Tidbits on August 26, 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 ---
Music: Banjo music ---
Fiddle and Blue Grass Music ---
In particular note
the link to
Library of Congress (Click on "How to Listen to Audio")
Fiddle Tunes of the Old
Folk music links on the Web ---
Turkish folk music ---
Hungarian and other folk music ---
Depending on your musical tastes, the
Coen brothers have a lot to answer for. The soundtrack to their movie O Brother,
Where Art Thou? (2000) has racked up multi-platinum sales around the world and
in the process popularised bluegrass music.
Ben Wyld, "Lost Highway - The Story of Country Music," Sydney Morning Herald,
Train of Life
(Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline)
Does demonstrating before the families of wounded soldiers really help
I think this weekly demonstration organized by the Code Pink Women for Peace
demeans the protest movement and is counter productive to their cause.
The resentments toward these protesters, like the resentments of Jane Fonda,
will linger for years to come. Antics like this end up helping the GOP
win elections even though many liberals are opposed to further hurting our
wounded. Crawford, Texas is a better place for such demonstrations.
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington,
D.C., the current home of hundreds of wounded veterans from the war in Iraq,
has been the target of weekly anti-war demonstrations since March. The
protesters hold signs that read "Maimed for Lies" and "Enlist here and die
for Halliburton." . . . "You know that 95 percent of the guys in
the hospital bed lost guys whenever they got hurt and survivors' guilt is
the worst thing you can deal with," Pannell (recovering from wounds) said,
adding that other veterans recovering from wounds at Walter Reed share his
resentment for the anti-war protesters . . . Albion Wilde concurred, arguing
that "it's very easy to pick on the families of the wounded. They are very
vulnerable ... I feel disgusted. "[The anti-war protesters] are really
showing an enormous lack of respect for just everything that America has
always stood for. They lost the election and now they are really, really
angry and so they are picking on the wrong people," Wilde added.
Marc Morano, "Anti-War Protests Target Wounded at Army Hospital,"
CBS News, August 25, 2005 ---
Forwarded by Barb Hessel
National Punctuation Day ---
"Must Read" books about American history
I got this from a listing of "Must Read" books at
Colby Glass connects each book to a listing of his selected excerpts.
Excerpts (i.e., facts left out of American history books)
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got
Wrong by James W. Loewen. (Simon & Schuster, 1995) ---
As we explain in detail, information societies
promise to dramatically reduce the returns to violence, in part because they
transcend locality. In the new millennium, the advantage of controlling violence
on a large scale will be far lower than it has been at any time since before the
French Revolution. This will have profound consequences. One of these will be
rising crime. When the payoff for organizing violence at a large scale tumbles,
the payoff from violence at a smaller scale is likely to jump. Violence will
become more random and localized. Organized crime will grow in scope.
The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of
the Welfare State, by James Dale Davidson and Lord William (Rees-Mogg. NY:
Simon & Schuster, 1997) ---
Jensen Comment: Davidson's observations
were on target long before the 9/11 tragedy. The rapidly expanding "cells"
of loosely connected terrorists and criminals will increasingly make us
sacrifice our liberties, open life styles, and joys in life. We will
withdraw into medieval-like fortresses surrounded by electronic motes. We're becoming incredibly Orwellian.
Ernesto Cortes, Jr., a highly regarded community
organizer from San Antonio, Texas, has observed that Lord Acton's oft-quoted
aphorism--"power tends to corrupt..."--works both ways... "Powerlessness also
corrupts," Cortes said. "We've got a lot of people who've never developed an
understanding of power. They've been institutionally trained to be passive.
Power is nothing more than the ability to act in your own behalf. In Spanish, we
call the word poder, to have capacity, to be able."
Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy?, by William
Greider (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1992) ---
Lists of Bests ---
Common Errors in English ---
Some great photographs (you can view the pictures without
An interesting variety of photographs ---
Lightning Photography (Scroll down) ---
Check out a library person in Sweden: This is not a Swedish joke
If you find yourself in Malmo, Sweden, and happen
to see a homosexual, an imam and a gypsy walk into a bar, it's not a joke. These
are just some of the people who can be borrowed -- yes, borrowed -- from the
local library for a 45-minute chat in a nearby pub as part of an effort to fight
"Not a Swedish Joke," The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2005; Page
Jensen Comment: In Japan there was, and maybe still is, a service that
rents a functional family. Grandparents or possibly parents of
adult children who cannot, for whatever reason, have a happy outing with their
own family may rent a family complete with grandchildren.
The women’s center at Boise State University is
distributing vagina-shaped candy to students, setting off a range of reactions,
Inside Higher Ed, August 24, 2005 ---
Much of the latest debt can be attributed to President Bush,
because he does not veto irresponsible spending bills
National Debt ---
There's no such thing as a budget surplus in spite of the very positive impact
of the Bush tax cuts on the economy. The problem is that Congress spends
the tax cut's benefits.
Bush's $10 Billion Borrowing Binge: An Update ---
National Budget Simulation (Learn about the budget) ---
Who benefits most from the Bush tax cuts? ---
The Energy Bill benefits tax avoiders ---
Tax Cheats & Their Enablers ---
National Debt Graph ---
Economic Indicators ---
Fast Facts: Almanacs/Factbooks/Statistical Reports & Related Reference
New Additions to this service:
Bob Jensen's threads on economic statistics are at
Deceived into thinking you can bear this
Sometimes, just thinking you are receiving
treatment is enough to make you feel better, a phenomenon known as the placebo
effect. Scientists have long wondered what causes this outcome, the magnitude of
which is not the same for all people. A new brain imaging study suggests that
the body's natural painkillers, endorphins, play a significant role.
"Brain's Own Pain Relievers At Work in Placebo Effect, Study Suggests."
Scientific American, August 24, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment: Do you suppose this is a little like being deceived that
you got an education?
A free way to send up to a 1 Gb huge file by email
This is a good way to send video and audio files! ---
I love the YouSendIt service that does not require zip or any form of file
compression. You can learn how to use YouSendIt in less than a minute.
August 23, 2005 message from Scott Bonacker
This company says that you can upload large files
to their server and email a link to download the file, all for free.
Does anyone have experience with this company?
I currently use filesanywhere.com for something
similar, but that is a paid service. A few more bells and whistles to be
Scott Bonacker, CPA
I experimented with this by sending a 200 Mb video file to myself. It is a
fantastic free service that can be used when the file you want to send is too
large to attach to an email message. It supposedly will take a file up to
1 Gb without even having to zip or otherwise compress the file. My
Internet Explorer browser wanted to block the download, but when I clicked to
accept the file it downloaded beautifully.
My students will find this useful for sending large database files to each
other in course projects.
You do not have to send the file by email to YouSendIt. All you have to
do is provide the recipient's email address and the file on your computer that
you want to send. You do not even have to supply your own name or your own
email address. The recipient then receives a message that he/she has seven
days in to download the file. YouSendIt will not store the file beyond
I cannot vouch for the security of data stored by YouSendIt. If you are
sending sensitive data such as credit card numbers or a book draft that you've
not yet secured a copyright number, then I suggest that you encrypt the file
before sending it. There are various options for encryption. For
example, most database programs like MS Access have encryption utilities in the
software itself. Another encryption alternative (free) is described below.
August 25 reply from a Computer Science Professor
And how does YouSendIt access the file on your
This is the problem to which I refer by the phrase
"today's digital environment". The idea of giving someone else your data and
a destination and "trusting" them to do the right thing with the data is a
Why not deposit your data in your web space
yourself and notify the recipient of its availability. If it needs to be
secure, encrypt it with Open encryption software (public key), such as gpg,
before putting in in your web space. And certify your public key.
August 26, 2005 reply from Bob Jensen
Perhaps there is a security problem that I do not know about. If this is
a gimmick to crack a firewall, then I would like to know more about it.
It does not seem more dangerous than the many times I download files from
Web sites, e.g., PDF files, PPT files, etc.
This is incredibly easy to use. I can imagine people who do not have
enormous amounts of Web server space available using the YouSendIt
alternative for sending home videos, audio files, and large picture files.
In many cases, people are sending files that they would willingly place on a
server if they had enormous server space available at zero cost.
Thanks to you and Gerald, I make some very large files available now on a
Computer Science Department Web server ---
http://www.cs.trinity.edu/~rjensen/video/ Of course these can be
easily downloaded by anybody in the world.
However, there are some database files that I cannot place on a Web
server. Most are hypothetical databases acquired free from various vendors,
databases that I'm allowed to modify for my teaching purposes and students
can modify for assignments. These would
not be of much use for anybody to steal, and I do not have the legal right
to make them available to anybody other than my students.
Even if I did put some of my larger databases on your Web server, I would
hog a tremendous amount of your capacity for very limited use by a few of my
students for a very short period of time.
YouSendIt simply asks the email address of where you want to send a huge
file and then gives you a browse button to find that file on your system.
Large files do take some time to send out.
It would probably be best to send that recipient an advanced warning to
expect such a file.
The recipient is then notified when the file is available for downloading
and that it will be held for seven days.
When the recipient downloads the file, he/she receives an option to
either run the file or to save it.
Neither the sender nor the recipient need install any software and the
service, for whatever reason, is free.
My students are especially going to like this for exchanging databases in
my courses. Obviously the files would have to be
encrypted or sent by some other means if the files were truly sensitive.
From the T.H.E. Journal Newsletter on August 25, 2005
is a free 128-bit encryption program that allows users to
modify and hide files with a single password by creating
multiple 25MB encrypted containers on their hard disk that
can be loaded and unloaded whenever necessary. The
easy-to-use, drag-and-drop system works on all 32-bit
versions of Microsoft Windows, and can protect and secure
any file or folder on any media, including flash drives,
CD-ROMs, and USB keys. Cryptainer LE also allows
users to send encrypted e-mails without requiring the
recipient to install the program to decrypt the files. To
Google's 'Intelligent' Desktop 2: Data Delivered Based on Users'
Google Inc. yesterday released new software that
collects information based on a computer user's behavior and displays updates of
news, weather, Web sites and unopened e-mail messages on a toolbar on the side
of the screen. The test product, called Google Desktop 2, is the second
incarnation of a program launched last fall. By using Google's trademark search
software, it aims to be a more personalized version of products such as Apple
Computer Inc.'s Dashboard and Yahoo Inc.'s Konfabulator, programs that deliver
icons to the screen and keep photo, alarm clock, scheduling, music, currency
converters and news applications running while the computer is in use.
Yuki Noguchi, "Google's 'Intelligent' Desktop 2: Data Delivered Based on
Users' Internet Searches," The Washington Post, August 23, 2005 ---
Google Introduces Instant Messaging
Google Inc. is joining yet another Internet turf
battle, the one over instant communication. Google introduced today an
instant-messaging service that lets users exchange text messages and make voice
calls over personal computers. Google's move pits it against Internet giants
such as Time Warner Inc.'s America Online unit, Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
that dominate the market.
Mylene Mangalindan and Christopher Rhoads, "Google Introduces Instant
Messaging," The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2005; Page B3 ---
See this IM service at
"Google's Latest Is All Talk," by Simon Burns, Wired News, August 25,
It's really the lack of features that telegraphs
Google Talk's prototype status. If you're familiar with feature-laden
competitors like MSN Messenger or AIM, it would almost be easier to describe
Google Talk in terms of what it doesn't have: no cheery emoticons, no fancy
fonts and no file transfers, for example. And there's also no advertising at
all, a curious departure from Google's standard operating procedure and sole
source of revenue.
There's also no way to call to or from traditional
telephone networks. That's a significant difference from Skype, the internet
telephony wunderkind, which holds between 30 and 46 percent of that market,
depending on which statistics you look at.
So, if you're already using Skype or a similar
program, why should you switch to Google Talk? The program is closely
integrated with Gmail (you must have an invite-only Gmail account to use
it), which might be nice if that's your main e-mail provider. The clean,
simple interface could appeal to some, and the attempt to adhere to open
standards seems worthy of support.
In the future, Google says it intends to add a raft
of new features, including support for other operating systems (presumably
Mac and Linux), encryption, compatibility with other internet telephony
standards, and versions with a user interface in languages other than
English (text chat already works in any language supported by Windows).
Continued in article
Peeking before a "blind" date
ONE in three women prepare for blind dates by
spying on their prospective partners via the internet to obtain information
about their careers, their hobbies and what they look like, a new study has
found. Increasing numbers of men are also using internet search engines to carry
out so-called "suitability checks" before meeting their date.
Fiona MacGregor, "Women turn to internet for truth about their date,"
Scotsman.com, August 23, 2005 ---
Jensen Advice: Putting up a really stupid or offensive Web site may harm
your love life; Dull/Geekish may be tolerated on a Web site even if it's
not helpful to onsite relationships.
What U.S. States have the highest vs. lowest probabilities of having an
obese or overweight blind date? ---
Hint: Altitude is somewhat negatively
correlated with blubber.
Fundamental accounting equation: Profit is equal to revenue minus
Selling cars at employee discounts does little to curb union-negotiated benefits
on the expense side of things
General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. took
another hit as Moody's Investors Service downgraded the corporate debt of both
auto companies to junk status, following similar moves by Standard & Poor's
Corp. The moves come as the top two U.S. auto makers by market share
struggle with intense competition, high costs and the decline in sales of their
biggest and most profitable sport-utility vehicles. Moody's downgrades,
affecting about $150 billion of debt, will ratchet up pressure on GM and Ford to
confront their cost problems in the U.S. before contract talks with the United
Auto Workers union are to begin in 2007.
John Stoll and Joseph B. White, "Moody's Cuts GM, Ford Debt to Junk," The Wall
Street Journal, August 25, 2005; Page A3 ---
Jensen Comment: Just as junk cars are not likely to run down the road in
the future, junk debt is not likely to be repaid. Junk debt ratings are
often, but not always, precursors to bankruptcy filings.
"Obese football players face trouble, experts say," by Maggie Fox, Reuters,
August 25, 2005 ---
"A sudden death like that in a 23-year-old with no
evidence of a stroke would suggest that he had an arrhythmia," Pi-Sunyer
said in a telephone interview.
"We do know that he weighed 330 pounds."
That would give Herrion a body mass index of more
than 41 -- well into the area considered morbidly obese and thus putting him
at high risk of health problems.
Certain athletes with high muscle mass can safely
veer into BMIs of between 25 and 30, which would be considered overweight
for the average person, but a BMI of 40 or higher cannot be considered
anything but risky, experts say.
In March, Joyce Harp of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill found that more than a quarter of NFL players had a
body mass index that qualified as morbidly obese.
The NFL claims Harp's study was flawed.
"The study uses BMI, which does not distinguish
between fat and muscle," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said on Tuesday. "Any
study that is done without taking into account body fat percentage is
Continued in article
Rebels Without a Cause ---
Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, the authors of Nation of Rebels argue how
the myth of a counterculture derailed the political left
Presidential Tax Returns ---
Business Week's business books ---
What are they reading in the U.K.? ---
When banking online, look for that padlock
For years, banks, e-commerce companies and other
operators of Web sites that deal in personal financial information have trained
customers to look for the little "padlock icon" in the corner of their Web
browser window. That padlock indicates that users are connected via a secure
server, and it has become a trusted seal for Internet transactions.
Increasingly, however, many of the nation's largest financial institutions are
doing away with the padlock on their home pages, a development that some experts
say could lead more consumers to fall prey to phishing scams.
Brian Krebs, "Bank Sites Still Driven by Marketers," The Washington Post,
August 24, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's threads on phishing are at
"The Mindset of Freshmen: Beloit College tries to help academics
each fall with a “mindset list” to explain the perspectives of the new class of
freshmen.," Inside Higher Ed, August 24, 2005 ---
list noting that most freshmen
were born in 1987, explains that, for them:
- Liberace, Jackie Gleason, and
Lee Marvin have always been dead.
- Heart-lung transplants have
always been possible.
- Wayne Gretzky never played for
- Iran and Iraq have never been
at war with each other.
- Voice mail has always been
- Bill Gates has always been
worth at least a billion dollars.
- They do not remember “a kinder
and gentler nation.”
- They never saw the shuttle
- They never saw a Howard
Johnson’s with 28 ice cream flavors.
The Beloit link is
Update on the Ward Churchill Saga
University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill has two
weeks to respond to a committee's recommendation that he undergo a full
investigation for seven counts of alleged plagiarism and fabrication. The
professor Tuesday called the status of the investigation against him "very
encouraging," partly because two other claims — including an allegation that he
falsified an American Indian identity — have been recommended for dismissal. But
an expert on academic fraud said the case against Churchill sounds serious. "Any
claims moving forward are serious because my sense of these proceedings is that
you really make every effort to see the claim...
"CU's Churchill to respond to committee," Daily Camera, August 24, 2005
The College Speech Code Mess ---
If the article disappears from Fox, go to
Jensen Comment: If you're not paranoid yet about what you say or write,
you might become so quite soon.
One of the big ways lawyers steal from companies ---
"An inventor's billion-dollar legacy comes under fire," by Adam Goldman, The
Journal News, August 24, 2005
Forwarded by Joe Brady
The first edition of ACADEMIC COMMONS
Academic Commons <
http://academiccommons.org/ > offers a forum for
investigating and defining the role that technology can play in liberal arts
education. Sponsored by the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash
http://liberalarts.wabash.edu/ >, Academic Commons
publishes essays, reviews, interviews, showcases of innovative uses of
technology, and vignettes that critically examine technology uses in the
classroom. Academic Commons aims to share knowledge, develop collaborations, and
evaluate and disseminate digital tools and innovative practices for teaching and
learning with technology. We want this site to advance opportunities for
collaborative design, open development, and rigorous peer critique of such
resources. We strongly believe that classroom teachers--established instructors
and tomorrow's professors--need a genuinely open forum for this discussion and
hope that Academic Commons will provide it.
Innovative gadgets for people on the go ---
Painkiller Update: What You Need to Know
A Texas jury has awarded $253.4 million dollars to the
widow of a 59-year-old man who took the popular painkiller Vioxx, finding the
drug's manufacturer Merck & Co. negligent in his death. The news puts the safety
of Vioxx and other similar painkillers back in the spotlight.
Michael Smith, "Painkiller Update: What You Need to Know: FDA Warnings
Affect All Anti-Inflammatory Drugs," WebMD, August 19, 2005 ---
News about ulcers ---
What you need to know before buying a digital camera
(probably more than you want to know)
When can we stop using the term "digital cameras"
and just call these things "cameras"? They began outselling film-based cameras
in 2003, and by the end of this year over half of U.S. households will own a
digital model, according to the Photo Marketing Association International. But
their mass-market status doesn't change the fact that digital cameras remain
computers with lenses, and they require some of the same careful shopping --
from contemplating puzzling measurements to choosing among incompatible formats.
Rob Pegoraro, "Be Camera-Ready When You Shop," The Washington Post,
August 21, 2005 ---
Bob Jensen's technology bookmarks are at
Top Digital Cameras ---
Need for an academic theory of bullshit
If “bullshit,” as opposed to “bull,” is a distinctively
modern linguistic innovation, that could have something to do with other
distinctively modern things, like advertising, public relations, political
propaganda, and schools of education. “One of the most salient features of our
culture is that there is so much bullshit,” Harry G. Frankfurt, a distinguished
moral philosopher who is professor emeritus at Princeton, says. The ubiquity of
bullshit, he notes, is something that we have come to take for granted. Most of
us are pretty confident of our ability to detect it, so we may not regard it as
being all that harmful. We tend to take a more benign view of someone caught
bullshitting than of someone caught lying. (“Never tell a lie when you can
bullshit your way through,” a father counsels his son in an Eric Ambler novel.)
All of this worries Frankfurt. We cannot really know the effect that bullshit
has on us, he thinks, until we have a clearer understanding of what it is. That
is why we need a theory of bullshit.
Jim Holt, "SAY ANYTHING: Three books find truth under cultural and
conceptual assault," The New Yorker, August 22, 2005 ---
Enteron became Enron but the name Enteron probably was a
better fit in retrospect
The name (Enteron)
had been proposed by Lipppincot & Margulies, a pricey New York consulting firm
that had spent three months and millions of dollars on the project. It
derived from and analysis of the company's business --- "En" for "energy," "ter"
for international and "InterNorth," and "on" because it sounded cool . . . The
problem was, no one bothered to check Webster's (Dictionary).
"Enteron is also a word for the digestive tube running
from the mouth to the anus --- particularly unfortunate, given that Lay's
company produced natural gas. Within days of the announcement, the
soon-to-be Enteron ws a laughingstock.
Kurt Eichenwald, Conspiracy of Fools: A True Study, (Broadway
Books, 2005, pp. 33-34).
What causes pregnancy?
There are 490 female students at Timken High School,
and 65 are pregnant, according to a recent report in the Canton Repository. The
article reported that some would say that movies, TV, videogames, lazy parents
and lax discipline may all be to blame. School officials are not sure what has
contributed to so many pregnancies . . .
"65 Girls At Area School Pregnant," Cleveland's WEWS-TV, August 24, 2005 ---
Jensen Comment: I'm skeptical of school officials who don't know what
causes pregnancy. Back in my youth in Iowa, there was a small town in our
football conference where 14 of the 28 graduating females were pregnant.
But that was before the days of the pill, and most of those girls were engaged
to be married shortly after graduation. Now they're grandmothers.
Art: They could've fit in six more parking spaces
AMERICA the beautiful? Not if some Americans have
anything to say about it. Probably not even America the Vaguely Interesting. And
no chance of America the Wow-Get-a-Load-of-That. Does art really have to be a
four-letter word in this country? We don't put much government money into it —
California has the worst per capita investment of any state, at 9 cents a head,
and the nation is the biggest art skinflint in the Western world at a buck-17.
We're especially cranky about art in public view, no matter who pays for it:
"Now what the heck is that? They could've fit in six more parking spaces
instead. My kid could do better."
"The controversy about art," NPR, August 21, 2005 ---
Art: A kind of
What had seemed like a linear progression was really a
kind of Möbius strip: The progression of art began at Lascaux only to end, some
15,000 years later, with artists aspiring to paint like cavemen. Now, after the
end of art, anything goes.
Natash Degan, "The Philosophy of Art: A Conversation With Arthur C. Danto,"
The Nation, August 18, 2005 ---
Big-time college sports has corrupted the educational mission
Frank Deford, sportswriter and a commentator on
National Public Radio, looks at the way big-time college sports has corrupted
the educational mission . . .
NPR on August 21, 2005 ---
Big-time lobbying has corrupted the legislative mission
The lobbying industry is growing at a startling
rate and current laws have proven inadequate to regulate its vast influence.
Relationships between lobbyists and members of Congress are increasingly cozy –
and, in many cases, corrupt.
"Curtail Corrupt Lobbying," The Nation ---
More competition for readers than writers: How to write
your dream novel in the modern age
"Steal This Book. Or at Least Download It Free," by Claudia H. Deutsch,
New York Times, August 21, 2005 ---
The way Mr. Adler, 77 (there goes "you can't teach
an old dog new tricks"), sees it, portable electronic readers will soon do
to paper books what the Walkman and iPod did to boomboxes.
"Print publishing has had a great 500-year run, but
the print book is morphing into the screen book," he said during a recent
lunch at Pigalle, a French restaurant in Manhattan's theater district.
But what does that mean for those many, many people
who believe there is a novel inside them, clamoring to be let out? Making a
living as a writer has never been easy - even Mr. Adler was a self-described
"failed writer" until, at 45, he finally caught a publisher's attention. So
will all this technological upheaval make it easier or harder to get read?
Both, Mr. Adler insists. The Internet, with its
limitless capacity for blogs and whole books that can be electronically
whisked from place to place, means people can pretty well publish what they
want. On the downside, the competition for readers, already intense, will
become maddeningly so. But writers need not make it past the gatekeepers at
publishing houses to be published. Vanity publishing - a term Mr. Adler
hates - has come into the electronic age.
Continued in article
Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at
Time will tell
The Morning After Gaza ---
Lobstering on the commons
The ensuing ill will underlines a big paradox in
Maine: An era of unprecedented lobstering prosperity has brought strife to those
who make their living from the sea. After hovering for decades at around 20
million pounds a year, Maine's lobster catch began to surge in the late 1980s. A
record 70 million pounds was tallied in 2004. Scientists say the bounty may stem
from the decline of fish that prey on lobster hatchlings. They warn the boom
could crater without warning, noting a little-understood shell disease has
ravaged lobster fishing in other parts of New England. Even so, that hasn't
stopped Mainers from rushing to get in on the bonanza. Some of the most
lucrative lobster fishing has been around Cutler, a foggy hamlet of 650 with a
harbor marked by a white, cast-iron lighthouse on a small island at its mouth.
Steep rock bluffs and tall evergreens protect the waterfront here where, on
clear days, dozens of moored lobster boats shift in unison to the changing
tides. On shore, new pickups are parked outside many primly painted homes, and
younger lobstermen talk relentlessly about buying bigger boats.
Robert Tomsho, "In a Maine Town, A Lobster Tale Ensnarls a Fisherman:
Despite a Crustacean Boom, Hamlet Finds No Peace," The Wall Street Journal,
August 24, 2005 ---
The Piano Man was faking mental illness to a point where, well, he might
be mentally ill
"Piano Man's Lost Chord Found," The Morning Paper, August 23, 2005 ---
London: Four months ago, a 20 year old man –
dressed neatly in an expensive suit , but soaking wet – was found wandering
on a beach by police. He refused to speak, so police took him to a mental
health unit for evaluation.
During his evaluation , he was given a piece of
paper and a pen – and promptly drew a sketch of a concert – style piano.
Someone decided to let him sit at a piano in the hospital chapel,
and-according to one of the psychiatrists , he gave a brilliant concert
Dubbed “ The Piano Man “ , the stranger immediately
became the rage among Britain’s culturally – sensitive , and the hospital
was inundated by well-meant suggestions and advice. Many hoped he would
someday be cured of his strange infirmity , and take his rightful place on
the concert stage.
Unfortunately , the lid of the piano crashed down –
so to speak – when German authorities identified the mystery man as a German
national of rather plebian origins – whose last known employment was in a
psychiatric institute in Bavaria ; where , it is believed , he became quite
adept at mimicking the symptoms of genuinely disturbed patients.
On learning this , British health officials decided
The Piano Man had made “marked improvement” , and was fit for repatriation :
the sooner the better.
Tax-based system will be unable to cope with future health-care demands:
Paying for European national health care with deductions from paychecks
So this might seem an odd moment for a senior doctor to
call for a switch in the way that the NHS is financed. Yet that is what Bernard
Ribeiro, the new president of the Royal College of Surgeons, has done. In an
interview with the Daily Telegraph published on August 13th, he argued that a
tax-based system will be unable to cope with future health-care demands.
Instead, Britain ought to emulate the social-insurance model of Germany and
France, in which the main source of finance is contributions levied on workers'
"Searching for a miracle solution," Economist, August 18, 2005 ---
Review of Parenting For Character
But an excellent new book, Parenting For Character,
from which the Socrates quotation was taken, points to an essential difference
in modern times. It is not that children are different but that parents have
lost confidence in their ability to mould character and instil the perennial
virtues that will ensure a happy adulthood. Author Andrew Mullins, headmaster of
Catholic Redfield College in Sydney's north-west, says the age-old
"understanding of the link between good habits, character and happiness has been
discarded in the last 50 years". He describes his book as a "manual for building
good habits in children" and has drawn on "universal principles" in the writings
of the East, great books of religions and classical literature. Over 27 years of
teaching in Sydney schools he has also gleaned the wisdom of parents. As he
says, it is easy to make children happy for now: "Just take them to McDonald's
or put on a PlayStation." But that won't help them achieve happiness in adult
life. For true self-determination, says Mullins, they need the four cardinal
virtues: wisdom, self-control, justice and courage. Mullins calls these the
"foundation habits for happiness".
"Kids have always behaved badly, it's the parents who've changed," Sydney
Morning Herald, August 21, 2005 ---
"You'll Know When You're Older," Wired News, August 19,
I've been talking to young people
lately about my book,
Revolution 2.0. It's a guide to the
profound impact technology is having on our relationships and our sex lives,
and I figured that today's teens and college students would know exactly
what I'm talking about.
. . .
Talk about sex tech to a 35-year-old, and it takes
about three minutes for the light to switch on. "Yeah!" she or he will cry.
"My sister met her husband online!" (Or maybe, "My sister left her husband
for a woman she met online!" You never know.)
It puzzled me why 20-year-olds weren't reacting the
same way. I was totally unprepared for the blank looks and the resounding
chorus of "huh?" when I described the book.
How could a generation so saturated with both tech
and sex not see how the two come together?
Then it dawned on me. These kids may be tech-savvy
and sex-obsessed, but they don't have the same need for sex tech as the
Why bother with online dating when you spend the
majority of your day with your peer group?
Why look for love outside your city when you're
only allowed to use the car for school and errands?
Why would a college student need the internet to
get laid when she's already surrounded by hordes of intelligent young single
men -- most of whom she didn't grow up with?
She'll have plenty of time after graduation to
bring out the sex toys, when she and her boyfriend find jobs or attend grad
school in different cities, or when she's burned out on the dating scene.
And considering their comfort level with remote
interaction and online gaming, teledildonics will not seem odd at all. It
will just be another option on a Wednesday night.
The future of search engines may be at stake:
Click fraud entails repeated clicking on an online advertisement for no purpose
or for fraudulent purpose
Although there's no way to know what percentage of
clicks on keyword ads on search engines are fraudulent, estimates range from
single digits -- that's what the search engines say -- to 20 percent to as much
as 35 percent. Click fraud could even threaten the paid search industry's entire
business model. At least that's what George Reyes, Google's chief financial
officer, said last year in widely publicized remarks. Those that stand to gain
the most are search networks' content partners, which receive commissions on
these fake clicks, and the search engines themselves, because they profit
whether ads are legitimate or not. It could be a single user, or a team of
users, repeatedly manually clicking on an ad. More likely, the fraud is the
product of automated "hitbot"
Adam L. Penenberg, "Click Fraud Claims Drive Lawsuits," Wired News,
August 18, 2005
Loose definition of mental illness a tragedy waiting to happen
Drawing the line between normal reactions to intense
experience on the one hand and a pathological response on the other can be
difficult for psychiatrists. The conundrum was starkly illustrated last June
when the long-awaited National Comorbidity Study was published in the Archives
of General Psychiatry. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health at
a cost of $20 million, found that a quarter of all adults in the United States –
26 percent – qualified as having a mental illness within a given year. Can a
rate so high be true? A closer look at the study reveals a less startling
picture. First, the survey used in the study was based on the standard
psychiatric handbook – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th Edition –
which has a low threshold for calling a collection of symptoms a “mental
disorder.” For example, a balky, stubborn, aggressive child might well be
diagnosed as having “Oppositional Defiant Disorder,” according to the DSM, and
sent to a therapist. Yet a layman might simply regard him as spoiled.
Sally Satel and Christina Sommers, "Loose definition of mental illness a tragedy
waiting to happen," Nashua Telegraph, August 21, 2005 ---
The Daily Show has grown almost
threefold to 1.4 million viewers a night.
Wake up, television executives of America: Jon Stewart
- the wiseacre host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show - knows more about your
business than you do. Sure, The Daily Show may just seem like a smart comedy
program on basic cable; nothing more than good political satire and a spot-on
parody of TV news pieties. But it's also a demonstration of television done
right. In the six years since Stewart took over, the audience for The Daily Show
has grown almost threefold to 1.4 million viewers a night. It boasts a legion of
young, smart fans who are among the most demographically desirable audiences in
the industry - further collapsing the caste distinctions between networks and
cable. It has raised the bar for tie-ins, with a best-seller (America [The Book]
has sold a stunning 2.5 million copies), a hit DVD (Indecision 2004), and -
starting in October - a full-fledged spinoff (The Colbert Report). And The Daily
Show may be the most popular TV program on the Internet:
Michael Goetz, "Reinventing Television," Wired News, September 2005 ---
Even if the Feds let KPMG off the hook, there are 50 states waiting in the
Mississippi probably will file criminal charges against
accounting giant KPMG because it created a tax strategy that the state says
illegally let WorldCom, now called MCI Inc., shield billions of dollars from
taxes, sources close to the case said Friday. Although a few other states
have also weighed this strategy, Mississippi Atty. Gen. Jim Hood is the most
determined, and his state would be the first to take this step, said the
sources, who requested anonymity.
"Mississippi May File KPMG Charges," Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2005
My guess is that KMPG will survive the criminal charges but will emerge badly
crippled with the burden of over a billion in settlement payments with former
clients and many of the states like Mississippi and California. The IRS alleges
over $1.4 billion in damages in uncollected taxes. Add to this the damages of
many of the states with income taxes and the added costs of punitive damages and
serious litigation costs on the back of KPMG. Why in the world didn't KPMG stop
selling these shelters when the IRS warned KPMG that it was selling illegal tax
Bob Jensen's threads on the woes of KPMG are at
Remember that the new definition of failure is "deferred
Tina Blue comments on the lack of responsibility by some
One of my students sent me this email at the end of
I need to bring you my last essay, but I don't
remember your office number, and I can't find my copy of the syllabus
with the number on it.
That syllabus she lost, as about half of our
students inevitably do, is also posted online on Blackboard, as well as on a
Geocities site where I also post all my class materials for those times when
for one reason or another students are unable to access Blackboard.
Continued in article
Republican Democrat Scandal!
It seems there is no limit to Paul Krugman’s hatred of
the Republican party. And apparently there’s no limit to the New York Times’s
willingness to embarrass itself by printing yet another hilarious error-filled
column by America’s most dangerous liberal pundit. In his Friday column, Krugman
attempts to spit out the salacious details of scandals involving Republican
politicians in Ohio. But what Krugman doesn’t seem to know is that many of the
politicians he’s talking about are Democrats! And because the Times does no
fact-checking of its op-ed columns, his absurd blunders now live forever in the
“newspaper of record.”
Donald Luskin, "Republican
Democrat Scandal!," National Review ---
Asians see better, really
If Asians and North Americans sometimes seem to have a
different world view, maybe it's because they literally see the world
differently. Research suggests that Asians have a sharper eye for detail and
subtlety than people in the West.
"In Asia, the Eyes Have It," Wired News, August 23, 2005 ---
Left-wing teachers in Australian schools
Growing anti-American attitudes have been generated in
part by left-wing teachers in Australian schools, according to Treasurer Peter
Costello. Mr Costello last night delivered a speech to the Australian-American
Leadership Dialogue dinner, warning of the dangers of anti-Americanism taking
hold in Australia.
"Costello slams anti-Americanism," News.com.au, August 21, 2005 ---
"Corporate Law Class: First, What Not to Do," The New York Times,
August 21, 2005 ---
In what must be an unusual welcome for new law
students, Timothy P. Glynn led a crash course on Thursday on how not to
About 360 incoming students at the Seton Hall
University School of Law in Newark watched "The Smartest Guys in the Room,"
a documentary about the collapse of Enron, as part of their orientation
program. Mr. Glynn, a law professor, used it to get the students to focus on
"The whole idea was to get them thinking about
professional responsibility and professional ethics immediately," before
those matters become lost in a forest of exciting new legal concepts and
lawyerly lingo, he said after the session.
The challenge, he added, was to avoid sending a
message that unethical behavior is the norm in corporate America.
"We had to structure the discussion to make sure
that they walked away thinking about legal ethics in a positive, not a
cynical, way," he said. Jonathan D. Glater.
Continued in article
Oh what a mess we're in in Iraq
The paramilitary wings of Kurdish and Shiite political
parties in northern and southern Iraq have spun webs of corruption and violence
that may undermine any attempts to bring those regions under a federal Iraqi
state, the Washington Post reports. Kidnappings, assassinations, and other
violent crimes run rampant around primarily Shiite Basra in the south and
Kurdish-controlled Mosul in the north, with each group trying to stamp out their
opposition. The crimes are often committed by coalition-trained security forces,
whose true allegiance lies with ethnic or religious political parties, not any
sort of central Iraqi authority. The WP writes that the local groups seem more
intent on dominating their respective territories than participating in a
unified Iraqi government, enforcing their authority with the kind of swift
brutality that seems only too familiar.
Jesse Stanchek, "Kurds and Way-Out Factions," Slate, August 21, 2005 ---
"Killers in the Neighborhood Exclusive: How the death squads came to Washash
and turned Shi'ites and Sunnis against one another," by Tim McGirk, Time
Magazine, August 21, 2005 ---
From Jim Mahar's Blog on August 18, 2005 ---
To buy or to build?
Margsiri, Mello, and Ruckles provide a thoughtful
article that models the "grow vs buy" decision.
SSRN-To Build or to Buy: Internal vs. External
Growth by Worawat Margsiri, Antonio Mello, Martin Ruckes: "This paper
relates growth via acquisitions to the characteristics of the possibility to
grow organically" ---
As in most modeling papers, this should come with
the standard warning that "while the conclusions laid forth in this paper
are fairly straight forwards, some of the math may be more than the typcial
undergraduate student (current or past) is ready to handle."
But do not dispair, I will leave the gritty details
to the paper itself.
The main points:
There is a direct connection between the ability to
grow and the price the firm would be willing to pay for an acquisition. This
"important connection between the two growth strategies [has] organic
growth..[as] the firm’s fall-back strategy and therefore has a significant
impact on both the acquisition strategy as well as the acquisition price."
Which is pretty intuitive: if you have have no good growth prospects, you
are more willing to do an acquisition." "when the growth asset is associated
with a high level of volatility, firms favor growth via acquisition in order
to avoid the costly time delay between the investment and the generation of
"a higher profitability of the opportunity to grow
organically speeds up the acquisition. Since a higher value of the organic
growth option leadsto a lower acquisition price, early acquisitions are
profitable compared to the status quo." "When a relatively high integration
expense leads to a high acquisition threshold, the declining value of the
outside option draws this threshold down to a lower asset value."
See that wasn't that bad. There really is a great
deal more to the paper and I recommend it if you have some time (it took me
a while to get through it) and you are of that temperment.
Cite: Margsiri, Worawat, Mello, Antonio S. and
Ruckes, Martin E., "To Build or to Buy: Internal vs. External Growth" (March
15, 2005). http://ssrn.com/abstract=687413
BTW If you are still confused, let's talk baseball.
For the first point, you are the GM of a major
league team. You have a great catching prospect in the minors. Therefore you
are less likely to acquire a free-agent catcher.
For the second point, let's take this example a bit
further. Suppose you not only have a great catcher in the minors, but also a
great pitching propect. Since the the volatility of pitching careers is
higher than that of catching careers (stated without proof), ceteris paribus
you would be more willing to sign a free agent pitcher than a free agent
One more, ok. Consider the last point. A
trouble-maker has higher "integration costs". Thus even if you admire the
ability of the player, you are not willing to pay as much for him.
Contrary to popular opinion, sex isn't necessarily profitable in 21st
In the early days of Hollywood, nudity—or the
illusion of it—was considered such an asset that director Cecil B. DeMille
famously made bathing scenes an obligatory ingredient of his biblical epics.
Nowadays, nudity is a decided liability when it comes to the commercial success
of the movie.
Jay Epstein, "Sex and the Cinema In the New Hollywood, it's a liability,"
Slate, August 15, 2005 ---
But then again, Epstein could be wrong
It's a wicked exchange, courtesy of the screenwriters
Patrick Marber and Chrysanthy Balis, and the wickedness thickens once you learn
that Edgar, unmanned by jealousy, decapitated his wife. Now he wanders the
gardens of the asylum, doing odd jobs and patching up the greenhouse. I wish I
could tell you that what happens next came as a blistering surprise, but if
there's one thing that years of moviegoing teach you it is basic algebra, and
the rule runs as follows: (Frustrated Wife ÷ Late-Fifties Lingerie) - √(Dull
Husband) x (Demonic Yet Strangely Tender Hunk + Glowing Eyes) = Greenhouse Rock.
Anthony Lane, "MAD ABOUT THE BOY “Asylum” and “2046.” The New Yorker,
August 22, 2005 ---
Be ready when the bad guys come
Militia of Montana 2005 Preparedness Catalog ---
Acronym Search ---
This site features a lot of things including coverage of tax and 401K/IRA
Tips on how to deal with the new Bankruptcy Bill ---
Guides for Employers from Smart Stops on the Web,
Journal of Accountancy, June 2005, Page 33 ---
For employee benefits, see
Worldwide Directory of Accountants and Consultants ---
Bob Jensen's helpers on how seek professional advice ---
Forwarded by Andrew Priest
Feefee the virtual worldwide accountant
Virtual Feefee has a sense of fun, according to her
creator, University of Wollongong senior lecturer George Mickhail. But as an
early prototype virtual accountant, she also has a serious side that stands as a
warning to the accounting profession that basic functions can be automated.
Professor Mickhail says Feefee gives users information in the way they prefer.
And she won't be deskbound, either. "My research project is to provide it
through a mobile device," he says. That research uses a protocol called ebXML
(electronic business extensible markup language), a standard way to exchange
business messages and data.
Rob O'Neill, "Feefee's fee-free accounts advice," Sydney Morning Herald,
August 23, 2005 ---
Mike. Kearl clued me into a fascinating search site called StumbleUpon ---
StumbleUpon is an intelligent browsing tool for
sharing and discovering great websites. As you click
you'll get high-quality pages matched to your personal
preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended (rated
I like it) by friends and other SU members with
similar interests. Rating these sites shares them with your friends and
peers – you will automatically 'stumble upon' each others favorites sites.
In effect, StumbleUpon's members collectively share the best
sites on the web. You can share any site by simply
clicking I like it. This passes the page on to
friends and like-minded people – letting them "stumble upon" all the great
sites you discover.
Selecting Your Interests
After you join you will be asked to select topics which are of interest to
you. Nearly 500 topics are available and you can select as many as you wish
to help determine your preferences in web content. The more interests you
select, the better StumbleUpon will be able to determine which sites you
will like best. This lets StumbleUpon provide you with sites rated highly by
other members with similar interests. You can also add, remove or modify
your interests at any time.
Jensen Comment: With each passing day I am adding more categories and
am finding this to be a valuable tool.
When learning StumbleUpon, it really helps to got to Menu, FAQs at
There is also an unofficial listing of FAQs at
You might encounter some random x-rated pictures that seem to pop uninvited into
Bob Jensen's search helpers are at
Jensen Comment: I found
the following sample of economics sites using an innovative search engine
called StumbleUpon. It's described above.
Economic Indicators ---
U.S. Census Bureau ---
Online Economics Textbooks ---
Bob Jensen's threads on electronic books are at
Economics Principles and Practices ---
Economics Net-Textbook ---
Economy Professor (with a great glossary) ---
Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith ---
Theoretical Economics ---
Five Fundamental Errors in Economics Research ---
History of Economics ---
Historical QuickSketch of the Nightmare German Inflation (1923) ---
International Monetary Fund ---
Web Resources in Economics ---
Economic and Game Theory ---
Ed Yardini's Economics Network ---
Amos Web ---
Trade and Protectionism ---
"India's economic agenda: An interview with Manmohan Singh," The McKinsey
For Jim Mahar's blog on August 24, 2005 ---
One quote from the interview:
"Manmohan Singh: 'If I have any message, it is
that it is our ambition to integrate our country into the evolving global
economy. We accept the logic of globalization. We recognize that
globalization offers us enormous opportunities in the race to leapfrog in
development processes. It also obliges us to set in motion processes which
would minimize its risks.
I think, overall, India is today on the move.
The economic reforms that our salvation lies in operating an open society,
political system, an open economy, economic system--this has widespread
The Guardian's 100 Best Books of All Time ---
The Free Library ---
Free Australian electronic books ---
Modern literature links ---
The 1,000 Journals Project, University of New Orleans ---
Bob Jensen's links to electronic books and journals are at
What the world knows about you and why your pizza costs so much ---
Isn't it interesting that the same people who laugh
at science fiction listen to weather forecasts and economists?
Kelvin Throop III ---
I must say that I find television very educational.
The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book.
Groucho Marx, US Comic ---
Life is a wonderful thing to talk about, or to read
about in history books - but it is terrible when one has to live it.
Jean Anouilh, French Playwright ---
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
and other universities is at
International Accounting News
(including the U.S.)
AccountingEducation.com and Double Entries ---
Upcoming international accounting
Thousands of journal abstracts ---
Deloitte's International Accounting News ---
Association of International Accountants ---
FASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
IASB --- http://www.fasb.org/
Trite's great set of links --- http://iago.stfx.ca/people/gtrites/Docs/bookmark.htm
Torian's Managerial Accounting Information Center --- http://www.informationforaccountants.com/
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: email@example.com