Broad and Fair Minded England
The children of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent make up a quarter of all British medical students, 12 times their proportion in the general population. They are likewise overrepresented in the law, science, and economics faculties of our universities. Among the Indian immigrants who arrived in the country with next to nothing, moreover, there are now reportedly some thousands of millionaires. Despite its reputation for being ossified and class-ridden, then, Britain is still a country in which social mobility is possible—provided, of course, that a belief that Britain is an ossified and class-ridden society doesn't completely stifle personal effort.
Theodore Dalrymple, "Choosing To Fail," City Journal, Winter 2000 --- http://www.city-journal.org/html/10_1_oh_to_be.html
Narrow minded neuroscientists
The Dalai Lama, who once said he would have been an engineer if he hadn’t become a monk, has been invited to speak at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in November – to the distress of some society members who are boycotting the meeting.
David Epstein, "Dissing the Dalai Lama," Inside Higher Ed, July 28, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/28/dalai
Apart from the 9/11 massacre, Islamic terrorists in the
past decade have killed many more Muslims than anybody else.
Especially in Iraq, Muslims can hardly be called victims of
"friendly fire" since Muslims were the intended targets.
The same can be said about the recent bombings in Egypt. And
yet some Islamic states encourage terrorism recruitment and
fund raising to kill Muslims ---
Forwarded by Dick Wolff and Bill Simpson
All Four Stanzas (of the U.S. National Anthem), by Isaac Asimov --- http://www.purewatergazette.net/asimov.htm
Woebegone About Grade Inflation
Grade inflation continues to occupy the attention of the media, the academy and the public at large. As a few Ivy League universities have adjusted grading policies, and a few of their professors have captured headlines with their statements on the issue, people have taken note. Absent from this discussion, however, are the voices of the silent majority: those who teach at non-elite institutions, as well as those at elite institutions who are not publicly participating in the debate.
Janice McCabe and Brain Powell, "Woebegone About Grade Inflation," Inside Higher Ed, July 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/07/27/mccabe
Bob Jensen's threads on grade inflation are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/assess.htm#GradeInflation
The Big Bear --- http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/bearhunt.asp
"Antispyware for Macs; Blog Search Engines," by Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2005; Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112251121491098203,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
Here are a few questions about computers I've received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability. This week my mailbox contained questions about antispyware programs for Apple Macintoshes, blog search engines and the definition of "HD ready."
If you have a question, send it to me at email@example.com, and I may select it to be answered here in Mossberg's Mailbox.
Q: You recently recommended antispyware programs for Windows users. Do Apple Macintosh users need such software, and, if so, what products clean up spyware on the Mac?
A: There's little or no reported spyware for Apple's Mac OS X operating system. So the spyware problem isn't much of a headache for Mac users, and consequently, there isn't much of a market for Mac antispyware software.
Most spyware and adware consists of malicious programs, and, like regular programs, these harmful applications have to be written to run on a particular operating system. All the spyware programs I have seen, or heard about, are written to run on Windows, which is on the vast majority of the world's PCs, and is also easier for spyware programs to penetrate than the Mac operating system is. Because they are Windows programs, they simply won't run on the Mac, even if Mac users accidentally download them.
One type of spyware, called tracking cookies, doesn't take the form of an actual program, and can be used on Macs. There are a few antispyware and cookie-control utilities for the Mac that may be effective against these tracking cookies, such as Internet Cleanup from Allume Software (www.allume.com). But, unlike their Windows counterparts, I haven't tested any of them, and can't say how well they work.
Mac users who run Apple's built-in Safari Web browser can stop most tracking cookies by going to the Security portion of the Preferences panel and selecting the option to accept only cookies placed by the site they are using, which eliminates cookies placed by third-party advertising companies. A similar option is available in the Firefox Web browser, on both Mac and Windows. On the Mac, it's in Firefox's Preferences panel, under Privacy.
Q: I'm at a loss as to where to find blogs on the Web. Are there blog search engines that help compile and categorize blogs for public perusal?
You can also install special programs that let you find, and subscribe free of charge, to numerous blogs and other frequently updated Web sites. These include FeedDemon for Windows (feeddemon.com) and NetNewsWire on the Mac (ranchero.com/net newswire/).
With these programs, called news readers, you don't usually see the blog in its original form, you receive "feeds" from them -- constantly updated headlines and summaries of new entries. You can then read the entire item by just clicking on the headline.
Q: I've been shopping for a TV that can receive broadcast high-definition signals, and notice many described as "HD-ready." What does that mean?
A: To receive and display high-definition programming, a TV set needs two basic features. One is a display capable of rendering the high-definition picture. The other is a tuner, or receiver, capable of receiving the high-definition signal, either over the air, or from a cable or satellite service.
When a TV set is described as "HD-ready," it usually means the set can display high-definition pictures, but lacks the special tuner needed to receive them. It may have no tuner at all built in, or it may have just a standard tuner. With this type of TV, you must buy a separate high-definition over-the-air tuner, or obtain a high-definition cable or satellite receiver, to get high-definition programming.
This may become a miracle for paralysis victims
Genetically engineered stem cells can help rats’ severed spinal cords grow back together, according to a study published Tuesday. Rats given the treatment, using stem cells taken from rat embryos, could move their legs again after their spines were severed in the lab, said the researchers’ report in the Journal of Neuroscience.
"Stem Cells Mend Spinal Cords," Wired News, July 27, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,68331,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_11
"Erasing Cookies From a PC," by Annelena Lobb, The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112233873147495654,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
Erasing Cookies From a PC
The Problem: Your PC is filling up with cookies, which let Web sites track your Internet-browsing habits.
The Solution: Cookies are short text files that attach to your PC when you visit Web sites. Some disappear from your computer when you exit Internet Explorer, while others remain. You'll likely want to keep some cookies on your PC -- you can't visit sites like Yahoo and Gmail without them. In other cases, they let you avoid retyping your ZIP Code or address every time you visit.
Here's how to avoid unwanted cookies: When using Internet Explorer, go to the "Tools" menu and click on "Internet Options." Select the "Privacy" tab, and click on "Advanced Settings." Check the box that lets you override automatic cookie handling. Then you can ask to be prompted whenever cookies appear -- you'll get a pop up asking whether you want to accept it. If you later wish to change your settings, click the "Edit" button under the "Privacy" tab. You can delete it from the list of managed sites.
Powerful Cookies 1.0.7
For those people who are concerned about erasing evidence of their Internet activity stored in their browser, Powerful Cookies 1.0.7 may be worth taking a look at. Visitors can use this program to delete cookies, clean index.dat files, clean the cache, remove temporary files, and erase typed URLs. This application is compatible with Windows 95 or newer.
Bob Jensen's threads on cookies are at http://www.trinity.edu/~rjensen/245glosf.htm#Cookies1
Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm
Rozerem, the first of a new kind of sleeping pill,
today gained FDA approval
Before today, many sleeping pills had potential narcotic-like effects. True, new nonbenzodiazepine sleeping pills -- such as Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata -- have greatly reduced abuse potential. But they still have a sedating effect throughout the brain. And like earlier sleep drugs, they are controlled substances under federal law.
Daniel DeNoon, "FDA Approves New Kind of Sleeping Pill: Rozerem First Drug to Target Brain's Sleep Center, WebMD, July 22, 2005 --- http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/109/109150.htm?z=1727_00000_5024_hv_03
Your Genomic Diet
Imagine a diet plan that saw through to the core of your being and beyond, that took into account not just the foibles and little secrets no one else knows about (it's awfully easy to dispose of incriminating Wendy's bags and 3 Musketeers wrappers) but even the secrets that you don't know--secrets that can help keep you alive longer and in better health. This is the promise--and the threat--of the latest scheme for dramatic health improvement to fall out from the big bang of the Human Genome Project. Nutritional genomics--or nutritional genetics, or nutrigenomics--examines your diet and your genes to determine how they interact. Proponents argue that nutrients in food alter gene expression or structure, acting differently on different people according to their genetic makeup. Once these interactions are understood, the story goes, people can make up for inherited weaknesses or genetic flaws by eating differently and, when necessary, taking dietary supplements. Understanding the links between genes, specific nutrients, and a range of diseases--from diabetes and heart disease to less obvious diseases like some cancers and neurodegenerative syndromes--will result in a diet plan tailored to your very own gene profile.
Corby Kummer, "Your Genomic Diet," MIT's Technology Review, August 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/08/issue/feature_diet.asp?trk=nl
Jensen Comment: Don't anticipate a prescription for prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, and malt scotch unless you're already at death's doorstep.
How to make a female more like a male in courtship behavior
Activating a single male-specific gene produces a female fruit fly that displays male courtship behaviors: chasing other females, tapping their abdomens and performing wing-beating love serenades. A Stanford study, published in the June 15 online edition of the journal Nature, shows that a single gene can determine how females and males detect and respond differently to sexual cues.
Hanna Hickey, "When gene 'switched' on, female flies exhibit male behavior," Stanford Report, July 16, 2005 --- http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/july13/flygene-071305.html
The idiot box is, well, an idiot box
In a study by researchers at Stanford's School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University, third graders with televisions in their bedrooms performed significantly worse on standardized tests than their peers without TVs. Those with access to a home computer earned higher test scores.
Krista Conger, "TV in bedrooms linked to lower test scores," Stanford Report, July 13, 2005 ---
Brush up your Shakespeare:
Medieval manuscripts to hit Internet
Stanford University Libraries, the University of Cambridge and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, will make hundreds of medieval manuscripts, dating from the sixth through the 16th centuries, accessible on the Internet.
"Medieval manuscripts to hit Internet," Stanford Report, July 13, 2005 ---
A summary of the medieval times and literature is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval
May 28, 2005 reply from Barbara Scofield [scofield@GSM.UDALLAS.EDU]
Thank you for the notice about the availability of the medieval manuscripts on the Internet through the project Parker on the Web at Stanford University. Two manuscripts are currently available, and on page 11 of the English translation of Matthew Paris's "English History From 1235 to 1273" I have already found references to accounting (see below).
Accountants are still using the principle "under whatever name it may be called" and entities are still making up new names for inconvenient economic events in the hopes of avoiding full disclosure.
At this Catholic liberal arts university Shakespeare is modern, and the medieval world is revered, so I'm interested in gaining some insight into the medieval worldview.
Barbara W. Scofield, PhD, CPA
Associate Professor of Accounting
University of Dallas
1845 E. Northgate Irving, TX 75062
Braniff 262 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Jensen's threads on accounting history are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen//theory/00overview/theory01.htm#AccountingHistory
A case for political/social
He was, as the saying goes, a “movement conservative,” in touch with the ideas and arguments being cooked up in the right-wing think tanks. But he was as intellectually honest as anyone could be. Around the time we first met, he had just published an article on the famous “broken window syndrome” — that basic doctrine of conservative social policy — showing there was scarcely any solid research to back it up. And when he did argue for any given element of the right’s agenda, it was hard to escape the sense that he did so from the firm conviction that it would bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people.In short, talking with David meant facing a repeated obligation to think the unthinkable: that someone could be a conservative without suffering from either cognitive deficit or profound moral stupidity.
Scott McLemee, "Inner Checks and Political Balances," Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/07/26/mclemee
A Drive Against Irresponsible Student Drinking
The exact steps taken vary from campus to campus, but all involve increased enforcement by police and campus security, and “social norms” marketing, which teaches students that not everyone drinks to fit in. “All of the campuses are unique, and we want them all taking a comprehensive look at what fits their particular situation,” said Colleen Bentley-Adler, a California State spokeswoman.
David Epstein, "A Drive Against Drinking," Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/26/drinking
A new (old?) kind of drug addiction
"Hypermotivational Syndrome," by Ed Tenner, MIT's Technology Review, August 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/08/issue/megascope.asp
What are these prescription drugs being used for? Some of them mimic the effects of street drugs. For instance, the pain reliever Oxycontin, when stripped of its coating, can produce a heroinlike high. The consequences of this kind of abuse are familiar. Antidrug advocates have warned for decades that drugs impair not only users' health but also their work. Drug-induced torpor even earned its own name: amotivational syndrome. Timothy Leary's flameout on the Harvard fast track probably frightened more middle-class parents than the warnings of J. Edgar Hoover.
But there is an aspect of prescription drug abuse mentioned only briefly in the report: ingesting to excel, not rebel. There's now a hypermotivational syndrome, use of prescription drugs not to escape the commanding heights of education and the economy but to attain them.
The powers that be have long blessed chemical performance enhancement. Employers once encouraged stimulants: a hundred years ago, African-American dock workers in the South were given cocaine to fuel their back-breaking labors. In the Southern textile industry, traveling "dope wagons" brought milder stimulants like caffeinated, sugary soft drinks and snuff to mill hands. The U.S. armed forces distributed cigarettes to help servicemen cope with the combat stress of World War II. Amphetamine use by military flyers began at the same time and persisted even during later antidrug campaigns, though at lower dosages, with stricter controls.
Continued in the article
"The Next Phase in Psychiatry: Largest Ever Studies on Drugs for Depression, Schizophrenia Could Transform Treatment," by Leila Abboud, The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2005; Page D1 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112242117930696793,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
The results of the largest studies ever conducted of depression and schizophrenia will be released in coming months, potentially transforming the way patients are treated and shaking up some of the drug industry's most lucrative markets.
The federally funded studies are part of a six-year push by the mental-health division of the National Institutes of Health to come up with reliable scientific data on the differences between drugs and treatment strategies for the major psychiatric illnesses. The project comprises four trials, in serious depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and adolescent depression.
The aim is to fill the information gap that plagues psychiatry, and hurts the quality of care given to patients. Clinical trials that companies do to get drugs approved aren't designed to provide the answers that doctors say they really need. For one, these trials don't compare one drug with another, because they are designed to show only whether a particular drug is effective against an illness. Thus, psychiatrists have little guidance on whether one drug works better than another or has fewer side effects than another.
Also, at eight to 12 weeks long, drug-company trials are too short to reveal how patients fare or what side effects crop up long-term. And, in order to stay focused on a drug's efficacy on one illness, they exclude the sickest patients and people with co-existing diseases.
Continued in article
How to compare shopping in physical stores using online services
"Comparison Shopping: We Test Sites That Find Bargains in Local Stores; Apples for $1.49 a Pound," by Walter Mossberg, The Wall street Journal, July 27, 2005; Page D4
Premium long-term care insurance: If you can
afford it, you probably don't need it
Consumers who want to protect themselves in the event of the worst-case outcome - many years in a nursing home - can spend at least $10,000 a year on premiums for full coverage. According to a survey by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the average cost of a year in a private room of a nursing home was $70,080 in 2003, though prices vary greatly by region: $36,135 in Shreveport, La., for example, but $113,880 in New York City. But a new study shows that only a small percentage of policyholders need care for long periods - four years or more. So a growing number of specialists recommend more modest policies for which the policyholder pays a bigger share of the costs.
Susan B. Garland, "Long-Term-Care Insurance: How Much Is Too Much?" The New York Times, July 25, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/24/business/yourmoney/24care.html
From the founder of Craigslist
Socialized Computing --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/08/issue/invite.asp?trk=nl
Toxic Diversity in Law Schools
Dan Subotnik once went to his dean and asked to teach a course on race and the law, a subject to which he had devoted a great deal of his own scholarly effort. Teaching a course about something you know is a time-honored method of refining your ideas and, not least, of educating the young. But the dean turned him down. Why? He claimed that Mr. Subotnik's message would be unduly dismissive of racism, amounting to, as the dean put it, "get over it." While the dean's decision may have been unfortunate for Touro Law School, where Mr. Subotnik is a professor, it was an excellent one for the rest of us because it prompted "Toxic Diversity" (New York University Press, 335 pages, $45), a thoughtful critique of identity politics in the nation's law schools. These days "critical race studies" and feminist jurisprudence are a routine part of law-school scholarship, and much of it is devoted to discovering in the law those white, male power structures that have become an obsession throughout our universities.
John O. McGinis, "At Law School, Unstrict Scrutiny," The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2005; Page D10 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112241706641596672,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
The phenomenon of salary inversions in academe
The problem of salary inversion is not new, but it has become worse at public institutions that have faced limited state funds, according to Mark Prus, dean of the School of Arts at Sciences at the State University of New York at Cortland. Prus faced the problem when he was chair of the economics department, and co-wrote a paper about it in the Eastern Economic Journal. Prus said salary inversion has been around for decades, but generally in a few fields, like economics and technical disciplines. It’s more unusual, Prus said, to see salary inversions in the departments that have it at Marshall. “In English there’s a surplus of Ph.D.’s, so you don’t see significant changes in starting salaries, like you might in a technical field,” Prus said. He also said that salary profiles over time tend to be “U-shaped,” meaning that new faculty members might make more than professors who have been around for 5 or 10 years, but generally not more than recent hires. Faculty members at Marshall, however, said some junior faculty members are getting topped after just a few years.
David Epstein, "Watch Out for the New Guy," Inside Higher Ed, July 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/27/marshall
Also see expense differences in "Disciplines Matter" --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/27/discipline
Let's see if this one hurdles over the health
Republicans haven't been getting much credit on the health policy front, despite their misguided 2003 drug entitlement masquerading as Medicare "reform." That could change soon. Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that could dramatically reduce the ranks of the uninsured and spur general economic growth -- all without costing a dime to the Treasury. The idea behind the legislation, sponsored by GOP Representative John Shadegg of Arizona, is disarmingly simple: Allow Americans to buy health insurance from vendors in any one of the 50 states.
"Cheaper Health Insurance," The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2005; Page A14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112224426215594373,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Jensen Comment: Although this makes good sense on paper, it is a subtle victory for tort lawyers who are frustrated by the rising numbers of states that are putting a cap on punitive damages. Reduced premiums might reduce the political pressures for such caps in states that have not yet come to their senses.
When Gambling Becomes Obsessive: Scientists are
beginning to figure out why
Two hundred forty-seven Native American casinos dot tribal lands in 22 states; 84 riverboat or dockside casinos ply the waters or sit at berth in six states. And with local governments struggling to close budget gaps, slots and lotteries are booming. All told, 48 states have some form of legalized gambling--and none of that includes the wild frontier of the Internet. By 1996 the annual take for the U.S. gambling industry was over $47 billion, more than that from movies, music, cruise ships, spectator sports and live entertainment combined. In 2003 the figure jumped to over $72 billion. All that money is coming from someone's pockets, and it's not the winners'. According to Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, as many as 10 million U.S. adults meet the "problem gambling" criteria. Kids are hit even harder. Exact figures aren't easy to come by, but various studies place the rate of problem gambling among underage players somewhere between two and three times the rate for adults.
Jeffrey Kluger, "When Gambling Becomes Obsessive: For millions, the thrill of the bet is as addictive as any drug. Scientists are beginning to figure out why--and what can be done to help," Time Magazine, July 24, 2005 --- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1086175,00.html
Recording what you hear: More MP3 and audio-file tools than you can shake a memory stick at!
Fred Langa, "Converting Audio Files? Let 'Er Rip!," Information Week, July 25, 2005 --- http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=166401664
With all that as lead in, here, then, are the suggestions from your fellow readers for the best tools for converting, ripping, and burning audio, extracted from over a megabyte of original text mail files:
Windows Media Player
Fred, I have several ideas about freeware to burn MP3s and a possible solution to Ken's problems in burning CDs. I use Nero for most of my CD and DVD burning so I do not have a lot of experience with other freeware, but here are two I have used. First, Windows Media Player Version 10 can burn CDs from MP3 files. It can also rip music in MP3 format if you change the rip setting from its usual WMA setting. Look under Tools, Options, and then go to the Rip Music tab. Here is a link to the download. Also, Musicmatch Jukebox has a free version in addition to its paid version. It can also burn and rip MP3 files. Here is the link to the free download. In the past, I have had somewhat the same problem Ken appears to be having when burning a CD. At the very end of a burn (usually 99% complete) I would receive an error saying the burn could not complete. After some research, I found that having autoplay on might cause the PC to read the almost complete CD and try to run it JUST BEFORE it was complete. Turning off autoplay solved that problem. Most CD recording software now does this automatically during the burn process so you can leave autoplay turned on. I am not sure if this would solve Ken's problem, but it appears that he is having the same problem with every CD-burning software he tries so it might just be worth checking.
-- Clay Teague
Bob Jensen's threads on MP3 coding and decoding are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm#MP3
Bob Jensen's threads on audio on the Internet are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob4.htm#WebAudio
Speechless in dim light: Cell phone sunglasses
Motorola and Oakley have developed a combination sunglasses/cell-phone headset product line that offers another option for hands-free gabbing while driving --- http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=166402307
Why more students these days don't go into computer
Gates wonders ( http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=166400859 ) why more kids these days don't go into computer science. He said last week that even if young people don't know that salaries and job openings in computer science are on the rise, they're hooked on so much technology--cell phones, digital music players, instant messaging, Internet browsing--that it's puzzling why more don't want to grow up to be programmers. This is spoken like a man who was born well off, attended Harvard, and became the wealthiest man in the world. By contrast, kids these days are worried about survival and money in a way that we haven't seen since before the baby boom. The kids who will enter college in a few weeks are kids who turned 14 when the planes hit the World Trade Center. They spent most of their adolescence, the time when kids get ready to enter the world of adulthood, learning about terrorism, war, the economic downturn, outsourcing, layoffs, increasing deficits, the health-care crisis--am I leaving anything out here? They resemble, in outlook, the generation that grew up in the Depression and fought in World War II. They have grown up knowing the world is a scary place.
Information Week Newsletter Editorial, July 24, 2005
Universities in the U.S. are increasingly combining
business degrees with technology degrees
From Jerry Trite's Blog on http://www.zorba.ca/archive/2005_07_01_gtrites_archive.html#112229262793833273
Universities in the US are increasingly combining business degrees with technology degrees. It's based on the idea that modern managers need deeper IT skills to properly do their job. It's an idea that has been around for several years, but not one that has fully hit the mainstream. However, with the growth of e-business and the use of technology in business generally, it seems an obvious course to take. It is particularly needed in MBA programs, and one could argue, necessary to their continuing relevance. 2 for 1: Colleges eye combining tech, business degrees -
Computerworld --- http://www.computerworld.com/careertopics/careers/story/0,10801,103195,00.html
A Trinity University professor sent the following message regarding switching from a traditional telephone service to a VoIP sytem.
I disconnected SBC copper and have TW ip phone service (as well as cell phones (Cingualar)). I am happy with the ip phone, however, an alarm system requires battery backup to power the phone modem to provide phone service during power outage and even that may not be enough if the cable system loses power in the vicinity of your neighborhood.
SBC now gives me all sorts of special offers and reduced rates in an attempt to get me back as a customer.
Very Old Labor: Unions need a vision for the new
What's missing on both sides, however, is a vision of economic opportunity that might actually make workers want to join a union in the first place. Tactics aside, both factions continue to believe in the idea of unions that arose in the Industrial Age: Greedy management versus the exploited working man, seniority over flexibility, fixed benefits and strike threats over working with management to keep a U.S.-based company profitable and innovative in a world of growing competition. On the political front, both factions favor trade protection, higher taxes and government help to enforce restrictive work rules. This is the agenda of Old Europe, where jobless rates are above 10%, and it merely offers more economic insecurity in the U.S. as well. What the labor movement really needs is a new generation of leaders who understand the emerging competition to U.S. workers from the likes of India and China. Rather than oppose imports to protect textile jobs that can't be saved, such leaders would work to reform education so future Americans can compete in the knowledge industries that will grow the fastest. They'd also work to make pensions and health insurance transportable from company to company, so a worker wouldn't be trapped by benefits in a job or industry he didn't like. They'd be partners with management, not antagonists.
"Very Old Labor," The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2005; Page A24 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112233367204295480,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
'Aha' this makes good sense
"Penn State researcher (Ted Wills) says 'aha' moments aid information recall," Penn State Live, July 23, 2005 --- http://live.psu.edu/story/12766
Twenty-five years ago, it was commonly thought that providing people with straightforward information that they could easily process was a key to learning facts effectively. Today, Penn State Abington researcher Ted Wills will tell you that this doesn't necessarily hold true. In fact, creating an "aha" moment for the person processing the information could well be the key to better retention.
Wills, assistant professor of psychology, has been studying the "aha" effect for a decade. He has been involved with many research projects that have pitted run-of-the-mill information and information dissemination against that which is unanticipated -- whether it is the written word, pictures or spoken dialogue -- with consistent results.
In one study, for example, subjects were given the sentence: "The man jumped onto the horse." Those who were presented with the obvious association word, "cowboy," later recalled they had heard the sentence 23 percent of the time, while those presented with the less obvious association word, "gymnast," recalled the sentence 33 percent of the time -- a nearly 50-percent increase.
In another study, people who were asked to connect the dots to find a picture were much more likely to recall what they had seen than people who were asked to simply trace the same picture. The latter research was published in the journal Memory and Cognition in 2000.
"If you have the 'aha' experience, something that was initially confusing has become clearer," said Wills, who noted that the "aha" effect has similarities to the "generation" effect, which states that any time a person generates a solution to a scenario -- no matter how trivial -- they are more likely to remember it then if they are simply given the information.
"If I'm right, one way to enhance the odds that you're going to remember something is for you to form an initial interpretation of the information you're provided with, and then have to revise that interpretation."
So how can the "aha" effect be applied beneficially in society? For starters, Wills says teachers could devise lesson plans to shock and amaze students, thereby helping the majority to retain factual information better.
"If I'm teaching social studies and I've explained how most early explorers reached the Americas and eventually reversed their course to return to their homelands, I can then ask, 'What do you think Magellan did when he approached South America?' Instead of simply telling them that Magellan was the first to sail around the world after he discovered the Straits of Magellan, I've created a great opportunity for dialogue, and an unanticipated ending they're more likely to recall."
Wills did his dissertation on the 'aha' effect, titled "Cognitive Operations and the 'Aha' Effect: Revision not Confusion," while attending graduate school at Tufts University in the mid-1990s. He is currently interviewing the last of the more than 225 Penn State Abington students for his latest research project, and much of his research on this issue is currently under review for publication by psychology journals.
Public-policy lectures from several universities
July 28, 2005 message from Amy Dunbar [Amy.Dunbar@BUSINESS.UCONN.EDU]
The Chronicle of Higher Education had the following blurb:
A NEW WEB SERVICE run by Princeton University is offering free online recordings of prominent scholars giving public-policy lectures at several universities, via streaming video or as audio podcasts.
I went to the following link, scrolled down the list of lectures, found Studs Terkel, and spent an hour listening to him. What an enjoyable hour! What a gift from Princeton!
University of Connecticut
School of Business
2100 Hillside Road, Unit 1041
Storrs, CT 06269-1041
Bush Taps Two Democrats for SEC
President Bush nominated two Democrats to serve as members on the Securities and Exchange Commission, clearing the way for the Senate to consider Rep. Christopher Cox, a California Republican, to be chairman. Mr. Cox was nominated as SEC chairman last month, but his confirmation was delayed as members of the Senate Banking Committee urged the White House also to nominate two Democrats to fill open slots on the five-member commission. Republican and Democratic lawmakers wanted the committee to consider all three SEC nominees together.
Deborah, Solomon, "Bush Taps Two Democrats for SEC: Nominations Clear the Way For Senators to Consider Cox as Agency's Chairman," The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2005; Page A6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112224479138694392,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one
Sadly, this also makes good sense
Investigators are not under the illusion that financial support for such attacks comes in neat packages, or from pre-determined directions. The small amounts of money involved, and the rapid learning curve of those behind the assaults, mean that off-the-shelf templates for spotting suspicious patterns simply do not exist. But experts and investigators do, however, have firm ideas about where to start.
"Warning signs for the funding of terror," BBC News, July 20, 2005 --- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4692941.stm
Secrets of drawings that look like engravings
Those neat illustrations of people in the pages of The Wall Street Journal may look like engravings, but they're really hand-drawn, pointilist portraits. Noli Novak has been producing them since 1987. Find out how it's done.
Petra Mayer, "Noli Novak: Portrait of a Stipple Artist," NPR, July 24, 2005 ---
Those familiar illustrations on the pages of The Wall Street Journal look just like engravings. But the intricate portraits, called headcuts, are actually a sort of pointilist sketch -- drawn by hand using a technique known as "stippling."
Noli Novak, a New Jersey-based artist, has produced Journal art for nearly 20 years. At her New Jersey studio, she typically receives an e-mailed photo of her subject. Then, deftly employing a number-one pen, she copies a three-by-five inch image onto special vellum paper. She creates a realistic image with a constellation of dots, lines and crosshatches, a process that generally takes about three hours.
Novak grew up on the Croatian island of Korchula, and reached the United States in 1984, after college. In addition to doing her own work for the Journal, she now trains new artists. She makes sure everyone draws in a uniform style, making it nearly impossible to tell whose hand lies behind which portrait.
For those who do not understand accounting:
Profit = Revenue - Expense
"Despite a June Surge in Sales, G.M. Posts Another Losing Quarter," Danny Hakim, The New York Times, July 21, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/21/business/businessspecial3/21auto.html?
General Motors reported its third consecutive losing quarter on Wednesday as surging sales in June did not translate into profits.
Many of G.M.'s domestic problems were laid bare in the second quarter, from its reliance on large sport utility vehicles to its enormous health care costs, leading two of the three major credit ratings agencies to downgrade G.M.'s debt below investment grade in May to junk bond status.
G.M.'s sales and market share in the United States were actually up in the quarter, buoyed by the company's promotion that began June 1, offering customers the same discounts that G.M. workers receive. But the heavy incentive spending has cut into profit margins. Weak demand for large S.U.V.'s like the Chevrolet Suburban has also hurt profitability, as have health care costs and high prices of commodities like steel.
The company reported a $286 million overall loss in the quarter, in contrast to a $1.4 billion profit a year earlier. The results mainly reflect troubles in the North American automotive operations, which reported a $1.2 billion loss in the quarter, in contrast to a $355 million profit a year ago.
Continued in article
How a supposed "Republican" governor becomes a winner
in a highly liberal state
Democrats get call Governor Mitt Romney, who touts his conservative credentials to out-of-state Republicans, has passed over GOP lawyers for three-quarters of the 36 judicial vacancies he has faced, instead tapping registered Democrats or independents.
Raphael Lewis, "Romney jurist picks not tilted to GOP: Independents, Democrats get call," Boston.com, July 25, 2005 --- http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/07/25/romney_jurist_picks_not_tilted_to_gop/
Price elasticity in booze among cash-strapped teens
In just about every state that increased beer taxes in recent years, teenage drinking soon dropped. The same happened in the early 1990's when Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey and a handful of other states passed zero-tolerance laws, which suspend the licenses of under-21 drivers who have any trace of alcohol in their blood. In states that waited until the late 90's to adopt zero tolerance, like Colorado, Indiana and South Carolina, the decline generally did not happen until after the law was in place. Teenagers, it turns out, are highly rational creatures in some ways. Budweisers and Marlboros are discretionary items, and their customers treat them as such. Gasoline consumption, by contrast, changes only marginally when the price of a gallon does.
David Leonhardt, "To Reduce the Cost of Teenage Temptation, Why Not Just Raise the Price of Sin?" The New York Times, July 25, 2005 --- http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/25/business/25consuming.html
No more heroic cops
The cops are watching us more than they used to -- but we're also keeping a closer eye on the cops. The Los Angeles Police Department, plagued by corruption and police-brutality scandals, is using business-intelligence technology to monitor police activity for unusual activity for signs of cops going bad. While a data-mining system isn't the same thing as surveillance cameras, it comes down to the same thing: every cop's every move is going to be watched, all the time. An LA policeman raises a valid concern: exceptional activity doesn't mean a cop is bad, it could also mean a cop is very good. He's worried that the system will encourage cops to conform, to stay in the middle of the pack, to avoid drawing attention to themselves by, say, being heroic.
InformationWeek Daily Newsletter, July 26, 2005
Accounting manipulations at Sallie Mae
SLM Corp., the largest U.S. provider of student loans, said it fired its chief financial officer and demoted another manager in a debt-collection agency unit for inflating revenue in a bid to achieve performance goals and collect higher bonuses. The company, better known as Sallie Mae, also said the Securities and Exchange Commission had decided not to take enforcement action against it or the managers over the accounting errors, which took place in 2003. The SEC had opened an informal probe in January 2004. Sallie Mae said it took action following an internal review. Spokesman Thomas Joyce declined to identify the unit or the managers, or when the firing and demotion took place. "We're pleased to put the matter behind us," he said. SEC spokesman John Heine declined to comment. The former chief financial officer couldn't be reached. Sallie Mae said it had learned that on three occasions in 2003, senior managers in the unit intentionally recorded revenue from loan payments made or scheduled to be made in the first few days of a month in the prior month.
"Sallie Mae Dismisses Top Financial Officer In Accounting Review," The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2005; Page A6 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112234608295395803,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on revenue accounting ploys are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/eitf01.htm
Scammers Operating on Periphery Of CFTC's Domain Lure
Little Guy With Fantastic Promises of Profits
Mr. Croy and others like him are the unhappy denizens of a little-known corner of the foreign-exchange market where scammers seek to separate investors from their money. Small investors, drawn to foreign exchange as an alternative to the stock market and the petty yields offered by bonds, have proved to be readily available, if not willing, targets: About 23,000 investors have lost about $350 million in foreign-exchange fraud cases the CFTC has pursued since Congress in late 2000 gave the regulator authority over a small slice of the global currency market.
Peter A. McKay, "Scammers Operating on Periphery Of CFTC's Domain Lure Little Guy With Fantastic Promises of Profits," The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2005; Page C1 ---
Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi Criticizes
Prior to the second round of presidential elections in Iran, which was won by Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi gave an interview to the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly, in which she discussed the recent Iranian elections, the status of women in Islamic society, and democracy. The following are excerpts from the interview:  "As Long as a Council [the Guardian Council] or an Individual [Khamenei] Screens the Candidates, I Cannot Vote [in the Iranian Elections]" Interviewer: "You must have a view [on who will win the run-off presidential elections]." Shirin Ebadi: "As long as a council [Iran's...
The Middle East Research Institute, July 26, 2005 ---
Did you know that Longhorn became Vista?
The following is from What's New Now from Ziff Davis [email@example.com]
Smart Buyouts: Not a game for amateurs
Measure what matters: Buyout firms zero in on a few key metrics, focusing on cash and tailoring measurements to the business. Thus, when Texas Pacific Group bought Beringer Wine Estates from Nestlé in 1996, it revamped the winery's performance metrics to focus on its cash flows, not return on assets and economic value added. The latter penalized Beringer for hanging on to assets like vineyards and aging wine, which were actually increasing in value over time. Once banks realized Beringer's strong cash position, TPG was able to finance Beringer's assets with bank debt and reduce the amount of equity it put into the company. This maximized TPG's return on capital -- and led to a ninefold return on TPG's initial investment in five years. Make equity sweat: The average firm finances about 60% of its assets with debt, versus 40% at a typical public company. Scarce cash forces managers to redeploy underperforming capital. DLJ Merchant Banking, Credit Suisse First Boston's private equity arm, squeezed costs when it purchased Mueller Water Products, an old-line maker of high-pressure valves, in 1999 from Tyco International Ltd. for $938 million. Closing uncompetitive foundries and innovating leaner manufacturing methods freed up cash for acquisitions that helped boost revenue from $865 million in 2001 to $1.05 billion in 2004. Last month, Walter Industries agreed to buy Mueller for $1.91 billion.
Hugh MacArther and Dan Haas, "The New Masters of the Universe," The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2005; Page A18 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112234666817095815,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
Thinking green versus thinking cost savings
Asked what motivated colleges to adopt environmentally sound practices, the top answer was cost savings. But asked what was holding colleges back from adopting more such practices, the top answers were fear of added costs and inertia. Vicki Sirianni, a consultant with the Boston Consortium, said it was “almost terrifying” to realize how much financial considerations were dominating environmental issues on campus. “We are so concerned about costs that we will purchase something even if it kills us,” she said, joking only in part.
Scott Jaschik, "Thinking Green," Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/26/green
No roaming fees: Where the reindeer, moose,
bears, and professors roam
Alaska’s governor signed legislation Monday that will transfer 250,000 acres of land to the University of Alaska. University officials have long pushed for such a transfer, which will more than double the amount of land controlled by the land grant institution.
Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/26/qt
Although I don't agree with her economic theories,
Senator Clinton has a dream for America
American Dream" for 2020 includes affordable health care for all, cures derived from stem-cell research, terrorists without followers, and a Democrat in Ohio's governor's mansion. The New York senator spoke yesterday to more than 300 moderate Democrats from 40 states at the Democratic Leadership Council, the centrist group that helped to set her husband on the path to the White House in 1991.
Jim Provance, "Hillary Clinton: America needs to dream big Senator outlines vision of country at Democrat session in Columbus," ToledoBlade.com, July 26, 2005 ---
While not everyone agrees, strong empirical evidence has accumulated that the most successful college presidents tend to be transformational leaders who find the ways and means to inspire and move their institutions and colleagues to higher levels of achievement. The most successful college presidents tend to be “doers” who transform and improve their institutions rather than simply recording votes and exercising ceremonial duties.We can compare male and female presidents by using research reported in The Entrepreneurial President (written by two of us — Fisher and Koch) and a doctoral dissertation completed in 2004 at the College of William and Mary by McAdory. This evidence takes us several important steps further down the road to defining the essence of great leadership.
James L. Fisher and James V. Koch and Alice R. McAdory, "Entrepreneurial Women," Inside Higher Ed, July 15, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/careers/2005/07/15/koch
Shelby's bill to rein in on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
The Senate expectation is that most or all Banking Committee Democrats will oppose the Shelby bill, since they view Fan and Fred as Congressional business subsidiaries -- guaranteed sources of political cash and high-paid patronage jobs. This means Mr. Shelby will need the votes of all Republicans, and his Committee does include such reform stalwarts as Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) and John Sununu (N.H.).
"Shelby to the Rescue," The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2005; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112243313007297092,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Idiot Alert: In San Antonio victim of a home
invasion reports stolen pot to police
"Victim in trouble after reporting stolen pot," San Antonio Express News, July 25, 2005 --- http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA072505.invasion.KENS.b137a36.html
Idiot Alert: Spiked cocaine's bad for business
and kills the wrong (mostly non-Christian) people
Osama bin Laden tried to buy a massive amount of cocaine, spike it with poison and sell it in the United States, hoping to kill thousands of Americans one year after the 9/11 attacks, The Post has learned. The evil plot failed when the Colombian drug lords bin Laden approached decided it would be bad for their business - and, possibly, for their own health, according to law-enforcement sources familiar with the Drug Enforcement Administration's probe of the aborted transaction. The feds were told of the scheme earlier this year, but its existence had never been made public.
Can Mangan, "COKE FIEND BIN LADEN," The New York Post, July 25. 2005 --- http://www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/50787.htm
Jensen Comment: For a very long time I've often day dreamed that this would be an effective, albeit immoral, strategy to end the war on drugs. However, it doesn't seem to work for naturally-poisoned tobacco products.
It's hard to shed tears over this Russian's death news
One billion email users under suspicion as police launch enquiry
One of Russia's best-known spammers has been found beaten to death in his apartment in central Moscow, according to police reports.
"Russian spammer found beaten to death One billion email users under suspicion as police launch enquiry," vunet.com , July 26, 2005 --- http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2140340/russian-spammer-murdered
Welcome to virtual classrooms in India (forwarded by Jagdish Gangolli)
Education in colleges and schools across India's villages and urban areas will not be the same from July 28 onwards after the launch of a revolutionary education service by President A P J Abdul Kalam on Thursday. Install a one-and-a-half feet long, small dish antennae in your home, school, neighbourhood community hall, college or university and you can attend world-class classroom lectures, whether you are a primary student or a college graduate. Such lectures delivered at any remote learning centre or the Indian Institutes of Technology are disseminated to your home. Nearly a year after the Indian Space Research Organisation launched the world's first dedicated education satellite, Edusat, virtual classrooms have become a reality in the country. President Kalam opened the country's first phase of Edusat's operations on Thursday by connecting 15 teacher training centres and 50 government schools through satellite in Kerala.
"A revolution in India education," redoff.com, July 28, 2005 --- http://www.rediff.com/news/2005/jul/28gi.htm
Bob Jensen's threads on international distance education alternatives are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm
Something to consider before you embark on a
career in academe
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to talk you out of it – just making sure you know what you want. You wouldn’t just forge ahead after graduate school by naively entering the job market, applying for any and all posted positions, and requesting a multitude of recommendation letters, without performing some type of self-assessment – right? Unfortunately, academics answer Yes more often than might be expected. In many cases, they leap toward academic careers, ignoring somewhat painfully obvious advice and warning signs — that they are not suited for this path, or the goal of teaching or research is wrong for them. Why does this happen? There is an unspoken pressure or obligation to seek employment in academia after graduate training. That is what you are supposed to do, and if you don’t, it’s an embarrassment and you’re a disappointment.
David B. Rivers, "Who Are You?" Inside Higher Ed, July 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/careers/2005/07/27/rivers
Bob Jensen's threads on careers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Bookbob1.htm#careers
Questions about college administrators
being guaranteed "back up" professorships
The University of Wisconsin System announced Tuesday that it was suspending the awarding of “back up” appointments to administrators, pending a review of policies. The appointments have allowed administrators to move into other slots. The university has faced a huge backlash in recent months over a paid leave granted to a Madison administrator who had an affair with a graduate student.
Inside Higher Ed, July 27, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/07/27/qt
Dennis Beresford forwarded the following, which it turns out, is an illustration of a "back up" professorship
"Ex-journalism dean to appeal review rejection UGA harassment case"
By Jennifer Moore
The former University of Georgia journalism dean will appeal to the University System Board of Regents since UGA President Michael Adams denied his request for an independent review of sexual harassment charges. Former Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication dean John Soloski, who resigned his deanship June 28, was reprimanded after a university investigation found that he had made inappropriate comments about a woman employee.
The investigation found that Soloski had violated UGA policy with his comments - one about the employee's eyes, another about a dress that he said showed her "assets" - and he is required to complete a university sexual harassment training program before Jan. 1.
But Soloski said he didn't intend his comments as sexual and that the way the university investigated the matter was unfair.
"UGA is the judge, jury and executioner," Soloski said, and he asked for an independent review of the case.
Adams denied the request in a letter dated Thursday, saying the penalties Soloski faces "are the least stringent that could have been applied under the circumstances."
As a condition of Soloski's contract, he will be paid his dean salary for a year while he returns to research and works on teaching materials. He will return to Grady College as a professor in fall 2006 with a salary no less than the highest paid full professor in the college.
Continued in article
Race outburst - university tries to
Macquarie University today will attempt to buy out the contract of an academic who opposes non-white immigration, warns that Australia is creating an Asian ruling class and that it risks becoming a third world colony. Associate professor Andrew Fraser, from the university's Department of Public Law, wrote to a newspaper earlier this month warning that Australia's increasing black population would lead to more crime and other problems. He has repeated these and other comments opposing non-white immigration to several media outlets. "The director of human resources at Macquarie University called me today [Monday] and said, 'Would you please come in tomorrow [Tuesday], we'd like to discuss buying you out of your fixed-term contract'," he said. He had already planned to retire when his contract ran out on July 30 next year. The university was trying to buy his silence, he said. "You're not really allowed any more to have more than one view on race and immigration. You must be in favour of the colonisation of Australia by the third world and the replacement of Australian students in the universities by foreigners."
Edmund Tadros, "Race outburst - university tries to oust professor," Sydney Morning Herald, July 26, 2005 --- http://smh.com.au/articles/2005/07/25/1122143787355.html
does President Bush purportedly refer to as
About a dozen newspapers have objected to use of toilet humor in Tuesday's and Wednesday's "Doonesbury" comic strip, and some either pulled or edited the strip. Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes the Garry Trudeau strip to about 1,400 newspapers, said it had received some complaints from editors about a reference to presidential aide Karl Rove. In the strip, a caricature of President Bush refers to Rove as "turd blossom." It has been widely reported that "Turd Blossom" is the president's actual nickname for Rove.
"Some Papers Pull, Edit 'Doonesbury' Strip," Fox News, July 27, 2005 ---