Tidbits on May 25, 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/

Security threats and hoaxes --- http://www.trinity.edu/its/virus/


Music for the Quiet of Summer:  If You Ever Leave Me --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/if.htm

Train of Life (Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline) ---  
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/singingman7/TOL.htm
  




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 its releases.

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 D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111688741618841089,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal

The Problem:
An identify-theft technique called "pharming" is particularly hard to detect.

The Solution:
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 http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection


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 health insurance.
Scott Jaschik, "Paying for Health Care in the Emeritus Years," Inside Higher Ed,May 25, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/05/25/health


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 students.
Doug Lederman, "Getting Drunk = Getting Hurt, Study Finds," Inside Higher Ed, May 25, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/05/25/drunk


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 their depression.
"Unemployed offered brothel discount," Ananova, May 23, 2005 --- http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1405448.html


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 --- http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/106/108114.htm?z=1727_00000_5024_hv_03


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, 2005 --- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=44412

"The College Dropout Boom," The New York Times, May 24, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/national/class/EDUCATION-FINAL.html?


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 Services.
"Sex offenders get Viagra paid for by Medicaid," CNN, May 23, 2005 --- http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/05/23/offenders.viagra/


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 ---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2005/03/23/BL2005040701384.html


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 --- http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,5500,1490391,00.html


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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/05/20/tech
Bob Jensen's threads on education technology is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/000aaa/0000start.htm


Academics declare war on scholarly journal publication fraud and oligopoly
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 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111680539102640247,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one

Bob Jensen's threads on scholarly journal publication fraud are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals


I wonder if Donald has a module on how to get a casino out of bankruptcy
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 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/05/24/trump


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 www.aopo.org .
"Health Mailbox," The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2005, Page D4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111688822051941104,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal


Financial Flashback
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
http://snipurl.com/U0517


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 http://snipurl.com/base0517

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 or Kansas.

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 closing.

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 many fronts.

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, manager of 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 Street Journal," May 17, 2005; Page C1 http://snipurl.com/career0517
 


Thief at Christian store troubled by conscience

"Thief at Christian store troubled by conscience," by Dave Newbart, Free Republic, Posted on 05/17/2005 --- http://snipurl.com/thief0517


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 read it."

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 unit.

 Continued in article


Turnaround for Women at Harvard

"Turnaround for Women at Harvard," by Scott Jaschik,  Inside Higher Ed, May 17, http://snipurl.com/harv0517


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, which Summers 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:

The following are some of the recommendations of the panel on women and science:


ISSUE IN DEPTH: CLASS MATTERS   WORD OF THE DAY
Today's word: taciturn  temperamentally disinclined to talk : silent · (adjective)
The word
taciturn has appeared in 53 Times articles over the past year.
Definitions provided by: Merriam-Webster, The New York Times, May 19, 2005
http://snipurl.com/word0519


E-Mailers Anonymous
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.
 

THEANONYMOUSEMAIL.COM

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
http://snipurl.com/anon0519
 


Tax Season Boosts Intuit's Income
Intuit Inc. 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 stock buyback.
Dow Jones Newswires, "Tax Season Boosts Intuit's Income," The Wall Street Journal Online, May 19, 2005; Page A11--- http://snipurl.com/intuit0519


Summer Concerts Try New Tactics to Fill Seats
After a Dismal Last Season, Industry Lowers Some Prices Seeing the Eagles for $25

"Summer Concerts Try New Tactics to Fill Seats, by Ethan Smith, "The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2005; Page D1
http://snipurl.com/concerts0519

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 Alicia Keys.

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 Cagey http://snipurl.com/grad0519


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 Diego.

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. ...

(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
 


Give Your DVD Player the Finger

"Give Your DVD Player the Finger," by Katie Dean, Wired News, May. 19, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/finger0519

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 professor 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 wireless capabilities.

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 been burned.

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 Content-Scrambling System. 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.

Ed 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 functional.

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 Electronic Frontier 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 said.

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 19, http://snipurl.com/ten0519


Between 2001 and 2003, higher education saw healthy increases in the number of faculty jobs, which grew to 1,173,556 from 1,113,183.

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 higher education.

These results are from an annual federal report on staffing at colleges and universities. The report, released 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.

Sector Faculty Jobs, 2003 Faculty Jobs, 2001 % Change
Public 791,384 771,124   +3%
Private, nonprofit 330,443 306,487   +8%
For-profit   51,729   35,572 +46%

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 full-time jobs:

New Full-Time Hires at Degree Granting Institutions, Fall 2003

Job Category Number of Hires
Faculty total 45,003
   With tenure   1,806
   On tenure track 16,830
   Not on tenure track 26,387
Executive/managerial   6,930
Other professional (support services) 35,083
Technical and paraprofessional   9,599
Clerical and secretarial 17,890
Skilled crafts   1,436
Service and maintenance 10,580

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:

 



KAREN MATTHEWS, "Trump Unveils Launch of Trump University," ABC News Business, May 23, 2005, http://snipurl.com/trump0523


Rocker Jeff Baxter Moves and Shakes In National Security

"
Rocker Jeff Baxter Moves and Shakes In National Security, by Yochi J. Dreazen," The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2005; Page A1,
http://snipurl.com/steely0524

 Once With Doobie Brothers, Now in Counterterrorism, He Has Ear of Pentagon
The 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 strategies.

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.

Jeff Baxter 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 counterterrorism experts.

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

"Japanese Banks Rebound From Crisis," by Martin Fackler, The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2005; Page A6, http://snipurl.com/bank0524

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 collapsed.

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, http://snipurl.com/tunein0524
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 computers from 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 togetherness.

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 The 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 engineers.

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 Apple Computer. 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 diverged.

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.
"Restaurant with flushing success (toilet-themed restaurant a big hit)," Free Republic, Posted on 05/24/2005 7:41:04 AM , http://snipurl.com/toilet0524
 


UK allows extradition of 3 ex-bankers for Enron
LONDON (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 company Enron.The 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.
Reuters,
"UK allows extradition of 3 ex-bankers for Enron," Wired News, Tuesday, May 24, 2005 10:30 a.m. ET, http://snipurl.com/enron0524


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 common words.

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 men.

``````````` 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 getting laid.

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 serious bummer.

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.




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Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob) http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
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