Tidbits on August 17, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
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
Bob Jensen's home page is
Security threats and hoaxes ---
Songs of Texas (Yeah!)
Great list of free midi tunes ---
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
Garrison Keillor: An American Classic: Keillor charms fairgoers with
perfect mix of bawdiness, reverence ---
A Good Mom: Cindy's Journal
Lawyer - one who protects us from
robbers by taking away the temptation
Never before has there been such a wide
difference between those who work and those who make money without working.
Education is the ability to listen to
almost anything without losing your temper.
(as quoted in a recent email message from Charlie Betts)
NASA has a great Website filled with multimedia and interactive features
Dick Haar forwarded the NASA pps file at
Fraud at Cornell University
After digging deeper, Dr. Sarafoglou, a 43-year-old
native of Greece, concluded that Cornell was defrauding American taxpayers.
Cornell, she believed, was taking grant money for studies and using it to
support standard care for patients at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, a Cornell
affiliate on Manhattan's Upper East Side. "When you see all this research money
being wasted, what do you do?" asks Dr. Sarafoglou.
Bernard Wysocki, Jr., "As Universities Get Billions in Grants, Some See Abuses:
Cornell Doctor Blows Whistle Over Use of Federal Funds, Alleging Phantom
Studies, The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2005; Page A1 ---
The Cool Spot is a good site to bookmark for young people and other
persons troubled with alcohol abuse
Alcoholism is a disease on the rise, especially among teens. A good
site for information and help is the The Cool Spot from the National Institute
on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism ---
Canada's 'Free' Health Care Has a High Price Tag
But Canada's public care doesn't save money. As the
satirist P.J. O'Rourke once noted, "If you think health care is expensive now,
wait until you see what it costs when it's free." When adjusted for the age of
its population, Canada vies with Iceland and Switzerland as the highest spender
on health care among the 28 most developed nations with universal systems. Dr.
David Gratzer, a Toronto physician affiliated with the Manhattan Institute,
calculates that a Canadian earning $35,000 a year pays a stunning $7,350 in
health-care taxes. Canada's Supreme Court was scathing in its indictment of the
system. "Access to a waiting list is not access to health care," the court
ruled. "Delays in the public health care system are widespread . . . in some
serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists." The court struck down
a Quebec law banning private medical insurance, which should lead to successful
challenges to similar laws in other provinces. While last week the court stayed
the impact of its ruling in Quebec for a year, a nationwide debate on why Canada
is the only country other than Cuba and North Korea to ban private insurance and
private care has finally broken out.
John H. Fund, "Canada's 'Free' Health Care Has a High Price Tag," The Wall
Street Journal, August 12, 2005; Page A9 ---
Congratulations to House Republicans Joe Barton and Ed
Whitfield, who last week opened a probe into the nation's asbestos and silicosis
claims. Their decision to investigate the people responsible for recruiting and
falsely diagnosing tens of thousands of plaintiffs is a major step toward
exposing this fraud.
"Silicosis Scandal," The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2005; Page A8
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
Kim Norris of the Detroit Free Press presents an interesting look at Islamic
Mortgages. Islamic mortgages are different than traditional mortgages since many
Muslims believe interest is wrong ---
From Jim Mahar's blog on August 10, 2005 ---
A few interesting tidbits are quoted from
"The biggest barrier to developing so-called
Islamic financing in the United States is the absence of a secondary
market for these products. Typically when banks loan money for houses,
they sell those loans to investors who profit by collecting the
principle and interest.
Ranzini said University Bank must hang onto the
Islamic mortgages it writes as well as title to the homes. That limits
the volume of loans a bank can make."
Home insurance can also a be problem for the
"borrowers" since they technically do not own the home. In the article
Norris writes of a Muslim couple who experienced this problem:
"some problems when they tried to buy
homeowners insurance -- something necessary to obtain a mortgage.
Insurers would not recognize the Islamic mortgage as a standard
mortgage. Instead, they insisted that since the trust owned the house,
Solaiman and Metzger were only eligible for renters' insurance." This
may be changing however since in Michigan at least, the "Office of
Financial and Insurance Services...OFIS issued a clarification saying
that Islamic mortgages qualified for homeowners insurance just as a
traditional mortgage does."
From Newschool.edu (I highly recommend reading it!!!) ---
"Although clerics had been prohibited from lending
at interest at least since the 4th Century, the ban was not extended to
laymen until much later. In 1139, the Second Lateran Council denied all
sacraments to unrepentant usurers and, in an 1142 decree, condemned any
payment greater than the capital that was lent." Interestingly (no pun
intended) Christians decided that interest was fine so long as it was not
punitive (hence the term usury). It will be interesting to see (and
unfortunately it will probably be after any of our lifetimes) whether
Muslims decide likewise.
I have tried to understand why any religion would not allow any interest and
I can not. I realize there are scripture readings (in many religions--see
Wikipedia) against it, but I confess I do not understand the logic behind them.
The ability to borrow (i.e. access to capital) can be amazingly beneficial and
while equity might be better in some regards, limiting supply seems an
interesting way of making helping the poor. Indeed, it could be said that
religions would want to increase this access to money to help lift the poor from
The only explanation that makes sense to me is that debt can become a burden
(too much of a good thing) and can lead to short-term thinking. But that is more
an indictment of excessive debt. So maybe we should be against predatory lending
and not all lending.
Open2 portal to learning
I think Open University in the U.K. is the largest university in the world. It
has extensive onsite and online courses. BBC News and Open University
combined forces to create the Open2 portal to learning and news ---
There are also various forums.
Bob Jensen's threads on cross border online programs are at
Bob Jensen's bookmarks on education are at
Online Journal of Distance Education ---
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration ---
July 31, 2005 message received from
The Texas Journal of Distance Learning (
), an independent, peer-reviewed online journal,
encourages, collects, and shares scholarly knowledge about all aspects of
distance learning emanating from higher education in the state of Texas. An
editorial board of recognized academics and practitioners guides and produces
the journal. The University of Houston hosts and supports the TJDL.
"Students Perceptions of Distance Learning, Online Learning and the
Traditional Classroom," by John O'Malley, Department of Management and Business
Systems Harrison McCraw, Department of Accounting and Finance Richards College
of Business State University of West Georgia Carrollton, Georgia 30118-3030 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on distance education references are at
Each baby buys an extra year at Princeton
Princeton University . . . is now giving all new
parents an extra year before tenure review — automatically. Many colleges
promise to award the year to anyone eligible who asks. But at Princeton, you
don’t ask — it now just happens. And it can happen multiple times for people who
have more than one child (and those who have twins can get two extra years at
Scott Jaschik, "Stopping the Clock — Without Asking," Inside Higher Ed,
August 16, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment: Presumably this only applies to faculty
deemed to be making adequate progress toward tenure with or without the extra
years for babies. It would be absurd to be otherwise locked into a really
lousy/negligent teacher for extra years just because a new babies are born year
after year. That would unduly penalize students. Colleges who adopt
this faculty benefit must be very careful how it is worded if lawsuits are to be
"Classroom Heat," by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August
16, 2005 ---
- In your Sociology of Families course, you ask
students to write a paper on the arguments for and against gay adoption.
One of your students tells you that he cannot do this assignment because
offering arguments for gay adoption clashes with his religious beliefs.
- In your Race and Ethnicity course, a students
cites “evidence” that African Americans are intellectually inferior to
whites. When challenged, she points to the syllabus, which states, “Each
person’s perspective is valuable.”
- A student whose opinion differs from the
majority of the class speaks her mind. She is personally attacked by
another student and before you can intervene, the attacked student runs
out of the classroom. Do you run after her?
Hot button issues may not come up regularly in
classroom discussion in every discipline. But in sociology, they come up all
the time. Abortion. Gay marriage. Poverty. Religion. Even issues that may
not capture headlines all the time — like spanking — are regularly covered
(and fought over) by sociology students.
At a session of the annual meeting of the American
Sociological Association, which is going on this week in Philadelphia,
professors tried to talk through strategies for how to discuss these issues
— without losing control of their classrooms, hurting students’ feelings, or
ending up being lampooned on David Horowitz’s Web site. The above scenarios
(which audience members said were close to things they had experienced) were
analyzed and debated.
Continued in article
Yawn! Another week and another multimillion dollar fine
paid by Merrill Lynch. So what's new?
Merrill Lynch & Co. will pay a $10 million fine for
failing to deliver prospectuses to customers in mutual-fund transactions, as
well as other supervisory and operational lapses, New York Stock Exchange
regulators said. The Big Board officials said the brokerage firm failed to
deliver prospectuses from October 2002 to March 2004 with respect to 64,000
transactions related to sales of registered, open-ended mutual-fund securities.
The firm also failed to deliver prospectuses between January 2004 and July 2004
in 900 transactions in 275 accounts related to auction-rate preferred stocks,
Chad Bray, "Merrill Fined $10 Million by NYSE," The Wall Street Journal,
August 16, 2005; Page C13 ---
Jensen Comment: Sometimes it seems that there are almost
no securities frauds in which Merrill Lynch is not somehow involved. Just
search for "Merrill" at
The Blackboard: A tribute to a long-standing but fading
teaching and learning tool
From the Museum of History and Science at Oxford University:
Bye Bye Blackboard: From Einstein and others ---
August 14, 2005 reply from Bob Blystone
Seeing Bob Jensen's post about the disappearance of
blackboards from classrooms in this digital age, provoked a thought: when
were blackboards first used in classrooms. The Military Academy at West
Point is often cited as the first place in the United States; however, it is
not clear exactly when or who introduced the blackboard on the banks of the
Hudson River. George Baron or Claude Crozet in either 1801 or 1817 are
The web site listed by Bob describes the salvaging
of a blackboard upon which an Einstein lecture was written and never
erased... that led me to a cluster of thoughts. When Trinity moved from
Waxahachie to Woodlawn, were any of the blackboards moved from there to
here? When Trinity moved from Woodlawn to Stadium Drive in 1952, were any
blackboards brought along? And finally, just where on today's campus is the
oldest surviving blackboard? With the total rebuilding of Northrup and the
major renovations of Marrs McLean, are there any pre-1952 blackboards on
campus? Perhaps Pete or Norm might know.
All this pre-academic year musing leads me to one
additional utterance: Who gave the first PowerPoint lecture at Trinity
University? When was that first lecture given?
There is a lack of romance when one says "I have a
freshly formatted hard drive" in contrast to "I have a clean slate."
August 14, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen
The demise of chalk boards commenced years before computers with the
widespread use of overhead transparencies that could both be prepared before
class and developed during a lecture. The same applies to flip charts for
which Don VanEynde is famous.
Preceding PowerPoint, there were campus applications
of Harvard Graphics and possibly Persuasion.
I commenced using a DOS hypertext and graphics
program called HyperGraphics in 1990 (see
http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/290wp/290wp.htm ). But preceding those
applications on campus were classroom presentations from HyperCard and
possibly some of the early paintbrush programs ---
Some of the first faculty demonstrations of HyperCard, HyperGraphics, and
Harvard Graphics came in our infamous May 1992 Faculty Summer Seminar. IMS
videos of these presentations are available in the basement of the Trinity
Library. Participating Trinity faculty had to develop presentation projects.
Invited speakers such as Robert Winter (Music, UCLA) and Bill Graves
(Mathematics, UNC) had great ToolBook presentations that inspired me to
shift from HyperGraphics to ToolBook.
I don't recall any PowerPoint demonstrations that
early in time. Wes Regian (USAF) had a great Harvard Graphics presentation
of learning theory and technology.
As you recall, the Internet was only used by a few
faculty (Kroeger and some Computer Science faculty) in 1992. Internet cable
was literally strung between windows of a few buildings in those days. I
suspect that you were also one of the early "window wire" users.
August 14, 2005 reply from Bob Blystone
"PowerPoint was originally developed by Bob
Gaskins, a former Berkeley Ph.D. student who envisioned an easy-to-use
presentation program that would manipulate a string of slides. In 1984,
Gaskins joined a failing Silicon Valley software firm called Forethought and
hired a software developer, Dennis Austin. Their prototype program was
called "Presenter", but was changed to PowerPoint to avoid a trademark
problem. PowerPoint 1.0 was released in 1987 for the Apple Macintosh. It ran
in black and white, generating text-and-graphics pages that a photocopier
could turn into overhead transparencies. Later in 1987, Forethought and
PowerPoint were purchased by Microsoft Corporation for $14 million. In 1988
the first Windows and DOS versions were produced. Since 1990, PowerPoint has
been a standard part of the Microsoft Office suite of applications."
I own Power Point 1.
August 14, 2005 reply from John Howland
The first (Trinity University)
computer based interactive lecture presentations (not PowerPoint) began in
the CS department in 1972 when we designed a machine (built by student Fred
Rodgers in a Physics lab) to be used in conjunction with a 2741 style
printing terminal manufactured by GTE and a 3M overhead projector (borrowed
from IMS). The machine fed thin roll mylar (on which the printer typed) to
the flat bed of the overhead projector so that an entire class could
immediately see the computer output. The last time I looked, we still have
the machine which was used for several years.
I think we were rather innovative in those days.
I also designed and implemented the University's
first e-mail system (intra university) long before the internet was designed
and implemented and the University's first word processing system (an
example use was the 1976 Self-study). President Calgaard later banned the
use of that software as an inappropriate use for our mainframe computer!
Bob Jensen's threads on technology in education are at
Bob Jensen's threads on the tools of education technology are at
Business Week's listing of the top 10 new technologies
Podcasts, RFID tags, and mesh networks are among the 10 new technologies that
should be on the radar of every chief exec
"The CEO's Tech Toolbox," Business Week, July 26, 2005 ---
Also see a listing of the best product designs ---
ActiveData for Office is a major step forward for our
users and for InfromationActive,” Michael Pluscauskas, President of
InformationActive Inc. said in a press release announcing the general
availability. “This product provides our customers with a flexible and dynamic
platform that not only breaks the Microsoft Excel™ row barrier, but also is
adaptable and expandable for future planned functionality. Users have been
asking for a powerful data analysis tool that works with Microsoft Office and we
have given them that and much more. I’m also proud of the fact that we’ve
provided an exceptionally robust product at a very competitive price.”
ActiveData for Office stretches the boundaries of traditional data analysis
tools by providing exceptional integration with Microsoft Office. Users can
append documents and web pages to their analysis and archive the entire file in
addition to analyzing millions of rows of data quickly thus providing new levels
of information control while still allowing the flexibility to view results
within ActiveDatae for Office or Microsoft Excel. ActiveData for Office also
includes macro capability for recording commonly performed tasks and full audit
"The Next Level of Computer Aided Audit Tools," AccountingWeb, August 15,
Bob Jensen's threads on accounting software are at
Beyond historical transactions cost
Two Interpretations of Statements on Auditing
Standards have been issued by the AICPA. These interpretations concern the
auditing of fair values or more specifically Auditing Interests in Trusts Held
by a Third-Party Trustee and Reported at Fair Value; and Auditing Investments in
Securities Where a Readily Determinable Fair Value Does Not Exist. The
interpretations illuminate situations where simply receiving a confirmation of
fair value from a third party is not enough audit evidence for a complete
valuation. The interpretations reiterate the responsibility for management to
institute accounting and financial reporting processes for determination of fair
"AICPA Issues Fair Value Interpretations," AccountingWeb, August
15, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's thread on fair value controversies are at
One of the all-time largest gifts to a university
A doctor who helped invent a successful
anti-inflammatory drug has donated an estimated $105 million to the New York
University School of Medicine -- one of the largest gifts ever made to a U.S.
Elizabeth Bernstein, "Doctor Writes Rx For $105 Million," The Wall Street
Journal, August 12, 2005; Page W1 ---
Starting and ending life as a blank page
I contend that Clairidge’s hard-won nullity is
temperamentally different from nihilism, which is to say that believing nothing
is not the same as Belief in Nothing. Moreover, if Clairidge’s art takes the
blankness of life as its premise, its slow-building conclusions represent a sort
of après vie. Though reconstructing a writer’s faith from his art is a dicey
business (and Ethel burned her brother’s blank notebooks after his death), one
of the few remaining social effects sold at a charity auction in 1876 is a
hay-strewn, slightly warped Ouija board. In short, this project involves the
unacknowledged fourth estate of the race, gender, and class trinity: creed. Any
committee members in sympathy with the current political administration, please
take note. Nothing is familiar to me. As a blocked but tenured faculty member
for the past 14 years, I can attest to the power of the blank page. The study I
propose would be as infinitely suggestive as Clairidge’s own work. Having
already compiled over 150 blank pages of my own, I estimate that I am about
halfway through a first draft.
David Galef , "NEH Grant Proposal #1095702H," Inside Higher Ed, August 12,
Erotic images can be blinding
Researchers have finally found evidence for what good
Catholic boys have known all along – erotic images make you go blind. The effect
is temporary and lasts just a moment, but the research has added to road-safety
campaigners’ calls to ban sexy billboard-advertising near busy roads, in the
hope of preventing accidents. The new study by US psychologists found that
people shown erotic or gory images frequently fail to process images they see
immediately afterwards. And the researchers say some personality types appear to
be affected more than others by the phenomenon, known as “emotion-induced
Gaia Vince, "Erotic images can turn you blind," New Scientist, August 12, 2005
It became a "cardinal" rule at Stanford University
The National Collegiate Athletic Association last
week banned the use of Native American team names and mascots in postseason
play, upsetting the 18 colleges that use the symbols, and leaving fans at many
of those institutions saying that it would be terrible to change. In
fact, many colleges (see list at bottom of article) have changed their mascots
and symbols away from Native American imagery, and officials at these colleges
report that while a few alumni never get over it, most people are happy with the
change, and alumni pride has not suffered. Stanford University, home to
one of the most successful athletic programs in the country,
from Indians to Cardinal (the color, not the bird) in
1972. The move came after a small group of Native American
students and staff members appealed to the administration. “Stanford took pride
in making a change without being forced,” said Bill Stone, emeritus president of
the Stanford Alumni Association, and an assistant to the president during the
David Epstein, "Burying the Mascot Hatchet," Inside Higher Ed, August 12,
New Option for Student Shoppers: E-Books
As students at eight colleges shop for notebooks and car
decals this fall, they’ll have another product to consider at the campus
bookstore: electronic textbooks. But not everyone expects the e-books fly off
the shelves. The eight colleges have partnered with the wholesale company
MBS Textbook Exchange
to offer about 30 textbooks at 33 percent below the
normal cover price. “It’s about giving students a cheaper option,” said Jeff
Cohen, advertising and promotions manager at MBS.
David Epstein, "New Option for Student Shoppers: E-Books," Inside Higher Ed,
August 12, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at
Google's Book Scanning Hits Snag
Stung by a publishing industry
backlash, Google has halted its efforts to scan copyright
books from some of the nation's largest university libraries
so the material can be indexed in its leading internet
search engine. The company announced the suspension,
effective until November, in a
notice posted on its website
just before midnight Thursday by Adam Smith, the manager of
ambitious program to convert
millions of books into a digital format.
"Google's Book Scanning Hits Snag," Wired News
August 12, 2005 ---
Turning the tables on Google
, which News.com
linked to, was headlined "Google Balances Privacy, Reach,"
and showed just how much information Google has placed at
our fingertips. To illustrate, staff writer Elinor Mills
spent 30 minutes googling Eric Schmidt, Google's chief
executive officer, then published Schmidt's net worth ($1.5
billion), his net gain from selling Google stock this year
($140 million), the town he calls home (Atherton,
California), the fact that he is an amateur pilot and
"roamed the desert at the Burning Man art festival in
Nevada." "That such detailed personal information is so
readily available on public websites makes most people
uncomfortable," Mills wrote. "But it's nothing compared with
the information Google collects and doesn't make public."
She worried that "hackers, zealous government investigators
or even a Google insider who falls short of the company's
ethics standards could abuse that information." The question
is how could a company like Google, which has become the
toast of Wall Street, have such tone-deaf public relations?
Adam L. Penenberg, "Google's Boycott Misses the Mark,"
, August 11, 2005 ---
Why should he be allowed to keep five
Bernard J. Ebbers,
the swaggering, self-made businessman who
vowed to revolutionize the telephone
industry, yesterday agreed to give up
virtually everything he has built or bought
to raise an estimated $45 million to settle
the claims of investors hurt when WorldCom
Inc. collapsed into bankruptcy three years
Ebbers, 63, will be allowed to keep
enough money to cover legal fees and to
support his wife in what prosecutors call a
"modest" fashion. But the once-brash
executive must move out of his Clinton,
Miss., mansion within three months so that
it can be sold. He also must forfeit
interests in 300,000 acres of timberland, a
marina and a golf course, and an anticipated
federal tax refund of millions of dollars,
Carrie Johnson and Yuki Noguchi,
"Ebbers Agrees to Settle Shareholder
Suit Former WorldCom: Chief Executive
to Give Up About 95 Percent of Assets,"
The Washington Post, July 1, 2005 ---
Ebbers Found Guilty
Former WorldCom Chief Executive Bernard J. Ebbers
was convicted of participating in the largest accounting fraud in U.S.
history, handing the government a landmark victory in its prosecution of an
unprecedented spate of corporate scandals. After eight days of
deliberation, the jury found Mr. Ebbers guilty of all nine counts against him,
including conspiracy and securities fraud, related to an $11 billion
accounting fraud at the onetime highflying telecommunications giant. Mr.
Ebbers, 63 years old, now faces the prospect of spending many years in jail.
He is expected to appeal.
"Ebbers Is Convicted In Massive Fraud: WorldCom Jurors Say CEO Had
to Have Known; Unconvinced by Sullivan," The Wall Street Journal,
March 16, 2005; Page A1 ---
Justice Lite: Scott Sullivan
gets five years with the possibility of
former chief financial officer, Scott
Sullivan, who engineered the $11 billion
fraud at the onetime telecom titan, was
sentenced to five years in prison -- a
reduced term that sent a signal to
white-collar criminals that it can pay to
cooperate with the government. Mr.
Sullivan's reduced sentence came after
prosecutors credited his testimony as
crucial to the conviction of his former boss
and mentor, Bernard J. Ebbers, who founded
the company, which is now known as MCI Inc.
Last month, Mr. Ebbers was sentenced to 25
years in prison.
Shawn Youg, Dionne Searcey, and Nathan Kopp,
"Cooperation Pays: Sullivan Gets Five
Years," The Wall Street Journal,
August 12, 2005, Page C1 ---
A WSJ video is available at
Bob Jensen's threads on the Worldcom
accounting scandal are at
Justice Lite: Rite Aid Ex-CEO's Sentence Pared
A federal judge on Thursday trimmed a year from the
eight-year sentence of former Rite Aid Corp. Chief Executive Martin L. Grass for
conspiring to obstruct justice and to defraud the nation's third-largest
drugstore chain and its shareholders. U.S. District Judge Sylvia H. Rambo said
she acted to reduce a disparity between Mr. Grass and other defendants sentenced
for similar crimes. Mr. Grass, 51 years old, smiled and blew a kiss to family
members as federal marshals led him from the courtroom.
"Rite Aid Ex-CEO's Sentence Pared," The Wall Street Journal, August 12,
2005; Page C3 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on white crime collar crime leniency (and why these
crimes pay) are at
The Trial Lawyers' Enron
Department is finally starting to take a
hard look at some dubious legal practices,
and it isn't a pretty sight. If a recent
federal indictment that refers to Milberg
Weiss is anything to go by, the trial bar
has its Enron. That indictment, delivered up
in late June, charges two California
attorneys with conspiracy, fraud, money
laundering and obstruction of justice --
among other felonies. Class-action lawsuit
giant Milberg Weiss isn't formally charged,
though the firm has admitted it is the "New
York Law Firm" cited in the indictment as
having made numerous illegal payments to
plaintiffs. Justice has also made clear that
criminal charges against Milberg Weiss
partners, or even the entire firm, are
"The Trial Lawyers' Enron,"
Street Journal, July 7, 2005; Page A12
Bob Jensen's fraud updates are at
From the Scout Report on August 11, 2005
Two on College Writing
Dartmouth Writing Program
of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center
As students begin to return to college campuses
across the country, they may be curious to know that there are a number of
fine online resources that will help them develop their college-level
writing skills. The first site offered here comes from the Dartmouth College
Writing Program, and contains a number of helpful materials, such as some
well-written essays that answer the question "What is an academic paper?"
and also provide information on researching topics for papers. The site also
includes information on such topics as writing about film, writing for
sociology courses, and helpful suggestions on writing from fellow students.
The second site is offered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Writing
Center and contains material on how best to cite references and avoiding
common grammar and punctuation mistakes. Taken together, these sites provide
a host of materials that will allow students to become better writers in
their various courses during their time in the world of higher education and
Global Voices Online ---
Many public interest media organizations are
concerned about listening to the voices and opinions of those around the
world, particularly in the developing world. One such group is the nonprofit
global citizens' media project, Global Voices Online, which is sponsored by
the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School. Its
ultimate goal is "to foster better international communication and
understanding between ordinary citizens of different countries, using
internet, wireless and radio technologies." On the project's well-designed
homepage, visitors can access compelling blogs from dozens of countries
around the world and view profiles of persons working in a variety of
important fields related to these emerging technologies. Another very
important aspect of the site is the area dedicated to Podcasts from around
the globe, including those offered by Ahmad Humeid in Jordan and several
interviews with Chinese bloggers.
California Academy of Sciences ---
Founded in 1853 as the first scientific institution
in the American West, the California Academy of Sciences is based in San
Francisco and is the home to a number of public exhibits and eight
scientific research departments. The Academy's online presence is quite
prodigious, and contains copious information about its various outreach
activities, its lecture series, and of course, its natural history museum.
The homepage allows entry to many of these features, including the AntWeb,
which warrants at least one detailed visit. The AntWeb serves as a
clearinghouse of information on the ant faunas of both California and
Madagascar, and visitors can learn about these different creatures here.
Another nice feature is the "Science Now" area of the site. Here visitors
can learn about the various research projects underway at the Academy, such
as those projects on the dart frogs of Suriname.
The continued growth of online radio stations that
offer streaming audio was interrupted by a number of lawsuits filed by a
number of corporations in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Fortunately, some
legal options are now available, including Mercora, which is an Internet
software system that includes a universal Internet radio tuner linked to
many different channels and users. After downloading the Mercora client
application, users will be able to search for music that interests them
online. This version of Mercora is only compatible with Windows 2000 and
Siberia feels the heat
It's a frozen peat bog the size of France and Germany
combined, contains billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas and, for the first time
since the ice age, it is melting
Ian Sample, "Warming hits 'tipping point'," Guardian Unlimited, August
11, 2005 ---
Kansas Teen Awarded $250K In Bullying Lawsuit
A Kansas jury Thursday ruled in favor of a Tonganoxie
teenager who said the school district failed to stop the bullying that led him
to drop out of school. The family of Dylan Theno, 18, filed the lawsuit in May
2004 against the Tonganoxie School District. The suit claimed Theno had suffered
years of brutal bullying, and that school officials didn't attempt to stop the
harassment. "That's five years of my life that I had to live -- just depressed,
angry, scared. I can never get that back," Theno told KMBC-TV. "I was just
miserable, you know. You wake up every morning, begging my parents not to make
me go to school. It was just, I didn't want to be there; I didn't want to walk
down those halls anymore."
"Kansas Teen Awarded $250K In Bullying Lawsuit," Click On Detroit, August 12,
Socially Responsible Investing
"Mutual Fund Attributes and Investor Behavior," by Nicolas P.B. Bollen and Mark
A. Cohen, April 2005 ---
Abstract Do non-financial investment attributes
affect investor behavior? To answer this question, we study the dynamics of
investor cash flows in socially responsible mutual funds. Consistent with
anecdotal evidence, we find that the monthly volatility of investor cash
flows is lower in socially responsible funds than conventional funds. In
addition, annual flows in socially responsible funds are less sensitive to
lagged negative returns than flows in conventional funds, but more sensitive
to lagged positive returns. We argue that that these results can be
explained by a non-financial component of the utility functions of socially
Decline in jury trials amidst rise in litigation
"Gloria Padilla: As cases change, new justice system emerges," Gloria Padilla,
San Antonio Express-News, August 14, 2005 ---
Civil jury trials are following the path of the
dinosaurs: They are becoming extinct.
And as they vanish, some lawyers worry that the
Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the guarantee of a trial by
jury, may also disappear.
"It's all a matter of economics," Dale Hicks,
president of the San Antonio chapter of the American Board of Trial
Last fiscal year, the 13 elected civil court judges
in Bexar County oversaw only 48 jury verdicts — less than one per week. In
comparison, records for fiscal year 1994-95 indicate almost 200 civil trials
were taken to jury verdict among the 11 trial benches that existed then.
This does not necessarily mean people are becoming
less litigious or the need for lawyers has diminished.
About 76,000 lawyers are licensed to practice law
in the state, and 34,703 lawsuits were filed in Bexar County last year. Both
those numbers are expected to grow a bit each year.
The downward trend
Civil court statistics for the past 10 years show
some striking trends in the law business in this community.
The disappearing civil law trial phenomenon is not
exclusive to state district courts or Texas. The same thing is happening in
district and federal courts across the country — a trend that has become a
hot topic in legal workshops and seminars throughout the nation.
Factors in the declining requests for jury trials
include tort reform; arbitration clauses in contracts; changes in the law
regarding workers' compensation; the growing use of mediation; and the
rising cost of trials.
The drop in jury trials has produced a cottage
industry of mediators and arbitrators while forcing a decline in the
litigation sections of most large law firms.
Continued in article
A "Hot Hire" at the University of Texas at San Antonio
The University of Texas at San Antonio has several
goals for its College of Business: increasing its prominence, especially in the
world of research; boosting its focus on international economics; and serving as
a showcase for the role a minority-serving institution can play in a diverse
business world. It’s not surprising, then, that officials are excited about the
arrival of Hamid Beladi, who is the editor or associate editor of four journals
focused on international economic issues and an expert on international trade.
Lynda de la Viña, dean of the business school, notes that San Antonio will now
be the headquarters for the International Review of Economics and Finance, one
of the journals Beladi edits. San Antonio’s business school already had strong
ties to China and to Latin America — and wants Beladi to lead the international
economics track of a planned Ph.D. in economics. Beladi, who has taught at the
University of Dayton and North Dakota State University, says that he was
attracted to San Antonio by the opportunity to help create a new Ph.D. program.
Scott Jaschik, "Hot Hires," Inside Higher Ed, August 11, 2005 ---
Advertising above urinals can be effective
It started with small posters positioned at eye
level. The copy ran just long enough to be read in the time it took to relieve a
bladder. It was cunning, it was effective, but it just wasn't enough. Take a
tinkle at some Sydney pubs and you will now be treated to a full multimedia
experience. Advertising flashes up on the latest LCD screens. A sexy voice-over
urges you to buy a different brand of deodorant - one that the ladies just can't
resist. It's all extremely impressive but unfortunately after experiencing this
new age advertising my confidence is shattered. While the alcohol has almost
delivered me the courage to talk to the girl in the red dress, would she even
consider a bloke wearing some vastly inferior deodorant? Maybe there's a 24-hour
supermarket nearby. I walk back out to the bar dejected. I order another beer. I
choose the brand recommended by the screen in the bathroom. After all, the guy
in the ad seemed really popular. My friend is attempting to chat up a girl by
the bar. He's failing miserably. Obviously he's not wearing the right brand of
deodorant either. Perhaps he should cut his losses, visit the gents and get an
update on the latest metrosexual must haves. I'm sure when he has the right hair
gel and a cool mobile phone he'll do a whole lot better.
"Creatives could do better," Sydney Morning Herald, August 17, 2005 ---
Excerpts from Dog and Cat Diaries (forwarded by Paula)
"Excerpts From The Dog's Daily Diary"
8:00 am - Oh Boy! Dog
food! My favorite!
9:30 am - Oh Boy! A car
ride! My favorite!
9:40 am - Oh Boy! A walk!
10:30 am - Oh Boy! A car
ride! My favorite!
11:30 am - Oh Boy! Dog
food! My favorite!
12:00 noon - Oh Boy! The
kids! My favorite!
1:00 pm - Oh Boy! The
yard! My favorite!
4:00 pm - Oh Boy! The
kids! My favorite!
5:00 pm - Oh Boy! Dog
food! My favorite!
5:30 pm - Oh Boy! Mom! My
6:00 pm - Oh Boy! Playing
ball! My favorite!
6:30 pm - Oh Boy! Sleeping
in master's bed! My favorite!
"Excerpts From The Cat's Daily Diary"
Day 283 Of My Captivity:
My captors continue to
taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh
meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me
going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining
the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another house plant.
Today my attempt to kill
my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost
succeeded; must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust
and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on
their favorite chair; must try this on their bed.
Decapitated a mouse and
brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am
capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and
condescended about what a good little cat I was. Hmmm, not working according
There was some sort of
gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the
event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the food. More importantly
I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must
learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.
I am convinced the other
captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and
seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird on the
other hand has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am
certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal
room, his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time. .
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmark
s go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory ---
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
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is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/
Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
Voice: 210-999-7347 Fax:
210-999-8134 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org