Institutes of Health proposed that articles resulting
from NIH grants be made available free online. That prompted protests from Reed
Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons Inc. and several nonprofit publishers such as the
American Diabetes Association, which argued such a move would hurt their
businesses. The NIH retreated and in February made the program voluntary. It now
asks authors to post on an NIH Web site any articles based on NIH grants within
12 months of publication.
Bernard Wysocki Jr., "Scholarly Journals' Premier Status Is Diluted by Web:
More Research Is Free Online Amid Spurt of Start-Ups; Publishers' Profits at
Risk A Revolt on UC's Campuses." The Wall Street Journal," May 23, 2005;
Page A1 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on scholarly journal publication fraud are
I wonder if Donald has a module on how to get a casino out of
Once you’ve done real estate, casinos, an airline,
and reality television, what’s left? For Donald Trump, there’s always higher
education. On Monday Trump unveiled his own “university,” which will sell
CD-ROMs and offer online courses in real estate and business. No credit or
degrees will be offered, although baseball caps and shirts with the university
logo may be purchased ($21.95 for a cap, $39.95 for a golf shirt). The courses?
“The Wealth Builder’s Blueprint” ($396) is the kickoff home study program,
featuring CDs on such topics as “how to master the mysteries of money” and “how
to soar to the top of your career.” Online courses ($300) are being offered on
entrepreneurship, marketing and real estate.
Scott Jaschik, "Donald Trump Founds ‘University’," Inside Higher Ed, May
24, 2005 ---
There is no charge for donating organs
If the hospital billed your friend for any costs
associated with donating organs, then they made a mistake. The family of the
organ donor should never incur any expense associated with organ donation. The
family is only billed for costs associated with end-of-life care up to the point
that the patient is declared brain dead. After that, all costs related to
maintaining the viability of the organs, procurement of organs or the subsequent
transplant are paid for by the transplant center, which then bills the
recipient's insurance company. A family that is billed for costs related to
organ donation should contact their regional Organ Procurement Organization, a
nonprofit group that will help them resolve this or any other issue related to
organ donation. A list of OPOs by state can be found at the Web site for the
Association of Organ Procurement Organizations at
"Health Mailbox," The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2005, Page D4 ---
The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 1958
Congress handed the Administration its long-sought
postal rate increase, including the first boost for regular, first class stamps
in 25 years. First class stamps would cost 4 cents; airmail stamps, 7 cents;
post cards, 3 cents; and air post cards, 5 cents.
Debbie added the following Tidbits
How to Succeed in Business, Without Really Succeeding
"How to Succeed in Business,
Without Really Succeeding,"
by Micheline Maynard, The New York Times, Published: May 15, 2005
HERE'S a pop quiz for
you frequent fliers (and disgruntled investors and union members): Who was
the highest-paid executive at a major domestic airline last year, taking
home $1.1 million in salary and bonus? Not Gary C. Kelly at Southwest: His
reward for running the industry's most profitable company was just $542,000.
Nor was it Bruce Lakefield at US Airways, who got $425,000 as his company
struggled to avoid liquidation. And forget about Gerald Grinstein at Delta,
who earned a mere $250,000 as his airline battled to stay out of bankruptcy
protection. The big payday went to Glenn F. Tilton, the chief executive of
United Airlines, which has been operating in bankruptcy since December 2002.
Since its filing, it has lost billions, forced its workers to take deep cuts
in pay and benefits, and dumped billions of dollars of unfunded pension
obligations on the federal government. And he is still not sure when United
will get out of bankruptcy.
Mr. Tilton's compensation has outraged some of his
workers, who want him to return his $366,000 bonus. (He did take a pay cut
last year, and is taking another this year.) But one could argue that Mr.
Tilton is worth every penny of his pay - even if his strategy has not been
out of a business school textbook.
In his time at United, which began shortly before
the airline filed for Chapter 11 protection, Mr. Tilton has - wittingly or
not - used bankruptcy protection as a competitive tool. And he has gained
respect in the industry, however grudgingly, for doing so.
Continued in article
What to Like About Base Closings.
What to Like About Base Closings...EDITORIAL, "The New York Times,
Published: May 15, 2005
We have yet to meet the senator or representative
who liked the closing of a local military base. But lawmakers who care about
getting the most out of America's half-trillion-dollar defense budget ought
to be lining up behind the Pentagon's recommendation on Friday to close more
than 30 major domestic bases and scores of smaller installations.
By closing and consolidating facilities it no
longer requires, the Pentagon would free about $5 billion a year for the
additional personnel and equipment it needs very badly. Frankly, we wish the
list of closed facilities had been even longer, as Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld had once indicated it would be.
The Pentagon avoided the political pain of closing
even more domestic bases by choosing to cut back too drastically on its
bases overseas, particularly in Europe. Many of those foreign bases benefit
from host nation subsidies, so shifting those troops home will mean less
potential savings. It also undermines military efficiency, since bases in
places like Germany are closer to likely combat zones than those in Oklahoma
Still, the Pentagon deserves credit anytime it
musters the courage to redirect money from areas that are politically
popular but militarily redundant. We say that, recognizing that the proposed
cuts would cost thousands of local jobs in upstate New York, at Fort
Monmouth in New Jersey and at the Navy's submarine base in Groton, Conn.
Other regions have also been asked to bear their share of the pain,
including such solidly Republican states as Mississippi, where the
Pascagoula Naval Station, protected for many years by Trent Lott, now faces
Several further steps are needed to make these cuts
a reality, including review by an independent commission, followed by a
Congressional up-or-down vote on the final list later this year. And seeing
through these base closures is only the first part of the challenge. The
economic pain and job losses will be in vain unless the Pentagon puts the
money saved to good use. ... The war against military pork must be fought on
Continued in editorial
At Career Education, A Big Shareholder
Wages a Proxy Fight
A major shareholder of
Career Education Corp.,
one of the nation's biggest operators of for-profit colleges, says he thinks its
management deserves to be expelled. Steve Bostic, who owns 1.1 million Career
Education shares, is waging a proxy battle to remove top executives and recoup
the $60 million he figures he has lost over the past year. He says the company
has pushed too hard to enroll students, damaging the colleges' quality and
leading to government investigations and lawsuits that have slashed the
company's share price by more than half over the past year. The 61-year-old
retired entrepreneur amassed his Career Education stake, currently about 1%,
when he sold his own chain of schools to the company in 2001. Career Education,
based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., runs 81 colleges, universities and trade schools
in the U.S. and abroad, including Katharine Gibbs Schools. ... Last week, Career
Education said a special board committee, which had hired an outside law firm
and accounting firm, found no support for the class-action suit's allegations of
securities fraud, but did show "wrongful conduct by individual employees of the
company," while adding that it "was not directed or orchestrated by the
company's senior management." On Wall Street, the company, as well as other
for-profit education chains, has been one of the favorite targets of
short-sellers, investors who bet that shares will fall. But the company's rapid
growth also has attracted money from some of the nation's biggest and most
respected money managers, including Fidelity Investments and Bill Miller,
Legg Mason Value Trust,
according to year-end securities filings. Through a spokesman, Mr. Miller
declined to comment, as did Fidelity.
JOHN HECHINGER, "At
Career Education, A Big Shareholder Wages a Proxy Fight," The Wall
May 17, 2005; Page C1
Thief at Christian store troubled by conscience
at Christian store troubled by conscience," by Dave Newbart, Free
Republic, Posted on 05/17/2005 ---
In his 24 years running a Christian bookstore in Oak
Park, Bob Walsh chalked up thousands of dollars in losses to shoplifters.
The thieves even went as far as taking cases of leather-bound Bibles.
That's why Walsh was stunned last week when a
padded envelope arrived in the mail. Inside was $2,000 -- 20 $100 bills, to
be exact -- and an apology.
"This is money for the items I stole from your
store many years ago," the note read. "I'm very sorry."
Walsh, who with his wife, Marietta, owned Logos
Bookstore from 1977 until 2001, said he was taken aback.
"Whoever heard of paying back for something that
you stole?" he said. "Maybe someone who stole one of those Bibles actually
Target of professional ring?
Walsh said he has no idea who sent the letter.
Although it contained a Chicago postmark, it was unsigned. The thief spelled
Walsh's last name wrong, but knew enough to send it to Walsh's home address
as opposed to the store, which he no longer owns. Now retired, Walsh, 76,
lives in Oak Park with Marietta, 73.
He does not suspect any of the 100 workers he
employed over the years, although he said he knows of at least three who
ripped off the store. One employee even returned a box of items swiped while
on the job.
Theft from the store was particularly bad a decade
ago, when Walsh suspects the store was the target of a professional ring.
The store finally installed a detection system, which cut down on the
problem. But with typically only a few workers in the store at any one time,
thieves sometimes got away with entire shelves of merchandise.
Wife wants to give it to charity
Still, the business was profitable, and at one time
it was the busiest of 60 Logos stores nationwide. The losses were just
something written off the bottom line.
Walsh said his wife plans to do something
charitable with her $1,000 cut.
"She's says it's found money and we should give it
away," he said.
Walsh found a more practical use: On the same day
the money arrived, he received a hefty bill for a new heating and cooling
Continued in article
Turnaround for Women at Harvard
"Turnaround for Women at
Harvard," by Scott Jaschik,
Inside Higher Ed, May 17,
Four months after
Lawrence H. Summers infuriated women with his comments on female scientists,
he pledged at least $50 million to support the kinds of programs that he
once suggested would have little impact.
Harvard University on Monday
released the reports
of two committees created in the wake of the Summers
talk in January,
which questioned whether women face discrimination in the sciences and
suggested that women may be less talent than men in the field. The reports,
praised, outlined a
series of failings at Harvard that hold back female faculty members,
especially in the sciences.
The recommendations in the reports are similar to
the kinds of programs already in place at many other universities and that
experts say are needed to encourage female scientists. The reports call for
new mentoring programs, efforts to identify and encourage undergraduates in
the sciences, more flexibility about the tenure clock and better balance of
work and family life.
Summers did not endorse every element of the plans,
saying that they needed study and input from many at the university. But he
said that this study should be speedy and that he was willing to find funds
on top of the $50 million as needed to support the efforts. He also said he
would start a search now to fill a new position that was recommended by one
of the committees: senior vice provost for diversity and faculty
development. This new position will be part of Harvard’s central
administration and will work with the president and provost to oversee
faculty appointments throughout Harvard and to find ways to promote gender,
racial and ethnic equity on the faculty.
The new position was recommended by the task force
charged with looking at conditions for women on Harvard’s faculty. The other
task force focused on women in science and engineering. The latter panel
specifically rejected the idea from the January Summers talk that women in
science no longer face discrimination.
“Unfortunately, in some departments, women graduate
students and postdoctoral fellows report hearing disrespectful criticisms of
their abilities from male colleagues and a lack of a supportive
environment,” the report said. “Although some female students and
postdoctoral fellows of all disciplines face these problems, the problem is
especially acute in certain departments, where women are rare, isolated, and
sometimes poorly supported.”
The following are some of the recommendations of
the panel on women on the faculty:
- Creating a fund to support the hiring of
faculty members who would add to the diversity of the faculty.
- Improving university-wide data collection on
faculty demographics and the use of surveys to measure attitudes of
members of certain groups about how they are treated by the university.
- Starting new “dual career” programs to help
find professional opportunities for the partners of faculty members.
- Changing policies to promote a healthy work
and family balance. Specifically, the committee urged Harvard to look at
policies related to the “tenure clock” and support for family leaves.
The following are some of the recommendations of
the panel on women and science:
- Creating summer research programs and study
centers to encourage undergraduate women in the sciences.
- Adding formal mentoring roles for senior
faculty to help develop new scientific talent — from the undergraduate
to junior faculty levels.
- Providing special research support to
scientists who have added responsibilities of child care.
- Creating programs on diversity for department
ISSUE IN DEPTH:
CLASS MATTERS WORD OF THE DAY
temperamentally disinclined to talk : silent
The word taciturn has
appeared in 53 Times articles over the past year.
Definitions provided by: Merriam-Webster, The New York Times, May
Ever want to send an anonymous comment without your
e-mail address giving you away? Here's a site that does just that--plus new ways
to protect your privacy, whether you're surfing the Web or talking on the phone.
You can use this $20-per-year service to send
e-mails that no one can trace back to you. The recipients can reply and even
block you, but they can't see who you are. Of course, one person's secret
admirer could be another person's stalker. Although the service doesn't monitor
messages, it will disclose your identity if a court asks for it or to "protect
any persons ... from imminent harm."
WILSON ROTHMAN "E-Mailers Anonymous," Time Magazine,
Posted Monday, May. 23, 2005
Tax Season Boosts Intuit's Income
said fiscal third-quarter net income rose 14%, thanks to strong consumer demand
during the tax season and a 20% jump in revenue, driven in part by sales of its
QuickBooks accounting software. For the quarter ended April 30, the Mountain
View, Calif., maker of Turbo-Tax and other personal-finance software posted net
income of $300.5 million, or $1.61 a share, compared with $264 million, or $1.33
a share, a year earlier. Revenue climbed to $849.5 million from $709.8 million.
Intuit said it has decided to sell its information technology solutions
business, saying it has identified "better investment opportunities" in its core
business. That business contributed $42.3 million in revenue for the first three
fiscal quarters. Intuit said its board authorized a three-year $500 million
Dow Jones Newswires, "Tax
Season Boosts Intuit's Income," The Wall Street Journal Online,
May 19, 2005; Page A11---
Summer Concerts Try New Tactics to
After a Dismal Last Season,
Industry Lowers Some Prices Seeing the Eagles
"Summer Concerts Try New Tactics to Fill Seats, by
Ethan Smith, "The Wall Street Journal,
May 19, 2005; Page D1
Many in the
music business called 2004 the worst summer concert season in memory: fans
were stuck with high prices and promoters lost money and canceled shows.
With this year's season about to kick
off, event promoters and artist representatives have vowed to turn things
around. So, they are offering a variety of inducements, including lower
prices and offering more bands for the money by packaging big acts together
at one show. Promoters are also blitzing fans with emails and text messages
to try and generate interest in coming shows.
While prices for the best seats
continue to be sky high, a big priority this year is making sure that the
cheap seats are actually cheap. Last year, the inability to put fans in
those back-of-the-house seats contributed mightily to a string of
underperforming tours and concert cancellations. So this year, for example,
the Eagles have aggressively promoted $25 seats at some stops on their
coming tour; top-priced tickets are selling for $175.
Younger acts have made a point of
keeping prices low across the board. Punk-pop trio Green Day -- one of the
few young bands that can fill a stadium -- are seeing strong sales with
ticket prices mostly held to less than $50. The Dave Matthews Band is
charging less than $60 at most shows on its summer trek. Among the other big
acts on the road this summer: Coldplay, Avril Lavigne, Nine Inch Nails and
The emphasis on affordable tickets is
a big change from last season. Last year, according to Pollstar, a trade
magazine that follows the concert business, the average ticket price for the
100 top-grossing tours hit a record high of $52.39, more than double the
average seat in 1996. Even mediocre seats for acts like Van Halen and Cher
were on sale for up to $80 a ticket. Unfortunately for the industry, the
fans balked at the spiralling prices. Weak sales forced the cancellation of
show by artists including Christina Aguilera and Marc Anthony.
High-priced tickets certainly haven't
vanished. The Rolling Stones' coming tour of stadiums, arenas, and theaters,
which kicks off Aug. 21 in Boston, will see top-end seats going for more
than $450. (The average ticket price at the stadium shows is $90.) Michael
Cohl, the band's tour director, says the high-priced seats subsidize the
others. "This is a way of making it work for everybody," says Mr. Cohl. "The
group and the wealthy people who can afford the $400 seats and everybody
else." As eye-popping as these tickets are, selling them has never been much
of a problem for big-name acts: The first seven Rolling Stones shows put on
sale, including Boston, Washington, D.C., and Miami, are already sold out.
Promoters are also making more of an
effort to woo fans. IAC/InterActiveCorp's Ticketmaster, which sells the bulk
of seats for major tours, has launched a blizzard of email messages, much of
it aimed at known fans of a particular act. David Goldberg, Ticketmaster's
executive vice president of strategy and business development, says: "This
year we will probably send out over a billion targeted email alerts." Some
of the messages, such as an email promoting Neil Diamond's tour this summer,
are very sophisticated, including a music player that lets recipients listen
to a handful of songs on their computer. ...
Continued in article
Will Graduation Dream Come True? (School won't
let Marine graduate in uniform)
Tony Perry, "Will
Graduation Dream Come True? (School won't let Marine graduate in uniform),"
Free Republic, Posted on
05/19/2005 7:52:10 AM PDT by
SAN DIEGO — Steven Kiernan, 17, has two dreams: One is
to become a Marine, and the other is to wear his Marine dress-blue uniform
to his high school graduation.
Kiernan is close to achieving the first. He has
finished all but the final days of the grueling 12-week boot camp in San
But his goal of wearing his uniform to Petaluma
High School's graduation on June 11 appears thwarted.
The principal of the Northern California school
notified Kiernan's parents that school rules require that all graduates wear
the traditional cap and gown.
Jim Kiernan, Steven's father, plans to appeal the
decision to the Petaluma school board at its meeting Tuesday.
"The Marine Corps has traditions, but I guess the
school district has traditions too, and the different traditions have
collided," he said in a telephone interview.
Jim Kiernan, who works for a vineyard management
company, said he was not so much angered by the decision as he was puzzled.
Other graduates, he said, will be honored for their achievements, by wearing
adornments on their caps or having their names read aloud.
"Finishing boot camp is my son's achievement, and I
think he deserves to be honored too," Jim Kiernan said. He's a member of
another school board in Sonoma County and says he knows that school boards
can overrule principals.
In similar cases this spring involving young
Marines returning to their high school graduations in Illinois and
Wisconsin, school officials lifted the no-uniforms rule.
Steven finished his course work early at Petaluma
High so he could start boot camp. His parents, somewhat reluctantly, signed
his enlistment papers.
Principal Mike Simpson said he sympathized with
Steven and respects his decision to enlist. Simpson's father was a Marine
who saw combat in World War II. ...
Read more at
Give Your DVD Player the Finger
Your DVD Player the Finger," by Katie Dean, Wired News, May. 19, 2005 ---
Researchers in Los Angeles are developing a
new form of piracy protection for DVDs that could make common practices like
loaning a movie to a friend impossible.
University of California at Los Angeles engineering
Rajit Gadh is leading
research to turn
radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags into an extremely restrictive
form of digital rights management to protect DVD movies.
RFID tags have been called "wireless bar codes" --
though they hold more data -- and are commonly used for things like ID
badges or keeping track of inventory in a retail store or hospital.
RFID tags are usually read by a wireless data
reader, the proposed DVD-protection scheme would make no use of RFID's
Rather, the researchers are interested in the
ability to write data to the tags, which can't be done on a DVD once it's
Here's how the system might work:
At the store, someone buying a new DVD would have
to provide a password or some kind of biometric data, like a fingerprint or
iris scan, which would be added to the DVD's RFID tag.
Then, when the DVD was popped into a specially
equipped DVD player, the viewer would be required to re-enter his or her
password or fingerprint. The system would require consumers to buy new DVD
players with RFID readers.
Gadh said his research group is trying to address
the problem of piracy for the movie industry.
"Content owners would like to have extremely tight
control on the content so they can maximize revenue," Gadh said. "Users want
to move stuff around."
Gadh said the proposed system is "absolutely" more
restrictive to users than anti-copying methods already used to protect DVDs.
"By definition this is a restrictive form (of
digital rights management)," Gadh said.
Most DVDs are already encrypted with an
anti-copying mechanism called
The encryption has been broken, however, and programs to descramble DVDs can
be found all over the internet.
DVDs are also "region coded" so that discs sold in
the United States, for instance, cannot be played in the United Kingdom. The
region coding gives the movie studios control over where and when films are
released on DVD.
Felten, a computer science professor at
Princeton University, called the proposal the "limit of restrictiveness."
"I think people would find it creepy to give their
fingerprint every time they wanted to play a DVD," Felten said. "It's hard
to think that would be acceptable to customers."
He said it seems unlikely that people would buy new
DVD players with RFID readers in order to purchase DVDs that are less
Privacy advocates have expressed concern about RFID
technology because the tags can tie products to individuals, potentially
without their knowledge.
Seth Schoen, staff technologist at the
Foundation, said it's unlikely this DRM
plan will be any more effective than others preceding it.
"It only requires one person to break it," Schoen
Schoen said this is the "smart cow problem": Once
one of the cows opens the gate, the others will follow.
The Shrinking Tenure Track
"The Shrinking Tenure Track," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, May
Between 2001 and 2003, higher education saw
healthy increases in the number of faculty jobs, which grew to 1,173,556
But if you’re wondering why those 60,000 new jobs
didn’t ease your job search, it may be because the growth was greatest for
part-time positions. And by sector, the largest growth was in for-profit
These results are from an annual federal report on
staffing at colleges and universities. The
Wednesday, covers the fall of 2003, the most recent year for which data are
available. Comparisons to prior years’ reports offer some sense of the
movement of academic positions.
Between 2001 and 2003, the number of full-time
faculty jobs at degree-granting institutions rose to 630,419, from 617,868 —
a gain of 12,551 jobs. But the number of part-time jobs rose to 543,137, up
from 495,315 — a gain of 47,822 jobs. And as a percentage of faculty jobs at
degree granting institutions, part-time positions increased to 46 percent,
from 44 percent, over those two years. Anecdotal reports suggest that the
increase has continued since then.
The growth in jobs was also uneven among sectors.
||Faculty Jobs, 2003
||Faculty Jobs, 2001
Another way to examine academic workplace trends is
to look at the new full-time hires at degree-granting institutions, as the
report did for the fall of 2003. Those data show that there were more
secretarial and clerical jobs filled that year than there were tenure-track
faculty positions. The following is the breakdown for the 126,521 new
New Full-Time Hires at Degree Granting
Institutions, Fall 2003
||Number of Hires
| With tenure
| On tenure track
| Not on tenure track
|Other professional (support services)
|Technical and paraprofessional
|Clerical and secretarial
|Service and maintenance
The report contains pages of data about employees
of colleges and universities. Some of the data, such as that on salaries, is
already dated compared to that released by other studies. But on many
issues, the report provides a snapshot of the professoriate, even if it is
two years out of date. Among the findings for fall 2003:
- Men held 61 percent of full-time faculty
- Three states — California, New York and Texas
— have more than 40,000 full-time faculty members, while full-time
faculty jobs fall below 2,000 in three states: Alaska, Delaware and
- Of full-time faculty members, about 45 percent
are tenured and another 20 percent are on the tenure track.
- Full-time faculty members are most likely to
be tenured at public institutions (48 percent), followed by private
nonprofit institutions (40 percent) and for-profit colleges (3 percent).
- Within public higher education, full-time
faculty members are more likely to be tenured at four-year institutions
(50 percent) than at two-year institutions (43 percent).
- A greater proportion of male full-time faculty
members (50 percent) than women (36 percent) is tenured.
- A greater proportion of white full-time
faculty members (47 percent) is tenured than are members of other ethnic
groups: Asian (42 percent), Hispanic (41 percent), black (38 percent).
KAREN MATTHEWS, "Trump Unveils Launch of Trump University,"
ABC News Business, May 23, 2005,
Rocker Jeff Baxter Moves and Shakes In
Jeff Baxter Moves and Shakes In National Security, by Yochi J. Dreazen," The
Wall Street Journal,
May 24, 2005; Page A1,
Doobie Brothers, Now in Counterterrorism, He Has Ear of Pentagon
guitarist-turned-defense-consultant does regular work for the Department of
Defense and the nation's intelligence community, chairs a congressional
advisory board on missile defense, and has lucrative consulting contracts
with companies like Science Applications International Corp., Northrop
Grumman Corp. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. He says he is in
increasing demand for his unconventional views of counterterrorism.
"We thought turntables were for
playing records until rappers began to use them as instruments, and we
thought airplanes were for carrying passengers until terrorists realized
they could be used as missiles," says Mr. Baxter, who sports a ponytail and
handlebar mustache. "My big thing is to look at existing technologies and
try to see other ways they can be used, which happens in music all the time
and happens to be what terrorists are incredibly good at."
One of Mr. Baxter's clients --
General Atomics' vice president Mike Campbell -- likens him to a "gluon," a
term drawn from quantum physics that refers to the particles binding
together the basic building blocks of all matter. Contractors and
policymakers say Mr. Baxter can see past bureaucratic boundaries and
integrate information drawn from a variety of sources, though some who have
worked with him say he can also be a self-promoter.
Mr. Baxter can speak the
acronym-heavy vernacular of the professional defense consultant, but he
would never be mistaken for one of the hardened ex-military men who fill the
ranks of the industry. He rarely wears ties, is fond of self-deprecating
jokes, makes frequent popular-culture references, and peppers his speech
with casual profanity. He also often appears on VH1 music retrospectives.
Still, he's careful not to discuss
current or past projects that might be classified and keeps to a punishing
schedule. One morning recently, a black government-issued sport-utility
vehicle picked him up outside a Washington café as soon as he had finished
breakfast and whisked him to a Pentagon agency for nearly 12 hours of
meetings. That evening, he traveled to Ohio's Wright-Patterson Air Force
Base for several days of briefings and meetings. He flew 230,000 miles last
year, and makes a point of dissolving brightly colored packets of vitamin
supplements into his drinks to stave off illness.
Mr. Baxter, who joined his first band
when he was 11, began studying journalism at Boston University, but dropped
out after a year in 1969 to begin working with Ultimate Spinach, a
short-lived Boston psychedelic rock band. He moved to California a short
time later and became one of the six original members of the avant-garde
rock group Steely Dan. He quit the band in 1974 and joined the Doobie
Brothers, helping to remake its sound into a commercially appealing mix of
funk and jazzy pop. Mr. Baxter left the group in 1979 after a long tour in
support of its most popular album, "Minute by Minute."
His defense work began in the 1980s,
when it occurred to him that much of the hardware and software being
developed for military use, like data-compression algorithms and
large-capacity storage devices, could also be used for recording music. Mr.
Baxter's next-door neighbor, a retired engineer who worked on the Pentagon's
Sidewinder missile program, bought him a subscription to an aviation
magazine, and he was soon reading a range of military-related publications.
Mr. Baxter began wondering whether
existing military systems could be adapted to meet future threats they
weren't designed to address, a heretical concept for most defense thinkers.
In his spare time, he wrote a five-page paper on a primitive Tandy computer
that proposed converting the military's Aegis program, a ship-based
antiplane system, into a rudimentary missile-defense system.
On a whim, he gave the paper to a
friend from California, Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. To Mr. Baxter's
surprise, the congressman took it seriously, and the idea proved to be
prescient: Aegis missile-defense systems have done well in tests, and the
Navy says it will equip at least one ship with the antimissile system by the
end of the year.
"Skunk really blew my mind with that
report," Mr. Rohrabacher says. "He was talking over my head half the time,
and the fact that he was a rock star who had basically learned it all on his
own was mind-boggling."
Mr. Rohrabacher passed the report to
another influential Republican lawmaker, Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Weldon says he immediately realized that Mr. Baxter could be a useful
public advocate for missile defense because his rock-star pedigree would
attract attention to the issue.
"Most of Hollywood is from the
liberal, 'let's hug the tree and be warm and fuzzy and sing Kumbaya,' bent,"
Mr. Weldon says. "You put Jeff Baxter up against them, and he cleans their
clocks because he actually knows the facts and details." He has appeared in
public debates and given numerous press and TV interviews on CNN and Fox
News advocating missile defense. He also served as a national spokesman for
Americans for Missile Defense, a coalition of conservative organizations
devoted to the issue.
Mr. Baxter, backed by several
lawmakers, got a series of classified security clearances. During one
background interview, Mr. Baxter says, he was asked whether he could be
bribed with money or drugs. He recalls telling the investigators not to
worry because he had already "been there, done that, and given away the
T-shirt" during his rock career.
His old friend Mr. Weldon chaired the
House Military Research and Development Subcommittee, and in 1995 nominated
Mr. Baxter to chair the Civilian Advisory Board for Ballistic Missile
Defense, a congressional panel.
The missile-defense post led to
consulting contracts with the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency and National
Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon also began regularly asking Mr.
Baxter to lead enemy forces in war games, where he quickly earned a
reputation for using creative, terrorist-style tactics. "I'm told I make a
very good bad guy," he says.
Pentagon officials say they
appreciate Mr. Baxter's creativity. "He's imparted some new ways of thinking
about the ballistic-missile threat and the technology that might be
necessary to defeat it," says MDA spokesman Rick Lehner. "It's been a good
interchange of information."
In the late 1990s, Mr. Baxter led a
fictional future alliance of Iran and Iraq that was trying to drive the U.S.
Navy from the key oil-shipping routes through the Persian Gulf. Facing a
massive military imbalance, Mr. Baxter had covert operatives introduce
oil-eating bacteria into the Saudi Arabian oil supply that rendered its
petroleum shipments worthless. The Navy was forced to pull out after
oil-dependent American allies threatened to pull their financial assets out
of the U.S.
These days, Mr. Baxter finds himself
with a growing pile of job offers from Pentagon officials and defense
contractors hoping he can help them anticipate terrorist tactics and
Mr. Baxter is working on a solo album
and continues to do lucrative studio work, most recently on tribute albums
to Pink Floyd and Aerosmith, but he spends more and more time doing defense
work. He says he earns a "good, comfortable, six-figure income," and in 2004
made more money from defense consulting than from music.
Mr. Baxter's friends in Congress and
the Pentagon say they take him seriously as a defense thinker but concede
that his celebrity past carries its own advantages. During a trip to Manila
with Mr. Baxter in 1998, Mr. Rohrabacher was having a hard time winning
permission to fly over a number of contested islands until he brought Mr.
Baxter to a meeting with the then-Philippine president, Joseph Estrada. Mr.
Estrada immediately put one of his government's few C-130 transport planes
at the two men's disposal. "He's apparently just a huge Doobie Brothers
fan," Mr. Rohrabacher says.
played psychedelic music with Ultimate Spinach, jazz-rock with Steely Dan
and funky pop with the Doobie Brothers. But in the last few years he has
made an even bigger transition: Mr. Baxter, who goes by the nickname
"Skunk," has become one of the national-security world's well-known
A wiry man who wears a beret to many
of his meetings, Mr. Baxter, who is now 56 years old, has gone from a rock
career that brought him eight platinum records to a spot in the small
constellation of consultants paid to help both policy makers and defense
contractors better understand the way terrorists think and plan attacks.
Continued in article
Japanese Banks Rebound From Crisis
Banks Rebound From Crisis," by Martin
Fackler, The Wall Street Journal,
May 24, 2005; Page A6,
TOKYO -- Most
of Japan's big banks are expected to show rebounding profits and steep drops
in bad loans when they announce annual earnings this week -- the most
convincing evidence yet that the financial crisis that hobbled the world's
second-largest economy for more than a decade may finally be over.
In a sign of brightening prospects
for the industry, Mizuho Financial Group Inc., said yesterday that net
profit for the fiscal year ended March 31 jumped 54% to 627.38 billion yen
($5.8 billion) from 406.98 billion yen a year earlier. Mizuho Financial said
bad loans fell to 2.12% of all lending by the bank, less than half the level
of a year earlier. Some of the bad loans date back to the banking crisis's
origins in the early 1990s, when real-estate and stock-price bubbles
Mizuho was the first large Japanese
lender to announce earnings, and analysts expect most of Japan's six other
big banking groups to show similar declines in bad loans and gains in
profit. All big banks are expected to meet a government-imposed target of
cutting nonperforming loans in half from levels of two years ago.
Japanese banks, the analysts say, now
must turn attention to a new challenge: finding more-profitable sources of
revenue than their traditional low-margin corporate lending. Banks are
already making the first small steps in this direction, offering consumer
loans that carry high interest rates and selling mutual funds and insurance
products to their depositors, which generates fat fees.
The results now being reported mark
"the end of the financial crisis," says Brett Hemsley, a Tokyo-based banking
analyst for credit-rating service Fitch Ratings. "Banks have to turn the
next page and look at how to grow."
That is a big turnaround for an
industry that just a few years ago appeared on the brink of collapse as
banks took huge losses to write off tens of billions of dollars in soured
loans. The banking system's near paralysis choked the flow of funds to
businesses, helping keep Japan's economy in a long, deep funk.
Japan's most convincing recovery
since its slump began in the early 1990s is helping banks back onto their
feet, analysts say. One new sign of recovery: The Japan Real Estate
Institute, an industry think tank, released a survey yesterday showing
average land prices in Tokyo rose 1.2% in the year ended March 31 -- the
first gain in 14 years. This is good news for banks because many loans had
land as collateral, which no longer covered the value of the original loan
after land prices plunged.
Banks are also succeeding in finally
whittling bad debt down to manageable levels, which leads to higher profits
as banks spend less to write off failed loans. Some analysts predict that
when the seven big banks announce results, their combined amount of soured
debt will total about eight trillion yen, or about $74 billion, one-third of
what it was three years ago.
Mr. Hemsley at Fitch and other
analysts expect the combined annual net profit at the seven banks to total
about 500 billion yen. That would be the highest sum in five years and would
mark the first time combined results at big banks climbed into the black
since the year that ended in March 2001.
Only two large lenders, Sumitomo
Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and UFJ Holdings Inc., are expected to post
losses to write off failed debt. Both were seen as laggards in dealing with
bad loans, and have come under pressure from regulators to catch up with the
rest of the industry, analysts say.
The other big banks -- Resona
Holdings Inc., Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc., Sumitomo Trust &
Banking Co. and Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. -- are all expected to report
profits, the analysts say.
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out, Start the Computer Revolution
ROGER LOWENSTEIN, "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out, Start the Computer
Revolution," The New York Times,
LET'S get this straight: Jerry Garcia invented the
Internet while he was tripping on acid. No, actually, it was Ken Kesey,
who thought computers were the next thing after drugs - which, according
to John Markoff, they really were.
"What the Dormouse Said: How the 60's
Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry" (Viking, 287
pages) is Mr. Markoff's hymn to the 1960's, and to the social idealists
and, well, acid freaks who wanted to use computers to promote an agenda
of sharing, openness and personal growth.
His brief is that the longhairs liberated
I.B.M. and the
military industrial complex and profoundly shaped the technology that is
ubiquitous today. Formerly sequestered behind forbidding glass walls,
computers went on to become accessible, usable and friendly. The
industry had its consciousness raised - became a vehicle of
Grant, at least, that computers became cool.
During my adolescence, computers were evil. You remember HAL - the
electronic demon of "2001: A Space Odyssey." Computers made people
powerless. They represented war, capitalism and grownups. Then (I think
I was out for coffee) kids took over. So now computers are about
freedom. As I explained to my daughter the other night, "Turn the darn
thing off." Read a book, for Pete's sake.
According to Mr. Markoff, a senior writer for
New York Times
and the author of other books on computers, the counterculture made it
happen. He demonstrates that a good many of the electronics freaks who
were working on inventing the future in the 60's and early 70's were,
simultaneously, soaked in drugs, antiwar politics and weird ideas.
At the heart of his story is Doug Engelbart, a
Navy veteran trained in radar during World War II who became obsessed
with the idea that computers could augment human intelligence. Mr.
Engelbart set up a research group at Stanford that, despite its Pentagon
funding, became an outpost for young, creative and sometimes radicalized
In the 1960's, computers were machines for math
- for "computing." Mr. Engelbart saw much more. His team invented or
envisioned "every significant aspect of today's computing world" -
point-and-click screen control, text editing, e-mail and networking. Mr.
Kesey, the writer, was shown how Mr. Engelbart's computers worked and
declared them to be "the next thing after acid." Even Mr. Engelbart, a
white-shirted pied piper, experimented with LSD, encounter groups,
Chairman Mao and est. It's a wonder he got anything done.
Actually, he didn't. In 1968, he demonstrated
computer interactivity at a conference that wowed everyone and that the
author, appropriately, dubs the "computing world's Woodstock." And then
- nothing. Too dreamy to part with his technology until perfected, Mr.
Engelbart never got around to developing commercial applications. His
staff gradually defected to
Xerox, which was
actually interested in selling products. Xerox ultimately blew its
commercial opportunity, but its technology would be widely cloned.
Occasionally, the tale splinters like an acid
trip that goes on too long, with side trips and fervent hyperboles that,
in a strange way, do put one in mind of the 60's. Engineers show up at
Stanford, protest the war and drop out to join communes. One of them
will "alter the world's politics"- by which Mr. Markoff means the
engineering student staged a fast against the R.O.T.C.
Stewart Brand, one of the most interesting
figures in the book, shepherds Mr. Kesey through an acid trip, an event
to which Mr. Kesey invited guitarist Jerry Garcia and his band - giving
rise to the Grateful Dead. Then, Mr. Brand turns up as the cameraman at
Mr. Engelbart's computing Woodstock.
This is the kind of psychedelics-to-circuits
connection that Mr. Markoff makes much of - sometimes too much. Anyway,
Mr. Brand went on to found the Whole Earth Catalog, a very hip
compendium of random information that was, as I recall, perfectly
useless. But Mr. Brand had a singular insight with regard to information
- "it wants to be free."
When Whole Earth got to be a drag, Mr. Brand
staged a demise party, at which he stunned guests by giving away
$20,000, his original investment. There was a debate over how to spend
it. Came the sage investment advice, "Give it back to the Indians." It
was decided that Fred Moore, an ardent pacifist of anti-R.O.T.C. fame,
would safeguard the funds, which meant putting them in a tin can and
burying them. Did this have anything to do with computers? Actually, it
did. Money made Mr. Moore unhappy. Computers excited him, as did a sense
of community. In 1975, he founded an enthusiasts' society, the Homebrew
Computer Club. Hundreds of hobbyists came to the first meeting,
including Stephen Wozniak, who went on to co-found
The idea was that everyone would share information. Mr. Moore believed
that his club "should have nothing to do with making money." But it did.
Twenty-three entrepreneurial seedlings, including Apple, would trace
their roots to the club. Mr. Markoff writes, "The deep irony is that
Fred Moore lit the spark . . . toward the creation of powerful
information tools." This is hyperbole. Lit a spark would be fair. The
first commercial PC, the
Altair 8800, had
been developed - in New Mexico, 1,000 miles away - before Homebrew ever
assembled. But the attendants did, excitedly, pass around a copy of
software written for the Altair, which had been developed by the infant
Micro-Soft, as it was then known. Bill Gates, its 20-year-old
tycoon-to-be, sarcastically objected to the pirating of his product.
"Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share."
Needless to say, Mr. Moore's view of sharing was not endorsed by Mr.
Gates. At this point, Marx and the history of the software industry
In Mr. Markoff's view, the PC era, which placed
each user in charge of an isolated box, was a long detour from the
higher aim of information sharing conceived by Mr. Engelbart. This
purpose was vindicated by the Internet. The tension still persists
between profit-seeking publishers and, ahem, idealists who would love to
share what belongs to others - music rights, for instance. According to
the author, this is today "the bitterest conflict facing the world's
economy." Such overwrought claims aside, at the core of "Dormouse" lies
a valid and original historical point. Computer technology did turn out
to be creative, spirited and even freeing. Most of this was a result of
the fabulous advances in the power of the microchip. But perhaps, also,
in the tactile clicking of the mouse, you can hear the faint strumming
of a guitar.
Continued in article
Restaurant with flushing success (toilet-themed
restaurant a big hit)
KAOHSIUNG - Displaying fancy toilet seats studded with
flowers and shells, colourful bathtubs, faucets, mirrors and shower curtains,
the well-lit window in this southern Taiwan city looks like a showroom for a
trendy bathroom brand. But this is a restaurant. It's unusual theme is proving a
draw for customers eager to eat food off plates and bowls shaped like western
loo seats as well as Japanese "squat toilets". Marton Theme Restaurant, named
after the Chinese word "Matong" for toilet, has become a hit in Taiwan's second
largest city since its opening in May 2004. Though bathroom decor seems a
bizarre way to whet the appetites of diners, the idea has been so successful
that owner, Eric Wang opened a second and bigger branch just seven months later.
"We not only sell food but also laughter. The food is just as good as any
restaurant but we offer additional fun," says 26-year-old Wang, who gave up a
career in banking to launch the business. "Most customers think the more
disgusting and exaggerated (the restaurant is), the funnier the dining
experience is," he says. The top orders are curry hot pot; curry chicken rice
and chocolate ice cream because, well, "they look most like the real thing",
Wang says. The price ranges from 150 to 250 Taiwan dollars ($5 - 8 dollars) for
a set menu, which includes soup and ice cream. Customers, however, flock to
Marton Restaurant mainly for its quirky dining wares and interior decor. "This
is such a funny and strange restaurant," says patron Chen Bi-fang, while sitting
atop a colourful toilet seat — the standard chair at the restaurant. She sits by
a table converted from a bathtub with a glass cover while looking at a wall
decorated with neon-lit faucets and urinals turned into lamps. Chen first came
to the restaurant after seeing it featured on television and has brought nine
co-workers along for lunch on her second visit. "I think this is the most
special restaurant I've ever been to. The menu also looks good and I'd like to
try more next time," says newcomer Cheng Hung-chi, who found out about the
restaurant over the Internet and took her mother and brother with her. They are
exactly the kind of customers owner Wang are counting on — drawn by novelty and
who return with friends in a city crowded by a wide variety of restaurants. "Our
restaurant is the first and only of its kind in Kaohsiung and that gives us an
advantage in the saturated market here. Our major challenge is to lure customers
back after the initial fun," he says. Other gimmicky restaurants in Taiwan using
themes such as a prison, zombies and even China's Mao Zedong achieved quick
success but folded within a few years after the novelty wore off. To make sure
his investment wouldn't go down the pan, Wang first tested the water for the
toilet food gimmick by peddling ice cream in toilet-shaped cones in street
booths four months before opening his restaurant. It was an instant hit as he
sold up to 1,000 ice-cream cones daily for 30 dollars apiece, which is 5 to 10
dollars higher than a regular one. His idea came from a popular Japanese comic
featuring a robot doll fond of eating excrement in ice cream cones. "The success
with 'toilet ice cream' was a leap of faith for me to quit the stable but boring
banking job and start my business despite strong objections from my family," he
says. The young entrepreneur is planning to expand his business to other cities
on the island though franchising after adding more items to the menu.
"After the curiosity fades, we have to hold on to
customers with upgraded food and services," Wang says.
with flushing success (toilet-themed restaurant a big hit)," Free
Republic, Posted on 05/24/2005 7:41:04 AM ,
UK allows extradition of 3 ex-bankers for Enron
(Reuters) - The UK is to allow the extradition of three former NatWest bankers
to the United States to face trial over fraud charges relating to U.S. energy
three are "devastated but not surprised" and will appeal, said their
spokeswoman, Melanie Riley.Britain's Home Secretary Charles Clarke upheld a
ruling by a UK judge last October that the three could be extradited.The
bankers' case falls under UK legislation in force since January of last year,
which was originally designed to speed up the transfer of suspected terrorists
to the United States.This law has left the Home Secretary with only limited
powers to overrule court decisions on extradition.Former bankers Gary Mulgrew,
Giles Darby and David Bermingham -- who worked for NatWest Bank, which is now
part of Royal Bank of Scotland -- have been fighting the extradition, which
would require them to face trial in Houston, Texas.The three, who deny the fraud
allegations, have argued that they should face trial in the UK.They are alleged
to have conspired with Enron executives, including former finance chief Andrew
Fastow, over the sale of a stake in an Enron entity in 2000.
"UK allows extradition of 3
ex-bankers for Enron," Wired News,
Tuesday, May 24, 2005 10:30 a.m. ET,
The Business of Life: E-Learning Threatens Publishers
There's been a change in Ellen Lichtenstein's study
patterns. For half her classes this past year, she no longer had to visit a
library to get the reading materials professors had placed on reserve. Instead,
she only needed Internet access and a password. "It's as simple as logging into
my e-mail account, clicking on a few links and printing it," said Lichtenstein,
21, a New York University communications senior from Birmingham, Ala. "There's
no going to the library, waiting on line, waiting to Xerox it, there's none of
that." And publishing companies are worried precisely because of that ease and
convenience — it's another way for publishers to lose sales. The Association of
American Publishers already has contacted one school, the University of
California, San Diego, claiming "blatantly infringing use is being made of
numerous books, journals and other copyrighted works." Allan Adler, the group's
vice president for legal and government affairs, said he was investigating other
universities, which he would not name. He suspected the practice might be
widespread on campuses nationwide, but said publishers could never know because
such items are generally on password-protected sites. U.S. copyright law offers
greater leeway for noncommercial uses like education, but such "fair use"
exemptions are not automatic. Rather, courts ultimately must apply a four-part
test that balances, among other things, the amount copied and its effect on
potential sales. A password can help but does not guarantee an exemption.
Libraries have largely been permitted to make a limited number of copies
available through reserve systems, in which students borrow a book or a binder
of photocopied articles for a few hours at a time. Students can make copies for
themselves under fair use. But when FedEx Kinko's Office and Print Services
tried to extend that premise and packaged collections of articles, book chapters
and other items as "course packs" in two New York stores, publishers sued the
FedEx Corp. unit and prevailed. Kinko's was told to pay $2 million to eight
publishers in that 1991 case. ... CONTINUED IN ARTICLE...
ANICK JESDANUN, "The Business of Life: E-Learning Threatens Publishers,"
AP, ABC News Business, May 25, 2005, http://snipurl.com/publsh0524
Forwarded by Dick Haar
ANNUAL NEOLOGISM CONTEST
Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its
yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for
The winners are:
1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3 . Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer
the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over
by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), the belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up
onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish
``````````` The Washington Post's Style Invitational once again asked readers
to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or
changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners:
1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright
ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of
breaking down in the near future.
2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of
3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject
financially impotent for an indefinite period.
4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person
who doesn't get it.
6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.
8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
9 . Karmageddon (n): It's like, when everybody is sending off all these
really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a
10 .Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming
only things that are good for you.
11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.
12 .Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when
they come at you rapidly.
13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've
accidentally walked through a spider web.
14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your
bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the
fruit you're eating.
And the pick of the literature:
16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New
s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter --- Search
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
H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax:
210-999-8134 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org