Tidbits on August 19, 2005
Bob Jensen at Trinity University
Fraud Updates ---
For earlier editions of New Bookmarks go to http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Archives of Tidbits: Tidbits Directory --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Click here to search Bob Jensen's web site if you have key words to enter ---
For example if you want to know what Jensen documents have the term "Enron" enter the phrase Jensen AND Enron. Another search engine that covers Trinity and other universities is at http://www.searchedu.com/.
Bob Jensen's home page is at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/
Security threats and hoaxes --- http://www.trinity.edu/its/virus/
Music: New York City --- http://www.jessiesweb.com/nycoring.htm
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
Bill Clinton blows his own horn
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton's favorite songs are being compiled for release on a series of albums, it was reported Monday. The first CD in "The Bill Clinton Collection: Selections From the Clinton Music Room," includes jazz classics such as John Coltrane's "My One and Only Love," Miles Davis' "My Funny Valentine" and Zoot Sims' "Summertime," Billboard.com reported.
"Bill Clinton's favorites compiled on CD," Washington Times, August 15, 2005 ---
Forwarded by Paula
AAA Fuel Cost Calculator --- http://www.fuelcostcalculator.com/
Clearly the west coast of the U.S. suffers from restrictions on the building of new refineries.
How not to become a Wal-Mart greeter
Some guidelines for planning for your income in retirement --- http://www.careerjournal.com/myc/retirement/index.html
2005 Anti-Virus product comparison guide ---
Bob Jensen's threads on computing and network security are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/ecommerce/000start.htm#SpecialSection
Fraudulent Conferences that Rip Off Colleges: Do you
really want to participate in these frauds?
I've written about this before, but I want to elaborate. Academics either unwittingly or willingly sometimes allow themselves to get caught up in fraudulent "conferences." Spam is on the rise for these frauds. The degree of fraudulence varies. At worst, there is no conference and organizers merely charge an exorbitant fee that allows the paper to be "refereed" and published in a conference proceedings, thereby giving a professor a "publication." See http://lists.village.virginia.edu/lists_archive/Humanist/v18/0633.html
Even when the conferences meet, they may be fraudulent. Generally these conferences are held in places where professors like to travel in Europe, South America, Latin America, Las Vegas, Canada, the Virgin Islands, or other nice locations for vacations that accompany a trip to a conference paid for by a professor's employer. The professor gets credit for a presentation and possibly a publication in the conference proceedings.
But wait a minute! Here are some warning signs for a fraudulent conference:
Even though there is a high registration fee, there are no
conference-hosted receptions, luncheons, or plenary sessions. The
conference organizer is never called to account for the high registration
fee. The organizer may allude to the cost of meeting rooms in a hotel,
but often the meeting rooms are free as long as the organizer can guarantee
a minimum number of guests who will pay for rooms in the hotel.
All or nearly all submissions are accepted for presentation.
The only participants in most presentation audiences are
generally other presenters assigned to make a presentation in the same time
slot. There is virtually no non-participating audience. Hence
only a few people are in the room and each of them take turns making a
presentation. Most are looking at their watches and hoping to get out
of the room as soon as possible.
Presenters present their papers and then disappear for the
rest of the conference. There is virtually no interaction among all
The papers presented are often journal rejects that are
cycled conference after conference if the professor can find a conference
that will accept anything submitted on paper. Check the dates on the
references listed for each paper. Chances are the papers have few if
any references from the current decade.
These conferences are almost always held in popular tourist locations and are often scheduled between semesters for the convenience of adding vacation time to the trip. They are especially popular in the summer.
Bob Jensen's threads on various types of fraud in academe are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm
August 17, 2005 reply from Jagdish Patha
I was about to be fleeced by one such conference cheat claiming himself some Dr.----. generally organizes conferences at almost all the exotic locations of US, Cancun, Venice etc. This organizer double blind peer reviewed my submission (almost 35-40 pages) within 52 hours! Asked for per page charges if required to be placed in "proceedings" which happens to be a CD-ROM. This organizer has also got 4-5 journals which can ultimately accommodate any paper written from any angle of any sphere of business. You may get into any journal of your choice which will claim to be "double blind peer reviewed'!
I wish there should be some agency of regulators who can tame them. These people are bogus, there conferences are bogus and often I feel that what will be the face of a person who will come out and claim a paper presented and published in such bogus outlet to be considered suitable for tenure and promotion!
Jagdish Pathak, PhD
Guest Editor- Managerial Auditing Journal (Special Issue)
Associate Professor of Accounting & Systems Accounting & Finance Area
Odette School of Business
University of Windsor 401 Sunset Windsor, N9B 3P4, ON Canada
Cold and distant teaching vs. warm and close
Many instructors struggle with the role of rapport in teaching. For some, the response is a cool and distant teaching style. This essay argues that a style of appropriate warmth can promote student learning. It offers definitions, examples, and implications for the instructor.
Robert F. Bruner, "'Do you Expect Me to Pander to the Students?' The Cold Reality of Warmth in Teaching," SSRN Working Paper, June 2005 --- http://ssrn.com/abstract=754504
"Favorite teacher" vs. "learned the most" ---
Why then do the studies show that a faculty member's research activity and his or her teaching performance basically are uncorrelated (neither positively correlated nor negatively correlated)? My best guess is that these studies have fundamental flaws. After reading some of Nils' references as well as more recent work on the subject, I believe that most of these studies measure both teaching effectiveness and research activity incorrectly. On the teaching effectiveness side, student evaluations of teaching often are the only measure used in those studies; and, on the research productivity side generally only numbers of publications are counted. Neither of these data points really measure quality. The student evaluations often are highly correlated with the grade that a student expects to receive rather than how much the student has learned. Faculty members who are engaged in research often are demanding of themselves as well as their students, so that may skew their student evaluations. Measuring research activity by the number of papers published tends to skew the results towards those faculty members who would view themselves primarily as researchers and teachers of graduate students rather than as teacher scholars who devote as much effort to their teaching as to their research. In fact one of the correlations observed in the research is that those faculty members who publish the most often have less time available to devote to their teaching.
Nils Clausson, "Is There a Link Between Teaching and Research?" The Irascible Professor, December 30, 2004 --- http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-12-30-04.htm
Forwarded by David Albrecht
New Form 4868 Provides Six-Month Filing Extension
Aug. 8, 2005 (SmartPros) -- The Internal Revenue Service released a draft of the revised IRS Form 4868, which if approved will give individual taxpayers a six-month extension without the need to file an intervening form.
The IRS said that it is estimated that this change may save nine million hours.
Provided the necessary regulations are approved, taxpayers will be able to use the revised form for Tax Year 2005.
For Tax Year 2004, a taxpayer filing a Form 4868 had until August 15 to file the return. The taxpayer needed to file Form 2688 to get an additional two months and had to supply a reason for needing the additional time.
A draft of the revised Form 4868 is available on IRS.gov (PDF): "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return" http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-dft/d4868.pdf
August 15, 2005 message from Scott Bonacker [lister@BONACKERS.COM]
When I accessed the Lacerte website I saw that they are promoting www.taxalmanac.org as a free collaborative site for tax preparers. At first glance it looks like it is based on Wiki technology.
Bob Jensen's taxation helpers are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#010304Taxation
How to get around the airlines' 50 pound luggage limit
The problem with this convenience is social, not technical. The airlines, as the Baltimore Sun recently reported, have found that wheeled cases, which have grown in popularity since the early 1990s, have encouraged people to pack heavier bags. Facing higher fuel costs, most carriers have begun to impose a charge of at least $50 for bags weighing more than 50 pounds. Whether reasonable cost recovery or stealthy rip-off, the charges mean that the more durable--and thus heavier--the bag, the smaller the free payload. At 13 pounds, a 24-inch wheeled Zero Halliburton Zeroller uses more than a quarter of the domestic allowance; a 26-inch model, closer in capacity to my old two-suiter, weighs 16 pounds, nearly a third. And thus the convenience of wheeled luggage begins to break down. At airports, it is common to see travelers hastily removing heavy items from their luggage and dragging them onto planes in plastic bags.
Ed Tenner, "Megascope: There's the Rub," MIT's Technology Review, September 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/09/issue/megascope.asp?trk=nl
Jensen Comment: The airlines are increasingly restrictive with a limit of two bags that are less than 50 pounds each and only one carry-on bag plus a purse-sized small bag. These restrictions are new to the U.S. but have a longer tradition in luggage-unfriendly Europe. Years ago when traveling in Europe, I discovered how to beat the checked-luggage weight limit and the one-bag limit for carrying luggage into an airplane. I simply wore a second "bag" that contained more than my loaded carry-on bag. I bought a travel vest with 18 pockets into which I can stuff a laptop computer, a video camera, a tripod, digital camera, books, an electronic book reader, and my wife. I could probably even add a small dog if I had a dog. I look like a 300-pound Marlon Brando when boarding a flight, but once on board I heave my vest into the overhead compartment so that I can sit in a seat. I wonder how long it will be before the airlines weigh each fully-clothed passenger with carry-on luggage and charge according to weight. Never fear! The ACLU will come to our defense long before that becomes standard policy in the airline industry.
This reminds me of a Wall Street Journal article years ago where a passenger boarding a flight to Tokyo was having trouble lifting his very heavy garment bag above his seat. The flight attendant came to his aid, and in the process, discovered the man's deceased mother in the garment bag. After discovering how much the airline would charge to ship a corpse back to Japan, this man took the "matter" into his own hands. I don't recall this man's name, but it would be hilarious if he'd told the police his name was Norman Bates.
Hepatitis B is our enemy
It may be foolhardy to pick or play favorites when it comes to the devastating effects of global epidemics and infectious diseases. Nonetheless, it's interesting to observe the amount of medical and media attention devoted in recent times to SARS and bird flu, and to fears they may become global epidemics. Yet at the same time, other catastrophic global epidemics, such as hepatitis B -- that are already with us and comparable in scope to HIV/AIDS -- receive far less attention. The Ministry of Health in China announced recently that a total of 754 people were killed by 27 kinds of infectious diseases in the country's 390,418 infection cases in July. Interestingly, none of these deaths were caused by either contagious SARS or human-contracted highly-infectious bird flu. Indeed, the five most infectious diseases in China include hepatitis B, while the five causing the most fatalities include HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B.
Brendan Grabau, "Hepatitis B: The Forgotten Virus," The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2005 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112405676593212721,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Targeting children, civilians, and hospitals
Thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in attacks by armed groups in the past two years. Some died or were wounded in attacks aimed primarily at United States (US) or other troops comprising the US-led military alliance that toppled Saddam Hussain’s regime but others were victims of direct attacks intended to cause the greatest possible civilian loss of life. Many of the killings of civilians were carried out in a perfidious way, with suicide bombers or others disguising themselves as civilians, or were marked by appalling brutality – as in the cases of hostages whose deaths, by being beheaded or other means, were filmed by the perpetrators and then disseminated to a wide public audience. Many of these killings by armed groups, in Amnesty international’s view, constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity. As such, there is an obligation on both the Iraqi government and the international community at large to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are identified and brought to justice. There can be no excuse for such abuses; international humanitarian law clearly distinguishes certain acts as crimes irrespective of the causes of a conflict or the grounds on which the contending parties justify their involvement.
"Iraq: In cold blood: abuses by armed groups," Amnesty International, July 25, 2005 --- http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE140092005
The uncertain future of the next generation of bioengineered
To be sure, farmers are producing more bioengineered crops every year. Farmers have found many of these genetically modified crops quite useful. GM soybeans are cheaper to grow; GM papaya has saved Hawaiian growers from a virus that had made their traditional crop unmarketable. But these remain first-generation GM varieties with only indirect consumer benefits. The next generation - offering consumers better-tasting, more nutritious, or longer-lasting food - is taking longer than the industry's optimists expected, Mr. Rodemeyer adds. The reasons are legion, analysts say.
Peter N. Spotts, "A food revolution beckons, but few show up," Christian Science Monitor, August 15, 2005 ---
What The Ancients Did For Us
The Ancients are more than just dust and legends - every day, we're making use of the legacy of their inspirations and innovations, from the wheel to chocolate, numbers to football. Find out more about the series which unwraps the gifts of our ancestors.
BBC and Open University --- http://www.open2.net/whattheancients/
How do we talk to each other these days? How did a small country produce so many different forms of one language? Join Dermot Murnaghan and a team of linguistic experts on BBC Radio 4 to explore the rich variety of the English language.
BBC and Open University --- http://www.open2.net/word4word/index.html
How the brain processes language
For years, cognitive scientists have described the human brain as operating like a computer when it comes to language, meaning it interprets letters and sounds in a binary, one-step-at-a-time fashion. It's either a Labrador or a laptop. But a recent study, led by Cornell psycholinguist and associate professor Michael Spivey, suggests that the mind may be comprehending language in a more fluid way. “Our results have shown that the various parts of the brain that participate in language processing are passing their continuous, partially activated results onto each next stage, not waiting till it's done to share information,” says Spivey. “It’s a lot more like a distributed neural network." Distributed networks are a familiar concept to computer users as well. But distributed neural networks found in biological systems process information (in this case, language) in decidedly different ways than artificial distributed networks. Whereas computers still perform calculations in a linear order, the human brain can make a continuous series of computations at the same time, passing information back and forth in a non-linear, self-organizing manner.
Anita Chabria, "Musings from a Mouse," MIT's Technology Review, August 15, 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/08/wo/wo_081505chabria.asp?trk=nl
Forwarded by Cindy Lara
Cost of Living Calculator (comparing U.S. cities and states) --- http://www.homefair.com/homefair/calc/salcalc.html
There are also helpful reports for persons contemplating moves to selected cities or states.
Vitual Relocation helpers from James Angelini, CPA. Among other things you can find cost of living comparisons at http://www.virtualrelocation.com/
For cost of living comparisons between nations, go to NationMaster.com --- http://www.nationmaster.com/
Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookbob1.htm#EconStatistics
Business school 2004 rankings and profiles from Business Week
The Wall Street Journal 2004 rankings of business schools --- http://online.wsj.com/page/0,,2_1103,00.html
US News graduate school 2006 rankings --- http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/grad/rankings/rankindex_brief.php
Jensen Comment: Professors often sigh when apples are compared with oranges in these surveys, especially due to differences in ranking criteria and persons doing the rankings. For example, US News rankings are from business school deans whereas the WSJ rankings are from corporate recruiters who are often looking for diamonds in the rough. Never underestimate the importance of these rankings, because potential students use these things when seeking schools and alumni look at these things when evaluating the old alma mater.
New Study Targets Problems with Business Schools
A research paper entitled “What’s Really Wrong with U.S. Business Schools” shines a light on what has become a growing dilemma for business school deans—the yearly scorecard that assigns numerical rankings to selected business programs. The paper describes a “dysfunctional competition for media rankings that leads schools to divert resources from investment in knowledge creation and other important areas to short-term strategy aimed at improving ranking position.”
AACSB --- http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/enewsline/Vol-4/Issue-8/lead-story.asp
Jensen Comment: Accounting programs face a similar problem with rankings of universities (usually within a state) according to passage rates on the CPA examination. This leads to intense competition having adverse effects on the ability of a college to experiment with innovative accounting curricula and design of curricula aimed at education rather than training. A notable exception is Baylor University. Baylor leads the state of Texas in terms of the CPA exam passage rates while at the same time having a curriculum that integrates accountancy with business, finance, and economics modules in courses. Bravo Baylor!
The US News 2006 rankings of colleges are at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/rankindex_brief.php
A Better Way to Evaluate Colleges
While rankings such as those published by U.S. News and World Report offer some useful data, I have developed a different set of five simple criteria or considerations for evaluating the value and for choosing one of the best educational experiences offered by our country’s 600 liberal arts colleges. Were I to provide counsel to parents of students interested in attending one of these colleges — or to educators wondering how their institutions are doing — here are five lines of questioning I’d suggest they pursue:
Jake B. Schrum, "A Better Way to Evaluate Colleges," Inside Higher Ed, August 19, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2005/08/19/schrum
Jensen Comment: Since virtually all of the the top ranked liberal arts colleges meet Schrum's criteria, these admittedly would not yield differentiate between top schools. It also is not clear that all aspects of diversity should be a good thing. For example, should women's colleges lose out simply because they do not admit men?
"MBA Applications: Still Skidding," Business Week, August 9, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/MBAskidding
The decline in full-time B-school applicants is now a three-year trend, as students opt for part-time, exec, and non-U.S. programs The news for B-schools just keeps getting worse.
With interest in management education already on the wane, the Graduate Management Admission Council today released the results of a study that shows applications to full-time U.S. MBA programs down for the third consecutive year.
In 2005, just 19% of full-time programs in the U.S. reported an increase in application volume, down from 21% in 2004 and 84% in 2002, when applications reached an all-time high. The 2005 decline was the least severe of the post-2002 drop-offs -- a sign that perhaps applications have bottomed out.
"NO DOUBT ABOUT IT." David A. Wilson, GMAC's president and CEO, in a conference call with reporters Aug. 9 said the number of prospective B-school applicants taking the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) was up nearly 4% so far in 2005, an indication that applications may rise in coming years.
Continued in article
Recalling the Kamikazes of 60 Years Ago
There are some lessons for our present age in what followed. The Japanese Imperial Army had been noted for its cruelty and fanaticism, much as Muslim jihadists are today. Shinto, an ancient Japanese religion somewhat akin to animism, was employed by Japanese militarists to arouse nationalism, much as today's jihadists dredge up primitive doctrines from Islam to inflame their shadowy armies against the West. Islam and Shintoism have very little in common, the one coming out of the Old Testament tradition and other with roots in far-eastern Buddhist and Confucian philosophies. But in the hands of power- hungry politicians, any belief capable of stirring human emotions will serve the purpose. Yet another weapon familiar to us today is the inducement of youngsters to commit suicide to further the political goals of crazed power seekers. It was in Japan where the "kamikaze" was born. The word means "divine wind" and was derived from a typhoon that saved Japan from an invasion fleet in 1281, according to legend. In the late stages of the Pacific war, it described the young men who volunteered to crash airplanes into American warships to bestow honor and glory on themselves and their families.
George Melloan, "Recalling the Kamikazes of 60 Years Ago," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2005; Page A17 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112415899684014097,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Jensen Comment: This reminded me of Tim Conway's great skit where he's a kamikaze recruit. The recruiter shows him how he will get a fine uniform, a red scarf, and a special sword. Tim Conway, in the meantime, repeatedly exclaims "no boom!"
E Pluribus Unum? Not in Hawaii
The Apology (1993 Apology Resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton) falsely declared that Native Hawaiians enjoyed inherent sovereignty over Hawaii to the exclusion of non-Native Hawaiians. To the extent sovereignty existed outside the monarch, it reposed equally with all Hawaiians irrespective of ancestry. The Apology falsely maintained that Native Hawaiians never by plebiscite relinquished sovereignty to the U.S. In 1959, Native Hawaiians voted by at least a 2-1 margin for statehood in a plebiscite. Finally, the Apology Resolution and its misbegotten offspring, the Akaka Bill, betray this nation's sacred motto: E Pluribus Unum. They would begin a process of splintering sovereignties in the U.S. for every racial, ethnic, or religious group traumatized by an identity crisis. Movement is already afoot among a few Hispanic Americans to carve out race-based sovereignty from eight western states because the U.S. "wrongfully" defeated Mexico in the Mexican-American war. The U.S. Constitution scrupulously protects the liberties and freedom of Native Hawaiians. It always has. It always will. Native Hawaiians have never been treated as less than equal by the U.S. Their economic success matches that of non-Native Hawaiians. Intermarriage is the norm. Sen. Inouye himself boasted in 1994 that Hawaii was "one of the greatest examples of a multiethnic society living in relative peace." In other words, E Pluribus Unum is a formula that works. We should not destroy it.
Slade Gorton and Hank Brown, "E Pluribus Unum? Not in Hawaii," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2005; Page A16 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112415838738514082,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Time Magazine's pick of the 50 Coolest Websites of 2005 --- http://www.time.com/time/2005/websites/
There's still no consensus regarding the validity of Linux as
a desktop operating system
The head of IBM's software business used LinuxWorld as an opportunity to promote the promise of desktop Linux. Then again, IBM isn't the biggest fan of Microsoft. Meanwhile, a Gartner study spelled out that desktop Linux adoption is way behind where it should be at this point, or at least behind where Gartner thought it would be at this point . . . IT research firm Gartner had some interesting things to say this week about desktop Linux. Based on a survey of corporate buyers in the fourth quarter of 2004, just over 1% were running Linux desktops and open-source office products in their companies. In a separate study, Gartner estimates that only 3.2% of nonconsumer computer users will run Linux and open-source office products by 2008
Editor of InformationWeek Daily on August 15, 2005
30 months or less for killing 202
people and injuring many more: Who would now want to go to Bali?
Australia will raise with Indonesia its concerns over a possible reduction in the sentence of one of the Bali bombing ringleaders as part of independence celebrations. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Australia did not want to see the 30-month sentence of Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir further reduced. Bashir is in jail for his role in instigating the October 2002 bombings in which 202 people died, including 88 Australians. "We wouldn't want to see his already rather short sentence reduced and our ambassador is taking this matter up with the Indonesians," Mr Downer told reporters.
"Bali bombing ringleader may have sentence cut," Sydney Morning Herald, August 15, 2005 --- http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/bali-bombing-ringleader-may-have-sentence-cut/2005/08/15/1123957986742.html
|Daily News: Yahoo,
Google, and MSN versus leading newspapers
The major news organizations have a big problem on the web. A recent University of Michigan study shows that many people are bypassing them and heading to the major portals first for news and information. This is occurring even though Yahoo, Google and MSN are often delivering news from major media, such as The New York Times, ABC News and CNN. Part of the problem is that major news organizations have been unable to imitate their offline personality, or brand, on the web, according to Larry Freed, chief executive of ForeSee Results, the web consulting firm that sponsored the study. The New York Times and USA Today, for example, are very different newspapers. Yet, on the web, they and other news and information sites all seem the same to many consumers.
InternetWeek Newsletter, www.InternetWeek.com , Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Students, And Security Threats,
Head To Stanford
Stanford University's School of Education deploys new security modules from Juniper Networks to tighten security and boost network performance. As students prepare to return to school, IT departments at colleges and universities across the country are preparing for a new wave of worms, viruses, and other security problems that will hit their networks the minute students plug in their computers. Stanford University is deploying new security technology and tactics to protect its systems from internal threats and external ones, such as hackers trying to steal student or faculty identities.
Martin J. Garvey, Information Week, August 12, 2005 ---
From The Washington Post on August 16, 2005
TiVo says it will soon allow
customers to directly download what type of content to their set-top boxes via
A. Cable TV Programming
B. First-Run Movies
D. NFL Games
Amazon.com Unveils Street-Level Photo-Mapping Service
Hoping to become a more popular Internet destination, a small search engine owned by Web retailer Amazon.com Inc. is testing a mapping service that will display street-level photos of the city blocks surrounding a requested address. The A9.com service, which became available Monday (August 22), joins the increasingly crowded field of online mapping. Other major players include America Online's Mapquest.com, Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.com.
"Amazon.com Unveils Photo-Mapping Service," The Washington Post, August 16, 2005 ---
SEMANTIC WEBhttp://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Semantic.html and http://logicerror.com/semanticWeb-long
Bob Jensen's threads on the semantic web are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/XBRLandOLAP.htm
Also see Jagdish Gangolly's blog at http://www.bloglines.com/blog/gangolly
Debating the Causes of Autism
There follows a group of letters on mercury, thimerosal and vaccines. Those of you who have been following my column know that this has been a recurring topic. I will respond to the letters individually, but I also wanted to start the column with a general statement: Drug companies manufacture vaccines, several of which are mandated for use by our infants. Despite the vulnerability the public has to chemicals introduced into our bodies, the drug companies tend to be defensive and laissez faire about the need for changing they way they do things. Thimerosal is such an example. This additive, which contains trace amount of mercury, has been shown to cause irritability in mice, and could well have been removed from routine vaccines long ago. But this is not the same thing as concluding that thimerosal causes autism, as many people argue.
Dr. Mark Siegel, "Debating the Causes of Autism," The Nation, August 3, 2005 ---
"The autism epidemic that never was," by Graham Lawton, New Scientist, August 13, 2005 --- http://www.newscientist.com/channel/health/mg18725121.900
Congress resists data mining for security purposes
Did US military spies finger Mohammed Atta as an Al Qaeda terrorist a year before the Sept. 11 attacks? A US congressman says yes; leaders of the bipartisan 9/11 investigating commission say no. But the controversy should remind us of one indisputable fact: A technology that may have helped spot Atta and other terrorists is being suppressed by Congress, for no particularly good reason. That technology is ''data mining," the use of sophisticated software and powerful computers to spot patterns of activity hidden in vast amounts of apparently random data. It's used routinely by businesses seeking new ways to empty our wallets.
Hiawatha Bray, "A wasted opportunity in war on terror," Boston Globe, August 15, 2005 --- http://snipurl.com/terrormining
The real world of a new Dilbert
When Nathan Richey started work as an analyst at a financial boutique in Chicago several years ago, he felt self-conscious while talking on the phone. Most colleagues surrounding his open-air cubicle were about 10 years older and could overhear his conversations. If you make an embarrassing mistake, he notes, "you have a crowd." It's something most college graduates discover when they start work: Cubicles are a very public place to learn your job. No matter how discreet you try to be, chances are your cubicle mates can overhear your phone conversations. Make a rookie mistake, as you are bound to do, and everyone hears it. Even if your conversations are entirely business-focused, you can still embarrass yourself by misstating industry lingo, leaving rambling messages or sounding generally inarticulate. The problem isn't just that you feel stupid when you make a phone snafu, but also that you're more likely to make a mistake because you're nervous when you know your office mates are listening.
Erin White, "Phone Tips for New College Hires," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2005; Page B4 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112415147845813906,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace
I love the five that live in the woods near my home in New
New Jerseyites take pride in being the "Garden State," but even nature lovers have their limits. How far those limits will be tested now rests with a state government that is once again deciding how to deal (or not) with its out-of-control bear problem. So far, it doesn't look good. New Jersey's black bear population has rocketed to some 3,400, and bears have been spotted in every one of the state's 21 counties. In the first half of this year alone, the state logged 677 damage and nuisance complaints, up from 424 in the same period last year. Bears have attacked dogs, swatted toddlers, and broken into houses.
"Where the Wild Things Are," The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2005; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112405760582412762,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
U.S. tariffs on Canadian lumber hurt American home buyers
Homeowners and home buyers scored a rare and sweet victory last week when a three-person arbitration panel ruled unanimously that U.S. tariffs against imported Canadian softwood lumber violate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). The American Homeowners Alliance estimates that rescinding the tariffs will reduce the average construction cost of a new home by about $1,000 and make about 300,000 more moderate-income Americans eligible for mortgages.
"Trade War," The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2005; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112405775845612768,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
A flat tax would unleash a stupendous economic boom
"One Simple Rate," by Steve Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2005; Page A12 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112405912634312821,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
A major domestic battle looms this fall, when tax reform -- a centerpiece of the president's bold domestic agenda -- will finally be on the table. The President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform is expected to release its findings by the end of September. After the political shellacking the White House took on Social Security, the administration will be strongly tempted to take a conciliatory path that supports only superficial reforms, essentially preserving the status quo of our hideous income tax code.
Such a course would have perilous consequences, economically and politically. In fact, the administration has an opportunity here to boldly retake the initiative, to recover lost political support and thrust an already decent economy into high gear and, at the same time, make America better able to meet intensifying competition from China, India and others. How? By junking the entire federal income tax code and starting over with a flat tax. A growing number of countries are doing this -- and so should we.
The current system is beyond redemption, a beast whose complexity, confusion and outright unfairness have corrupted our economy and society. Americans waste more than $200 billion and over six billion hours each year filling out tax forms. They engage in all kinds of useless economic activity intended to take advantage of the code's complicated maze of deductions and to reduce taxes -- from deducting donations of old socks to making unwanted investments. The waste of brainpower -- at a time of increasing global competition -- is incalculable.
Continued in article
Some long-run advantages of enrolling in community colleges
For instance, state policy in California favors students who transfer from a community college to either the California State University or the University of California system. Each University of California campus has agreements with community colleges to facilitate transfer if certain academic requirements are met. In some cases, it might be easier to get into a top-flight university as a community-college transfer than as a high-school senior. Some 33% of applicants to UC Berkeley from California community colleges were accepted for this fall, compared with 28% of in-state high-school applicant. Other community colleges maintain informal but still close ties to a flagship state university. Every year, about 150 graduates of Piedmont Virginia Community College, in Charlottesville, Va., apply to the University of Virginia, and about two-thirds of them are accepted, says Frank Friedman, Piedmont's president. By comparison, just under half of in-state high-school applicants were accepted for this fall.
Anne Marie Chaker, "How to Cut College Costs: A big scholarship is one way to save money. But it isn't the only way," The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2005; Page R4 ---
Taking Both Sides on Textbook Prices
Consumer groups and textbook publishers have been tussling for some time now over whether textbook prices are rising too high and too fast. If either side thought that a federal study being released Tuesday would prove its case unequivocally, it was wrong. The study released today by the Government Accountability Office, which was requested last year by U.S. Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), offers some evidence, as student groups have asserted, that textbook prices have risen sharply — at twice the rate of inflation over the past two decades. But the study by the GAO, which is Congress’s investigative arm, also supports arguments by publishers that the increases have been driven in large part by “the increased investment publishers have made in new products to enhance instruction and learning.”
Doug Lederman, "Taking Both Sides on Textbook Prices," Inside Higher Ed, August 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/08/16/textbooks
Jensen Comment: This study does not apply to scholarly journal publishing that librarians claim has become a monopolist rip-off --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudReporting.htm#ScholarlyJournals
Canada’s Open University
Athabasca University, in Edmonton, Alberta, said Monday (August 15, 2005) that it had become the first Canadian university to become accredited by a regional agency in the United States. The distance education institution, which bills itself as “Canada’s Open University,” said it had been granted accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Inside Higher Ed, August 16, 2005 --- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/08/16/qt
Bob Jensen's threads on cross-border distance education and training are at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/crossborder.htm
Another angry mother
Over the objections of a defiant mother, a Cook County judge on Monday forced the wrongful-death case of Northwestern University football player Rashidi Wheeler to settle out of court for $16 million, saying the mother's insistence on a jury trial would be "legal suicide." Circuit Court Judge Kathy Flanagan ordered the settlement after Wheeler's mother, Linda Will, blocked repeated attempts to resolve the four-year-old case and after she had fired her lawyers for a third time.
Todd Lighty, "Judge orders $16 million Wheeler settlement," Chicago Tribune, August 15, 2005 --- http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-050815suitsettled,1,1806411.story?coll=chi-news-hed
Can the public be educated about changed technologies for nuclear electric
But today, natural-gas prices are three times what they were 10 years ago, making all alternatives, from wind turbines to nuclear reactors, more attractive. Abroad, 24 nuclear plants--including eight in India, four in Russia, and three in Japan--are now under construction. And in the United States, several utilities are reconsidering the nuclear option. Why not simply build new plants, which would benefit from three decades' worth of technology advances in materials, sensors, and control software? Today's 104 operating U.S. nuclear power plants, after all, reflect the designs of the 1960s and the technologies of the 1970s. But the job of actually building plants requires much more than better technology; it requires partnerships, public relations, and lobbying to overcome the ghosts of the recent past.
David Talbot, "Nuclear Powers Up," MIT's Technology Review, Sepatember 2005 --- http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/09/issue/brief_nuclear.asp?trk=nl
A $1 million screw
A jury ordered a local hospital to pay damages after a screw was left inside a woman's body during surgery. A verdict in the civil trial last week awarded more than $1 million in damages for Katherine Flanagan, 49, against Mount Clemens General Hospital and staff neurosurgeon Mark Goldberger, according to The Macomb Daily.
"Hospital To Pay Up For Screw Left In Body," ClickOnDetroit, August 15, 2005 --- http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/4852772/detail.html
Brickfest is the official convention for the Adult Fans of Lego. Gathered from all over the world, Brickfest attendees milled around sizing each other up and using Lego lingo like SNOT (studs not on top) and BURP (big ugly rock piece). Ask people how long it took them to construct their masterpieces, and they'll respond with pauses, sighs and ponderous looks before admitting that they spent hundreds of hours in some cases. Many sculptures are so large that they arrived in sections . . . David Winkler, a Microsoft software engineer, was hunched over a stack of computer printouts that mapped out the construction plans for a complex model of an angel. The algorithms, which are similar to those used in Microsoft's handwriting-recognition software, can create a Lego version of an object from a 3-D-triangle mesh model. Unfortunately, all that math didn't help get one of his sculptures through the Transportation Security Administration's gauntlet at the airport. "I had one piece that the TSA took apart and then put back together randomly," he said.
Michael Grebb, "Lego Lovers Unite in Arlington," Wired News, August 16, 2005 --- http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,68525,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1
Sherry Mills from New Mexico State University won the 1996 Innovation in Accounting Education Award from the American Accounting Association with an innovative way of using Legos to teach managerial accounting --- http://aaahq.org/awards/awrd6win.htm
Stealing God's (or at least the church's) Discretion
Just as (Canada's) Senate approaches the final vote on the gay 'marriage' bill, C-38, Canada's national public radio CBC Radio has aired a commentary by a retired professor from the Royal Military College calling for state control over religion, specifically Catholicism. While parliamentarians dismissed warnings by numerous religious leaders and experts that such laws would lead to religious persecution, former professor Bob Ferguson has called for "legislation to regulate the practice of religion."
Canadian National Public Radio Broadcasts Call for State Control of Religion, Especially Catholicism --- http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jul/05071906.html
Stealing God's Thunder
In Stealing God's Thunder (Random House, 279 pages, $25.95), Philip Dray offers a survey of Franklin's scientific career, describing both the ridicule and glory that his experiments inspired. But he gives special attention to the lightning rod, the most notable of Franklin's inventions and the one that, despite its simplicity, created the most controversy. In Franklin's day, lightning destroyed homes, barns and livestock, not to mention human beings. To 18th-century Americans, though, it was not merely an occurrence in nature but a form of judgment sent down by a disapproving God. The only way to appease divine wrath -- and avoid lightning's destructive effects -- was to pray during thunderstorms or to ring specially "baptized" church bells whose sound might keep the lightning away. After his kite experiment, Franklin realized that lightning was a form of electricity. He also discovered that electric current would surge through metal and follow its path downward to the ground. In the summer of 1752, he installed the world's first lightning rods at the Pennsylvania State House and the Pennsylvania Academy. In 1753, he used the pages of "Poor Richard's Almanack" to make the case for his invention, describing how a pointed iron rod situated atop a tall structure could draw lightning to it, making storms less dangerous. "Poor Richard's" sold 10,000 copies, earning Franklin instantaneous fame.
Rachel Dicarlo, "Block That Bolt," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112414424753313744,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
Stealing God's Butter
I'm sorry to report that the Yosts are not the Frakes, the fictitious family in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1945 musical, "State Fair." They go to the Iowa State Fair and win first place for their mincemeat and champion pig, while the two kids fall in love. The best the Yosts could muster were a couple of stuffed animals and the quarterfinals of the backgammon tournament . . . The ag building is also home to one of the (Iowa State) fair's truly unique attractions, the life-size butter cow sculpture. Kept in a refrigerated case and freshly created each year, it's the work of Norma "Duffy" Lyon, better known as "The Butter Cow Lady" ( www.buttercowlady.com ). This year she did another sculpture of Tiger Woods sitting on a bench, a putter in one hand and a leash holding a tiger in another -- all life size. It was so detailed and accurate that my seven-year-old son, George, recognized him immediately
Mark Yost, "From Butter Cows To Temporary Tattoos: Sampling the Iowa State Fair," The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2005; Page D8 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112414453179013748,00.html?mod=opinion&ojcontent=otep
I guess this is why they put wide receivers as far away as possible from the rest of the team
Max Boot, "Wide Receiver Who's Not a Team Player," The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2005; Page D14 --- http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112422698792014797,00.html?mod=todays_us_personal_journal
You might think that Terrell Owen.'s conduct puts him beyond the pale -- and it does -- but he has some company in the All-Star Clowns Hall of Fame. I have in mind Randy Moss and Keyshawn Johnson, two other supremely talented and perfectly unbearable pass-catchers.
Mr. Moss, like Mr. Owens, wore out his welcome at his original team with his self-aggrandizing antics. (At the end of last season, he pretended to pull down his britches for the benefit of Green Bay fans.) He became known for giving all-out effort only some of the time; "I play when I want to play," he infamously admitted. And then in 2002 he went and practically ran over a traffic cop in his Lexus sedan. This year the Minnesota Vikings traded him to the Oakland Raiders, who are known for embracing malcontents.
Keyshawn Johnson has followed a drearily similar path. After his rookie season with the New York Jets, he wrote (or, more accurately, cooperated in the writing of) a memoir titled "Just Give Me the Damn Ball," which aptly summarizes his solipsistic philosophy. He won a Super Bowl in 2003 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the following season was marked by declining production and sideline clashes with his coach, Jon Gruden. The Bucs suspended him midway through the year and then dealt him to the Dallas Cowboys, coached by Bill Parcells, Mr. Johnson's original NFL mentor and the only man who seems able to cope with him.
I do not mean to suggest that these wide receivers are uniquely deserving of obloquy. In a league so full of egomaniacs, cheap-shot artists and out-and-out criminals, the escapades of a Terrell Owens, Randy Moss or Keyshawn Johnson might not seem so bad. Hey, at least they haven't smashed a teammate's face (as linebacker Bill Romanowski did) or been convicted of drug dealing (as running back Jamal Lewis was).
These wide-outs nevertheless stand out because in a team sport they are supreme and unapologetic egotists. Other players may traduce society's norms, but few are willing to so brazenly violate the Law of the League: "There is no 'I' in team." These divas make no attempt to conceal their self-absorption; they flaunt it.
Continued in article
New words forwarded by Dick Haar
3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stop bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
12 Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
14. Glibido: All talk and no action.
15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
18. Caterpallor (n): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you are eating.
Drawing of a Woman
Forwarded by Auntie Bev
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Professor Robert E. Jensen (Bob)
Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Business Administration
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200
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